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The End of Hope?

For many, this is a time of desperation and depression. For one, this is a time of hopelessness.

By Regis T. Sabol
Intervention Magazine

Even if John Kerry wins this wretched election, which becomes less and less likely with each passing day (even more than Gore, has there ever been a Democratic candidate with so much opportunity to defeat a ghastly president-- actually, the ghastliest president in the history of the Republic--who squandered that opportunity so foolishly?), we will remain trapped in Iraq until we finally throw in the towel, as we inevitably will, and go home in shame and defeat at the cost of who knows how many thousands of lives and how many billions of dollars, not to mention extinguishing our status as a beacon of democracy in the world.

A Republican Congress (Forget any pipe dream of the Democrats regaining that institution.) will make sure the Bush tax cuts for the rich stick, widening the gap between the rich and the rest of us and ending any hope for economic equality and justice. Corporate plutocrats will continue to suck all life out of the environment and all hope for a brighter future for working class Americans. As for the poor, they will remain just as fucked as they were when Reagan came to power.

As Bob Dylan once said, "It's all over now, Baby Blue." I will continue the futile struggle to save democracy in this country, but I might as well be standing on the walls of the Alamo or in the ghetto at Warsaw. We are all doomed.

The Day Hope Died

In retrospect, hope died on the morning of June 6, 1968, when Robert F. Kennedy died of a mortal gunshot wound at the hands of an assassin, an obscure Palestinian busboy at the Ambassador Hotel who wanted to strike a blow against America's support for Israel. Ironically, more than either Hubert Humphrey or Richard Nixon, Kennedy would have been most likely to find a solution of sorts to that labyrinthine problem.

It is also ironic that Bobby Kennedy could have and would have made America "the shining city on a hill," a claim Ronald Reagan usurped and demeaned in a kind of Orwellian double-speak. Kennedy would have ended the war in Vietnam, rather than dragging it one for four more years to ensure his re-election, as Nixon did. Having been struck like Saul on the way to Damascus by his brother's assassination, Kennedy would have fulfilled the promise of the Great Society that Lyndon Johnson created and then destroyed to pursue that tragic, foolish, misbegotten war in Vietnam.

When Nixon fell, I cheered. (In yet another twist of irony, Nixon would be considered too progressive by the right wing that now controls the Republican Party to even be considered as the Party's nominee. The same could be said of Eisenhower.)

Carter's election gave us false hope. Although a fundamentally decent man and widely considered the most intelligent president of our time, Carter was the most conservative Democratic president since Grover Cleveland. And he was incompetent, incapable of dealing with the mighty problems he faced and unable to weather the tsunami known as Ronald Reagan.

The ascendancy of Bill Clinton again gave us false hope and shattered dreams. Because he could not deliver the universal health care he promised and because he could not keep his pants zipped, the savviest politician, perhaps, since FDR, squandered his presidency and set the stage for the incomprehensible rise of George W. Bush.

Al Gore didn't help matters by running a hapless campaign even though he carried the cache of a booming economy and eight years of relative peace. Still, he managed to win more popular votes than any candidate besides Ronald Reagan and won the popular vote by more than 500,000. That went all for naught when Jeb Bush and the Republican ideologues on the Supreme Court handed the presidency to Bush.

It's been downhill ever since. And I see no hope in sight that America will come to its senses. We have become a nation divided by the successful application of fear by Bush, his mentor, Dick Cheney, and his political guru, Karl Rove, into Red States and Blue States. The Republican Red states outnumber the Democratic Blue states and starkly reflect the enormous cultural divide in America. [...]

The Red states eschew what they call big government, believe in that old time religion, and sneer at pointy-headed intellectuals, city-slickers, and bleeding- heart liberals, and admire macho-militaristic solutions to international problems. In many ways, Bush is their poster boy. He is proud of being a C student and a party-loving frat boy. He views his many failed business ventures as proof of his faith in unfettered capitalism. He claims to be a born-again Christian and has embraced the homophobic, misogynistic agenda of the evangelical religious right. He also embraces the literal-minded Biblical concept of creation and dismisses evolution in the face of all scientific evidence to the contrary. He views the world in Manichean terms of black and white, good and evil; his social views are distinctly Hobbesian.

The Blue states, on the other hand, are often everything the Red states are not and everything the Red states despise. They are, for the most part, dominated by urban metropolises; they are multi-ethnic and push to be multi-cultural. Their number includes the wealthiest old-rich families with names like Roosevelt and Rockefeller. Paradoxically, they contain large populations of African-Americans, Latino, and the newly immigrated from Eastern Europe, the Middle East, the Asian subcontinent, and East Asia. With the demise of the Industrial Revolution, they largely consist of the displaced working class and the poor. At the same time, they have rich artistic, cultural, intellectual, cosmopolitan, and politically progressive traditions. One could argue that they are the seedbeds of these traditions. And, while they are fewer in number, collectively, they have a larger population than the Red states. Red states see them as the smart-alecky city mouse that lacks the down-home common sense of the country mouse.

With the unconstitutional takeover of the presidency, the Red states now control all three branches of government. They have delivered the nation over to an autocratic, theocratic, plutocracy. Neo-conservative militaristic imperialists now dominate foreign policy and have finagled us into a foolish war under false pretenses. And, should Bush legitimately win the election in November, the robber barons of power and greed will complete their stranglehold on the Supreme Court, ensuring a repressive, retrograde perversion of the Constitution that is far different from what the founders of this country envisioned.

Country Mouse vs. City Mouse Rooted in Nation's History

This country mouse-city mouse tension is not a recent phenomenon. It is rooted in the founding and history of America. Most conspicuously, it manifested itself in the divide between North and South over the issue of maintaining the odious institution of slavery. Even though this conflict was ostensibly resolved in a bloody civil war, the divide remained with segregation replacing slavery as the law of the South. And the sins of racism and xenophobia have always infected the entire land.

It further manifested itself in the rise of the labor movement, which took hold in the Blue states but never succeeded in the Red states. That is why manufacturers in the unionized North fled to the non-unionized South. The suffragette movement was rooted in Blue country. Even today, the conflict over separation of church and state is divided along the Red-state-Blue-state fault line. The Scopes trial took place in Tennessee and this year an Alabama judge defied the Federal Courts in exhibiting a stone exhibit of the Ten Commandments in his courthouse; he is now a hero to Red-state true believers. The primary distinction the two cultures is that the Blue states are generally more tolerant of diverse ideas, more likely to be skeptical of accepted truth and have, to a greater or lesser extent, more successfully overcome blind faith and aberrations of the human spirit that deny human rights and equality..

That is what drove the Progressive movements of the late nineteenth and much of the twentieth century, as marked by the presidencies of Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, FDR, Harry Truman, JFK, and Lyndon Johnson. Without question, all of these men had their shortcomings and, in ways large and small, betrayed the progressive ideals for which they stood. Over the long haul, however, they advanced and oversaw political, social, cultural, intellectual, and artistic progress.

That era is now over and it is not likely to rise again. The country mouse, with his cowboy boots, Texas twang, taste for country music and love of gas-guzzling fast trucks, NASCAR, blood-sport wrestling, fundamentalist Protestant Christianity, and macho-militarism, has outwitted, outfoxed, and marginalized the city mouse. Reality TV shows and Fox News have trumped reality and real news.

Simplicity now trumps complexity. The stern father has regained domination over the nurturing mother. From now on, it's my way or the highway.

And the bumper stickers--Power of Pride, God Bless America, and America: Love It or Leave It--say it all.

And so,

Bye, bye, Miss American Pie.
Saw our hopes turn to ashes,
Nothin' to do now but cry.
And the good old boys
Have taken over, my, my.
And this will be the day that we die,
This will be the day that America dies.

Regis T. Sabol is a contributing editor to Intervention Magazine. He is also editor of A New Deal: an online magazine of political, social, and cultural thought.

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U.S. uncertain about a Cuba weapons program
Posted on Tue, Sep. 21, 2004
WASHINGTON, D.C.
BY PABLO BACHELET

WASHINGTON - The U.S. intelligence community has ''lost some confidence'' in a 1999 assessment that Cuba had a limited biological weapons development effort, but continues to believe the country poses a concern, a U.S. intelligence official said Monday.

''We're not saying with absolute certainty that they don't'' have a biological weapons program, the intelligence official said.

"What we're saying is that we've lost some confidence in that judgment, that they do.''

WARNINGS SINCE 2002

John Bolton, the State Department's under secretary for arms control and international security, and other top Bush administration officials had been warning since 2002 that Cuba possessed "at least a limited, developmental, biological weapons research and development effort.''

That wording came from the classified 1999 assessment carried out by the CIA and its analytical arm, the National Intelligence Council, according to State Department officials. The Cuban government has flatly denied the allegation.

The revision is part of what the intelligence official called a ''world-wide scrub'' of intelligence on biological weapons capabilities in the wake of the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, a key justification to invade the country.

REVISED ASSESSMENT

Administration and congressional officials pointed out that the revised assessment, first reported by The New York Times on Saturday, does not discard the possibility that Cuba has a biological weapons program, but simply states that the intelligence community is now uncertain of the reliability of the sources.

''When I see this thing characterized as a reversal, that is incorrect,'' the intelligence official said.

STILL AN ISSUE

"No one is walking off the field and saying there's no cause for concern, no potential issue here.''

The new assessment came as the State Department requested information from the intelligence community for a proliferation ''compliance report'' on Cuba, the intelligence official said.

''We felt that we owed it to them to give them our newest assessment,'' he added.

Bolton could not be reached for comment and his office said he had not yet seen the new language contained in the assessment, which is also classified.

Congressional aides on Capitol Hill told The Herald that the new assessment ''continues to say serious things about Cuba,'' adding that there is disagreement within the intelligence community ''on the assessment to downgrade Cuba's capability'' on its bioweapons program.

Peter Contostavlos, an aide to Sen. Bill Nelson, D-FL, said the language revision was ''not necessarily any news here'' because the 1999 assessment was not definitive. The new language, which Nelson's office had not seen, "should not give comfort to those that want to ease the embargo in any way.

Emilio Gonzalez, former Cuba specialist on the Bush White House's National Security Council, said of the new assessment on Cuba: "If anything, it highlights the fact that this administration continues to monitor Cuba's chemical and bioweapons capability.''

Comment: Same story, different place. The U.S. has been claiming since 2002, that Cuba has a limited bio-weapons program. Now they doubt the reliability of their "sources". It's not a complete "reversal" - they've only "lost some confidence" in the assessment. This appears to be to be a polite way of saying, "We have no evidence that Cuba has a bio-weapons program, but we don't want to give up our right to make such claims in the future."

As the pundits and demagogues continue to fuss over the new and improved language in the now "classified" assessment, the headline of this story can be viewed in another, more subtle way. What our brains see are the words "Cuba" and "weapons" side by side. The link has been forged, the connection made. The article has fulfilled it's purpose.

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Bush Aides Divided on Confronting Iran Over A-Bomb
By STEVEN R. WEISMAN
Published: September 21, 2004

Comment: Whoa! Stop right there. According to this New York Times headline, Iran now has an Atomic Bomb. Wasn't the country possibly developing a "nuclear weapons program" just a few days ago? Seems like the propaganda is being turned up a notch. Perhaps the Bush Reich is just itching to invade Iran, and can't wait until they steal the election first.

WASHINGTON, Sept. 20 - At a time when the violent insurgency in Iraq is vexing the Bush administration and stirring worries among Americans, events may be propelling the United States into yet another confrontation, this time with Iran. The issues have an almost eerie familiarity, evoking the warnings and threats that led to the war to overthrow Saddam Hussein, and stirring an equally passionate debate.

Like Iraq in its final years under Saddam Hussein, Iran is believed by experts to be on the verge of developing a nuclear bomb. In Iraq, that proved to be untrue, though this time the consensus is much stronger among Western experts.

In addition, as with Iraq, administration officials have said recently that Iran is supporting insurgencies and terrorism in other countries. Recently, top administration officials have accused the Tehran government of backing the rebels in Iraq, something that officials fear could increase if Iran is pressed too hard on its nuclear program.

A parallel concern in Washington is Iran's continued backing of Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite group that the administration and the Israeli government say is channeling aid to groups attacking Israeli civilians. Israel also warns that Iran's nuclear program will reach a "point of no return" next year, after which it will be able to make a bomb without any outside assistance.

The Bush administration has yet to forge a clear strategy on how to deal with Iran, partly because of a lack of attractive options and partly because there is a debate under way between hard-liners and advocates of diplomatic engagement. But in another similarity with the Iraq situation before the war, Washington is in considerable disagreement with key allies over how to handle the threat.

Britain, France and Germany say Iran's nuclear program is unacceptable, but they also warn that a confrontation could backfire and that incentives as well as punishments need to be presented to Tehran. Threatening sanctions - a cutoff in oil purchases, for example - is not viewed as credible or likely to get much support, they say.

European views cannot be dismissed, especially after the discord over Iraq, administration officials say. Last weekend, under European pressure, the United States agreed to defer its demand that the International Atomic Energy Agency immediately refer Iran's noncooperation on nuclear issues to the United Nations Security Council, where sanctions might be considered.Instead, Iran was given two more months to show that it was cooperating.

Still, even Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, the leading advocate of diplomacy in Mr. Bush's inner circle, cites a gathering threat from Iran.

"Diplomacy does not mean failure to look in the lion's mouth," Mr. Powell said in a recent interview. "Diplomacy doesn't mean pretending something isn't there when it's there. The Iranians have a nuclear weapons program, and I keep telling everybody it is the responsibility of the international community to apply all the pressure we can."

With Iran policy in a state of flux, there is a drive among conservatives to reach out to Iranian dissidents and exiles seeking to overthrow the government, much as efforts were made with Iraqis in the 1990's. Senator Rick Santorum, a Pennsylvania Republican, is sponsoring legislation favoring "regime change," with what some say is the tacit backing of administration conservatives.

Last year, when it was trying to reach out to Tehran for cooperation on Iraq, the administration stated that it did not support regime change in Iran, though President Bush also spoke out in favor of greater democracy there.

Administration officials say that there was an internal debate last year but that the idea of giving aid to dissidents who might try to overthrow the Iranian government had been dropped for lack of any credible groups to support.

Yet the cause of regime change in Iran is expected to be revived if President Bush is re-elected, administration officials say. Leading the charge is John R. Bolton, the under secretary of state for nonproliferation, who gave a speech last month saying that Iran's conduct did not "bode well for the success of a negotiated approach to dealing with this issue." A colleague called him "the self-appointed tip of the spear" in the discussions.

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US 'loses' war games
News24.com
19/09/2004

Washington - US spy agencies have played out "war games" to consider possible pre-emptive strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities, and concluded that strikes would not resolve Washington's standoff with Tehran, Newsweek magazine reported on Sunday.

"The war games were unsuccessful at preventing the conflict from escalating," an unnamed air force source told the magazine in its latest issue.

The central intelligence and the defence intelligence agency played out the possible results of US strikes, the magazine reported. [...]

Comment: Imagine that - attacking another country causes an escalation of the conflict between the two nations!

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Bush, in Shift, Taps Into Emergency Iraq Funds
By Adam Entous
Tue Sep 21, 9:09 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon has begun tapping into its $25 billion emergency fund for the Iraq war to prepare for a major troop rotation and intense fighting this fall, administration officials said on Tuesday, despite the White House's initial insistence that it had enough money.

The Pentagon has already used more than $2 billion from what the White House dubbed its "contingency reserve" fund for Iraq. The money is being used to ramp up production of armored Humvees to support the troop rotation, as well as to buy body armor and bolster fuel supplies, the officials told Reuters.

The decision to use the $25 billion in Iraq reserves underscores concern within the administration about the rise in anti-American violence in Iraq.

The decision follows last week's announcement that President Bush plans to divert nearly $3.5 billion from Iraqi water, power and other reconstruction projects to improve security.

The White House had initially asserted it would not need additional war funding until January or February, 2005 -- well after the November presidential election.

Even after requesting the $25 billion reserve fund in May, White House officials insisted it was an "insurance policy" that they hoped not to tap, though they acknowledged that could change if violence flared up.

"As we've always said, our troops in the field will have what they need, when they need it," said Chad Kolton, spokesman for the White House Office of Management and Budget. [...]

Comment: While the White House may have always said that American troops will have what they need when they need it, the reality is that the words of those in power in the US have not matched their deeds...

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Flashback: U.S. soldiers lack best protective gear
By Jonathan Turley, USAToday
Posted 12/17/2003 8:47 PM

I recently received a note from one of the few husbands who knows just what his wife wants as a holiday gift. The Army sergeant (who asked to remain anonymous) e-mailed me from Iraq asking my help in finding him a store to buy body armor for his wife.

Both the sergeant and his wife are serving in Iraq, and both have seen action. But, like thousands of U.S. soldiers, his wife was not given the vital ceramic plates for her Kevlar Interceptor vest to protect her from bullet wounds. Instead, he said, she had to scavenge to find plates left behind by Iraqi soldiers — plates of inferior quality that do not properly fit her vest.

The Pentagon confirms that at least 40,000 of the 130,000 U.S. troops in Iraq don't have basic Kevlar Interceptor vests or the ceramic plates needed for full protection.

As a law professor, I am more comfortable researching legal briefs than body armor, but I was thrown into this controversy in early September when I received a call from Richard Murphy, one of my students during his first year of law school. I wasn't surprised to hear from Richard, but I was a bit surprised that he was calling from Iraq. His Army Reserve unit had been called up, so he had taken a leave from school to serve. What came as a greater surprise was that Richard's mother had mailed him body armor because his entire unit was issued Vietnam-era flak jackets that are designed to stop shrapnel rather than bullets. The Interceptor vest can stop AK-47 rounds moving 2,750 feet a second.

Army Spc. John Fox must appreciate the difference. He was hit in the stomach by an AK-47 while on patrol in September in Fallujah. He was one of the lucky soldiers with a vest. The bullets set off three ammunition magazines and a smoke grenade he was carrying, The Washington Post reported. The vest protected him from the AK-47 rounds and the explosion of his own ammunition and grenade.

I first assumed that Murphy's unit was a mix-up. Then I called retailers and manufacturers of body armor and was told that they had been deluged by such orders from the families of soldiers.

A Pentagon procurement officer then told me Interceptor vests were "non-priority" items, like tents. Accordingly, the military had decided to slowly phase out the old flak jackets in a one-for-one exchange program over 10 years. We invaded Iraq in the fifth year.

After I wrote about this shortage in a September Los Angeles Times column, I received dozens of e-mails and calls from troops in Iraq giving their own accounts. Some wrote that they had taped plates on the backs of their flak jackets to try to get some protection. Other units, they wrote, shifted the available vests from soldier to soldier.

This "swap and share" approach has forced soldiers in American and British units to play a dangerous version of Russian roulette. The first British death in the war occurred after Sgt. Steve Roberts was forced to give up his plates and was then shot in the chest while on patrol, according to The London Daily Telegraph.

Sgt. Zachariah Byrd from Colorado was luckier. Shortly before his unit was ambushed, a friend gave him his Interceptor vest. Byrd was hit four times by fire from an AK-47 and survived only because of the last-minute swap.

At a September House hearing, Gen. John Abizaid, head of all military forces in Iraq, admitted he could not give House members a good reason "why we started this war with protective vests that were in short supply."

This left parents and spouses to buy body armor for their loved ones. Murphy's mother, an elementary school teacher in Sciota, Pa., spent $650 to buy the protective plates. A Marin County, Calif., National Guard unit was outfitted with body armor donated by local law enforcement officials. [...]

In response to questions about the lack of body armor, acting Secretary of the Army Les Brownlee simply stated that the attacks in Iraq "differed from our expectations." But we give Kevlar vests to our police to patrol our cities. Why would the military think it safer for our troops to move around Baghdad than for a cop to walk around Boise?

Despite requests from a few members of Congress, there appears to be little movement to investigate the shortage of what seems to be a basic protective item for our troops. [...]

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Flashback: Armor From Home

Amid Shortage of Gear, Some U.S. Soldiers Must Equip Themselves

By Keith Garvin
ABCNEWS.com
February 7, 2004

W A S H I N G T O N, Feb. 7 — Pene Palifka, a proud and protective mother, worries about her son, Billy, a specialist with the National Guard deployed in Iraq. She reads his letters home almost daily.
Click Here

"I just can't wait for him to come home," she said. "We'll celebrate that day."

Concerned about her son's safety, Palifka recently spent $1,100 of her own money on armored chest plates to protect him and others from enemy fire.

"[By] purchasing something for my son, then that means hopefully somewhere down the line somebody else that's overseas will have adequate equipment," Pene Palifka said.

It's become an almost routine practice for deploying troops and their families.

Despite efforts to produce more vests with the armored plates, the Pentagon says there still aren't enough, especially among guardsmen and reservists. All troops rotating out of Iraq are now being required to leave their vests behind so incoming troops can use them.

'We … Buy It Ourselves'

Many active-duty troops also are spending money on other equipment.

One group of Marines due to leave for Iraq bought goggles, backpacks, magazine pouches and gloves. It's better than their issued equipment, they said, and worth their hard-earned cash.

"They gave us the stuff that we need, but we need more as well," Marine Sgt. Nick Medina told ABCNEWS last month. "So we go ahead and buy it ourselves."

Rep. John Larson, D-Conn., a member of the House Armed Services Committee, has introduced a bill calling for the government to repay the families of troops who buy their own gear.

"It's time to step up and do the right thing and reimburse all those individuals, who because of the care and concern that they have for our men and women overseas, their loved ones have gone into their pocket to assist them," Larson said.

Whether she gets reimbursed or not, Pene Palifka says the price she paid for her peace of mind was worth it.

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Flashback: Army Rushing More Armored Humvees to Iraq
By DENIS D. GRAY, Associated Press Writer
Sun Apr 25, 2004 6:02 PM ET


NAJAF, Iraq - Deafening noise, confusion and fear erupted as the roadside bomb slammed into the U.S. Army Humvee, knocking over Spc. Stephen Monti, who was manning a gun in the turret.

"Then we started checking whether we still had our 10 fingers on," Monti recalled of the recent ambush south of Baghdad.

Not only had all four soldiers escaped injury, but the vehicle — which had been fortified by armor plating and bulletproof glass — came through with just a few dents and a cracked windshield.

"There probably would have been wounds, maybe mortal ones, in your basic Humvee," said Monti, of St. Louis. "Every vehicle that goes out on the road should be 'up-armored.' Your safety is dramatically increased." [...]

When the war began, only about 2 percent of Army's 110,000 Humvees were armored. Now, of the nearly 15,000 Humvees in Iraq, about 1,500 to 2,000 are armored, according to the Army. The numbers are increasing. [...]

Comment: Wow, that means as many as 13% of the Humvees in Iraq are now armored! That leaves a staggering 87% that will end up being deathtraps for the soldiers that Bush and Americans claim to love so much!

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Israel says U.S. to sell it 5,000 smart bombs; biggest weapons deal in years
06:16 PM EDT Sep 21
LAURIE COPANS

JERUSALEM (AP) - The United States will sell Israel nearly 5,000 smart bombs in one of the largest weapons deals between the allies in years, Israeli military sources said Tuesday.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the sources said the deal will expand Israel's existing supply of the weapons. They did not identify possible targets. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz said the deal is valued at $319 million US and was revealed in a Pentagon report made to the U.S. Congress a few weeks ago. Funding for the sale will come from U.S. military aid to Israel.

Disclosure of the deal comes amid escalating Israeli worries over Iran's nuclear development program.

Israel fears that Iran is trying to produce nuclear weapons. Iran says its nuclear program is for generating electricity.

The bombs Israel is acquiring include airborne versions, guidance units, training bombs and detonators. The bombs would be guided to their target by an existing Israeli satellite used by the military.

The Israeli sources would not say whether the bombs might be intended for use against Iran. They ruled out the possibility that they could be used against Palestinian targets.

Israel drew heavy international criticism after a one-tonne smart bomb meant for a senior Palestinian militant also killed 15 civilians in an attack in the Gaza Strip in July 2002. It has rarely used such weapons since then.

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Israeli Nuclear Whistleblower Vanunu on Mideast Nukes 
September 17

WASHINGTON - - The U.S. government has been making demands regarding Iran's nuclear program. On Thursday afternoon State Department spokesperson Richard Boucher was asked about "Mordechai Vanunu, the Israeli whistleblower" and his proposal that "there be a trade-off between the Iranian nuclear program and the ending of the Israeli one." Boucher declined to comment on the proposal.

When asked about Israel's nuclear capacity, Boucher said: "I'm not making judgments or presumptions about that. We've had a view on the universal adherence to the Non-Proliferation Treaty that we've expressed many times, that applies in all cases." Israel is not a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. U.S. government officials have consistently avoided acknowledging Israel's nuclear arsenal.

MORDECHAI VANUNU, vanunumvjc@hotmail.com

Vanunu exposed the Israeli nuclear arsenal in 1986. He was released in April 2004 after serving an 18-year sentence, most of it in solitary confinement. Vanunu is available for a limited number of interviews. He said today:

* "The U.S. goes to Iraq in the name of fighting against weapons of mass destruction while it does not even acknowledge Israel's capacity. The obvious thing to do is to ensure that all states in the region -- including Israel and Iran -- do not have nuclear weapons."

* "Israeli governments which have been behind building these nuclear weapons are betraying the Israeli citizens, the Arab community and all of humanity. Israel has been building nuclear weapons, they now have enough material for hundreds of atomic bombs. I was a technician at the Dimona plant; my main job was making lithium-6 for use in hydrogen bombs. There is no justification for Israel having hydrogen bombs."

* "In 1986 I was kidnapped by Israel in Rome after revealing its massive nuclear arsenal to the London Sunday Times. I was sentenced to 18 years because I revealed the truth to the world. I suffered 18 years of cruel, barbaric treatment under the Israeli authorities. I'm glad to have some freedom now, but I'm not allowed to speak to any foreigners or to go to any other country for one year. I would like to go to the U.S. where there are more freedoms. I do not feel safe in Israel, I have been threatened, I'm called a traitor in the street. Especially because I have become a Christian, I do not have equal human rights. The Israeli government and media have built a very bad image of my case here."

* "With its nuclear weapons, Israel is much more aggressive, so it doesn't move to a real peace with the Palestinians or Syria or Lebanon or Jordan. Its nuclear weapons are used as political power. Without even using them, the nuclear weapons help Israel do what it wants so it doesn't respect international law. When he was defense minister, Sharon destroyed Iraq's nuclear reactor in 1981 so that no other country in the region would have nuclear weapons."

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CBS Faces New Charges Over Discredited Bush Report
By Greg Frost
Tue Sep 21, 6:08 PM ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) - CBS News faced new charges of journalistic impropriety on Tuesday, a day after the network said it regretted using questionable documents in a report challenging President Bush's military service.

At issue was a report in USA Today that the source of the documents gave them to CBS only after the network agreed to arrange a conversation between the source and the presidential campaign of Bush's opponent, Democratic Sen. John Kerry.

Experts in media ethics said if the report were true, CBS may have overstepped the boundary between journalism and politics. The network said it would investigate the matter.

"It is obviously against CBS News standards and those of every other reputable news organization to be associated with any political agenda," CBS News said in a statement.

Comment: Sure it is - and Fox News is the most objective news outlet in the known universe...

"As to what actually happened here, it is one of many issues the independent review will be examining," the network said, referring to a probe it announced on Monday as part of a dramatic about-face over the authenticity of documents.

After two weeks of defending the documents, which served as the basis for its Sept. 8 report, CBS News publicly acknowledged that it could not prove they were authentic.

Media experts said the affair had deeply damaged the credibility of CBS News, once home to anchor Walter Cronkite -- dubbed "the most trusted man in America." [...]

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Report: Kerry fund-raisers met with spy
By JOHN SOLOMON, SHARON THEIMER

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A South Korean embassy official who met with John Kerry fund-raisers to talk about creating a political group for Korean-Americans was in fact a spy for his country, raising concerns among U.S. officials that he or Seoul may have tried to influence the fall presidential election.

South Korean and U.S. officials told The Associated Press that Chung Byung-Man, a consular officer in Los Angeles, worked for South Korea's National Intelligence Service at the time he was meeting with Kerry fund-raisers.

A spokesman for the South Korean consulate office said Chung was sent home in May amid "speculation" he became involved with the Kerry campaign and Democratic Party through contacts with fund-raiser Rick Yi and that his identity couldn't be discussed further.

"According to international tradition, we cannot identify, we cannot say who he is, because he is intelligence people," spokesman Min Ryu said.

The State Department said it has discussed Chung's reported activities with the South Korean government and has no reason to doubt Seoul's representations he was an intelligence agent.

The department believes Chung's contacts with donors and fund-raisers, if accurately described in reports, were "inconsistent" with the 1963 Vienna Convention that prohibits visiting foreign officials from interfering in the internal politics and affairs of host countries, a spokesman for its legal affairs office said.[...]

A South Korean government official in Seoul and two longtime U.S. officials in Washington, both speaking on condition of anonymity because Chung's intelligence work is classified, told the AP that Chung worked for South Korea's NIS, the country's CIA equivalent.

The U.S. officials said Chung had registered with the Justice Department as a friendly foreign intelligence agent on U.S. soil, and that his activities had raised concern he or his government had tried to influence the fall presidential election through "extracurricular activities."

The FBI has not begun a formal counterintelligence investigation because Chung left the United States in May, the officials said.

The NIS dismissed any suggestion the South Korean government tried to influence American politics as a "totally groundless rumor and all fiction."

South Korea has been frustrated over the deadlock in talks on North Korea's nuclear activities, while at the same facing the Bush administration's planned withdrawal of thousands of U.S. troops from the tense region. One expert said Chung's actions were consistent with Seoul's concerns with the Bush administration even if he didn't get a direct order.

"It is certainly possible that these actions would not reflect an order from the top but rather point to the unaccountability of a rather high-ranking officer to pursue their own agenda or what they perceive to be the agenda of their superiors," said Nicholas Eberstadt, a researcher at the American Enterprise Institute.

"But, nonetheless, this sort of intervention certainly provides a faithful reflection of the general attitude of Roh Moo-hyun's administration toward the presidential race," Eberstadt said. "There's an awful lot of people in this (South Korean) government who can't stand the Bush administration and would love to see Bush lose."

South Korean officials said Yi and Chung had known each other for some time. Before moving to Los Angeles, Chung worked in South Korea's consular offices in Atlanta, where Yi was working for a high-tech company.

Yi had worked in the Clinton White House as a military attache, and eventually went into business in the Atlanta area with the son of disgraced former South Korean President Chun Doo-hwan. Yi began raising money for Kerry in 2003 and raised about $500,000 for Democratic causes. [...]

Kee Whan Ha, president of the Korean American Federation of Los Angeles and a donor to both Kerry and Republican candidates, said it was common knowledge within the community that Chung worked for intelligence.

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If You Harbor Terrorists, You Are a Terrorist
William Marina
September 19, 2004

While delegates to the GOP convention were congratulating themselves for their candidate's tough stand against terrorism, the Bush administration was creating an international incident—little publicized in the United States—by harboring a notorious group of international terrorists on U.S. soil.

Earlier this month, three anti-Castro Cuban exiles flew to Miami from Panama after serving four years in prison for "endangering public safety." They were arrested in 2000 for plotting to assassinate Fidel Castro by planting explosives at a meeting the Cuban dictator planned to hold with university students in Panama.

The average convicted terrorist does not just waltz past U.S. immigration authorities in this post-9/11 age of orange alerts, "no fly" lists and shoe searches. Senator Edward Kennedy reportedly gets stopped by airport authorities every time he tries to make a flight, allegedly because the "Kennedy" name appears on a database of suspects.

Only political influence exerted at the highest level could account for terrorists reentering U.S. borders without impediment, despite rap sheets extending back as long as forty years:

- Pedro RÈmon, sentenced to seven years for the bomb plot in Panama, pleaded guilty in 1986 to bombing Cuba's mission to the United Nations and later conspiring to murder its ambassador to the UN. A New York detective also fingered RÈmon for the machine-gun murders of two political opponents.

- Gaspar JimÈnez, sentenced to eight years for the Panama bomb plot and falsifying documents, had previously served time in Mexico for the attempted kidnapping and murder of Cuban diplomats there. He was also indicted in Florida for blowing the legs off a liberal Miami radio talk show host in 1976. (The indictment was eventually dropped for insufficient evidence, even though the main witness passed several lie-detector tests.)

- Guillermo Novo, sentenced to 7 years for the Panama terror plot, was arrested in 1964 for firing a bazooka at the United Nations, where Che Guevara was speaking. In 1978, he was convicted of participating in one of the worst acts of terrorism ever committed on U.S. soil, the car bombing in Washington, D.C. of former Chilean Foreign Minister Orlando Letelier. (The conviction was later overturned on a technicality, though Novo was convicted of perjury.)

- A fourth Panama conspirator, Louis Posada Carriles, left Panama for Honduras. He is still wanted in Venezuela on charges of bombing a Cuban airliner in 1976, killing all 73 passengers. In 1998, in an interview with the New York Times from a hideout in Central America, Posada admitted taking part in numerous acts of terrorism, including a wave of Havana hotel bombings in 1997 that killed an Italian tourist. He said his violence was funded by prominent U.S.-based supporters in the Cuban exile community.

The release of these terrorists from Panama—ordered by its outgoing president—has caused a furor in Central America. Venezuela recalled its ambassador and Cuba severed diplomatic relations with Panama.
Honduras also protested. "I will . . . demand that the United States and Panama explain how Posada Carriles used a false U.S. passport," declared Honduran President Ricardo Maduro. "How did that airplane leave Panama with Posada Carriles, reach Honduras, and wind up in the United States?"

"We know we're dealing with important international influences," the president added.

Those influences no doubt include the fact that Posada was trained by the CIA in the 1960s in sabotage techniques, remained on the CIA payroll into the 1970s, and in the mid-1980s (after escaping from a Venezuelan jail) assisted the Reagan administration's covert supply operation on behalf of the Nicaraguan Contras.

Then there's the undeniable fact that Cuban exile terrorists enjoy strong political support in the swing state of Florida, thanks to organized lobbying by such groups as the Cuban American National Foundation. That explains why President Bush, in 2001, rejected the advice of the FBI and freed from INS custody two convicted colleagues of Guillermo Novo in the Letelier assassination.

Conservatives have long (and rightly) derided the glib phrase, "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter." The incoming Panamanian president, Martin Torrijos, likewise stood on principle when he rejected his predecessor's decision to pardon the terrorists, saying, "For me, there are not two classes of terrorism, one that is condemned and another that is pardoned. . . . It has to be fought no matter what its origins."

Three years ago, after 9/11, President Bush appeared to draw the same line in the sand. Addressing members of the 101st Airborne Division, he declared, "If you harbor terrorists, you are a terrorist."

Today, Americans should ask whether those tough words were only rhetoric, quickly forgotten when political convenience dictates.

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Airlines ordered to turn over passenger data
Sept. 21, 2004, 1:07PM
Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- The Transportation Security Administration announced today that it will order domestic airlines to turn over personal information about passengers to test a system that will compare their names to those on terrorist watch lists.

The system, called Secure Flight, replaces a previous plan that would have checked passenger names against commercial databases and assigned a risk level to each. That plan, which cost $103 million, was abandoned because of privacy concerns and technological issues.

The airlines will have 30 days to comment on the proposed order, which Congress gave the TSA authority to issue. Air carriers will then have 10 days to turn over data that it gathered in June, called passenger name records.

The amount of data in passenger name records varies by airline, but it typically includes name, flight origin, flight destination, flight time, duration of flight and form of payment. It can also include credit card numbers, address, telephone number and meal requests, which can indicate a person's ethnicity.

Justin Oberman, who heads the office that's developing Secure Flight, said he hopes that the program can be implemented by mid to late spring. He said he expects the airlines to cooperate.

"We are going to work very closely with them," Oberman said.

The TSA will also conduct a limited test in which they'll compare passenger names with information from commercial databases to see if they can be used to detect fraud or identity theft.

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A safe pair of hands
By Richard Allen Greene
BBC News Online in Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville, Tennessee is more than 1,400 kilometres from Washington, DC and nearly 1,800 from New York - but if you think homeland security is not an issue here, just walk past the local naval recruiting station carrying a camera.

BBC News Online asked US voters how important the issue of security was to them.

A journalist who tried it recently was politely but firmly summoned inside, where the station's public affairs officer examined the camera as a naval engineer and the station chief watched.

The armed forces are not the only ones on their guard in the home of country music.

Last year state Governor Phil Bredesen established a Tennessee Office of Homeland Security with a retired US Marine Corps general at its head.

The agency's mission is to "detect, deter and protect citizens from terrorism".

Americans demand no less as they confront the first presidential election since the attacks of 11 September 2001.

Tennessee concerns

Even in the Volunteer State, many have terrorists on their minds.

"You never know where they are - they could be absolutely anywhere," Martha Morris says, pointing out that some 11 September plotters lived in Florida before the hijackings.

Her son Drew signed up for the marines in the wake of the attacks, which she calls "the biggest wake-up call we have ever had in our lifetime".

She is now head of Tennessee Marine Families, a state-wide network of relatives of service people.

She says the world is more dangerous now than during the Cold War.

Now, she says, "it's not like a country wants to take over the United States. These are radical madmen who want to rule the world.

"They don't go for military or political [targets]. It doesn't matter if you have a military connection or not. If you're an American, they want you dead."

Non-partisan worry

Mrs Morris is a strong supporter of President George W Bush, but concern about homeland security crosses party lines.

Rowland Huddleston wears a badge proclaiming himself a "Veteran for Kerry".

He says the world was safer in the days of superpower confrontation between the US and Soviet Union.

"There were generals on both sides who were concerned about the safety of their countries, and they kept a lid on things."

Today, by contrast, the United States confronts a different kind of enemy.

"Terrorism is like a cancer. It has metastasised."

Americans consider national security and US wars abroad to be the most important issue at stake in the presidential election, a poll by the Pew Center for People and the Press suggests.

It is the first time in decades that economy has not topped the list of concerns - security came first with 41%, while 26% cited the economy.

Good for Bush

That order of priorities seems likely to help President Bush in November.

Americans generally consider him a safer pair of hands on security, while they prefer Senator John Kerry's domestic proposals, polls suggest.

But some Americans say the Bush administration has gone overboard with legislation such as the Patriot Act, which gives the government sweeping powers to monitor citizens' communications and activities.

Bookstores and libraries have complained about provisions that enable the government to demand information on people's reading habits.

Unemployed worker Sherman Drake of Detroit calls the war on terror "an excuse to take our freedoms.

"I go along with homeland security, but you cannot destroy freedom because of homeland security."

He wants the candidates to focus on improving the economy and getting the unemployed back to work.

"Would you rather be blown up or starve?" he asks.

'God's hands'

Thomas Harris of Nashville also says the economy is the most important factor in deciding who he will vote for.

He thinks the country has responded adequately to the attacks on New York and Washington.

"I don't think they're going to let another 9/11 happen again. I think that kind of opened everybody's eyes when that took place," he says.

He is not sure that there can ever be foolproof domestic surveillance.

"As far as the terrorists and stuff, you're always going to have people living over here from other countries that you don't know about. There's no way that you can find them all.

"You've just got to hope and pray that God looks down on everybody and keeps something like that from happening again."

Comment: "Hello. My name is Miss Martha. I'm from Tennessee. The liberal propaganda on this web site makes me so mad! They wanted to write some snarky anti-American commentary about this article and I just said 'No!'. They were going to say something not very nice about Mr. Bush who is doing such a good job at defending us from the heathens with his crusade to help Mr Sharon get his land back so that Jesus will give the Jews a second chance and take me with him to heaven.

"I wanted to say that I just think that it is awful the way those terrorists don't play fair. Why don't they go out and get a country so that they can fight fairly! Then we could put them all together in one place and bomb them and kill them and their families like during World War 2."

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Cat Stevens sparks US plane alert
BBC
A security alert involving the singer who used to be known as Cat Stevens has forced a London-to-Washington flight to be diverted to another US airport.

The plane was already in the air when US officials identified that the singer, whose name is now Yusuf Islam, was on one of their "watch lists".

United Airlines Flight 919 was diverted 600 miles (1000km), landing in Maine.

After an interview, the singer - who converted to Islam in 1977 - was denied entry into the US.

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials said the access was denied "on national security grounds", without giving any further details.

Yusuf Islam is now expected to be put on a flight out of America later on Wednesday.

Four years ago, Mr Islam was deported from Israel over allegations that he backed militant Muslims.

Yusuf Islam was born Stephen Demetre Georgiou in London to a Greek Cypriot father and Swedish mother.

Since abandoning a successful music career in the late 1970s, he has devoted himself to advocating and teaching Islam.

One high-profile activity was the founding of a Muslim school in London.

Comment: You know I've see a lot of what the world can do, and it's breaking my heart in two....O baby, baby, it's a wild world, it's hard to get by just upon a smile.

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US installs biometric identification system in border patrol stations
www.chinaview.cn 2004-09-22 13:24:10
WASHINGTON, Sept. 21 (Xinhuanet) -- The US government has installed an integrated ten-print biometric identification technology at all Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Border Patrol stations, the Homeland Security Department announced Tuesday.

As a result of the joint effort between the Homeland Security Department and the Justice Department, thousands of criminal suspects have been arrested since the program began as a pilot in August 2001, including 138 homicide suspects, 67 kidnapping suspects, 226 sexual assault suspects, 431 robbery suspects, and 2,342 suspects for assaults of other types.

In addition, 4,801 suspected traffickers of narcotics have been arrested, and 87 criminals and other inadmissible aliens seeking admission to the United States have been identified, the department said in a statement.

The Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) and the Automated Biometric Identification System (IDENT) provide rapid identification of individuals with outstanding criminal warrants through electronic comparison of ten-print digital fingerscans against a vast nationwide database of previously captured fingerprints.

The technology allows CBP Border Patrol agents to simultaneously search the fingerprint database of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to identify criminal suspects, the statement said.

The IDENT/IAFIS program, which began as a pilot in August 2001,is now fully operational within all 148 Border Patrol stations andis in the process of being deployed to all the ports of entry nationwide, according to the statement.

Asa Hutchinson, under secretary for border and transportation security, said the program is a fast effective weapon in the war on terror that allows law enforcement personnel to thoroughly check immigration and criminal backgrounds of people that have entered the United States illegally.

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If America were Iraq, What would it be Like?
Juan Cole

President Bush said Tuesday that the Iraqis are refuting the pessimists and implied that things are improving in that country.

What would America look like if it were in Iraq's current situation? The population of the US is over 11 times that of Iraq, so a lot of statistics would have to be multiplied by that number.

Thus, violence killed 300 Iraqis last week, the equivalent proportionately of 3,300 Americans. What if 3,300 Americans had died in car bombings, grenade and rocket attacks, machine gun spray, and aerial bombardment in the last week? That is a number greater than the deaths on September 11, and if America were Iraq, it would be an ongoing, weekly or monthly toll.

And what if those deaths occurred all over the country, including in the capital of Washington, DC, but mainly above the Mason Dixon line, in Boston, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, and San Francisco?

What if the grounds of the White House and the government buildings near the Mall were constantly taking mortar fire? What if almost nobody in the State Department at Foggy Bottom, the White House, or the Pentagon dared venture out of their buildings, and considered it dangerous to go over to Crystal City or Alexandria?

What if all the reporters for all the major television and print media were trapped in five-star hotels in Washington, DC and New York, unable to move more than a few blocks safely, and dependent on stringers to know what was happening in Oklahoma City and St. Louis? What if the only time they ventured into the Midwest was if they could be embedded in Army or National Guard units?

There are estimated to be some 25,000 guerrillas in Iraq engaged in concerted acts of violence. What if there were private armies totalling 275,000 men, armed with machine guns, assault rifles (legal again!), rocket-propelled grenades, and mortar launchers, hiding out in dangerous urban areas of cities all over the country? What if they completely controlled Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Denver and Omaha, such that local police and Federal troops could not go into those cities?

What if, during the past year, the Secretary of State (Aqilah Hashemi), the President (Izzedine Salim), and the Attorney General (Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim) had all been assassinated?

What if all the cities in the US were wracked by a crime wave, with thousands of murders, kidnappings, burglaries, and carjackings in every major city every year?

What if the Air Force routinely (I mean daily or weekly) bombed Billings, Montana, Flint, Michigan, Watts in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Anacostia in Washington, DC, and other urban areas, attempting to target "safe houses" of "criminal gangs", but inevitably killing a lot of children and little old ladies?

What if, from time to time, the US Army besieged Virginia Beach, killing hundreds of armed members of the Christian Soldiers? What if entire platoons of the Christian Soldiers militia holed up in Arlington National Cemetery, and were bombarded by US Air Force warplanes daily, destroying thousands of graves and even pulverizing the Vietnam Memorial over on the Mall? What if the National Council of Churches had to call for a popular march of thousands of believers to converge on the National Cathedral to stop the US Army from demolishing it to get at a rogue band of the Timothy McVeigh Memorial Brigades?

What if there were virtually no commercial air traffic in the country? What if many roads were highly dangerous, especially Interstate 95 from Richmond to Washington, DC, and I-95 and I-91 up to Boston? If you got on I-95 anywhere along that over 500-mile stretch, you would risk being carjacked, kidnapped, or having your car sprayed with machine gun fire.

What if no one had electricity for much more than 10 hours a day, and often less? What if it went off at unpredictable times, causing factories to grind to a halt and air conditioning to fail in the middle of the summer in Houston and Miami? What if the Alaska pipeline were bombed and disabled at least monthly? What if unemployment hovered around 40%?

What if veterans of militia actions at Ruby Ridge and the Oklahoma City bombing were brought in to run the government on the theory that you need a tough guy in these times of crisis?

What if municipal elections were cancelled and cliques close to the new "president" quietly installed in the statehouses as "governors?" What if several of these governors (especially of Montana and Wyoming) were assassinated soon after taking office or resigned when their children were taken hostage by guerrillas?

What if the leader of the European Union maintained that the citizens of the United States are, under these conditions, refuting pessimism and that freedom and democracy are just around the corner?

Comment: "Hi. Miss Martha again. I just don't see the point of trying to compare what is going on in the United States with what is going on in some country over there. I mean, we have had roads and stuff for years. And George Washington never told a lie, not like that Saddam man, and I bet that there weren't even people in Iraq back then. And we could never have so much unemployment because we live in a free country where I can be president...or rather my future husband could be president.

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Condemning 'Islamophobia'
Sept. 20, 2004, 11:18PM
By MELANIE MARKLEY
Houston Chronicle

Recent attacks raise fears of new rash of crimes against Muslims

Last week's attempted firebombing of an Islamic center in El Paso represents the latest in a renewed rash of hate crimes against Muslims in Texas, the director of Houston's Council on American-Islamic Relations said Monday.

Iesa Galloway, executive director of CAIR in Houston, called on political and religious leaders Monday to condemn the attack in El Paso, calling it an act of "Islamophobia," a term he said was coined by his organization.

"This," said Galloway, "is the latest in a trend of attacks that have been happening across Texas."

Galloway said other recent acts include a dry-ice bomb that exploded in a mailbox at a Houston-area Islamic center, a series of arsons in San Antonio that targeted Muslim-owned businesses and graffiti and other hateful incidents in McAllen.

Galloway said he believes that hate crimes against Muslims have spiked during the past six months.

In last Friday's incident in El Paso, a homemade gasoline bomb was thrown into the Islamic center's back yard, where five children were playing after weekly prayer services. The bomb failed to ignite, although some of the children were splashed with gasoline. A second gasoline bomb was placed on the center's gas meter but failed to explode.

El Paso police arrested Antonio Flores, 57, who was charged with arson and is facing federal hate-crime and civil rights charges.

U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston, joined Galloway in urging political leaders to condemn the violence against Muslims, who have been particularly targeted since Sept. 11, 2001, when Islamic extremists flew airliners into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

"It is truly saddening to me that in this day and era there are still hate crimes being committed, but this bigotry will not deter our nation from treating people of all faiths with equality and dignity," Jackson Lee said.

Galloway said he supports more open-house events at local mosques during the upcoming Muslim holy month of Ramadan so people can familiarize themselves with the religion.

"We feel that is the only way to truly dispel stereotypes," he said, "to get to know someone so they can find out that we are all humans and we want our kids to go to school safely and we want to leave our houses of worship without being fearful of being blown up or set on fire."

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Police search for vial of mystery substance
Web Posted | Sep 21 2004 02:17 PM CDT

WINNIPEG - Winnipeg police and the hazardous material unit of the fire and paramedic service are investigating the case of a missing vial filled with a mysterious substance that could be dangerous.

Const. Shelly Glover says two tenants at a rooming house on Roy Avenue in the Weston area of Winnipeg told police they had been threatened by another tenant who showed them a vial of what they said was a highly dangerous biological substance.

Const. Glover says the roommate alleged to have made the threat is a security guard who once worked at Cadham Provincial Lab.

The incident is said to have happened two weeks ago, but the two individuals waited until Monday to tell the director of the lab.

A search of both the suspect's car and his home failed to turn up the vial. Still, the 22-year-old man has been charged with mischief, theft, uttering threats and possessing a weapon dangerous to the public.

Police ask anyone who may have come into contact with a suspicious vial to call them or the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.

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Wild wind storm batters Eastern Arctic
WebPosted Sep 21 2004 05:20 PM CDT

IQALUIT - Violent winds brought down power lines and damaged buildings in communities in Arctic Quebec and Nunavut on Tuesday.

Flags were flapping wildly as the winds picked up speed in Iqaluit, Nunavut's capital.

Further north in Igloolik on Baffin Island, winds were blowing at over 100 kilometres an hour on Tuesday afternoon.

Power lines are down in one area of town, and some homes are without electricity.

"Those poles went down, wires touching each other, we get outages when they touch," says Jasen Aqqiaruq, who works for the Nunavut power corporation in Igloolik.

Hurricane-force winds gusting up to 118 kilometers an hour caused extensive damage earlier today in Salluit, a community of 1,800 people in northern Quebec.

Mayor Michael Cameron says sheds were toppled over and some were destroyed. A garage workshop and fuel storage tank were demolished, and windows were smashed on some houses.

Cameron says luckily no one was hurt.

"We asked our citizens to stay indoors, we contacted businesses and organizations to shut down their doors and we asked that the nursing station with the social services be on alert," he says.

Cameron says it will take weeks to clean up the mess.

He says Inuit elders in Salluit say they've never experienced winds like this in the fall.

Environment Canada says a deep low pressure system moved up from Manitoba.

It's causing erratic weather such as blizzards, thunderstorms across Nunavut.

The pressure system is expected to decrease slowly during the night.

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Hurricane Karl stays powerful in open tropical Atlantic
Associated Press
Posted on Tue, Sep. 21, 2004

MIAMI - Hurricane Karl weakened slightly Tuesday and stayed on an open-ocean course that only threatened ships, while Tropical Storm Lisa became stronger far out in the Atlantic.

Karl, the seventh hurricane this season, had top sustained winds near 120 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. Forecasters did not expect the storm's strength to change over the next day.

At 5 p.m. EDT, Karl was centered about 990 miles east-northeast of the northern Leeward Islands in the Caribbean and was moving north-northwest near 16 mph.

Karl followed Hurricane Jeanne, which was northeast of the Bahamas and moving southeast at 6 mph, but did not immediately threaten any land. Jeanne was blamed for at least 620 deaths in Haiti, where it hit as a tropical storm and caused flooding.

At 5 p.m., Lisa had top sustained winds near 70 mph, just below the 74 mph threshold to become a hurricane. Forecasters said Lisa was a small storm and its wind speed was expected to fluctuate.

The 12th named storm of the season was centered about 1,090 miles west of the Cape Verde Islands and was moving west-northwest near 8 mph.

Residents in the Caribbean should monitor Lisa, which was heading in their direction although it was still about a week away, forecasters said.

The hurricane season ends Nov. 30.

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Jeanne Predicted to Head Back Toward U.S.
AP
September 22, 2004

MIAMI - Deadly Hurricane Jeanne could head back toward the United States and threaten the storm-battered Southeast coast, including Florida, as early as this weekend, forecasters said Wednesday.

It was too soon to tell where or if Jeanne would hit, but forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami warned residents from Florida to Maryland to watch the storm with 90 mph top sustained winds.

Some computer models had Jeanne curving out to sea and missing land, but others had it hitting the United States on Saturday or Sunday, forecasters said.

Jeanne was blamed for more than 700 deaths in Haiti, where it hit over the weekend as a tropical storm and caused flooding. It had been moving out to sea, but appeared to be looping back toward land, forecasters said.

At 11 a.m. EDT, Jeanne was centered about 530 miles east of Great Abaco Island in the Bahamas. It was moving south near 5 mph, but was expected to head west by early Thursday.

Dangerous surf and rip currents along with large swells are possible along the southeastern U.S. coast over the next few days, forecasters said. If Jeanne hit Florida, it would follow Hurricanes Charley, Frances and Ivan, which caused billions of dollars of damage and more than 60 deaths across the state.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Karl weakened slightly and stayed on an open-ocean course that only threatened ships, while Tropical Storm Lisa moved slowly far out in the Atlantic.

Karl, the seventh hurricane this season, had top sustained winds near 105 mph, down from about 120 mph a day earlier. At 11 a.m., Karl was centered about 1,490 miles west-southwest of Fayal Island in the Western Azores and was moving north near 14 mph.

At 11 a.m., Lisa had top sustained winds near 50 mph, down from about 70 mph a day earlier. The 12th named storm of the season was centered about 1,165 miles west of the Cape Verde Islands and was moving west-northwest near 6 mph.

The hurricane season ends Nov. 30.

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Global Warming May Spawn More Super-Storms
Stephen Leahy
Sept 20, 2004

BROOKLIN, Canada (IPS) - Hurricane Ivan, the incredibly powerful storm that killed at least 120 people in the Caribbean and southern United States, may be a harbinger of the Earth's hotter future, say experts.

"As the world warms, we expect more and more intense tropical hurricanes and cyclones," said James McCarthy, a professor of biological oceanography at Harvard University.

Large parts of the world's oceans are approaching 27 degrees C or warmer during the summer, greatly increasing the odds of major storms, McCarthy told IPS.

When water reaches such temperatures, more of it evaporates, priming hurricane or cyclone formation. Once born, a hurricane needs only warm water to build and maintain its strength and intensity.

Over the last 100 years, the Earth has warmed by about .6 degrees C, according to the 2001 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), an international scientific body that studies the relationship between human activity and global warming.

The IPCC report was based on research by more than 2,500 scientists from about 100 countries who determined that emissions of gases such as carbon dioxide act as a blanket that prevents much of the sun's energy from dissipating into space.

Much of the extra energy from this "greenhouse effect" is being absorbed by the oceans.

The "proof" that the oceans are warming is the fact that global sea levels have risen 3.1 cm in the past 10 years, said Kevin Trenberth, head of the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.

Water expands when heated, and sea levels are expected to continue rising by as much as 50 cm by 2100. [...]

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Magnitude 5.0 Earthquake - RUSSIA-POLAND BORDER REGION
USGS
2004 September 21 13:32:30 UTC

A moderate earthquake occurred at 13:32:30 (UTC) on Tuesday, September 21, 2004. The magnitude 5.0 event has been located in the RUSSIA-POLAND BORDER REGION.

A QFS member writes:

I am now in Budapest so I was not in Poland when it happened, but I am shocked!

Here is the news in Polish with a picture of seismological recording... http://info.onet.pl/982774,11,item.html

It was in fact on the Polish and Russian border (Kaliningrad district). There are no earthquakes in Poland until today. There was only one in 1973 but it came form Italy.

I am puzzled... The whole Polish press is writing about it. I read some comments form people and it was not a small one, but thousands of people felt it in many big cities like Gdansk.

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Magnitude 5.0 Quake - HOKKAIDO, JAPAN REGION
USGS
2004 September 22 11:03:51 UTC

A moderate earthquake occurred at 11:03:51 (UTC) on Wednesday, September 22, 2004. The magnitude 5.0 event has been located in the HOKKAIDO, JAPAN REGION. The hypocentral depth was estimated to be 111 km (69 miles).

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50-billion-ton 'Spud Rock' is ready for its close-up

By James Janega
Tribune staff reporter
Published September 21, 2004


Any time a 3-mile-long chunk of nickel and iron drifts close to Earth, people take notice, even when it's going to miss.

The next asteroid to miss, one discovered in the 1980s called Toutatis, is a doozy: 1.5 miles wide and weighing 50 billion tons if it were sitting on Earth.

It wobbles out of the solar system's hazy realms every four years, giving astronomers either a thrill or a scare depending on their grasp of orbital ballistics, and then totters back into space.

In its wake this year--besides relief--Toutatis also promises to leave behind a good number of animated backyard astronomers, who will get a better look at it than ever before. On Sept. 29, it will pass within 960,000 miles of Earth--four times the distance to the moon. It will be the biggest thing to pass this way, this close, until 2060.

Considering that Toutatis could wipe out a continent and coat the rest of the planet in ash if it landed, watching the asteroid also has taken on the added appeal for backyard enthusiasts of spying on something a bit dangerous. Astronomers like to point out that Toutatis' gyrations are among the most erratic in the solar system.

"It tumbles in space like a wild madman," said Joe Guzman, founder of the online Chicago Astronomer forum, a group of backyard telescope enthusiasts who share local astronomical observations. [...]

One rumor was that Toutatis could at any moment deviate from orbit and hit the Earth (it won't). Another was that it was as big as the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs (it's only half that big, but big enough).

Though the rumors have fallen off, the excitement hasn't. Nor have the nicknames that astronomers give it:

"The `Spud Rock,'" said Guzman. "The `Renegade Rock.' Some people call it `Planet X.' But not in mainstream conversation."

Sophisticated instruments brought to bear on Toutatis in 1996 and 2000 have given experts a pretty good handle on it.

It is made of primordial nickel and iron, said Mark Hammergren, an astronomer at the Adler Planetarium. It is probably 4.5 billion years old--the age of the solar system--and probably a piece of something bigger.

Still, Hammergren said, "we don't know a heck of a lot about asteroids in general."

Academically speaking, that's a scary thought.

Take Toutatis, which is believed to have about one-eighth the mass of the dinosaur-killing asteroid. If it hit Illinois, it would make a crater from the lakefront to Aurora, would instantly destroy everything out to about Bloomington, and would blow off the atmosphere from horizon to horizon. Hammergren said chunks of molten rock would fly hundreds of miles into space and rain back down, igniting massive wildfires wherever they landed. Things wouldn't be much better if it landed in the ocean.

"Now we're beginning to realize if one of these things hits the Earth, somebody's going to die ... that tends to inspire people to look."

The number of known asteroids went from 3,000 in 1981 to 10,000 in 1997. As of August, there were 90,671, according to the International Astronomical Union. Toutatis is among those that stand out.

French astronomers found it in 1989 and named it after a friend of the French cartoon character Asterix the Gaul. Because Asterix had a friend named Toutatis and feared nothing but the sky falling on his head, it's a very funny joke in French. [...]

"Observationally, I would say by far the most interesting aspect of it is that it's going to be moving pretty fast," Talcott said of Toutatis. "Psychologically, I guess I'd say the most interesting thing is that it would be devastating if it hit the Earth."

Comment: The above account of the origins of the name of this asteroid is not quite correct. Toutatis was a celtic God (referenced in the Asterix comic books) that protected the people from natural cataclysms. Yet the most interesting point is that within the celtic people's belief system was the idea that the "sky" really could "fall on their heads." Now we have Toutatis the asteroid making a close fly by this month and,as the article notes, there has been speculation in the past that it could suddenly and unexpectedly (for most anyway) leave its "stable" orbit. Time will tell if the naming of the asteroid was prophetic or not.

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The case for life on the Red Planet

By Colin Pillinger for CNN
Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Beagle scientist on a discovery that launched a mission to Mars

(CNN) -- My life changed dramatically on August 6, 1996, when a group of NASA scientists claimed to have found a fossil in a meteorite from Mars.

I had been involved in Martian meteorite research since the early 1980s, helping to show that these rocks did in fact come from the Red Planet.

The research my group carried out had suggested that all the necessary ingredients for life to exist on Mars were present. We also had shown that organic material, a chemical fossil, could be found associated with martian minerals deposited from water.

On Earth organic matter in sedimentary minerals is the evidence which indicates that life started four billion years ago.

I could not, however, put my hand on my heart and say we'd found life on a second planet in the solar system. We could have been studying terrestrial contamination in the meteorites.

However, we realized that if we could repeat the experiments, carried out here on Earth on meteorites in situ on Mars and get the same answers, then that could make a fantastic discovery. In 1997 the idea of sending a robot laboratory to Mars was born.

It wasn't easy to persuade anyone to provide the funds but fellow enthusiasts from the British Space Industry and other academics joined in and together we built a spacecraft named Beagle 2 after HMS Beagle, the ship which took Charles Darwin around the world on a voyage which led to our understanding of how life evolved on Earth.

It seemed an apt name seeing as how we were trying to find out if life existed somewhere else in the Universe.

We didn't succeed. We got to Mars but Beagle 2 refused to answer our radio calls after we sent it rushing towards the surface of Mars on Christmas Day 2003.

We haven't given up however. The science is as compelling as ever and new discoveries of major features due to water on Mars suggest it is even more likely now that life exists or existed there.

Comment: Notice that the above article comes from CNN. Notice also that you are being prepared for a 'revelation'. For many years, alternative websites and so-called "fringe" authors have been stating that "we are not alone", yet simply because such claims were not approved by 'official' sources, they were dismissed as science fiction and conspiracy theories. Now, it seems, the purveyors of "official truth" have deemed the public ready to be told that 'life' does indeed exist on other planets and that we are far from "alone".

But do not expect pictures of 'humans in togas' roaming the Martian landscape, that would be too much too soon. First we will probably be presented with evidence of "teeny tiny" squiggling micro organisms, but such a "revelation" will nevertheless constitute a 'quantum leap' in our extremely limited understanding of reality and will be enough to open the door to later 'revelations' of more 'substantial' life forms.

Throughout this process, which will probably evolve relatively quickly, we should keep in mind that we are being toyed with. Our perception is slowly and subtly being molded for a very specific purpose. Sit back and "watch the show" - for a "show" it will be.

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