Today's conditions brought to you by the Bush Junta - marionettes of their hyperdimensional puppet masters - Produced and Directed by the CIA, based on an original script by Henry Kissinger, with a cast of billions.... The "Greatest Shew on Earth," no doubt, and if you don't have a good sense of humor, don't read this page! It is designed to reveal the "unseen."
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Sunday, August 8, 2004

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New! Film Review: The Manchurian Candidate

Picture of the Day

Voie Lactée
©2004 Pierre-Paul Feyte

War As Mind Control

SOTT Editorial
08/08/2004

As more and more information is uncovered about faked terror attacks, bogus threats to our safety, government and military covert operations, "secret wars" and the duplicity that seems to have defined the nature of almost every "ruling elite" over the past two millennia, we are forced to consider the possibility that there has been no public war fought whose officially stated objective could not have been achieved in secret, far from the gaze or awareness of the general public.

Consider the many secret campaigns, waged at the behest of successive US governments, that are only now, many years after the fact, coming to light. In Chile for example, the CIA were able to effect the overthrow of the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende and replace it with the brutal dictatorship of Pinochet. The benefits for the US administration at the time, were little different than if the US military had invaded Chile en masse and made the country an American protectorate - but they did not, simply because there was no need to.

Following on from this, we must then consider the possibility that every public, large scale war of any significance that has been fought in recent history has been fought for a motive other than that which was officially stated. We might say that, as a general rule, one of the major goals of all wars (other than your basic death and suffering) has been, and continues to be, the shaping of the perception of reality of a particular nation, or humanity as a whole, in order to accomplish the true, longer term, unspoken objectives of the war makers.

Consider World War II for example. There exists copious and detailed evidence to suggest that Hitler was actually facilitated in his rise to power by the very people who would later claim that he was a threat to the entire planet, a claim which lead to the deaths of 65 million people and the establishment of the state of Israel. WWII could have been prevented simply by denying this support, or in the unlikely event that Hitler were to somehow continue to unilaterally accrue power even in its absence, efforts could have been made, "a la Chile" to neutralise the threat that he presented. But this is not what happened. Someone wanted the massive trauma, bloodshed and re-ordering of the geopolitical world map that resulted from the "war to end all wars", and they had the knowledge and power to make it happen, while convincing the world that it was the result of pure chance.

We realise that we are now on shaky ground, not from the point of view of the facts - since, while they remain largely hidden from public view, they are well documented - but rather from the standpoint of the general beliefs that we all hold about the events that make up the history of our planet, our own lives, their meaning in relation to those events and history, and the people that sit in control over both.

We have all been taught to believe in free will over determinism, that things happen randomly, bound only by the potentially infinite imagination of any individual(s) or group(s). We believe that, at any given moment, there is as much chance for "good" to bless our existence as there is for "evil" to blemish it. We all eagerly subscribe to such a thesis since, while it means that we are essentially victims of chance, there remains the possibility that we can, through our own efforts, maximise the incidence of "good". Unfortunately, the facts do not bear out such a thesis.

As Laura Knight-Jadczyk writes in the introduction to her newly revised and updated book "Ancient Science":

"The Laws of Probability tell us that, without any intelligent input, 50% of the time the events in our world would lead to great good and benefit for mankind. In a strictly mechanical way, life in our world ought to have manifested a sort of "equilibrium." Factoring in intelligent decisions to do good might bring this average up to about 70%. That would mean that humanity would have advanced over the millennia to a state of existence where good and positive things happen in our lives more often than "negative" or "bad" things. In this way, many of the problems of humanity would have been effectively solved. War and conflict would be a rarity, perhaps 70 percent of the earth’s population would have decent medical care, a comfortable roof over their heads, and sufficient nutritious food so that death by disease or starvation would be almost unheard of.
The facts are, however, quite different."

An objective and in depth analysis of the facts surrounding the origins, evolution, and now impending destruction of our species, suggests that an unseen hand has, for many, many years, been guiding us in a very definite direction.

And like a single player playing both sides of the chessboard, it appears that, unless we wake up to the reality of our predicament, there can be only one outcome.

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Secret Wars

By Mumia Abu-Jamal

As this is written, the obscene whine of bombs pierces the night sky over the capital city of Kabul, in the war- shattered nation of Afghanistan. Once again, the American Empire has come to the Middle East, armed with the glittering array of war.

Although national opinion polls assure us that this nebulous war against "terrorists, and all who support them," is a popular one, high opinion poll ratings mask the very real and very deep anxiety that people feel, in their hearts, and in their guts, about the prospect of victory. That anxiety underlies a deep distrust that Americans have historically felt about the government. What don't they know? What are Americans not being told? How will this end?

In truth, there is a good reason for this sense of anxiety, as many Americans are, without their knowledge or okay, a part of the secret wars that are raging around the world.

When the United States was a very young, and indeed, an infant nation, a well-known national leader hatched a secret plot to invade and overthrow Libya. An agent of his was given tens of thousands of dollars, and 1,000 guns to raise a secret army against Libya. This U.S. State Department official was attached to the Navy and given the title, "Agent for the United States Fleet in the Mediterranean." This secret agent, working without the knowledge or permission of the U.S. Congress, entered Egypt, organized a mercenary army, and waged war against Libya, but was not able to destabilize the government.

The government agent was Capt. William Eaton. He was acting under the secret orders of U.S. President, Thomas Jefferson, after a secret meeting of them on December 10, 1803. (See Jerry Fresia's Toward an American Revolution: Exposing the Constitution & Other Illusions (Boston: South End Press, 1988), p. 102).

Such secret wars have dotted the history of the U.S., and made her the enemy of millions, on several continents. For the poor in Latin America, in the Caribbean, in Africa and parts of Asia, the U.S. is seen as a powerful, yet schizophrenic child. She will arbitrarily remove leaders of governments, insert agents of disorder, and wage vicious propaganda wars against other countries through her media machine.

In an alleged 'democracy', why is there even ever a need for secret war?

In a nation that claims to represent the interests of the people, how can a secret war be waged? The two are simply incompatible, for if the government is (in Lincoln's famous words) "... of the people", how can the government keep secrets from itself?

While the media may manipulate public opinion to justify the waging of wars, the real beneficiaries are rarely known, and indeed, rarely are the real causes known. The causes are, more often than not, economic. While citizens and soldiers wave flags, corporations wave wallets.

For example, you may still find old-timers, who will tell you that the big, "WW II", was fought against the Nazi ideology of Hitler. Few would argue with the old geezer. But how many of us know that American corporations traded with the Nazis, even during the war? Charles Higham, in his 1984 book, Trading With the Enemy (Dell Books) wrote:

What would have happened if millions of Americans and British people, struggling with coupons and lines at the gas stations, had learned that in 1942 Standard Oil of New Jersey [part of the Rockefeller Empire] managers shipped the enemy's fuel through the neutral Switzerland and that the enemy was shipping Allied fuel?

Suppose the public had discovered that the Chase Bank in Nazi-occupied Paris after Pearl Harbor was doing millions of dollars worth of business with the enemy with the full knowledge of the head office in Manhattan [the Rockefeller family among others]? Or that Ford trucks were being built for the German occupation troops in France with authorization from Dearborn, Michigan?

Or that Colonel Sosthenes Behn, the head of the international American telephone conglomerate ITT, flew from New York to Madrid to Berne during the war to help improve Hitler's communications systems and improve the robot bombs that devastated London? Or that ITT built the FockeWulfs that dropped bombs on British and American troops? Or that crucial ball bearings were shipped to Nazi-associated customers in Latin-America with the collusion of the vice-chairman of the U.S. War Production Board in partnership with Goering's cousin in Philadelphia when American forces were desperately short of them? Or that such arrangements were known about in Washington and either sanctioned or deliberately ignored? [pp. 184-5] (Fresia's bk, pp. 108-90).

There are wars, and there are wars, apparently. Unfortunately, there are also secret wars, and the ones who are in the battle fields, or wave flags, are the last ones to know.

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The Anatomy of "Terror Experts"

Meet the Mandarins of Abu Ghraib
By JAMES PETRAS
August 7 / 8, 2004

After reading hundreds of books and articles and listening to scores of speeches and interviews by experts on terrorism and terrorists from the US, Canada, Israel, Europe, Latin America, Asia and South Africa, I have come to recognize eerily predictable patterns.

They use a common language to describe their subjects and their environment; they are extremely ideological under a thin veneer of scientific jargon; they possess a keen sense of selective observation; they always pretend to possess a psychological understanding though few if any have dealt close up with their subjects in any clinical sense except perhaps under conditions of incarceration and interrogation.

Their style is self-righteous, highly moralistic, vitriolic, hyperventilating and yet slippery with euphemisms when it comes to dealing with the violence of their partisan states. Their analysis is almost always filled with highly charged personal invective. Psychobabble provides a "legitimate" sounding channel for expressing deep-seated hostility, a way of assuming a state of civilized superiority in the face of their dehumanized subjects. Indeed, the dehumanization process is central to the whole terrorist-political-academic enterprise ­ for the purpose is to present "the terrorist" with no redeeming features, with no "place" in the world, no "time" to exist ­ in other words worthy of physical extermination.

The Terrorist Experts are the "set-up" people, the motivators.

They project the violence of the rulers, their ambitions to conquer, their greed to seize land and resources, their destructive impulses on to their victims. The responses of the victims are evoked in the rhetoric of pathological behavior. Of course the truly clinical pathologies are found in the minds of the verbal assassins ­ who cannot distinguish the savageries committed by their patron-states from the desperate cries of the excluded, displaced and exploited.

Almost all the terror experts have a chronic psychological blindness to the systematic and comprehensive violence inflicted by the West and Israel on particular groups. Today it is the "Arabs", at others times it is all insurgents who respond to imperial violence with violence.

The all-pervasive practice of torture is a means of breaking and converting militants, and then infiltrating resistance movements. The techniques of torture receive ideological justification and moral support from the Terror Experts. In their writings insurgents or 'terrorists' are described as beyond the human pale ­ as sub-human. Their leaders are presented as cynical profiteers and manipulators who have no human values. Their communities are "lawless pockets". Once committed, they know no law, no justice ­ only death, murder and martyrdom. They live in failed states. They have no history or culture (or at best one inferior to 'Western', 'Judeo-Christian' civilization). In a word, the world will be better without them. To the torturers this means their work is in the best interest of civilization.

Of course the Terror Experts are offended when the practitioners are exposed, their handicraft of brutality photographed and published. The Terror Experts are grieved, not for the acts of moral degradation, but because it confirms what the "terrorists" have been saying. They revolt out of the outrage and humiliation they suffer in the hands of their US/Israeli/European torturers, soldiers, mercenaries and bosses. Terror Experts protest at the public exposure: that the dirty secrets absent from their analysis have become public knowledge. They attribute feelings of "anger", "humiliation" to the personality disorders, childhood or family or cultural/religious dysfunctions of the "terrorists". The statements of the Terror Experts become less convincing when confronted by the publicized facts of physical humiliation by the armies and states of the civilizers.

The Terror Experts operate and see themselves on two levels: as 'scholarly researchers' and as political prosecutors and 'security' advisors.

As 'experts' their work is of dubious quality despite the self-declared wealth of sources they claim to have consulted.

Many of the alleged "terrorists" interviewed were in jail where they were most likely tortured, drugged and their conversations monitored. The Terror Expert can be expected to edit out any excerpts that provide a political context for their actions: they are likely to pay more attention to their own jaundiced "impressions" of how the 'terrorist' looks, speaks or listens, usually fixing on their own preconceived "meanings" of particular facial expressions or body movements.

The Terror Experts excel in selecting the worst case sample as "representative" of the leadership of the terrorists, the boastful, the moneygrubber, the affluent. They omit the norm of persecuted resistance fighters who are modest, sacrificing, in solidarity with their people, upon whom they have many times to depend for food, medical care and refuge.

There are "fundamentalist" Moslems who pursue modern professions, use Western critiques of colonialism and imperialism; but who seek self-determination, majority rule and the freedom to practice their religion.

There are fundamentalist Muslims who are pietistic ­ they seek solace in spiritual practices, who live in a narrow circle of work, mosque and family, who have experienced the violent disruption of their lives and who respond, not only because the imperialists have transgressed the sacred, but because they have destroyed the family network and intergeneration codes of existence

Interrogation: Questions for the Terror Experts

Terror Experts claim that objective conditions, or what they refer to disparagingly as "exploitation", "oppression" or "imperialist" (equipped always with quote marks), are only a veneer covering some deeper "personal need". The Terror Experts then proceed to "unmask" the "true" motives ­ with a stream of psychobabble. In fact the resort to crudely conceived and applied psychological categories, are the principle method that the Terror Experts use to suppress the "objective " world, which impinges on the action of the resistance fighter.

The external world, in which violent resistance movements emerge are by any measure very hostile. The US and Israel, for example, are recognized the world over as aggressive actors considering themselves unaccountable to any and all international laws. The Terror Experts can avoid this fundamental 'fact' impinging on the resistance fighters' behavior by focusing on their supposed "inner world", and "immediate" face to face relations. This allows the Terror Experts to avoid the unpleasant aspects of their own state loyalties.

The Terror Experts were horrified by the photographs of US torture in Iraq ­ not the acts. The revelations unmasked the savagery of their accomplices, the practitioners of their prescriptions, the whole underworld of crime and punishment that is logically derived from the totalitarian pseudoscience of the Terror Experts. It brings the Terror Experts of Harvard, Princeton, Yale and Johns Hopkins closer to the savage scenes of homo and heterosexual rape, mass sequential genital violence. The Terror Experts , of course, assume a posture of indignation at the brutal guards, interrogators, the military commanders. They are silent as their current paymasters are pilloried ­ Rumsfeld, Bush ­ knowing full well that the next President will also employ their services. In any case who is going to look deep and far form the scenes of torture and identify the torture accomplices among the Terror Experts?

The TE simply pronounce their diagnosis of the armed resistance fighters: incurable psychopaths, extremely dangerous when at large. The politicians dictate the commands: capture, confine, torture or kill. The Special Forces break doors in the middle of the night, cut throats or take prisoners. The prison commandants establish the rules of "interrogation". The guards torture. This is s very coherent international division of labor, in which the Terror Experts play an important part in elaborating the rationale, a morally and scientifically justified war-unto-death on the the "inferior" peoples, the "fundamentalist Arab Muslims", the "suicide bombers", the "Terrorists". A common language is spoken between the Terror Experts and their state patrons, and then promoted in and by the mass media.

Questions for the Terror Experts: (1) Why do the imputed terrorists' "personal needs" find expression through politics (and not in a thousand and one personal, cultural, familial, civic channels)? Why do the terrorists' "personal needs" find expression against a certain enemy (the dominant power) rather than a host of other objectives, less dangerous, easier to access, more direct? Why do the terrorists' "personal needs" express themselves in favor of a particular group (family, neighborhood, nation or class) and not another (foreign powers, exclusive elites, etc?) Why do the terrorists' "personal needs" find expression at a particular time (during invasions, occupations, etc.) and place (locus of imperial power, military and political institutions, mercenary police stations)?

Obviously the "personal" has multiple forms, objects, places and times for expression. To explain specific political actions one must examine the political, ideological, class relations, state and international configuration of power.

The second question is a refinement of the first: Why do "personal needs" not express themselves in other non-violent forms of political action such as elections, for example, instead of as a guerrilla, suicide bomber, etc.? More specifically what political obstacles or literal or figurative walls prevented other than violent forms of political action? We can hypothesize that the greater closure imposed on the political system (colonial and neo-colonial rule, long-term military occupation, racist exclusive ideology and practice, systematic widespread torture of "suspects"), the greater the degree of uprooting or ethnic purging, the more likely the choice posed by the ruling power: subject yourself or revolt. Under the circumstances there is a greater likelihood of violent resistance, individual or collective.

Terror Experts attempt to denigrate the politics of popular resistance by attributing the struggle to the manipulation by leaders with unworthy motives. This overlooks all mass movements, which have by their nature a whole range of leaders, activists and sympathizers. Terror Experts imagine leaders who are in search of "money, "status", "power", "jobs" etc. Once again the "unmasking" technique fails to explain obvious facts.

Overwhelming evidence throughout the world, past and present, demonstrates that those who struggle against a dominant colonial, imperial power suffer severe material losses of life, family, jobs, income, houses and property. In the case of the Palestinians, the Israeli Jews punish the whole extended family, steal personal belongings and heirlooms and destroy generations of old orchards and cultivated fields. With resistance movements, it is very rare that "leaders" enrich themselves in the midst of a life and death struggle. Most leaders who do enrich themselves usually do so after the struggle has ended, especially if they turn to embrace the neo-colonial paymasters of the Terror Experts. In fact it is the Terror Experts' closest collaborators and their informants who enrich themselves by spying and turning in the patriots who the experts call 'terrorists'.

The selective vitriolic libeling of a subject prepares the Western reader to accept the emotionally charged imputation of pathologic behavior. Harvard academic, Jessica Stern provides us with a typical example ­ almost a parody ­ of these polemical ejaculations. She describes the purpose of her study "to identify some common themes that might help to explain how violent Islamic nihilism continues to spread beyond the lawless pockets and failed states where terrorists tend to thrive and into the cities of the west".(Jessica Stern, How Terrorists Think, Financial Times, June 12/13, 2004).

Nihilism presumes no goals, no values, and no alternatives. Most observers would disagree, based on a simple reading of most of the Islamic revolutionary or radical web sites: they have goals ­ replace Western dominance with nationalist Islamic rulers. Their values include both traditional religious and modern variants and their alternatives to submission is guerrilla, mass or individual resistance. The neighborhoods, cities, and communities where the putative "nihilists" originate are far more stable, norm-guided and law-abiding before the forceful intrusion of imperial and colonial power, which tear asunder the networks that bind collectivities. "Lawless pockets", to the degree in which they exist, are products of the unwillingness or incapacity of the conquering powers and their proxies to establish a just and stable social order. Moreover, one can observe in many cases that "lawlessness" is selective: occupied peoples disobey colonial 'laws', 'edicts' or 'fiats' while abiding by the laws or rules declared by their legitimate authorities. Moreover, it is generally the case that newly liberated areas run by guerrillas are more lawful than under previous military or colonial occupation with their drugs, brothels and bars.

The notion of "failed states" has achieved a certain notoriety among Western pundits, academics and especially the Teror Experts. Its exponents use the phrase to describe the collapse of nations, which have been devastated by surrogate pro-Western militarists, pillaged by Western banks under the tutelage and protection of the IMF and the World Bank. No doubt there have been gangster rulers in the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe and the Third World ­ but they have more often than not been trained by Western foundations or universities and send their ill gotten fortunes to off shore banks and kindred sanctuaries. In labeling their former progeny as failed rulers, the Terror Experts disown their own offspring. What imperial ideologues mean by "failed states" is the failure of clients to establish a stable neo-liberal regime, necessitating "successful" Euro-US imperial intervention to create "prosperous democracies", as in post-invasion Kosova, Afghanistan, Iraq and Haiti where white slavery, drug trafficking, warlords, death squads rule with the aid of US helicopter gunships hovering over and firing into unruly neighborhoods.

Stern and other verbal assassins strip the victims of their humanity ("nihilists"), denigrate their place of birth ('lawless pockets"), deny the historical authenticity of their nations ("failed states"), all the better to oversee their extermination, their ghettoization, their torture.

Through the eyes of the Terror Experts Euro-US and Israeli bombing of population centers is seen as doing "humanity" a great favor: preventing the 'spread' of terrorists into the cities of the West.

The fanatic anti-Arab/Muslim rhetoric of the Terror Experts encourages 'moderate', Western politicians to impose more rigid and humiliating administrative and legal measures against Arab, Middle Eastern and South Asian travelers, immigrants, visitors, religious leaders, academicians and businesspeople.

Targeted by and subject to systematic denigration by the Western mass media, state functionaries, immigration police, hostile embassy personnel, academic terror experts, the secret police and special assassination teams, oppressed people are forced to transform themselves to meet a chronic "national emergency". Ruler-ruled relations are a series of perpetual impositions, unwelcome visits by colonial operatives granted license by the imperial Terror Experts. Faced with a systematic effort to lower their self-esteem, the oppressed people "find" themselves in their own organizations, public and clandestine, religious and secular. This reaffirmation finds expression in a reassertion of a religious or secular identity, embodied in a mosque, church, political movement or resistance organization.

Colonial/imperial power disrupts the daily routine of the general population: 'going to work' faces roadblocks, work places are destroyed, fruit trees are uprooted. "Taking care of the family" becomes a daily life and death struggle of securing food at black market prices, facing unpredictable hostile fire in the marketplace. 'Enjoying leisure' becomes a memory of the pre-colonial/pre-imperial past. Now there is 'forced leisure' ­ jobless, policed, futureless ­ in the street, where individual discontent is socialized by local opinion leaders who provide a focus for action. Taking sides, addressing the oppression, the hardening of attitudes is a fundamental effort to recover the 'daily routine'.

The complex interweaving of powerful spiritual loyalties, family responsibilities and workplace displacement leads to a commitment to direct action and a political movement. This is a rational and complex process. The Terror Experts' colonial preconceptions blind them to this reality. For example, Stern sees the committed resistance fighter as being in a "kind of trance" ­ irrational, dogmatic and simplistic.

The Terror Experts repeat ad nauseam that the "terrorists" join their organizations in their search for strength ­ a common response of all those who engage in politics and social action. The Terror Experts thus turn a commonplace observation which has a lineage of over 3,000 years or more into a particular feature of "terrorists". The resistance fighters do have a sense of altruism and an idea of the public good ­ which the Terror Experts refuse to take serious. To do so would require a profound re-examination of their loyalties, and collaboration with imperial/colonial powers, and a deep critical self-examination of their institutional location and motives. This would be a difficult psychological and material experience for Terror Experts since their prestige, income, status, and influence might be threatened. Their critical introspective analysis might lead them to question their paymasters, their institutions, their colonial/imperial states. What foundations would pay to have a 'renegade' Terror Expert bear witness to their prejudices, falsifications and close ties to politicians who sanction torture and murder? Would their former colleagues describe the renegade as being in a "kind of trance", "victim of the Stockholm complex" (accepting the views of their captors)?

The colonial practitioners and their academic experts specialize in verifying each other's stereotypes of resistance fighters. They oversimplify their motives, decisions and commitments. They rely on blanket categories that obscure deeper structural realities in favor of subjective labeling. Above all they banish any objectivity. Relations of power and dominance, state violence, violent intrusions into Arab, Muslim, Latin American countries, towns and villages are described as "defensive", "retaliation". As the limbs and body parts of Palestinian babies, women and grandparents are exploded over the ruins of homes and neighborhoods, Harvey Morris , the Bureau Chief of the Financial Times in Israel writes of Israeli "retaliation", after killing dozens of children and old people. Banishing objectivity means the incapacity to empathize with the human condition of the colonized victims ­ for that reason the experts must present the victims as sub-human. Because the Terror Experts are condemning the most abused victims in the name of the most vicious powers, they convince themselves that their vitriolic diatribes are merely a service to truth and science.

The Terror Experts are masters of euphemism, especially in dealing with the muck and gore of empire building. Imperialists become "one worlders". Colonial occupation is called "nation building". Murderous offensive wars become "humanitarian interventions".

Above all the Terror Experts celebrate triumphal imperialism: the defeated colonial peoples, we are told , are "resentful" ­ "those who feel they can't keep up". Of course with a hood over their head and shackled legs and feet and a cattle prod burning their genitals ­ they can't keep up, they can't turn around and express gratitude to their torturers.

How is a Palestinian farmer going to "keep up" with a Jewish settler who seizes his land, water and , supported by local thugs and Israeli soldiers, blocks his access to the market? Anything short of "resentful" would be masochistic. Is it any wonder that the deraccinated and dispossessed risk their lives to convert resentment into resistance? By all means. When the tanks roll into Iraqi neighborhoods after shelling homes and mosques, is it any wonder that furious neighbors swarm around an ambushed tank and dance on the shards of smoking metal and corpses? Is it a frightful spectacle of pitiless terrorists or jubilant neighbors, who have silenced the sound of shells bursting over their heads and into some neighbors' homes?

The Terror Experts existed before the Iraqi resistance and they will exist after it. Wherever the oppressed rise and effectively resist imperial rule there will be academic chairs, foundations grants and Centers for International Studies for the ambitious upwardly mobile Terror Expert. The Imperial state will demand their services, the prestigious Councils of Foreign Relations will offer membership and universities will reward them with distinguished professorships. They will be celebrities ­ the mass media talk shows will feature them. They will be far from the killing fields but their spirit will be there, on the front lines and in the torture chambers, guiding the hands that place the hoods over the unredeemable, nihilists, Muslims, Marxists or national patriots.

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FOX TV show depicts a U.S. government plot to crash a hijacked Boeing into the WTC six months before 9/11

The FOX TV series The Lone Gunmen (X-Files spin off) airs their opening episode "Pilot" six months before 9/11 which depicts a secret U.S. government agency behind a plot to crash a Boeing 727 into the WTC via remote control and blame it on foreign terrorists in the hopes of generating a bigger military budget.

Why didn't that media pick up on this bizarre coincidence of life imitating art? A Boeing 700 series commercial airliner about to crash into the WTC and being blamed on foreign terrorists shown just six months before the real thing happened on a major TV station? I mean come on?!

"I don't think anybody could have predicted that...they would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile," - National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice." -CBS (05/17/02)

"You hate to admit it, but we hadn't thought about this," Air Force Gen. Richard Myers said. -DoD (10/23/01)

"What's disturbing about it to me is, you think as a fiction writer that if you can imagine this scenario, then the people in power in the government who are there to imagine disaster scenarios can imagine it, too." - Frank Spotnitz, Co-Producer of The Lone Gunmen

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Flashback: Israel to kill in U.S., allied nations

By Richard Sale
UPI Intelligence Correspondent
Published 1/15/2003 7:14 PM

Israel is embarking upon a more aggressive approach to the war on terror that will include staging targeted killings in the United States and other friendly countries, former Israeli intelligence officials told United Press International.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has forbidden the practice until now, these sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The Israeli statements were confirmed by more than a half dozen former and currently serving U.S. foreign policy and intelligence officials in interviews with United Press International.

But an official at the Israeli Embassy in Washington told UPI: "That is rubbish. It is completely untrue. Israel and the United States have such a close and co-operative intelligence relationship, especially in the field of counter-terrorism, that the assertion is ludicrous."

With the appointment of Meir Dagan, the new director of Israel's Mossad secret intelligence service, Sharon is preparing "a huge budget" increase for the spy agency as part of "a tougher stance in fighting global jihad (or holy war)," one Israeli official said.

Since Sharon became Israeli prime minister, Tel Aviv has mainly limited its practice of targeted killings to the West Bank and Gaza because "no one wanted such operations on their territory," a former Israeli intelligence official said.

Another former Israeli government official said that under Sharon, "diplomatic constraints have prevented the Mossad from carrying out 'preventive operations' (targeted killings) on the soil of friendly countries until now."

He said Sharon is "reversing that policy, even if it risks complications to Israel's bilateral relations."

A former Israeli military intelligence source agreed: "What Sharon wants is a much more extensive and tough approach to global terrorism, and this includes greater operational maneuverability."

Does this mean assassinations on the soil of allies?

"It does," he said.

"Mossad is definitely being beefed up," a U.S. government official said of the Israeli agency's budget increase. He declined to comment on the Tel Aviv's geographic expansion of targeted killings.

An FBI spokesman also declined to comment, saying: "This is a policy matter. We only enforce federal laws." [...]

Comment: Note the statement that "until now diplomatic constraints have prevented the Mossad from carrying out 'preventive operations' (targeted killings) on the soil of friendly countries". More propaganda. The Mossad's entire raison d'etre involves carrying out covert, false flag operations and the assassination of anyone deemed to be an enemy of Israel.

Note also that the US intelligence agencies have NO JURSIDICTION over the activities of Mossad in the US. Perhaps this is why so many Mossad agents caught scoping out federal and military buildings have never been prosecuted. From this we can deduce that any attacks carried out by the Mossad on US soil, (9/11 for example), are sanctioned by US "policy makers", aka the US government.

Knitting Fog - A Reader Analysis

I'd like to share a thought that occurred to me whilst watching a current affairs discussion on TV recently. Each of the 'talking heads' had their own opinion on this topic and that topic but as usual there was no objective consensus of opinion. I was none the wiser after the political and ego point scoring was over and I began to wonder why this might be.

It occurred to me that the reason for the dim & woolly arguments was that the 'talking heads' were actually knitting fog. What do I mean by this?

Let me explain.

99.99% of people know nothing about anything except for what they've seen on TV, read in a newspaper or history book, and weren't there when an event happened, therefore they know absolutely nothing for certain about it. Given that the media lies and that history books are written by the victors, much, if not ALL, of what we think we know, may actually be a lie. We think that we know the truth, but in fact we may know only lies.

How then can we understand something, and so attempt to know the truth about something, and importantly, attempt to understand something in terms of terms of another thing, if in reality we know nothing at all, just lies?

This is the experience of the masses each day when they watch the TV news or read the newspapers expecting to understand the news and find out the truth. They actually soak up yet more lies on which to base their understanding of the world and what is the truth. I liken this activity to knitting fog. It’s no wonder that so many lies go undetected in a world where a lie is the truth and the truth is a lie.

For this reason I am very grateful for the 'Signs of the Times'. Without this haven of objectivity, where a lie is seen as a lie after being measured against a yard-stick of hard won truths, I would have no way of really knowing anything or any truth at all.

Think about knitting fog the next time the 'talking heads' are trying to convince you of their version of the truth. The only truth is, they have no understanding of the truth at all!

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A spare piece of Dubya's mind

VINAY MENON
The Toronto Star

Email from: George W. Bush

To: Karl Rove, Ed Gillespie, William D. Harris
CC: Dick Cheney

Subject: This month's Republican National Convention in New York

My fellow warriors:

I think we agree the past is over. We've turned the corner. Yet this is still a dangerous world. It's a world of madmen and uncertainty and potential mental losses.

See, a few thoughts have been poking me in the ribcage. So I thought I'd surf them to you. Last year, during our meeting in Crawford, re-election seemed as sure as trout in a pond.

But those Democrats put on a pretty good show in Boston and folks are telling me this is a horse race. The American people, see, need to be reminded that we're at war with a ruthless enemy, one that could strike, anytime, anywhere.

That's why I'm typing this note from under my bed. Just in case.

I'm getting kinda tired hearing about John Kerry's record in Vietnam. What exactly is a Swift boat? See, we need to stress that Mr. John F. Kerry was in combat for only four months so, really, how many Germans could he have taken out? And we should look for some dirt on Max Cleland.

Except for Fox News — which we should make America's Official Network — the media keeps yapping about Kerry's three Purple Hearts and Bronze and Silver Stars. Now hold up. He barely got scratched, right?

I thought we should mention the time I choked on a pretzel and fainted while watching football. The American people need to remember their commander-in-chief understands the gridiron's principles of freedom and liberty. This War on Terror is the ultimate Super Bowl.

Don't misunderestimate me. I could have died. That was one evil pretzel.

Turd Blossom, in your last note, you said we should "humanize" now that Kerry and that pretty boy John Edwards are jumping on terror and stealing our lightning.

Did you hear that speech by Alexandra Kerry? About dad jumping into the water to save a hamster? I nearly pissed myself laughing. We need to find out if Licorice was a boy hamster. And if Kerry gave it mouth-to-mouth. Those of us against gay marriage would probably find this pretty interesting.

Ed, you keep saying we should avoid talking about the economy. But from where I'm lying, the economy is like a lot of things, such as health care, education and the environment. It's not real. It's just one of those things liberal academics invented because they think they're smarter than regular Americans who know we're at war with a despicable enemy.

Hey, under my bed there's this dust bunny that looks exactly like Ralph Reed. You gotta see this.

Anyway, maybe we could turn this money thing around on the Dems. We could tell the American public that, yes, the projected deficit will hit a record $445 billion this year but if Teresa Heinz Kerry would be willing to donate her personal fortune to the country we could revise that figure to like 20 bucks.

So is she a patriot or a greedy feminist? In an economic recession, I'd rather the people spend their money, not the government, unless it's her money.

See, the American people need to know that I understand small business growth. I was one. And I know how hard it is to put food on your family.

I like our campaign slogan: "Steady Leadership in a Time of Change." But couldn't it be stronger? Maybe something like: "Fearless Leadership As We Prepare For The Apocalypse: Flip-Floppers Need Not Apply."

By the way, how is "Project Glitter" coming along? Has any so-called celebrity volunteered to throw us a party in New York? I noticed a bunch of Hollywood liberals in Boston. And heard those atheists at Moveon.org has signed up some slick hotshots — Rob Reiner, Aaron Sorkin, Woody Harrelson, Richard Linklater — to direct ads.

I also heard that Steven Spielberg helped produce the Kerry video. I'd like something like that for Madison Square Garden. Maybe Arnold could call some of his friends in the pictures. Maybe I could dress up like The Terminator and blow up hundreds of Al Qaeda terrorists. Ted Nugent could write an original song, with lots of groovy riffs.

I listened to Richard Clarke's Against All Enemies, which Condi got me on cassette. She's a really good soul. Anyway, I noticed something: That scum-bucket mentions alcohol a couple of times, such as Lagavulin and a Russian Pinot Noir.

Those are quality products. But they're not American, see. And America needs to know that my detractors are unpatriotic. They don't believe in the power of faith and democracy. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me — can't get fooled again! I haven't had a drink in years.

There was lots of talk about "red meat" at Boston. When I owned the Texas Rangers we once gave away free hot dogs to our fans. Maybe we could do something similar for Republican voters.

If we could pull that off, nation-wise, see, we could probably dust off that "Mission Accomplished" banner for our victory party in November. The Almighty says it's possible. But we may need help from the good folks at Oscar Meyer.

I'm stuck under my bed. Gotta go. May God bless this email and may God bless the United States of America.

Yours truly,

Mr. President

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Businessman's poor English leads to handcuffs, delayed flight in U.S.

By SHINJI FUKUSHIMA, The Asahi Shimbun

NEW YORK-Boning up on English studies while on a tedious flight overseas might seem harmless.
Anybody who knows English, though, would probably think twice before writing the words "suicide bomb'' on a flight in the security conscious United States post-9/11.

That is what a Japanese businessman in his 60s learned Sunday after he was found with a scrap of paper with those words written on it. An alert passenger spotted it and reported the matter to flight attendants on the United Airlines service from Chicago to Dayton, Ohio. The flight's departure was canceled and after the aircraft returned to the gate, the man was handcuffed and detained by airport police.

Police later realized the man was only trying to study English. He had come across the words in a newspaper and copied them to later look up their meanings. [...]

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Man charged in Greyhound bus station bomb scare

Sorcha McGinnis
Calgary Herald

A 29-year-old man has been charged in connection with a bomb scare that shut down the Calgary Greyhound bus station for several hours Friday evening.

Stacy Ryan Michael Berntt, of no fixed address, has been charged with public mischief and possession of a weapon, or imitation thereof, for a dangerous purpose.

City police were called to the bus terminal, at 850 16th Street S.W., at about 5:15 p.m. after security personnel discovered a sports bag with a piece of pipe inside.

Police cordoned off the area and evacuated the terminal, which remained closed for more than 2 1/2 hours causing delays for travellers and disruptions in parcel service.

Members of the city's tactical team worked to dismantle the device. The imitation pipe bomb was approximately 2.5 cm in diameter and 12.5 cm in length.

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Oregon National Guard say they were ordered not to help abused Iraqi prisoners

11:31 PM EDT Aug 07

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Oregon National Guard soldiers attempted to stop Iraqi jailers from abusing dozens of prisoners but were ordered to return the prisoners to their abusers and leave, a published report said.

A soldier spotted a man beating a prisoner June 29 in a courtyard near the Iraqi Interior Ministry, the Oregonian newspaper, which had a reporter with the Oregon guardsmen of the 2nd Battalion, 162nd Infantry, reported in Sunday's editions. Members of the unit later saw other prisoners who appeared to have been beaten and items that could have been used to torture them.

Capt. Jarrell Southall gave the newspaper a written account of the incident and other guardsmen, speaking on condition of anonymity, interviewed in Iraq echoed his account, the newspaper said.

The U.S. Embassy in Iraq told the Oregonian the United States raised questions about the June 29 "brutality" with Iraq's interior minister.

The embassy would not say what response was received but added the soldiers "acted professionally and calmly to ease tensions and defend prisoners who needed help."

The incident occurred after Iraqi officials announced a crackdown on crime and police and security forces arrested about 150 people in a Baghdad neighbourhood, the newspaper said.

On June 29, while the Oregon guardsmen were on patrol, a scout positioned in a tall building looked through the telescopic sight on his rifle at the Justice Ministry courtyard.

He saw a man beating a prisoner with a rod or a stick, took photographs and radioed battalion headquarters to report the abuse, said soldiers who spoke with the scout.

The battalion commander, Lt.-Col. Daniel Hendrickson, led a group of soldiers to the compound and entered the detention yard unchallenged, said the account by Southall, of Newark, Calif., who serves with the Oregon Guard.

Southall and other soldiers said the guardsmen separated the prisoners from the Iraqi policemen.

"Many of these prisoners had bruises and cuts and belt or hose marks all over," Southall said.

"I witnessed prisoners who were barely able to walk."

The Oregon soldiers freed the prisoners, gave them water and administered first aid.

At about that time, U.S. military police arrived and disarmed the Iraqi policemen, Southall said.

Hendrickson demanded to speak with someone in charge of the policemen and a well-dressed man told him "there was no prisoner abuse and that everything was under control and they were trying to conduct about 150 investigations as soon as possible," Southall said.

Hendrickson led some of the Oregon guardsmen into a nearby building and found a room containing "even more prisoners, all in the same sad shape as the prisoners found in the outer area," Southall said.

They also found "hoses, broken lamps and chemicals of some variety" which could have been used as torture devices, Southall said.

After Hendrickson radioed for instructions, he was told to return the prisoners to the Iraqi authorities and leave the detention yard.

Neither Hendrickson, a Corvallis, Ore., police officer, nor others interviewed by the Oregonian would say who gave the order.

Hendrickson referred further questions about the episode to Brig.-Gen. Jeffrey Hammond of the 1st Cavalry.

The story of what happened June 29 "needs to be told," Hammond told the Oregonian.

But he said, "because of the nature of this issue, it's being handled at a higher level than me."

Comment: Well, it looks like Iraq is once again being run by a cruel dictator who tortures and abuses his own people. It looks like America will need to invade and liberate the country. Oh wait...

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Iraqi Government Ignores Pleas From The EU And Brings Back Death Penalty

Translated from El Mundo.es
08/08/2004

The interim Iraqi government has re-established the death penalty in Iraq, which will be applied murderers kidnappers and drug traffickers according to Interior Ministry sources. In doing so, the cabinet of interim Prime Minister Allawi has ignored petitions from the European Union which formally requested that it be abolished.

Comment: Yes indeed, Iraq is getting more and more like the US every day...

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Australia accused of lying about Iraq

AFP - Aljazeera.net

Sunday 08 August 2004 - A group of more than 40 former Australian diplomats and defence chiefs has accused Prime Minister John Howard's government of deceiving the Australian people about the reasons for invading Iraq.

The open letter on Sunday echoed similar statements issued earlier in the year by retired US and British officials, making Australia the latest of the pro-war allies to face criticism from its own former diplomats.

The statement said the electorate had been misled over the reasons for joining the US-led invasion of Iraq, and democracy could not work properly if people could not trust their elected representatives.

"We are concerned that Australia was committed to join the invasion of Iraq on the basis of false assumptions and deception of the Australian people," the statement said. [...]

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Clashes and Churches...

Baghdad Burning - Riverbend blog
Saturday, August 07, 2004

300 dead in a matter of days in Najaf and Al Sadir City. Of course, they are all being called ‘insurgents’. The woman on tv wrapped in the abaya, lying sprawled in the middle of the street must have been one of them too. Several explosions rocked Baghdad today- some government employees were told not to go to work tomorrow.

So is this a part of the reconstruction effort promised to the Shi’a in the south of the country? Najaf is considered the holiest city in Iraq. It is visited by Shi’a from all over the world, and yet, during the last two days, it has seen a rain of bombs and shells from none other than the ‘saviors’ of the oppressed Shi’a- the Americans. So is this the ‘Sunni Triangle’ too? It’s déjà vu- corpses in the streets, people mourning their dead and dying and buildings up in flames. The images flash by on the television screen and it’s Falluja all over again. Twenty years from now who will be blamed for the mass graves being dug today?

We’re waiting again for some sort of condemnation. I, personally, never had faith in the American selected proxy government currently pretending to be in power- but for some reason, I keep thinking that any day now- any moment- one of the Puppets, Allawi for example, will make an appearance on television and condemn all the killing. One of them will get in front of a camera and announce his resignation or at the very least, his utter disgust, at the bombing, the burning and the killing of hundreds of Iraqis and call for an end to it… it’s a foolish hope, I know.

So where is the interim constitution when you need it? The sanctity of private residences is still being violated... people are still being unlawfully arrested... cities are being bombed. Then again, there really is nothing in the constitution that says the American millitary *can't* actually bomb and burn.

Sistani has conveniently been flown to London. His ‘illness’ couldn’t come at a better moment if Powell et al. had personally selected it. While everyone has been waiting for him to denounce the bombing and killing of fellow-Shi’a in Najaf and elsewhere, he has come down with some bug or other and had to be shipped off to London for check-ups. That way, he can remain silent about the situation. Shi’a everywhere are disappointed at this silence. They are waiting for some sort of a fatwa or denouncement- it will not come while Sistani is being coddled by English nurses.

One of the news channels showed him hobbling off of a private airplane, surrounded by his usual flock of groupies and supporters. I couldn’t quite tell, but I could have sworn Bahr Ul Iloom was with him. E. said that one of the groupies was actually Chalabi but it was difficult to tell because the cameraman was, apparently, standing quite far away.

The thought that Sistani is seriously ill does make everyone somewhat uneasy. Should he decide to die on us now, it will probably mean a power struggle between the Shi'a clerics in the south. Juan Cole has a lot more about it.

Last week churches were bombed- everyone heard about that. We were all horrified with it. For decades- no centuries- churches and mosques have stood side by side in Iraq. We celebrate Christmas and Easter with our Christian friends and they celebrate our Eids with us. We never categorized eachother as "Christian" and "Muslim"... It never really mattered. We were neighbors and friends and we respected eachother's religious customs and holidays. We have many differing beliefs- some of them fundamental- but it never mattered.

It makes me miserable to think that Christians no longer feel safe. I know we're all feeling insecure right now, but there was always that sense of security between differing religions. Many Iraqis have been inside churches to attend weddings, baptisms, and funerals. Christians have been suffering since the end of the war. Some of them are being driven out of their homes in the south and even in some areas in Baghdad and the north. Others are being pressured to dress a certain way or not attend church, etc. So many of them are thinking of leaving abroad and it's such a huge loss. We have famous Christain surgeons, professors, artists, and musicians. It has always been an Iraqi quality in the region- we're famous for the fact that we all get along so well.

I'm convinced the people who set up these explosions are people who are trying to give Islam the worst possible image. It has nothing to do with Islam- just as this war and occupation has nothing to do with Christianity and Jesus- no matter how much Bush tries to pretend it does. That's a part of the problem- many people feel this war and the current situation is a crusade of sorts. 'Islam' is the new communism. It's the new Cold War to frighten Americans into arming themselves to the teeth and attacking other nations in 'self-defense'. It's the best way to set up 'Terror Alerts' and frighten people into discrimination against Arabs, in general, and Muslims specifically... just as this war is helping to breed anger and hate towards westerners in general, and Americans specifically. A person who lost their parent, child or home to this war and occupation will take it very personally and will probably want revenge- it won't matter if they are Muslim or Christian.

I always love passing by the churches. It gives me a momentary sense that everything must be right in the world to see them standing lovely and bright under the Baghdad sun, not far from the local mosque. Their elegant simplicity is such a contrast with the intricate designs of our mosques.

There's a lovely church in our area. It stands tall, solid and gray. It is very functional and simple- a rectangular structure with a pointy roof, topped by a plain cross or 'saleeb', simple wooden doors and a small garden- it looks exactly like the drawings your 7-year-old nephew or daughter would make of the local church. This simplicity contrasted wonderfully with its stained-glass windows. The windows are at least 30 different colors. I always find myself staring at them as we pass, wondering about the myriad of shapes and colors they throw down upon the people inside. It hurts to pass it by these days because I know so many of the people who once visited it are gone- they've left to Syria, Jordan, Canada... with broken hearts and bitterness.

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Sistani Away, US In Anti-Sadr Decisive Battle: Report

IslamOnline.net

As fierce fighting continued Saturday, August 7 , for the third day running between US troops and fighters loyal to firebrand Shiite scholar Moqtada Al-Sadr, Iraq's highest-ranking Shiite scholar, Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani, headed to London for "heart treatment". As fierce fighting continued Saturday, August 7 , for the third day running between US troops and fighters loyal to firebrand Shiite scholar Moqtada Al-Sadr, Iraq's highest-ranking Shiite scholar, Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani, headed to London for "heart treatment".

London-based daily Al-Hayat quoted Saturday an unnamed Iraqi official as implying that the US forces were seeking to eradicate Sadr forces in Najaf once and for all, in the absence of Sistani (...) "Sistani holds Sadr and his supporters accountable for the chaos plaguing Najaf and preferred to leave the city during this period".

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U.S. checking possibility of pumping oil from northern Iraq to Haifa, via Jordan

Ha'aretz - 25/08/2003 - by Amiram Cohen: The United States has asked Israel to check the possibility of pumping oil from Iraq to the oil refineries in Haifa. The request came in a telegram last week from a senior Pentagon official to a top Foreign Ministry official in Jerusalem.

The Prime Minister's Office, which views the pipeline to Haifa as a "bonus" the U.S. could give to Israel in return for its unequivocal support for the American-led campaign in Iraq, had asked the Americans for the official telegram.

The new pipeline would take oil from the Kirkuk area, where some 40 percent of Iraqi oil is produced, and transport it via Mosul, and then across Jordan to Israel. The U.S. telegram included a request for a cost estimate for repairing the Mosul-Haifa pipeline that was in use prior to 1948. During the War of Independence, the Iraqis stopped the flow of oil to Haifa and the pipeline fell into disrepair over the years. [...]

Comment: Well, that clears up the nasty allegations that the Iraq invasion was waged for oil and at the behest of Israel. It also makes it clear that Bush really was telling the truth when he stated that Iraq's oil revenues would be used for the benefit of the Iraqi people.

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Report: Prozac Found in Britain's Drinking Water

Aug 8, 7:47 AM (ET)

LONDON (Reuters) - Traces of the anti-depressant Prozac have been found in Britain's drinking water supply, setting off alarm bells with environmentalists concerned about potentially toxic effects.

The Observer newspaper said Sunday that a report by the government's environment watchdog found Prozac was building up in river systems and groundwater used for drinking supplies.

The exact quantity of Prozac in the drinking water was unknown, but the Environment Agency's report concluded Prozac could be potentially toxic in the water table.

Experts say that Prozac finds its way into rivers and water systems from treated sewage water, and some believe the drugs could affect reproductive ability.

A spokesman for Britain's Drinking Water Inspectorate said Prozac was likely to be found in a considerably watered down form that was unlikely to pose a health risk.

"It is extremely unlikely that there is a risk, as such drugs are excreted in very low concentrations," the spokesman said. "Advanced treatment processes installed for pesticide removal are effective in removing drug residues."

But environmentalists called for an urgent investigation into the findings.

Norman Baker, environment spokesman for the Liberal Democrats, said it looked "like a case of hidden mass medication upon the unsuspecting public."

"It is alarming that there is no monitoring of levels of Prozac and other pharmacy residues in our drinking water," he told the Observer.

The Environment Agency has held a series of meetings with the pharmaceutical industry to discuss any repercussions for human health or the ecosystem, the Observer said.

Prescription of anti-depressants has surged in Britain. In the decade up to 2001, overall prescriptions of antidepressants rose from 9 million to 24 million a year, the paper said.

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Comment: It appears that antidepressants not only ease the effects of depression in about two-thirds of patients, they can also ease that feeling of anxiety which can result from, say, one's government acting against the wishes of the masses...

FLASHBACK!

Why millions of women are hooked on the happy pills

British GPs are prescribing drugs for depression in unprecedented quantities. But is this really the best cure? Luisa Dilner reports

The Observer
Sunday April 18, 2004

Death and taxes used to be the only certainties in life. For British women, we can now add another one: depression. Statistics may show that one in four women becomes depressed at some time, but a magazine survey this week claims that more than half of British women have taken antidepressants.

Unofficially at least, depression is an expected life experience for women, slipped in somewhere between having children, looking after elderly parents and either divorce or retirement. Is life now so difficult for women that it's normal to be depressed?

Claire Jones is 35 and has just come off antidepressants after a period of depression that started in January last year. 'Everything just got on top of me. My boyfriend had had chronic back pain for some time and he had to take early retirement. He was always snapping at me and couldn't help with the children. My three-year-old wouldn't go to nursery without screaming, so I was constantly late for work. My oldest daughter kept getting chest infections so I was forever being called out of meetings to collect her from school.

'I work in the leisure industry so everyone was meant to be nice and helpful, while I couldn't stop crying. I'm sure I did need the antidepressants. But my mother says that, while she thinks I'm lucky to have career opportunities, it also makes life harder. So much more is expected of my generation. Many of my female friends have been on antidepressants.'

The magazine survey follows one by Norwich Union last week into the prescribing patterns of 250 GPs. Eight out of ten said they prescribed more antidepressants for both depression and anxiety (the two often go together) than they should do. Many of these prescriptions are likely to be handed to women. [...]

Comment: Depression and anxiety often go together, eh? Do we think that perhaps everyone's depression is being aggravated by the alleged threat of terrorism? Constant warnings that our lives are in danger certainly would put a damper on any positive, cheerful outlook on life. On the other hand, most Americans talk of carrying on with their lives, all the while suppressing that feeling that something is terribly wrong. It may all build up inside and eventually come rushing out... If we take the time to research what is really happening on the BBM, to see the "man behind the curtain" so to speak, perhaps our symptoms would be alleviated to some extent. We can choose to consciously examine the "negative" in the world, and use the fuel generated within by engaging in some creative act.

'We think antidepressants are being overprescribed, but they can be life-savers for some people. However there is an idea out there that the new antidepressants, called serotonin selective reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Prozac, are wonder drugs. They are heavily marketed to GPs. Since they were licensed 12 or 13 years ago, prescriptions for them have risen by 700 to 800 per cent in the UK. Depression is a debilitating disease but there may be some people who feel a bit down who get Prozac from their doctor.' [...]

'People tend to forget that being depressed is part of being human. Its normal to have emotions, they are built into the brain. They reveal to us that all is not well and if we didn't get depressed we wouldn't know that. It's like pain - the body's way of saying something is not right. If you went through life without pain you wouldn't know if you had injured yourself or not.' [...]

Comment: For more information on these ideas as they relate to brain chemistry, read Ancient Science by Laura Knight Jadczyk.

In the United States, psychologists are starting to do research into what makes people happy. Jacquie Hetherton, a lecturer in clinical psychology at Royal Holloway in London believes that this research could lead to treatments for depression.

'Psychologists are looking at how to get people who feel OK to feel really good - to feel as though they are leading the good life. They are asking what are the factors that make people happy. Peoples' values may not be linked to happiness. Research shows that if you are "financially comfortable and a bit more", then getting more money won't make you much happier. If we can identify what makes people happy then we can help them avoid slipping into depression.' [...]

Comment: Why isn't it acceptable to just feel "OK"? One might argue that a population that feels like they are leading the good life will be far more likely to go along with the plans of their leaders. Unfortunately, the economic system ensures that very, very few people will actually be wealthy - and the basic nature of man and the world means that we will not all get along, hold hands, and sing happy songs. Thus, when psychologists speak of making everyone "feel really good", they are essentially suggesting that we should all be numb to reality. If that sounds crazy, how is it that people like Sharon, Bush, and Blair can get away with so much, and yet the people of the world do so little about it?

How many tablets do we take for the blues?

- The Royal College of Psychiatrists puts the total cost of adult depression at more than £9 billion. Only £370 million is treatment costs (drugs, hospital appointments, GP visits); the rest are indirect costs, from days off work to death from depression.

Comment: Only £370 million?? Given the availability of antidepressants for more than a decade and the huge cost of the effects of depression, one might conclude that the problem is really much bigger and more central to the human condition than anyone cares to admit. It is also clear that pumping people full of drugs over the past twelve years hasn't done much to cure the "problem"...

- In 1995, 13.2 million prescriptions were written for all types of antidepressants.

- In 2002, 26 million prescriptions were written for serotonin selective reuptake inhibitors antidepressants such as Prozac. [...]

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Comment: There is a substantial amount of data that indicates that antidepressant drugs can also result in suicidal thoughts...

FLASHBACK!

Drug Up Your Teen Today!

This just in: Prozac is a better treatment than talking to your kid. Isn't life fabulous?

By Mark Morford
SF Gate Columnist
Friday, June 4, 2004

Is your teenager depressed? Throwing things? Sulking like she hates you and only speaking in monosyllabic grunts and playing her Staind or Avril Lavigne or Hoobastank MP3s way too loud? Sure she is. Damn kids.

Are they slouching way too much and wearing low-slung clothes and locking the door to their bedrooms and masturbating chronically, and then racking up huge cell-phone bills as they complain endlessly to their best friend about their unrequited loves and horrible parents and how much they hate life and how they're always despondent and put upon and pimply and miserable?

Solution: You need to give them drugs. Lots of drugs. Expensive ones with nice little corporate logos on them. This is the only way.

Haven't you been reading the papers? Watching the commercials? Drugs are in. Drugs are the new black. Drugs rain down from the sky like pretty purple Skittles. Drugs are mandatory and the most important advancement in child rearing since the invention of the cane and the padlock and the Catholic priest.

No, not the bad drugs. Not the drugs that cool people take and that make your kids party hard and dance all night and that make their eyes all red and mushy and makes colors swirl and skin feel like honey and makes them horny or hungry or feel really really good for awhile, until they don't. Not the ones that are cheaply produced and impossible to regulate and as easy to get as degrading sexual misinformation in public schools is. Not those.

No, your kid needs the other kind of drugs. The good kind. The kind prescribed by overpaid shrinks after the kid's umpteenth $300 visit. The kind that run about seven bucks a pop and are made by Pfizer or GlaxoSmithKline or maybe Eli Lilly, and which are roughly three times more toxic and 10 times more synthetic and a thousand times more spiritually debilitating than the "evil" street stuff, given how they're totally legal and corporate sponsored and therefore radiate this sinister venomous aura of happy culturally approved doom.

Behavioral modifiers. Prozac. Paxil. Zoloft. Effexor. Xanax. Et al. You name it, your kids can have it, and probably should. Millions are already addicted. Millions more will be by the end of this year, if not by the end of this column. Maybe you're one of them, yourself. Hi. Isn't the sky lovely today? Yes, it sure is.

Just look at them, the well-drugged teens of America, all calm and happily narcotized, walking around with their eyes glazed over and their shirts untucked and their souls drained of all vital juices. God bless America at its world-record 25 percent mood-disorder rate! The most-drugged nation on the planet! We're No. 1! So proud.

Don't you want your child happy and well-adjusted and violently, chemically torqued, his or her entire body ravaged by enough synthetic compounds and serotonin reuptake inhibitors and mood enhancers to numb a horse? Of course you do.

Hey, they've done studies. Studies that finally prove once and for all that Prozac is much more effective on your depressed miserable slouchy door-slammin' punkass teen than merely talking to him and loving him well and teaching him to appreciate life and sex and spirituality and fine artisan cheeses. So you know it must be true.

And do you know why? Why the Prozac is more effective? Because it's a potent chemical narcotic, silly! It rewires their brains and poisons their little juvenile blood vessels and kills any pesky burgeoning testosteroned sex drive once and for all!

Imagine! No more worries! No more teen pregnancy! It's just like neutering your dog! Or getting a catalytic converter on the car! Or laying down beige shag carpeting everywhere! Everything calm and soft and nonirritating, all edges filed right down. Isn't pharmacology fabulous?

Never you mind the pesky lawsuits. Like the one just filed by the New York attorney general against Glaxo over how they supposedly suppressed a bunch of studies that proved how their beloved zim-zammer brain-slammer Paxil made a bunch of kids even more twitchy and despondent and, whoops, suicidal.

Shhh. Hey, it was only a handful of kids, all right? Maybe, like, 10. Or 50. Who knows? "Acceptable losses," as they say in military parlance. Small price to pay for a whirling nation of numb smiling partially lobotomized teens who will open the door for you and say yes sir and no ma'am and wash your car for a dollar. Am I right? Goddamn right.

Never you mind, furthermore, that we have become a nation of sweetly drug-addled automatons begging at the hand of the giant pharmcos, and that only a fraction of the kids whose parents now have them sucking down behavioral meds like M&Ms actually need them, actually has severe enough brain issues and chemical imbalances and psychoemotional traumas that these drugs are small miracles.

Nossir, never you mind that the rest of those millions of nubile doe-eyed Prozac/Zoloft/Xanax teen addicts are merely being medicated to death for no viable reason whatsoever, other than the fact that they're just a bunch of angry depressed miserable angst-ridden teens and their parents are sick of trying to cope with it.

But, wait, isn't the angry-teen thing a part of life? Isn't that a mandatory stage for just about every kid nationwide, right before they evolve past it and their skin clears up and they finally get laid and then get old enough to drink and buy a minivan and have kids and finally join AA like good Christian adults?

And is it worth noting, again, that most of our drug-happy nation is merely seeking sad, silver-bullet relief from what has become a truly staggering and vicious array of social and government-sponsored ills, and are merely poisoning their bodies and numbing their minds simply because they're stressed and bored and overworked and undersexed?

Whoops, sorry. Got carried away there. Let's stay focused on the kids. Happy, happy kids. Let's not get away from the frightening fact that the U.S. now harbors millions -- millions! -- of Prozac-addicted teens and no one blinks an eye, and yet one kid ODs on ecstasy at a rave due to rampant insulting misinfo put out by the CDC and suddenly it's furrowed brows and pointing fingers and scrunched imbecilic senators railroading the moronic RAVE Act through Congress as they suck down another fistful of Vicodin with their fourth martini. The simpering hypocrites.

Whoops, sorry again. No name-calling. That never gets us anywhere. Guess I'm just getting a bit angry. Maybe a little frustrated at the rampant wholesale corporate-sponsored government-enhanced parentally condoned drugging of kids in this country, and what that means for our future, and theirs, and the future of their attitudes and perspectives and the deterioration of their brains, penises, souls, karmas, love lives, vibration, evolutionary status.

Maybe I'm just getting a little too goddamn depressed by it all. Maybe I just need a pill. And a drink. Ahhh, there now. Much better. Thank you, Eli Lilly. We're No. 1!

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FLASHBACK!

Colleges Expand Mental Health Services

By STEVE GIEGERICH, AP Education Writer
Tue Nov 18, 2003

Devastated by their son's suicide during his sophomore year in college, Donna and Phillip Satow channeled their grief into reaching other students who have contemplated taking their own lives. Now, three years later, the Jed Foundation is working with 120 colleges and universities around the country, providing resources that include Ulifeline, a free Web site linking students to mental health centers and confidential help. [...]

Second only to automobile accidents, suicide is the leading killer of college students — claiming the lives of an estimated 1,100 each year, according to the Jed Foundation.

The American Association of Suicidology reports on its Web site that the suicide rate for 15-to-25 year olds is 300 percent higher than it was in the 1950s. [...]

Comment: Perhaps the introduction of drugs to cure depression has actually made things worse - and maybe people really are less happy, despite all the talk of improvements in society and quality of life over the years.

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Minor quake felt in Beit She'an valley

By Tzafrir Rinat and Eli Ashkenazi, Haaretz Correspondents
08/08/2004

An earthquake measuring 4 on the Richter Scale was recorded Sunday afternoon in the Beit She'an valley. There were no reports of injury or damage.
The Israel Geophysics Institute in Lod recorded the quake at 15:42 local time (12:42 GMT). The epicenter was some 5 kilometers west of Jenin.

Last month, an earthquake measuring 4.7 was recorded 25 kilometers north of the Dead Sea and 14 kilometers deep. The quake was felt throughout the country, as well as in southern Lebanon and in Jordan, as far east as Amman.

On February 11, a quake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale, which had its epicenter northeast of the Dead Sea, shook the country. February's quake was the most powerful in the area in the last 25 years. [...]

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Flashback: Israel Prepares Itself for the 'Big One'

By C. Hart
Middle East Correspondent


The Geophysical Institute predicts there will be another earthquake in Israel during the next 50 years.

CBN.com – JERUSALEM - Two months after the February earthquake in Israel, a recent report released by the Israel Antiquities Authority reveals structural damage has occurred to the eastern wall of Jerusalem's Temple Mount. The report indicates new cracks and movements were discovered after the earthquake, and authorities are concerned that parts of the wall could collapse onto the underground support of the Mount, the location of Solomon's Stables. This is where Islamic authorities in the late 1990's, without concern for Jewish antiquities at the site, built the largest mosque in the country that can now accommodate 30,000 Moslem worshippers.

When the earthquake hit Israel on February 11, 2004, citizens experienced a quake measuring 5.0 on the Richter scale. At the time, reports indicated that a building in the northern town of Akko and several buildings in Tel Aviv were damaged, as well as the ceiling above the speaker platform in the Knesset, which was cracked. No major injuries were reported. The earthquake shook most of Israel from the south to the north of the country. Its epicenter was at the Dead Sea. [...]

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Bihar flood toll 641, rivers continue to rise

Patna, August 7

(India) Thirty-six more people have died in floods in Bihar taking the toll in the recent spell to 641 even as the situation was likely to aggravate with rain fed rivers rising in some districts on Saturday.

State Disaster Management Department said that fresh deaths were reported from Darbhanga (15), Sitamarhi (10), Muzaffarpur (six) and Samastipur (five) in the last two days taking the toll so far to 641.

Gandak, Kosi and Bagmati rivers, which had started receding, suddenly began to rise following incessant rains in their catchment areas, which could aggravate the situation in Sitamarhi, Samastipur, Muzaffarpur and Darbhanga districts, a Central Water Commission report said. [...]

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El Nino Predicted to Return to Pacific in 3 Months

By Rene Pastor
Aug 6, 9:08 AM (ET)

NEW YORK (Reuters) - El Nino, the weather phenomenon which has killed hundreds and wreaked havoc in the Asia-Pacific region over the years, will develop anew in late 2004, the Climate Prediction Center of the U.S. National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration said.

In a monthly report issued late Thursday, the Center said sea surface temperatures have risen sharply in the central Pacific Ocean which may signal the start of the weather anomaly.

"El Nino conditions are expected to develop during the next three months," the Center said on its web site http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysismonitoring/ensoadvisory/index.html

El Nino is a weather phenomenon which leads to an abnormal warming of waters in the equatorial Pacific Ocean. It usually occurs once every three years.

The anomaly was first noticed by Latin American anchovy fishermen in the 19th century and was named in honor of the Christ child because it would take place around the year-end Christmas holiday season.

Severe El Ninos, as happened in 1997/98, would cause searing drought in Australia, the Philippines and Indonesia while spawning rampant flooding in Chile, Ecuador and Bolivia.

The warming of Pacific Ocean waters can cause floods and drought as far as South Africa and trigger severe winter storms in California.

El Nino killed hundreds of people in 1997/98 and caused billions of dollars in damages.

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Erratic 'superbolts' of lightning seen on Saturn

Posted Aug 8, 2004

It has long been known that Jupiter has gigantic lightning bolts, longer than the Earth is wide. So powerful are they that short-wave hobbyists can easily pick up the distinctive "surf crashing on beach" signature around the 30 Mhz band when Jupiter is high in the sky. It stands to reason that Saturn would have similar weather patterns. But I wonder what the electrical properties of the ring system might contribute to Saturn's lightning, given their orbit through Saturn's magentic field, plus the static potential build-up from particle-to-particle collisions.

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A Japanese Atlantis

Could some mysterious underwater carvings discovered off an island in Japan be the remnants of a lost civilisation?

The ruins - if that’s what they are - stretch for kilometres, with a monument shaped a bit like a giant pyramid in the centre.

Many experts are convinced they are the remains of a vast and ancient underwater city, while others suspect the rocks were somehow carved by the currents.

Our North Asia correspondent, Mark Simkin, takes the plunge and visits the mysterious site.

At the end of the Japanese archipelago lies Yonaguni, shrouded in mist and mystery.

The adults of Yonaguni sing of their island's beauty while the children are told legends of its past - stories about a mysterious castle underneath the sea.

One song tells the legend of a man called Taro Urashima, who was taken to the Sea God's palace by a turtle he had rescued. The beauty of the underwater palace could not be described, even in heaven.

Underwater legends

It's an image that has a special place in Okinawan legend. For centuries, stories about underwater cities have appeared in song and story passed down from generation to generation.

One woman recalls hearing the stories from a young age.

"Our grandfathers often said that the sea surrounding Yonaguni Island was very deep," she says.

"When I was at primary school and first heard the stories of the Sea God's palace and Taro Urashima, I used to wonder if there was a Sea God's palace close to Yonaguni Island."

A mysterious site

Such thoughts have long been dismissed as fantasy but what if fiction was based on fact?

Scientists are now investigating a remarkable but virtually unknown site near Yonaguni.

Several metres beneath the surface lies one of the world's greatest mysteries, a place that could quite literally rewrite human history.

No one can be entirely sure what's down there but many experts are convinced it's the remains of a vast and ancient underwater city, a lost civilisation - a Japanese Atlantis.

'The most incredible thing'

Kihachiro Aratake, a professional diver, made the discovery of the underwater ruins at Arakawabana.

He was looking for new dive sites when he made the find of a lifetime, in fact the find of several thousand lifetimes, something no human had seen in millennia.

"I saw the most incredible thing. It was like my hair was standing on end and I got goose bumps. It was such a shock I didn't believe my eyes," Mr Aratake says.

"What is such a thing doing under the water?" he says.

At first, Mr Aratake kept his discovery secret but now, well aware of the potential for tourism, he's keen to show it off.

Diving into another world

The entire site stretches for kilometres but its centrepiece is three hundred metres long.

To reach the monument, as it's now known, you need to pass through an archway, a portal perhaps, to another world, another time.

Giant slabs of stone stand at unusual angles, perfectly parallel.

In one place, there is what seems to be a drainage ditch, emptying into a small pool. And in another, a space like a room, carved into the recesses of the rock.

Nearby are the terraces, massive stone steps, all perpendicular.

Unusual angles

Mr Aratake has been diving all over the world for nearly 40 years, and has never seen anything like it. He believes it could be a giant pyramid.

"It has the special feature of facing south, the various sections are at right angles and the whole set of ruins is leaning about two degrees to the south," he says.

"You never see angles like this and everything faces south."

At the base, 25 metres below the surface, is a flat clear space with stones piled on each side.

Mr Aratake thinks it was once a bustling boulevard encircling the site.

The burning question

But the big question remains: is it made by humans or have the currents in some way carved all those extraordinary shapes?

Masaaki Kimura is the world's leading authority on the underwater monument.

He's a professor of marine geology and has dived the waters where the monument is located more than 100 times.

The professor says scientific testing reveals the site is 10,000 years old. He's convinced the monument is the oldest building on earth, twice as old as the pyramids.

"First, if you ask me if it is natural or an artefact, I can say almost 100 per cent, close to 100 per cent, that it cannot be made naturally," Professor Kimura says.

Isn't it possible though, as some overseas experts believe, that the shapes occurred naturally?

"We have been able to collect relics, stone tools, relief carvings of animal figures, lithography with characters carved and direct evidence that humans existed. Therefore, as a result, we consider it an artefact," Professor Kimura says.

Parallels with other ruins

There are some striking similarities between the underwater ruins and Okinawa's above-water ones, particularly the ancient castles.

At Shuri Jo, the ancient heart of the Okinawan empire, similarities abound.

The shape, size and style the combination of walls, arches and walkways are reminiscent of the monument although there are key differences.

The castle was built with millions of small rocks, the monument was carved out of several enormous ones.

There are parallels, too, with the region's traditional graves, which were often built beside the sea.

A 'warning for the future'

Professor Kimura says it has been suggested the site was a harbour.

"Archaeologists and underwater experts from Europe came to study the site and they suggested it might have been a harbour, a port where ships arrived, but the whole thing looks like a temple," he says.

If that's true, it means this tiny island, Japan's most western point, was once home to a sophisticated civilisation that has since vanished from the face of the earth.

It is possible the monument was thrust into the sea by a terrible natural disaster but more likely it suffered a much slower fate, the victim of rising sea levels as the ice age ended.

"The earth is now getting warmer from the greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide," Professor Kimura says.

"The monument may be an example of a civilised people that became extinct and perhaps it warns us about the path we may follow in the future," he says.

Asia's Atlantis or nature's artwork, hewn by humans or carved by the currents, the monument remains an enigmatic mystery of the deep.

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Needed: a Ban on Unsolicited Toe-Licking?

Fri Aug 6,12:18 PM ET

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The Dutch Labour party wants to pass a law making unsolicited toe-licking an offence after police were unable to prosecute a would-be Casanova with a taste for female toes because he had committed no crime.

A police spokesman said on Friday a man had been detained after women sunning themselves in Rotterdam's parks and beaches claimed he would sneak up on them and begin to lick their toes.

"The officers had to let him go. Licking a stranger's toes is rather unusual but there is really nothing criminal about it," the spokesman said.

Dutch press reports said the man, who is about 35, had been licking the toes of strangers for about three years but was only recently caught by police.

Peter van Heemst, a Labour member of parliament, asked Christian Democrat Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner on Friday to explain why Dutch laws forbid littering but not uninvited toe-licking. van Heemst demanded an amendment prohibiting it.

"It is a violation of one's privacy and one's physical integrity," he told a local news agency. "The norm... is that no one should touch your body if you haven't asked them first."

A spokesman for Donner said the minister could not immediately comment.

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French Catholics 'must move to the Vatican'

Written by Martin Kugler

Pope John-Paul II has urged all French Catholics to move to the Vatican immediately to escape anti-Catholic sentiments in France.

He told a meeting of devouts in Rome that Catholics around the world should relocate to the Vatican as early as possible.

But for those living in France, he added, moving was a "must" because of rising violence against Catholics there.

France's foreign ministry said it had asked the Vatican for an explanation of the "unacceptable comments".

French Catholic leaders, interviewed on France-2 Television, said the Pope's remarks were unhelpful.

"These comments do not bring calm, peace and serenity that we all need," said Patrick Gaubert, of the International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism (Licra). "I think the Pope would have done better to have kept quiet."

The Pope acknowledged that the Paris government had made efforts to tackle the problem.

He pointed out that France had a large Muslim community estimated at less than 10% of population, or about five million.

The Pope said his advice to French Catholics was that moving to the Vatican was "a must and they have to move immediately".

While the Pope urged French Catholics to move to the Vatican because of anti-Catholicism, the Vatican has also encouraged Catholic immigration for obvious demographic reasons.

If the current population trends continue, it is estimated that Catholics will be outnumbered by non-Catholics in the tiny territory that the Vatican controls within 10 to 15 years.

Correspondents in Paris say this is not the first time that the Pope has spoken about the need for French Catholics to leave for the Vatican but rarely has he been so blunt.

"We have immediately made contact with the Vatican authorities to ask them for explanations about these unacceptable statements," said French foreign ministry spokesman Herve Ladsous.

There is reported to be irritation in France at the idea that life for Catholics, who represent approximately 80% of the population, is becoming dangerous - especially as the government has made every effort to show that anti-Catholic acts will be severely punished.

"It's not up to him to decide for us," said President Jacques Chirac, himself a devout Catholic.

But his haste only aggravated passions among many in the Muslim community who feel they are the instant scapegoats, observers say.

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