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Friday, August 20, 2004

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New! Film Review: The Manchurian Candidate

Picture of the Day

Lightning in August
©2004 Pierre-Paul Feyte

Now we know for sure they lied about 9/11

John Kaminski

I challenge anyone to watch the new "911 In Plane Site" video and still believe the government's story that a jet airliner full of passengers hit the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. It simply can't be done. I'll bet anyone any amount of anything that they just can't do it.

Utilizing footage from TV networks — often stuff that was shown only one time and never seen again — the Power Hour radio show's Dave Von Kleist methodically provides proof positive that the government lied about what happened in Washington on that fateful day, an event that was the culmination of the greatest sneak attack in American history.

The damning images of flames raging inside the Pentagon behind an unbroken wall with many unbroken windows and an unbroken roof line clearly demonstrates that whatever caused the explosion and fire inside America's most secure building, coupled with no significant trace of airplane wreckage at any time during the disaster, was no giant airliner.

It wasn't until long after the fire began that the roof finally collapsed, and even then, the hole that was created in no way resembles the ghastly imprint two other jets left when they struck the World Trade Center towers in New York City mere minutes before.

What this means for the American people is that the story President Bush, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, and all those other government officials told the world that day is a lie, a gigantic and bald-faced lie.

A hijacked airliner never hit the Pentagon, and this film proves it. As VonKleist, who both wrote and produced this masterpiece, asks in the film, "How does a plane 125 feet wide and 155 feet long fit into a hole which is only 16 feet across?"

Since day one, the only thing that every single, skeptical 9/11 researcher has ever wanted during all the research they have undertaken during the past three years is one single, irrefutable fact that could disprove the government's blatant lie. Because proving one lie means their whole story is false. One provable lie means 9/11 is not what they said it was.

This is the film that does it. And this is a development in the 9/11 story that no one in America or the world can afford to ignore.

Indictments and arrests should begin immediately based on this film alone. Top members of the government lied about what happened. This is a statement that can no longer be challenged as false. It is now up to American law enforcement officials to act in this matter, or the American people will realize our leaders are allowed the break the law, and the laws no longer apply to them.

And the Pentagon revelation is only the start of this remarkable film, a 70-minute documentary that delves into only four major aspects of Sept. 11.

Having viewed this film with two relatives who did believe the government's story prior to viewing, I interpreted the ashen looks on their faces as a valid testament to the movie's power. Before seeing it, they basically believed what they'd heard on TV about what happened on 9/11. Afterwards, they both told me that they no longer did.

After the Pentagon segment, Von Kleist turns his attention to the plume, a giant puff of smoke that rises from the base of the Twin Towers PRIOR to their collapse. Although Von Kleist doesn't say so (and doesn't really make any conclusions in his objective presentation of film fact), the viewer is left to contemplate whether this was the explosion that brought down the towers. A great clip of firemen describing how the buildings were demolished leaves viewers with that distinct impression.

The most controversial aspect of the film, one which led me and other potential reviewers to express reservations about the film before we'd actually seen it, was the inclusion of material from Phil Jayhan's letsroll911.org website, the most astounding aspect of which is footage that shows both jetliners appearing to fire missiles at the towers in the instant before impact.

It simply sounded too preposterous. It sounded as untenable as the hologram theory. Many of us worried it was deliberate disinformation, designed to destroy the 9/11 skeptics movement.

You need to see it. Four different people with four different cameras recorded it. I am no photographic expert. I can't tell you when a film has been tampered with or when it hasn't. I can only tell you what I saw. It looks real, and the patient pacing of Von Kleist's explanation will make it most difficult for you to deny what you are seeing.

But my initial fear that the 9/11 truth movement could be hurt by this footage was completely erased after I saw the Pentagon segment, because if people watch that, they will have no alternative but to realize that their leaders are criminals — liars, traitors and mass murderers — who have covered up the truth about 9/11 because they were involved in it.

This is not a conspiracy theory. These are facts recorded on film. See it for yourself. You can't afford not to. After all, what is at stake is the future of freedom, and that's not an exaggeration.

And all the subsequent carnage that Bush and his criminal friends have inflicted on the world is predicated on this one colossal lie.

No jetliner hit the Pentagon. This film proves it. This film proves the government lied — big time — about what happened on 9/11. Think about the people who are involved in this lie. Everybody on television. Everybody at the major newspapers. Everybody in the Congress. Thousands of people.

Think about all the lives that have been needlessly thrown away as a result of this lie.

Think about America. It's a lie. This film proves it.

I talked with Phil Jayhan last night. I told him that I was not a film expert, but that the missile footage looked real to me. And I congratulated him on the tireless outreach he's done on this project. More than any other 9/11 researcher, he has contacted more people and produced more results than anybody else.

We had argued about this issue in the past. I worried if the missile footage were proven to false or tampered with, the whole movement could be hurt.

I no longer believe that the missile footage — should it somehow be proven false — can hurt the 9/11 skeptics movement, in large part because the Pentagon footage was so masterfully presented that no one in their right mind can deny that no hijacked airliner hit the Pentagon.

I have previously advocated that the time the towers took to fall was the smoking gun of 9/11, because that indicated the WTC buildings had been demolished, since they fell at the same speed as debris off to the side. Jayhan responded that Twin Tower demolition could one day be explained away as a way to prevent more deaths than actually happened. I had to agree the perps could do that, if their demolition scheme were ever to be revealed to the public.

But, Jayhan stressed, there can be no alternative reason for a plane firing missiles at the towers just before impact.

See the film. Make your own decision.

Writer/producer Von Kleist, director William Lewis and Power Hour Productions deserve all the credit possible for bringing this presentation to the world. This could in fact be the one item that finally overturns the coverup.

Every American should see this film. And every cop, too. And perhaps if there is a prosecutor remaining in America with a scintilla of honesty and integrity, he should consider this video as prima facie evidence in the greatest crime in American history, and maybe do something about that.

To order the film, go to http://www.thepowerhour.com/

To see clips of the missile firing, check out http://letsroll911.org/

John Kaminski is the author of "America's Autopsy Report," a collection of his Internet essays seen on hundreds of websites around the world. More recently he has written "The Day America Died: Why You Shouldn't Believe the Official Story of What Happened on September 11, 2001," a 48-page booklet aimed at those who still believe the government's version of events on that fateful day. A second collection of his essays, titled "The Perfect Enemy," is in press and should be available in September 2004. For more information see http://www.johnkaminski.com/

Comment: We agree with Kaminski that the "crash" at the Pentagon is the key to understanding the lies and manipulation of 9/11. It is the piece that confirms government involvement.

We note, however, this info has been available for two years. Thierry Meyssan wrote a book, Pentagate, in French in 2002 that documents the explosion at the Pentagon. This was the follow-up to his initial look at the question, The Big Lie. For those of you who read French, the book is available in pdf on the Pentagate site. A more humorous look at the Pentagon explosion can be found here.

The question now is: What will Americans do with this information? How many will see the video? Of those who see the video, how many will act upon it?

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Police Turn Up Volume for GOP Convention

Thu Aug 19 2004
By TOM HAYS, Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK - Forget the megaphones. Police will have a much more high-tech — and louder — option to make themselves heard over the din of Manhattan traffic and noisy protesters outside the Republican National Convention.

It's called the Long Range Acoustic Device, developed for the military and capable of blasting warnings, orders or anything else at an ear-splitting 150 decibels.

Authorities on Thursday unveiled a mini-arsenal of devices and counterterrorism equipment they're getting ready for the convention, which opens a week from Monday.

The sound machines are being tested at an airfield in a remote section of Brooklyn along with other devices such as hand-held radiation detectors — for a possible "dirty bomb" — and mechanical barriers strong enough to stop a moving vehicle in its tracks.

At the Brooklyn training site on Thursday, police practiced disarming a truck bomb at a checkpoint. Scores of officers also made mock arrests of police academy cadets who posed as protesters.

Chanting "no justice, no peace," the cadets surrounded a bus full of "delegates" before officers in riot gear raced in, slapped on plastic "flex cuffs" and led them away to vans.

The demonstration was intended to show how the nation's largest police department hopes "to put a comprehensive security net over Madison Square Garden and the rest of the city," said Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.

"I think you'll see we're prepared."

The department recently bought two of the 45-pound acoustic sound machines for $35,000 apiece, and plans to mount them on Humvees posted outside Madison Square Garden. It would mark the first time the instrument — which can beam sounds for 300 yards or more — has been used by a civilian force.

"We believe we'd be able to use them in a number of scenarios," said Paul Browne, the police department's chief spokesman.

Two possible uses cited by Browne: directing crowds to safety following a terrorist attack or other calamity, and reminding protesters where they're allowed to march and rally.

The military, which has used the machines in Iraq, bills them as a "non-lethal weapon" designed to disperse hostile crowds or ward off potential foreign combatants by delivering prerecorded warnings in several languages and, if needed, an earsplitting screeching noise. But police insist the latter feature won't be used at the convention.

"It's only to communicate in large crowds," Inspector Thomas Graham of the department's crowd control unit said Thursday.

Graham said police had tried out the device in Times Square, and found it delivered clear, even sound over four blocks. Decibel readers will be used to keep the volume at a safe level, he added.

Still, Bill Dobbs of United for Peace and Justice, which has planned a massive anti-war demonstration on the eve of the convention, called the sound system "a potential Big Brother nightmare."

Police "are trying to use technology and machinery to control every aspect of life on the street, rather than relax a little and let a part of democratic society unfold," he said.

Mobile metal barriers — a variation of those installed outside government buildings, courthouses and embassies — will form a series of checkpoints around the arena. Once a bus, truck or car is secured between two barriers, it will be screened for bombs or other contraband by cameras that provide real-time video images from underneath.

Comment: If our readers remember, we have been saying for many months now that the development of these supposedly "non-lethal" weapons has little to do with "policing" the streets of Baghdad, since more lethal force is preferred for the "rag heads", and more to do with suppressing "domestic terrorism" on the streets of the "the greatest democracy on earth". But don't take our word for it, just go and try to exercise your fictional democratic and civil rights at the Republican convention.

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On your knees domestic terrorist!

Elite cops flood tubes

Riding the subways instead of their desks

By MICHELE McPHEE and GREG GITTRICH
Daily News Exclusive

Hundreds of detectives in the NYPD's elite specialized units are being ordered to put aside cases and ride the rails as extra security as early as this weekend, the Daily News has learned.

Narcotics, vice, gang and organized crime investigators will join hundreds of transit and patrol cops on the subways - creating a formidable underground police force to combat terror threats leading up to and during the Republican National Convention, sources said.

A directive, handed down by Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly on Wednesday night, requires many of the detectives to don uniforms, although some will remain in plainclothes, police sources said.

"It's going to be massive," said a Brooklyn detective. "They want a uniformed cop on every train."

Most detectives will move underground Monday afternoon but some will begin as soon as this weekend, sources said.

The extra manpower will remain in place until President Bush and other Republican honchos leave town.

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T-shirt tolerance: Bush loses test

The question: Which presidential campaign better tolerates dissent? The experiment: A man wears a Kerry-Edwards shirt to a rally for Dictator Bush, then a Bush for President shirt to a Kerry rally.

Result: Bush people make him remove his shirt, and give him the boot. The Kerry people don't make a peep. It turns out the Bush-Cheney campaign acts pre-emptively against what it regards as "suspicious" attendees. [...]

Comment: Should everyone vote for Kerry then? Hardly. Kerry's ticket is the "Bush is a warmonger" schtick, which is only useful while he remains outside the White House. Once installed, all bets are off.

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The Return of Racial Profiling

Back with a Vengeance

By GREG BATES
August 20, 2004

Racial profiling is back. Not that it ever left. But for a time it was unacceptable for commentators to argue that law enforcement should target suspects based on skin color. Today, it's the edgy thing to advocate. This isn't racism, the claim goes, but expediency in the post-911 world.

Of course, it's always the appeal to higher values that allows racism to flourish. Prior to the civil rights movement, for example, many advocates of segregation claimed it was in the best interests of everyone. Blacks benefited from and wanted the system, it was argued. And today, it's easy to see the comparable argument about universal benefits for racial profiling of, say, airline passengers: everyone, even those targeted, is safer when those who fit the profile of a terrorist are subject to increased search.

The argument was cogently summed up by Rudy Maxa, the travel expert in residence on the public radio program Marketplace, August 11, 2004:

"No subject is more controversial right now than racial or ethnic profiling. Paying special attention to passengers of Middle East descent can get an airline in trouble. Pull more than two such passengers aside per flight for special scrutiny, and an airline risks a lawsuit. But captured al Qaeda documents show that Arab men are probing for weaknesses in U.S. security. So, is secondary profiling at airports a civil rights violation? I say no. Not if done efficiently and with respect and courtesy. Political correctness mustn't get in the way of security"

It's a compelling argument-but it's flawed, and we may discover that flaw to be a fatal one. Once again we are imposing burdens on people of color to make life easier for whites. It's tempting to distance the old racism from the new pragmatism. The old arguments were moral reasons often claiming to be grounded in religious scripture. The new ones are simply a matter of statistics; it's more likely that a terrorist is from the Middle East and has a swarthy complexion.

Not so fast. The old racism used science too. The argument for segregation rested on science-we had to keep the races from mixing in order to prevent blacks from dragging down the superior brilliance of white folk. Today, thanks in part to Stephen Jay Gould's classic, The Mismeasure of Man which debunked the claim that whites had bigger brains, we understand that science to have been hopelessly warped by the culture of the times, a fig leaf to hide racism, and flat out wrong. Gould demonstrated that scientists of the day literally mismeasured brain casings to get data that helped justify the dominance of whites. When Gould measured the space inside the same skulls, he got different results that destroyed the claims supported by earlier data. Researchers of the day, Gould suggests, weren't rigging the data, but were so much a product of their culture that even the collection of data could be distorted.

Today's appeal to statistics as a justification for racial and ethnic profiling is also constrained by cultural values, racist and totally wrong. We live in a culture ruled by the twin values of convenience and cost effectiveness. Profiling is convenient because it makes life easier for the large segment of travelers who can avoid the hassle. In an airport, this is an important customer service function: escalating hassle works against the desire to travel, potentially dampening sales of tickets, at least to those traveling for pleasure. Second, profiling reins in costs by keeping the intensive searches down to a selective few. The government, or the airlines, or whoever is paying the security costs pay less.

Because racial profiling happens not only to be convenient and cost effective but also based on statistical data, we tend to see it not as racist, but as scientific. That's exactly the trap that scientists of earlier days fell into when measuring brain sizes of the various races. Far from being reassuring, the support that science seems to lend to racism ought to raise that age old caveat: is this deal too good to be true? Do we really see the data clearly, or are our cultural values playing tricks on us?

It isn't that the need for security is a myth. Airport security is a serious concern, brought on by the fact that the U.S. is killing civilians around the world (last count over 3,000 in Afghanistan and 10,000 to 37,000 in Iraq, just to cite two examples), as well as financing and training dictators. It's no mystery that the number of people organizing to strike back at us is probably growing. Their violence is reprehensible, just as ours is. But if we're going to insist on empire, then heightened airport security is part of the cost of doing our grisly business.

Giving up on empire, on the interventions we undertake to accomplish it and turning instead to support international law to resolve conflicts might be the best means of assuring safety. By making the world a safer place we could not only reduce war, we might also reduce the need for high security measures. These measures are not only costly but are a threat to liberty themselves. Because they rely on intensive data collection, their potential for abuse by authorities has civil libertarians rightly worried. In early August 2004, it was revealed that the Department of Homeland Security had been given detailed location and national-origin data on Arab Americans. Census data has already been used to round up American citizens and throw them in camps. Last time it was those of Japanese origin in World War II. Dismissing concerns about the potential for abuse as little more than whinings about "political correctness" ignores the unpleasant lessons of U.S. history: It could happen again. Whether it is done "efficiently and with respect and courtesy," isn't the point.

Assuming we aren't going to forego empire, people will continue clamoring for just this sort of information gathering, all too happy to swap a vague threat of abuse for security against the terrorism we have experienced as a nation.

But how could the simple scientific assumption that we can use statistics of racial profiling to ferret out terrorists be wrong?

As Maxa notes, terrorists are constantly looking for weaknesses in the security system that they can exploit. And the 911 terrorists adeptly exploited loopholes of the time by not fitting the profile of terrorists of the day-they had no guns or bombs, just box cutters that could be passed under the nose of security agents without raising alarm.

Racial profiling could become the new loophole. Terrorists groups, by keeping their more swarthy comrades in background support roles, could use lighter skinned people in the more public roles to actually carry out the terrorism. To further evade racial profiling, such a group could be heavily comprised of women. As the U.S. persists in its bellicosity, there's no telling who might resist by joining such groups. The profiling markers of nationality, race and religion could become irrelevant-and by skillful evasion of them could be used to cover terrorist plans.

In order to prevent terrorists from exploiting the loophole provided by the science of racial profiling, we must abandon those values of cost effectiveness, customer service-and racism-in favor of screening everyone to an equal level. Racial and ethnic profiling must go.

Comment: Better yet, why not get to the truth of 9/11 and the so-called war on terror??

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Washington, D.C., Not Baghdad, Threatening Our Liberties

By Pastor Chuck Baldwin
August 20, 2004
NewsWithViews.com

Not since the Bolshevik revolution in Russia and the Nazi takeover in Germany has a western nation seen the kind of collapse of individual freedom that the United States of America is currently seeing. Under President George W. Bush, the constitutional protections of our liberties are speedily vanishing. News reports of the demise of our freedoms are so common it is difficult to keep up with all of them.

For example, the August 16 edition of Newsweek reports, "Rep. Porter Goss, President Bush's nominee to head the CIA, recently introduced legislation that would give the president new authority to direct CIA agents to conduct law-enforcement operations inside the United States - including arresting American citizens.

"The legislation, introduced by Goss on June 16 and touted as an 'intelligence reform' bill, would substantially restructure the U.S. intelligence community by giving the director of the Central Intelligence (DCI) broad new powers to oversee its various components scattered throughout the government."

Another report of America's dissolving liberties was published by World Net Daily on June 21, 2004. It said, "President Bush plans to unveil next month a sweeping mental health initiative that recommends screening for every citizen and promotes the use of expensive antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs favored by supporters of the administration."

Can anyone imagine anything more Orwellian than allowing the federal government to be given the power to "screen" every American citizen? This is right out of Huxley's "Brave New World."

Another disturbing report comes from The New American. It told how the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the "right" of President Bush to suspend habeas corpus protections of U.S. citizens. The vote was 8-1 with only Justice Antonin Scalia dissenting.

The New American report said, "In an unusually pointed dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia condemned the majority decision for eviscerating the habeas corpus guarantee, which prevents the government from indefinitely imprisoning individuals without formal criminal charges or legal recourse.

"Invoking Alexander Hamilton's warning against Americans 'resort[ing] to repose and security to institutions which have a tendency to destroy their civil and political rights,' Scalia observes: 'The Founders warned us about the risk, and equipped us with a Constitution designed to deal with it.' However, he concludes, 'the Court has proceeded to meet the current emergency in a manner the Constitution doesn't envision'- one that may ultimately prove deadlier to our system of ordered liberty than anything al-Qaeda could inflict on us."

All Americans need to remember that it doesn't matter one iota whether it is a fascist-leaning conservative or a socialist-leaning liberal who attempts to steal our God-given liberties: each is equally a tyrant and should be vigorously opposed by liberty-loving people everywhere! Well did Benjamin Franklin say, "Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God."

The American people also need to realize that we are in a fight to preserve our liberties and that the major source of this attack against our freedoms is coming, not from Baghdad, but from Washington, D.C.

Therefore, be they Democrats or Republicans, men or women, whites or blacks, conservatives or liberals, Christians or pagans, all who attempt to use their political or judicial offices to trample our constitutionally protected liberties must be met with unyielding resistance.

Comment: Sure, everyone should "resist", but all should be cautious about walking into a trap set by the very government one is "resisting". Consider the possibility that the ultimate goal of the US government, and those that control it, is to send a very clear signal to the US population that dissent will not be tolerated. What better way to do so than to entice some of the people to revolt, label them "domestic terrorists" and suppress the dissent with brutal force. Alternatively, the repealing of many civil liberties may be in anticipation of some unforeseen outside threat which is about to feature on a possibly global scale.

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Security Official Apologizes to Kennedy

By LOLITA C. BALDOR
Associated Press Writer
Friday August 20, 2004 5:01 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) - A top Homeland Security official has apologized to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy who was stopped at airports because a name similar to his appeared on the government's no-fly list of terror suspects.

"If they have that kind of difficulty with a member of Congress, how in the world are average Americans, who are getting caught up in this thing, how are they going to be treated fairly and not have their rights abused?" Kennedy asked Homeland Security undersecretary Asa Hutchinson.

Comment: Average Americans are not going to be treated fairly - isn't that the whole point?

The Massachusetts Democrat said he'd been misidentified on the watch list when he tried to board airliners between Washington and Boston. Kennedy said he was stopped five times as he tried to board US Airways shuttles because a name similar to his appeared on a list or his name popped up for additional screening.

Hutchinson, who apologized for "any inconvenience" to the senator, testified Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the need for the federal government to take over the watch lists, which are currently administered by the airlines.

Another prominent Democratic member of Congress, Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, said Friday the same thing has happened to him for months. Lewis said he can't get an electronic ticket, must show extra identification and has his luggage combed through by hand.

"I said, 'I'm the most nonviolent person to get on this plane and the most peaceful person to get on this plane,'" said Lewis, a pioneer of the civil rights movement.

Lewis said one airline representative in Atlanta told him, "Once you're on the list, there's no way to get off it." Lewis said he filed a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security and even considered a lawsuit.

This week, Lewis got a call from another John Lewis - a faculty member at the University of Houston - who told him he also was on a no-fly list.

"It's weird," he said. "But I like being classed with Ted Kennedy and the congressman. It makes me feel more important."

Kennedy said he was stopped at airports in Washington, D.C., and Boston three times in March. Airline agents told him he would not be sold a ticket because his name was on a list.

When he asked the agent why, he was told, "We can't tell you."

Each time, a supervisor recognized Kennedy and got him on the flight. But after the third incident, Kennedy's staff called the Transportation Security Administration and asked to clear up the confusion.

The TSA said a name similar to Kennedy's was on the watch list, and that he was later flagged to go through additional screening. TSA also said that the airlines didn't handle the matter properly.

But twice after contacting TSA, Kennedy was stopped again at the airline counter.

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed lawsuits in San Francisco and Seattle over this issue, demanding that the government explain how wrongly flagged travelers can get off the lists.

Hutchinson said that people who experience problems can call the TSA ombudsman to clear things up.

Comment: Well, it seems we at Signs of the Times have been overreacting a bit. You see, this whole clampdown on civil liberties really isn't so bad after all. Obviously, losing your right to fly somewhere unmolested by security officers - for reasons which are classified - is easily compensated for by the fact that you get to feel like you rank right up there with stars like Ted Kennedy...

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Israeli army raids western Khan Younis

www.chinaview.cn 2004-08-20 09:12:45

GAZA, Aug. 19 (Xinhuanet) -- At least 30 Israeli army tanks and bulldozers that came out from the West settlement of Neveh Dekalim backed by Apache attack helicopters stormed on Thursday night western Khan Younis in southern Gaza Strip, eyewitnesses reported.

They said that storming the area is aiming apparently at destroying and razing houses in the outskirts of Khan Younis refugee camp closed to the settlement.

Helicopters fired heavy gunfire at the Palestinian area to cleanup the road for the tanks and bulldozers incursion into the area, they added.

On Wednesday, two Jewish settlers were injured, one of them seriously, in the settlement of Neveh Dekalim, west of Khan Younisas Palestinian militants fired mortar shells that landed into the settlement.

Palestinian security sources had also reported that several Israeli army tanks and armor personnel carriers raided the central area of the Gaza Strip, namely the central refugee camps of Nuseirat and al Bureij.

Meanwhile, medical Palestinian sources reported that two Palestinian children were injured, one of them is seriously in the village of Ein Yabrood near Ramallah in the West Bank.

They said that the two children were playing at one of the village's streets and then suddenly a huge explosion was heard, adding that an explosive device that was kept in the area exploded as the children touched it.

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Iran: Israel needs US's OK to attack our reactor

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Aug. 19, 2004 19:44
TEHRAN


A day after an Iranian official threatened to destroy Israel's Dimona nuclear reactor, charges from Iranian Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani that Israel would try to coordinate an attack on Iran with the United States were aired.

"It's certain to us that Israel won't carry out any military action without a green light from America. So, you can't separate the two," said Shamkhani in an interview with Al-Jazeera that aired late Wednesday night.

On Tuesday, the deputy chief of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard said Iran would destroy the Dimona nuclear reactor if Israel were to attack Iran's nuclear facilities. Israel has not threatened to attack Iran's Bushehr reactor, but it has said it will not allow Iran to build a nuclear bomb.

In 1981, Israeli pilots destroyed a nuclear reactor under construction outside Baghdad because Israel feared Iraq would acquire a nuclear weapon.

The nuclear issue is only one of many over which Iran is at odds with the United States, with which it has not had diplomatic relations since the 1979 Islamic revolution toppled the US-backed shah of Iran.

Shamkhani also expressed his government's deep disquiet at having American troops in neighboring Iraq and Afghanistan, and hinted that some Iranian generals believe they should strike first if they sense an imminent US threat.

Asked how Iran would respond should America attack its nuclear facilities, Shamkhani said: "We will not sit to wait for what others will do to us. There are differences of opinion among military commanders (in Iran). Some commanders believe preventive operations is not a model created by Americans... or is not limited to Americans. Any nation, if it feels threatened, may resort to that."

Shamkhani spoke in Farsi with an Arabic voiceover in Wednesday's broadcast. Al-Jazeera provided a transcript of Shamkhani's Farsi comments to The Associated Press on Thursday.

US President George W. Bush has labeled Iran part of an "axis of evil" along with North Korea and prewar Iraq, but US officials have said recently they are sticking to diplomacy, not force, to try to end what they call Iran's drive for nuclear weapons. Iran, which says its nuclear ambitions are peaceful, has shown increasing defensiveness under a US campaign to get the UN Security Council to impose sanctions on Iran for its nuclear activities.

"The moment the great Satan (America) decides to take military action against us, that moment will be the end of all our nuclear obligations," Shamkhani said, referring to Iran's cooperation with the UN nuclear watchdog.

Earlier this month, Iran confirmed it had resumed building nuclear centrifuges, which can be used to enrich uranium to weapons grade, and declared it should have the right to nuclear technology that has both peaceful and weapons uses.

Iran was happy to see Iraq's Saddam Hussein toppled but has expressed security concerns over the US military presence in neighboring Iraq and fears the United States is cementing its influence in Iraq. It also fears US influence in Afghanistan, where another US-led war toppled the Taliban to root out Islamic militants accused in the September 11 attacks.

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Iran may pre-empt attack to save nuke sites

By Nazila Fathi
The New York Times
August 20, 2004

TEHRAN, Iran -- The defense minister, Vice Adm. Ali Shamkhani, has warned that Iran may resort to pre-emptive strikes to prevent an attack on its nuclear facilities.

Shamkhani made his comments in an interview on Al-Jazeera television on Wednesday in response to a question about the possibility of a U.S. or Israeli attack against Iran's nuclear projects.

"We will not sit to wait for what others will do to us," he said. "Some military commanders in Iran are convinced that preventive operations which the Americans talk about are not their monopoly. Any nation, if it feels threatened, can resort to that."

There has been speculation here that Israel might attack Iran's nuclear sites, as it struck against Iraq's nuclear facilities at Osirak in 1981.

A commander of Iran's hard-line Revolutionary Guards warned this week that Iran would strike Israel's reactor at Dimona if Israel attacked Iran's nuclear sites." If Israel fires one missile at Bushehr atomic power plant, it should permanently forget about Dimona nuclear center, where it produces and keeps its nuclear weapons," said the commander, Gen. Mohammad Baqer Zolqadr.

Shamkhani said Iran was certain that Israel would not carry out such an attack without a green light from the United States. [...]

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US forces coming to oil-rich Gulf of Guinea— USAF Commander

August 10, 2004

The United States yesterday said it was deploying forces to the oil-rich Gulf of Guinea, off Nigeria's coastline, because the region's vast oil and gas resources were of strategic economic importance to America and the rest of the world.

Commander of the US Air Forces in Europe, General Robert Fogleson stated this during a visit to the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Jonah Wuyep at the Defence Headquarters. [...]

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Comment: A global oil conquest. Up until now the US were happy to sit back and maintain control at a distance of the one resource that props up our civilisation (if it can be called such). Now, however, it appears that an all-out drive to take direct possession of that resource if in progress. The question of course, is "why"? Why now? What do The Powers That Be foresee in our immediate future that necessitates this rather extreme action? Whatever the case, you won't find the answers in the mainstream press...

NEWS & COLUMNS

MATT TAIBBI

WITH ALL DUE respect to the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz, who was polite to me when we spoke on the phone earlier this year, I had to laugh at his 3000-word "We Fucked Up on Iraq" piece that came out last week.

Kurtz's Aug. 12 piece, entitled "The Post on WMDs: An Inside Story; Prewar Articles Questioning Threat Often Didn't Make Front Page," was the latest in what is likely to be a long series of tepid media mea culpas about pre-war Iraq reporting. The piece comes on the heels of the New York Times' infamous "The Bitch Set Us Up" piece from this past May, in which that paper implicitly blamed hyperambitious hormone-case Judith Miller for its hilarious prewar failures.

The Kurtz article was a curious piece of writing. In reading it, I was reminded of a scene I once witnessed at the New England Aquarium in Boston, in the aqua-petting-zoo section on the second floor.

The petting pool contained a sea cucumber. Now, anyone who has ever made it through seventh-grade science class knows what a sea cucumber does when threatened. Unfortunately, some parent unleashed a sixth-grader on the pool unattended. The kid started fucking with the sea cucumber, poking and prodding it like crazy. So the sea cucumber pulled out its only defense mechanism, turning itself inside out and showing its nasty guts to the poor kid, who immediately thought he'd killed the thing and ran away crying. Later, when I made another turn through the same area of the aquarium, the cucumber had reconstituted itself and was sitting in its usual log-like position.

It is hard to imagine a better metaphor for these post-invasion auto-crucifixions our papers of record have been giving us lately.

The Post piece featured an array of senior and less-senior reporters who let us in on the shocking revelation that stories questioning the Bush administration's pre-war intelligence claims were often buried deep in the news section, while Bush claims ran on the front. Revelations included the heartwarming Thelma & Louise tale of Walter Pincus and Bob Woodward teaming up to get Pincus' WMD skepticism piece into the paper just days before the country went over the cliff into Iraq. In fact, the second paragraph of the piece is devoted to this tale of editorial foxhole heroism:

…his piece ran only after assistant managing editor Bob Woodward, who was researching a book about the drive toward war, "helped sell the story," Pincus recalled. "Without him, it would have had a tough time getting into the paper." Even so, the article was relegated to Page A17.

Quite a lot of Kurtz's article is devoted to such backdoor compliments, with numerous reminders throughout the text that the Post, relatively speaking, did a better job than most papers on Iraq. Much of the piece was framed in this "But on the other hand…" rhetorical format, in which admissions of poor performance surfed home on waves of somber self-congratulation. Some examples:

The Post published a number of pieces challenging the White House, but rarely on the front page.

The result was coverage that, despite flashes of groundbreaking reporting, in hindsight looks strikingly one-sided at times.

Quoting media critic Michael Massing: "'In covering the run-up to the war, The Post did better than most other news organizations…' But on the key issue of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, the paper was generally napping along with everyone else."

Given The Post's reputation for helping topple the Nixon administration… the paper's shortcomings did not reflect any reticence about taking on the Bush White House.

Liz Spayd, the assistant managing editor for national news, says The Post's overall record was strong. "I believe we pushed as hard or harder than anyone to question the administration's assertions on all kinds of subjects related to the war..."

Bob Woodward: "We did our job but we didn't do enough."

When the Post wasn't reassuring readers of its competence, it was offering excuses—lots of them. The list is really an extraordinary one. According to Kurtz's interview subjects, the Post was slow on Iraq because: a) Walter Pincus is a "cryptic" writer who isn't "storifyable"; b) there is limited space on the front page, and executive editor Leonard Downie Jr. likes to have health and education and Orioles coverage and other stuff there; c) the paper got a lot of depressing hate mail questioning its patriotism whenever it questioned the Bush administration; d) their intelligence sources wouldn't go on the record, while Bush and Powell were up there openly saying all this stuff; e) the paper had to rely on the administration because Bob Woodward and Walter Pincus had no "alternative sources of information," and particularly couldn't go to Iraq "without getting killed"; f) the paper, including Woodward, was duped by highly seductive intelligence-community "groupthink"; g) too many of the dissenting sources were retired from government or, even worse, not in government at all; h) stories on intelligence are "difficult to edit"; g) there was "a lot of information to digest"; h) the paper is "inevitably a mouthpiece for whatever administration is in power"; i) a flood of copy about the impending invasion kept skeptical coverage out [Note: This is my favorite. We're already covering the war, so it's too late to explain why we shouldn't go to war.]; and finally, j) none of it matters, because even if the Post had done a more thorough job, there would have been a war anyway.

Here's how Downie put that last excuse:

People who were opposed to the war from the beginning and have been critical of the media's coverage…have the mistaken impression that somehow if the media's coverage had been different, there wouldn't have been a war.

Nothing like an editor with a firm grasp of metaphysics. "It doesn't matter what we write, the universe is still going to keep expanding…"

The problem with these newsprint confessions is not that they are craven, insufficient and self-serving, which of course they are. The problem is that, on the whole, they do not correct the pre-war mistakes, but actually further them. The Post would have you believe that its "failure" before the war was its inability/reluctance to punch holes in Bush's WMD claims.

Right. I marched in Washington against the war in February 2003 with about 400,000 people, and I can pretty much guarantee that not more than a handful of those people gave a shit about whether or not Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. That's because we knew what the Post and all of these other papers still refuse to admit—this whole thing was never about weapons of mass destruction. Even a five- year-old, much less the literate executive editor of the Washington Post, could have seen, from watching Bush and his cronies make his war case, that they were going in anyway.

For God's sake, Bush was up there in the fall of 2002, warning us that unmanned Iraqi drones were going to spray poison gas on the continental United States. The whole thing—the "threat" of Iraqi attack, the link to terrorism, the dire warnings about Saddam's intentions—it was all bullshit on its face, as stupid, irrelevant and transparent as a cheating husband's excuse. And I don't know a single educated person who didn't think so at the time.

The story shouldn't have been, "Are there WMDs?" The story should have been, "Why are they pulling this stunt? And why now?" That was the real mystery. It still is.

We didn't need a named source in the Pentagon to tell us that. And neither did the Washington Post.

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Militants torch Iraqi oil company HQ

ASSOCIATED PRESS

BASRA, Iraq — Shiite militants loyal to radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr broke into the headquarters of Iraq's South Oil Co. today and set the company's warehouses and offices on fire, witnesses said.

The attack came after the militants had threatened to sabotage Iraq's crucial oil infrastructure to protest the ongoing clashes between militants and U.S. and Iraqi forces in the holy city of Najaf.

The insurgents broke into the oil company compound late Thursday, drove off security guards in a gun battle and shot rocket-propelled grenades into the warehouses, which held drilling equipment and other gear.

The explosions ignited a fire that burned at least 10 warehouses to the ground. The fire then spread to the company's offices.

When firefighters showed up to douse the flames, militants shot at them and the emergency workers fled.

Smoke spread throughout the entire compound, and the electricity in the headquarters went down.

The British military, which patrols the southern city, had no immediate comment.

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Iraqi editor's experience in US custody

By Ahmed Janabi
Friday 20 August 2004, 13:20 Makka Time, 10:20 GMT

In the very early hours of 2 August 2004, four US military vehicles in Baghdad stopped the convoy of Dr Muthana al-Dhari, editor-in-chief of al-Basaer newspaper and media officer of the Association of Muslim Scholars (AMS).

In his first interview about the incident since his release, al-Dhari started by explaining to Aljazeera.net why he was driving in a Baghdad street at that hour of the morning.

"On 1 August, I participated in a live talk show on LBC television (Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation), I left the studio shortly after midnight. I headed to the headquarters of the AMS intending to spend the night there and do some work for the newspaper".

US soldiers identified al-Dhari and the officer told him that he knew his father Shaikh Harith al-Dhari, secretary-general of the AMS, but said the patrol was searching for possible attackers who had fired RPG missiles at US forces in the neighbourhood a few hours earlier.

"I told them where I had been, that millions around the world would have seen me live on TV, but they searched the cars and started serious discussions with their base. We were six in total, they separated us and military vehicles continued to patrol the area.

"After some time they searched the cars again much more aggresively this time, and threw our belongings on the ground. An officer approached me and said we are going to give you a body scan. Then they said that explosives residue had been detected on me and two of my colleagues.

"The officer requested an explanation for them finding evidence of the residue, I told him that I had been speaking live on air, and that I could not give an explanation. He said you are not cooperating and we are going to arrest you.

"They handcuffed us and blindfolded us and put us in a military vehicle. I could not see anything, but being a son of Baghdad, I could figure out that we were heading to the airport area, which was proved right the next morning."

What were conditions like in the detention centre?

"I spent the first hours until the morning sitting on a chair. Then they took us to a prison cell where they did an initial interrogation. Then a doctor checked us, and said everything is OK.

"But his diagnosis was wrong, because the next morning an Egyptian doctor came and gave us another checkup, and found my blood pressure was high, while my colleague had breathing difficulties.

"He was very angry and sent every US soldier out of the room, and made another thorough check. The doctor then wrote a report that we needed medical care.

"At 10 in the morning, we were introduced to the prison reception. They took our pictures and fingerprints. We were very tired; we spent the whole night sitting on a chair with a huge generator roaring in the next room.

"After that they kept me in a good room, they gave me a copy of the Quran and a prayer rug. The food was terrible, some cheap soup, a piece of mandarin, and dry biscuits. That same meal was served as breakfast, lunch, and dinner."

He spent four days in prison, and his release was just as curious as his arrest.

"I prepared myself for a long stay in the detention centre, but I learned after my release that high-ranking US officials intervened and said they did not want to lose the involvement and efforts of the AMS."

What subjects did they bring up during the interrogation?

"Basically, because the AMS have made efforts in the releasing of several captives in Iraq, they suspected that we have links with the captors, but the truth is that the AMS is highly respected and the only link between us and the them is our appeals in which we remind them of the principles of Islam which prohibits Muslims from harming people."

"They also mentioned the names of prisoners in Abu Ghraib and wanted to know if I knew any of them. The interrogators were keen to find out anything about the Iraqi resistance."

"They think because we are a revered Sunni Muslim organisation, we might have information about the so-called Sunni resistance, but the truth is the resistance is Iraqi not Sunni."

"They asked me, why we hate them? I told them that we do not hate the American people, they are welcomed as tourists, traders…etc., but not as occupiers.

"An interrogator blamed the Israeli-Arab conflict for the hostility between Arabs and Americans, and if Israel removes the settlements everything would be alright."

"I did not agree with him, and reminded him of Jerusalem, and how it is occupied. I let him know that Muslims do not mind Jews and Christians living with them in Jerusalem, but they must ask for permission not come by force."

What was your conclusion?

"I got the impression that US interrogators and CIA officers have not a clue about what they are doing. Their questions were shallow and indicated serious ignorance of the Iraqi scene."

"I also noticed they are so keen to mock, ridicule, and insult us. Some of them are good people, and are very angry at [President] George Bush, one of them told me if he (Bush) loves Iraq so much, why does he not bring his family and live here?"

"But interestingly, some of them (US soldiers) are just thieves. They stole my agenda and wrist watch in front of my eyes."

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Medics aided Abu Ghraib torture: article

Last Updated Fri, 20 Aug 2004 14:05:17 EDT

LONDON - An American bioethicist says military doctors acted as accomplices to interrogators who abused Iraqi prisoners at an infamous Baghdad prison. Prof. Steven Miles of the University of Minnesota makes the charges in an article to be published Saturday in the British medical journal Lancet.

[...] The article says that medics, nurses or doctors working at Abu Ghraib:

  • Falsified medical records to hide evidence that detainees had been injured during interrogation.
  • Improperly filled out death certificates in cases where torture tactics killed prisoners, blaming the deaths on heart attacks or heat stroke, for example.
  • Revived at least one inmate who had fallen unconscious during an interrogation so that he could face more torture.
  • Collaborated in the design and implementation of interrogation techniques that were "psychologically and physically coercive."

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Abu Ghraib probe points to top brass: report

www.chinaview.cn 2004-08-21 00:44:03

WASHINGTON, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- A US Army investigation into the abuse at Abu Ghraib prison finds that the scandal was not just caused by a small circle of rogue soldiers but resulted from failure of leadership at the highest level of the US command in Iraq, The Washington Post reported Friday.

The Post report quoted anonymous officials as saying that the Army report, which runs some 9,000 pages and has not been completed, says a combination of leadership failings, confounding policies and absolute confusion at the prison led to the abuse.

The investigation report widens the scope of culpability from seven military policemen who have been charged with abuse to include nearly 20 low-ranking soldiers who could face criminal prosecution in military courts. No Army officers, however, are expected to face criminal charges.

The Army report also implicates five civilian contractors in the abuse, and the Army officials plan to recommend that their cases be sent to the Justice Department for possible prosecution in civilian courts, said the Post report.

The investigation, shepherded by Major General George R. Fay, is one of several into the abuse, which came widely known after hundreds of photographs surfaced depicting detainees in mock sexual pyramid and being intimidated by unmuzzled dogs.

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At least 77 killed in Najaf fighting in 24 hours

www.chinaview.cn 2004-08-20 19:56:51

BAGHDAD, Aug. 20 (Xinhuanet) -- At least 77 Iraqis were killed and 70 wounded in Najaf in the past 24 hours during clashes between militants loyal to Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and US-backed Iraqi forces, Iraq's Health Ministry announced Friday.

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Report: $900M Arms Deal Is Close

By Lyuba Pronina
Staff Writer, Moscow Times
Friday, August 20, 2004.

China, the country's No. 1 arms customer, is close to signing a contract for air defense systems worth as much as $900 million, Vedomosti reported Thursday, citing sources familiar with the deal.

State arms dealer Rosoboronexport and the Chinese Defense Ministry initialed a contract for the delivery of between four and eight batteries of S-300PMU air defense systems a few weeks ago, Vedomosti reported.

The contract will be signed by the end of the year, one source told the paper.

The manufacturer of the S-300 system, Almaz-Antei Air Defense Concern, refused to comment Thursday, as did Rosoboronexport.

Domestic arms producers and exporters are particularly tight-lipped about deals with China following a bilateral agreement that makes military and technical cooperation classified information. [...]

Sukhoi fighter jets are the country's best selling arms product.

Some 150 Su-30s and 70 MiG-29s are likely to be exported by the end of 2010, Ruslan Pukhov, editor of the Moscow Defense Brief, said on Thursday.

Forty-eight Su-30s may be delivered to China, up to 24 to Vietnam, 24 to Indonesia, 24 to Brazil and 10 to India, he said, adding that MiGs would most likely be acquired by countries in Africa and the Middle East.

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Nuclear Data Found Missing From New Mexico

By H. JOSEF HEBERT, Associated Press Writer
Thu Aug 19, 7:03 PM ET

WASHINGTON - An inventory has found another case of missing data involving nuclear weapons, this time at the Energy Department's regional office in Albuquerque, N.M., the department disclosed Thursday.

The Energy Department said that an "accounting discrepancy" involving three copies of a "controlled removable electronic media" — or CREM — was found at the regional office as part of the nationwide inventory of such devices.

The inventory was ordered a month ago after two CREM data devices were reported missing at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, also in New Mexico. The Albuquerque facility, part of the DOE's National Nuclear Security Administration, coordinates activities with the Los Alamos weapons lab.

Bryan Wilkes, an NNSA spokesman, said that the inventory discovered three copies of a single CREM unaccounted for. He declined to elaborate further except to say the device contained information involving nuclear weapons.

NNSA Administrator Linton Brooks said that all classified work involving the computer data storage devices has been halted at the Albuquerque office, pending completion of the investigation.

"I am disappointed that we have found another case of lax procedures in protecting classified information," said Brooks in a statement. [...]

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How to spot a psychopath at work

How well do you know your colleagues' personalities? Researchers warn some of them may have psychopathic traits.

But they say this is nothing to be worried about.

They will not be violent, but their psychopathic traits will allow them to climb the career ladder, New Scientist magazine reports.

Professor Robert Hare, of the University of British Columbia says "corporate psychopaths'" arrogance and focus helps them succeed.

They may also be superficially charming, prone to fly into rages and likely to take credit for colleague's achievements.

Professor Hare estimates that around one per cent of the population of North America could be described as psychopaths.

'Focussed'

He has developed the 'Business Scan 360' test, along with New York industrial organisational psychologist Paul Babiak in order to detect them.

The test involves interviewing people working with the person concerned to get a '360 degree' assessment of their personality.

They are currently interviewing 100 people convicted of fraud or embezzlement - who will serve as a benchmark of the ultimately undesirable employee.

They will then interview a "normal" population of managers, and a group of high flyers to see if they can distinguish exactly which traits lead to career success and which have less desirable consequences.

Mr Babiak said: "If you imagine the conscientious employee at one end of the continuum and a prototypical 'corporate psychopath' at the other end, the test attempts to gauge where the individual is."

Paul Corry, of the mental health charity Rethink, told BBC News Online: "It shows that mental health is an issue all around us."

He added: "Being psychotic is one extreme of a range of personality traits. Everyone has different types of these traits.

"There's lots of evidence that people who are highly motivated, highly successful - particularly in finance and business - have some of these psychotic traits.

"These are people who are extremely focussed on achieving their goals, and who are not too concerned about other people's feelings.

"There are other people who have very narcissistic traits; they want to be centre-stage and their needs have to be put first."

He added: "People do say that you're a psychopath if you're violent and a successful businessman if you're not."

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Second Explosion Rocks Texas Gas Facility

AP
August 20, 2004

MOSS BLUFF, Texas - A second explosion in less than 24 hours rocked a burning underground gas storage facility early Friday, prompting authorities to expand an evacuation zone around the site.

The fire at Duke Energy's Moss Bluff natural gas facility intensified overnight, an official said. The second explosion was reported at 1:15 a.m. and was seen as far as 20 miles away, witnesses said.

No injuries were reported.

Authorities had decided to let the fire ignited in the first explosion Thursday burn itself out, a process they said would take several days. The explosion was blamed on leaking gas. [...]

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Avian flu 'discovered in pigs'

Friday, 20 August, 2004

Scientists in China say they have discovered a highly virulent strain of bird flu virus in pigs.

An official at the China National Avian Flu Reference Laboratory said the H5N1 virus strain had been found in pigs at several farms in the country.

More than 20 people died and almost 200 million birds were culled during a flu epidemic in Asia earlier this year.

The spread to pigs has yet to be confirmed, but there could be serious implications for human health if it is.

The World Health Organization said that if the pigs were harbouring both bird and human flu viruses, the two strains could interact to create a strain capable of transferring easily to humans.

New development

Chinese scientist Chen Hualan first announced the existence of bird flu in pigs during a conference speech on Friday.

She later told journalists that the virus had been discovered in pigs in south-east China's Fujian province in 2003, and in "another place" in 2004.

Officials at both the WHO and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said they were unaware of the new development until Ms Chen's comments.

"I think it's something we've long warned can happen. I don't think we're shocked, but we need more details," WHO spokesman Roy Wadia told the French news agency AFP.

The deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu is currently capable of spreading from poultry to people, but the incidence of cross-species transfer is relatively rare and so far there have been no cases of human-to-human transfer.

There is a fear that, if it has spread to pigs, the virus could mutate and form a strain that could then readily transfer to humans. [...]

Comment: Another worrying development. As the article states, if avian flu has spread to pigs, the chances of it spreading to the human population, which shares some common genetic traits with pigs, may not be far off. The question of course is - is this a random development? The evidence would suggest not. See our Signs Flu Supplement for more.

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Northern Malaysia Struck by Lethal Strain of Bird Flu

Azhar Sukri
Kuala Lumpur
19 Aug 2004


Malaysia has confirmed that a small outbreak of avian flu in the country was caused by a viral strain that is also deadly to humans.

Malaysian government officials confirmed the H5N1 viral strain, which has killed more than two dozen people in Asia this year, was present in chickens found dead in a small privately owned flock in the north of the country.

Abi Musa Asa'ari Mohamed Nor, secretary-general of the Agriculture Ministry, told reporters that poultry in the area were being slaughtered to contain the spread of the disease.

Just weeks ago Malaysia said the country was free of the disease.

Malaysia's poultry industry is already feeling the impact of the latest cases of bird flu, as chicken exports to Japan and to neighboring Singapore have been halted.

H5N1 is the strain that claimed two dozen human lives in Vietnam and Thailand, and led to the slaughter of millions of chickens throughout Asia, early this year. Three more people have died in Vietnam in recent weeks after coming into contact with the virus. [...]

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Fluoridation: No Benefit, Another Study Shows

From New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation
Monday, August 16, 2004

Dental examinations of 4800 South Australian ten- to fifteen-year-olds' permanent teeth reveal unexpected results - similar cavity rates whether they drink fluoridated water or not, reports Armfield and Spencer in the August 2004 "Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology"(1).

Children sampled lived in fluoridated and nonfluoridated metropolitan and rural areas of the Australian state, South Australia.

Collected rainwater, or tank water, is the main non-fluoridated (non-public) water source for 37% of South Australians, 8% drink bottled water. The public water supply is fluoridated in Adelaide, South Australia's capital city. The rest of South Australia is predominantly non-fluoridated, the authors report.

"The effect of consumption of nonpublic (non-fluoridated) water on permanent caries (cavities) experience was not significant," report Armfield and Spencer. [...]

Comment: Evidence has been around for years that fluoride offered no benefits for fighting tooth decay. In fact, the real benefit of fluoride is to our governments in the job of controlling the people. Tests on fluoride were allegedly conducted by the Nazis and proved that it has a very definite effect on the mental clarity and sharpness of an individual, rendering him or her "more docile and subservient"

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New Video, 'Sweet Misery', Chronicles Medical Horrors Of Aspartame

July 6, 2004
NewsWithViews.com

The controversy over aspartame, found in all diet soft drinks, popular diet lemonade products, pudding and more than 5,000 food products, continues to draw concern in light of recent media reports. Aspartame, distributed by G. D. Searle & Co., has been called on the carpet by the FDA in the past for making misleading and potentially dangerous claims about their products.

Decades ago, Dr. John W. Olney informed G.D. Searle that aspartic acid caused holes in the brains of mice. Dr. Olney insisted Searle replicate studies in his office. They showed brain damage. Searle never gave those studies to the FDA nor did Searle inform the FDA of this study until after aspartame's approval. None of the tests submitted by G.D. Searle to the FDA contradicted these findings (Olney 1970, Gordon 1987, page 493 of US Senate 1987).

Now comes a new movie, 'Sweet Misery,' which chronicles the medical horrors of aspartame. Claims have been made that aspartame may produce an MS-like syndrome as well as Parkinson's symptoms, i.e. shaking. Dr. Betty Martini, who has spent decades on this issue brings up the case of Michael J. Fox and Parkinson's. According to Dr. Martini, Fox is a former Diet Pepsi spokesman and reportedly is addicted to that product. "Indeed, how could Michael Fox develop Parkinson's at the age of 30, an old man's disease? But aspartame (NutraSweet/Equal, etc.) can precipitate Parkinson's and as a neurotoxic drug even interacts with L-dopa."

A recent press release promoting the release of this film states:

"A current review of recent peer-reviewed scientific studies have disclosed a pathophysiological mechanism to explain this connection. As far back as 1996 it was shown that the lesions produced in the myelin sheath of axons in cases of multiple sclerosis were related to excitatory receptors on the primary cells involved called oligodendroglia. Recent studies have now confirmed what was suspected back then. The loss of myelin sheath on the nerve fibers characteristic of the disease are due to the death of these oligodendroglial cells at the site of the lesions (called plaques).

Comment: And guess who was one of the main backers for making aspartame widely available to the public? Your very own Secretary of Defence, Donald "poison face" Rumsfeld.

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EU raises threat level for mad cow disease in Canada, U.S. and Norway

02:46 PM EDT Aug 20

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) - The European Food Safety Authority on Friday raised its assessment of the risk of finding mad cow disease in Canada, the United States and Norway, but officials said the move would affect only Norwegian beef exporters.

Norway's reclassification from "highly unlikely" to "unlikely but not excluded" means its exporters will have to "take out a bit more significant risk material" before shipping beef into the EU, said European Commission spokeswoman Beate Gminder.

That includes such animal parts as the skull, including brain and eyes, intestines and the spine.

The United States and Canada were both raised from "unlikely" to "likely but not confirmed or confirmed at a lower level."

That follows the discovery of a lone case of mad cow disease in Alberta and another in Washington state in 2003.

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Global cooling, everywhere

By STEPHEN STRAUSS
From Wednesday's Globe and Mail


For Canadians who have spent the summer asking where summer has gone, new satellite observations show we're not alone.

According to an analysis by scientists at the University of Alabama at Huntsville, July was the coldest worldwide since 1992. That year's cool spell was precipitated by the eruption of the Philippine volcano Pinatubo, which spewed 20 to 30 million tonnes of sunlight-deflecting dust into the atmosphere.

But scientists don't know why the Earth's thermostat has dropped this year.

In the Northern Hemisphere, July's temperatures were below the 20-year average by .14 degrees Celsius and in the Southern Hemisphere by .29 degrees. Both the tropics and Antarctica showed marked coolness.

The July weather tracks a drop in average worldwide temperature that has been going on since March, said John Christy, a professor of atmospheric science at the Alabama university.

What is not clear is whether a single physical phenomenon is responsible for the downward trend.

"There haven't been any new volcanoes or anything like that," Prof. Christy said, "so I think we just have to chalk this up to the natural variability of the system. Just as the hottest year in the past 20 years has to occur sometimes, the coolest summer in the last 10 years also has to occur sometimes."

Rick Walls, a meteorologist at Environment Canada in Winnipeg, said: "In the eastern Prairies it looks like it is going to be the coldest summer on record since data started being collected in the 19th century."

How cold did it get? In Saskatoon on July 29, the overnight low was .07 degrees, breaking weather records that had been started in 1892. In Winnipeg on July 23, the overnight low was three degrees, the lowest recorded since 1872.

It was the cold in the Prairies that may have been the most impressive. For May through mid-August, temperatures were on average three degrees below normal, beating records that go back to 1872.

But Dave Phillips, chief meteorologist for Environment Canada, pointed out that the cold wasn't just slightly beating the past. In weather terms it completely eclipsed lows of 14.2 C which were recorded in 1883 and 1907.

"A half of a degree average difference is like somebody in the hundred-metre dash in the Olympics not beating the former world record by the usual tenths of a second, but by a full second," he said. "It is really quite startling."

July hasn't been marked by bizarre weather, Mr. Phillips said. "We haven't had any frosts or freak snowfalls in July. The central fact of the whole summer has not been that it has been so cold; it is just that it hasn't been so hot."

However, a portion of coastal British Columbia has been experiencing one of its hottest summers on record, he said, noting that Victoria and Vancouver had their second-warmest July on record.

In Victoria, July was the second warmest in records that go back to 1898, and a similar record-setting month was experienced in Vancouver, where temperatures were on average 2.2 degrees above the monthly average. [...]

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THE FUTURE: We face 'uncharted and hazardous' weather if climate change continues

By Bob Roberts, Deputy Political Editor
Aug 20 2004

BRITONS were yesterday warned to brace themselves for more weather catastrophes.

After the disasters in Boscastle and Lochearnhead, the European Environment Agency said there were growing signs of climate change affecting the continent.

EEA Executive Director, Professor Jacqueline McGlade, said there was a "wealth of evidence" indicating climate change.

She added: "What is new is the speed of change. Strategies are needed, at European, regional, national and local level, to adapt to climate change.

"If we go on as we are, we have less than 50 years before we encounter conditions which will be uncharted and hazardous."

She was backed by Met Office forecaster Clive Burlton who said disasters like Boscastle and Lochearnhead would become more common.

He said: "The expectation is that there are going to be more heatwaves and more extreme events.

"These sort of events are expected to increase and there will be more extremes than in the past."

Serious flooding across Europe in August 2002 killed about 80 people and caused economic losses of at least £10billion.

In 2003, a heatwave in western and southern Europe was responsible for more than 20,000 "excess deaths", particularly of the elderly.

The EEA warn northern Europe is likely to see wetter conditions while the south gets drier.

Friends of the Earth campaigns director Mike Childs warned: "The consequences of climate change are a real and dangerous threat.

"Yet international leaders seem to pay little heed to the warning bells. The Prime Minister must convince his fellow world leaders that climate change is as big a threat to people and the planet as international terrorism."

Europe is warming up faster than the global average with temperatures rising by an average 0.95C over the last 100 years.

Temperatures are expected to rise by 2.0C to 6.3C over the next century - due mainly to greenhouse gas emissions.

The resulting wetter conditions in northern Europe and drier weather around the Mediterranean threaten to melt three-quarters of glaciers in the Swiss Alps.

Cold winters would disappear while hot summers, droughts and heavy rain become more common.

Carbon dioxide levels are at their highest for 420,000 years and a third higher than before the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century.

Comment: 50 years is being generous. One of these days, winter is going to come, and it won't leave. In chaotic systems, once they find a new equilibrium, it will take another "catastrophe" or phase change to bring them back to where they were. We have been ignoring the scientific findings and will pay the price.

Of course, there may be elements in this change of which we are unaware. Things like cosmic energies. And given the bad vibes most humans are giving off these days, don't expect the effects of such cosmic juju to be positive.

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Global warming to devastate Europe first

19 August 04
NewScientist.com

European winters will disappear by 2080 and extreme weather will become more common unless global warming across the continent is slowed, warns a major new report.

Europe is warming more quickly than the rest of the world with potentially devastating consequences, including more frequent heatwaves, flooding, rising sea levels and melting glaciers, says the European Environment Agency (EEA) document, launched on Wednesday.

The changes are happening at such a pace that Europeans must put in place strategies to adapt to an unfamiliar climate, the researchers write, although they stress the importance of the Kyoto Protocol in cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

"Europe has to continue to lead worldwide efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but this report also underlines that strategies are needed at European, regional, national and local level to adapt to climate change," says Jacqueline McGlade, executive director of the EEA, based in Denmark. "This is a phenomenon that will considerably affect our societies and environments for decades and centuries to come,"

"What the report shows is that, if we go on as we are, we have less than 50 years before we encounter conditions which will be uncharted and potentially hazardous," she told the BBC.

Alpine glaciers

The report paints a dismal picture of Europe's future, based on climatic changes since the Industrial Revolution, which have accelerated over the last 50 years. The concentration of the main greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, in the lower atmosphere is at its highest for possibly 20 million years, and stands 34 per cent higher than its pre-Industrial Revolution level.

The global warming rate is now almost 0.2°C per decade, and temperatures in Europe are projected to climb by a further 2 to 6.3 degrees this century, due to the build-up of greenhouse gases.

Picture postcard European snowscapes are destined to become consigned to history books before the end of the century, and 75 per cent of Alpine glaciers will have melted by 2050 – melting reduced the glaciers by one-tenth in 2003 alone, the study found.

Sea levels are predicted to rise for centuries to come, at a rate of up to four times faster than during the last century – a particular concern in low-lying countries such as the Netherlands, where half the population lives below sea-level. [...]

Comment: Like we said, nothing to see here folks, just go back to your normal lives, everything is fine, there is no real point to your lives, they are in no way related to events that transpire on the planet, there are no such thing as cyclic global cataclysms, and even if there was, which there aren't we hasten to add, we will all be dead before the next one happens...right?

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Frost, snow pellets chill Manitobans

Last Updated Fri, 20 Aug 2004 13:45:05 EDT

WINNIPEG - A band of wild summer weather has settled over Manitoba, handing the province severe thunderstorms, snow pellets and frost.

People living in southern Manitoba woke up Friday morning to frost on their lawns, fields and windshields, said an Environment Canada spokesperson.

Wayne Miskolczi said the temperature dipped to zero degrees around Brandon and one degree below freezing in areas outside of the city.

At least seven records for cold were set overnight, including one in Winnipeg. There the mercury fell to zero at 3 a.m., breaking a record set in 1895.

[...] "Around July 16, there was a killing frost in a small area south of Brandon," says Scott Day, Manitoba Agriculture representative. "It looks like this year could be one of the very few years – the first year I've ever heard of – that we've had a frost in every month of the year."

On Wednesday, snow pellets fell on parts of downtown Winnipeg, said meteorologists. Environment Canada spokesperson Rick Walls says the office has no previous evidence of snow falling in August.

Earlier Wednesday, severe thunderstorms with winds of almost 65 km/hr knocked out power, toppled trees and doused parts of the province with rain.

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Antarctic craters reveal asteroid strike

Paul Brown
Thursday August 19, 2004
The Guardian

Scientists using satellites have mapped huge craters under the Antarctic ice sheet caused by an asteroid as big as the one believed to have wiped out the dinosaurs 65m years ago.

Professor Frans van der Hoeven, from Delft University in the Netherlands, told the conference that the evidence showed that an asteroid measuring between three and seven miles across had broken up in the atmosphere and five large pieces had hit the Earth, creating multiple craters over an area measuring 1,300 by 2,400 miles.

The effect would have been to melt all the ice in the path of the pieces, as well as the crust underneath. The biggest single strike caused a hole in the ice sheet roughly 200 by 200 miles, which would have melted about 1% of the ice sheet, raising water levels worldwide by 60cm (2ft).

But the climatic conditions were different at the time of the strike - about 780,000 years ago - from when the asteroid that is believed to have wiped out the dinosaurs struck Yucatan in Mexico.

That impact created dust storms and fires that, by blocking out the sun, cooled the Earth's atmosphere so much that the dinosaurs could not survive. The Antarctica strike occurred during an ice age, so even tidal waves would have been weakened to mere ripples by the calming effect of icebergs on the ocean.

Prof Van der Hoeven first realised that there may have been a giant asteroid strike in the Antarctic while on an expedition across the continent in 1960 when he noticed severe anomalies in the gravity from the rocks below, indicating a crater. By coincidence another scientist had concluded that a giant event must have occurred around 780,000 years ago somewhere in the southern hemisphere, probably Antarctica.

But it was not until this year, when two satellites operating above Antarctica began to map the anomalies in the gravity, that the scale of the crater emerged. The mapping showed that the holes in the rock created by the strike had refilled with a mixture of ice, rock and other debris far less dense. This material, called breccia, shows where and how deep the craters are.

Prof Van der Hoeven said: "The extraordinary thing about this meteor strike is that it appeared to do so little damage. Unlike the dinosaur strike there is no telltale layer of dust that demonstrates the history of the event. It may have damaged things and wiped out species but there is no sign of it."

One thing that did happen at exactly the same time was the reversing of the Earth's magnetic field. There is no other explanation as to why this took place and Prof Van der Hoeven believes it was caused by the impact.

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Earthquake Hits North Alabama

A spokesperson for the U.S. Geological Survey in Colorado says the quake hit parts of Jefferson and Shelby counties shortly before seven Thursday night. The quake was centered about 10 miles southwest of Alabaster and had a magnitude of 3.5. There aren't any reports of injuries or damages.

Believe it or not, this is the fifth earthquake in Alabama in seven years. Alabama recorded one of the biggest earthquakes in its history on April 29th, 2003. That's when a 4.9 quake hit near Fort Payne. The tremors were felt in Birmingham and all the way to Troy. Another 4.9 quake hit the Brewton area in 1997. Smaller earthquakes hit the Birmingham area back in March and May of this year.

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Earthquake shakes Lincoln County

Thursday, August 19, 2004

An earthquake that measured 4.4 on the Richter scale shook Lincoln County late Wednesday, but there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries, according to the sheriff's office.

The quake occurred at 11:06 p.m. and the epicenter was 90 miles southwest of Portland and 70 miles northwest of Eugene, just north of Newport, the National Weather Service said.

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Earthquake rocks Timaru

Yes, the earth did move for you today. Those who weren't tucked up safely in bed would have felt a 4.8 earthquake on the Richter scale at 4.03am. The quake had a depth of 9km and was felt in Timaru. There were no reports of damage. It was centred 70km west of Ashburton and 30km north-west of Peel Forest.

It was the second quake in the central South Island this month. On Saturday, August 7, skiers on Mt Hutt may have noticed a slight shake when a 2.8 earthquake struck. This was centred 40km north-west of Methven possibly being felt by those in the Mt Hutt area. Both quakes were recorded by GeoNet, a network of modern instruments and data centres to monitor earthquakes, volcanic unrest, land deformation, land stability, geothermal activity, and tsunami in New Zealand. GeoNet's website to keep an eye on these events is http://www.geonet.org.nz

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Plague of locusts casts shadow over Africa

20 August 2004

A plague of biblical proportions threatens the fragile agricultural communities of west and central Africa: the culprit is a six-legged munching machine called Schistocerca gregaria, the desert locust.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Rome has warned repeatedly that not enough is being done to contain the immense swarms of locusts eating their way through vast swaths of food crops stretching from Mauritania in the west to Chad in the east.

Dense clouds up to 25 miles long and containing billions of insects have been sighted in southern Mauritania, northern Senegal, Mali and Niger. The FAO said there was a high risk of them spreading to Burkina Faso and the troubled Darfur region of western Sudan. Further south, Gambia has declared an national emergency. [...]

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Ailing 8-year-old denied Holy Communion

Associated Press

Brielle, N.J. — An 8-year-old girl who suffers from a rare digestive disorder and cannot eat wheat has had her first Holy Communion declared invalid because the wafer contained no wheat, violating Roman Catholic doctrine.

Now, Haley Waldman's mother is pushing the Diocese of Trenton and the Vatican to make an exception, saying the girl's condition should not exclude her from the sacrament, which commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus Christ before his crucifixion. The mother believes a rice Communion wafer would suffice.

"It's just not a viable option. How does it corrupt the tradition of the Last Supper? It's just rice versus wheat," said Elizabeth Pelly-Waldman.

Church doctrine holds that Communion wafers, like the bread served at the Last Supper, must have at least some unleavened wheat. Church leaders are reluctant to change anything about the sacrament.

"This is not an issue to be determined at the diocesan or parish level, but has already been decided for the Roman Catholic Church throughout the world by Vatican authority," Trenton Bishop John Smith said in a statement last week.

Haley was diagnosed with celiac sprue disease when she was 5. The disorder occurs in people with a genetic intolerance of gluten, a food protein contained in wheat and other grains.

When consumed by celiac sufferers, gluten damages the lining of the small intestine, blocking nutrient absorption and leading to vitamin deficiencies, bone-thinning and sometimes gastrointestinal cancer.

The diocese has told Haley's mother that the girl can receive a low-gluten wafer, or just drink wine at Communion, but that anything without gluten does not qualify. Ms. Pelly-Waldman rejected the offer, saying her child could be harmed by even a small amount of the substance.

Haley's Communion controversy isn't the first. In 2001, the family of a 5-year-old Massachusetts girl with the disease left the Catholic church after being denied permission to use a rice wafer.

Some Catholic churches allow no-gluten hosts, while others do not, said Elaine Monarch, executive director of the Celiac Disease Foundation, a California-based support group for sufferers.

"It is an undue hardship on a person who wants to practice their religion and needs to compromise their health to do so," Monarch said.

The church has similar rules for Communion wine. For alcoholics, the church allows a substitute for wine under some circumstances, however the drink must still be fermented from grapes and contain some alcohol. Grape juice is not a valid substitute.

Haley, a shy, brown-haired tomboy who loves surfing and hates wearing dresses, realizes the consequences of taking a wheat wafer.

"I'm on a gluten-free diet because I can't have wheat. I could die," she said last week.

Last year, as the third grader approached Holy Communion age in this Jersey Shore town, her mother told officials at St. Denis Catholic Church in Manasquan that the girl could not have the standard host.

After the church's pastor refused to allow a substitute, a priest at a nearby parish volunteered to offer one, and in May, Haley wore a white Communion dress, and received the sacrament alongside her mother, who had not taken Communion since she herself was diagnosed with the disease.

Last month, the diocese told the priest that the church would not validate Haley's sacrament because of the substitute wafer.

"I struggled with telling her that the sacrament did not happen," said Ms. Pelly-Waldman. "She lives in a world of rules. She says 'Mommy, do we want to break a rule? Are we breaking a rule?'"

Ms. Pelly-Waldman is seeking help from the Pope and has written to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome, challenging the church's policy.

"This is a church rule, not God's will, and it can easily be adjusted to meet the needs of the people, while staying true to the traditions of our faith," Ms. Pelly-Waldman wrote in the letter.

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Lightning kills 31 cows in Denmark

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) - A Danish cattle farmer lost 31 of his 85 Jersey dairy cows when lightning struck the trees under which they had sought shelter during a rain storm.

The cattle were found dead Tuesday afternoon on farmer Kurt Nielsen's land near Assing, about 270 kilometres west of Copenhagen.

"This seems to be one of nature's caprices," Nielsen told Denmark's TV2 network, adding that lightning struck several times Tuesday morning around his farm and the lights went out briefly.

That day, the Danish Meteorological Institute recorded 5,808 lightning strikes across central Denmark.

Veterinarian Johannes Kejser told the Jyllands-Posten newspaper that the cows were killed instantly.

The Danish Insurance Information Service said it had never heard of so many cows being killed by lightning at one time. Nielsen said his insurance company had promised a compensation for the dead livestock and lost milk income.

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Mass Hysteria Strikes Small Rural U.S. High School

Thu Aug 19, 2004

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Ten healthy female students at a rural, co-ed North Carolina high school had repeated bouts of seizures, swooning and hyperventilation over a four-month period in 2002 -- an outbreak that experts are calling an example of mass hysteria.

The first girl began experiencing seizures in August. Over the next few weeks, more girls began to show the same symptoms. The attacks escalated throughout the fall months, then appeared to taper off by the winter holiday break.

One student experienced at least 30 attacks. All but one of the girls had no history of seizures.

Most of the attacks occurred while students were at school but not in class, such as during breaks or in hallways between classes.

Five of the students were current or former cheerleaders, but only two shared a classroom. None appeared to be experiencing more than their normal share of life's stressors, such as family problems or history of depression.

To investigate why these girls were experiencing seizures, Dr. E. Steve Roach of Wake Forest University in North Carolina and Dr. Ricky L. Langley of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services interviewed the students and their parents, and spoke with teachers and the school nurse. They also reviewed the students' class schedules and medical records, and tested the high school's buildings for environmental contaminants.

Writing in the Archives of Neurology, the authors conclude that the evidence "strongly suggested" that the girls were experiencing an episode of mass hysteria, defined as "the simultaneous occurrence of related signs or symptoms with a psychogenic basis in multiple individuals in a group."

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Comment: Speaking of mass hysteria...

Viagra introduces its latest celebrity backer: the devil

By David Usborne in New York
19 August 2004

Gone are the days when coyness ruled the marketing of the drug that helps the condition that men find hard to talk about. In a Madison Avenue dream situation, Viagra is facing some stiff competition in a three-way battle for the erectile dysfunction dollar.

For Pfizer, the giant pharmaceuticals firm that gave us the lozenge-shaped pill, prudishness worked while it had a 100 per cent monopoly on the market. At its launch six years ago, Viagra was touted by, among others, Bob Dole, the former Republican senator and presidential candidate, whose second name was never Casanova.

But the ride got tougher for Pfizer a year ago when two competitors appeared on the landscape with their own versions of the drug, Cialis and Levitra. In recent months, Pfizer has watched its market share soften. It has responded with a new advertising agency and a new campaign on television and in print media.

Conceived by the advertising giant McCann Erickson Worldwide, the $100m (£55m) campaign goes under the slogan "Get back to mischief". And thatmischief is the devil's business. Hence, the horns, stylised in the form of the V of Viagra, that sprout from the heads of men who appear in the new commercials.

The first in a new series of television advertisements now airing in the US features a husband shopping with his wife, dutifully standing by as she browses the shoe shelves. Up go the horns when they switch their gaze to the lingerie section. "Remember that guy who used to be called Wild Thing?" an announcer asks. "The guy who wanted to spend the entire honeymoon indoors? Remember the one who couldn't resist a little mischief? Yeah, that guy. He's back." It ends with the sober admonition, "Ask your doctor if Viagra is right for you."

Comment: The world is going to hell, and the controllers are going all out to distract the population from that fact. Yes indeedy, the comets may be coming, but, keep your pecker up! (no pun intended), there's always gratuitous mindless sex.

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