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New! Film Review: The Manchurian Candidate

Picture of the Day

Soir d'orage
©2004 Pierre-Paul Feyte

"Man does not have the right to develop his own mind. This kind of liberal orientation has great appeal. We must electrically control the brain. Some day armies and generals will be controlled by electric stimulation of the brain." - Remarks of Dr. Jose Delgado as they appeared in the February 24, 1974 edition of the Congressional Record, No. 26., Vol. 118.

"Afternoon sunlight poured over the high wooden barriers into the ring, as the brave bull bore down on the unarmed matador, a scientist who had never faced fighting bull. But the charging animal's horn never reached the man behind the heavy red cape. Moments before that could happen, Dr. Delgado pressed a button on a small radio transmitter in his hand and the bull braked to a halt. Then he pressed another button on the transmitter, and the bull obediently turned to the right and trotted away. The bull was obeying commands in his brain that were being called forth by electrical stimulation by the radio signals to certain regions in which fine wires had been painlessly planted the day before."

According to Dr. Delgado, experiments of this type have also been performed on humans. While giving a lecture on the Brain in 1965, Dr. Delgado said, "Science has developed a new methodology for the study and control of cerebral function in animals and humans."

Government Lies and UFOs

Richard Dolan

Freedom will always be a concept that is impossible to encapsulate cleanly. Like a house with many sides, there are many ways to look at freedom, and some of these ways are entirely subjective. You may not have much say in how your greater society is managed, but then again, if you don't care, you can feel quite free. If you're allowed to pursue your personal interests, follow your favorite television show or sports team, why would you feel oppressed?

Much of our recent history has involved such a dumbing down of our political desires. You can decide for yourself if this is part of a grand scheme by our rulers, or simply the result of market forces in a post-modern age. Either way, what we have today is a country – excuse me, a world, more or less – filled with people who, when they're not as work feeding the machine, generally sit on their asses watching T.V. or surfing the net in the endless quest for entertainment.

"We the People" have long since ceased to rule in any meaningful sense. Who elects our supposed "representatives" in Congress and the White House, those citizens whom we expect to act in the name of the people? Who rules? Do you rule?

Americans like to call themselves free. In fact, they have joined the ranks of the unfree. I am still trying to trace this processes historically – I have little doubt that it is related to the poisonous Armor of Empire being worn on the body of this old republic. But the main thing is that it's happened, and that neither our alleged leaders, nor our alleged public watchdog media, ever acknowledge this publicly.

The basic problem of any kind of representative democratic system is that, to succeed, it must have an informed citizenry. The founders of the American republic understood this problem well – read the Federalist papers to get an idea. But despite our so-called Information Age, I would submit that the typical American citizen is less informed of the world around us than our great-grandparents were one hundred years ago.

This is entirely in line with what our media leaders want. Consider the attitude of the late Katharine Graham, long-time publisher of the Washington Post. In 1988 she stated matters quite clearly: "there are some things the general public does not need to know and shouldn't. I believe democracy flourishes when the government can take legitimate steps to keep its secrets and when the press can decide whether to print what it knows."

Well, Ms. Graham can rest easy in her eternal slumber knowing that what the general public doesn't know grows by reams and reams every year.

America's classified world is removed almost entirely from public control. In the early 1990s, Herbert Foerstel, Head of Branch Libraries at University of Maryland and board member of the National Security Archive, reported that the Pentagon alone had about 10,000 classification compartments, often called Special Access Programs (SAP) and Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI). More recently, author James Bamford (Body of Secrets) likened the classified system to "an endless spiral, [with] secret classification systems within secret classification systems." We number our classified documents by the trillion, and the number continues to grow.

An unknown, but surely significant, part of that secrecy is concerned with the topic of exotic aerial phenomena. We know this from the history of FOIA documents we have received, a small sampling of which I discussed in the previous article of this series. Plus, every now and then, a mainstream publication actually tells us something useful.

The 3/18/96 issue of Aviation Week and Space Technology, for instance, stated that the U.S. Air Defense Operations Center at Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado – an integral part of the North American Air Defense system (NORAD) – tracks and identifies thousands of "vehicles" in near and deep space.

The article stated that "these regions monitored about seven thousand aircraft tracts per day in 1994, and labeled approximately 880 of them as 'unknowns' within the allotted two minutes required for identification....Others (unidentified contacts) warranted intercepts by fighters scrambled from airfields around the continent's periphery."

In other words, American pilots continue to chase UFOs. What do these pilots see when they get close enough to one? In some cases, it's drug traffickers. Of the 880 unknowns for 1994, for instance, "about 90" were correlated with suspected drug activities, according to Brigadier General Raymond P. Huot, commander of the Cheyenne Mountain complex. That still leaves a lot of unidentifieds flying into the U.S. Against which nation is America defending itself when it scrambles all these interceptors? What country, in 1994 or today, has an air force that is constantly harassing us in this way?

We don't know the answers because NORAD is exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.

The now-deceased Imperator Ronald Reagan had a few things to do with our current difficulties in obtaining information from the government.

Reagan helped to get pesky citizens off government's back when he emasculated the Freedom of Information Act. This was Executive Order #12356 in April 1982. A year later, he authorized a National Security Decision Directive that extended the use of secrecy contracts among federal employees and enacted lifetime censorship over them.

As a result, a president can now lie about something – oh, let's say, an important foreign policy matter – and a Senator who knows the President is lying is not allowed to contradict him using classified information.

But I digress, and besides, Reagan doesn't deserve all the blame anyway. He didn't start this mess, and since his time we've gone far deeper into the woods. Just a few years ago, Attorney General John Ashcroft urged federal agencies to resist most Freedom of Information Act requests made by American citizens.

"When you carefully consider FOIA requests and decide to withhold records, in whole or in part," Ashcroft told them, "you can be assured that the Department of Justice will defend your decisions unless they lack a sound legal basis or present an unwarranted risk of adverse impact on the ability of other agencies to protect other important records." Can you imagine such a statement being made during the Carter Presidency?

The FOIA isn't dead. It is still somewhat amenable to the public. A few interesting UFO reports continue to come out, such as an interesting report from January 1994, from the U.S. Embassy at Dushanbe, Tajikistan. This was sent to the Secretary of State, CIA, DIA, as well as U.S. embassies in Moscow, Beijing, and elsewhere. A pilots and his crew reported an object traveling at a great rate of speed and at a much higher altitude than their own aircraft. They watched the object for some forty minutes as it maneuvered in circles, corkscrews and made 90-degree turns at rapid rates of speed and under very high g's. The captain took several photographs. The report stated, "on the basis of its speed and maneuverability, [Captain] Rhodes expressed the opinion, which his crew seemed to support, that the object was extraterrestrial and under intelligent control."

Interesting as this report is, we should not deceive ourselves that the FOIA will provide the single smoking gun proving ET is here. It is my belief that we are permitted to see only the tiniest portion of an enormous body of information. In all likelihood, most of this data will remain deeply classified.

Precisely because ordinary citizens are unable to examine this significant part of our reality, we need honest and strong journalists to fight for us. But apart from a noble few, the journalistic profession and industry is busy in service to the State.

Back in 1977, journalist Carl Bernstein revealed that the CIA had used more than 400 journalists to carry out assignments over the past quarter of a century. This included but was not limited to planting disinformation and propaganda. These were covert, paid arrangements which helped many a journalistic career. Today, the CIA blandly says, in effect, "we don't do that anymore." To which the appropriate response is "B.S." Not only does the CIA have cozy working relationships with journalists around the world (and certainly the Internet), but why would one think the rest of the American national security establishment doesn't? Can anyone seriously believe otherwise?

How many commentators in television, radio, print, and Internet media have a Top Secret clearance unknown to most of us? I personally know of such cases, and have little doubt this is a major area warranting further investigation.

Within such a culture of denial, it is easy for the powers-that-be to say whatever they want. They know full well they will get away with it. Curious Senators and Members of Congress are given the same old song and dance, that "no UFO reported, investigated and evaluated by the Air Force has ever given any indication of threat to our national security." The public is given official reports on UFOs by officers who are experts in disinformation, as was the author of the 1994 Report on Roswell, Col. Richard Weaver (little known fact: Weaver taught courses on the uses of disinformation for Air Force personnel). And the CIA can state in 1997 that it has "paid only limited and peripheral attention to the [UFO] phenomena."

America's national security apparatus is beyond public control. Its pervasiveness has corrupted our society. It is permeated with an arrogance that only the very powerful can possess.

And it is precisely this culture that dominates information pertaining to the UFO phenomenon. The sooner you disabuse yourself of the notion that your government is responsive to your interests in this matter – or even telling you the truth – the better.

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Recent human history is littered with examples of impressive government and "control system" cover ups and big lies. From modern Christianity to the 9/11 attacks, there is no historical event too well established, no facts too self-evident, that our "leaders" cannot present it or re-present it to the public in such a way that we all become willing accomplices in the deception.

Among the most memorable and ongoing cover-ups, UFO's, as Dolan has made painstakingly clear, are deserving of special note. It is perhaps relatively easy to sell the people a lie of one's own making or "from scratch" (9/11 for example), since in such a case one is able to set up in advance as many false clues and deliberately misleading details as needed in order to get the job done. But it is considerably more difficult to retrospectively cover up an already existing truth over which one has little or limited ongoing control.

While there is much evidence that UFO's have been a part of our reality for as long as humans have been on the earth, the dawn of the modern technological age with its mass and instant media communications posed a particular problem for the powers that be in respect of UFOs that have a annoying habit of popping up anywhere, anytime and, theoretically, to anyone.

As such, it appears that, once certain members of the US government (and no doubt other interested parties) became aware of the nagging issue of UFOs and the potential problems they posed to maintaining control of the what the population understood as "reality", which was and is all-important, they decided to take affirmative action.

Given the subject in hand, this action, not surprisingly, involved research into control of the "reality perception mechanism" in human beings, and also active investigation into how best to mimic the UFO phenomena and thereby take control of it...

Occult Nazis From Outter Space

Take a tour of the Federal UFO/Mind Control Initiative.

2002-06-27
Alex Constantine

A Guide to the Federal UFO/Mind Control Initiative

On April 29, 1945 the 363rd Medical Battalion entered Experimentation Block Five at Dachau, the setting of pitiless terminal experiments on prisoners.

Inside, the medics were met by the stench of human putrescence and the shock of bloody body parts strewn from one end of the block to the other. The men who'd engaged in the cull were highly respected German scientists and academics. Despite the atrocities, many of the medical criminals escaped justice at Nuremberg with a cheerful assist from the US Army Air Force and vanished into the secret netherworld of Project Paperclip.

For 19 years, this was the caliber of scientist assigned to Edgewood Arsenal and a program overseen jointly by the US Army Intelligence Board and the chemical-warfare laboratories at the research facility in Maryland--to whip up blistering chemical warfare agents and potent psychoactive compounds for testing on "our boys." The American peers of the Paperclip talent, drawing knowledge and inspiration from the Dachau experimentation records, tested powerful toxins in a wide range of non-consensual mind control experiments involving at least 7,000 military guinea pigs at Edgewood.

The State Department has admitted that between 1945 and 1952, 642 "alien specialists" emigrated to the United States. But journalist Linda Hunt, in Secret Agenda, a history of Paperclip, discovered that at least 1,600 "scientific and research specialists and thousands of their dependents were brought to the US [and] hundreds of others arrived under two other Paperclip-related projects and went to work for universities, defense contractors and CIA fronts." [...]

The search for the holy military grail of Nazi Germany yielded astonishing results. Major General Hugh Knerr, deputy commanding general for administration of American Strategic Forces in Europe, wrote to Lieutenant General Carl Spatz in March 1945: "Occupation of German scientific and industrial establishments has revealed [that] we have been alarmingly backward in many fields of research." If the American military did not seize "the apparatus and the brains" of Nazi Germany, and put them to work immediately, "we will remain several years behind while we attempt to cover a field already exploited."

So much to learn from the Nazis. The lure of advanced scientific knowledge -- glimpsed in the "Oslo Letter," an inventory of Nazi technology compiled by intelligence agents in Norway -- beckoned to the Paperclip scavengers like sirens on a shore of cadavers, offering remote-controlled explosive devices and rockets, communications technology, radar, long-distance bombers... and a disk-shaped airfoil with vertical lift capabilities developed by Dr. Alexander Lippish at the Gottingen Aviation Institute. [...]

Inventor Viktor Shauberger was imprisoned at a concentration camp during the war and coerced into working on another Nazi saucer project, detailed in a letter from Europe to a friend dated August 2, 1958, shortly before his death. Shauberger wrote that his machine was "flight-tested near Prague" and "attained 15,000 meters in three minutes." It was "constructed according to a model I built at Mauthausen concentration camp in collaboration with the first-class engineers and stress-analysts assigned to me from the prisoners there." His saucer was turtle-shaped, 10 feet in diameter, propelled by "implosion" drive, took off vertically so fast during the test that it collided against the hangar ceiling and exploded. After the war, Shauberger learned from a Czech prisoner under his direction that R&D of the saucer had been revived in the US. Shauberger: "An American consortium offered me $3,500,000 to divulge the secret of the UFO to three of their experts. A similar offer was made by Canadian interests." He demanded that an internationally binding agreement be signed before he meet with the engineers. A contract was drawn up, but Shauberger died before the conference could take place.

Biographer David Myrha of North Dakota published a book in 1988, The Horten Brothers and their All-Wing Aircraft (Shiffer Military and Aviation Series), on the development of a circular design in Nazi Germany overseen by Hitler's elite. Aircraft designers Reimer and Walter Horten mingled with Ernst Rudel, Hermann Goering, Willy Messerschmidt and the like. After a taste of the battlefield, the Horten brothers were transferred to the Luftwaffe and set to work on the design of an unusual supersonic fighter jet shaped like "a flying dinner plate." This project was completed in December 1944. [...]

The saucers have a military pedigree but the Pentagon stonewalled. And still does. But the bell jar of secrecy surrounding the federal UFO armada was not airtight in the early days of the program. The Air Force loosened its lips in 1955, according to "German Secret Weapons of the Second World War," a weapons inventory, with the announcement that aircraft were scheduled for testing that corresponded to the popular conception of a "flying saucer."

Carroll Freeman, 82, a retired Curtis-Wright aeronautical engineer now living in Utah, does not doubt that the DoD and its Nordic science department assembled the saucers. In 1947, he was a fighter pilot in the Air Force and while flying a T-6 fighter jet near Maxwell Field, Freeman, then a second lieutenant, nearly collided with a UFO piloted by humans. "I was making a swing to the left," Freeman recalls, "a shallow sweep at about 9,000 feet. As I swung around, heading due west, here's this damn thing flying in about 50 feet away, just below me." The disk was domed, he says, and "I could clearly see three people sitting inside--as a matter of fact, one of them looked like a cousin of mine--but three air-breathing human beings." The saucer was "a good-sized piece of equipment." It was so imposing an aircraft that when he made radio contact with Maxwell AFB, Freeman described it as "a flying apartment building."

Meanwhile, in the brainwash division, the CIA gradually seized control of Project Paperclip and all human medical experimentation at Edgewood Arsenal. "By 1951," Linda Hunt writes, "in the midst of the Korean War, the Paperclip scientists' primary job was to locate plants and poisons that could be turned into new hallucinogenic mind control drugs." To this end, Seymour Silver founded an industrial liaison front with ties to every major pharmaceutical company in the world, particularly I.G. Farben, the German Siamese twin of the Rockefeller petrochemical empire with key personnel planted in strategic places within the Nazi hierarchy. I.G Farben was also a chief consultant to the scientists at Edgewood after the war. Dr. Ray Treichler, assistant to the director of the medical lab and an agent of the CIA's Technical Services Division, participated in the experimentation. Edgewood-Nazi chemist Friedrich Hoffman sidelined as a psychochemical specialist on the CIA payroll. By 1955, the experimentation was run primarily from Langley. [...]

The results of Nazi medical experimentation on American citizens were predictable, really. Hunt explains that the direction of Paperclip "was set now that Edgewood had made its pact with the devil. The drug experimentation project quickly expanded to include psychiatric patients who were drugged, shocked and hypnotized in psychochemical experiments conducted under Army contracts with numerous universities and other institutions." Some of the trials could have occurred at Dachau. Hunt: "American psychiatrist Paul Hoch's experiments on mental patients at the New York Psychiatric Institute, where he was employed under Edgewood contracts as a CIA consultant, killed one patient and seriously injured another... even after [a] patient's death, the Army approved additional experiments on patients that included the use of hypnosis, drugs and a polygraph exam to determine if 'a particular personality type might 'break' more rapidly under drug stress than another type' during military interrogations."

The mind-control program was often recklessly run. In 1977, a Select Committee on Intelligence investigation of the brutality found that in "the Army's tests, as with those of the CIA... informed consent and follow-up examinations of subjects were neglected in efforts to maintain the secrecy of the tests." Edgewood scientists subordinated human rights "to national security considerations."

Concealing the Germans and the continuation of Dachau biochemical experimentation on American soldiers was the overriding priority for obvious reasons, but fear of exposure was dispelled by good ol' Yankee-Nazi ingenuity. In 1960, scientists on CIA contract perfected Electronic Dissolution of Memory (EDOM), brain technology that obliterates short-term recall, a giant step for covert medical experimentation. With EDOM, a human guinea pig was left with no memory of abduction, needles or other surgical and biochemical outrages. And an electronically induced hypnotic state, also perfected by CIA scientists in 1960, made it possible to alter all memory of the event to conceal the identities of the culprits.

Electronic dissolution of memory brought two Paperclip Nazi divisions--mind control and the saucer projects--together, and they were henceforth indivisible.

In 1961, a year after the development of EM memory dissolution, the first "alien" abduction took place, but the technique didn't quite take in this instance because Barney Hill recalled that he'd been hustled off in a flying saucer by "Nazis" and subjected to biomedical torture.

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Note the comment that mind control and the saucer projects became "indivisible". When one is dealing with evidence that our 3D reality is somehow overlapped and/or interpenetrated by another reality, the denizens of which appear not to be bound by the laws which govern us, the only way to keep such evidence from reaching the light of day is to go to the source of the "problem" - the "reality reading instruments" of the observers.

Note also the comment that once the "Electronic Dissolution of Memory" brain technology had been perfected, not long thereafter the first "alien abduction" took place.

Are we getting the picture? World wide reports of abductions, all with the "grey alien" - oval head, almond eyes. Switch off the RFR (radio-frequency radiation) device and many abductees may find themselves in altogether more mundane and earthly environment.

None of this is to suggest that UFOs and the alien question are all human-inspired, quite the opposite in fact. The evidence that our governments have gone to such extreme lengths to distract us from the truth of UFOs and take control of and occlude all things "alien", adds significant weight to the argument that UFOs are in fact real, and their existence, and, most importantly nature, raise extremely significant questions about our own lives, our reality, our reason for being here and our possible evolution.

Questions that our leaders, and those beings that ultimately control all life on this planet, must, at all costs, ensure remain beyond the reach of "we the people".

Mind Control

By Harry V. Martin and David Caul
Napa Sentinel, 1991

...In California, it was discovered by Dr. Adey that animal brain waves could be altered directly by ELF fields. It was found that monkey brains would fall in phase with ELF waves. These waves could easily pass through the skull, which normally protected the central nervous system from outside influence.

In San Leandro, Dr. Elizabeth Rauscher, director of Technic Research Laboratory, has been doing ELF/brain research with human subjects for some time. One of the frequencies produces nausea for more than an hour. Another frequency, she calls it the marijuana frequency, gets people laughing. "Give me the money and three months," she says, "and I'll be able to affect the behavior of eighty percent of the people in this town without their knowing it."....

*****

The American public was never informed that the military had planned to develop electromagnetic weapons until 1982, when the revelation appeared in a technical Air Force magazine.

The magazine article stated, "....specifically generated radio-frequency radiation (RFR) fields may pose powerful and revolutionary anti-personnel military trends." The article indicated that that it would be very easy to use electromagnetic fields to disrupt the human brain because the brain, itself, was an electrically mediated organ. If further indicated that a rapidly scanning RFR system would have a stunning or killing capability over a large area. The system was developable.

Navy Captain Dr. Paul E. Taylor read a paper at the Air University Center for Aerospace Doctrine, Research and Education, at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. Dr. Taylor was responsible for the Navy's Radiation Laboratory and had been studying radiation effects on humans. In his paper, Dr. Taylor stated, "The ability of individuals to function (as soldiers) could be degraded to such a point that would be combat ineffective." The system was so sophisticated that it employed microwaves and millimeter waves and was transportable by a large truck.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the South Bay, are working on the development of a "brain bomb". A bomb could be dropped in the middle of a battlefield which would produce microwaves, incapacitating the minds of soldiers within a circumscribed area.

Applications of microwave technology in espionage were available for over 25 years. In a meeting in Berkeley of the American Association for the Advancement of Science as early as 1965, Professor J. Anthony Deutsch of New York University, provided an important segment of research in the field of memory control. In layman terms, Professor Deutsch indicated that the mind is a transmitter and if too much information is received, like too many vehicles on a crowded freeway, the brain ceases to transmit. The Professor indicated that an excess of acetyl choline in the brain can interfere with the memory process and control. He indicated excess amounts of acetylcholine can be artificially produced, through both the administration of drugs or through the use of radio waves. The process is called Electronic Dissolution of Memory (EDOM). The memory transmission can be stopped for as long as the radio signal continues.

As a result, the awareness of the person skips over those minutes during which he is subjected to the radio signal. Memory is distorted, and time-orientation is destroyed.

According to Lincoln Lawrence, author of Were We Controlled, EDOM is now operational. "There is already in use a small EDOM generator/transmitter which can be concealed on the body of the person. Contact with this person, a casual handshake or even just a touch, transmits a tiny electronic charge plus an ultra-sonic signal tone which for a short period will disturb the time-orientation of the person affected....it can be a potent weapon for hopelessly confusing evidence in the investigation of a crime."

Thirty years ago, Allen Frey discovered that microwaves of 300 to 3000 megahertz could be "heard" by people, even if they were deaf, if pulsed at a certain rate. Appearing to be originating just in back of the head, the sound boomed, clicked, hissed or buzzed, depending upon the frequency. Later research has shown that the perception of the waves take place just in front of the ears. The microwaves causes pressure waves in the brain tissue, and this phenomenon vibrates the sound receptors in the inner ear through the bone structure. Some microwaves are capable of directly stimulating the nerve cells of the auditory pathways. This has been confirmed with experiments with rats, in which the sound registers 120 decibels, which is equal to the volume of a nearby jet during takeoff. Aside from having the capability of causing pain and preventing auditory communication, a more subtle effect was demonstrated at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research by Dr. Joseph C. Sharp. Dr. Sharp, himself, was the subject of an experiment in which pulsed microwave audiograms, or the microwave analog of the sound vibrations of spoken words, were delivered to his brain in such a way that he was able to understand the words that were spoken. Military and undercover uses of such a device might include driving a subject crazy with inner voices in order to discredit him, or conveying undetectable instructions to a programmed assassin.

But the technology has been carried even a step further. It has been demonstrated by Dr. Ross Adey that microwaves can be used to directly bring about changes in the electrical patterns of different parts of the brain. His experiments showed that he could achieve the same mind control over animals as Dr. Delgado did in the bull incident. Dr. Delgado used brain implants in his animals, Dr. Adey used microwave devices without preconditioning. He made animals act and look like electronic toys.

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And here we come to another issue. We do not think for one moment that, simply because mind control techniques may be the product of research into how best to take control of the "alien" issue, these same techniques are not being put to good use in other areas pertaining to the control of the masses. Take 9/11 for example. Imagine you were at the WTC or the Pentagon on the morning of September 11th. At the Pentagon you are sure you just saw a small drone aircraft crash into the facade, except, an hour later you are on record telling Fox news that you saw an American Airlines 757 crash into the Pentagon. At the WTC, you are sure that the second plane that hit had no windows and was definitely not an American Airlines aircraft, yet later that day on the news "eyewitnesses" swear to seeing the AA logo.

9/11 Video Shocks Sacramento Citizens

August 13, 2004
NewsWithViews.com

A new 9-11 video was screened last night in Sacramento, California, leaving the audience stunned. '911 in Plane Site' is basically presented in two parts. The first segment is 52 minutes and designed for showing on television with the balance of a one hour time slot reserved for commercials. Part II continues with more film and analysis. This video is digitally mastered making details sharp and clear.

'911 in Plane Site' presents actual film from that fateful day and careful analysis focusing on the Pentagon and the two World Trade Center buildings. By slowing down the actual news feeds that day from networks like CNN, FOX, the BBC and others, what you see is quite different from what most people saw in "real time" that day. Live footage from the Pentagon and what was missed by most because of the smoke and confusion was captured up close by the media. Following the showing, a retired vet remarked, "How did we miss this all this time? I've seen media clips of the front of that building [the Pentagon] many times, but I wasn't really seeing what was there. I feel sick."

One particular interview that brought gasps from the audience and many looking around with shock etched on their faces was an interview conducted - live at the time - by FOX News. This intense interview with Mark Burnback, an employee of FOX News, contains the following narrative, paraphrased: Burnback was close to the path of the second plane and had a good long look at what he describes was not a commercial airliner. The plane that hit the second tower had no windows, Burnback was very clear about that. The plane had some kind of blue logo on the front near the nose and looked like a cargo plane. This point was driven to the viewer several times along with the comment from this FOX employee that "this plane wasn't from around here or anything you'd see take off from the airport."

Other footage includes several women who had a very clear view watching the second plane hit were yelling, "That wasn't American Airlines....It wasn't American Airlines going into the building." These interviews were played that morning once on FOX News, never to be replayed again, despite the massive saturation and repetition by the media for many days to come.

Other extremely disturbing segments of this video are the clear, slow motion shots of the second plane going into the towers which show a flash right before the nose of the plane hits the building and a pod attached to the bottom of the plane. This strange flash is clearly recorded from four different angles from four different cameras. While there is only one known piece of film showing the first plane hitting the first tower, in slow motion one can clearly see - as with the second plane - a flash from the nose section right before impact. What caused this?

This video raises extremely disturbing questions about the planes that hit the Pentagon and the World Trade Centers, but no conclusions or accusations are made by the commentator. To date, only one piece of film has been released by DoD of the front of the Pentagon. The question raised in the video is where is all the other film footage from the Pentagon? The heart beat of America's military and security, with a building and perimeter loaded with cameras, but no film for the public to view of events as they unfolded except from one camera?

According to the producers, the purpose of '911 in Plane Site' is to demonstrate that Americans saw one thing that morning that was so shocking, so horrific and so massive, the finer details weren't really being picked up. The producer reinforces to the viewer that after one broadcast of many very controversial interviews live on the spot, these particular interviews were never broadcast again, i.e. firefighters on the spot talking about the explosions and bombs inside the towers. Since 9-11, it has been reported that "Building Seven" collapsed because of the two World Trade Center towers collapsing. However, the footage on this video tells a different story and raises more questions.

'911 in Plane Site,' distributed by Power Hour Productions (866-773-9469), leaves one with many questions as demonstrated by a very upset senior citizen who requested her last name be withheld. Mary asked, "If these weren't commercial airliners, where are those flights? Where are the passengers? My, God what really happened that day?" Indeed, this seemed to be the biggest question expressed by viewers after the lights came back on, but for which there were no answers. Some viewers were visibly upset, angry and "want damn answers" from the Bush Administration. Others just walked out the door in silence. One upset man commented on the way out of the viewing, "It's time to get this on PBS and every investigative news program on TV. We need answers."

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Terror Subject Tied To Morrocan Military Attache

"There are certain points... where you have your drug related activities combined with money laundering and information laundering, converging with your terrorist activities." Sibel Edmonds, former FBI translator

Aug 10 2004-Venice,FL.
by Daniel Hopsicker
Mad Cow Productions

FIFTEEN MONTHS before the 9/11 attack a 26-year old Moroccan man whose name and multiple aliases appear on numerous terrorist watch lists started a company in Florida with a man who is today the Chief Military Attaché for the Moroccan Embassy in Washington, DC.

On June 30, 2000, as Atta and Al-Shehhi began flight training at Huffman Aviation, terror list suspect Mohammed Arara joined Colonel Ahmed Arara, the Military Attaché of the Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco, and a third man, "Joseph El Sheik," to incorporate Titim Holdings, Inc. with the Florida Department of Corporations, at an address just a stone's throw from an apartment in Coral Springs used by Atta and Marwan.

"Titim" is a verb in Gaelic, we discovered. It means "to fall down." (Ed: It means "I fall down")

The Moroccan military attaché and his two Arab companions had just launched "Falling Down Inc."

Were there two "Mohammed Arara's?" On the Finnish Banking Authorities Terrorist Watch list—so called because after being distributed worldwide by the FBI it was inadvertently made public by Finland in Oct of 2001—the terror suspect has the same vital statistics as the "Mohammed Arara" in business with the Moroccan Kingdom's Defense Attaché in Washington.

As can be seen on documents recreated here, both the 'Mohammed Arara' on the watch list and the 'Mohammed Arara' in business with Col Arara, for example, list the same home address: 117 Westwood Ct., in Lake Worth, FL. This same address is also used by the Moroccan Embassy's Col. Arara.

Six weeks after the attack, on October 25, 2001, the Palm Beach Daily Business Review reported Titim's Holdings Inc. paid $2.9 million for a 22,735-square-foot office building in nearby Coral Springs, FL.

Col. Arara has not returned calls to the Moroccan Embassy in Washington D.C. for comment.

"Just don't use my name in Haiti"

In addition to being business partners, Colonel Ahmed Arara and Mohammed Arara (whose family relationship if any remains unknown at this time) share the same home address, according to documents filed with the state of Florida, where both men used the same address in Atlantis, FL, just outside the Palm Beach County Park Airport.

During the final month of preparation before the attack, terrorist ringleader Mohamed Atta flew out of this airport on numerous unexplained flights with still-unidentified companions. Mohammed Arara may have been one of these companions.

"Colonel, this is Guido. Guido, meet the Colonel"

But Mohammed Arara has other unexplained ties that are equally startling.

Three of the addresses on the Terrorist Watch List for suspected terrorist pilot Mohammed Arara also lead back to a mysterious German national, who we have until now identified as Pascal Schreier, 32, and his wife, Sandra Hamouda, a French-Tunisian woman who took over a flight school at Charlotte County Airport when it went bankrupt in February 2001, stranding dozens of foreign flight students, most of them, curiously, Moroccan or Tunisian.

Terror suspect Arara's listed addresses include 514 El Vernona Ave in Sarasota FL; 1670 Via Bianca in Punta Gorda FL; and 117 Mooney Ave., also in Punta Gorda FL.

All three properties belong to Hamouda and Schreier. Called "Guido Pascal Schreier" in court documents, he was responsible for spearheading the European recruiting efforts of the Dutch-owned flight schools in Venice, FL..

The newly-disclosed ties of the couple, neither of whom returned phone calls for comment, also throws a spotlight on their little-known home port of call, Punta Gorda.

"Singing de 'Whiffenpoof Song' all de day long"

"The 9/11 terror plot intersected with the activities of a drug trafficking network of international scope, in ways that form a "crystal clear" picture of what was going on." --Sibel Edmonds.

So... what's up with Punta Gorda? Located half-way between Naples and Venice, and home to Charlotte County Airport, where the smell of hay from nearby ranches mixes into an atmosphere of intrigue, the town's pedigree explains a lot…

"The town of Punta Gorda, once a fishing village that drew the likes of a Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Ford in search of tarpon, has survived many a boom and bust period since its beginnings in the 1880s…" reported the Washington Post on September 10, 1977.

"The (Punta Gorda Isles) development was the brainchild of two retired Central Intelligence Agency men who met while on duty in the Far East, Wilbur (Bud) Cole and Al Johns, now president and chairman of the board, respectively."

Flash-forward 40 years to the present. Not much has changed...

From the June 4, 2004 Charlotte Sun-Herald: "Punta Gorda City Councilman Tom Poole, who served with U.S. Army Special Forces during the Vietnam War and spent more than 20 years as a CIA clandestine services officer, said he finds no fault in Goss' record of public service or policies."

When we first reported that 23 helicopters had been stolen in Charlotte County it had seemed an aviation crime. Even though we've since become, it still isn't normal. And its definitely not normal to steal 23 helicopters from just one owner: The Sheriff's Department.

Wags at the Airport insisted that the 23 missing helicopters hadn't been stolen, exactly... They'd just been released on their own recognizance.

It must be hard enough being a Southern Sheriff to begin with...what with all the stereotyping. And the Charlotte County's Sheriff's Department does an admirable job of keeping their heads held high and carrying on with their jobs even while being robbed blind.

But the stress of "having a flyable helicopter in Chile" and not being able to interest anyone in the Federal Government in going down and picking it up is not something most criminology majors at Florida State contemplate before choosing a career in law enforcement.

Which is why Mohamed Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi must have felt right at home at the Charlotte County Airport when they moved down the road from Huffman Aviation in Venice in January of 2001, spending most of the next two months in a luxury pad in nearby Deep Creek which seems to somehow have escaped the FBI's attention.

The first thing the two young Arab pilots saw, every time they drove into the Charlotte County Airport after exiting Interstate 75 onto a rural county road running alongside it, no doubt reminded them that they were treading on the periphery of the Spook Hall of Fame...

They saw an Ark. A Flying Ark

"Being Connected Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry"

Tied down at the front corner of the Charlotte County Airport (it has since been moved--we'd like to think as a result of its recent notoriety) was a vintage silver DC 3 resembling nothing so much as an airborne Noah's Ark, replete with painted hippos, giraffes and elephants climbing up the fuselage toward the cockpit.

The parked plane was a conspicuous sight at the small rural airport for at least two years, after being seized by law enforcement officials from notorious pilot Frank Moss.

Moss, who still flies out of the Charlotte County Airport, gained infamy during the Iran Contra Hearings which revealed him to be a drug smuggling pilot and fly-by-night airline owner.

For a drug smuggler, Moss had some strange connections. With Col. Oliver North, for example. The Flying Ark at the Charlotte County Airport, it turns out, isn't the first airplane Mr. Moss has "donated" to the U.S. Government. That honor belongs to a DC-4 spotted off the west coast of Florida by U.S. Customs agents, whereupon the plane began dumping into the Gulf below, law enforcement authorities wryly noted, what "appeared to be a load of drugs."

In the unpleasantness which ensued, it was learned Oliver North had known Frank Moss' Contra supply planes were being used to bring back drugs into the U.S. An address book found aboard contained the Virginia phone number of North's "courier," Robert Owen, and that in a memo to Owen North had written: "Moss's "DC-6 which is being used for runs [to supply the Contras] out of New Orleans is probably used for drug runs into the US."

No doubt Col. North was socked--shocked!--at the news.

"Good old Ollie. Always on top of things. "

Alas, as we learned in "Barry & "the boys,'" being connected means never having to say you're sorry. And Frank Moss--much like Rudi Dekkers--appears to have led a charmed life, somehow always evading major unpleasantness with federal authorities.

Au contraire...

Even though he was under investigation for narcotics offenses by a total of ten different law enforcement agencies, the State Department thought so highly of Moss that they signed him on to fly "humanitarian aid" missions to the Contras.

Maybe there's just something in the air at the Charlotte County Airport. Frank Moss isn't even the only one based there who became famous in the scandal over contra cocaine. Another pirate and buccaneer calling Charlotte County Airport home was Dietrich Reinhardt, linked with Barry Seal's Mena, Arkansas cocaine operation in the Iran Contra Hearings. Like Pascal Schreier, Reinhardt is German.

Probably just a coincidence.

In another even-more-amazing coincidence, Reinhardt's business partner at Charlotte County Airport, Jamie Hill, is the very man suspected by law enforcement of criminal mischief in making their helicopters disappear. Maybe he was a wizard. Maybe he did black magic in his hangar.

We wouldn't mind asking Pascal Schreier's wife, Sandra Hamouda. She owns the hanger right next door.

"Keeping the shades pulled down since the dawn of the millennium"

"You have a network of people who obtain certain information and they take it out and sell it to … whomever would be the highest bidder. Then you have people who would be bringing into the country narcotics from the East, and their connections. It is only then that you really see the big picture. The post-9/11 intelligence 'failures' included the willful quashing by the government, of investigations tracing these criminal networks.-- Sibel Edmonds, former FBI translator

Operating out of Charlotte County Airport, Dietrich Reinhardt's Caribe Air, was called a CIA proprietary airline in a Senate Intelligence Committee report which investigated the company for delivering Hawk and TOW missiles to Iran in the arms-for-hostages deal between the U.S. and Iran.

It was a blemish. But things would get even worse.

When Federal prosecutors seized the company's aircraft in the early 90's, they had been parked at the infamous Mena Ark. Airport, and Reinhardt was accused of allowing his planes to be used to ship drugs worth billions of dollars into this country.

In sum, Dietrich Reinhardt is not the sort of person you'd exactly like to see rubbing elbows with the terrorist element out at Charlotte County Airport.

How odd then to discover that Rudi Dekker's Huffman Aviation had been doing business with Caribe Air.

The disturbing fact slipped out during a controversy in Lynchburg, VA. over an aviation contract that had been awarded to a phantom company, which maintained a phantom presence inside--where else?-- Huffman Aviation in Venice. About the phantom presence that had previously been even-more invisible while housed under Rudi Dekker's flying circus maintop, a source in Lynchburg noted, "They stay strictly to themselves, and keep their shades pulled down."

The Lynchburg City Council hearings revealed that Huffman Aviation had a "maintenance contract" with Caribe Air. It makes a certain sense.

You wouldn't want just anyone vacuuming the planes.

"High Plains Drifters with prayer rugs"

"The real activities taking place behind the scenes are criminal… Everything from drugs to money laundering to arms sales. And yes, there are certain convergences (between) these activities and international terrorism. Sibel Edmonds

In a Sept 21, 2001 Story County Sheriff William Clement told the Charlotte Sun-Herald that Atta had lived in the area and attended a flight school at Charlotte County Airport, under an alias.

The alias Atta used, we have learned, was "Mohamed Arajaki," the same one he used with Amanda Keller while living in the Sandpiper Apartments in Venice. FBI agents told Amanda Keller that they already knew this to be one of Atta's aliases, when they showed up to retrieve a check he'd written to bail her out of jail.

Yet on the terror watch list the FBI listed Mohamed Arajaki as if this were some another individual entirely. Nothing could be further from the truth. But maybe that's the way the FBI likes it.

Sheriff Clement told reporters Atta had been in flight training at the Charlotte County Airport, at David Byers' Professional Aviation. Byers denied it. "He may have had friends here," Byers said. "Perhaps he was visiting, but he was not at our school as a student."

His words "may have" just been meant for public consumption. Byers and the FBI knew better. Two days after the attack his school received a visit. Apparently it wasn't pretty.

"David Byers' pupils have been a focal point for the FBI in Charlotte County," read a news account in the Charlotte Sun. "At least eight of them have been interviewed several times each."

The paper reported, "After tipsters said they saw Atta there late last year or early this year agents seized records from a financially troubled flight school at the Charlotte County Airport, Professional Aviation, that recruited students from Tunisia and went out of business in the spring of 2001."

Tunisian?

"A Very Private Enterprise"

Sandra Hamouda's half-Tunisian, we learned, and she has an extended family in Florida. Hamoudas are listed as officers of a number of apparently family-led firms in Punta Gorda, with names like Universal Technologies and Airex Enterprises. Globex Enterprises.

Non-specific sounding names can sometimes be a tip-off to something... We recall being in a trendy Los Angeles eatery one night chatting with a well-dressed and colorful fellow habitué named Pepe, who in a fit of bonhomie gave us his business card.

Everyone said Pepe was with the CIA. But his company's name, according to his business card at least, was "Los Angeles Private Enterprise." It had seemed kind of cool.

Post 9/11 both Pascal Schreier and his wife Sandra Hamouda persisted, as executives in another Florida flight school, Pelican Flight Training Center. When the New York Times did a story about struggling flight schools in Florida on the two-year anniversary of the 9/11 attack, the two schools profiled both received some badly-needed free publicity.

Out of the 220 flight schools in Florida, the Times picked Venice "Magic Dutch Boy" Arne Kruithof's Florida Flight Training. And Pascal & Sandra's Pelican Flight Training Center.

This is no doubt just coincidence, we keep telling ourselves.

"It was called 'Operation Money Flowing Out The Ass'"

"After almost three years the American people still do not know that thousands of lives can be jeopardized under the unspoken policy of ' protecting certain foreign business relations."Sibel Edmonds

Atta and his doomed cadre played out their journey to oblivion against a backdrop which contains clear and convincing evidence of an unseen presence.

The connections between terror suspect Mohammed Arara, Morocco's Chief Military Attaché Colonel Ahmed Arara, and German "recruiter" Guido Pascal Schreier, visible out of the corner of the eye, are the scurryings back-and-forth that seem to be the routine operations of a global network.

Mohamed Atta's terrorist conspiracy operated, as we've seen, in close proximity to some celebrated 'players' from previous American scandals...

Could the group we've learned to call "the boys" be the 'semi-official' network which FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds has forcefully alleged is --even now!-- being protected from exposure by the FBI and State Department?

"These guys had money flowing out their ass," Atta's sometime American girlfriend Amanda Keller told us. "They never seemed to run out of money. They had massive supplies of cocaine. Whenever they'd run out, they'd go over to the flight school. I followed them one day with Sabrina to see where they were going, and saw them go into Florida Flight Training."

But the people telling the "official story" in America's major media deny that the terrorists received any outside help at all while they were in the U.S.

Mohamed Atta & co. were the Lone Cadre. They were the Lost Planet Airmen. Strangers in a Strange Land. Things like the puzzle of Charlotte County's 23 missing helicopters have absolutely no relevance to an understanding of the 9/11 attack.

How could they? The terrorists didn't know anybody!

None of the officials accounts mention Atta hanging in the seedy company of Americans with multiple "priors." No purveyors of the official story have even hinted that Mohamed Atta might have "close associates" while he was in Florida who weren't even Arab... and that there were non-Arabs with colorful criminal histories who Mohamed Atta called "brother."

None mention the possibility that Atta's very presence in the U.S. might have been facilitated and made possible by people who know how to pull a few strings while busily and industriously engaging in what social scientists primly call "state sponsored crime."

Such talk is verboten in America.

There was beaucoup strange activity at Charlotte County Airport while Atta's crew slithered through. But they hardly went unnoticed. Even if the airspace overhead was filled with soon-to-be missing helicopters, they were noticed.

So here's the deal: One of us cannot be wrong.

You Make the Call.

One final irony from the Charlotte County Airport: something we noticed out of the corner of our eye while getting busy putting wild conspiracy theories and baseless rumors to rest.

Pascal Schreirer's wife, Sandra, created a company at the Airport called Aeronautical Services, Inc. in the early. 90's. Her partner in the venture, a man named Rickey Hilton, was also busy running a little venture called "Defense Trading," even as Atta & CO. were being kept busy not knowing anybody at the Charlotte County Airport. Thanks to the Wayback Machine we found a page from "Defense Trading" of their now-defunct website. You can take a look at it here.

Defense Trading looks like the kind of place where you 'might could' get a helicopter without all the typical fol-der-rol the government usually insists on. It is tempting to suggest that Charlotte County's 23 missing helicopters might have had something to do with it...but we're already being sued by one of Adnan Khashoggi's associates.

And we think one at a time is enough.

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Arab terrorists 'are getting into the US over Mexican border'

By Julian Coman in Washington
(Filed: 15/08/2004)

President Bush has launched a drive to halt illegal immigration across America's porous southern border, amid growing fears that terrorists may be using Mexico as a base camp before heading to Arizona, Texas and California.

A string of alarming incidents has convinced Bush administration officials that lax immigration rules, designed to cope with the huge numbers of illegal entrants from Mexico, have become a significant loophole in the war on terror.

Over the past month, border agents from Arizona and Texas have anonymously reported recent encounters with dozens of Arab men, who have made their way across the 2,000-mile Mexican border.

Patrol agents told one Arizona newspaper that 77 males "of Middle Eastern descent" were apprehended in June in two separate incidents. All were trekking through the Chiricahua mountains and are believed to have been part of a larger group of illegal immigrants. Many were released pending immigration hearings. According to Solomon Ortiz, the Congressman for Corpus Christi in Texas, similar incidents are "happening all over the place. It's very, very scary".

The two groups of Arab males were discovered by patrol guards from Willcox, Arizona. "These guys didn't speak Spanish," said one field agent, "and they were speaking to each other in Arabic. It's ridiculous that we don't take this more seriously. We're told not to say a thing to the media." A colleague told the paper: "All the men had brand-new clothing and the exact same cut of moustache." Local ranchers have also reported a rise in the sightings of large groups of young males.

Last month, border patrol agents at McAllen airport, Texas, arrested a woman believed to be Pakistani, who was carrying a false South African passport. The woman, Farida Ahmed, is still being questioned by the FBI. She was travelling to New York, and admitted to having illegally crossed the Mexican border. She was still carrying a pair of wet jeans in her travel bag.

More than 1.2 million people attempt to cross US borders illegally each year. The vast majority are Mexicans who are immediately repatriated. But under existing laws, which take account limited detention facilities, many non-Mexican illegal immigrants are released prior to a hearing with an immigration judge, which most fail to attend. Almost 22,000 non-Mexican immigrants have been released pending a hearing since last October. Once released, they are free to travel on their own throughout the United States. According to one Texas immigration official, those who slip through the net come "from all over the world".

"If you want to enter the US illegally," said the official, "the way to do it is to get to Mexico first." The possibility of a southern border loophole for potential terrorists was recognised as early as last year. In testimony before Congress, Steve McCraw, the assistant director of the FBI's Office of Intelligence, stated that "the ability of foreign nationals to use [the hearings procedure] to create a well-documented but fictitious identity in the United States, provides an opportunity for terrorists to move freely within the US without triggering name-based watch lists. It also enables them to board planes without revealing their true identity".

According to new laws, approved by President Bush and announced last week by the Homeland Security Department, illegal immigrants who are not Mexican will be repatriated within days, without a hearing. The effort comes in response to a prolonged campaign by Texas congressmen, who have argued that the president's home state was in danger of becoming a gateway to America for terrorists.

In a letter to President Bush last week, Mr Ortiz wrote: "Law enforcement agencies across the south-west border are alarmed that the US is releasing thousands of OTMs [Other than Mexicans]. Those released include individuals from nations the US defines as state sponsors of potential terrorism, or from those nations that have produced large numbers of al-Qaeda militants."

Mr Ortiz also claims that immigration officials have privately warned him that a number of suspicious foreigners have been detained on the Mexican border and then released, including some who claimed to have travelled from South and Central America but were unable to speak Spanish.

The rules are to be tried out first in Tucson, Arizona, and Laredo, Texas. Any non-Mexican illegal immigrant found within 100 miles of the border, within 14 days of their arrival, will be immediately expelled. D'Wayne Jernigan, a sheriff in Del Rio, Texas, believes that the rule change should be immediately implemented across the entire Mexican border. Last month, immigration authorities told Sheriff Jernigan to release 17 Brazilians from his jail, before the FBI had located an interpreter in order to interview them.

"My concern is, are we serious about terrorism?" said Sheriff Jernigan. "Or about homeland security? Because we're turning loose non-Mexicans by the thousands. Entering this country illegally is a crime, and we're turning our heads and ignoring it."

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Comment: Note the comments by the border rangers in the above article. The mind programming of the Bush regime has been very successful it seems. In just a few short years the word "Arab" is now synonymous with "terrorist". Forget about the fact that this is akin to saying all Asians are terrorists. Just as long as you appear to be of "Middle Eastern descent" then you are on the hit list and it will be the gullible patsy public that does the dirty work of real hate mongers in the White House and beyond.

It is quite possible that the Israeli Mossad and certain members of US intelligence agencies are "importing" "Arabs" and "Middle Eastern" looking men via Mexico to use as fall guys in their next phony terror attack.

Flashback: Morocco Loses Track of 400 'Militants'

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

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

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Pollutants cause huge rise in brain diseases: Scientists alarmed as number of cases triples in 20 years

Juliette Jowit, environment editor
Sunday August 15, 2004
The Observer

The numbers of sufferers of brain diseases, including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and motor neurone disease, have soared across the West in less than 20 years, scientists have discovered.

The alarming rise, which includes figures showing rates of dementia have trebled in men, has been linked to rises in levels of pesticides, industrial effluents, domestic waste, car exhausts and other pollutants, says a report in the journal Public Health.

In the late 1970s, there were around 3,000 deaths a year from these conditions in England and Wales. By the late 1990s, there were 10,000.

'This has really scared me,' said Professor Colin Pritchard of Bournemouth University, one of the report's authors. 'These are nasty diseases: people are getting more of them and they are starting earlier. We have to look at the environment and ask ourselves what we are doing.'

The report, which Pritchard wrote with colleagues at Southampton University, covered the incidence of brain diseases in the UK, US, Japan, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Spain in 1979-1997. The researchers then compared death rates for the first three years of the study period with the last three, and discovered that dementias - mainly Alzheimer's, but including other forms of senility - more than trebled for men and rose nearly 90 per cent among women in England and Wales. All the other countries were also affected.

For other ailments, such as Parkinson's and motor neurone disease, the group found there had been a rise of about 50 per cent in cases for both men and women in every country except Japan. The increases in neurological deaths mirror rises in cancer rates in the West.

The team stresses that its figures take account of the fact that people are living longer and it has also made allowances for the fact that diagnoses of such ailments have improved. It is comparing death rates, not numbers of cases, it says.

As to the cause of this disturbing rise, Pritchard said genetic causes could be ruled out because any changes to DNA would take hundreds of years to take effect. 'It must be the environment,' he said.

The causes were most likely to be chemicals, from car pollution to pesticides on crops and industrial chemicals used in almost every aspect of modern life, from processed food to packaging, from electrical goods to sofa covers, Pritchard said.

Food is also a major concern because it provides the most obvious explanation for the exclusion of Japan from many of these trends. Only when Japanese people move to the other countries do their disease rates increase.

'There's no one single cause ... and most of the time we have no studies on all the multiple interactions of the combinations on the environment. I can only say there have been these major changes [in deaths]: it is suggested it's multiple pollution.'

Pritchard's paper has been published amid growing fears about the chemical build-up in the environment. A number of studies have pointed to serious problems. TBT is being banned from marine paints after it was blamed for masculinising female molluscs, causing a dramatic decline in numbers. A US report linked neurological disorders to pesticides. And testing by WWF (formerly the World Wildlife Fund) found non-natural substances such as flame retardants in every person who took part.

WWF has named chemical pollution as one of the two great environmental threats to the world, alongside global warming, and is particularly worried about 'persistent and accumulative' industrial chemicals and endocrine - hormone distorting - substances linked to changes in gender and behaviour among animals and even children.

'We've started seeing changes in fertility rates, the immune system, neurological changes [and] impacts on behaviour,' said Matthew Wilkinson, the charity's toxics programme leader.

Pesticides and pharmaceutical chemicals must now undergo rigorous testing before they can be used. But there are an estimated 80,000 industrial chemicals and the 'vast majority' do not need safety regulation or testing, said Wilkinson.

However, the chemical industry strongly rejects what it claims are often unproven fears. Just because chemicals are present does not mean they are at dangerous levels.

But critics are not reassured. 'It is true that just because we find a chemical does not mean it is dangerous,' said Wilkinson. 'But it is equally true that for the vast majority of chemicals we have so little safety data that the regulatory authorities have no idea what a safe level is.'

The Royal Society of Chemistry also said quantities of pesticides were declining. 'Improvements in analytical chemistry mean that lower and lower levels of pesticides can be detected,' said Brian Emsley, the society's spokesman. '[But] because you can detect something doesn't necessarily mean it is dangerous.'

Comment: Could this be the real reason that people are having more cancer, rather than because of smoking? Would they lie to us? To protect their profits?

Not our leaders!

Interestingly, nicotine has been shown to help in Parkinson's disease because of its stimulation of acetylcholine in the brain. But we're sure that the increase in Parkinson's has nothing to do with the fight against smoking? Right?

The dynamic at play is the same we see everywhere else. He who pays the piper calls the tunes. Corporations today run the world, reshaping international law and trade agreements to suit trade and money while overriding the needs of the local people. See the stories on this page about today's referendum in Venezuela to recall Hugo Chavez, the president, who has done so much for the poor of his country. Setting a really bad example there, Hugo! Bush and company can't let a crazy guy like you run around helping the poor to own their own homes, giving them dental care, with the help of Cuba no less!

If this seems off the topic of chemicals polluting our environment, think again. The Powers That Be in this world do not care one whit about the mass of people who suffer from their policies. They don't care one whit about polluting the air and water and soil...until it spoils a favourite trout stream. They spin the scientific studies, as we see in the next article, they control the press, they lie and make up stories. They repeat and repeat the biggest lies and a doped up public believes whatever they are told.

Thing is, this is how the world is SUPPOSED to work? This is business as usual on the Big Blue Marble, that beautiful blue and green ball floating in space, hiding the cancer that turns it into a living hell: Us. Humanity. Those sleep-walking zombies who have taken over our world.

Is there any way out?

There are no solutions that can be imposed, so the solution must come from the bottom up: that is, to change things down here, everyone on the planet would have to change how they think and act. Without any force or pressure being applied. Everyone would have to decide for themselves that they want the world to be a different kind of place and then begin living in a way consistent with those ideals.

What are the chances of that?

So where does that leave us?

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Science, Politics Collide in Election Year

By MATT CRENSON
Aug 15, 2004, 07:08

With more than 4,000 scientists, including 48 Nobel Prize winners, having signed a statement opposing the Bush administration's use of scientific advice, this election year is seeing a new development in the uneasy relationship between science and politics.

In the past, individual scientists and science organizations have occasionally piped up to oppose specific federal policies such as Ronald Reagan's Star Wars missile defense plan. But this is the first time that a broad spectrum of the scientific community has expressed opposition to a president's overall science policy.

Last November, President Bush gave physicist Richard Garwin a medal for his "valuable scientific advice on important questions of national security." Just three months later, Garwin signed the statement condemning the administration for misusing, suppressing and distorting scientific advice.

Scientists' feud with the Bush administration, building for almost four years, has intensified this election year. The White House has sacked prominent scientists from presidential advisory committees, science advocacy groups have released lengthy catalogues of alleged scientific abuses by the administration and both sides have traded accusations at meetings and in the pages of research journals.

"People are shocked by what's going on," said Kurt Gottfried, a Cornell University physicist and chairman of the Union of Concerned Scientists, which has been in the vanguard of the campaign against the administration's science policy. Although generally not political, the group - which advocates for use of accurate scientific information in policymaking - has occasionally taken liberal positions, such as opposition to nuclear weapons.

Comment: Ah, see, to oppose nuclear weapons is to be a "liberal"!

[...] Incorporating science into government has always been a sensitive proposition, given the vast differences between them.

Scientists collect evidence and conduct experiments to arrive at an objective description of reality - to describe the world as it is rather than as we might want it to be.

Government, on the other hand, is about anything but objective truth. It deals with gray areas, competing values, the allocation of limited resources. It is conducted by debate and negotiation. Far from striving for ultimate truths, it seeks compromises that a majority can live with.

When these conflicting paradigms come together, disagreements are inevitable.

For example, when a panel of experts, by a 28-0 vote, declared a drug safe for over-the-counter sales in December, they expected the Food and Drug Administration to approve it for nonprescription use soon thereafter.

But six months later the agency disagreed, citing a lack of data about the safety of the drug for 11- to 14-year-old girls.

Three physicians on the FDA advisory panel protested in an editorial published by the New England Journal of Medicine, claiming the agency was distorting the scientific evidence for political reasons.

The drug in question: a morning-after contraceptive known as Plan B.

"A treatment for any other condition, from hangnail to headache to heart disease, with a similar record of safety and efficacy would be approved quickly," the protesting panel members wrote.

[...] From time to time, both sides are accused of breaking that trust. In July, for example, a panel of experts sharply lowered the recommended cholesterol level for patients at risk of heart disease. Consumer groups challenged the recommendation, pointing out that some panel members have financial ties to companies that make cholesterol-lowering drugs.

In the larger dispute, scientists charge that the Bush administration has violated its side of the bargain in two ways: By manipulating scientific information to suit political purposes and by applying a political litmus test to membership on scientific advisory committees.

The conflict usually centers on scientific advice involving politically contentious subjects such as reproductive health, drug policy and the environment.

Comment: Ethics. The argument the Bush Reich uses to manipulate science is that these decisions involve ethics. They are no longer strictly speaking "scientific" problems. While it is certainly true that a great number of serious problems confronting the planet come from a science run rampant without moral guidance, we don't think that this "guidance" should come from the theocracy in the White House, guided by the God of the Old Testament, the one who thinks a good test of fidelity is to see if someone will kill his son based upon a hallucination. Bush, not so noble as Abraham, sends others people's sons to slaughter on the same evidence. Once God spoke to George, it didn't matter what the CIA found or didn't find.

People who think that the most impressive part of the life of Jesus was his flaying and crucifixion seem to us to have missed the point, the moral point, of the gospels. You know, those stories about the meek inheriting the earth. While these stories are an esoteric blind, they do contain some useful ideas on how to create a just world.

"Shock and awe" don't seem to enter into the equation.

But once more, this article does not get to the root of the problem because it assumes that science, as it is practiced in the US today, is something noble, whereas in fact it has already abased itself to money and power. You want to do scientific research today? Then do research that will make someone money. Forget about "pure research", you know, that kind of research where someone just goes off and investigates questions because she or he is interested, where there is no guaranteed result prior to starting off on the quest. Today, every penny must be justified. The results must be known in advance. "At the end of three years of research, we will have developed a stealth system that will read people's minds by checking their perspiration. By planting nano-transmitters into antiperspirant, we will be able to bug the entire population of the US within a few months."

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Terrorism fears no longer helping Bush, study finds

BY DEBRA PICKETT Staff Reporter
Chicago Sun-Times
August 12, 2004

A new study reveals a surprising twist on the conventional wisdom about November's presidential election: While political pundits seem to agree that news of terrorist threats and other dangers from abroad is good news for President Bush's re-election bid, the opposite might be true.

Michigan State University political science professors Darren W. Davis and Brian D. Silver say their study found that the more worried people are about the possibility of another terrorist attack, the more likely they are to vote for John Kerry. The research will be presented at a meeting of political scientists in Chicago next month.

The professors have been tracking Americans' attitudes about politics, civil liberties and security in a series of national and Michigan-wide surveys since 2001.

In the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, they found that people who expressed greater concern about threats of future terrorism were more likely to approve of Bush's presidential performance, while those who were less worried were less likely to support the president.

But by spring 2004, "this relationship had reversed: Those who were more concerned about terrorism were less likely to approve of Bush's performance," the professors say in their report.

And, the professors say, that trend is influencing how people plan to vote in the November election.

The two researchers' most recent survey, conducted in Michigan from April 19 to June 15, indicates that 24 percent of respondents -- a sampling of Michigan residents statistically weighted to reflect the adult U.S. population -- were "very concerned" about the possibility of another terrorist attack and 44 percent were "somewhat concerned."

When respondents were asked how they planned to vote in the November election, a narrow majority -- 51 percent -- said they would vote for Bush.

Davis and Silver then examined the respondents' voting preferences and how they related to the respondents' levels of concern about terrorism. Of those who were "very concerned," 38 percent said they planned to vote to re-elect President Bush, while 76 percent of those who were "not at all concerned" said they would vote for Bush.

Americans' concern about the possibility of a terrorist attack on the United States has generally declined over the last three years, from 85 percent of Americans surveyed between November 2001 and January 2002 saying they were either very or somewhat concerned to 68 percent reporting those levels of concern in a survey conducted from April to June 2004.

Terror concerns have increased sharply only twice since 2001, around the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks and during the invasion of Iraq. Both times, Davis and Silver's research showed -- and other national surveys agreed -- that the heightened concern was accompanied by increased approval of Bush's performance in office.

In the most recent Michigan State survey, however, increased concern was no longer linked to increased approval of Bush's performance. Davis and Silver found that among those who are very concerned about another attack, just 29 percent approve of Bush. But among people who say they are not at all concerned about another attack, the president's approval rating is 30 points higher: 59 percent.

Davis and Silver will present their findings in detail at the Sept. 2 annual meeting of the American Political Science Association being held in Chicago.

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Ashcroft's Quiet Prisoner

By BOB HERBERT
The New York Times
August 13, 2004

Miami — David Joseph is a little guy, about 5-foot-5, maybe 115 pounds. He's 20 years old, looks younger, and has the sluggish demeanor and sad expression of one who is deeply depressed. He has nightmares and headaches. He spends his days dressed in the blue fatigues of detainees at the federal Krome Detention Center, washing dishes at mealtimes, staring listlessly at television images broadcast in a language he doesn't understand, and praying.

"I thought I would come here for a few days and be released," he told me in a soft voice, his words translated by an interpreter. "But I watch the other people come and go, and I am stuck here."

Mr. Joseph is a refugee from Haiti who is seeking asylum in the United States. He is not a terrorist, and no one has even suggested that he is a threat to anyone. And yet he's been in federal custody for nearly two years.

An immigration judge and the Board of Immigration Appeals have ruled that he should be freed on bond, pending a final ruling on his asylum request. But the attorney general of the United States, John Ashcroft, won't let him go.

Playing his ever-present, all-encompassing terrorism card, Mr. Ashcroft personally intervened in Mr. Joseph's case, summarily blocking his release. According to the attorney general, releasing this young Haitian would tend to encourage mass migration from Haiti, and might exacerbate the potential danger to national security of nefarious aliens from Pakistan and elsewhere who might be inclined to use Haiti as a staging area for migration to the U.S.

Mr. Ashcroft has been out in the Washington sun too long. Terrorism is not an issue here. Mr. Joseph is a nervous, nail-biting young man who has an uncle in Brooklyn who's a U.S. citizen and would be only too happy to take in his nephew.

Keeping Mr. Joseph imprisoned for years is inhumane.

What's really at work here is the Bush administration's unwillingness to budge even an inch from its unfair and frequently cruel treatment of Haitians seeking refuge in the United States.

Mr. Joseph and a younger brother, Daniel, were among more than 200 Haitians aboard a boat that landed at Key Biscayne, Fla., in October 2002. The boys' immediate family had been viciously attacked in the political turmoil that wracked their homeland, and David Joseph still does not know whether the mother and father he left behind are alive. (Daniel, a teenager, is reportedly in foster care in New York.)

The United States may be a beacon of liberty, but when someone like David Joseph sails toward that beacon he can find himself perversely embraced in the barbed wire of a place like Krome.

"He was fleeing persecution,'' said Selena Mendy Singleton, a vice president of TransAfrica Forum, a research and policy group that is among several organizations supporting Mr. Joseph's request for asylum. "He is not a threat to the community. He is not a terrorist. And he meets the criteria to be released on bond. David needs to be let out."

Mr. Ashcroft was pointedly questioned about the Joseph case by Senator Arlen Specter during an appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee in June.

"On April 17 of last year," said Mr. Specter, "an issue came before you where there was a young Haitian refugee where there had not been any showing of a problem with respect to terrorism. And you overruled both the immigration judge and the Board of Immigration Appeals. And then the inspector general of the Department of Justice criticized the department for the failure to distinguish between immigration detainees who are connected to terrorism and those who don't have any reason for detention.''

Senator Specter urged Mr. Ashcroft to consider a policy in which the Justice Department would address cases like Mr. Joseph's on a less sweeping, "more individual" basis, which would enable officials to determine whether there was any real basis for concern about terrorism.

Mr. Ashcroft was unmoved. He told Senator Specter: "Sometimes individual treatment is important. Sometimes it's important to make a statement about groups of people that come."

So David Joseph, a threat to no one, sits and waits and prays at Krome.

Comment: Ashcroft and the Bush administration have no qualms about making an example out of innocent people. By his actions, Ashcroft has demonstrated that you don't have to be a terrorist to get locked up without charge. The most ridiculous part of this story is that Ashcroft is using fear to prevent an influx of Haitian immigrants - and supposedly terrorists. Perhaps one should then ask: What is the difference between the US government and the alleged terrorists? The terrorists are supposed to be the ones who blow up buildings and crash airliners to instill fear and destroy our "free" way of life of which they are so jealous and hateful. Yet it seems that the only ones acting against the masses are those who were supposedly elected for the people and by the people. John Ashcroft and the rest of the Neocon gang have done more to destroy "freedom and democracy" in the Land of the Free than any Arab terrorist could ever hope to accomplish.

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Carlyle Looks Toward Commercial Aerospace

By Julie MacIntosh
Sat Aug 14, 2:19 PM ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Private investment firm Carlyle Group, which has a reputation for making well-timed and occasionally controversial plays in the defense industry, has quietly placed its bets on another part of the market.

The aerospace and defense group at Washington, D.C.-based Carlyle, one of the world's largest and most diversified buyout firms, might as well have dropped the word "aerospace" from its name in the early 1990s.

But that sector has superseded defense for the last five years to account for the lion's share of the group's buyouts. And the rest of the industry has taken notice.

"Very quietly, these guys have built up a huge portfolio in commercial aerospace," an industry source said. "It looks like they're trying to do in commercial what they did in defense."

Peter Clare, a veteran of the group who was promoted last week to its helm, attributed some of the strategy shift to the high valuations of defense companies, which have seen an influx of government spending since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

As competition for takeover candidates intensified in that space, Carlyle turned its focus to the commercial side, where a major downturn in production started even before Sept. 11.

"(Aerospace) valuations are lower, earnings levels are lower, and there's a desire for some holders of the businesses to turn around and sell them," said Clare, who pointed to the sector's volatility as a money-making opportunity.

"To win any of these businesses, you've got to pay a full, fair price," he said. "But we're buying at what we think is a low point in their earnings due to the cycle."

BUSINESS JET BOOM AHEAD?

Carlyle, which has more than $18 billion under management, built up its initial exposure to the commercial aerospace sector through several defense-oriented investments in the first half of the 1990s.

Its commercial aerospace-related buyouts have increased in frequency since then. Of particular note is a recent string of investments in companies that maintain, repair and overhaul jet engines.

The firm last year bought the aerospace business of Fiat's Avio unit, which designs and builds aeronautical engine parts and repairs aircraft engines.

In early July, Carlyle agreed to pay $760 million for Dunlop Standard's Standard Aero division, which does maintenance on aircraft engines, mainly for regional and business jets and the military.

And just two weeks later, Carlyle said it would buy another aircraft maintenance company -- General Electric Co.'s Garrett Aviation Services. It plans to combine Garrett with its Piedmont Hawthorne operation, which provides refueling, maintenance and charter services to corporate and private jet operators.

"We think there's going to be growth in the use of business jets, which is really the driving force behind the Garrett/Piedmont deal," Clare said. The commercial aerospace original equipment market is at or very close to the bottom of a cycle, he said, and Carlyle wants to invest more in businesses that maintain, repair and overhaul military, corporate and regional jets.

On the defense side, the firm has run into some criticism over ties to interests in the Middle East as well as its prolific hiring of big-name former government officials, many with backgrounds at the Pentagon. [...]

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Report Finds Tax Cuts Heavily Favor the Wealthy

By EDMUND L. ANDREWS

WASHINGTON, Aug. 12 - Fully one-third of President Bush's tax cuts in the last three years have gone to people with the top 1 percent of income, who have earned an average of $1.2 million annually, according to a report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office to be published Friday.

The report calculated that households with incomes in that top 1 percent were receiving an average tax cut of $78,460 this year, while households in the middle 20 percent of earnings - averaging about $57,000 a year - were getting an average cut of only $1,090.

The new estimates confirm what independent tax analysts have long said: that Mr. Bush's tax cuts have been heavily skewed to the very wealthiest taxpayers. Those are also the people, however, who pay a disproportionate share of federal income taxes.

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Musharraf vows to crush Muslim militancy

www.chinaview.cn 2004-08-15 12:45:26

ISLAMABAD, Aug. 14 (Xinhuanet) -- Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has vowed to crush Muslim militancy, saying that there would be no let-up in his country's crackdown on Al-Qaeda operatives and other radicals, Dawn reported Sunday.

Speaking at a music show held to mark the country's Independence Day Saturday, Musharraf said foreign militants linked to Osama bin Laden's network and their local allies posed the biggest challenge to the country.

"We will crush them and will not allow them to move forward," said Musharraf, a key US ally in the war on terror.

Comment: Given the well-known links between Pakistan's ISI, the CIA, and al-Qaeda, this is a joke. But then they all know it is a joke, and it is on the public who believe it, who buy into the lie. For more on the Pakistan Qaeda-US intelligence connections, see the out article Mahmoud Ahmad and The Secret Cult of Intelligence.

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Najaf truce talks collapse

Last Updated Sat, 14 Aug 2004 16:07:46 EDT

NAJAF, IRAQ - Talks aimed at ending the fighting between Shia militants and U.S. and Iraqi forces in Najaf broke down Saturday, Iraqi national security adviser Mowaffaq al-Rubaie said.

Al-Rubaie did not give reporters reasons for the talks failing. "All efforts to end this have not succeeded," he simply said.

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Truce talks in Iraq break down, militants allege conspiracy

11:13 AM EDT Aug 15

NAJAF, Iraq (AP) - Negotiations to end the fighting in Najaf, Iraq, broke down Sunday, threatening to spark a resurgence of the fierce clashes between Shiite Muslim militants and a combined U.S.-Iraqi force that have plagued the holy city for more than a week.

The chief government negotiator said he decided to quit the talks after three fruitless days but representatives of militant cleric Muqtada al-Sadr said a deal had been all but reached before Iraqi interim prime minister Ayad Allawi personally intervened to quash it.

"It is a conspiracy to commit a big massacre," al-Sadr's top negotiator, Sheik Ali Smeisim, told Al-Jazeera television station.

The fighting has angered many in Iraq's Shiite majority and the collapse of negotiations would likely cast a pall over the country's National Conference, which starts Sunday.

[...] Earlier Saturday, about 10,000 demonstrators from as far away as the capital Baghdad arrived in Najaf to show their solidarity with the militants and act as human shields to protect the city and the holy Imam Ali shrine, where the militants have taken refuge since the fighting started Aug. 5.

Coalition officials reiterated Saturday they would not enter the shrine.

"It is not out intention to go anywhere near the holy sites. We understand their significance to the Shia and we respect the Shia," Maj.-Gen. Andrew Graham, deputy commanding general of the Multination Corps, said.

"The irreverence...is (al-Sadr's) and not ours."

Soon after the talks broke down, a massive U.S. army and marine force of tanks, Humvees and armoured vehicles lined up inside a U.S. military base in Najaf for an assault on the militants, which Allawi was reported to have called off just as it was about to start.

[...] After days of discussion - and just hours after Najaf's governor said he believed a breakthrough was imminent - Iraq's National Security Adviser Mouwaffaq al-Rubaie announced the talks were over.

"Our goal was to spare blood, preserve security and for the militias to put down their weapons," he said.

"We have been talking and discussing these matters for three days, but reached no positive conclusion," he said.

"After three days, my government thought there was no use in continuing."

Al-Rubaie said he was leaving Najaf but would return for any new talks.

However, Qais al-Khazali, al-Sadr's spokesman in Najaf, said a deal had been reached and al-Sadr - who was not in the talks himself - had signed it when "we were surprised that they got instructions from Dr. Allawi to leave."

[...] Ahmed al-Shaibany, another al-Sadr spokesman, blamed the talks' failure on the Americans - who were not participating - saying they had refused a demand to pay compensation for the families of those killed in the fighting.

[...] On Saturday, Interior Minister Falah Hassan al-Naqib blamed the violence on foreign fighters seeking to destabilize Iraq, although a clear majority of Mahdi Army militants are Iraqi.

The violence "is not being carried out by Iraqis and we are trying to restore Iraq. We are not ready to hand over Iraq to any other country," he said without elaborating.

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Thousands Stream to Najaf

Thousands of Shiites are streaming toward Najaf in hopes of forming a human shield around Muqtada al-Sadr, according to al-Hayat. Many have already gathered at the gates to the old city in Najaf and around the shrine of Imam Ali.

In the meantime, the Allawi government says it intends to send an Iraqi military force into the shrine of Ali after Muqtada al-Sadr and his militiamen, according to al-Sharq al-Awsat. Allawi should be careful. A colleague of mine was reminded of a similarity between the current situation and the Indian government raid on the Sikh Golden Temple in 1984. That invasion of holy space arguably led to the assassination of Indira Gandhi and prolonged civil instability in the Punjab.

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Mortars create chaos at Iraqi conference

Sunday 15 August 2004, 12:22 Makka Time, 9:22 GMT

Mortar bombs have claimed at least one life in Baghdad's Green Zone, shaking the building where the Iraqi National Conference is under way.

Moments after the blasts, organisers of the conference on Sunday screamed at participants to get away from the windows of the convention centre.

The Health Ministry said 17 were also wounded when one mortar fell in the Allawi district near Haifa Street, one of the areas included in a government curfew imposed as a security measure because of the conference.

A US soldier at the scene confirmed that "a few rounds of mortars" were fired on Haifa Street, where clashes had also broken out between US soldiers and insurgents in the street. "The firing is sporadic but quite regular," he said.

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Fighting in Najaf resumes

Sunday 15 August 2004, 20:42 Makka Time, 17:42 GMT

Clashes have resumed in earnest in the Iraqi city of Najaf after peace talks broke down between the Iraqi interim government and the militia of Shia Muslim leader Muqtada al-Sadr.

Mortar and tank blasts, punctuated by machine-gun fire, reverberated across Najaf's historic heart on Sunday, just a day after the US-installed government vowed to return to the offensive against the al-Mahdi Army militiamen.

Iraqi police brandishing rifles threatened to arrest journalists unless they left the city on Sunday, raising fears they were attempting to impose a news blackout.

But sources in Najaf told Aljazeera US troops and Iraqi forces had advanced from different directions towards the Old City and northern cemetery amid intense gun and mortar fire.

Smoke rose from the direction of the city's vast cemetery, north of the mausoleum of Imam Ali, one of Islam's holiest shrines, which has been a militia stronghold since a spring uprising against foreign troops.

US tanks were seen parked 200 metres from the shrine with armed US marines heading towards the Old City.

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General: Iraq Rebuilding to Quicken Despite Violence

Sun Aug 15, 2004 09:41 AM ET
By Matthew Green

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Surging violence in Iraq this month has disrupted reconstruction work in parts of the country, but plans are still on track for a tenfold increase in the number of projects, a U.S. general said Sunday.

Hundreds of people have been killed during an 11-day uprising led by radical Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in the southern city of Najaf, Baghdad's slums and other areas in the worst fighting in Iraq since a similar rebellion in April.

General Thomas Bostick, in charge of implementing projects paid for from $18.4 billion of U.S. money slated for Iraq, said clashes had caused only delays in the worst trouble spots.

Comment: One doesn't quite know whether to laugh or cry at statements like these by General Bostick. The US has control over part of Baghdad and very little of the rest of the country. Thousands are marching on Najaf to support Moqtada al-Sadr, holed up in an important Shia shrine. In response the US tells us that the problem is foreign fighters and that reconstruction has only been slowed down, but not to worry, things are going to pick up in the future. Trouble is, the foreign fighters in Iraq making trouble are from the US and its allies. But with an election on, the news from Iraq has to be positive.

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Fables of the Reconstruction

by CHRISTIAN PARENTI

[...] The sorry state of this river is just one piece of Iraq's failed reconstruction. Throughout the country, vital systems, from water and power to healthcare and education, are in woeful disrepair. The World Bank estimates that bringing Iraq back to its 1991 level of development will cost $55 billion and take at least four years.

In the past seventeen months, US taxpayers have set aside a total of $24 billion to rebuild Iraq. Most of that sum has not been spent, though billions of dollars of poorly accounted for Iraqi oil revenues have been expended, or at least allocated to foreign (mostly American) contractors.

Humanitarians see reconstruction as a moral obligation: a form of reparations for two US-led wars and thirteen years of brutal sanctions. From a military standpoint, reconstruction is central to the US counterinsurgency effort. The occupation's star officers, like Maj. Gen. David Petraeus, readily acknowledge that a broken economy means more violence. But seen up close, reconstruction in Iraq looks less like a mission of mercy or a sophisticated pacification program and more like a criminal racket.

[...] One problem is that most of the promised American financial help hasn't materialized. Of the $24 billion in US tax money set aside to rebuild Iraq, only $5.3 billion had been allocated to specific reconstruction contracts as of late June 2004. According to a report from the White House Office of Management and Budget, of the $18.4 billion reconstruction honey-pot approved last fall only $366 million had been spent by late June--that is, invested in Iraq. Instead of creating 250,000 jobs for Iraqis, as was the original goal, at most 24,000 local workers have been hired.

Most amazing of all, the OMB report showed that not a single cent of US tax money had been spent on Iraqi healthcare, water treatment or sanitation projects--though $9 million was dithered away on administrative costs of the now defunct Coalition Provisional Authority. Most of the little that has been invested in healthcare, water treatment and sanitation has come from Iraqi oil revenues, managed for most of last year by the Development Fund for Iraq, a US controlled successor to the UN-run Oil for Food program. In all, the CPA spent roughly $19 billion of Iraqi oil money--on what exactly is not quite clear.

[...] What does the failure of reconstruction mean for the average Iraqi? The answer is evident in places like the village of Amar Bin Yasser, not far from where the Rustimiyah's untreated sewage hits the Diyala River.

In a palm-frond-and-plywood kiosk by a road, Khalid Salman and his three young nephews sell lamb and mutton. The meat hangs in the shade, greasy and dotted with flies. Beside Salman and the boys are two peaceful sheep, oblivious to the fate awaiting them. Across the road is the river: a thick soup of sewage. Salman explains that since the war, he has been unable to use the river water even for his animals. Instead he has to buy water at ten dinars a liter (less than a penny) from tanker trucks that come down from Baghdad. The price is not high, but neither is Salman's income.

"The farmers here suffer from rashes and disease," says Salman. "To irrigate their fields they sometimes have to stand in this water up to their chests. Many children are sick with some kind of poisoning, and we all have stomach pains." He says the pollution contaminates the local wells and has brought swarms of insects, and because there is so little electricity it is hard to keep the bugs away from the children at night with electric fans. Medical care is meager at the local clinics; there are doctors but no medicine.

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The Return of Mercenaries

Zuheir Kseibati Al-Hayat 2004/08/13

Whoever sees the bloodbath and war projects in Iraq forgets about the rosy projects of construction and democracy in President George W. Bush's eyes. Whoever hears any American, drunk with the arrogance of the sole superpower in the world, desiring a more secure America, is even more convinced that selfishness alone is the "philosophy" of the neo-conservative theorists in the United States.

[...] Wolfowitz and his godfather of pre-emptive invasions, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, easily got over the scandals of their soldiers in Iraq. This is because the Americans are busy with what is more important, with the presidential race that affects their destiny, welfare, and also their arrogance. This is an opportunity for Wolfowitz to establish a "network of friendly militias"…

The network will be the Pentagon's terrorist-detecting spy, which means that the superpower that claims to be hunting militias in Iraq and Sudan discovered a different type of militia, for a "noble" goal.

Does this not spread mercenary wars?

Finally, Wolfowitz found a way to prevent burning the American fingers, which anyhow does not stray from the framework of "taking the war to the enemy's backyard."

However, perhaps many still remember the Taliban story, and that many countries in the region and the world paid the price, same as America. If there is a difference now, it is forcing the others, except the American, to pay the price. Wolfowitz discovered it: mercenaries called local militias, fighting in Washington's stead, away from the wills of governments - in spite of them.

As for the question, which stability is there in the third stage of that war [on terror], it seems to be nonsense, like betting on differences between Bush and Kerry, for those who forget that America is always one America, and do not know that Wolfowitz' projects are just beginning… every time one fails, he grows three others.

The age of mercenaries is back, through the American gate.

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The U.S. and the Third Party

Salameh Nematt Al-Hayat 2004/08/13

There is a third party in the United States other than the Republicans and Democrats. However, no one speaks of it, although it encompasses around 50% of the Americans who do not vote in the presidential elections. This "party," which represents the silent, secluded, or abstaining majority, reflects its members' conviction that it is useless to choose between two parties that control the political scene and alternate power, while no one from outside those two parties being capable of making a third path. This "party's" members say that there is no significant difference between Republicans and Democrats, and they could live with both. In fact, the forces that support the Republicans are the same forces that support the Democrats: the group of giant corporations and banks that finance both parties' electoral campaigns. They own the media or influence them through the advertising budgets, the most prominent being the weapons manufacturers, oil companies, information technology companies, and what have you…

For this reason, among others, the Democratic Party rushed to cut the road for independent candidate Ralph Nader in California, which is the most important state regarding the electoral counts. The American elections' history shows that both main parties were able to marginalize the roles of the other parties or candidates. The influential institutions and conglomerates in the U.S. contributed, through their financial their financial influence and infiltration of the federal government, to weaken the opportunities for the establishment of a third party, while half of the Americans find no reason to vote for any of the two major parties.

It is noteworthy that the electoral campaign of John Kerry and his partner John Edwards, focused on the necessity to break the monopoly of the powerful corporations in Washington, in an attempt to win some of the abstaining votes, despite the fact that the largest part of financing they received was from those same corporations, while it is impossible to marginalize the business role in the elections.

This is why President Bush offered tax exemptions of $700 billion to the large conglomerates, under the pretext that providing this amount of money would enable them to spend more of it on hiring more Americans and boosting the economy, which is in form, opposed by the Democratic Party, without suggesting any practical alternative.

There is no doubt that the majority of "business," except for investors, the most prominent of which being George Soros, will support the Republican candidate for fear of Kerry minimizing the role of business. Although there is a general conviction that this would mean an unlikely coup in the American political system.

It could be said that the alternation of power between Democrats and Republicans is still a marginalized step that does not influence the political trend of the federal government on the internal and external levels. One who listened to Kerry's speech at the Democratic National Conference can deduce that the difference between his Republican adversary and himself is in the mechanism of implementing the adopted policies, more so than a tangible difference in policies. In fact, Kerry worked for 30 years in the public sector and knows very well that he cannot ignore the headlines of the adopted policies and that his role, should he win, would be limited to a narrow margin that he would not be able to cross, at any cost.

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Will Venezuela get the Florida treatment? Signs say gang that fixed Florida might be fixing the vote in Caracas this Sunday

Greg Palast

Hugo Chavez drives George Bush crazy. Maybe it's jealousy: Unlike Mr. Bush, Chavez, in Venezuela, won his Presidency by a majority of the vote.

Or maybe it's the oil: Venezuela sits atop a reserve rivaling Iraq's. And Hugo thinks the US and British oil companies that pump the crude ought to pay more than a 16 percent royalty to his nation for the stuff. Hey, 16 percent isn't even acceptable as a tip at a New York diner.

Whatever it is, OUR President has decided that THEIR president has to go. This is none too easy given that Chavez is backed by Venezuela's poor. And the US oil industry, joined with local oligarchs, has made sure a vast majority of Venezuelans remain poor.

Therefore, Chavez is expected to win this coming Sunday's recall vote. That is, if the elections are free and fair.

They won't be. Some months ago, a little birdie faxed to me what appeared to be confidential pages from a contract between John Ashcroft's Justice Department and a company called ChoicePoint, Inc., of Atlanta. The deal is part of the War on Terror.

Justice offered up to $67 million, of our taxpayer money, to ChoicePoint in a no-bid deal for computer profiles with private information on every citizen of half a dozen nations. The choice of which nation's citizens on whom to spy caught my eye. While the September 11th highjackers came from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon and the Arab Emirates, ChoicePoint's menu offered records on Venezuelans, Brazilians, Nicaraguans, Mexicans and Argentines. How odd. Had the CIA uncovered a Latin plot to sneak suicide tango dancers across the border with exploding enchiladas?

What do these nations have in common besides a lack of involvement in the September 11th attacks? Coincidentally, each is in the throes of major electoral contests in which the leading candidates -- presidents Lula Ignacio da Silva of Brazil, Nestor Kirschner of Argentina, Mexico City mayor Andres Lopez Obrador and Venezuela's Chavez -- have the nerve to challenge the globalization demands of George W. Bush.

The last time ChoicePoint sold voter files to our government it was to help Governor Jeb Bush locate and purge felons on Florida voter rolls. Turns out ChoicePoint's felons were merely Democrats guilty only of V.W.B., Voting While Black. That little 'error' cost Al Gore the White House.

It looks like the Bush Administration is taking the Florida show for a tour south of the border.

However, when Mexico discovered ChoicePoint had its citizen files, the nation threatened company executives with criminal charges. ChoicePoint protested its innocence and offered to destroy the files of any nation that requests it.

But ChoicePoint, apparently, presented no such offer to the government of Venezuela's Chavez.

In Caracas, I showed Congressman Nicolas Maduro the ChoicePoint-Ashcroft agreement. Maduro, a leader of Chavez' political party, was unaware that his nation's citizen files were for sale to U.S. intelligence. But he understood their value to make mischief.

If the lists somehow fell into the hands of the Venezuelan opposition, it could immeasurably help their computer-aided drive to recall and remove Chavez. A ChoicePoint flak said the Bush administration told the company they haven't used the lists that way. The PR man didn't say if the Bush spooks laughed when they said it.

Our team located a $53,000 payment from our government to Chavez' recall organizers, who claim to be armed with computer lists of the registered. How did they get those lists? The fix that was practiced in Florida, with ChoicePoint's help, deliberate or not, appears to be retooled for Venezuela, then Brazil, Mexico and who knows where else.

Here's what it comes down to: The Justice Department averts its gaze from Saudi Arabia but shoplifts voter records in Venezuela. So it's only fair to ask: Is Mr. Bush fighting a war on terror -- or a war on democracy?

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The NYTs & Chavez: More than the Usual Bias: Ooops, Chavez Does It Again!

By JUSTIN PODUR

Hugo Chavez might actually win yet another election, the recall vote scheduled for this Sunday, against the rich and the elite of Venezuela (and the United States, it seems.)

So, what does the New York Times refer to this rare example of a politican who wins electorally with votes from the poor majority and who doesn't let a small group of already rich elites plunder the nation's economic wealth?

"Free-Spending Chávez Could Swing Vote His Way."

What a headline.

Not the politician poised to once again democratically overcome the umpteenth illegitemate challenge by keeping the promises to the masses who elected him.

Okay, that's too long for a headline but how about "The Poor Masses Approve of Chavez's Politics."

No, it's free-spending Chavez. Not appropriate-spending Chavez.

It's not even "win," it's "swing" the vote. Note how "swing" sounds like swindle, it connotes a scheme, an underhanded plot, something undeserved.

And whatever drivel the Times cannot say directly, unnamed "critics" are quoted. For example:

Critics charge that Mr. Chávez's antipoverty plans are piecemeal and politically motivated, that he has placed incompetent officials in positions of power, and that he is bypassing fiscal controls, with hundreds of millions of dollars in public assistance now circumventing the Congress and the Central Bank and going straight into the barrios.

Now, I understand the need to let the rich elites whine about Chavez not letting them continue steal Venezuela's resources for themselves; that really is part of the news-story here. But what the hell kind of criticism is it to say Chavez's anti-poverty plans are "politically motivated?" He gets elected on his promises the impoverished masses then he tries to keep those promises in order to get re-elected. Okay. So he's politically motivated. As opposed to what? How can that be seriously quoted as criticism? And the criticism that Chavez's anti-poverty plans are piecemeal? Are we to believe that the anti-Chavez opposition wants to implement a larger, more comprehensive anti-poverty plan and that's why they are opposing Chavez?

The piece is full of blather of this kind treated with seriousness an dignity -- it's a striking example of blatant media bias, as opposed to slightly less blatant media bias of usual.

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The Referendum and the Poor: Chavez Could Teach US Leaders a Thing or Two About Winning Votes

By MEDEA BENJAMIN

I knew that the administration of Hugo Chavez had won my heart when I met Olivia Delfino in one of the poor barrios in Caracas. As I was touring the neighborhood with an international delegation here to monitor this Sunday's referendum on Chavez, Olivia came out of her tiny house and grabbed my arm. "Tell the people of your country that we love Hugo Chavez," she insisted. She went on to tell me how her life had changed since he came to power. After living in the barrio for 40 years, she now had a formal title to her home. With that, she was able to get a bank loan to fix the roof so it wouldn't leak in the rain. Thanks to the Cuban dentists and a program called "Rescatando la sonrisa"-recovering the smile-for the first time in her life she was able to get her teeth fixed. And her daughter is in a job training program to become a nurse's assistant.

Getting more and more animated, Olivia dragged me over to a poster on the wall showing Hugo Chavez with a throng of followers and a list of Venezuela's new social programs that read: "The social programs are ours, let's defend them." Then slowly and laboriously, she began reading the list of social programs: literacy, health care, job training, land reform, subsidized food, small loans. I asked her if she was just learning to read and write as part of the literacy program. That's when she started to cry. "Can you imagine what it has meant to me, at 52 years old, to now have a chance to read?" she said. "It's transformed my life."

Walk through the poor neighborhoods in Venezuela and you'll hear the same stories over and over. The very poor now can go to a designated home in the neighborhood to pick up a hot meal every day. The elderly now have monthly pensions that allow them to live with dignity. Young people can take advantage of greatly expanded free college programs. And with 13,000 Cuban doctors spread throughout the country and reaching over half the population, the poor now have their own family doctors on call 24-hours a day-doctors who even make house calls. This heath care, including medicines, are all free.

The programs are being paid for with the income from Venezuela's oil, which is at an all-time high. Previously, the nation's oil wealth benefited only a small, well-connected elite who kept themselves in power for 40 years through a two-party duopoly. The elite, who controlled the media as well, kept the vast majority poor, disenfranchised, and disempowered. With the election of Hugo Chavez in 1998 on a platform of sharing the nation's oil wealth with the poorest, all that has changed. The poor are now not only recipients of these programs, they are engaged in running them. They're turning abandoned buildings into neighborhood centers, running community kitchens; volunteering to teach in the literacy programs, organizing neighborhood health brigades and registering millions of new voters.

Infuriated by their loss of power, the elite use their control over the media to blast Chavez for destroying the economy, cozying up to Fidel Castro, antagonizing the US government, expropriating private property, and using dictatorial rule. They also accuse him of using the social programs that have so improved the lives of the poor as a way to buy votes.

The opposition managed to collect enough signatures to trigger this Sunday's referendum on the president's mandate. Chavez supporters, bolstered by almost every poll, expect to win. "The opposition can lie all they want about Chavez," said Olivia defiantly, "but the facts speak for themselves. Before no one cared about us, the poor. Now they do." When I asked her what was going to happen on Sunday, she grinned. "First we're going to vote. And then we'll gather in front of the presidential palace for a huge victory party."

The opposition is right: providing people with free health care, education, small business loans and job training is certainly a good way to win support. With the US elections coming up in November, George Bush-and John Kerry for that matter-could learn a thing or two from Hugo Chavez about winning the hearts and minds of the people.

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An Israeli / Rove Connection? The McGreevey Scandal

By WAYNE MADSEN

Here we go again. Another political bombshell hits the American people and there is yet another connection to the subterranean labyrinth of possible Israeli intelligence activities. New Jersey Democratic Governor Jim McGreevey's announcement on August 12 that he was resigning because of his involvement in a gay relationship with an Israeli national may be the tip of an iceberg that represents another high-level Israeli attempt to burrow into the most sensitive areas of U.S. national security and our political process. The surprise announcement is also being used by a number of neo-conservative news outlets to tarnish the Democratic Party and absolve Israel of any connection to the New Jersey political scandal.

The ties between Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Russian-mafia infused government and shadowy Israeli and Eastern European ex-intelligence agents are beyond a doubt, according to international law enforcement officials. But what is not readily apparent is the fact that a number of Israeli off-the-books intelligence operatives are active inside the United States and they do not have U.S. national interests in mind. In particular, the Israeli-Russian mobsters and their allies within the Sharon government have adopted one of the most successful intelligence ploys used by the former KGB and East German Stasi--the use of prostitutes or "swallows" to gain intimate access to high Western politicians, so-called "sexpionage." In the case of Israel, which welcomed a number of émigré former Eastern bloc intelligence agents during and after the Cold War, this has entailed the use of both female and male prostitutes. The fact that White House chief dirty tricks operator Karl Rove has close connections to the political spin machine run out of Sharon's Jerusalem office is also a concern when it comes to Israeli-connected dirty tricks operations being run against Democratic politicians in the United States.

It should be remembered that New Jersey Democratic Senator Robert Torricelli was forced to drop out of his re-election race in 2002 because of leaks about his involvement with a contributor indicted on federal charges. Torricelli's major problems in New Jersey arose after he was chastised for missing an important Senate vote supporting Israel. The Senate, at the time, was tenuously in the hands of the Democrats, who had a one-seat majority. However, Torricelli was replaced on the ticket by Frank Lautenberg, who went on to win the seat for the Democrats.

Jim McGreevey was a rising star in Democratic politics. As Mayor of Woodbridge, a New York City commuter suburb, McGreevey decided to opt for statewide political office. At the same time he appeared on the Israeli intelligence radar screens. In 2000, with his eye on the New Jersey statehouse, Mayor McGreevey joined a large delegation of New Jersey Jewish supporters in a political "mega pilgrimage" to Israel, where he met Golan Cipel, said to be a tour guide/information officer for the mayor of the Tel Aviv suburb of Rishon Le-Zion, the first Zionist settlement in Palestine. However, Cipel had previously been the press secretary for the Israeli consulate general in New York City. In 1999, Cipel, who is now being described as a one-time low-level Israeli government employee in New York and a "poet," gave a speech on behalf of the Israeli government at a meeting at the Simon Wiesenthal Center's Madison Avenue offices on some very high profile issues, including the implications of the recent death of King Hussein of Jordan, the upcoming Israeli elections, and the peace process with the Palestinian Authority.

Cipel was also a former Israeli naval officer, leaving the service with the rank of lieutenant. How a person goes from an influential position with one of the most important Israeli diplomatic missions abroad to a mere Jerusalem area tour guide seems, on the surface, extraordinary. But in the world of intelligence, such career changes are driven by political necessity, not by choice. McGreevey's admitted lifelong homosexuality also made him a likely target for an intelligence approach--and Cipel, who, as a 1998 graduate of the New York Institute of Technology and the New York Israeli consulate's press spokesman, was more than familiar with north Jersey's political and social terrain. And Cipel was no stranger to right-wing Republican politics. In 1995, Cipel and future Washington Times reporter Joshua Mitnick edited an Israeli consulate news wire called "Israel Line." The Washington Times, owned by Rev. Sun Myung Moon, is a money-losing outlet for neo-conservative political opinion.

After McGreevey returned to New Jersey from Israel, Cipel also moved to Iselin, New Jersey and was hired by a billionaire Florham Park land developer and Democratic fundraiser named Charles Kushner, an individual who became the source for $250,000 for McGreevey's campaign for the governor's mansion. Kushner sponsored Cipel for a temporary work visa. After McGreevey was sworn in as governor, he named Kushner to the board of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the original owners of the World Trade Center. Kushner was recently indicted on federal charges of corruption involving a land deal and illegal campaign contributions.

Soon after McGreevey announced his candidacy for the governorship, Cipel became one of his campaign advisers. During 2001, in his role as McGreevey's Jewish liaison adviser, Cipel received another temporary work visa that was sponsored by the New Jersey State Democratic Committee.

After McGreevey's election, Cipel was named homeland security director for New Jersey, a $110,000 per year job. New Jersey sponsored Cipel for yet another temporary work visa just four months after a number of Israelis were rounded up and arrested by New Jersey police and Federal agents for photographing and celebrating the collapse of the Twin Towers on September 11. Cipel, who had no verifiable security experience, was touted by McGreevey's administration as having gained his anti-terrorist credentials as a member of the Israeli Defense Force. An Israeli military expert told the Bridgewater, New Jersey Courier News that Cipel's military record was "routine, at best." In addition, Kathryn Flicker, an assistant attorney general for New Jersey, was appointed by McGreevey to head of the state counter-terrorism office but only after Cipel was strangely named as a parallel counter-terrorism official.

After both Republican and Democratic New Jersey legislators complained about Cipel's lack of qualifications and the Federal government refused to grant him a security clearance because he was not a U.S. citizen, the Israeli national left his position as homeland security czar and took up his previous campaign job as McGreevey's Jewish affairs adviser and special counsel at the same $110,000 salary. Inexplicably, Cipel maintained a staff of three assistants for a staff job that had no real responsibilities.

There was some thought given by McGreevey to appointing Cipel as the Executive Director of the New Jersey-Israel Commission, an entity created in 1989 to science and technology trade between Israel and New Jersey and which maintains an office in Raanana, Israel. Eventually, Andrea Yonah, an Israeli-U.S. citizen who was raised in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, but studied and worked in Israel for a number of years, was named to head the commission at an undisclosed salary. Yonah had been product marketing director for Princeton eCom, a software company that provides billing software for various Fortune 500 companies, including telecommunications firms like AT&T. During a 2000-2001 Drug Enforcement Administration investigation of Israeli art students who were working illegally in the United States and who were suspected of being espionage agents, links were discovered between them and Israeli companies that also provided billing and other services for telecommunications companies, including AMDOCS -- which had a relationship with Nextel -- and Comverse Infosys.

In August 2002, Cipel helped arrange for a trip by McGreevey to Israel. On August 4, the Asbury Park Press's investigative reporter, Sandy McClure, ran a damaging expose of Cipel's secretive position in the McGreevey administration. The August 11, 2002 edition of the Asbury Park Press reported that after McClure's piece ran, Cipel became "uncloseted." McGreevey's trip to Israel was hurriedly canceled after the Cipel expose ran in the Asbury Park paper. McGreevey's office stated that the trip was canceled after the State Department informed Trenton that they had concerns over unspecified "hostilities" in the Middle East. But McClure's story on McGreevey had also appeared in Hebrew in Israel the day before the governor's trip was canceled. It was apparent that someone wanted to tamp down any speculation about McGreevey's ties with Cipel and scuttle a potentially politically embarrassing trip to Israel.

Cipel soon resigned from the New Jersey state government and took a job with MWW Group, a public relations firm close to McGreevey, as the head of its New York-based Israeli division. After a month at MWW, Cipel left to join the Trenton lobbying firm, State Street Partners. After only a few months there, Cipel went back to work for Kushner. After Kushner's federal indictment, rumors surrounding McGreevey's connection to the tainted businessman began to swirl around the state capital. After the McGreevey scandal broke, the neo-conservative World Net Daily, in an August 13 report, merely referred to Cipel as "Middle Eastern born," without any reference to his being an Israeli national. Yael Kohen, writing in the neo-conservative New York Sun, merely referred to Cipel as an "Israeli poet." An editorial in the same August 13 edition of the Sun condemning McGreevey did not once mention that Cipel was an Israeli. After McGreevey's resignation announcement, Cipel did not answer the door at his West Manhattan apartment and there were reports that Cipel was preparing to sue McGreevey for sexual harassment. An aide to McGreevey said Cipel threatened the legal action unless McGreevey paid the Israeli millions of dollars--an act the aide called "extortion."

There may be good reasons why the neo-conservatives want to play down Cipel's Israeli roots--McGreevey may have been set up in an attempt to ruin him and influence the upcoming U.S. presidential election. When foreign nations are found to be influencing American politics, there is an almost uniform tendency for the American people to react negatively to such meddling. One must merely recall the wailing and crying raised over alleged Chinese political contributions to Democrats and Republicans during the Clinton administration.

New Jersey was considered a swing state by the Bush campaign early in the campaign cycle. As John Kerry leaped to a double-digit lead over Bush in the Garden State, the rumors surrounding McGreevey and Kushner were unleashed. Now, with the Governor announcing his resignation amid a gay sex scandal, one is instinctively forced into suspecting the involvement of chief Bush dirty tricks operator Karl Rove in the affair. Rove is attracted to such sordid affairs as a fly is attracted to a pile of horse manure.

Republicans in New Jersey are not happy that McGreevey is not resigning until November 15, which means a special election will for New Jersey's governor will not be held on November 2, the same date of the presidential election. It certainly would have been a Rovian tactic to make McGreevey's sexual orientation a campaign issue in order to get out the conservative vote on Election Day in a gambit to increase the right-wing fundamentalist voter turnout for George Bush and appeal to anti-gay conservative Democrats in the state while also hoping to get a Republican into the governor's seat in Trenton. No sooner had McGreevey announced his resignation, right-wing talk show hosts were demanding he resign immediately and allow the anti-choice Republican former mayor of Jersey City, Brent Schundler, to run for governor on November 2. McGreevey handily defeated Schundler in 2001 with 15 percent of the vote. Schundler had already filed the paperwork to take on Schundler in 2005. The New Jersey situation is reminiscent of California, where Gray Davis won re-election with 6 percentage points over conservative Republican Bill Simon in 2002 only to be defeated in a recall election in less than a year by Republican body builder and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Republicans do not seem satisfied with the normal electoral process but seek ways to upend it.

While McGreevey deserves condemnation for allowing his relationship with a foreign national gay partner to influence his decisions and cloud his judgment on important matters dealing with the security of New Jersey during a time of increasing terror threats, he should also be praised for not succumbing to Republican pressure to resign immediately and permit the Karl Rove dirty trick machine to use this tragedy for the McGreevey family to influence in what column New Jersey's 15 electoral votes land in November.

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Palestinians in Israeli Jails Start Hunger Strike

By Mohammed Assadi
August 15, 2004

RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) - Thousands of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails began a hunger strike for better conditions Sunday, but Israel's security minister said he didn't care if they starved to death.

The prisoners, seen by Palestinians as symbols of resistance to Israeli occupation, want wardens to stop strip searches, allow more frequent visits from their families, improve sanitary conditions and install public telephones, supporters said.

More than 7,500 Palestinians, including 4,000 jailed over violence against Israelis, are imprisoned in Israel.

"We declare, in the name of God, our national decision to launch an open hunger strike," the Palestinian Prisoners Society said in a statement, accusing Israel of "robbing us of all our rights, treading on our dignity and treating us like animals."

Comment: Well, that just sounds crazy, now doesn't it? Why would anyone believe that Israel, best friend of the US, would treat Palestinian prisoners like animals? Why, that sounds like just a bunch of anti-Semitic nonsense...

The Israel Prisons Authority and Palestinian spokesmen said striking prisoners declared they would live only on fluids until their demands are met. Internal Security Minister Tzahi Hanegbi, however, said Israel would not bow to pressure.

"As far as I'm concerned they can strike for a day, a month, until death. We will ward off this strike and it will be as if it never happened," he told reporters.

Comment: In other words, the Israeli internal security minister himself declared that Israel will treat prisoners like animals. Actually, there would probably be hordes of animal-rights activists marching through the streets if anyone treated animals so cruelly.

Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurie said in a statement any progress toward peace with Israel was contingent on resolving "this central and sensitive" issue.

NO CIGARETTES

Ofer Lefler, a Prisons Authority spokesman, said privileges such as cigarettes, sweets and television were taken away from the prisoners after they began the strike, which he described as a "disturbance."

He said if a prisoner became too emaciated "an ethical committee" would decide whether to begin force feeding.

Israeli officials said they feared closer contact with the outside world through more visits and phone calls would enable prisoners to help militants at large plan attacks on Israelis.

In the latest violence, a Palestinian stabbed an Israeli border policeman, who then shot and killed him outside Jerusalem's walled Old City, a police spokesman said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility and Israel Radio said it appeared the attacker was mentally ill.

Issa Qaraqe, a prisoners' rights activist in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, said the strike would spread from Israel's main prisons to detention camps in military bases.

Some 200 people in Bethlehem marched in support of the prisoners. A similar demonstration was held by prisoners' children in the Gaza town of Beit Hanoun.

In Lebanon, a support group for the last-remaining Lebanese prisoner in Israel, Samir al-Qantar, began a hunger strike in solidarity and demanded an international investigation into alleged abuses in Israeli jails.

"However hard it is for us, it's even harder for them," Qantar's sister Samira said, sitting in a stifling tent pitched for hunger-strikers outside Beirut's U.N. headquarters.

Qantar was sentenced to 542 years in jail for his role in a 1979 raid in northern Israel that killed a four-year-old girl, her father and a policeman.

Last January, Israel swapped about 400 prisoners, most of them Palestinian, for an Israeli civilian and the bodies of three soldiers who were captured in Lebanon in 2000, under a deal with the Lebanese Hizbollah guerrilla group.

Comment: And then the clincher: the Zionists running Israel seem to believe that one living and three deceased Israelis are worth several hundred Palestinian prisoners.

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Russia, US to hold joint naval drill

www.chinaview.cn 2004-08-14 21:37:08

MOSCOW, Aug. 14 (Xinhuanet) -- Russia and the United States will launch large-scale naval exercises in the Norwegian Sea in September, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov declared Saturday.

Russia's Northern Fleet will participate in the drill, which isaimed at training operational compatibility of the naval forces ofboth sides, Ivanov said after talks with his US counterpart Donald Rumsfeld in Saint Petersburg, the second largest city of Russia.

The Russian minister hailed the growing cooperation between the defense agencies of Russia and the United States, adding that over 20 joint events in the framework of bilateral relations have been conducted since the beginning of this year.

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EU orders health ID cards for all tourists

By Andy McSmith, Political Editor
The Independent
15 August 2004

Britons travelling in Europe are to be issued with a new card to give them swift access to the health service when they fall ill. The technology for issuing the cards - which could be a forerunner to more widespread identity cards - is being prepared by the Department of Health, on instructions from the EU Commission, which wants a standard card in use across all 25 EU states.

Travellers may welcome the new cards, which will be available from 1 January 2006, because they will be free and less complicated than the E1-11 form Britons are supposed to fill in before leaving for the Continent. Most tourists ignore the form and hope that they do not suffer health problems while they are away.

But the cards will get a mixed reception from those who are fighting a battle against government plans to compel all British citizens to register for ID cards.

John Reid, the Secretary of State for Health, is keen to introduce the cards as a means of preventing "health tourists" heading to Britain and taking advantage of free treatment on the NHS.

Simon Davies, director general of Privacy International, warned: "We knew from the very beginning of ID cards' gestation that access to the NHS was one of their core targets. If there is an economic argument for ID cards, this is it."

Barry Hugill of the civil rights organisation Liberty said: "We can never have any objection to sensible measures which are just a way of making it simpler to obtain health care, but we fear that what the Government will do is use it as a way of preparing public opinion for their much wider ID proposal."

David Blunkett, the Home Secretary, also wants to introduce them as an anti-crime measure. He believes that ID cards would make it harder for terrorists to operate in Britain, and would reduce the number of cases of fraud and theft in which criminals use false identities.

He says that all British adults should be compelled to register for the purpose of obtaining an ID card, just as they are compelled to register to vote. However, since the cards are likely to replace driving licences and passports, they would in effect become compulsory for anyone who wants to drive, travel abroad, use the NHS, or receive state benefits.

His plans were criticised by the CBI last week, because the Government is not prepared to accept responsibility when companies use information that appears on the ID registry which then turns out to be incorrect.

Another problem, which neither the Home Office nor the Health Department has yet solved, is that there are many foreign residents in Britain who would not be entitled to an ID card, even though they do qualify for free health care.

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Police want you to pay for their wire taps

By JIM BRONSKILL
Canadian Press

Ottawa — Canada's police chiefs propose a surcharge of about 25 cents on monthly telephone and Internet bills to cover the cost of tapping into the communications of terrorists and other criminals.

The suggestion is intended to resolve a standoff between police forces and telecommunications companies over who should foot the expense of providing investigators with access to phone calls and e-mail messages.

Police say they cannot — and should not — be forced to pay the often hefty costs involved in carrying out court-approved wiretaps and message searches, warning that investigations will suffer if they are expected to pick up the tab.

"This is a very, very serious issue for us. It has a potential for really paralyzing operations," said Supt. Tom Grue, a member of the law amendments committee of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police.

[...] Under the federal proposals, service providers would be required, when upgrading their systems, to build in the technical capabilities needed by police and intelligence agencies, such as the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, to easily tap communications.

The controversy revolves around the ongoing costs of looking up phone numbers, hooking up to networks and relaying communications from one city to another — individual services that may cost anywhere from pocket change to thousands of dollars.

Currently, a hodgepodge of payment practices applies, from negotiation of fees by the parties involved to refusal by some police forces to accept the bills.

Supt. Grue, a member of the Edmonton police force, said the costs should be spread as widely as possible to avoid unduly burdening a small number of parties.

The association of police chiefs, which represents the majority of Canadian forces, argues one way to accomplish that is adding a fee to each subscriber's monthly telephone, cellular or Internet bill.

"We're thinking, amongst ourselves, 25 cents. Whether that would cover off all the costs, we don't know. We haven't done the analysis on it," Supt. Grue said.

"But if you impose too great of a burden or put too high of a fee, then it becomes less and less attractive, obviously."

[...] For the police, it's a matter of principle.

"From our perspective, it's a very slippery slope to start paying for the execution of search warrants or any kind of a court order," said Supt. Grue.

[...] Mr. Copeland said if subscribers end up funding the surveillance effort through monthly fees, Canadians would "demand a great deal more explanation" about the initiative and how it affects their constitutional and privacy rights.

And should the money come from law-enforcement budgets, the public will be contributing "out the back door" through tax revenues, he noted.

"One way or another, Canadians are going to pay."

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160 killed in UN refugee camp

AFP
August 15, 2004

(Gatumbra, Burundi) - Nearly 160 people were shot, hacked and burnt to death at a Tutsi refugee camp in Burundi in an overnight attack the country's president blamed on elements from the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.

At least 159 people were killed and 110 injured in an attack last night on the Gatumba refugee camp, which lies just inside the border with the DRC, near the capital Bujumbura, the military said.

"We have counted 159 dead," spokesman Major Adolphe Manirakiza said. "What has happened is abominable," he said.

Burundi's Hutu rebel National Liberation Forces (FNL) immediately claimed responsibility for the raid, but President Domitien Ndayizeye insisted it had been carried out by foreign assailants.

"Our country has been attacked, our border has been violated by elements coming from the DRC to massacre Congolese civilians who had asked for asylum," he told reporters at the Gatumba camp.

"At the government level, we are obliged to take steps to ensure that justice is done, for those who have committed this crime to be punished."
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Most of the refugees at the Gatumba camp are Banyamulenge, people of ethnic Tutsi origin, who fled the Sud-Kivu region in the east of the DRC earlier this year during an uprising in the town of Bukavu.

"According to early observations, there is a coalition which carried out this unspeakable massacre against the Banyamulenge people," Ndayizeye said.

"Those killed are civilians, children, women and youths."

The charred bodies of women and children were heaped up inside torched huts in the camp on Saturday, according to an AFP reporter at the scene.

The victims were shot, hacked to death with machetes or burnt inside their homes. Survivors clung to each other, shocked and weeping, as the wounded were evacuated towards two hospitals in Bujumbura, 20km east.

The president said the assailants spoke various DRC dialects, as well as the Burundian national language Kirundi and other regional tongues, according to early investigation results and witness reports.

Several survivors meanwhile accused the DRC army and Hutu extremists of carrying out the massacre, which they described as a "genocide".

"It was the soldiers of General Buja Mabe, who already carried out the massacre in Bukavu, who attacked our camp, along with Mai Mai fighters allied with the Interahamwe and the FNL", said an official at the camp, on condition of anonymity.

"They came last night at 10pm (0600 AEST) and for an hour and a half carried out a veritable genocide, targeting huts to attack," said the official, whose testimony was corroborated by several witnesses.

General Buja Mabe is in command of the DRC region bordering Burundi and was involved in a crackdown on a band of dissident troops lead by Tutsi officers in the Bukavu region in May and June.

The Mai Mai are a tribe of traditional Congolese fighters, while the Interahamwe are Rwandan Hutu extremists who fled into eastern DRC after carrying out much of the killing in the Rwandan genocide of 1994.

A spokesman for the FNL, the country's only remaining active rebel group, earlier claimed the raid, saying it followed several days of attacks against them by the Burundi military.

However rebel spokesman Pasteur Habimana insisted that the victims were fighters in uniform who had taken refuge inside the camp. "Banyamulenge were killed, they were people in military uniform, who were armed and who fired at us," he said.

Burundi is slowly emerging from a civil war that began in 1993 and has so far claimed some 300,000 lives. The FNL has consistently refused to join a peace deal which last November formed a power-sharing Hutu-Tutsi government.

Sixteen of the country's 17 provinces are now at peace, but the army and the main former Hutu rebel movement, the Forces for the Defence of Democracy (FDD), the continue to mount joint operations against the FNL in rural Bujumbura, the province surrounding the capital.

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Rise in ritual murders disturbing

Herald Reporter
Saturday, 14 August 2004

AS the sun sets, an indelible feeling of grief takes its toll on the Marowa family.

Preparations for supper are temporarily shelved as the whole family sits quietly, huddled in a corner, overwhelmed by grief as they remember the death of their six-year-old Tinashe, a few weeks ago.

Each member of the family seems to be thinking of what he or she could have done to avert the gruesome murder of Tinashe whose little body was found thrown in a disused pit, a few metres away from the familys garden, a week after he had been reported missing.

Even the community seems not to get over the death of the little boy. For weeks they have kept their ears primed for any news of the killer.

Each passing day seems to instill a new fear within the community, but they faithfully hope that the slayer will be caught.

The abduction and subsequent murder of children in recent months has become worrisome, unleashing a wave of terror in a Zimbabwean society which abhors crime and violence.

Once regarded as a phenomenon of developed countries, abductions and murders appear to be getting slowly ingrained in the country, judging by cases that the police now have to deal with on a regular basis.

Hardly a week passes without a child being reported missing and in some instances even raped by some unknown assailants.

As a result, many parents are now living in fear and have since increased their security measures fearing that their children could be next in line.

What is even disturbing is some kind of a "symbiotic link" between missing persons and eventually the murders of the very same persons.

The incident that quickly comes to mind is that of the late six-year-old Norton schoolgirl, Isabel Makusha, who was found dead after being reported missing, in one of the most bizarre and gruesome murders the country has ever witnessed.

Isabels body was found dumped about one-and- a-half kilometres from Norton Police Station, where she lived with her parents, a week after she had been reported missing when she did not return home from nearby Dudley Hall Primary where she was in Grade One.

She was found with her genitals and other body parts missing and the police suspect that the girl was killed for ritual purposes.

Even more chilling is the fact that Isabel was sexually abused and refrigerated for a few days before being dumped.

In yet another shocking incident, police in Chiredzi recovered the skull of an 11-year-old Chiredzi girl in a sugar cane field in June.

The girl had gone missing from her parents home in February.

Mary Musaigwas skull was found at Triangle Sugar Estates by an employee who was setting fire to the sugarcane.

It is believed that the girl, who was reported missing on February 25, this year from her parents house at Muleme Primary School in Hippo Valley Estate, could have been murdered by an unknown assailant for ritual purposes.

Although one is tempted to dismiss these incidents as isolated, they have sent shivers among parents and children not only in Norton and Chiredzi but, throughout the country.

There are also reported cases of children who have gone missing only to be found after they have been abused. Some have gone missing for months now and are yet to be found.

Not so long ago, a David Livingstone Primary School girl Rumala from Kuwadzana disappeared and was never found. Her shoes were discovered hundreds of kilometres a way in Shamva district in Mashonaland Central.

In May this year a nine-year-old girl disappeared from school and ended up in Chihota communal lands before a relative returned her home in Highfield, Harare.

It has since been established that the girl was abused and the alleged abuser has since been arrested and now faces charges of kidnapping, rape and indecent assault.

Child Protection Society information officer Mr Usheunesu Moyo said children were no longer safe.

He said the prevailing socio-economic situation in the country has left many people desperate, some with psychotic disorders and others driven to gruesome acts like ritual murder in a vain attempt to alleviate their plight.

"We will not hold our peace when ghoulish rape and ghastly murders are increasingly becoming the order of the day," he said.

According to sociologists, reasons for abduction and murder were diverse but more often than not these killers often murder children for ritual purposes.

Children are often targeted for ritual murders because it is believed that their young bodies produce the best juju, especially when it comes to enhancing a business enterprise.

However, it has since been established that there is no such thing, but people are often hoodwinked by some bogus traditional healers into believing that it works.

These claims have put the future of children in a precarious position and could further worsen unless meaningful measures are taken to curb the practice.

It is now imperative for the Government to come up with stiff penalties for those who perpetrate such heinous acts.

While the nation is trying to come to grips with these horrifying acts, the problem seems to be growing to unimaginable proportions in several countries, where abductions and subsequent deaths of children in suspected ritual killings occur on a regular basis.

In neighbouring South Africa, ritual killings continue to haunt the citizenry and there seems to be no solution in sight.

The suspected ritual killings are not only confined to children but include adults, if statistics are anything to go by.

Conservative estimates are that at least 300 people have been murdered for their body parts in the past decade in South Africa. And Dr Anthony Minnar, of the Institute for Human Rights and Criminal Justice in South Africa, fears the toll could be much higher. "We have children going missing every week from our townships," he says.

"The assumption is that those missing children are being put into prostitution and also that they are being used for muti murder.". . . But the police have found it difficult to investigate because in such cases, no one is prepared to come forward.

Similarly in London, the phenomena seems to be catching up with the dwellers of this developed nation, who now live in constant fear following the discovery of the torso of a boy in the Thames River last September.

Whether or not he was indeed the United Kingdoms first recorded victim of a muti killing, the Metropolitan Police are convinced it was ritualistic. Their worst fear is that if indeed the boy was killed for ritual purposes, the killer will strike again. But when, is the question they cannot answer, but they are indeed haunted, like millions of Zimbabweans who also now in fear for the safety of their children.

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Greenland ice core project yields probable ancient plant remains

University of Colorado
13-Aug-2004

The sediment sampler was hammered into the ground under the ice in order to recover sediment samples. It is here filled with a mixture of mud and ice.
Full size image available through contact

A team of international researchers working on the North Greenland Ice Core Project recently recovered what appear to be plant remnants nearly two miles below the surface between the bottom of the glacial ice and the bedrock.

Researchers from the project, known as NGRIP, said particles found in clumps of reddish material recovered from the frozen, muddy ice in late July look like pine needles, bark or blades of grass. Thought to date to several million years ago before the last ice age during the Pleistocene epoch smothered Greenland, the material will be analyzed in several laboratories, said researchers.

The suspected plant material under about 10,400 feet of ice indicates the Greenland Ice Sheet "formed very fast," said NGRIP project leader Dorthe Dahl-Jensen, a professor at the University of Copenhagen's Niels Bohr Institute. "There is a big possibility that this material is several million years old -- from a time when trees covered Greenland," she said.

People are pulling and pushing to guide the 3 ton winch up through the narrow passage to the surface from 8 meters depth. In the other end, the camp bulldozer is pulling hard.

"Several of the pieces look very much like blades of grass or pine needles," said University of Colorado at Boulder geological sciences Professor James White, a NGRIP principal investigator. "If confirmed, this will be the first organic material ever recovered from a deep ice-core drilling project," said White, also a fellow of CU-Boulder's Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research.

The ice cores in which the reddish material was found also contain a high content of trapped gas, which is expected to help researchers determine what the area's climate history was like on an annual basis during the past 123,000 years.

Each yearly record of ice can reveal past temperatures and precipitation levels, the content of ancient atmospheres and even evidence for the timing, direction and magnitude of distant storms, fires and volcanic eruptions, said White.

NGRIP is an international project with participants from Denmark, Germany, Japan, the United States, Switzerland, France, Sweden, Belgium and Iceland. NGRIP is funded by the participating countries, including the U.S. National Science Foundation.

The cores from NGRIP are cylinders of ice four inches in diameter that were brought to the surface in 11.5-foot lengths. Developed by the NGRIP research team, the specialized deep ice drill has been used to bore several deep ice cores.

The NGRIP drilling site is located roughly in the middle of Greenland at an elevation of about 9,850 feet. The temperature in the subsurface trenches where ice-core scientists worked is minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit.

CU-Boulder doctoral student Trevor Popp of INSTAAR was the lead driller on the 2004 NGRIP effort. Another CU-Boulder graduate student, Annalisa Schilla, also participated in the 2004 NGRIP field season.

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Charley Damage Estimated at $11 Billion

By BRENDAN FARRINGTON, Associated Press Writer
August 15, 2004

PUNTA GORDA, Fla. - As the remnants of Hurricane Charley disintegrated off the New England coast on Sunday, Florida residents began the massive task of cleaning up from a storm that state officials estimated caused damages as high as $11 billion for insured homes alone.

President Bush flew over the most heavily damaged areas in a Marine helicopter Sunday before landing in this retirement haven of 15,000 people, which was devastated by Charley. The storm killed at least 13 people in Florida — including a man who was crushed outside his home when a banyan tree fell on him — and left thousands temporarily homeless. [...]

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Wildfire Sweeps by Old Calif. Mining Town

AP
Sun Aug 15, 6:23 AM ET


REDDING, Calif. - A wind-fueled wildfire roared through an old mining town near Redding on Sunday, destroying 20 homes and forcing nearly 125 residents to flee, officials said. The blaze broke out Saturday afternoon and quickly grew to 2,500 acres, sweeping through the mountain community of French Gulch, about 20 miles east of Redding, said Linda Galvan, spokeswoman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The fire threatened nearly 100 homes and destroyed two commercial buildings.

"It didn't take long for this one to move through," Galvan said. "The winds are very erratic and going in every direction."

About 450 personnel worked to contain the fire, which was burning out of control and could expand to 5,000 acres by late Sunday morning, officials said. Firefighters were able to save several buildings, including a church, post office and elementary school, from the flames.

The cause was still under investigation. [...]

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Pope celebrates Mass at site of Extra-terrestrial vision

Battling age and illness, Pope John Paul II has celebrated an open-air Mass at the Roman Catholic shrine in Lourdes, south-western France. [...]

It was in Lourdes that a 14-year-old French girl, Bernadette Soubirous, claimed to have witnessed a series of visions of the Virgin Mary in a cave in the mid-19th Century.

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