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Asteroid shaves past Earth's atmosphere

13:59 23 August 04 news service

The closest observed asteroid yet to skim past the Earth without hitting the atmosphere, was reported by astronomers on Sunday.

The previously unknown object, spanning five to 10 metres across, has been named 2004 FU162. It streaked across the sky just 6500 kilometres - roughly the radius of the Earth - above the ground on 31 March, although details have only now emerged.

The MIT Lincoln Laboratory's asteroid-hunting LINEAR telescope in Socorro, New Mexico,US, observed the new object four times over a 44-minute period, several hours before its closest approach in March.

Lincoln astronomers, who have discovered over 40,000 asteroids and comets since 1980, quickly recognised the object came exceptionally close, and posted their findings for confirmation on a web page run by the Minor Planet Center at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

However, by the time it was posted the object had moved into the daytime sky, so follow-up observations were impossible and the listing was quickly removed. A search for prior observations yielded no results.

Comment: Curious that details about this close fly-by are only emerging now. Have you noticed that meteors, meteorites, and other things that go boom from the sky are in the news in many different ways?

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Jupiter's comet impact leaves mystery

By Robert Roy Britt
Monday, August 23, 2004 Posted: 1431 GMT (2231 HKT)

( -- Jupiter's atmosphere still contains remnants of a comet impact from a decade ago, but scientists said last week they are puzzled by how two substances have spread into different locations.

The new study also discovered two previously undetected chemicals in Jupiter's air.

Grasping what chemical compounds are in and above the Jovian clouds and how they move about could help scientists understand planets outside our solar system, too, said the researchers who produced the work.

From July 16 through July 22, 1994, more than 20 fragments of Comet P/Shoemaker-Levy 9 collided with the gaseous planet, all coming in at about the same latitude, 45 degrees south. Fragments up to 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) sent plumes of hot gas into the Jovian atmosphere. Dark scars lasted for weeks.

Shocks created by the impacts led to high-temperature chemical reactions that produced hydrogen cyanide, which remains in the air but has been spread around a bit in the years since. The comet also delivered carbon monoxide and water, which through an interaction with sunlight, scientists suspect, was converted to carbon dioxide.

The Cassini spacecraft, now at Saturn, examined Jupiter as it swung by. The new study draws on infrared data from Cassini collected in 2000 and 2001.

The hydrogen cyanide has diffused some both north and south, mixed by wave activity, explained Michael Flasar of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. Jupiter's cloud bands carry material around the planet swiftly, but the bands do not mix easily. Not surprisingly, hydrogen cyanide is most abundant in a belt at the latitude where the comet was absorbed. At five degrees of latitude change in both directions, its presence drops off sharply.

The highest concentration of carbon dioxide, however, has shifted away from the latitude of the impact. It is most prevalent poleward of 60 degrees south and decreases abruptly, toward the equator, north of 50 degrees south. Another smaller spike in its presence occurs at high northern latitudes, around 70 to 90 degrees north.

Perhaps the two chemicals got distributed at different altitudes, and are being moved around by different currents, Flasar said. Or maybe the formation of the carbon dioxide was more complex than thought. He said it might have involved carbon monoxide first moving away from the impact area and then interacting with other substances at higher latitudes before being converted to carbon dioxide.

"At high latitudes, precipitation of energetic oxygen ions probably occurs, associated with Jupiter's magnetically induced lights, known as aurora," Flasar explained. "These energetic ions could react with Jupiter's atmosphere to produce hydroxyl, which can oxidize carbon monoxide to produce carbon dioxide."

If all that sounds complicated, you're not alone in wondering what's going on.

"We're scratching our heads, and we need to work through these, and perhaps other, scenarios," said Flasar, who is principal investigator for Cassini's Composite Infrared Spectrometer.

The study, led by Virgil G. Kunde of the University of Maryland, was published Thursday in the online version of the journal Science.

The work also uncovered two new compounds, diacetylene and a so-called methyl radical, which are products of the breakup of methane by ultraviolet radiation from the sun. These were expected but had not been observed at Jupiter before.

So far as astronomers know, the more than 100 giant planets found outside our solar system might be something like Jupiter. Only one has had its atmosphere probed. Better knowledge of the substances in Jupiter, and how things move around, should help set the stage for grasping the formation and evolution of gaseous extrasolar planets, the researchers say.

"An understanding of the processes governing the composition and distribution of chemical species in Jupiter's atmosphere is required to successfully understand the chemical composition of extrasolar planets," they write in the journal.

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Well-preserved layer of material ejected from Chesapeake Bay meteor-strike discovered

People in Georgia's Dodge and Bleckley counties have for years picked up small pieces of natural glass called "Georgiaites," which were produced by an unknown asteroid or comet impact millions of years ago. Just where these small, translucent green objects came from, however, was unclear.

Now researchers at the University of Georgia, studying a kaolin mine in Warren County, have found a layer of tiny grains, which indicate that the grains and the Georgiaites were products of a recently discovered impact that left a huge crater beneath the waters of the Chesapeake Bay. "We knew we had these tektites here, but we'd never found them in place," said Michael Roden, a geologist and part of the research team. "We believe this layer is further evidence that the Chesapeake Bay impact was an enormous event with widespread consequences."

The research was published in the August issue of the journal Geology.

The work was spearheaded by UGA graduate student Scott Harris (now with Brown University) in collaboration with Roden, Paul Schroeder and Steven Holland of UGA, Ed Albin of Fernbank and Mack Duncan of J.M. Huber Corporation.

Tektites are brown to green glassy objects, generally small and rounded, and thought to be of extraterrestrial origin. The only other state in the United States where tektites have been found in abundance is Texas. Some 1,700 have been found in Georgia to date, and potassium-argon geochronology has dated them to around 35 million years of age.

The Chesapeake Bay impact crater was only discovered about a decade ago, but before the current discovery, there was no known deposition layer from it extant, and it was unclear whether Georgiaites were the result of the cataclysmic collision of the Chesapeake Bay bolide with the Earth. ("Bolide" is a generic term for an impacting body.)

The now-unused kaolin mine in Warren County where the discovery was made was near the sea's edge in ancient times. This former shore, now across the central part of Georgia, is more or less coincident with the Fall Line, and marks the place where ancient seas lapped the land. The impact in the Chesapeake Bay clearly caused a huge amount of material, both from the Earth and the asteroid, to become airborne, and the layer -- discovered at a depth of 25 feet in the kaolin mine -- was probably laid down by the event.

It was an active time: In the period between 34 million and 37 million years ago, at least five comets and/or asteroids collided with the Earth. Since some of the events may have caused climate alterations and caused at least regional disruptions of ecosystems, knowing more about the ejecta from the impacts is important.

The layer reported in Geology is perhaps the most easily accessible, undisturbed layer of materials that probably came from the Chesapeake Bay impact and can therefore add knowledge about that event. The search for the layer, led by Harris, led to the discovery of so-called shocked quartz -- grains whose physical "thumbprint" mark them as having originated from the extremely high pressures characteristic of an impact event.

Just how big the explosion was when this celestial visitor hit the Earth is unclear, but Roden said it was many times bigger than such events as the explosions of Mt. St. Helen's or even Krakatoa.

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Impact of giant meteor felt in Georgia

Associated Press

ATLANTA - A layer of quartz grains found in an east Georgia kaolin mine have been traced to the impact of a giant asteroid that crashed near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay 35 million years ago.

The 54-mile-wide crater left by the meteor, the sixth-largest in the world, has previously been identified as the source of a rare mineral called Georgiaite. Small, glassy, olive-green beads of it have been found for decades in more than a dozen middle Georgia counties.

They are a type of impact-produced natural glass called tektite.

Ed Albin, a tektite expert at Fernbank Science Center in Atlanta, steered research into the substance toward the open kaolin mines that dot the center of the state. Sandwiched between layers of clay in an abandoned kaolin mine in Warren County, a team of researchers headed by University of Georgia graduate student Scott Harris, found traces of the impact.

Microscopic analysis, reported in the current issue of the journal Geology, revealed a 3-inch-thick layer of "shocked quartz" - a form of the mineral produced only under intense pressure like that of an impact - that dated to 35.5 million years ago, when a space rock slammed into the Earth about 120 miles southeast of present-day Washington.

The asteroid, believed to be about two miles wide, was traveling at tens of thousands of miles an hour when it struck on what is now the Chesapeake's Eastern Shore.

Scientists estimate that the debris from the blast rose more than 30 miles into the air, spreading melted bits of sand and sediment - including Georgia's tektites and the newly discovered layer of shocked quartz - for thousands of miles.

Although the Warren County discovery is the first known deposit of its kind, scientists say the diagnostic layer of glassy quartz grains - which probably blanketed much of the East Coast - could, with the discovery of deposits in other locations, become a valuable yardstick for geologic measurement.

Comment: If time loops are a real possibility, it makes you wonder about the possibility of a meteor strike close to Washington. Wonder what the president was like 35.5 million years ago?

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Climate change affecting Italy's Chianti wine

ROME (AFP) Aug 23, 2004

The globe's rising temperatures are threatening Europe's premier wine-producing regions and could change them irrevocably within decades, three American climatologists have warned, the Italian daily La Repubblica reported Monday.

"We estimate that within 50 years temperatures in the region of Chianti, where summers are already very hot, will rise by an average of two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit)," Gregory Jones, of the Southern Oregon University, said at an international conference.

Legendary vineyards in Bordeaux and Chianti may come to resemble those in northern Africa, and the ideal growing environments that made them prosper could shift northward.

Comment: We think things are going to cool off rather more quickly than the author's of this study. Rather than facing a protracted period of global warming, there is evidence that a shift in the gulfstream will bring a rapid cooling of the northern climes. In either case, the globe is transforming and we can expect food shortages and civil strife when the new climate kicks in.

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Global warming makes China's glaciers shrink by equivalent of Yellow River

BEIJING (AFP) Aug 23, 2004

Global warming is causing China's highland glaciers, including those covering Mount Everest, to shrink by an amount equivalent to all the water in the Yellow River every year, state media said Monday.

A staggering seven percent of the country's glaciers vanish annually under the sweltering sun, enough to fill its second-largest river to the brim, the Xinhua news agency reported.

Xinhua, quoting leading glacier expert Yan Tandong, said this has been going on for the past four decades.

This would seem to imply that the glaciers regain some of their losses during the cold months of the year, or there would be very little of them left by now.

The issue is of particular concern to Tibet, home to nearly all the country's glaciers, and even Mount Everest has been found to be suffering, Xinhua reported.

A potential silver lining in the form of additional water for China's arid north and west has not materialized, according to the agency.

Much of the melted glacier water vaporizes long before it reaches the country's drought-stricken farmers and again global warming is to blame, it reported.

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Earthquake rattles Olympic venues

8/24/2004, 10:33 a.m. ET
The Associated Press

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — A small earthquake rattled some Olympic venues Tuesday. There were no reports of injuries or damage.

The Athens Geodynamic Institute said the tremor had a preliminary magnitude of 4.5 and occurred at 3:38 p.m. local time. It was centered about 42 miles northeast of Athens, 12 miles beneath the Aegean Sea.

"There is no reason to panic. It was a very small quake," said Giorgos Stavrakakis, a seismologist with the Geodynamic Institute.

The press table shook at the baseball venue at the Helliniko Complex near the coastline.

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Small quake hits in Port Hueneme area

Associated Press

PORT HUENEME, Calif. - A small earthquake struck in Ventura County on Sunday, but there were no reports of damage or injury.

The magnitude-3.0 temblor hit at 5:19 p.m. and was centered about one mile northeast of Port Hueneme, according to a preliminary report from the U.S. Geological Survey.

A dispatcher with the Port Hueneme Police Department said there were no reports of damage or injury.

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4.3 Richter Earthquake Hits Qazvin, Iran

Aug 23, 2004, 10:25

The Eastern sections of Avaj city in Qazvin province were rocked by tremors with an intensity of 4.3 on the Richter scale on Saturday afternoon at 18:23:20 local time, IRNA reported.

According to the Tehran University Geophysical Institute seismographic center the quake was centered at 35:43 degrees latitude and 49:53 degrees longitude. There have been no immediate reports on damage.

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Earthquake Hits Lower North Island

24/08/2004 06:36 AM

There has been an early morning wake up call for parts of the lower North Island.

An earthquake measuring 4.7 on the Richter scale struck the region at 4.28am.

It was located 60 kilometres south-west of Wanganui, at a depth of 120 kilometres.

The Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences believes the earthquake would have been felt along the west coast of the North Island from Wellington to Taranaki.

An earthquake also struck the Marlborough Sounds at 7.44 last night. Measuring 4.4, it was located 70 kilometres north-east of French Pass at a depth of 100 kilometres. It was felt in Wellington.

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Midwest Thunderstorms Spark Flash Floods

By BILL DRAPER, Associated Press Writer
August 24, 2004

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Thunderstorms raked parts of the Midwest early Tuesday, a day after flash flooding swamped basements, stranded motorists and left some cars floating in water.

The National Weather Service reported some Kansas roadways under 6 inches of water on Monday, when several motorists had to be rescued from their cars.

"It was a very dangerous flash-flood situation," meteorologist Curt Holderbach said.

Thunderstorms in North Dakota downed trees, flooded streets and knocked out power to several thousand people Monday. Golf-ball sized hail was reported in Bismarck, and winds of 70 mph were reported in Riverdale when the storm hit Monday night.

"With this kind of damage, it will take some time to get the power restored," said Montana-Dakota Utilities spokeswoman Cathi Christopherson.

The storm also brought hail and high wind to Kansas and spawned some funnel clouds, a few of which touched down but didn't cause significant damage, Holderbach said.

Small hail and rain fell across parts of eastern and central South Dakota on Monday night and thunderstorms moved across Nebraska on Tuesday, but there were no reports of damage.

In northwest Missouri near the Iowa line, as much as 4 inches of rain fell early Tuesday. Strong to severe thunderstorms were expected to move across the Great Plains and Midwest later in the day, bringing heavy rainfall, severe hail and high wind.

At least 3,200 customers lost power in Kansas at the height of Monday's storm, Westar Energy spokeswoman Karla Olsen said.

On Sunday and early Monday, as much as 15 inches of rain fell in Texas between San Antonio and Laredo, causing flash-flooding that forced a few residents to flee their homes. Officials closed Interstate 35 for most of the day Monday.

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Passport photo of "Ziad Jarra", allegedly found in Flight 93 wreckage

9/11 panel describes how attackers got money

New details on hijackers' visa, immigration violations

Sunday, August 22, 2004

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The 9/11 commission has released new details about how 19 hijackers and suspected conspirators in the attacks of September 11, 2001, were financed.

The two new reports -- released Saturday shortly before the commission closed -- also revealed visa and immigration violations among the suspected hijackers.

The commission released pictures of hijackers' visas -- including the charred remains of Ziad Jarrah's visa, plucked from the wreckage of United Flight 93 near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Comment: Wow, what a lucky find! We mean, who'd thunk it? In all that wreckage, strewn across more than 8 miles of Pennsylvania countryside, which in itself poses problems for the story that the plane crashed, government investigators were able to come up with a photo ID of one of the fabled hijackers. With the obviously divine intervention that lead to Mohammed Atta's pristine passport being found in the rubble of the WTC, perhaps we should all start believing Bush when he claims that god is on his side - well, a "god" of sorts perhaps.

Eight other alleged 9/11 conspirators applied for visas, and three of them succeeded, the reports said. Alleged plot mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed secured a visa in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in July 2001 under an alias, according to the reports.

The other two visas obtained were for Mushabib al-Hamlan, who ultimately did not participate, and Mohamed al-Kahtani, who was refused entry into the United States by an alert customs officer, the reports said.

Mohammed was captured in March 2003 and is being held at an unknown location. Al-Kahtani is being held at the U.S. detainee facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Al-Hamlan's whereabouts are not publicly known.

The independent National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States released its so-called "final report" on July 22 in a 570-page book.

The first of the new reports -- referred to as monographs -- deals with financing. It concluded -- as in previous reports -- that preparations for the attacks cost somewhere between $400,000 and $500,000 -- of which about $300,000 was spent in the United States. The costs do not include expenses for terrorist camp training, the report said.

Al Qaeda, which spent at estimated $30 million a year according to the CIA, was funded primarily by donors and corrupt charities, not Osama bin Laden's personal wealth or bin Laden-owned business fronts, the report says.

Comment: Well of course Ossy was funded by "donors and corrupt charities", but who are they? Here's a hint, the US political elite are all seasoned "donors" to one organisation or another, and Henry Kissinger definitely sees himself as somewhat of an philanthropist. Note that the report states that Ossy's operations were NEVER funded by his own personal wealth, obviously the "extreme religious fanaticism" that leads him to desire to destroy the US and its "freedom" at any cost is not potent enough for him to loose site of his capitalist leanings and spend a little of his own stash.

Note also that the report finds that Osama's reign of terror is NOT funded by "bin Laden-owned business fronts, simply because to claim the contrary would lead real and honest investigators of "Arab terrorism" to the door of Bush Snr and many members of the Washington NeoCons, past and present.

Bin Laden received $1 million a year from his family and was cut off in 1994. The origin of 9/11 funds is unknown but no money for the attacks was raised in the United States. The hijackers did not self-finance or have jobs.

The monograph reveals in detail how the hijackers received money from wire transfers, cash and traveler's checks, and credit or debit cards for overseas bank accounts. The report says most of the funds were sent by Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, a nephew of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

Well, it appears that it is the commission's lucky day. We suggest they read our article "Mahmoud Ahmad and The Secret Cult" where they can avail themselves of all the details about how, according to Agence France Presse and the Times of India, an official Indian intelligence report states that the 9-11 attacks were funded by money wired to Mohammed Atta from Pakistan, by Ahmad Umar Sheikh, under orders from Pakistani intelligence chief General Mahmoud Ahmad. The report said: "The evidence we have supplied to the U.S. is of a much wider range and depth than just one piece of paper linking a rogue general to some misplaced act of terrorism."

Not only that, they will also be shocked (we are sure) to read that this same General Mahmoud Ahmad was, on the morning of September 11 having breakfast with Florida's senator, Bob Graham - our esteemed chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee along with Pakistan's ambassador to the U.S. Maleeha Lodhi and other members of the Senate and House Intelligence committees present.

They will be soooo surprised!

Immigration violations

A second monograph details how all of the 9/11 hijackers violated some aspect of immigration U.S. laws while gaining entry to, or remaining in, the United States:

# Jarrah attended flight school in June 2000 without properly adjusting his immigration status, rendering him inadmissible each of the subsequent six times he reentered the United States between June 2000 and August 5, 2001.

# Hani Hanjour did not attend school after entering on a student visa in December 2000.

# Mohamed Atta failed to present a proper M-1 (vocational school) visa when he entered the United States in January 2001 and had previously overstayed his tourist visa.

# Nawaf al-Hazmi and Satam al-Suqami overstayed the terms of their admission.

# Each of the 19 submitted a visa application stating that he was not seeking to enter the United States to engage in terrorism.

# At the time they presented themselves to U.S. ports of entry, all 19 had been trained in Afghan camps and had prepared for and planned terrorist activity.

# At least two (al-Suqami and Abdul Aziz al-Omari) and possibly as many as seven of the 19 had false travel stamps -- associated with al Qaeda -- on their passports when they applied for visas.

Ah yes, passport violations, it's a sure fire way to spot a terrorist, it's just a pity that passport violations by the citizens of another Middle Eastern country are consistently ignored, even when there is long-standing evidence that said citizens are involved in spying on Amerian soil.

Note how this CNN article seems to be suggesting that there is conclusive proof that 19 hijackers actually took part in and died during the 9/11 attacks. Unfortunately, this is simply not the case. Not only that, but the fact that Atta's passport was found in the rubble of the WTC, suggesting that he as on one of the flights that hit the towers, stands in direct contradiction to the claims of his father that he was still alive a few days after 9/11/2001.

The second monograph also details 11 flights that left the United States between September 13 and September 24, 2001, carrying Saudi nationals, including members of bin Laden's family.

"Fearing reprisals against Saudi nationals, Rihab Massoud, deputy chief of mission of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Washington, D.C., called Dale Watson, the FBI's assistant director for counterterrorism, shortly after the attack and asked for help in getting some of the kingdom's citizens out of the country," the document states.

The commission says White House Counterterrorism Security Coordinator Richard Clarke appears to be the most senior official involved in approving the flights.

"President Bush and Vice President Cheney told the commission that they did not speak with Saudi government officials about the flights before their departure," the document states. "The president told the commission that the first he knew about the issue was when he read about it in the newspaper."

The commission states that all the Saudi nationals were screened by the FBI to make certain they were not a threat to national security, and that no terrorists escaped from the United States on any of the Saudi flights

Well of course no terrorists left the US on 9/11! - only a few Bin Ladens left on the afternoon of 9/11 and a few more left a few days later, but they were buddies of George Snr and Jnr, and they certainly weren't the "terrorists"that carried out the attacks. No siree! The real terrorists just melted back into the fabric of American society, which they had infiltrated many years before. By the way, didn't Bush tell the world that he never reads the newspapers?

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

At least 9 of them survived 9/11

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

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

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

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

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

Daniel Hopsicker
Mad Cow Productions

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

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

Flashback: Mohammed Atta Still Alive Claims Father

Ashraf Khalil
Cairo Times

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Robert Fisk
UK Independent

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

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Blame the Terrorist Behind that Tree!

August 24, 2004
By Sheila Samplesh

The things that will destroy us are: politics without principle; pleasure without conscience; wealth without work; knowledge without character; business without morality; science without humanity; and worship without sacrifice. - Mahatma Gandhi

George W. Bush once told The Washington Post's Bob Woodward the great thing about being president was that he didn't have to answer to anybody. "I'm the commander," Bush bragged. "See - I do not need to explain why I say things... Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don't feel like I owe anybody an explanation..."

So that's it, then. Houston - we have your problem. And, like they say in Texas, anybody with half sense and one eye can see it's out of control.

With this guy, the buck never seems to stop. It just veers crazily around corners, never turns back, thunders through the halls of the administration and scares the hell out of those who try to corral it. The few times it has been caught in the glare of truth's headlights, its eyes were so wildly insane that hunters, even scandal-hardened ones like Woodward, quickly backed off.

It's time for the buck to stop. The guilty within this destructive administration must be held accountable for the massive damage they are causing throughout the world. Someone must pay for the pain and humiliation suffered by human beings under our care whom we so cavalierly torture - literally - to death. Someone must be held to account for the innocent men, women and children who are nothing more than collateral damage and who must die simply because they are there.

Life is NOT just a box of chocolates. Nor is it an endless video game or just one big television production. When American soldiers, sailors and marines are riddled with real bullets - blasted apart by real bombs - they don't get up, dust themselves off and go home after the "show." They die. And they stay dead.

Somebody owes us an explanation.

But who? Truth is, there is no single person in charge. This country is run by a deadly, power-bloated committee whose entire cast of characters is without shame or conscience. Most had waited for more than a decade to gain control of the government in order to savage all regulatory corporate controls, pillage the U.S. Treasury, and to set into motion their imperialistic plans for a sweeping New World Order.

Ironically, not one of them - Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, William Kristol, Donald Rumsfeld, Bill Bennett, Douglas Feith - was presidential material. Hey - not even the Supremes could have pulled that one off without sparking a revolution.

They struck oil - a real gusher - when they selected the frisky and mean-spirited George W. Bush as their front man. What a find! Bush, a blindly competitive bully, was totally self-absorbed, contemptuous of the disadvantaged masses and - the best part - he had no qualms about destroying innocent people to get his way.

It worked to their advantage that Bush was as dumb as dirt with no sense of history because he very quickly proved he would do as he was told and would stick to the scripts written for him. Garbage in, garbage out.

Bush's cruel charm also made him an instant media darling. Their damage-control bits of journalistic derring-do to convince us that - for Bush at least - life does indeed begin at 40, are legend. The media was the wind beneath Bush's wings as he flew crazily to war, and throughout his rule, they have refused to expose his relentless, behind-the-scenes attack on the economy, the environment, and the overall health and welfare of Americans themselves.

But asking Bush for an explanation can be a frustrating exercise. He can't remember ever making a mistake and, indeed, seems incapable of even mouthing the words, "I'm sorry." In an April 13 press conference, Bush was asked to cite his biggest mistake since 9/11 - not his biggest ever, just since 9-11 - and what he learned from it.

Bush dissolved into a trembling, unscripted fool: "You know, I just - I'm sure something will pop into my head here in the midst of this press conference, with all the pressure of trying to come up with an answer, but it hasn't yet," he said, then continued babbling incoherently, "I hope I - I don't want to sound like I've made no mistakes. I'm confident I have. I just haven't - you just put me under the spot here, and maybe I'm not as quick on my feet as I should be in coming up with one."

Under the spot? Strange that the relentless lies Bush told about WMD to whip the world into a frenzied, needless war didn't just "pop" into his head as maybe being a bit of a mistake. It sure pops into mine as a mistake of gargantuan proportions.

Getting it to pop out is the problem, especially today, as the 1,089th coalition body bag is tossed onto the pile, and the stench of hundreds - thousands - tens of thousands - of slaughtered "subhuman Islamic insurgent terrorist" Iraqi men, women and children wafts over the international landscape.

Someone must be held accountable.

Sometimes I wonder if, in hindsight, the Supreme Court regrets installing Bush as dictator in the 2000 coup. I wonder if they realize just how grotesque their act of destroying the natural dignity of democracy really is.

Surely those five judges did not reach the pinnacle of judicial power without having a sense of history; without having read Thomas Paine's The Rights of Man. Surely they knew that those who seize power rule their subjects by "force and fraud," and view with disgust the foolish rabble crying out against injustice. To reason with such men, Paine says, is to argue with brutes. Perhaps accountability should begin with the Supremes. Unfortunately - like Bush - they appear to feel they don't owe anybody an explanation.

Lack of space prohibits a complete rundown of the wounds Bush is inflicting upon this country. He had scarcely removed his hand from the Bible on inauguation day before he began trashing hundreds of domestic regulations put in place by President Bill Clinton. Bush began with a pre-emptive attack on wetlands and turned over the country's 155 national forests to the logging industry, kicked off a crusade to allow oil drilling in the nation's national monuments, and began an assault on job protections for both government and corporate workers.

And that was just the first day of his dictatorship.

To be fair, Clinton - in a last-minute effort to protect the people and the environment - left a stack of industry-opposed regulations, to include 800 pages of protections for Medicare programs. Bush made short shrift of those, while ending federal funding to groups that provide abortion counseling abroad, broke his campaign promise to regulate power plants for lower C02 emissions, and horrified the international community by trashing the Kyoto Protocol of 1997 for controlling global warming. Never worked up a sweat. For a listing of treaties and protocols shredded or rejected by the Bush regime, from Kyoto to land mines to women's rights, see here.

Few Americans realize the sheer scope of the damage Bush is inflicting upon us. The shock of 9-11, the rush to war, the litany of lies, the tragic loss of our servicemen and women and the metallic taste of fear as a result of sudden dire warnings of cold-blooded killers headed our way has forced most of us to "compartmentalize" our lives in order to retain our sanity.

The media refuses to hold Bush accountable for stealing billions from the WTC victims' compensation fund, for cutting veterans health benefits, or for cutting Head Start and Leave No Child Behind programs in order to fund his tax cuts for the wealthy. Here in this country, real people are losing real freedoms and benefits. Those are real American children being deprived of education, social services, medical care and, all too often, even of food and shelter because of the heartless decisions of the Bush regime.

If you haven't been ravaged, it's probably because Bush's corporate "Rangers" and "Pioneers" haven't gotten around to you yet. It's a real cattle drive out there, folks. Yippee-ki-yoh...

Beginning on Monday, Aug. 23, as many as six million Americans will lose their right to overtime pay which, according to Ross Eisenbrey, director of the Economic Policy Institute, will give employers the "flexibility" to work their employees 50 or 60 hours a week without paying any more than they would for 40. Theft, pure and simple - of citizens' money, their time and, ultimately, their lives.

Eisenbrey points out, "It took 100 years of struggle to pass the Fair Labor Standards Act and create a 40-hour week. It has taken the Bush administration less than four years to turn back the clock."

Bush's Labor Day message to working Americans - go Cheney yourselves!

But the most egregious example of man's inhumanity to man was Bush pressuring the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to assure New York City residents that the air at or near Ground Zero was safe to breathe. Although tons of concrete, glass, furniture, carpets, insulation, computers and papers burned at the site until mid-December, EPA director Christine Todd Whitman was out there just one week after the twin towers collapsed assuring New Yorkers the air quality was safe.

According to a Reuters article, a study conducted by scientists at the University of California and released in Sept. 2003 found that, "The burning ruins of the World Trade Center spewed toxic gases 'like a chemical factory' for at least six weeks." The study went on to say the White House "convinced the EPA" to delete cautionary statements.

In other words, Bush - who brays constantly that his mission is to "protect the American people," assured them with no thought for their safety that it was okay to breathe asbestos, lead, concrete dust and pulverized glass.

If there is a God, George W. Bush will be held responsible for this one heartless, barbaric and immoral act above all others.

I doubt that Bush can recall from speech to speech what he has promised, but those of us who have developed an ear for his rhapsodic prattlings know, as Freud said, his gaffes inevitably reveal his true thoughts. Bush told us long before his selection the direction his regime would take, but we were too busy laughing at his convoluted syntax to hear him.

In January 2000, the Financial Times reported that, while at a gathering in South Carolina, Bush attempted to describe the world in which he lives with a tortured, "It's a world of madmen and uncertainty and potential mential (sic) losses."

In May 2000, he was at it again in Albuquerque when he said, "...You see, even though it's an uncertain world, we're certain of some things. We're certain that even though the 'evil empire' may have passed, evil still remains. We're certain there are people that can't stand what America stands for... We're certain there are madmen in this world, and there's terror, and there's missiles and I'm certain of this, too: I'm certain to maintain the peace, we better have a military of high morale, and I'm certain that under this administration, morale in the military is dangerously low."

If you listen closely to him - if you notice the security precautions that must be taken before he will venture out in public in his iron bubble - it's easy to see that he's mightily concerned about protecting at least one American: himself. Bush is far more terrified than we are. In his world, a terrorist lurks behind every tree, crouches under every bed - and they're all out to get him.

Maybe so. But then, again, maybe all they want is for the buck to stop. Maybe they think he owes them an explanation.

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Radicals to "Wreak Havoc" at GOP Convention

August 23, 2004 -- EXCLUSIVE

A number of extremists with ties to the 1970s radical Weather Underground have recently been released from prison and are in New York preparing to wreak havoc during the Republican National Convention, The Post has learned.

A top-level source with extensive knowledge of police plans wouldn't disclose the names of the aging rabble-rousers but said a handful of them are already here and will play a behind-the-scenes role in attempting to disrupt the GOP gala.

"These people are trained in kidnapping techniques, bombmaking and building improvised munitions," the source said. "They've very bad people."

"They're not likely to take direct action," the source continued, "but they'll be orchestrating operations."

Originally called "The Weathermen," the anarchist organization came into existence in June 1969 as a radical splinter group of the Students for a Democratic Society.

During a two-year stretch, the group bombed a number of high-profile government buildings, primarily to protest the Vietnam War and racism in America.

While the group has been largely unheard from for more than 30 years, the release "over the last two years" of anarchists tied to the Underground — and their apparent willingness to return to their old ways — has the NYPD tracking their every move.

NYPD operatives spotted a few of the fanatics in Boston for the Democratic convention, but they are "saving themselves" for New York, the source said.

Despite the addition of the older anti-government zealots to the frightening possibility of Islamic militants and other domestic terrorists and anarchists — the source is confident the NYPD can keep the peace as the convention kicks off next week.

"This is the Super Bowl of police actions, and we're ready for it," the source said.

To prepare for any possible violent incident, the NYPD is employing aggressive airborne surveillance and elaborate undercover operations.

"There will be a constant eye in the sky," the source said, declining to give specifics, but adding that it "won't just be helicopters."

The NYPD is also tracking five extremist groups, according to a manual obtained by The Post titled "Executive Resource Handbook on Radical Groups."

Among the groups mentioned are the Earth Liberation Front, Refuse & Resist, and International A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism).

Comment: If the powers that be had little trouble in carrying off an elaborate fake terror attack on 9/11, designed to scare the whole world into submission, it will be no problem whatsoever for them to take the next logical step in the grand game plan and bring the "war on terror" back home and onto the doorsteps of every libertarian American household. It is SOP, and has been for millennia, for governments to create straw men which they then use to justify the imposition of restrictive laws, thus consolidating power.

The above report essentially details the means by which Bush and Co will provide evidence to the average American citizen that if they do not get in line they will be made to get in line. If any civil disobedience (nice phrase eh?) occurs at the Republican convention, it will not be a bunch of aging anarchists that are responsible, but rather government sponsored 'agents provocateurs' out to portray all truth loving Americans as "domestic terrorists".

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U.S. Revokes Visa for Muslim Scholar

By TOM COYNE, Associated Press Writer
August 24, 2004

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - The U.S. visa of a Swiss Muslim scholar who was to teach at the University of Notre Dame has been revoked, a State Department spokeswoman said Tuesday, apparently under terms of the Patriot Act.

The visa for Tariq Ramadan, who has been criticized for links to Islamic militants and for remarks branded as anti-Semitic, was revoked at the request of the Department of Homeland Security, spokeswoman Kelly Shannon said.

She cited the Immigration and Nationality Act, part of which deals with aliens who have used a "position of prominence within any country to endorse or espouse terrorist activity." Another section denies entry to aliens whose entry may have "potentially serious adverse foreign policy consequences for the United States."

Shannon did not immediately clarify whether either section applied to Ramadan's case.

Notre Dame had named Ramadan earlier this year to be its Henry B. Luce professor of religion, conflict and peacebuilding at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies.

Messages seeking comment were left Tuesday for a Notre Dame spokesman and for Scott Appleby, director of the Kroc Institute. Classes at Notre Dame began Tuesday.

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Comment: This is a rather disturbing development, given that it sets a new precedent - even if Ramadan doesn't seem to be the most rational proponent of Islam...

FLASHBACK: Controversial Islamic Scholar Coming to America

By Eva Cahen Correspondent
July 29, 2004

Paris ( - A Swiss-born Muslim scholar scheduled to begin teaching at a U.S. university next month is a controversial figure in Europe, where he is accused of anti-Semitism and advocating violence against women.

Tariq Ramadan plans to teach at Indiana's Notre Dame University, instructing students on Islam, conflict and peace building.

Ramadan is the grandson of Hassan Al-Banna, the Egyptian founder of the radical Muslim Brotherhood.

With a perfect command of the language and a tailored western look, he is well-known in France, where disaffected Muslim youths listen to his speeches on Islamic pride. But some municipalities have barred him from speaking because he is considered a threat to public order.

Ramadan has denied allegations in the French media that European agencies suspect him of meeting with senior al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in Geneva, in 1991.

Late last year, in a television debate with French government minister Nicolas Sarkozy, Ramadan refused to condemn "lapidation" - the stoning of adulterous women, a punishment that is carried out under strict interpretations of the Koran.

A public outcry followed the publication of an article in which Ramadan accused French intellectuals of being pro-Israel and anti-Palestinian purely for sectarian reasons -- that is, because they were Jewish. They were placing their religion above their obligation as scholars, he charged.

Not all the intellectuals he singled out were, in fact, Jews. The article brought him vitriol at a time when France has seen a rise in anti-Jewish violence, often originating in the Muslim community. [...]

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Call to acknowledge Israeli occupation

Tuesday 24 August 2004, 18:29 Makka Time, 15:29 GMT

Israel's top law officer has recommended the government consider applying the Fourth Geneva Convention to the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Attorney-General Menachem Mazuz has proposed that Israel implicitly acknowledge its occupation in the Palestinian territories.

A report compiled by his Justice Ministry team says that the government should "thoroughly examine" applying the protocol which governs the treatment of civilians in occupied land.

Published in Tuesday's Haaretz daily, the report was commissioned in the wake of a non-binding ruling in July by the International Court of Justice on illegality of Israel's West Bank separation barrier.

But Israel has refused to apply the convention in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, arguing they were not sovereign territories before their seizure in the 1967 Six Day War.


At the moment, Israel refers to the areas as "disputed" territories.

"The real reason that Israel has so far drawn back from this text is that it never wants to acknowledge that the territories are occupied and that the settlements are forbidden," said Moshe Negbi, the legal affairs expert for Israeli Public Radio.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon caused a political storm in May last year when he used the phrase occupation in an address to deputies from his Likud party.

"You may not like the word, but what's happening is occupation," he insisted.

However, he was later forced to backtrack, insisting he had been misunderstood. After being contacted by then attorney-general Elyakim Rubinstein, Sharon instead referred to the "disputed" territories.

Angry response

Yuval Steinitz, chairman of the parliament's foreign affairs and defence committee, reacted angrily to the recommendation - saying the issue was beyond the competence of Mazuz and his team.

"Mazuz is in no position to measure the international and security consequences of his recommendations.

"This should not be determined by a legal perspective as Israel has to take into consideration a number of other criteria," Steinitz, a member of the Likud, told public radio.

Matan Vilnai, a senior MP with the main opposition Labour party, also voiced reservations about the report's recommendations.

"The recommendations must obviously be studied but I wouldn't rush to accept them as it could cause serious mililtary problems," he said.

Worst-case scenario?

Mazuz has already warned that the world court ruling, which the Sharon government has pledged to ignore, could lead to the imposition of sanctions by the international community.

The ICJ, the United Nations' top legal body, said parts of the barrier built inside the West Bank were illegal and should be torn down, a ruling which has been endorsed by the UN General Assembly.

The Justice Ministry has refused to comment on the Mazuz report.

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A Spy in a Governor's Bed

Commentary by Laura Dawn Lewis

Governor Jim McGreevey's sorrowful admission on August 12, 2004 to an adulterous homosexual affair with Golen Cipel while in office certainly presents provocative copy, yet there is something very fishy about this and the direction the media chooses to pursue. Frankly, it stinks to high heaven. What do I mean? A question best illustrates the issue.

Which is worse?

A: Having an adulterous affair with a homosexual while in office

B: Allowing a spy into your bed, attempting to install him into a highly sensitive security position, providing him access to sensitive military, energy, technology and corporate intelligence and endangering the entire country via this appointment?

Call me crazy, but option (B) affects every American in the United States. Option (A), though embarrassing affects McGreevey and his family with little consequence to the rest of us. It's a scandal, but not a strong reason to resign or come forward.

Then we have the US media. Yes, the National Enquirer would focus on a homosexual affair. That is their beat. But ABC, FOX, the New York Times and Washington Post, tabloid journalism isn't their forte, at least it didn't used to be. Which is why the media's focusing on the homosexual affair instead of the fact that Golen Cipel is a known Israeli operative who infiltrated a Governor's office and almost Homeland Security causes such alarm. That's the story; that's what the media should be investigating. What systems were compromised? What information did Cipel pass on? Why did he target McGreevey? What did Israel hope to learn? What power did they hope to exercise by corrupting the governor of New Jersey?

[...] Cipel served as public relations officer in the Israeli consulate in New York as "information officer" from at least February 1996 until April 1999. During this time Cipel made appearances including the American Veterans of Israel's 1948 war, while creating propaganda for the state of Israel. Upon completion of his assignment he returned to Israel serving as a parliamentary aide to a Labor member of the Knesset, and was a public relations officer for the city of Rishon Letzion. It is here he met McGreevey.

Working at the consulate, Cipel shares a commonality with all countries' intelligence forces. Whether CIA, MI-6 or any other, most agents do time at their country's consulate as part of their training in foreign countries. It is the best way to learn a new country, its habits, culture and language quickly. This tour of duty also provides access to diplomats and diplomatic immunity. Working at a foreign consulate fits within Mossad's standard operating procedures Victor Ostrovsky details in his book about his years as a Mossad agent, "By Way of Deception".

Bolstering the spy angle is a letter to the INS McGreevey's chief counsel, Paul Levinsohn submitted describing the nature of Cipel's work on behalf of the Israeli government:

"In particular, his experience as chief information officer, consulate general of Israel, involved responsibility for developing and maintaining the country's terrorism portfolio, keeping government authorities abreast of terrorist activities and threats, maintaining a database of such activities and coordinating that information with data obtained from other agencies."

Not exactly the duties of an entry-level public relations worker the $30,000 a year salary he later took intimates. In fact, this description contains no duties common to public relations or marketing. So why when Cipel returned did he take an entry-level salary and position if he'd previously been Information Officer in charge of Israeli propaganda and terrorism intelligence? Where are the US's investigative reporters when we need them?

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Noam Chomsky and ‘Left’ Apologetics for Injustice in Palestine

By Noah Cohen
Aug 23, 2004, 16:15

It’s particularly interesting in the case of Palestine to see where US intellectuals and progressives decide that it’s necessary to be "realistic" and where "principled;" where they choose to accept more or less the general media consensus about "the boundaries of acceptable discourse" and where they reject it. In the case of Palestine, people who are generally on record as calling for forthrightness and honesty in the demand for justice in political discourse, who criticize a false "pragmatism" oriented toward the corporate media and academic political consultants and who question generalizing statements about popular consensus, suddenly become believers in pragmatism and the limits of what the discourse will allow. An interview with Noam Chomsky published on Znet under the title "Justice for Palestine?" (Znet, March 30, 2004) is an exemplary contribution to this genre of left apologetics. Since it contains so many of the arguments generally advanced to legitimize some form of continued existence for an Israeli system of colonialism and Apartheid—and to shore up rear-guard support for it among US progressives—it is worth examining in full. In general, the argument rests on two pillars:

(1) Israel’s history of colonial occupation and expansion must be separated from all other colonial histories as a special case and special consideration must be given to Zionist colonial settlers as a historically vulnerable group;

2) Since this "historically vulnerable group" also has massive military power, nuclear weapons, and U.S. military and economic support, calling for an end to the colonial regime is unrealistic; it only hurts the colonized, and should be redirected to more useful activities.

The first is a tortured attempt to meet arguments about justice; the second is an attempt to make them moot by arguments about realism.

These essentially are the two arguments that Chomsky advances against calls for democracy and equal rights for all the people of historic Palestine. In this case, their particular form runs as follows: a democratic Palestine, in all of historic Palesine, with equal rights for everyone would only end up making Jews an oppressed minority (moral argument); such calls are unrealistic in any case, and will only be used by Zionist extremists to further justify their program of ethnic cleansing against Palestinians (pragmatic argument). Palestine is thus not like South Africa morally, where in the discourse against Apartheid the fact that whites were a minority was not supposed to give them the right to maintain special privileges by military force—they were a colonial-settler regime, and special privileges were exactly what the anti-Apartheid movement was opposing. Somehow in the case of the "Jewish state" a colonial-settler minority is supposed to be able to maintain a privileged status by force on land seized through military aggression. Palestine is not like South Africa pragmatically, since calls for an end to the colonial-settler regime are doomed to failure because they will never get sufficient international support to be effective.

As in the famous case of Freud’s "leaky-pot logic" of dreams, one should ask oneself whether these two arguments don’t rather cancel each other out—the first providing the unspoken assumptions and motivations of the second.

[...] There is unmistakable racism in the way in which Chomsky evaluates the realism of different scenarios: he tells us that it’s entirely unrealistic to imagine that Jewish people could live safely as a minority in a Palestinian state based on principles of democracy and equal rights. More disturbingly, this concern over the possible fate of Jews as a minority in a Palestinian state is so significant in his mind as to justify opposition to ending an actual situation in which Jewish people live as privileged colonizers on Palestinian land. Here we are supposed to apply the author’s concept of realism. On the other hand, it’s supposed to be realistic, in spite of all proven history to the contrary, for Palestinians to expect that a neighboring Israel, under a two-state solution, will respect their territory even though they have no arms to defend themselves. Or, even more amazing, that the US, under pressure from US citizens, could be expected to protect them. His hope for this rests apparently on the good will of Israelis and US citizens. (Even in the aftermath of decades of genocidal US policies in other countries, and protest movements that have never reached a level capable of stopping a US invasion.) Here idealism is supposed to apply.

In deciding what is realistic, we are supposed to ignore the most obvious historical facts: that Palestine had centuries of religious co-existence before Zionism—a co-existence to which all parties in the history of the Palestinian struggle for liberation have officially committed themselves; that the US, Europe and now Israel have an unbroken history of violating treaties and international agreements (including the highest conventions of international law) respecting territorial integrity—especially the territorial integrity of native peoples—and that this process has generally ended in near total genocide wherever such peoples have put down their arms and ceased to defend themselves.

[...] Faced with the apologetics of pragmatism, a friend long active in the struggle against Apartheid in South Africa, and now equally active in the struggle for justice in Palestine, put the matter succinctly: Since when is it the role of solidarity activists from the society of the oppressor to make concessions on behalf of the oppressed?

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Najaf fighters issued another ultimatum

Tuesday 24 August 2004, 17:43 Makka Time, 14:43 GMT

Iraq's interim defence minister has warned fighters besieged in Najaf's Imam Ali shrine to surrender or face an attack later on Tuesday that would "wipe them out".

The ultimatum was the latest in a series of threats by the US-backed government to the al-Mahdi Army loyal to Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr, which has been fighting American marines around the Imam Ali mosque for three weeks.

"We are in the last hours. This evening, Iraqi forces will reach the doors of the shrine and control it and appeal to the al-Mahdi Army to throw down their weapons," Defence Minister Hazim al-Shaalan told a news conference at a US military base outside Najaf.

"If they do not, we will wipe them out."

A spokesman for al-Sadr's office in Baghdad, Raid al-Kadhimy, said: "This is the beginning of the battle."

To the death

"They [US forces] will not enter Najaf until we are all dead," al-Kadhimy told Aljazeera.

He also said "those collaborators with the US forces will be sooner or later heavily punished by the Iraqi people and al-Sadr's movement".

"We still welcome any peaceful initiative"

"The whole world has witnessed al-Sadr welcoming any peaceful initiative," al-Kadhimy continued.

"But those crooked members of the government, who are collaborating with the US occupation forces, do not want any peace. They are slaves for the occupation forces.

Welcome peace

"However, we still welcome any peaceful initiative," al-Kadhimy added.

He stressed that al-Sadr was willing to hand over the shrine's keys to Ayat Allah al-Sistani and evacuate al-Haidari compound.

"But those [government members] are manipulating us... They are not cooperating with us to hand over the keys, which is considered the beginning of a peaceful solution for our crisis.

"Even Saddam Hussein has not dared to attack the holy shrines," al-Kadhimy added.

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Additional Guard, Reserve Call-Ups Termed Likely - Winning war on terror will take a long time, adjutant general says

From staff and wire reports

Mississippi's highest-ranking National Guard officer says all National Guard and Reserve members should expect to be called upon as the war on terror continues.

Maj. Gen. Harold A. Cross, the state's adjutant general in charge of the Mississippi National Guard, made the assessment during a speech last week to the Golden Triangle chapter of the Military Officers Association of America.

Many people mistakenly have isolated the war in Iraq, while those in leadership see it as a worldwide problem, Cross said.

"I think this could very well be a generational war," he said. "We are liberating people who haven't known freedom for 30 years and we're making gallant progress, but this is not a short operation; it will be a long task. For that reason, the National Guard is being heavily depended on to win this war."

Cross said more than 50 percent of responsibilities in Iraqi Freedom is occupied by Guard and Reserves.

"That percentage will go down as we go along, but the Guard should expect to be continually asked to participate fully," he said.

With steady recruiting and a surprisingly high retention rate, Cross feels confident the nation will be able to get the job done.

"A lot of people that could've gotten out before being mobilized chose not to do that," Cross said. "They're coming to the flag because they do realize that their nation needs them right now. It all boils down to one thing, and that's patriotism."

Comment: "In past ages, a war, almost by definiton, was something that sooner or later came to an end, usually in unmistakable victory or defeat. But when war becomes literally continuous, it also ceases to be dangerous. When war is continuous there is no such thing as military necessity. Efficiency, even military efficiency, is no longer needed. The rulers of such a state are absolute, as the Pharoahs or the Caesars could not be." - Orwell's 1984

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BA cancels flights, thousands stranded 2004-08-24 20:55:24

LONDON, Aug. 24 (Xinhuanet) -- Thousands of British Airways (BA) passengers were left stranded at Heathrow Airport Tuesday after staff shortages and technical problems forced the airline to cancel 22 flights to and from destinations in Britain and Europe.

This is the second day that the Europe's second largest airline has been forced to cancel flights. Twenty-five flights to the United States and European destinations were grounded on Monday.

The airline said there would also be delays to short-haul flights and urged all passengers to consult its web site before traveling to Heathrow Airport.

The airline's problems began Monday afternoon when it canceled flights to Philadelphia, Chicago and New York in the United States because of technical problems with its aircraft.

Those cancellations, combined with existing staff shortages, had a domino effect leading to the cancellation of another 22 flights and several more delays.

The airline estimated that around 5,000 passengers have been affected so far and at least another 2,500 would be affected Tuesday.

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UK to take tougher line on US stance on UN climate protocol 2004-08-24 20:36:22

LONDON, Aug. 24 (Xinhuanet) -- The British government has signaled it will take a tougher stance over the US administration's negative attitude towards a UN climate change protocol when Britain takes over the chair of both the European Union and the G8 group next year, the London-based Guardian newspaper reported Tuesday.

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UK in split with US on W. Bank homes: paper 2004-08-24 19:58:04

LONDON, Aug. 24 (Xinhuanet) -- A significant gap has opened up between the British and US governments on Middle East policy after Downing Street expressed its continued opposition to any expansion of Jewish settlements in the Palestinian West Bank, the British Guardian newspaper reported Tuesday.

The British government, in a rare departure from Washington, positioned itself alongside its European Union partners on the West Bank homes issue, the paper said.

"Our position is consistent with the statement put out by the European Union last week, and our view is that the Israelis should freeze all settlements," a Downing Street spokesman was quoted as saying.

Comment: Hmmm. Looks like Tony Blair is starting to prepare his next election campaign with a discrete movement away from the US on some issues. He knows the British electorate isn't happy with British involvement in Bush's Crusade, so he is going to find some areas where he can be "tough with Washington".

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Graves desecrated in Catholic cemetery in France

LYON, France, Aug 24 (AFP) - Dozens of graves in a Catholic cemetery in the southern French village of Saint-Jean-Bonnefonds were discovered vandalised Tuesday, police and the mayor said.

The act came two weeks after the desecration of a Jewish cemetery in nearby Lyon.

The mayor of Saint-Jean-Bonnefonds, Jacques Frecenon, said the vandals had broken flower pots and crosses but had not smashed the graves themselves nor had they left any messages.

Police were investigating, he said.

On August 9, swastikas and other neo-Nazi references were painted on 60 Jewish graves in Lyon. An unemployed 24-year-old Frenchman is in custody after telling police he carried out the crime for racist reasons.

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Human chips more than skin-deep

By Michael Kanellos
August 23, 2004, 4:25 AM PT

There's not a lot of middle ground on the subject of implanting electronic identification chips in humans.

Advocates of technologies like radio frequency identification tags say their potentially life-saving benefits far outweigh any Orwellian concerns about privacy. RFID tags sewn into clothing or even embedded under people's skin could curb identity theft, help identify disaster victims and improve medical care, they say.

Critics, however, say such technologies would make it easier for government agencies to track a person's every movement and allow widespread invasion of privacy. Abuse could take countless other forms, including corporations surreptitiously identifying shoppers for relentless sales pitches. Critics also speculate about a day when people's possessions will be tagged--allowing nosy subway riders with the right technology to examine the contents of nearby purses and backpacks.

"Invasion of privacy is going to be impossible to avoid," said Katherine Albrecht, the founder and director of Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering, or CASPIAN, a watchdog group created to monitor the use of data collected in the so-called loyalty programs used increasingly by supermarkets. Albrecht worries about a day when "every physical item is registered to its owner."

Comment: Right, it's unavoidable. Let's all go get chipped now and just get it over with... After all, the terrorists don't want you to get chipped, because then you will be making America less safe. You don't want to be "with the terrorists", do you?!

The overriding idea behind tagging people with chips--whether through implants or wearable devices such as bracelets--is to improve identification and, consequently, tighten access to restricted information or physical areas.

But on top of civil liberties and other policy issues, such technologies face visceral objections from many people who frown on the idea of being implanted with tags that can track them like migrating tuna. Complaints have led several companies to abandon plans to use RFID technologies in products, much less in human bodies.

The concept of implanting chips for tracking purposes was introduced to the general public more than a decade ago, when pet owners began using them to keep tabs on dogs and cats. The notion of embedding RFID tags in the human body, though, remained largely theoretical until the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, when a technology executive saw firefighters writing their badge numbers on their arms so that they could be identified in case they became disfigured or trapped.

Comment: So, are you all teary-eyed and patriotic now about receiving an RFID implant? It is truly amazing how much mileage the powers that be are getting out of the psychological and emotional effects of the events - and lies surrounding - 9/11.

Richard Seelig, vice president of medical applications at security specialist Applied Digital Solutions, inserted a tracking tag in his own arm and told the company's CEO that it worked. A new product, the VeriChip, was born.

Applied Digital formed a division named after the chip and says it has sold about 7,000 of the electronic tags. An estimated 1,000 have been inserted in humans, mostly outside the United States, with no harmful physical side effects reported from the subcutaneous implants, the company said.

"It is used instead of other biometric applications," such as fingerprints, said Angela Fulcher, vice president of marketing at VeriChip, which is based in Palm Beach, Fla. The basic technology comes from Digital Angel, a sister company under the Applied corporate umbrella that has sold thousands of tags for identifying pets and other animals.

VeriChip makes 11-millimeter RFID tags that are implanted in the fatty tissue below the right tricep. When near a scanner, the chip is activated and emits an ID number. When a person's tag number matches an ID in a database, the person is allowed to enter a secured room or complete a financial transaction.

So far, enhancing physical security--controlling access to buildings or other areas--remains the most common application. RFID chips cannot track someone in real time the way the Global Positioning System does, but they can provide information such as whether a particular individual has gone through a door. [...]

Safety has been a primary driver in some U.S. applications as well. An Arizona company called Technology Systems International, for example, says it has improved security in prisons with an RFID-like system for inmates and guards. The company's products came out in 2001 and are based on technology licensed from Motorola, which created it for the U.S. military to find gear lost in battle.

TSI's wristbands for inmates transmit signals every two seconds to a battery of antennas mounted in the prison facility. By examining the time the signal is received by each antenna, a computer can determine the exact location of each prisoner at any given time and can reconstruct prisoners' movements later, if necessary to investigate their actions.

Since the technology was installed at participating prisons, violence is down up to 60 percent in some facilities, said TSI President Greg Oester, who says the wristbands are designed for the "uncooperative user." TSI, a division of security company Alanco Technologies, has installed the system in four prisons and will add a fifth soon.

"Inmates know they are being monitored and know they will get caught. The word spreads very quickly," Oester said. "It increases the safety in facilities."

Comment: Just think, Americans: soon you, too, will be able to live like an inmate in a US prison!!

In a California prison that uses the TSI technology, an inmate confessed to stabbing another prisoner 20 minutes after authorities showed him data from his radio transmitter that placed him in the victim's cell at the time of the stabbing, Oester said. A women's prison in the state has begun a pilot program to test whether the technology prevents sexual assaults.

Conversely, at an Illinois prison, Oester said, convicts have pointed to this sort of data as a way to prove that they weren't involved in prison incidents. Guards have similar tags, embedded in pagers rather than wristbands, which set off an alarm if they are removed or tampered with. [...]

Comment: Ah yes, it's the old, "But the technology can also be used for good, now go back to sleep!" argument. Sure, just like nuclear power...

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Bee attack near Barstow leaves six people hospitalized

The Associated Press
9:09 am PDT Monday, August 23, 2004

BARSTOW, Calif. (AP) - A swarm of honey bees living inside a playhouse attacked 11 people, leaving six hospitalized over the weekend.

The attack happened Saturday morning when several children, who were playing along the shores of Horton Lake in the desert town of Newberry Springs, entered a playhouse and ran out screaming.

Rescuers grabbed the children and rushed into the lake as the bees swarmed overhead, said Steve Miller, assistant fire chief of Newberry Springs Fire Department.

One 4-year-old girl and her uncle were airlifted to Loma Linda University Medical Center, where they remained Saturday night after getting stung more than 100 times each.

Both were listed in good condition, the hospital said.

"This little girl had them in her nose, her tongue, she had them in her eyelids," said John Horton, co-owner of the Horton Lake Water Ski School where the attack occurred.

Other victims were taken to Barstow Community Hospital and treated and released as of 6 p.m. Saturday, hospital spokesman John Rade said.

Miller suggested the bees were Africanized, which are more aggressive than domestic bees. Officials with the San Bernardino County Vector Control Program said it takes two weeks and DNA testing to make a positive identification.

Firefighters doused a hive with flame retardant foam before a county official was dispatched to destroy three hives. One contained 100,000 bees, Miller said.

Earlier this month, some 120,000 Africanized bees swarmed from a massive hive in Santa Ana and stung more than a dozen people.

Newberry Springs is about 30 miles east of Barstow in San Bernardino County.

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Study: 1 in 3 Adults Has Hypertension

By JAMIE STENGLE, Associated Press Writer
August 24, 2004

DALLAS - Nearly a third of American adults have high blood pressure, putting them at greater risk of stroke, heart attack, kidney failure and other problems, according to a new government analysis.

The obesity epidemic and an aging population are to blame, experts say. Just over a decade ago, closer to one in four Americans had high blood pressure, and two decades ago the rate actually was declining.

About 65 million American adults now have high blood pressure - 30 percent more than the 50 million who did in the previous decade, according to a report published Monday in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association.

"The big message to the American public on that is that we need to pay attention to our lifestyle and those that are overweight need to get slimmer," said Dr. Daniel Jones, dean of the School of Medicine for the University of Mississippi Medical Center and an expert on high blood pressure.

The study didn't examine reasons for the blood pressure spike, but experts said the fact the population is getting older and fatter probably plays a major role. [...]

Comment: Now, why wouldn't such a study examine the reasons for such a high rate of hypertension? Perhaps the rise has nothing to do with the stated reasons of an older and fatter population. Numerous prescription drugs - including the antidepressants Paxil and Effexor - have the unfortunate side effect of raising one's blood pressure. Throw in a huge number of doctors who are essentially salesmen for the pharmaceutical companies, and the health and general well-being of the patient go right out the window - in exchange for enormous profits for the doctor and the pharma companies.

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Gene research creates a 'Mighty Mouse'

August 23, 2004, 2:44 PM EDT

Increasing the activity of a single gene turns a mere rodent into Mighty Mouse, according to a new study.

California scientists have genetically engineered an animal that has more muscle, less fat and more physical endurance than their littermates. The mice go twice as far as expected. They also seem protected against the inevitable weight gain that follows a high fat, high calorie diet.

"We were quite surprised," said Ronald M. Evans, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, Calif. "Most people think that increased endurance comes from training. But we've been able to re-create this entire exercise network by increasing the activity of a single protein."

Evans said that the findings could have implications for human athletes and others who shy away from exercise despite the known benefits for the cardiovascular system, the muscles and bones, and even the brain. "While it could be used for patients who can't exercise, it could also be abused by athletes to enhance performance," said Evans.

Nonetheless, the finding suggests that one gene, called PPAR-delta, is designed to regulate muscle development. In turn, strong muscles have positive effects on other body systems. Scientists modified the PPAR-delta gene to express, or make, more protein.

The PPAR-delta is a master gene that regulates several other genes. Enhancing its activity created animals with attributes associated with extensive physical training.

Evans and his colleagues suspect that enhancing muscle development alters the fat-burning and muscle-making machinery of the body. The study appears Tuesday in the Public Library of Science Biology journal. [...]

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Man's Shrinking Brain Puzzles Doctors

Ed Yeates reporting
Aug. 23, 2004

Three months ago we introduced you to a Utah man who continues to baffle the best medical minds in the country. Half his brain is shrinking. But nobody knows why!

Now, after numerous tests at the prestigious Mayo Clinic, the mystery remains.

It isn't ALzheimer's. It isn't Crutzfelt Jacob's. It isn't some variant of Parkinson's. It isn't this. It isn't that.

The only thing doctors know at this point - they still DON'T know what's causing the left side of 50-year-old David Mitchell's brain to fade away.

Cynthia Mitchell / David's Wife: "We had 15 neurologists at the Mayo Clinic working on David's case. And twelve biopsies. All were inconclusive. They checked for viral and bacterial disease, and nothing really fits any criteria."

David Mitchell: "I've noticed a lot of increase in pain. My headaches have been worse. And I don't seem to get a lot of relief."

For now, neurologists at the Mayo Clinic have told David to return to his home in Bountiful, find a way to deal with the pain, and then begin what's called brain rehabilitation.

It may be possible he could train the right side to take over some of the functions of the failing side - IF whatever he's got DOESN'T migrate to the healthy right side of his brain.

Meanwhile, David sleeps 11 to 15 hours per day. And when he's awake, "Everything I'm trying to think about, it's just hard to cognitively put it all together," he says.

As each day passes, David Mitchell feels less and less inclined to interact with people.

Since we first reported on David's case three months ago, e-mails and letters have been pouring in from all over the country-- even England-- all offering emotional and financial support to the family.

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Germany breaks the Hitler taboo

By Kate Connolly in Berlin
The Telegraph
(Filed: 24/08/2004)

A decades-long taboo was broken in Germany yesterday with the launch of a feature film in which Adolf Hitler appears for the first time in a central role, not as a ranting demagogue but as a soft-spoken dreamer.

The Downfall is a huge shift from the previous tendency in German cinema to show Hitler only as a background figure or a character who does not appear on camera at all.

Juliane Köhler as Eva Braun, Bruno Ganz as Hitler and Heino Ferch as Albert Speer

It tells the story of the last 12 days of Hitler's life in his 25ft-deep bunker in Berlin - including his suicide alongside his new wife Eva Braun on April 30, 1945 - while advancing Soviet troops pulverise the city with shellfire.

The production by Bernd Eichinger, a respected director, is likely to cause controversy when it opens in German cinemas next month. It depicts the Fuhrer as an avuncular character with a penchant for chocolate cake, who slides into madness when his lifelong dream of a 1,000-year reich slips from his grasp.

Hitler is convincingly played by Germany's star actor Bruno Ganz, who once acted the part of an angel in the award-winning German film Wings of Desire.

In one scene Ganz depicts him with his hair in his eyes, tears streaming down his cheeks, as he declares: "The war is over."

Hitler is shown stroking his alsatian Blondie and treating his secretary with tenderness and patience.

The Downfall offers a sympathetic portrayal of the Führer

Until he starts having hysterical fits, Ganz's Hitler talks in a soft, melodic Austrian accent, far different from the barking tone he adopted for his mass rallies. The director said the voice was copied from the single recording which exists of Hitler talking in normal tones.

Mr Eichinger, who also wrote the screenplay, reconstructs the last days of the Third Reich as seen from the claustrophobic and dimly-lit bunker with the help of diary extracts and eye-witness accounts by Hitler's secretary, Traudl Junge, who died in 2002, as well as his telephonist, and an officer, Major Freytag, who are the last two living survivors.

As well as recalling the unbearable stench of urine, sweat and diesel which dominated the bunker, Freytag described Hitler as a "physical wreck", with a limp, who hid his shaking left hand behind his back, leading to suggestions that he was suffering from Parkinson's disease.

Shot in Berlin, Munich and St Petersburg at a cost of £9 million, making it one of the most expensive German films of all time, The Downfall has been welcomed by critics for demythologising Hitler - even before they have had the chance to see it. [...]

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Raelians share their message, insist they are not 'nuts'

The Tennessean
Monday, 08/23/04

Nashville may not be fertile ground for belief in aliens.

Only five people showed up for yesterday's public lecture by three representatives of the Raelian Movement, the atheistic group that believes life on Earth was cloned by a people from another solar system.

But before you sneer, the meeting yesterday was well-reasoned and sincere with a message of love, nonviolence and, above all, faith in science.

''We are not nuts. Anyone can be interested in our message,'' said Francois, 58, who goes by that name alone.

A native of France, he's a medical doctor in that country, he said, and he's now working on a doctorate in biotechnology at the University of Alabama at Huntsville.

His denial was in response to a column in The Tennessean yesterday that poked fun at their movement. But Francois shared the skepticism when he first heard the message of Rael, a Frenchman who claims that he was contacted by aliens in 1973.

''I thought, well, this guy is completely crazy, or he is very clever. He has found some new way to rob money from people,'' Francois said. ''Or, maybe it's true.''

After extensive research, he bought into the theory.

''Ten religions later, I was amazed,'' he said. ''You have to open your mind. Something amazing is going to happen, and we are very lucky it is going to happen in our lifetime.'' [...]

Comment: The Raelian movement seems to involve lots of amazement, but very few facts about what is actually occurring in the world today. Nevertheless, if you are so inclined, then by all means wait around for the Star People to save you from the likes of Sharon and Bush...

Speaking of crazy cults...

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Church declares girl's Holy Communion invalid

Associated Press

8-year-old's mother says daughter's rare digestive disorder should not exclude her from the sacrament

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 vs. 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 M. 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 (pronounced GLOO'-ten) 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. 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. [...]

Comment: ???!?!??!!!!?!

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