Friday, September 17, 2004
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SOTT Editorial

If you could imagine the ideal world, what would you imagine? Are you a dreamer? What kind of dreamer are you? What images come to mind when you think of your "dream world"? Or are you already living there?

Many people do. Live in dream worlds, that is. They dream that they are living in lands of milk and honey. They dream that their governments and leaders are just, honorable, honest and ethical. They dream that they are free, and they dream that they are in control of their lives. They dream that they see, and they dream that they understand. They dream that they are chosen, and that others are inferior by virtue of their race, religion, sex, political views or anything else they might be able to come up with. They dream
that they are truly alive when they are only machines reacting to stimuli and programmed by social norms, religion, and propaganda. They dream on and on and on.

And some are happy in this illusion they have of themselves and their lives. Others dream that they are happy this way.

Yet others awaken from the dream. And it is a harsh awakening. It is oftentimes so harsh that it seems like one has awoken from a dream only to drift off again into a nightmare.

But the scary part is - the truly terrifying bit - is that the nightmare is not an illusion. It is not a "bad dream. It is real.

The nightmare is the reality. The cold, hard, desolate objective reality.

But then, once this reality finally hits you and begins to sink in deep within, once you have passed through the turmoil, the bloody battles within yourself that can bring on illness or melancholy so intense that you think you may not survive - something truly amazing can begin to happen. Something truly wondrous. As you begin to see, as you begin to understand, as you begin to grasp some of the answers to all of those questions you have had for so long, something slowly begins to stir inside of you.

A quickening. The quickening of Life. True Life. Being.

And with the conception of this seed of Being is born Hope. Not the "hope" that is defined as a constricted expectation of something specific most certainly coming to pass, if we just do this or that - but the Hope that is born of the knowledge that everything is possible, and nothing is certain. The Hope that we find when we simply attempt to be the best we can be and do the best we can do and know that if we manage this, that there is at least then a POSSIBILITY - not
a certainty, mind you, just a possibility - that something good may come of it.

Possibilities. If people can just find it within themselves to truly BE, then the possibilities are infinite.

Think about that. Infinite possibilities. Endless, limitless, boundless possibilities. Does not that give one some measure of hope?

And for these who pass from the old, confining world of illusion that imprisoned them, a different kind of dream then may be possible. Not the kind of dream that they had before. Not the dream world of lies, the veils that cover reality. But a new dream. A dream of and for the future. A dream of a "new world" that at least has the possibility of becoming a reality, even if it also has the possibility of not becoming a

But we will never know unless we do the necessary Work to discover our Being in the first place. Unless we begin to navigate our ways on our journeys of soul discovery. Think of those who first crossed the seas and found the "new world". Do you think they knew what
they would find when they got there? No, I don't think so. For all they knew, they could have been on their way to a decayed, dead world full of hungry vipers as long and as wide as the sea vessels they were travelling in who had a particular penchant for mariners. For all they knew, after a certain point, they would simply fall off the edge of the earth into the Great Abyss and be lost for all eternity.

But they went anyway. Despite the uncertainty. Despite the general harsh conditions that they knew they would have to endure on the way. Why? Because that is what was in their natures and being to do. Because they had a "dream". Because they were discoverers. Because they knew that even though there were risks, and even
though there was a possibility for finding something horrific, there was ALSO the possibility - only the possibility - that they would discover something wondrous. Perhaps even miraculous.

The journey of the soul is much the same. We embark on this journey of discovery, not really knowing what we will find, because that is what is within us to do. We do it because we have questions that crave answers. Because we are discoverers at heart. Because even
though those hearts have been broken, our spirits have not and Hope still resides within them. And so we struggle on. Through the tempests and violent, murky waters. Enduring thirst, hunger, and illness. We continue our journeys of discovery. Carrying little
more to sustains us than the dream of the future and the hope of its possibility in our hearts and infant souls.

So, yes, I'm a dreamer, but a very different kind of dreamer now than I once was. I dream of discovery now. Of possibilities. Of the future - for all of us. In the words of John Lennon:

... You may say I'm a dreamer,
but I'm not the only one,
I hope some day you'll join us,
And the world will live as one.

Imagine, John Lennon, 197

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'French hostages blocked by US' say Iraqi Sunnis
DOHA, Sept 17 (AFP) - The Committee of the Ulema, Iraq's top Sunni religious organisation, accused the US Army on Friday of hampering efforts to secure the release of two French journalists kidnapped on August 20.

"We are under the impression that the American forces do not want the hostages to be freed because each time we get near a solution, these forces push for a military escalation," said Mohammed Ayash al-Kubaisi, the group's representative abroad.

"We believe these forces have political aims, seeking to create a chaotic situation which does not contribute to progress," Kubaisi told AFP while on a visit to Qatar.

The release of Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot, who were seized with their Syrian driver, Mohammed al-Jundi, "needs a secure atmosphere, which has not been the case since we had the first positive signs for their release."

Kubaisi referred to US bombardment earlier this month of the Latifiya region, "once they learnt that the two French hostages were there", souring the atmosphere and "blocking the path to a settlement that was underway".

Radio France Internationale correspondent Chesnot and Le Figaro reporter Georges Malbrunot were snatched in Latifiya, south of Baghdad, by the Islamic Army in Iraq, which has claimed the murder of Italian journalist Enzo Baldoni.

"I was there (in Latifiya) and I saw the situation. Residents saw (internationally) banned bombs falling on the heads of their children," said Kubaisi.

"Nobody can respond to our calls when the US forces are holding entire towns hostage and do not want to halt their bombardment," said Kubaisi, who added that he was unsure of the journalists' current whereabouts.

The Muslim scholar urged France to press for the release of thousands of Iraqi men and women held by US and Iraqi authorities.

"That would have a positive impact on the kidnappers and make them feel they (the Iraqis) have not been abandoned or that the whole world is only interested in the foreign hostages," he said.

France's Defence Minister Michele Alliot Marie said on Thursday she had information which led her to believe that the French hostages held for nearly a month were still alive.

"We have had information which allow us to think that, without having concrete proof, that our hostages are alive, in good health and safe," she told the daily Le Parisien.

Comment: Would the US do such a thing?

There are some folks who would be insulted to think that after illegally invading and occupying Iraq under false pretenses that the US would make it difficult to release the French hostages. Of course, these same people would probably find it hard to believe that members of the government conspired to organise 9/11 as a justification for the "war on terror".

These people do not forget. France stood in opposition to Bush and Co. in Iraq. They will neither forgive nor forget. Add to this fact the fact that the two French reporters are sympathetic to the plight of the Iraqis and have written articles and books defending the rights of the Palestinians!

Include the possibility that the entire kidnapping was a Mossad operation to exact revenge, and you can be sure that the US isn't going to make it easy to get the men out alive.

And then there is this...

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France backs Annan on illegal status of war
Friday 17 September 2004, 19:56 Makka Time, 16:56 GMT

France on Friday backed UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's description of the US-led war on Iraq as "illegal".

"You well know that what explains our country's disagreement with the way the war was carried out was that it clearly did not at that time abide by international law and there was not a clear request from the United States to start that action," French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier told journalists.

That was "traditionally" France's view from the start, he added.

"We have always considered that international law constitutes the framework for any action, notably against terrorism or for stability in the world," he said.

Barnier's comments added fuel to a debate over the legitimacy of the US-British invasion of Iraq that promises to loom large at the UN in New York next week when world leaders and ministers gather for the world body's 59th General Assembly.

Old wounds

Annan threw the spotlight back on the issue and tore the skin off old transatlantic wounds when he told BBC radio on Wednesday that the US had failed to seek a needed second resolution before launching the war in March 2003.

"I've indicated that it was not in conformity with the UN charter from our point of view, and from the charter point of view it was illegal," Annan said.

Washington hit back on Thursday by claiming it considered that a previous UN resolution passed four months before the conflict gave it sufficient authority to wage its action because Iraq had refused to surrender suspected stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction.

After 19 months of US troop deployment in Iraq, no such weapons have been found by US weapons inspectors scouring the war-ravaged country.

Comment: So we have the two boogeymen of American patriots: France and the UN! Proof of the NWO trying to take power away from the US? That's what these folks would say, playing into the designs of the American empire.

We think that there is effectively a One World Government, but it is absurd to think it is the UN. It is something so hidden that very likely, we would know the names of none of them. The visible organisations, the ones usually named as the culprits (CFR, Bilderberg, etc) are more likely to be diversions because we are talking about a rule that stretches back thousands of years. This is the reality of life in the hyperdimensional world.

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Europe, U.S. agree to deprive Iran of nuke technology at UN meeting
02:55 PM EDT Sep 17
VIENNA, Austria (AP) - U.S. and European negotiators at a key meeting of the UN atomic watchdog agency agreed Friday on a draft resolution meant to deprive Iran of technology that could be used to make nuclear weapons and setting an indirect deadline for Tehran to meet the conditions.

But ambiguities in the draft left open the possibility of new confrontation between Iran and the United States when the board of governors' conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency reconvenes in November.

The text, made available to The Associated Press, demanded that Iran suspend all uranium enrichment activities - but also recognized the right of countries to the peaceful use of nuclear energy, a phrase that left Tehran plenty of wiggle room.

Comment: Ah, yes! The famous wiggle-room clause, famed in international diplomacy. The last example was the resolution passed in the UN security council in the fall of 2002 that the US interpreted as a green light to go ahead and rain depleted uranium upon the heads and into the bodies of innocent Iraqis -- because let's face it, no matter how many Saddams and his doubles that are either running around or in captivity, there are many, many more Iraqis that had nothing whatsoever with his regime that are the victims of the US occupation.

Next stop, Tehran, for the neocon anti-Arab, Israeli breathing-room express.

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Suicide bomber targets Baghdad police; U.S. air strike kills 44 in Fallujah
02:54 PM EDT Sep 17
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - A suicide attacker detonated an explosives-packed vehicle near a row of police cars on a bridge in central Baghdad on Friday, killing at least five people and wounding 20, officials said. The attack came hours after U.S. jets pounded the insurgent stronghold of Fallujah, leaving at least 44 dead.

It was the second car bombing this week targeting Baghdad police, part of a stepped up campaign to thwart U.S-backed efforts to strengthen Iraqi security forces ahead of January elections. [...]

"I saw human flesh and blood in the street, then I fled," said one Iraqi witness, Mouayad Shehab.

Comment: Another fine example of the peace and stability brought to Iraq by America's oil companies.

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'No WMD stockpile find' in Iraq
By Justin Webb
BBC correspondent in Washington
The report is being written by US weapons inspector Charles Duelfer
Bush administration officials say a draft report has concluded there were no stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction to be found in Iraq.

However, they say the report does claim there is evidence that Saddam Hussein intended to resurrect his weapons programmes in the future.

The report, which is not yet finished, is being written by top US weapons inspector Charles Duelfer.

It is expected to be completed and published within weeks.

The first draft of Mr Duelfer's report appears to back the view of his predecessor, David Kay.

Mr Kay said, when he stepped down in January, that "we were probably all wrong about whether Iraq had stockpiles of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons".


But though he has found no stockpiles, Mr Duelfer is said by officials in the Bush administration to have unearthed other evidence.

They say the evidence shows Iraq was developing test amounts of chemical weapons and researching how to produce the poison ricin, perhaps for assassinations rather than mass killings.

There is also said to be evidence that Iraq intended to reinstitute full weapons of mass destruction programmes in the future.

The document will stop short of offering a final judgement about the situation before the war.

It might leave open the possibility that illicit weapons could have been moved to other countries.

With more than 10,000 boxes of documents still to be translated and studied, the Iraq Survey Group will continue its work, the official said, and may have more to say in the future.

Comment: So, Bush lied. Cheney lied. Powell lied. Rumsfeld lied. Rice lied. All their so-called intelligence was worth what?

How was it that there were many people that knew there were no WMD's in Iraq? Are the millions of people who were in the streets protesting the war in the winter of 2003 better connected to intelligence than Bush and friends?

Hard to believe. So how did we know when they didn't?

Of course, the reason is that they did know and chose to lie about it.

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US media covers up American war crimes in Iraq

Barry Grey - September 15, 2004

Every day, US military forces in Iraq are attacking civilian populations in a calculated effort to drown a growing popular insurgency in blood. But one would hardly know the dimensions or brutality of the atrocities being carried out in the name of the American people from the sparse and sanitized coverage provided by the major press and broadcast outlets that purport to disseminate "the news."

The US media-owned and controlled by a handful of huge corporate conglomerates-play an indispensable role in the mass murder of Iraqi men, women and children. Together with the Bush administration and the two major parties of US imperialism-the Democratic Party and its presidential candidate John Kerry, no less than their Republican rivals-the media are complicit in a crime against humanity of immense proportions, one that dwarfs any crimes committed by the various political leaders who have been targeted for destruction by the American ruling elite in recent years: from Panama's Noriega, to Serbia's Milosevic, to Saddam Hussein himself.

One can stare at the 24-hour cable news networks from sunup to sundown and get no sense of the carnage in towns and cities from Baghdad, to Fallujah, to Ramadi, to Hilla in the south and Tal Afar in the north that is left in the wake of US rockets, bombs, tank shells and sniper rounds. The evening news reports of the major networks provide at most a fleeting image of the death and destruction, inevitably hedged with absurd avowals from the US military that "precision" attacks were carried out against "terrorist" and "anti-Iraqi" targets.

As for the press, one day's front-page report of US helicopter attacks on unarmed civilians or air strikes against urban centers is eclipsed the next day by the latest hurricane threat or new poll numbers on the upcoming election-an election in which no discussion of the legitimacy of the US subjugation of Iraq or the real war aims behind the bogus ones used to promote the war is permitted.

No country's media is more cowardly, or more artful in churning out the official line and excluding any serious criticism or analysis, than that of the USA. It would be absurd to hold up the British media as a model of conscientious and objective reporting, but even there, articles occasionally appear that provide some insight into the reality of the situation in Iraq.

The Guardian newspaper, for example, on Tuesday carried an eyewitness account on its front page of the American helicopter attack on unarmed Iraqis that occurred Sunday in central Baghdad. Thirteen Iraqis were killed and dozens were wounded when US copters repeatedly fired rockets into a crowd that had gathered around a disabled American armored vehicle on Haifa Street, near the Green Zone that houses the US and British embassies and the offices of Washington's puppet government.

For the benefit of our readers around the world, and especially in the US, we give here some excerpts from the chilling and tragic account provided by Guardian columnist Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, who was himself wounded while covering the US assault.

Abdul-Ahad describes at least four separate rocket strikes by American helicopters against the unarmed Iraqis-documenting that the helicopters returned several times to fire on those seeking to remove the dead and wounded from the first missile strike.

"When I was 50 m away I heard a couple of explosions and another cloud of dust rose across the street from where the first column of smoke was still climbing," he writes. "People started running towards me in waves. A man wearing an orange overall was sweeping the street while others were running. A couple of helicopters in the sky overhead turned away."

He runs for cover, and then: "A few seconds later, I heard people screaming and shouting-something must have happened-and I headed towards the sounds, still crouching behind a wall. Two newswire photographers were running in the opposite direction and we exchanged eye contact.

"About 20 m ahead of me, I could see the American Bradley armoured vehicle, a huge monster with fire rising from within. It stood alone, its doors open, burning. I stopped, took a couple of photos and crossed the street towards a bunch of people. Some were lying in the street, others stood around them. The helicopters were still buzzing, but further off now."

The reporter continues: "I felt uneasy and exposed in the middle of the street, but lots of civilians were around me. A dozen men formed a circle around five injured people, all of whom were screaming and wailing."

Abdul-Ahad's belief that the presence of so many unarmed civilians afforded protection from a further US strike was shattered in short order. "I had been standing there taking pictures for two or three minutes when we heard the helicopters coming back. Everyone started running, and I didn't look back to see what was happening to the injured men. We were all rushing towards the same place: a fence, a block of buildings and a prefab concrete cube used as a cigarette stall.

"I had just reached the corner of the cube when I heard two explosions. I felt hot air blast my face and something burning on my head. I crawled to the cube and hid behind it. Six of us were squeezed into a space less than two metres wide. Blood started dripping on my camera but all that I could think about was how to keep the lens clean. A man in his 40s next to me was crying. He wasn't injured, he was just crying.

"I was so scared I just wanted to squeeze myself against the wall. The helicopters wheeled overhead, and I realised that they were firing directly at us."

The helicopters moved away, and the reporter went back onto the street to record the carnage and help the wounded and dying. Then: "More kids ventured into the street, looking with curiosity at the dead and injured. Then someone shouted 'Helicopters!' and we ran. I turned and saw two small helicopters, black and evil. Frightened, I ran back to my shelter where I heard two more big explosions.... I reached a building entrance when someone grabbed my arm and took me inside. 'There's an injured man. Take pictures-show the world the American democracy,' he said."

It is hardly necessary to point out that no major US media outlet has taken note of the Guardian's damning account of Sunday's bloodletting in the center of Baghdad. Most US newspapers on Tuesday relegated to their inside pages news reports of yet another round of US air and artillery attacks on Fallujah, carried out Monday.

The Iraqi Health Ministry said 20 were killed and 39 wounded in the strikes. Aljazeera reported that those killed included the driver of an ambulance and six passengers, whose vehicle was struck by a jet-fired missile near the northern gate of the city. "Every time we send out an ambulance, it gets targeted," the director of the Fallujah hospital told the Arab newspaper.

Aljazeera also reported that US missiles destroyed three homes in the city's al-Shurta neighborhood, American shells hit a market place, and US tanks fired on homes in the al-Jughaivi neighborhood near the city's northern gate.

The Washington Post, in a page-19 article, noted the attacks on Fallujah neighborhoods and the ambulance fatalities, but reported without comment the official US line that the attacks were directed against a "suspected hideout" of associates of Abu Musab Zarqawi. It printed the Goebbels-like handout from the US military: "Based on the analysis of these [intelligence] reports, Iraqi Security Forces and multi-national forces effectively and accurately targeted these terrorists while protecting the lives of innocent civilians."

The New York Times ran a front-page commentary focused not on the death and suffering being inflicted on the Iraqi people, but rather on the danger that the US military's bloodletting against insurgent towns could backfire. It warned of the "classic dilemma faced by governments battling guerrilla movements: ease up, and the insurgency may grow; crack down, and risk losing the support of the population."

This description is itself a cynical deception, as the Times well knows. The very fact that the US feels obliged to step up the slaughter and target civilian populations testifies to the fact that Washington and its stooge government are hated and despised by the Iraqi masses. Talk of a risk of "losing the support of the population" is an attempt to maintain the myth that the anti-US resistance is the work of a small minority of Baathist "hard-liners" and foreign terrorists, and the equally absurd claim that the US is in Iraq to establish "democracy."

In reality, the US media's disinformation operation is among the most striking and significant expressions of the collapse of American democracy.

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Report: Soldiers say they are being threatened with Iraq duty


Soldiers from a combat unit at Fort Carson say they have been told to re-enlist for three more years or be transferred to other units expected to deploy to Iraq, the Rocky Mountain News reported Thursday.

Hundreds of soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team were presented with that message and a re-enlistment form in a series of assemblies last week, two soldiers who spoke on condition of anonymity told the newspaper.

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Flashback: Slayings of 4 Soldiers' Wives Stun Ft. Bragg

By Thomas E. Ricks
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, July 27, 2002

Husbands Alleged to Have Committed Killings; 3 Suspects Were in Special Operations in Afghanistan

The wives of four Army soldiers at Fort Bragg, N.C., have been slain in the past six weeks, allegedly by their husbands, in a rash of violence that has shocked the Special Operations Command and left Army commanders deeply concerned, officers at the base said yesterday.

Three of the servicemen involved were members of Special Operations units and had recently returned from Afghanistan. Two of those soldiers killed themselves, police said. The fourth slaying, which occurred earlier this month, was allegedly committed by a sergeant from a regular Army unit that was not involved in the Afghan war.

In addition to these six deaths, an officer assigned to the Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg was shot and killed earlier this week as he slept in his home in nearby Fayetteville. No arrests have been made in that case, a spokesman for the Fayetteville police department said.

"It's mind-boggling," Henry Berry, manager of an Army family support program, said at a news conference at the base yesterday. "To be absolutely honest, I was completely caught off guard."

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Mother of soldier killed in Iraq disrupts first lady Laura Bush's rally
08:57 PM EDT Sep 16

HAMILTON, N.J. (AP) - A woman wearing a T-shirt with the words "President Bush You Killed My Son" and a picture of a soldier killed in Iraq was detained Thursday after she interrupted a campaign speech by first lady Laura Bush.

Police escorted Sue Niederer of Hopewell, N.J., from a rally at a firehall after she demanded to know why her son, 1st Lieut. Seth Dvorin, 24, was killed in Iraq. Dvorin died in February while trying to disarm a bomb.

As shouts of "four more years" subsided, Niederer, standing in the middle of a crowd of some 700, continued to shout about the killing of her son. Secret service and local police escorted her out of the event, handcuffed her and placed her in the back of a police van.

Laura Bush continued speaking, touting her husband's record on the economy, health care and the war on terror to those attending the rally in this suburban community of 90,000 people near Trenton.

She made several references to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and noted that many in New Jersey, including some in neighbourhoods near the firehall, lost family members that day.

"Too many people here had a loved one that went to work in New York that day," Bush said. "It's for our country, it's for our children, our grandchildren that we do the hard work of confronting terror."

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Traveling through the time loop

SOTT Commentary
By Glenn Becker

"The spirit was freedom and justice
and its keepers seem generous and kind
Its leaders were supposed to serve the country
but now they won't pay it no mind
'Cause the people grew fat and got lazy
and now their vote is a meaningless joke
They babble about law and order
but it's all just an echo of what they've been told
Yeah, there's a monster on the loose
it's got our heads into a noose
and it just sits there … watching
The cities have turned into jungles
and corruption is strangling the land
The police force is watching the people
and the people just can't understand
We don't know how to mind our own business
'cause the whole world's got to be just like us
Now we are fighting a war over there
no matter who's the winner we can't pay the cost
Yeah, there's a monster on the loose
it's got our heads into a noose and it just sits there … watching"

excerpt from "Monster" by Steppenwolf 1970

The more things change, the more they stay the same it's been said, but, in actuality it's more like technological progress goes forth, but now these potentially lethal advancements are in the hands of those whose minds and ingrained methodologies remain mired in the past.

The lyrics to the song above were written by concerned youth back when the Vietnam War was sending home hundreds of American servicemen back home in flag-draped coffins every month. Scores more were returning with both lifelong physical, mental and emotional scars. Even more came home with drug addictions that were the result of attempting to cope with the horrors of war they were forced to live through, and on occasion, the horrors they had perpetrated on others due to the bestial nature that war, and life or death, scenarios will bring. And not to forget, they came home as unduly unheralded scapegoats for the bastards that sent them there in the first place; the conniving and self-enriching ghouls of the military-industrial-political complex.

As more and more of our young come home from their military duty in the depleted uranium killing fields of sand, many of these same war acquired physical, mental and emotional conditions will shadow them upon their return. Whenever you can, give them a helping hand. Whenever they need someone to talk to, lend them a compassionate and understanding ear. They did not deserve to be lied to by their leaders who have financially benefited from their suffering. They have the courage that their leaders lack.

May we all find the same amount of courage, to stand up to the devious manipulations of our well-heeled and gut-less leaders who know that they and theirs will not have to walk through the flames of Hell that they so easily send others into. All too often we find the truth about others and ourselves when it's way too late to alleviate the pain and suffering that's already been inflicted. The lyrics in the song aforementioned are as poignant today as they were back then. Maybe we can learn from a now obscure snapshot from the past as we travel through the apparent time loop.

It may not be much…but it's a start.

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Pre-emptive Paranoia
Published: September 16, 2004

Here's how bad off the Democrats are: They're cowering behind closed doors, whispering that if it should ever turn out that Republicans are behind this, it would be so exquisitely Machiavellian, so beyond what Democrats are capable of, they should just fold and concede the election now - before the Republicans have to go to the trouble of stealing it again.

There's no evidence - it's just a preposterous, paranoid fantasy at this point. But it speaks to the jitters of the Democrats that they're consumed with speculation about whether Karl Rove, the master of dirty tricks and surrogate sleaze, could have set up CBS in a diabolical pre-emptive strike to undermine damaging revelations about Bush 43's privileged status and vanishing act in the National Guard, and his odd refusal to take his required physical when ordered.

In this vast left-wing conspiracy theory, Mr. Rove takes real evidence on W.'s shirking and transfers it to documents doomed to be exposed as phony (thereby undermining the real goods), then funnels it through third parties to Dan Rather, Bush 41's nemesis on Iran-contra. A perfect bank shot.

The secretary for W.'s squadron commander in the Texas Guard told The Times that the information in the disputed memos is correct - it's just the memos that seem fake.

"It looks like someone may have read the originals and put that together,'' said a lucid 86-year-old Marian Carr Knox, who was flown up to New York yesterday by beleaguered CBS News executives.

She told Mr. Rather that her boss, Lt. Col. Jerry Killian, wrote a "cover-your-back file,'' a "personal journal'' to keep a record about the politically connected Bush in his charge. She said the contents of that mirrored the CBS documents, but she said those documents were not on the right forms and contained Army terms rather than Air National Guard argot. She confirmed that young Bush had disobeyed a direct order from Colonel Killian to take a physical.

"It was a big no-no to not follow orders,'' she said, adding that the Bush scion's above-the-rules attitude caused some snickers and resentment among fellow officers.

Those who suspect Mr. Rove note that when he was Bill Clements's campaign strategist in a 1986 governor's race in Texas, he was accused of bugging his own office to distract from a debate, according to James Moore and Wayne Slater, authors of "Bush's Brain.'' They said it turned the election because after that, the Democrat could not get any attention.

Was the same scenario playing out yesterday evening on CNN? After a five-minute report on the CBS memo controversy, CNN spent about 30 seconds reporting that two more marines had been killed in Iraq.

House Republicans started clamoring for a Congressional inquiry into the documents used by "60 Minutes,'' saying it might be an attempt to manipulate the election. (Isn't that what the Democrats are scared the Republicans are doing?)

These same Republicans never wanted investigations into missing W.M.D., why Congress passed a Medicare bill based on faulty figures, Abu Ghraib or even whether those Swiftie guys were lying, for Pete's sake.

The Democratic paranoia is a measure of the intimidation the West Wing is wielding in a race where John Kerry can't seem to take advantage of any of the Bush administration's increasingly calamitous blunders.

The administration has been so dazzling in misleading the public with audacious, mendacious malarkey that the Democrats fear the Bushies are capable of any level of deceit.

Iraq is a vision of hell, and the Republicans act as if it's a model kitchen. The president and vice president brag about liberating Iraqis and reassure us that they are stopping terrorist violence at its source and inspiring democracy in the region by bringing it to blood-drenched Iraq.

But what they haven't mentioned is that they have known since July that their rosy scenarios are as bogus as their W.M.D. That's when the president received a national intelligence estimate that spelled out "a dark assessment of prospects" for stability and governance in Iraq in the next 18 months, as Douglas Jehl wrote in today's Times. Worst-case estimates include civil war or anarchy.

Unlike the president, the young men and women trying to stay alive in the unraveling chaos of Iraq can't count on their daddies to get them out of the line of fire.

Comment: It's an interesting hypothesis; that Rove would deliberately forge documents containing accurate information on Dubya's AWOL from the Texas National Guard, so that when they were exposed as fake, the information would be discredited also. Pure Machiavelli. Notice how the writer frames such an idea as a "left-wing conspiracy", thereby discrediting the idea that Rove would even pull off such a job, even though he's done similar things in the past.

The following article suggests a slightly different theory...

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Don't Let Bush Bury the Present
by Ted Sweeney

Regarding the "Mark of Rove," an even more insidious idea occurred to me a couple of days after the phony "forged document scandal" began. Sure, it would be super clever of Rove to fake documents that essentially contain the truth thus discrediting that truth. But it would be even more of a Grandmaster move to use actual documents to destroy the truth.

Consider this:

Back during the 2000 campaign, it was reported that Bush's TANG files in Texas were thoroughly researched by his campaign team. Of course, folks like us interpreted that as a scrub job. Why wouldn't we?

The team must have found these documents in Col. Killian's P-file. Killian was his CO; of course they checked his files. They left everything in place and immediately created a plausible story to account for the documents, i.e. -- they are forgeries. Friendly "experts" were gathered to create a full-on 24-bit true color oppo plan. They took their time and did a very good job of discrediting the documents. Everyone got their marching orders then waited. This was critical. If anyone traced a leak of the TANG files to Rove after Bush's supporters cried "forgery" then you'd have him red-handed. That was unacceptable.

Remember this was 1999-2000. Rove was preparing for Gore with this. But as we all know a landmine is a patient thing. If it doesn't get the intended victim, it will get someone else eventually.

Rove NEVER leaked the Killian memos; he didn't have to. As Election 2004 came around he set his oppo team to dig into Kerry's Vietnam record. The Swift Boat Liars did their damage to Kerry and made Vietnam an issue. There's your bait. Rove waited for a respected news source to find the files, to take the time to verify the documents and the man who wrote them, to step into the trap. 60 Minutes went public and SNAP. The trap closed. The response was IMMEDIATE and MULTIFACETED. There was a full laundry list of issues in less than a day: document experts with multiple arguments, family members of Killian's, retired TANG officers, etc. No one was ready for that. 60 Minutes never had a chance. As far as they knew, the documents were real and correct BECAUSE THEY WERE REAL AND CORRECT.

How could 60 Minutes see that they were actually playing to Rove's plan? They couldn't. This is Rove's mastery of political intrigue in action. The files that years ago were deadly to Bush transformed into a shield placed over the monster's heart. How freakin' clever is that? Every swing voter or mild Bush supporter who watched 60 Minutes that night saw the truth and was swayed by it, even if only a little bit. Hell, even strong Bushies might have felt a lapse of support.

Then, the "Rove Bomb" went off. EVERY news outlet carried the forgery rap the NEXT DAY. Why? Because the bomb had been planted in advance. All the work had been done ahead of time. A few bloggers and Drudge trotted out some lies about typewriters; some "experts" gave opinions on "breaking news" that had been prepared years ago; the 24 hour news machine rolled it all up in neat bulletins and all the Bushites and swing voters who had felt even an iota of doubt about Bush were inoculated against the truth almost immediately and became IMMUNE to further exposure. The myth of the liberal media grew stronger and Kerry and the Democrats were painted with the tar brush.

I think the scenario above was what we really saw. And if that's true, what other traps are out there? Think about it. The press has not just given these people a four year free pass on all skeletons in the Bush Closet. They have given the Bush Family Evil Empire (BFEE) time and opportunity to turn each of those liabilities into assets.

What this means is that despite the huge amount of blood, sweat, tears and time so many of us have put into researching the past of the BFEE in order to pull down the monster's mask, what we need to do is focus on NOW. The BFEE stole the past and rigged it with tripwires. The press let them do it and it is too late to get it back. Our battleground is NOW.

NOW over 1000 American kids have died for nothing in Iraq. NOW our security is a lie. NOW our friends and allies fear and loathe us. NOW our economy has been turned upside down and its pockets picked for the benefit of the few. NOW class war is being waged on the poor and working class. NOW our rights are gone. NOW Bush has violated his oath of office. NOW Bush is a war-criminal. NOW. NOW. NOW.

NOW we stop playing their game. NOW we start playing ours. We DO NOT dig up the past. WE KEEP THEM FROM BURYING THE PRESENT! [...]

Comment: With all the hoopla in the American media over the "authenticity" of the documents, diverting attention away from the real issue of Bush's sketchy service record, the following article adds a measure of perspective...

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Ex-National Guard officer says questions about Bush service lost in papers row
September 16, 2004

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - A former Texas Air National Guard officer who served at the same time as President George W. Bush said he believes the bigger story about gaps in Bush's service is being overlooked in disputes over the validity of certain Guard documents.

"I think the public ought to be concerned about his preferential treatment getting in and whether he satisfied his commitment to the Air Guard. Those are the two fundamental questions," said Robert Strong, the administrative officer in charge of air operations at Guard state headquarters from early 1971 until March 1972.

Documents publicized last week by the CBS TV news magazine program 60 Minutes have been called into question by some experts and relatives of the late Lt.-Col. Jerry Killian, who was supposed to have written them when he was one of Bush's commanders in 1972 and 1973. The memos indicated Killian had been under pressure to sugarcoat Bush's performance and the future president ignored an order to take a physical.

CBS stood by its reporting but CBS News president Andrew Heyward said the network would redouble its efforts to determine the authenticity of the documents.

Killian's former secretary, Marian Carr Knox, 86, of Houston, Texas, said she believes the memos were fake but their content accurately reflected Killian's opinions.

"I know that I didn't type them," she said in an interview with CBS.
"However, the information in those is correct."

Strong said Thursday he couldn't vouch for the authenticity of the memos but "if Mrs. Knox didn't type those documents and she thinks they're fake, I'll go with her judgment."

He said he doesn't know who provided CBS with the documents.

But Strong added he and Knox worked closely with Killian and are in better position than Killian's family to know how he did business. Killian's five children were between the ages of two and 19 in 1972. Strong said Killian's official records would have been removed from his Guard office by colleagues and commanders before his family would have been allowed to retrieve his personal items after he died in 1984.

Regardless of the authenticity of the memos, the question should be centred on Bush's Guard service and what is indicated in the documents, Strong said.

"Why aren't we focusing on the content?" Strong said, adding he believes there are holes in Bush's official Guard record.

"The White House has just got to be thrilled to death that everybody's tormenting about subscripts and superscripts," he said, referring to the several days of debate among experts about whether the memos were forgeries generated on a computer or if a typewriter common in the 1970s was used.

As Bush flew to campaign in Minnesota on Thursday, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said aboard Air Force One: "CBS has now acknowledged that the crux of their story may have been based on forged documents."

Strong confirmed at least two of the documents used by CBS bore a faxed header indicating they had been sent from a Kinko's copy shop in Abilene, Texas. Strong said he was shown copies of the documents about three days before the 60 Minutes broadcast on which he appeared last week.

Bill Burkett, a retired National Guard officer who lives just outside Abilene, has been cited in reports in Newsweek magazine and the New York Times newspaper as a source for CBS report. His lawyer, David Van Os, issued a statement saying Burkett "no longer trusts any possible outcome of speaking to the press on any issue regarding George W. Bush."

Burkett did not return several phone messages left this week and did not talk to a reporter who visited his ranch in Blair, Texas, on Thursday.

Burkett, 55, said in February he had overheard a conversation in 1997 between Bush's chief of staff when he was governor of Texas, Joe Allbaugh, and Adjutant Gen. Daniel James of the Texas Air National Guard in which the two men spoke about destroying any military records that would "embarrass the governor."

Burkett said he saw documents from Bush's file discarded in a trash can a few days later at Camp Mabry in Austin. Burkett described them as performance and pay documents. Allbaugh and James denied the allegations.

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Flashback: CIA agent alleged to have met Bin Laden in July

Anthony Sampson
Thursday November 1, 2001
The Guardian

French report claims terrorist leader stayed in Dubai hospital

Two months before September 11 Osama bin Laden flew to Dubai for 10 days for treatment at the American hospital, where he was visited by the local CIA agent, according to the French newspaper Le Figaro.

The disclosures are known to come from French intelligence which is keen to reveal the ambiguous role of the CIA, and to restrain Washington from extending the war to Iraq and elsewhere.

Bin Laden is reported to have arrived in Dubai on July 4 from Quetta in Pakistan with his own personal doctor, nurse and four bodyguards, to be treated in the urology department. While there he was visited by several members of his family and Saudi personalities, and the CIA.

The CIA chief was seen in the lift, on his way to see Bin Laden, and later, it is alleged, boasted to friends about his contact. He was recalled to Washington soon afterwards.

Intelligence sources say that another CIA agent was also present; and that Bin Laden was also visited by Prince Turki al Faisal, then head of Saudi intelligence, who had long had links with the Taliban, and Bin Laden. Soon afterwards Turki resigned, and more recently he has publicly attacked him in an open letter: "You are a rotten seed, like the son of Noah".

The American hospital in Dubai emphatically denied that Bin Laden was a patient there.

Washington last night also denied the story.

Private planes owned by rich princes in the Gulf fly frequently between Quetta and the Emirates, often on luxurious "hunting trips" in territories sympathetic to Bin Laden. Other sources confirm that these hunting trips have provided opportunities for Saudi contacts with the Taliban and terrorists, since they first began in 1994.

Bin Laden has often been reported to be in poor health. Some accounts claim that he is suffering from Hepatitis C, and can expect to live for only two more years.

According to Le Figaro, last year he ordered a mobile dialysis machine to be delivered to his base at Kandahar in Afghanistan.

Whether the allegations about the Dubai meeting are confirmed or not, the wider leaks from the French secret service throw a worrying light on the rivalries and lack of coordination between intelligence agencies, both within the US and between western allies.

A familiar complaint of French intelligence is that collaboration with the Americans has been essentially one-way, with them happy to receive information while giving little in return.

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Flashback: US Military Command Let Osama Go

Friday, August 2, 2002
By J.S. Newton
Staff writer

A Special Forces soldier says that troops had Osama bin Laden pinpointed in Afghanistan in November, but leaders took too long to decide to go after him and he slipped away.

Military officials have discounted the story.

The soldier, who said he was on the ground at Tora Bora when bin Laden was located, agreed to talk about the incident on condition that his name not be used.

The Observer has been unable to find other soldiers who can corroborate his account, and official military spokesmen say they have no knowledge of it.

Reporters are rarely permitted to accompany special operations troops into battle, so verification of battlefield accounts can be difficult.

But the story is consistent with previous reports from other sources that bin Laden was seen in the Tora Bora cave complex. American and Afghan troops spent weeks attacking and searching the caves late last year in the hunt for bin Laden and al-Qaida terrorists.

"We had 'the man' and lost him," said the Special Forces soldier. "We knew the exact cave he was in and had the coordinates. It was 30 minutes away from our position. But we couldn't get orders quickly enough."

Following the operation, military leaders were criticized in the press and in Congress for allowing hundreds of al-Qaida members to escape into Pakistan.

On Wednesday, The Associated Press reported that Gen. Tommy Franks, the commander of U.S. forces in the region, acknowledged that many al-Qaida members had escaped the assault on Tora Bora. Franks was testifying before a Senate Armed Service Committee examining the hunt for the terrorists.

Exact location

According to the soldier who believes bin Laden could have been captured, teams from the 5th Special Forces Group at Fort Campbell, Ky. -- working alongside members of the Central Intelligence Agency -- believe they had the location of the terrorist leader on Nov. 28.

Intelligence reports placed bin Laden in an elaborate cave complex in the Tora Bora mountains of eastern Afghanistan.

The soldier said bin Laden's captured cook had told American military officials bin Laden's exact location.

But a Special Forces team captain on the ground would not give approval to go after bin Laden because there was no specific mission order to do so, the soldier said.

While the Army was deciding what to do, Special Forces soldiers saw two Russian-made helicopters fly into the area where bin Laden was believed to be, load up passengers and fly toward Pakistan.

"I said, 'There he goes,'" the soldier said.

According to a story published Dec. 5 in Newsday, bin Laden had reportedly been spotted in the Tora Bora area in late November.

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Flashback: Osama being treated by Pak Army

Times of India Saturday, July 24, 2004

WASHINGTON: Pakistan's intelligence officials knew in advance about the 9/11 attacks, a well-known American analyst has said, based on a ''stunning document'' that he claims was given by a Pakistani source to the 9/11 Commission on the eve of the publication of its report.

The document, from a high-level, but anonymous Pakistani source, also claims that Osama bin Laden has been receiving periodic dialysis in a military hospital in Peshawar, says Arnaud de Borchgrave, editor-at-large of the news agency UPI.

''The imprints of every major act of international Islamist terrorism invariably passes through Pakistan, right from 9/11 - where virtually all the participants had trained, resided or met in, coordinated with, or received funding from or through Pakistan,'' Borchgrave cites the confidential document as saying.

But one does not have to go to Borchgrave's unnamed sources to find Pakistan's involvement in terrorist activity leading to 9/11. The 9/11 commission report itself nails Pakistan in chapter after chapter, revealing that the Pakistani intelligence was in cahoots with the Taliban and al Qaeda, far more than Iran and Iraq ever were.

Among the inquiry commission's observations, quoted verbatim here

* ''Pak[istan's] intel[ligence service] is in bed with bin Laden and would warn him that the United States was getting ready for a bombing campaign'' – quoting Richard Clarke

* ''Islamabad was behaving like a rogue state in two areas – backing Taliban/bin Laden terror and provoking war with India'' - quoting NSC Bruce Riedel

* Pakistani intelligence officers reportedly introduced bin Laden to Taliban leaders in Kandahar -Commission's own observation.

* Pakistan's military intelligence service, known as the ISID (Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate), was the Taliban's primary patron - Commission's observation

* Pakistan helped nurture the Taliban. The Pakistani army and intelligence services, especially below the top ranks, have long been ambivalent about confronting Islamist extremists. Many in the government have sympathized with or provided support to the extremists - Commission's observation.

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Kerry eliminates gap with Bush in polls 2004-09-17 05:42:03
WASHINGTON, Sept. 16 (Xinhuanet) -- Two national polls released Thursday showed that US Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry has significantly narrowed his gap with President George W. Bush, settling into a virtual tie in the race for the White House.

The Pew Research Center and Harris Interactive found equal levels of support for the two candidates as Kerry rebounded from the withering attacks the Republicans have launched during the party's convention that ended on Sept. 2.

The latest of two Pew polls, conducted Sept. 11-14 showed Bush and Kerry were tied with 46 percent of support among registered voters each. An earlier Pew poll, conducted Sept. 8-10, showed Bush led Kerry by 52 percent of registered voters to 40 percent.

While Bush leads Kerry on Iraq and the war on terrorism, Kerry regained his advantage over Bush on the economy, the Pew polls showed. "This poll finds a lot of the positive impact Bush had in the convention remains. But Bush's vulnerabilities on Iraq and the economy continue," Pew said in a report.

The Harris Interactive poll for The Wall Street Journal, which was conducted Sept. 9-13, gave Kerry a 48 to 47 percent lead over Bush,

Soon after the Republican convention, Bush led Kerry by up to 11 percentage points, forcing Kerry to shuffle his staff and sharpen his message. Several other recent polls have shown Bush's convention bounce was fading.

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Proposal would let Schwarzenegger run for president
Last Updated Thu, 16 Sep 2004 11:33:44 EDT

WASHINGTON - A United States politician has introduced a constitutional amendment in Congress that would allow foreign-born citizens to run for president.

The proposal introduced in the House of Representatives by Republican congressman Dana Rohrabacher of California is seen as an effort to help his friend, state governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was born in Austria.

Rohrabacher acknowledged that criticism in a media release on Wednesday, but rejected the charge that the amendment was only intended to help Schwarzenegger, the former bodybuilder and action movie star.

He suggested that the person he really wanted to help was Tom Lantos, a Democratic congressman from California who was born in Hungary.

"This is no ploy," said Rohrabacher. "I honestly believe that Tom Lantos should be able to seek the highest office in the land, just like any other elected official."

The amendment would allow people who have been U.S. citizens for more than 20 years to run for president. Schwarzenegger became a citizen in 1983.

Rohrabacher said the founding fathers adopted the provision barring foreign-born individuals from the top U.S. job to prevent foreigners from meddling in American democracy.

But once an immigrant demonstrates commitment to America and wins public support as a leader, "then there is no good reason to bar him from seeking the highest office in the land," he said.

Similar motions have been introduced before, by both Democrats and Republicans.

But a change to the U.S. Constitution requires support of two-thirds of both the House of Representatives and the Senate, and the backing of 38 state legislatures.

Schwarzenegger is focused on governing California at the moment, a spokesperson told Knight-Ridder Newspapers when asked to comment on Rohrabacher's proposal.

There has been speculation that he would be an attractive Republican candidate in the 2008 election.

A recent poll done by Princeton Survey Research Associates International for Newsweek said Republicans chose Schwarzenegger as the most attractive candidate for the 2008 election, providing the U.S. Constitution was changed.

Comment: If you shudder when you think of four more years of the Bush Reich, imagine how it will be with Arnold the groping Governor at the helm. With things heating up politically and environmentally around the globe, it seems the great battle of Armageddon could be right around the corner. The irony of having the "Terminator" himself usher in the apocalypse is almost too much to bear.

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Russia 'seriously' preparing preventive strikes: Putin
Fri Sep 17,11:58 AM ET

MOSCOW (AFP) - Russia is "seriously" preparing to carry out preventive anti-terror strikes, President Vladimir Putin said Friday, as he denounced calls for talks with Chechen rebel leaders as similar to appeasing Hitler in 1938.

"Today in Russia, we are seriously preparing to act preventively against terrorists," Putin told an international meeting of mayors in Moscow in televised comments.

"This will be in strict respect with the law and constitution and on the basis of international law," he added Friday.

The Russian leader also rejected pressure from the West to seek dialogue with separatists from Russia's breakaway republic of Chechnya after the Beslan school tragedy that killed nearly 340 people, half of them children.

"I call on you to remember the lessons of history, of the 1938 Munich accord. These are of course different situations, not least in terms of the consequences of the Second World War. But there are striking similarities," Putin said.

In 1938 amid growing concern about Hitler's aims, the British prime minister Neville Chamberlain traveled to Munich to try to make a deal with Hitler.

Chamberlain returned to London announcing that he had secured "Peace in our time" with the Munich Accord giving Germany the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia, but Hitler viewed it as a green light to take over the entire country and prepare for his next conquest.

"You cannot think that by dealing with criminals we can make a deal for them to leave us in peace. This will not happen. Every concession leads to aggression, wider demands and multiplies our losses," Putin said.

"We face double-standards regarding terrorism, attempts to divide terrorists into radicals and moderates," he added.

Russia on September 8 first said it was considering staging surgical strikes against terror bases to try to avert attacks such as that on a school in Beslan, near breakaway Chechnya, on September 1.

Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev claimed responsibility for the deadly three-day school hostage siege in a statement posted on a rebel website Friday.

Russian considers the rebel commander its public enemy number one and has offered a 10 milllion-dollar reward both for Basayev and a more moderate Chechen rebel leader, Aslan Maskhadov.

Moscow's military policy is to permit pre-emptive strikes if it feels its security is under threat -- a policy similar to that of the United States, reinforced by President George W. Bush in his declared war on terror -- and to use nuclear weapons only if the country's very existence is in question.

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Conspiracies abound, the only fact is Australia remains a scapegoat
September 16, 2004

The theories sweeping Jakarta are fascinating insights into the nature of Indonesian politics and international relations, writes Damien Kingsbury.

Jakarta has always been a city of intrigue, and for every significant political event there are usually any number of theories to explain it. Usually, one or even a couple of these explanations is close to the truth.

There are five theories doing the rounds at present to explain the bombing of the Australian embassy last week, which shed light on the nature of Indonesian politics as well as the status of Australian-Indonesian relations.

The first, lunatic-fringe theory is that John Howard organised the bombing with the assistance of the CIA at the direction of President George Bush. This theory notes that Howard stands to benefit from his strong stand against terrorism, and that Bush wants to see him re-elected.

Support for this theory comes from more extreme nationalist and Islamic Indonesians suspicious of the US and Australia. In arguing this case, they point to the injury of just one Australian citizen.

The second theory is that Jemaah Islamiah organised and carried out the bombing in a bid to free its alleged spiritual leader Abu Bakar Bashir, and to punish Australia for its involvement in Iraq. The reason the Australian embassy was chosen is because the US embassy is much less accessible.

It is possible that the attack was carried out by JI. But JI knows that the Australian Government has no capacity to influence proceedings against Bashir, and the short warning of the attack did not allow time to address such demands.

It is also believed two people were killed in the van that blew up, and JI would be unlikely to sacrifice two operatives in such an attack, while the alleged suicide notes would be easy to fake.

Well-paid but innocent delivery men, perhaps chosen from the strongly Islamic area of Solo, central Java, and a remote detonating device, is more likely.

Regardless, attacking an Australian target resonates with some Indonesians, who view Australia as Christian, anti-Muslim and with a hidden agenda to undermine Indonesia's territorial integrity.

The third theory involves elements of the Indonesian military. This is that the bombing was intended to undermine the authority of the national police chief, Dai Bachtiar, who at the time was telling the national legislature that the terrorism issue was under control.

There is deep division between the police and the military, notably political links and civilian control, as well as illegal business activities. This, then, starts to look like conventional Indonesian political in-fighting, which in the past produced thousands of civilian casualties.

Supporting military involvement has been the public naming of two Kopassus (special forces) members as being connected with the bombing. Kopassus members specialise, among other things, in explosives and creating terror. Two Kopassus members were convicted of the Jakarta Stock Exchange bombing in 2000 which killed 15 people, as well as several other illegal acts.

Further, the explosives found to have been used in the embassy bombing included those which matched explosives manufactured by the military's munitions manufacturer, P.T. Pindad. The military was asked to conduct an audit of P.T. Pindad just after the Bali bombings of 2002, but is yet to do so.

Pindad weapons and explosives have found their way to many places in Indonesia, not all of which are formally connected with the military.

The fourth explanation is that there is a group within the military that wants to create instability ahead of Monday's presidential election. The political allegiance of this group depends on who can make the most political capital from the event. Given that President Megawati Soekarnoputri was in Brunei at the time of the blast, this goes against her camp being involved. However, the speed with which she returned to Jakarta and the bombsite was unusual for this otherwise slow-acting leader.

The fifth interpretation is that the bombing was organised by a former general who is politically influential and who has close links to Kopassus and previous dirty tricks. This person wants a senior position in the next cabinet, regardless of who is president, and is said to have used the bombing as a means to inform both candidates that he has the capacity to destabilise either if they do not comply. An Australian symbol was targeted, as they have been in the past, because Australia remains a convenient scapegoat.

This scenario will be seen to be much stronger depending on who becomes the next minister for political and security affairs.

Regardless of which of these scenarios it is, or indeed if it is another, Australia remains a target of opportunity in Indonesia - a simple fact that is not likely to change for some time.

Comment: As this article suggests, there is no straightforward explanation as to who was behind the bombings in Jakarta (notice how anyone who dares suggest that either U.S. or Australia was involved is painted as "lunatic fringe" by the author). Perhaps this is exactly how the real culprits want it to be. The more distortion and obfuscation of the facts, the less likely the persons who actually carried out the bombings will be caught. An important question to ask is who had the means and motive to carry out such an attack, and who benefits the most in it's aftermath? Hint: it certainly wasn't the Muslim population.

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State Dept. Official Arrested in Inquiry on Taiwan Contact
Published: September 16, 2004

WASHINGTON, Sept. 15 - A longtime Foreign Service officer at the State Department, who until recently was a ranking official on East Asian affairs, was arrested on Wednesday and charged with concealing a trip to Taiwan, and is suspected of improperly passing documents to Taiwanese intelligence agents, law enforcement and intelligence officials said.

The diplomat, Donald W. Keyser, appeared in federal court in Alexandria, Va., and was charged with making a false statement to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in a government background check.

A career foreign service officer, Mr. Keyser was a top advisor on China to Secretary of State Colin L. Powell before resigning abruptly several weeks ago in the face of accusations that he had passed information to the Taiwanese, officials said.

F.B.I. agents in the bureau's Washington field office are investigating the case as possible espionage, but officials would not characterize the seriousness of the investigation. "The allegation is what it is - a case of making a false statement to the F.B.I.- and that's all we can say," said a Justice Department official speaking on condition of anonymity.

The State Department declined comment on the case because of the ongoing criminal investigation. A spokesman noted that Mr. Keyser is currently assigned to the Foreign Service Institute, a department training branch. Mr. Keyer is alleged to have met with a Taiwanese intelligence agent in Tapei last year during an official trip to China and Japan, officials said. He did not disclose the meeting as required during a background check and was the subject of an F.B.I. surveillance operation as a result, officials said.

Because the United States does not have direct diplomatic relations with Taiwan, it is rare for diplomats to travel to the country, especially in any official capacity, without specific permission.

An F.B.I. affidavit in the case said he was seen meeting with two Taiwanese agents in a series of covert meeting around Washington this summer and that he handed the Taiwanese contacts what appeared to be government material, including a document titled "discussion topics," The Washington Post reports in Thursday's editions. A copy of the affidavit could not be obtained independently late Wednesday.

In a separate matter, the F.B.I. is also investigating accusations that an analyst at the Pentagon may have improperly passed information to Israel through an Israeli lobbying group. [...]

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By TON News Release Editor
Published Date: 9/13/2004

Seoul -- As new evidence reveals that uranium enrichment experiments in South Korea have been assisted by laboratories in the United States and Russia, Greenpeace is calling for an immediate end to international collaboration on plutonium and uranium enrichment denouncing such programs as recipes for nuclear weapons proliferation and disaster.

These experiments have sparked concerns over a nuclear weapons program in South Korea.

According to the nuclear industry journal, Nuclear Fuel, the Korean Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI) benefited from the direct assistance of both the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory (LLL) in California, where key Korean nuclear scientists were trained, and the Institute of General Physics in Moscow before carrying out experiments in producing nuclear weapons usable enriched uranium, in 2000.(1)

"Nuclear non-proliferation policy is in chaos. Government labs and the international nuclear industry are helping countries access or produce nuclear weapons materials, technology and expertise. In this case South Korea has benefited. However, over the last two decades, its neighbor, Japan, has acquired a vast stockpile of nuclear weapons usable plutonium with direct US, French and UK involvement," said Shaun Burnie of Greenpeace International.

In addition to assisting in uranium enrichment, since the early 1990s KAERI has been cooperating with Russia and Europe in the development of sensitive plutonium research. Greenpeace research has identified Korean cooperation in plutonium fast reactor fuel technology at the Dimitrovgrad facility in Russia, supported by the UK's British Nuclear Fuels, France's Cogema and Japan's Toshiba (2); and plutonium MOX fuel experiments in the SCK nuclear facility in Belgium, again with international assistance.

"The consequences of these efforts, combined with North Korea's nuclear weapons program can only lead to nuclear escalation on the Korean peninsula and destabilization of the whole of North East Asia unless there is a rapid change in global nuclear policy," said Burnie.

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Third interceptor missile placed in silo in Alaska: Pentagon
Sep 16, 2004

WASHINGTON (AFP) - A third interceptor missile was lowered into an underground silo in Alaska this week, the latest addition to a ground-based missile defense system that will become operational this year, the US Defense Department said Thursday.

The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) said the interceptor missile went into a launch silo at Fort Greely, Alaska on Wednesday.

Three more interceptor missiles will be fielded by mid-October at Fort Greely, and two others later this year at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, it said.

"Although the system will initially have a limited capability when it becomes operational later this year, it will mark the first time the United States has a capability to defend the entire country against a limited attack by a long-range ballistic missile," the agency said in a statement.

A prominent critic, Democratic Senator Jack Reed, said the agency's claim that the missiles will provide an effective national defense against long-range missiles "strained credibility."

"The agency has never done a single test of the interceptor, or the radar needed to guide the interceptor, or the incredibly complex command and control system to see if they can actually shoot down an enemy missile," he said.

Flight tests have been cancelled or delayed six times since December 2002 because of technical problems and test failures, and the first real test is not scheduled until late November -- "safely after the elections," Reed said.

Nevertheless, the administration planned to announce the deployment of "this untested, problem-ridden system" next month before the elections, he said, accusing the administration of "a cynical approach to our nation's defense".

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Zircon crystals link the Great Dying with volcanic eruptions
By Deborah Smith Science Editor
September 18, 2004

The greatest mass extinction in Earth's history, when almost all life on the planet was wiped out, was triggered by huge volcanic eruptions, Australian research shows.

The cataclysm, known as the Great Dying because 95 per cent of animal species vanished, occurred towards the end of the Permian period, more than 250 million years ago.

To pinpoint its timing, Ian Metcalfe, deputy director of the University of New England Asia Centre, used an improved method for dating minerals in ancient rocks. With American colleagues, he found the date for the extinction - 252.6 million years ago, give or take 200,000 years - coincided with the timing of massive volcanic eruptions in Siberia - the biggest the world has known.

"This clearly points to a causative link," Professor Metcalfe said.

At that time, the continents were packed together in a land mass known as Pangaea. The Siberian eruptions, thought to have involved thousands of volcanoes, spread lava over an area bigger than NSW. They spewed out debris and hot gases for up to a million years.

The eruptions would have had a huge impact on climate. A large drop in sea levels occurred around then.

Professor Metcalfe's team analysed zircon crystals from volcanic ash in limestone rocks in China where fossils from the extinction period have been found. The extinction occurred rapidly, over a period of several hundred thousand years, the team said.

"We think the volcanic eruptions were the main cause [of the extinction], but there may have been several things coming together at the same time to produce the devastation of life," Professor Metcalfe said. His team's research was published yesterday in the journal Science.

Another theory about the cause of the extinction centres on a massive meteor impact, similar to the one in Mexico that is thought to have wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.

Earlier this year an American-Australian team claimed they had identified a possible impact site off the coast of Western Australia, known as Bedout High, for a meteor the size of Mount Everest. Their evidence included 250 million-year-old rocks found in China, Antarctica and north of Sydney with characteristics suggesting they were ejected by an extraterrestrial impact.

Comment: The one explanation does not preclude the other. A massive cometary impact may well have set off the long period of volcanic activity.

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Nfld. man telephones during own funeral
Last Updated Fri, 17 Sep 2004 14:47:52 EDT

ST. PHILIP'S, NFLD. - The family of a Newfoundland man is overjoyed but looking for answers after he phoned during his own funeral to let them know he hadn't been killed in a Toronto commuter train accident after all.

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Earthquake close to Franco-Spanish border
STRASBOURG, France, Sept 17 (AFP) - An earthquake measuring 3.6 on the Richter scale hit a region in Spain's Basque country, close to the border with France, the Strasbourg seismological laboratory said, but there were no reports of damage or casualties from the region.

The quake occurred at 9:17 pm (1917 GMT) on Thursday with an epicentre at a latitude of 42.92 degrees north and a longitude of 1.45 degrees west, the laboratory said.

That located it to the east of the main Spanish Basque city of San Sebastian.

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Earthquake Rocks Southern Kentucky
Volunteer TV's sister station WYMT is reporting an earthquake measuring 3.7 on the Richter Scale has been felt in Southern Kentucky.

Many viewers are calling Volunteer TV to report feeling the earthquake as far south as northern Knox County. Those calling say the tremor felt like a large truck rolling by or loud thunder.

The National Geological Survey in Golden, Colorado reports the tremor's epicenter was 45 miles west-southwest of Hazard, KY.

That's also 25 miles north-northwest of Middlesboro.

Geophysicist John Bellini says the fault is one of several in the area that have not been named and is listed as ``unknown.'' the quake was felt in Laurel, Knox, Knott and Whitley counties.

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Hurricane fatigue? It could be just the beginning, storm forecasters say

(AP) - Ivan, Frances and Charley delivered three staggering blows to the U.S. Gulf Coast and Florida, as well as Caribbean island countries, all in just five weeks.

Now here comes Jeanne, which could be lashing north Florida and Georgia by Monday. Homeowners ritualistically re-hammering the same plywood over their windows figure it can't get much worse, right? Brace yourselves: Scientists say 65 million Americans living on the Gulf and Atlantic coasts should expect weather like this for another 30 years. Maybe more.

Sure, it's hurricane season and storms happen. But counting Alex, which swamped the Carolinas in August, that's five in six weeks. And that doesn't include tropical storms Bonnie, Gaston, Earl and Hermine.

"I don't remember this happening before in such a short period of time," National Hurricane Center director Max Mayfield told reporters, "and the season is only half-over."

It might be a generation before hurricane weather slips back into a quiet phase, he and other experts say.

"The hurricane threat is much greater than it was in the 1970s through early 1990s," said federal meteorologist Stan Goldenberg, who flew around hurricane Ivan in research aircraft as it approached Mobile, Ala. "It could last another 10 to 40 years."

Goldenberg and other experts believe the current hurricane surge is part of an obvious storm cycle that probably has been waxing and waning for hundreds of years.

Roughly from 1970-94, Atlantic hurricane activity in the United States was relatively mild. Sure, there were monster hurricanes like Andrew in 1992. Its 285 kilometre-per-hour winds killed 55 people in the U.S. and Caribbean and caused $26.5 billion US in damage. Every year a big storm whips up; it's just that most fizzle before veering into a city.

Overall, the 25-year "quiet" period generated about half as many destructive storms as the previous stormy phase dating back to the 1920s, and about half as many as today's stormy phase appears likely to produce.

Since 1995, environmental conditions have shifted and the Atlantic has been spawning more strong storms. The number of major hurricanes has more than doubled. In the Caribbean, it's up by a factor of five.

Even with milder storm years in 1997 and 2002, the period since 1995 is the most active nine consecutive years on record, according to pioneering hurricane forecaster William Gray at Colorado State University.

Since 2000, the United States has been hit by an average of four powerful storms per season.

Forecasters have been warning of this for years. Even back in 1998, a year that saw four hurricanes in September, Gray said: "We are going to see the return of some of these type of storms. People have to face up to it. The insurance industry has a major problem."

Last month, Gray tweaked his gloomy 2004 forecast downward, predicting 13 named storms rather than 14. He expected seven storms to blow up into hurricanes, three with sustained winds of 178 km/h or greater.

So far, he's right. If storms continue brewing, Gray might wish he had tweaked his forecast up, not down. And don't forget that last year, two more tropical storms developed in the Caribbean after the hurricane season formally ended Nov. 30.

Why is the storm cycle intensifying now? Scientists aren't certain what causes the decades-long shifts in the ocean-atmosphere interplay.

Hurricanes reflect the complex dance between the atmosphere and the oceans.

When the Pacific Ocean cools during the La Nina climate phenomenon, the Atlantic warms up, and more hurricanes are the result. Over the Atlantic, wind shear that knocks down rising storms tend to slacken, while humid westerly winds from Africa's bulge grow stronger.

Scientists look for large pools in subtropical ocean where water is at least 27 C. The warm sea heats the air in a rising column, creating a centre of moist low pressure.

Trade winds rush in toward this depression. Combined with the planet's rotation, they spin clouds counterclockwise around this steamy core, or "eye" of the storm.

Most scientists agree that global warming plays little or no role in the number of storms in the current hurricane cycle.

Global climate models show that air pollution from industry and traffic will drive up average world temperatures by up to one degree Celsius this century. All that extra heat could fuel more stormy weather. And local evidence of temperatures rising may already be apparent with some glaciers melting and spring flowers blooming early. But so far, climate change is too uncertain and today's hurricane patterns are too complex to draw a connection.

"I don't think the warming now is anywhere near enough to account for the increase in hurricanes that we're seeing," said Robert Gall of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. "To me, this is just a natural variation in the frequency of hurricanes."

Hurricanes are among nature's most powerful natural events. Spinning as fast as a race car, the wall of clouds can rise 15 kilometres into the stratosphere and span more than 600 kilometres, as wide as Kansas.

The amount of mechanical energy generated by a such a swirling storm translates to a power supply of 360 billion kilowatt hours per day. That's equal, by some estimates, to all of the electricity consumed in United States in six months.

Only 12 per cent of the world's swirling storms spawn in the Atlantic. About 100 of these cyclones are reported annually worldwide. Most of them crank unnoticed in the North Pacific and the Indian Ocean.

A large storm might seethe and spin for 5,000 kilometres, inhaling the energy from billions of tonnes of warm seawater. Incoming dry air from high pressure zones can choke it off, or landfall can quickly deflate it.

Forecasters are much less comfortable predicting how a storm will behave once it hits land. That's a major focus of their research now.

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By Devvy
Posted: September 16, 2004
12:05 AM Eastern

A $350 million class action lawsuit was filed on September 15, 2004 in United States District Court in San Francisco, California, case no: C 04 3872. This class action racketeering (RICO) lawsuit was filed against the NutraSweet Corporation, American Diabetes Association, Dr. Robert H. Moser and John Does 1-50. Plaintiffs maintain that this lawsuit will prove how deadly the chemical sweetener aspartame is when consumed by humans.

Contained in the lawsuit is the key role played by current Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld in helping to get aspartame pushed through the FDA. Back in the 1980s, Rumsfeld was the President and CEO of Searle who originally owned the patent on aspartame. Plaintiffs maintain that Rumsfeld used his political muscle to get aspartame approved by the FDA despite objections of many FDA health researchers and negative studies.

According to spokesman attorney Britt Groom from Idaho, this lawsuit was filed on behalf of a Mr. Joe Bellon of Concord, California. Groom says a press conference is scheduled for Thursday, September 16, 2004, 11:00 AM at the Sheraton Grand Hotel, 1230 J Street, Sacramento, California. At the press conference, details of the lawsuit will be discussed.

The lawsuit contains the following counts:

1. R.I.C.O. (racketeering charges)
2. Unfair Competition
3. False Advertising
4. Consumer Remedies Act
5. Fraud
6. Breach of Warranty
7. Breach of Merchantability
8. Filed as a Class Action representing the People as a whole and Joe Bellon's personal injuries as well.

According to the press release issued on this RICO lawsuit: "On or about September 8, 2004 an affidavit was signed describing the initial third world studies and the health hazards of aspartame. These studies conducted in 1983/84 by the J.D. Searle Company were translated to English from Spanish by a translator in 1984. The "double blind" studies showed conclusive evidence that aspartame caused severe health problems and even death to the exposed study group. According to the Affidavit, the doctor directing the studies has been missing since the approval of aspartame in 1984. The affidavit also describes how the affiant was directed by J.D. Searle officials to destroy all records of the studies - including filed notes and/or translations - possessed by the affiant. The affiant describes in detail how the translations were forwarded upon completion to J.D. Searle corporate offices in Illinois."

This isn't the first lawsuit filed alleging that aspartame is hazardous to the health of humans. The National Justice League filed three other lawsuit on April 26, 2004, in three separate California courts. The defendants in those lawsuits number twelve and all produce or use the artificial sweetener aspartame as a sugar substitute in their products. Defendants in those lawsuits include Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Bayer Corp., the Dannon Company, William Wrigley Jr. Company, Walmart, ConAgra Foods, Wyeth, Inc., The NutraSweet Company, and Altria Corp. (parent company of Kraft Foods and Philip Morris).

This lawsuit charges the defendants engaged in unlawful acts of "knowingly and intentionally using the neurotoxic Aspartame as a sugar substitute in the manufacture of Equal, while knowing that exposure to Aspartame causes among other diseases/symptoms:

abdominal pain, arthritis, asthma, brain cancer, breathing difficulties, burning eyes or throat, burning urination, chest pains, chronic cough, chronic fatigue, death, depression, diarrhea, headaches/migraines, hearing loss, heart palpitations, hives (urticaria), hypertension, impotency and sexual problems, memory loss, menstrual problems or changes, nausea or vomiting, slurring of speech, tremors, tinnitus, vertigo and/or vision loss." The lawsuit also states, "Further, Aspartame disease mimics symptoms or worsens the following diseases: Fibromyalgia, Arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's Disease, Lupus, Diabetes and diabetic complications, Epilepsy, Alzheimer's Disease, birth defects, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Lymphoma, Lyme Disease, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Panic Disorder, Depression and other psychological disorders."

Further allegations include, "G.D. Searle denied knowledge of/or involvement with the initiation, design or performance of the study. Yet, the false results were submitted to the FDA like the rest of the 150 G.D. Searle studies (on aspartame and other products), bearing a Searle Pathology-Toxicology project number. Both Dr.Waisman and G.D.Searle were responsible for the study design. A number of false statements were made by G.D. Searle, including that reported the animals were unavailable for purchase for autopsy after the termination of the study."

Defendants in this lawsuit continue to maintain that aspartame is safe for consumption. Aspartame is found in more than 5,000 food products and all soft drinks sold in the United States.

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Fish toxins blamed for deaths of river's last remaining sea eagles
By James Woodford
September 16, 2004

A white-breasted eagle on the Parramatta River. Photo: Nick Moir
The only sea eagles nesting on the Parramatta River have both been found dead, possibly after consuming fish contaminated with deadly toxins.

The environmental disaster could not have come at a worse time. It is believed the pair were incubating eggs in their newly constructed nest near the Silverwater Bridge.

Although they live in one of the nation's most heavily contaminated environments, last year the birds, which were only in their second breeding season together, managed to fledge their first chick. They had appeared to be in good health and because they both died at the same time it is unlikely to have been the result of long-term exposure to pollution.

Sea eagles are among the biggest predators in Sydney and a popular attraction at Olympic Park. But their territory takes in a part of the estuary considered so poisoned that fishing is illegal. [...]

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U.S. Researchers Invent Antenna for Light
Fri Sep 17, 2004 01:59 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Researchers said on Friday they have invented an antenna that captures visible light in much the same way that radio antennas capture radio waves.

They say the device, using tiny carbon nanotubes, might serve as the basis for an optical television or for converting solar energy into electricity once properly developed.

Radio and television signals are captured using antennas close to the size of the wavelength of broadcast radiation. These are often huge -- thus the need for tall antennas.

In a receiver, the wave excites electrons into meaningful currents, which are amplified and tuned to carry sound and pictures.

But light is carried by photons -- tiny packages that have the properties of waves and particles. They are visible because cells in the eye capture them, but no one had been able to make a device small enough to act as an antenna.

Yang Wang and colleagues at Boston College used carbon nanotubes, which are microscopic structures built out of carbon atoms.

The tubes, pictured on the Internet at, are aligned randomly.

The light excites miniature electrical currents, they write in the latest issue of the journal Applied Physics Letters.

A visible-light antenna might work by receiving a television signal superimposed onto a laser beam sent down an optical fiber, the researchers said.

This technology may improve the efficiency and quality of television signals.

Or it could be used as the basis of an efficient solar energy device that turns incoming light into an electrical charge to be stored in a capacitor, they said.

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