Friday, October 8, 2004
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Shooting the Messenger
SOTT Editorial
October 8, 2004

Yesterday, the Washington Post ran a story called Conspiracy Theories Flourish on the Web, which featured links to the SOTT Pentagon Flash presentation as well as the main website

Having our website featured in a mainstream American newspaper will no doubt provide much exposure to the work we do here, and as a result may prove to be both a boon and a curse.

By reaching a large audience, the Post story will give those people who have doubts about the "official version" of 9/11, an opportunity to examine many of the unknown or suppressed facts surrounding the "alleged" terrorist attacks at the Pentagon and the WTC.

On the other hand, it will also galvanize those who have a vested interest in keeping these facts hidden from public view, to begin a deliberate campaign of ridicule, name-calling and debunking in order to marginalize our efforts as "conspiracy" or "fringe".

A good example of this comes from the Washington Post discussion forum, that in less than 24 hours after printing the story, has already collected over 130 posts.

Seems we have touched a nerve.

Here are some samples of comments posted...

- the Internet just gives every NUT a larger voice. Ordinarily you would never hear from these nutjobs. There will always be fruitcakes that think the government did this to itself. These folks should start their day with 0.5 mg of Haldol.

- The Post isn't under any obligation to investigate every fruitcake's conspiracy theory.

- Even goof balls with a computer and time on their hands can act like they are contributing something.

- The conspiracy theory story and pentagon 9/11 theory is pure trash.

- What an absolute crock of horse pucky!

- crackpot conspiracy theories are nothing new, [...] the theories themselves are as ridiculous as ever.

- Right "morons" and "idiots" make better descriptions.

- Also Weird Knuckleheads

- Hey, the Post runs an article and all the nuts coming running. I think they might have given a furlough at the asylum today. 

- Shame on you (and the other conspiracy theorists) for making a mockery out of their loss.

- You truly are a dolt. Don't you have to be back at the institution???

- No doubt. Say, how was the food in the asylum?

- When I hear birdbrained conspiracy theories I can only regard them as entertainment.

- Like tipping over a garbage can and watching the all the dogs come running.

- You didn't get the joke, which is too bad, because it's on you!

- I want GWB out of the White House badly, but I'm not about to result to tomfoolery to do so, and I advise you to consider the same. This is just foolishness.

- there are a lot of dilusional people out there .... Up the dosage .. 10mg Haldol.

- virtually everything you think or believe could be garbage. You must be very very insecure.

- Ok I think you really need a prescription change ... up the dosage.

- Refuting b.s. is a waste of my time which to be honest is what most of this thread is. Im just enjoying the banter about some wild psychotic dilusion.

- What these brainwashed people do then?

- Back in pre-history before the Dawn of the Internet, these Ten Percenters were scattered and dispersed. Forced to wear tall pointy caps, objects of village ridicule, wandering the streets muttering to themselves in self-deluded mania, we all knew them for what they were -- KOOKS! [...] Moreover, cleverly constructed internet sites give the air of legitimacy to the unalduterated conspiracy lunacy disseminated by these Ten Percenters.

- Man, not only are your theories half-baked, you're also sending messages to yourself!

- Ridiculing wack jobs is hardly "silencing free speech". These morons on free make fools of themselves 24 hours a day in this forum, nobody's stopping them.

- All you do is make REAL conspiracies look even dopier.

- Well duh! It's obvious the plane was sucked up by the Bermuda Triangle, where the passengers were kidnapped by aliens. This was all organized by the Isrealis.

Apart from this last comment (that even though posed as sarcasm, hits dangerously close to the truth in referring to Israeli involvement), one can see a definite pattern in the opinions of those who refuse to look objectively at the facts of 9/11.

When confronted with a mountain of evidence that strongly suggests U.S. government complicity in the Sept. 11th attacks, they choose to remain in denial, and instead resort to name-calling, insults and ridicule.

They attack our intelligence with words like moron, idiot, dolt, birdbrain, dope and knucklehead.

They attack our sanity with phrases like nutjob, fruitcake, crackpot, psychotic, delusional, brainwashed, half-baked, whackjob, fools, mania, kooks, and lunacy, needing to be drugged with Haldol and locked up in an asylum.

They attack in every way they can, calling us insecure, weird, ridiculous, goofballs who should be ashamed of ourselves.

(And if you think the above is harsh, take a look at the Signs Forum, to see what kind of feedback we are getting.)

And what is our crime? What did we do to provoke such hostility?

We started asking questions.


Because we are interested in the truth.

We decided to take a hard and honest look at the most significant tragedy of our era. From the very beginning, the "official version" of events just didn't add up, and upon closer inspection, is now clearly shown to be full of holes.

After doing a great deal of research, we came to some surprising, but highly probable conclusions, as to who was the real mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks.

All objective evidence indicates that it was an inside job.

On September 11th, 2001, elements within the American goverment murdered or were complicit in the murder, of 3000 of it's own citizens.

It is this reality that most people are deathly afraid to consider.

And because we even dare to suggest it as a possibility, we are attacked and ridiculed.

It is likely that some of the negative responses come from agents or deliberate disinformation artists.

However, there are still those people who are genuinely offended by the work we have done, because it challenges everything they hold dear.

Following the exposure the Washington Post story will bring, we may expect even more attacks like those above in the days to come.

So the question remains, what is it that makes certain people react in such negative and hostile ways to the simple voicing of a different opinion?

What is it about 9/11 in particular that makes normally intelligent and reasonable adults cringe with horror at the mere suggestion that their own government would pull off such a dastardly crime?

In a word... investment.

When one is so deeply invested into a belief or idea, so much so that their entire being is intertwined and dependant upon the "absolute truth" of that idea, then any evidence that contradicts their cherished belief system is met with intense anger and hosility.

Such people, having no outlet for the cognitive dissonance that the objective facts create, must attack those who present the evidence.

In essence, it is their way of trying to shoot the messenger.

Somehow, they hope that by shooting the messenger, the message will be killed as well.

Unfortunately for them, the truth never does go away, and if ignored long enough, has a tendancy to come roaring back in chaotic and unexpected ways.

Their condition is understandable, for many of us here had similar doubts and went through the same trauma when we first came across this information.

Being an American, it's not an easy thing to hear that the country you've grown up in, the country you've been taught since birth is open, democratic and free; would ruthlessly kill it's own people to further a selfish and sinister agenda.

When presented with the facts, one can either flee from the harsh reality they present and retreat into the comfort of belief, lies and illusion, or instead one can acknowledge the truth without flinching. One can stare into the face of uncertainty, dive into the unknown, and let go of literally everything that we've been conditioned to believe to be true.

It's all about choice. 

The truth hurts.

The realization is life-shattering.

Once you SEE the terror of the situation, there is no going back.

Follow the links.

Do the research.

Come to your own conclusions. 

The light is shining on the door... it is up to you to walk through it. 

"All truth passes through three stages.
First, it is ridiculed.
Second, it is violently opposed and
Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."
~ Arthur Schopenhauer

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Spanish Mainstream Newspaper ponders "The mysterious reflections of 9/11"

La Vanguardia
Eduardo Martín de Pozuelo - 22/06/2003

UNEXPLAINED. Tenths of a second before the Boeing crashes against the south tower, the television cameras tracking the plane record a form resembling a protuberance on its underbelly.

Two and a half years after 9/11 many questions remain as to the circumstances surrounding the attacks on the Twin Towers. One of these unknowns is the nature of certain forms or marks which can be seen on the fuselage of the plane which crashed into the south tower of the World Trade Center. "La Vanguardia" asked Boeing about these marks, who claimed they were unable to respond for reasons of national security and referred it to the independent commission which has been conducting an inquiry since 31 March into what happened.

In the frozen images of various film shots of the final run of United Airlines flight 175, there are three strange shapes discernible, which the aeronautical experts consulted find difficult to explain. They consist of two long shapes located underneath the fuselage, one towards the bow and the other towards the stern of the plane. There is a third, seemingly pyramidal in shape, on the underbelly, almost in the center of the plane. Boeing's department of commercial aviation, with headquarters in Seattle, examined the photographs for ten days and, having announced an explanation for the phenomenon, declined to make a statement on what it saw. Finally a spokesman stated that Boeing was unable to offer an opinion "for security reasons" and because it had not officially participated in the investigation of the attacks.

Various aeronautical engineers at official Spanish centers have found no clear explanation for the reflections or shapes which can be observed on the hijacked plane. However, a contour-detection digital analysis of the stills, carried out at the Escola Universitària Politècnica de Mataró, concludes that the "objects discerned cannot be due to shadows caused by the angle of incidence of the sun upon the plane as they always appear as the same shape and size, although their luminosity varies." This result was reached having subjected the photographs to a digital image process "which would respond to changes in luminance" which can be seen with the naked eye and which, in principle, would make no sense, given that the fuselage of commercial airplanes is cylindrical and flat, according to the cited technical report.

The author, who has had extensive professional experience in digital image processing, artificial neuronal networks and biometry, says in the report that "the same treatment" was applied to each of the photographs "using three standard digital image processing algorithms", the technical data of which are detailed at length in the dossier. Having clarified that "the images studied are taken from different angles of observation", it establishes that the "objects detected present distinct luminosity as they are in relief" and adds that "this is the only possible explanation", finally pointing out that "the objects detected can be clearly distinguished from the landing gear."

The reconstruction of the events leading up to the horrific attack on the second tower show that preparations for the United Airlines flight UA-175 from Boston to Los Angeles were routine on the morning of 11 September 2001. The aircraft, a B-767-222, registration N612UA, left the United terminal at Logan International airport at 7:58 and was in the air by 8:15. There were 56 passengers on board, including five Al Qaeda terrorists armed with box-cutters. The captain was fifty-year-old, ex-Naval pilot, Victor Saracini.

The aircraft followed its usual route until 8:47, when, at the level of George Washington bridge, which joins the north side of Manhattan to New Jersey over the River Hudson, it changed course veering sharply left. The hijackers, having slit the throats of several stewardesses, had taken control of the cockpit. For twelve minutes the Boeing flew over the Hudson following its western shore, until it again made another tight left turn. Right before it was the south tower of the World Trade Center, into which it crashed at 9:03.

At the time live television cameras were broadcasting a fire in the north tower, caused by the impact of an American Airlines B-767 which had taken place at 8:48. Millions of viewers witnessed live the UA-115 (sic) fly into the south tower, between floors 78 and 84, causing a much greater explosion than the one caused minutes earlier by the American Airlines plane.

The official investigation by the Federal Aviation Authority determined that the Boeing crashed into the building at a velocity of 937 kilometers per hour. Another study by the Massachusetts Technology Institute, however, established a speed of 859 kilometers per hour at the moment of impact.

Neither of the two investigations mentioned there was any strange form attached to the aircraft. Their conclusions form part of the half million documents serving as a departure point for the ten members of the national commission looking into the causes of the attacks.

Comment: The question each person must answer is:

"Do you agree that it is possible that the political, social or world views of a population can be influenced by "terrorist" attacks?

For example, if an attack was carried out which was later attributed to "communists", would your view of "communists" be affected by such information?

If you agree that this is indeed possible, you must then ask yourself:

"Is it possible that a government, or some section of government, understanding that public opinion can be influenced in this way, would fake a terrorist attack in order to achieve some political or social goal."

For most, the answer to the first question is a resounding "yes".

To the second question, most will probably answer that, theoretically, "it is possible that a government might sanction a fake terrorist attack in order to achieve some political or social goal." But having come thus far, most will qualify their assertion with all manner of rationalisations to avoid taking the next step of examining any evidence that holds the promise, or the threat, of transforming the theory into the very distinctly possible, and even certain.

Why? Simply because they do not want to consider such a possibility, and with such people, there is little point in pursuing the matter any further.

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Flashback: Rumsfeld Prophesied the Pentagon Attack

[...] Seven minutes later, as Mr Bush, his entourage and the accompanying press corps were boarding Air Force One, American Flight 77 swooped low over the suburbs of northern Virginia and slammed into the Pentagon.

Donald Rumsfeld, the Secretary of Defence, was in his office on the eastern side of the building, in a meeting with Christopher Cox, the defence policy committee chairman of the House of Representatives. Mr Rumsfeld, recalls Mr Cox, watched the TV coverage from New York and said: "Believe me, this isn't over yet. There's going to be another attack, and it could be us."

Moments later, the plane hit. Mr Rumsfeld ran to the point of impact and helped load the wounded on to stretchers before retreating to the secure National Military Command Centre, beneath the building.

Comment: So was Rumsfeld just really perceptive, or...

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Secretary Rumsfeld Interview with Parade Magazine

US Department of Defence
Oct 12 2001

Q: This is a question that's been asked by many Americans, but especially by the widows of September 11th. How were we so asleep at the switch? How did a war targeting civilians arrive on our homeland with seemingly no warning?

Rumsfeld: [...] It is a truth that a terrorist can attack any time, any place, using any technique and it's physically impossible to defend at every time and every place against every conceivable technique. Here we're talking about plastic knives and using an American Airlines flight filed with our citizens, and the missile to damage this building and similar (inaudible) that damaged the World Trade Center. The only way to deal with this problem is by taking the battle to the terrorists, wherever they are, and dealing with them.

Comment: Simple mistake or freudian slip?...

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One of the hardest things for many Americans to deal with when confronted with the idea that there were rogue elements within the US government involved in the organisation of 9/11 is the belief that the government would ever be capable of doing something so horrible to its own citizens.

The following interview with E. Howard Hunt, a man involved in the Watergate break-in of the Democratic National Headquarters in 1972, the event that led to the resignation of Richard Nixon two years later, is clear evidence that there were, and most likely still are, people who are willing to overthrow democratically elected governments to achieve their aims. Of course, American intelligence history is rife with examples. Here, however, we have the good fortune to hear one of the main actors speak for himself.

What is curious is Hunt's animosity towards mainstream political figures such as the Democrats. Hunt's hatred for "Democrats" is palpable in this interview. He was willing to break into their headquarters, committing a crime to do so. But that was the least of his crimes.

Is it really so far fetched to imagine that people with this mindset would be willing to kill off a few people in order to make a long-term gain in their strategy?

Scavenger Hunt

E. Howard Hunt talks about Guatemala, the Bay of Pigs, and what really happened to Che.

By Ann Louise Bardach
Updated Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2004, at 5:04 AM PT

MIAMI, Aug. 25, 2004 - E. Howard Hunt is one of the most notorious spies of the 20th century. The son of an influential Republican leader in upstate New York, Hunt began his career as a founding member of the OSS, the precursor of the CIA in the 1940s. After beginning as an intelligence operative in China, Hunt trailblazed the path for the CIA in Latin America from 1950 to 1970, ever on the lookout for the Communist menace. By his account, he was the architect of the 1954 U.S.-backed coup ("Operation Success") in Guatemala that deposed democratically elected President Jacobo Arbenz. Adept at psych ops (propaganda and subversion) and running "black flights" (covert operations), he also played a role in the Bay of Pigs: He was responsible for propaganda operations and the organization of a post-Castro government. Such exploits and excesses led to the scaling back of the CIA's prerogatives following hearings by the Church Committee in 1976.

In July 1970, Hunt went into "private practice," taking with him the tools he acquired during his 25 years in the intelligence business. His most famous black-bag jobs were breaking into Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist's office and, later, Watergate, where Hunt's "plumbers" cadre, recruited from among his Cuban exile comrades, rifled and bugged the offices of the Democratic Party in May and June of 1972.

Since pleading guilty to his role in Watergate and spending "33 months in 13 federal prisons," Howard Hunt has lived in Miami where he met and married his second wife of 27 years, Laura. An expert storyteller, Hunt has had a second career as a spy novelist. The couple live in a modest ranch house at the end of a cul-de-sac in north Miami. Posted around his door are warnings against trespassing, which seems somehow appropriate for a man with a history of illegal entry.

Hunt answered the door in a wheelchair. One of his legs has been amputated due to atherosclerosis, and for the past few months, he's battled lymphoma localized in his jaw (it is now in remission). He wears a hearing aid and sports rimless, bifocal glasses. While no longer the dapper spymaster, he remains salty and unremorseful.

As a general rule, Hunt said, he doesn't talk about Watergate or "the old days." But with his 86th birthday soon to occur on Oct. 9, he was feeling a bit more chatty.

Slate: You started the CIA's first bureau in Mexico in 1949. Did you first start working on Guatemala from there?

Hunt: In Mexico, I had a few agents from Washington with me, and I had recruited a few others … [including] a young Catholic priest. So the priest came to me one time, and he said, "I'm sending down several young men to Guatemala to get a view of the situation there. It's not good." He said, "My people were beaten up and put into jail, and then exiled from the country." And he sort of sat back expectantly. And I said, "That's certainly not right. I'll let Washington know what's going on in Guatemala." So I retold the story of Guatemala and the treatment of my young Catholic friend. I found that there was a lot of intense interest in what I had to say.

Slate: We're talking about the time after 1952, the year Jacobo Arbenz was elected president of Guatemala.

Hunt: He was in power then, yes. But his wife was by far the smarter of the two and sort of told him what to do. She was a convinced communist. … I waited for orders [from Washington]. A couple of [CIA and military] officers came down to join me, and it became apparent that there was going to be an effort to dislodge the communist management [laughs] of Guatemala. Which indeed happened. We set up shop and had some very bright guys working against Arbenz, and the long and short of it was that we got Arbenz defenestrated. Out the window. [Laughs]

Slate: But President Arbenz ended up in exile—not really out the window?

Hunt: Yeah. In Czechoslovakia. With his very bright and attractive wife.

Slate: So it seems you were the architect for the Guatemalan operation?

Hunt: It was mine because nobody else knew more than I did. I would say that I had more knowledge about it than anybody did. I knew all the players on both sides.

Slate: How did you run the Guatemalan operation?

Hunt: We set up the first Guatemalan operation/shop at Opa-Locka [airport in Miami, formerly an Army base]. There were three barracks, and we used the airstrip to fly in people from Guatemala and to send our people into Guatemala. These were known as "the black flights." They always occurred at night; they are a secret and officially do not exist as having happened.

Slate: Do you think the Guatemala coup went well?

Hunt: Yes—it did. And I'm glad I kept Arbenz from being executed.

Slate: How did you do that?

Hunt: By passing the word out to the people at the airport who had Arbenz to "let him go."

Slate: To whom did you give the word?

Hunt: It was a mixed band of CIA and Guatemalans at the airport and their hatred for him was palpable.

Slate: You were worried they would assassinate him right there?

Hunt: Yeah. … And we'd [the CIA and the United States] get blamed for it.

Slate: Some 200,000 civilians were killed in the civil war following the coup, which lasted for the next 40 years. Were all those deaths unforeseen?

Hunt: Deaths? What deaths?

Slate: Well, the civil war that ensued for the next 40 years after the coup.

Hunt: Well, we should have done something we never do—we should have maintained a constant presence in Guatemala after getting rid of Arbenz.

Slate: Did you ever actually meet Jacobo Arbenz?

Hunt: They [he and his wife] were neighbors of mine—years later—on the same street in Montevideo, Uruguay.

Slate: What were you doing there?

Hunt: I was the CIA chief of station.

They had come from [exile in] Czechoslovakia, and nobody in Washington had told me they were coming and so it was a big surprise to me, to my wife and me. We went to the country club for dinner one evening and lo and behold, the Arbenzes were seated a few tables away.

Slate: What did you do?

Hunt: Well, nothing. I sent a cable to Washington saying, "In the future when we have important arrivals, please let me know." It's the least they could do.

Slate: I'd like to talk about Cuba now. Did you have a lot of responsibility during Bay of Pigs?

Hunt: Leading up to it.

Slate: How so?

Hunt: I came to Miami, and of course there were [Cuban] exiles, all anxious to take weapons in hand and charge back [to Cuba]. And the CIA was given the responsibility of a twofold action against Cuba. There was the psychological warfare branch which I headed [propaganda, covert operations], and the paramilitary which oversaw the training [of Cuban exiles] that took place in Guatemala.

My [other] responsibility was to form and manage the future government of Cuba. At that point I formed the Cuban government-in-exile with Manuel Artime [Bay of Pigs veteran designated by the United States to succeed Castro]. I had told them [the exile trainees] to meet me in my safe house in Coconut Grove. An FBI guy whom I knew came to me and he said your neighbor has reported you to the police saying that men are coming and going at all hours of the night. … He said he thought it was a gay brothel.

Slate: Did you go to Cuba after Castro took power in January 1959?

Hunt: I did go to Cuba. I went there under a very flimsy cover. Batista was out—it was 1959. I'd been sent to Havana to nose around and get a grass-roots feeling and talk to the proverbial taxi drivers and find out what their likely response would be to a possible U.S. invasion. And I did. And I told them don't count on it because it's not going to happen. But that is exactly what happened.

Slate: Did you help in the planning of Bay of Pigs?

Hunt: Not the military [planning]. And I couldn't find anybody who thought that it was a good plan.

Slate: What were the objections?

Hunt: There was an objection on the part of Dean Rusk, secretary of state under Kennedy. He didn't want a "go-and-see invasion"—that was the term he used. And our people [CIA planners] had planned an invasion that combined both a seaborne assault and an airlift. Dean Rusk was a great naysayer—he was not a fellow with useful ideas. When our plan was submitted to Rusk for his OK, he said, "This is too noisy, you gotta do something else." So the assault point was moved to the Bahia de Cochinos—the Bay of Pigs. Which had nothing in its favor. It was a beach that came down from the jungle. A lot of mosquitoes. Our people made that beach landing and they were scooped up pretty soon thereafter.

Slate: Did you ever think there was a way to get rid of Castro, short of a military coup?

Hunt: No. When Castro went into Cuba and took over, this was the moment—with all the chaos and disorganization—that our forces could have gone in and unseated him. But we always confronted this dreadful organization called the Department of State. Who needs it?!

Slate: What was your feeling about Batista?

Hunt: Well, I thought he ran a good government there. There was a lot of corruption, but there's always been corruption in Latin America. We can't be too purist about these things.

Slate: Let's talk about the finals days and execution of Che. Do you know what the real story was there?

Hunt: I do. El Che was becoming a popular threat to Castro. Castro was a gradualist; his view was that great changes couldn't take place immediately. But El Che had a different idea—he had wanted the entire continent of Latin America to become Communist. And Castro, sort of to get rid of him, said, "Take a band down to Bolivia. Here's money, and radio phones, and all that." So Che went down there. But Che's very first [radio] transmissions were picked up by our people at the National Security Agency. The agency was able to track him wherever he went with his little forlorn band. The Bolivians wanted to get rid of him as soon as possible, and our people kept the Bolivian army informed as to where he was.

Slate: So you knew where he was all the time?

Hunt: Yes. There was no question about where he was or what he was trying to do. The Bolivians had gone through this kind of BS before, and they wanted to put an end to it as soon as possible. Eventually they just said, "We're gonna put an end to this farce," and they rounded up this little band of Che's, and they didn't kill anybody except Che.

Slate: I thought it was Felix Rodriguez, the Bay of Pigs Cuban exile, who says he killed Che.

Hunt: No, the Bolivians did.

Slate: What did the Americans want to do with Che?

Hunt: We wanted deniability. We made it possible for him to be killed.

Slate: Do you think anybody back then was thinking this guy would become a cult figure, that he might be more trouble dead than alive?

Hunt: No, nobody had the foresight for that. … What I thought was great foresight was that the Bolivian colonel had Che's hands cut off.

Slate: Why did he do that?

Hunt: So he couldn't be identified by fingerprints. That was a pretty good idea—if you don't want somebody identified. People still shiver a little when they think about hands being cut off.

Slate: Did that idea come from the Bolivian colonel or from the CIA?

Hunt: I have no idea. But I talked with Felix about it. I said, "You were there when Che expired." He said they had taken him into this room, and they shot him there and killed him. And they had kind of a medical examination table. They put his body on that and cut off his hands. They fooled around for a day or so before they disposed of the body. And that was done in a very sloppy fashion. The colonel had a shallow grave dug and his remains were dumped in there.

Laura Hunt: [Interjects] For all we know, Felix [Rodriguez] did shoot him.

Hunt: It was just important that it was done.

Slate: Maybe Rodriguez arranged for the Bolivians to do the killing and then took credit?

Hunt: What we certainly didn't want was a public monument to Che. We wanted his memory to vanish as soon as possible. But it never did. Even my son goes on about Che.

Slate: What do you think of Felix Rodriguez campaigning these days against John Kerry, who questioned him at the Iran-Contra hearings?

Hunt: I think that's great! Felix can do no wrong in my book.

Slate: What led you to leave the CIA?

Hunt: I found out the CIA was just infested with Democrats. I retired in '70. I got out as soon as I could. I wrote several books immediately thereafter.

Slate: I still don't understand how you get involved in Watergate later. Through the CIA?

Hunt: I had been a consultant to the White House. I greatly respected Nixon. When Chuck Colson [special counsel to Nixon] asked me to work for the administration, I said yes. Colson phoned one day and said, "I have a job you might be interested in." This was before Colson got religion.

Slate: How long were you in prison for the Watergate break-in?

Hunt: All told, 33 months.

Slate: That's a lot of time.

Hunt: It's a lot of time. And I've often said, what did I do?

Slate: Did you get a pardon?

Hunt: No. Never did. I'd applied for one, and there was no action taken, and I thought I'd just humiliate myself if I asked for a pardon.

Laura Hunt: He was sort of numb because all of this happened to his wife and his family, his children went into drugs while he was still in prison.

Slate: Wasn't your first wife killed in a plane crash?

Laura Hunt: She was killed when her plane crash-landed at Chicago's Midway Airport. And there was all this speculation from conspiracy buffs that the FBI blew the plane up or something … so that she would never talk, all this ridiculous stuff.

Slate: How do you feel about Chuck Colson?

Hunt: He failed to come to my assistance, which would have helped Nixon and me.

Slate: Do you hold anyone responsible for Watergate?

Hunt: No, I don't.

Slate: And you didn't apologize?

Hunt: No. It never occurred to me to apologize.

Slate: Should Nixon have resigned?

Hunt: No.

Slate: I know there is a conspiracy theory saying that David Atlee Phillips—the Miami CIA station chief—was involved with the assassination of JFK.

Hunt: [Visibly uncomfortable] I have no comment.

Slate: I know you hired him early on, to work with you in Mexico, to help with Guatemala propaganda.

Hunt: He was one of the best briefers I ever saw.

Slate: And there were even conspiracy theories about you being in Dallas the day JFK was killed.

Hunt: No comment.

Laura Hunt: Howard says he wasn't, and I believe him.

Slate: Any regrets?

Hunt: No, none. [Long pause] Well, it would have been nice to do Bay of Pigs differently.

Ann Louise Bardach covers politics for Slate. She is the author of Cuba Confidential: Love and Vengeance in Miami and Havana and the editor of Cuba: A Traveler's Literary Companion.

Comment: Hunt is brazenly open and unrepentant for his history of overthrowing democratically elected foreign governments as well as spying on the Democrats. His reason for leaving the CIA was that there were too many Democrats! You'd think that Democrats were French!

Reflect a bit upon the mindset of a man like Hunt. He has no use for democracy. He has no use for political parties or individuals who do not believe what he believes. He has shown that he is willing to do away with them. That the coup in Guatemala led to the deaths of 200,000 civilians leaves him asking, "Deaths? What deaths?" Does he care about the lives of those Guatemalans? Obviously not.

Do you think that he was an anachronism, the lone wolf in the US intelligence services who views the world through this distorted lens?

Notice his reaction to the questions on the Kennedy assassination. Does he simply deny his involvement? No. He says "No comment". Curious, don't you think?

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The battle for reality

Fantasy terror threats conceal real plan to reduce population

By John Kaminski

While watching the inane vice-presidential debate the other night, I nearly swallowed my gum when I heard vice-presidential challenger John Edwards say, "I agree that we needed to invade Afghanistan." I had had pretty much the same reaction earlier when his running mate John Kerry had informed a worldwide TV audience that, despite the high number of innocent people killed in Fallujah and other cities, he would attack Iraq "much harder" than the current mass murderer in charge of America's latest immoral war.

This demonic double whammy hammered home in my mind that for the U.S. election of 2004, there is no real opposition, no genuine choice, only differences in styles of mass killing, and a message to the world that America is united behind its curdled policies of utter injustice and contempt for everyone on the planet.

The absence of a presidential candidate who would even begin to admit to the truth of America's lies dooms us here at home to a dark future of permanent war, and the rest of the world to random extermination depending on the resources they may possess that others more powerful may covet.

The indelible message to the world is that since there is no candidate calling for actual peace and an accurate understanding of the processes now turning the world into a shooting gallery, that all Americans unanimously favor this all-out push toward world domination, and preemptive obliteration of all who stand in their greedy way.

But is this really the case, or is this merely what America mainstream mass media say is the case? In other words, do we as supposedly free people really control our own destiny, or do others control it for us in our names?

While it seems true that the peace coalition in the United States seems miniscule in this era of increasing corporate control of the mind, it is perhaps instructive to look at the behavior of the American people before and during past wars to get a better idea of what's actually going on here and now.

I am reminded of the trenchant essays of Scott Nearing in 1916, when he pointed out that Woodrow Wilson was the peace candidate who vowed to keep us out of the European war, then shortly thereafter, after a hysterical newspaper campaign vilifying fictitious German baby eaters, got us into the War to End All Wars.

Or the behind-the-scenes manipulation of Japan which compelled it to invade Pearl Harbor, which Franklin Roosevelt then used as an excuse to attack Germany.

Or the famous Gulf of Tonkin incident which 40 years later we learned never happened, but at the time was used to rationalize a U.S. invasion of Vietnam that produced millions of deaths in a pointless war that to this day no one can adequately explain?

Or the young lady, later learned to be employed by the Hill & Knowlton ad agency, who came to Washington to tell the world that babies were being ripped from their incubators by Iraqi soldiers in a campaign to convince Americans that we should start bombing Iraq. That now-disproved bit of theater happened almost 15 years ago, yet we have not stopped bombing Iraq ever since.

How many of you out there still believe that you actually control what happens in your own lives? And how many of you have reached the point where you have decided the time is long past that something be done about this?

The controlling mechanism of this present burst of American aggression throughout the world is of course the tragedy of 9/11, an apparent attack by foreign extremists on American landmark that to this day has never been adequately investigated or explained.

And yet, the American people have by and large accepted their government's clumsy story without a peep of a demand for documentation, provable evidence, or a thorough investigation. Why?

The great 9/11 coverup must be considered in the context of previous political events in which the American people accepted the facile lies of its leaders without demanding more information or an honest accounting of these extremely suspicious events.

Or, more succinctly, had Americans demanded more forthright explanations of the three big assassinations back in the 1960s — JFK, RFK and MLK — it is very likely that none of these subsequent catastrophes to the American conscience ever would have happened. But we didn't. And we still don't.

As a result, the war machine rolls on, with the mayhem creeping ever closer to home.

Almost no one I know of believes the official version of what happened in the murder of President Kennedy. After 40 years of discussion, it seems like Michael Collins Piper's "Final Judgment" furnishes the final word on the matter, that JFK was dusted because he demanded Israel open its nuclear facilities for inspection, and that he wanted to diminish the power of the Federal Reserve, so these two entities got together and concocted an elaborate scheme to blame a CIA groupie for the crime and used a CIA hit team to do the deed, with the fatal shot actually being fired by the driver of the presidential limo. You haven't read that in the New York Times lately, have you?

Once JFK's successor LBJ took over, there was a rapid rise in the amount of money funneled to Israel, a trend that since has never diminished, even though Israel destroyed an American ship (another famous noninvestigation) and basically took over the American political system through bribes and blackmail. Again, no mainstream media coverage of that.

Jump to the 1990s, right after the Bush family completed its plundering of America's savings and loan industry, adding billions to the family bank account. Not much in the newspapers about that, and certainly not the real story.

The 1990s began with the invasion of Panama (actually it was '89), about which NBC reported 45 Panamanians died, but an Oscar-winning documentary later revealed a death toll of 4,000.

Then came the Gulf War, when the U.S. told Saddam Hussein it was OK to invade Kuwait, but later bombed the hell out of him for doing it. There was some coverage of this, but most Americans didn't pay attention to it.

Then came World Trade Center 1, where two FBI informants gathered a couple of other Egyptians together to drive a truck full of explosives into a New York City parking garage. America's mainstream media called it a terrorist attack.

Then came Waco, which was kind of like Vietnam, in that today no one can really explain why it happened or what was the dark secret behind the government's massacre of 84 (or 103) men, women and children who just happened to be esoteric religious fanatics. The only thing most of know for sure is that the government lied before, during and after the event, and the mainstream managed to cover it up, despite covering it live.

Then an FBI sniper fired a bullet through the head of a young mother holding her baby, and the mainstream media said the government was fighting a white supremacist terrorist in Idaho. The sniper later received a medal.

Then the Murrah Building in Oklahoma exploded and the government blamed a glazed-eyed white Patriot for doing it. Funny how McVeigh supposedly used a truck full of fertilizer parked outside the building, yet the building exploded outwards. But again, mainstream media and the federal judges ignored all the contrary evidence and quickly (supposedly) fried the fingered felon.

Six years later came 9/11, and most Americans have never even thought about the facts that their government quickly destroyed the evidence and never — NEVER! — conducted an investigation into how those buildings fell and WHO did it. The government simply named the perpetrators it chose to name (all of whom probably were using false identities), and began making war on other countries which had no clear connection to the fingered false identities.

Comment: For more insight into this phenomenon, we recommend watching the movie Arlington Road.

What is wrong with this picture? And worse, what is wrong with the American people that they have conceded control of their own destinies to a process and a government that is so clumsily incompetent that it can't even invent believable stories for their citizens to swallow? And yet we swallow, endlessly, pathetically.

Do you suppose it's TV? If people can sit and watch the lame imitations of life they see on the boob tube and think this is actual, real life, can they swallow their government lying to them and believe it's the truth? Is that what's going on here?

Or is it the schools? Are our school curricula so manipulative and mind- controlling that people who attend 12 years of U.S. schools not only can't think critically but can't even identify complete lies which are paraded before their faces?

Is this what is happening?

Whatever is happening, it is leading to the death and demise of everything we hold dear.

The American manufacturing base has been destroyed and most decent jobs are being shipped overseas because American labor has priced itself out of existence.

Mass consumption food is no longer safe to eat because of food additives and lack of government regulation.

You can't drink tapwater anywhere in America anymore, but President Bush insists environmental regulations are too stringent.

Virtually all of America's vaccinations are tainted by mercury and other harmful substances, which create brain damage in children and sudden death in adults. Yet we line up, ever docile, to take them, and the maladies they bring.

Our soldiers, when they're not being killed by an outraged enemy fighting for its own freedom against their corporate oppressors, are being killed by the ammunition they are forced to handle and the vaccinations they are ordered to take. Still we wave our flags and gladly sacrifice our children.

Wait ... this is a very long list; let's get to the point.

We have forfeited control of reality to our mass media. How many times have you heard someone say, "I don't believe something is really real until I see it on television. Then I know for sure it's really happening."

This is the new American paradigm, both a fear of independent self- determination and a horror of not being part of the crowd. People are afraid to think for themselves, and to question what is being rammed down their throats as consensual truth.

It turns out what is being rammed down our throats is killing us, and not thinking for ourselves will, in very short order, lead to our own deaths, because the plan is to reduce the population to what they call sustainable levels, and the chances are very good that you are not part of that plan.

This all could have been avoided if somebody, way back when or even yesterday, had had the courage to stand up and say, "This is not what is really happening. You are lying to us." Said it to the media and/or the government in sufficient numbers.

But we didn't. With each lie they get away with, the lies simply get worse, the death toll gets higher. Now we've reached the point where the government is openly trying to kill many of us, and we're sitting there smugly saying, "Well, this doesn't really affect me." Or "Perhaps some other people need to be excluded in the interests of the health of the human race."

Well, Bunky, that person, whether you realize or not, sooner or later, is going to be you.

You had a chance to stop it — even now you do — but you didn't, and you don't.

And all because you let other people tell you what reality really is. The rule is .... if you can't make your own decision, they'll make it for you. And surely you know what their decision will be.

Next time you speak with a politician, or a government employee, talk as if your life is on the line. Because it is.

John Kaminski is a writer who lives on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Mostly he writes essays that appear in various websites on the Internet. These have been collected into two anthologies, "America's Autopsy Report" and "The Perfect Enemy." For information go to

Comment: Regarding Kaminski's comment on the plan to reduce the population to sustainable levels, we refer the reader to Chapter 30 of our Adventures Series by Laura Knight-Jadczyk. Laura writes:

Hugh Everett did his undergraduate study in chemical engineering at the Catholic University of America. Studying von Neumann's and Bohm's textbooks as part of his graduate studies, under Wheeler, in mathematical physics at Princeton University in the 1950s, (at the same time Nash was there), he became dissatisfied with the collapse of the wave function. While he was at Princeton, during discussions with Charles Misner and Aage Peterson (Bohr's assistant, then visiting Princeton), he developed his "relative state" formulation. Wheeler encouraged his work and preprints were circulated in January 1956 to a number of physicists. A condensed version of his thesis was published as a paper for The Role of Gravity in Physics conference held at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, in January 1957.

I was curious about Everett's work for Lambda. A recent search of the literature turns up a paper written by Joseph George Caldwell entitled Optimal Attack and Defense for a Number of Targets in the Case of Imperfect Interceptors.

The summary of the paper tells us:

This article describes the optimal defense of a set of targets against an optimal attack, in the case of imperfect interceptors. This solution is obtained from a mathematical representation of strategic nuclear warfare as a two-sided resource-constrained optimization problem. The attacker and defender are assumed to know each other's total force sizes, and it is assumed that the attacker "moves last," i.e., the attacker allocates his weapons to targets after observing the defender's allocation of interceptors to targets. A one-on-one (or fixed salvo-to-one) firing doctrine is assumed. The attacker's goal is to maximize the total damage to the targets, and the defender's goal is to minimize this damage. It is assumed that damage on any single target can be adequately described by the "exponential" damage function defined below.

Aside from the fact that we see evidence of the use of pure mathematics - Game Theory, in fact - in matters of warfare strategy, which includes source notes connecting this work to Wheeler, we find Joseph George Caldwell to be a bit interesting for other reasons. He has a website where he promotes the following idea:

"What is the sustainable human population for Earth?", I propose that a long-term sustainable number is on the order of ten million, consisting of a technologically advanced population of a single nation of about five million people concentrated in one or a few centers, and a globally distributed primitive population of about five million. I arrived at this size by approaching the problem from the point of view of estimating the minimum number of human beings that would have a good chance of long-term survival, instead of approaching it from the (usual) point of view of attempting to estimate the maximum number of human beings that the planet might be able to support. The reason why I use the approach of minimizing the human population is to keep the damaging effects of human industrial activity on the biosphere to a minimum. Because mankind's industrial activity produces so much waste that cannot be metabolized by "nature," any attempt to maximize the size of the human population risks total destruction of the biosphere (such as the "sixth extinction" now in progress).

Let's stop right here and ask the question: Who said that there was such a thing as the "Sixth Extinction," and that it was now in progress? Is this something that is generally "known" in the circles that do this kind of research? Is this WHY they are doing it? What do they know that the rest of us don't? Or better, what do they think that they aren't telling us? Caldwell writes:

The role of the technological population is "planetary management": to ensure that the size of the primitive population does not expand. The role of the primitive population is to reduce the likelihood that a localized catastrophe might wipe out the human population altogether. The reason for choosing the number five million for the primitive population size is that this is approximately the number (an estimated 2-20 million) that Earth supported for millions of years, i.e., it is proved to be a long-term sustainable number (in mathematical terminology, a "feasible" solution to the optimization problem). The reason for choosing the number five million for the technological population size is that it is my opinion that that is about the minimum practical size for a technologically advanced population capable of managing a planet the size of Earth; also, it is my opinion that the "solar energy budget" of the planet can support a population of five million primitive people and five million "industrial" people indefinitely. [ ]

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Why Don't Americans Care?

Do you know who Halliburton is? Dick Cheney? How about Karl Rove? Alas, most Americans don't

By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist
October 6, 2004

Let's be honest. Percentage-wise, few people in America really give much of a crap about what's going on in the hallowed halls of politics and power.

This is what we in the media and maybe you in the media-consuming audience tend to forget far too easily: This country is simply jam-packed with millions of people who have no time for, or interest in, politics, or media, or environmental policy, or education, or global issues, or which presidential candidate lied his ass off about which aspect of his military career and which Orange Alert is totally bogus and how many soldiers are dying for what imbecilic war.

It seems hard to believe. But the general rule of thumb is that major cities are slightly more attuned due to aggressive media saturation and how issues tend to make themselves known more urgently, more immediately, whereas Middle America is a scattershot conglomeration of the politically apathetic and the actively disenfranchised, full of people far too busy with their lives and kids and jobs and zoning out on "Fear Factor" and "Monday Night Football" to care about following the elitist, ever dire dramas playing out on the nation's gilded stages.

Most Americans, in other words, have no idea what the hell a Halliburton is. Or a Karl Rove. Or a Donny "Shriveled Soul" Rumsfeld. Or a Lockheed Martin. Or a Carlysle Group. Or have any idea that Saddam had nothing whatsoever to do with 9/11. Or that WMDs were never found. Or that President Bush has taken more vacation time than any president in U.S. history. Or that Jesus thinks Dubya is "sort of a dink." Or where Iraq is on a map.

Fact is, in the past decade, TV-news ratings -- cable and network, combined -- has shrunk to a fraction of its former numbers. Newspaper subscriptions have been either flat or dropping for just about as long. Newsmagazines, radio, historical nonfiction: flat or dropping fast. Even the Internet, that vast teeming customizable firestorm of news and info streaming in from all over the planet, even the awesome Net draws far more people to its porn and gossip and shopping departments than any e-news joint could ever wet dream.

Is this unfair? Does it sound elitist and biased? It's not. There have been studies. And reports. And alarming indicators of all kinds telling us time and again that, for example, fully 50 percent of eligible Americans don't even bother to vote (a 15 percent drop since 1964), and many have no idea who's on the Supreme Court or what Congress does, and many can't even point to France on a globe.

Voter turnout, comparatively, in Italy, Spain, the U.K., or Germany? Anywhere from 75 to 92 percent, every time. The sad fact is, the United States ranks 139th out of 172 countries in voter turnout. Wave that flag proudly, baby.

You've seen the headlines. Alarming numbers of American high school students can't even identify the current vice president, much less name a half dozen presidents from history. Far too many citizens can't name the capital of their own home state or recognize their own senators, much less discern how Bush's environmental policy is poisoning their water or how Ashcroft wants to scan their email and tap their phones and suck the pith from their souls. A whopping 49 percent of Americans aged 18-25 can't find New York on a map, and 11 percent can't even locate the United States. Now that's patriotism.

Comment: HALF of Americans aged 18-25 cannot find New York on a map! And a little over one tenth can't even locate the US!! Think about it...

A recent report by the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development states that upward of 60 percent of Americans ages 16-25 are 'functionally illiterate', meaning they can't, for example, fill out a detailed form or read a numerical table (like a time schedule).

A recent Florida study shows at least 70 percent of recent high school graduates need remedial courses -- that is, basic reading and math -- when they enter community college. These are kids who, you can be assured, think Colin Powell is that nasty British dude on "American Idol." [...]

Maybe this, then, is the most pressing question of our time: How to get the vast majority of Americans to care? To pay attention? To read? To effect change and demand accountability from bumbling spoon-fed leaders who count on voter apathy and force-fed ignorance to cram through their environmental rollbacks and homophobic laws and draconian Patriot Acts? Is it even possible? Are we too far gone?

How to make America more like, say, Europe, where knowledge of current events and political intrigue is not only hugely important to the vast majority of citizens but is also deeply woven into the very fabric of daily life, an integral part of the educational system and the café conversation and the workplace water-cooler chats, and to ignore it is considered, well, irresponsible and even a mite traitorous?

True, part of why they care so much is because America is the foremost bully on the block and it pays to know what makes the bully tick. And whine. And kill. In short, as the theory goes, most Americans don't give a damn because we're on top and we own everything and have more nukes than anyone and we're never the ones getting invaded. It's our unofficial motto -- America: We Don't Have to Care.

And this very column is frequently slapped with the accusation that it merely "preaches to the choir," and if I really want to affect minds I should consider tempering or sanitizing my opinions for a more "moderate" mainstream readership, as if the nation was chock-full of opinionated, well-read, temperate thinkers ready to be gently informed of new ideas, when in fact this group is but a fraction, a sliver, far overshadowed and overpowered by the real majority in America: The detached. The disinterested. The intellectually lazy.

So, what's the solution? It is as simple as dramatically changing the way we educate our children, our population? Is it desanitizing our vacuous history textbooks and making media studies and political science and current events as mandatory to the educational diet as macho sports and bad lunches and playground kickball?

Or maybe it's a new national draft? Will that galvanize the rest of the populace sufficiently? How about Iraq devolving even faster into Vietnam 2.0? Is it 10,000 dead U.S. soldiers and nary an imprisoned terrorist or fresh barrel of oil to show for it? How about five bucks a gallon? Ten? Is it legalizing pot and banning guns? What will it take?

Maybe another massive national catastrophe? Maybe a 9/11 cubed, and cubed again, something unthinkably horrific and unleashed upon the innocents and the children and the puppies, something that so jars and infuriates and undermines our desperate empire that even the cold-blooded neoconservative Right can't possibly leverage our sorrow and pain for its own political gain? Very possible. After all, nothing like a little hard-earned apocalypse to make you consider voting independent.

Or maybe it's something entirely different, maybe some sort of potent, unimaginable spiritual enlightenment that looks like revelation and smells like Vishnu and sounds like harmonic convergence and tastes like Buddha and has nothing whatsoever to do with fundamentalism or Christianity or Bush's angry homophobic flag-wavin' God. The mystics say we're very close. They claim the next decade will offer, to those who care to participate, one helluva transformational vibrational wallop. Possible?

Whatever it looks like, we can rest assured we're still not out of the dark, dank woods just yet. Our national apathy is well protected, our intellectual ignorance secure and our fears well fed and carefully, perpetually reinforced by the Powers That Be and the fact that the overall 50 percent voter turnout never moves by more than a point or two, usually downward.

And the Establishment, it only smiles knowingly, and nods, and says there there now. It'll be all right. Just go back to sleep.

Comment: Readers have written to us and asked how it would be possible for the powers that be to pull off enormous scams such as the attacks on 9/11, or lying to the population about the reasons for invading Afghanistan and Iraq. This article is an excellent answer to such questions. How hard can it be when such a huge percentage of Americans are so woefully uninformed and misinformed? If today's young adults cannot even find New York on a map of the US, does anyone think they will have a clue about the location, culture, or politics of Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, or Israel??

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How US fuelled myth of Zarqawi the mastermind
By Adrian Blomfield outside Fallujah
(Filed: 04/10/2004)

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the terrorist leader believed to be responsible for the abduction of Kenneth Bigley, is 'more myth than man', according to American military intelligence agents in Iraq.

Several sources said the importance of Zarqawi, blamed for many of the most spectacular acts of violence in Iraq, has been exaggerated by flawed intelligence and the Bush administration's desire to find "a villain" for the post-invasion mayhem.
US military intelligence agents in Iraq have revealed a series of botched and often tawdry dealings with unreliable sources who, in the words of one source, "told us what we wanted to hear".

"We were basically paying up to $10,000 a time to opportunists, criminals and chancers who passed off fiction and supposition about Zarqawi as cast-iron fact, making him out as the linchpin of just about every attack in Iraq," the agent said.

"Back home this stuff was gratefully received and formed the basis of policy decisions. We needed a villain, someone identifiable for the public to latch on to, and we got one."

The sprawling US intelligence community is in a state of open political warfare amid conflicting pressures from election-year politics, military combat and intelligence analysis. The Bush administration has seized on Zarqawi as the principal leader of the insurgency, mastermind of the country's worst suicide bombings and the man behind the abduction of foreign hostages. He is held up as the most tangible link to Osama bin Laden and proof of the claim that the former Iraqi regime had links to al-Qa'eda.

However, fresh intelligence emerging from around Fallujah, the rebel-held city that is at the heart of the insurgency, suggests that, despite a high degree of fragmentation, the insurgency is led and dominated not by Arab foreigners but by members of Iraq's Sunni minority.
Pentagon estimates have put the number of foreign fighters in the region of 5,000. However, one agent said: "The overwhelming sense from the information we are now getting is that the number of foreign fighters does not exceed several hundred and is perhaps as low as 200. From the information we have gathered we have to conclude that Zarqawi is more myth than man. He isn't in the calibre of what many politicians want to believe he is.

"At some stage, and perhaps even now, he was almost certainly behind some of the kidnappings. But if there is a main leader of the insurgency he would be an Iraqi. The insurgency, though, is not nearly so centralised to talk of a structured leadership."

Military intelligence officials complain that their reports to Washington, are largely being ignored. They accuse the Pentagon of over-reliance on electronic surveillance and aerial and satellite reconnaissance carried out for the CIA.

In recent weeks American military command in Iraq has claimed a series of precision air strikes on targets in Fallujah identified by the CIA as housing known associates of Zarqawi.

It has denied that there were any civilian casualties, despite television footage showing dead and wounded women and children being pulled from the rubble of flattened homes.

Some US military spies maintain that this is evidence of continued dependency on technology over old-fashioned human intelligence.

Both President George W Bush and Tony Blair have, to varying degrees, conceded that intelligence on Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction programme was misleading. But both continue to maintain that the continued violence since Saddam was ousted is because Iraq is now the front line in the war on terrorism.

Yet it now seems that the intelligence on which such claims are based is haphazard, scanty and contradictory.

No concrete proof of the link between Zarqawi and bin Laden was offered until US officials this year trumpeted the discovery of a computer disk, allegedly intercepted by Kurdish peshmerga guerrillas. Among its files was an apparent draft of a letter from Zarqawi to bin Laden.

"We will be your readied soldiers, working under your banner, complying with your orders and indeed swearing fealty to you publicly and in the news media," the letter read.

That seemed proof enough for the US government. "Zarqawi is the best evidence of the connection to al-Qa'eda affiliates and al-Qa'eda," Mr Bush said in June.

But senior diplomats in Baghdad claim that the letter was almost certainly a hoax. They say the two men may have met in Afghanistan but it appeared they never got on and there has been a rift for several years.

One diplomat claimed that there was evidence to suggest that Zarqawi's aides may have passed on information to the Americans that led to the arrest of Ramzi bin al-Shibh, one of the main planners of the September 11 attacks.

The diplomats describe Zarqawi as deeply ambitious. His actions are aimed as much at boosting his position in the Islamic terrorist fraternity as striking at America. He achieved that in April when a grisly and apparently authentic video showing the beheading of the contractor Nick Berg. The footage was released under the title "Sheikh Abu Musab Zarqawi executes an American with his own hands and promises Bush more".

A diplomat commented: "That catapaulted Zarqawi to exactly where he wanted to be - giving Osama a run for his money as US public enemy number one. But, the video apart, intelligence on the Jordanian is thin.

Intelligence reports are contradictory even on whether he is missing a leg.

Initial claims of a Long John Silver character with an artificial leg were disputed by more recent alleged sightings of the 38-year-old apparently fully limbed and looking rather sprightly.

Comment: There are also reports that Zarqawi is not even alive anymore. Whatever the true fate of this mysterious individual is, it matters little as he serves his purpose as a convenient scapegoat for the spin doctors in the Bush Administration, as they can blame him for any type of violence that happens in Iraq. Now that Osama is out of the picture, Zarqawi easily replaces him as American enemy du jour.

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35 Days Till Disaster: Is an Election Day Faux-Terror Event All But CERTain?
Mark Erwin | October 4 2004

On Tuesday, September 28th, a new federally-funded, FEMA-directed citizen training program began in my town called CERT. CERT stands for "Community Emergency Response Team."

A quick internet search reveals that my town isn't the only one participating. Nearly every town in America has its own CERT program, it would appear.

My neighbor's teenage son attended CERT's initial orientation meeting and later showed me the equipment and materials he was given.

He received free of charge a backpack containing hundreds of dollars worth of gear, including a hard hat, reflective garb for checkpoint/traffic-control duty, a high beam flashlight, eye guards, etc.

In the near future, he said, he'll also be given (again, free of charge) a special radio over which he can tap into the county's emergency communications net.

Then, he showed me his 300 page CERT training manual along with his training schedule for upcoming weeks.

The CERT training program is intensive. It's scheduled to last for only a little over a month.

In the short span of just 35 days, CERT trainees will learn the following:

1) Disaster preparedness
2) Disaster fire safety
3) Disaster medical operations
4) Light search and rescue
5) CERT Organization
6) Disaster psychology

But what really caught my eye were the last two items on CERT's training schedule:

On Tuesday, October 25th, CERT trainees will receive training on "Terrorism and CERT."

Then, exactly one week later, CERT's training program will conclude with a "Disaster Simulation & Examination".

This final day for the CERT training program, the day when CERT will climax with a "disaster simulation," is none other than Election Day!

Is this mere coincidence? I can't believe that it is. CERT is a nationwide FEMA-sponsored citizen training program, after all. I assume, in every town and hamlet, fledgling CERT teams are following this exact same training schedule. And that means a nationwide "disaster simulation" is scheduled for all of them come Election Day!

As 9-11 demonstrated, federal drills and simulations can sometimes be used to provide cover for preparations for what are, in fact, premeditated events timed to coincide exactly with the drills and simulations.

Does the timetable for the CERT program portend something like a second 9-11 come Election Day?

Will the same spooks who staged the 9-11 faux-terror event perpetrate another faux-terror event come November 2nd?

The CERT training timetable parallels exactly the training timetable for the Texas State Guard leaked by a brave guardsman to talk radio host Alex Jones. He told Alex that elite units of the Texas State Guard were being intensively trained to be ready for martial-law-style deployments come the first week of November.

Needless to say, in light of this leak to Alex, when I learned that Election Day was scheduled to be the day when FEMA's CERT training program climaxes with a "disaster simulation," chills went down my spine.

If, in fact, a second 9-11 does happen come Election Day, there won't be much doubt about who did it. Like the original, it too will have had to have been an inside job. How else could our next domestic terror event be timed to coincide exactly with the "disaster simulation" set to conclude FEMA's CERT training timetable?

Comment: Keep in mind the equipment provided to people in CERT training as you read the following article by the mother of a US Marine...

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My Son, a United States Marine
By: Della T. Austin, Harrisburg, NC
Published: Oct 7, 2004

I am writing this in hope that it will open some eyes, enrage, and disgust everyone that reads it.

I am a PROUD mother of a U.S. Marine. My eyes have been opened and I am now enraged and disgusted with "OUR GOVERNMENT!

My son is now in Iraq. Before he left Camp LeJuene, my side of the family and his wife had to get money together because my son had to spend over $300 to buy things he was "REQUIRED" to have in his gear. If he were missing one thing, he would not have been allowed to come home on his Block Leave to see his family before being deployed to Iraq! Almost $100 of this money had to be spent on a third set of "new and improved" Digital Cammies. He was lucky! He had been issued one set and had already bought a second set. Some of the Marines were not even issued one set so they spent almost $300 on just their Cammies. Money is being deducted from their pay for "equipment". My son has never really been sure WHAT equipment, but he paid for it.

I was enraged when I found out that the Flack Jacket (their bullet proof vests) were the woodland version, the ones that are supposed to blend in with TREES! No one in Sierra Battery was issued Desert Flack Jackets! These marines will look like a group of trees in the middle of the desert!

Soon after my son arrived in Kuwait, his eyes were hurting so bad from the dust and sand in the air that he could hardly stand to blink. He noticed some Marines were wearing eye-protectors. He asked where they had gotten them. A Marine told him that he was "ISSUED" a pair. Sierra Battery was NOT issued any! My son had to spend another $100 at the PX to buy himself a pair TO PROTECT HIS EYES!! Wouldn't you think that if the soldiers need their eyes protected in the environment our government is sending them into, that the military would make sure to issue a pair to every single soldier?! HOW DARE THEY!!!

President Bush said we "must support our military personnel." I did not know he meant literally! Support with money to buy equipment they MUST have because it is required or needed to protect their health, eyes, and for their VERY LIVES!!

What in the hell is $137 BILLION paying for? The new rifles they were supposed to be issued were not. Some military personnel do have the new rifles that have been modified for the desert conditions. NOT MY SON! How many of our sons, daughters, husbands, and wives are in this situation? Do we need to buy their rifles also??

Support our Military? Why is the government not fully supporting and protecting our Military? Issue everything they need or do not send them until they have it!

I was not fortunate enough to have been born RICH. I have to scrounge to help my son. My family, his wife, and her family got together to help my son purchase everything he was "required" to have. I have met other Marines and their families who are in the same situation.

Apparently our "Commander and Chief" meant SEND YOUR MONEY TO SUPPORT YOUR CHILDREN AND RELATIVES, because the government is unable to do so. This administration is NOT PUTTING THEIR MONEY WHERE THEIR MOUTH IS!! [...]

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U.S. Alerts Schools About Terror Threat
Associated Press
Thu, Oct. 07, 2004

WASHINGTON - The Education Department is advising school leaders nationwide to watch for people spying on their buildings or buses to help detect any possibility of terrorism like the deadly school siege in Russia.

The warning follows an analysis by the FBI and the Homeland Security Department of the siege that killed nearly 340 people, many of them students, in the city of Beslan last month.

"The horror of this attack may have created significant anxiety in our own country among parents, students, faculty staff and other community members," Deputy Education Secretary Eugene Hickok said in a letter sent Wednesday to schools and education groups.

The advice is based on lessons learned from the Russia siege. But there is no specific information indicating a terrorist threat to any schools or universities in the United States, Hickok said.

Federal law enforcement officials also have urged local police to stay in contact with school officials and have encouraged reporting of suspicious activities, the letter says.

In particular, schools were told to watch for activities that may be legitimate on their own - but may suggest a threat if many of them occur.

Among those activities:

- Interest in obtaining site plans for schools, bus routes and attendance lists.

- Prolonged "static surveillance" by people disguised as panhandlers, shoe shiners, newspaper or flower vendors or street sweepers not previously seen in the area.

- Observations of security drills.

- People staring at or quickly looking away from employees or vehicles as they enter or leave parking areas.

- Foot surveillance of campuses involving individuals working together.

The effort is the latest by the Education Department and other federal agencies to encourage school officials to maintain and practice a plan for responding to emergencies.

"It's a positive sign that they're finally discussing this after years of downplaying or denying even the possibility of a terrorist strike on schools," said Kenneth Trump, a Cleveland-based school safety consultant who has worked with officials in more than 40 states. "Public officials are in fear of creating fear, but we have to put the cards on the table, educate people in the school community and make sure they are well prepared."

After the terrorist takeover of the Russian school, President Bush asked his top advisers to review their strategies for dealing with hostage situations, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge has said.

The federal government is advising schools to take many steps to improve the security of their buildings. Those include installing locks for all doors and windows, having a single entry point into buildings and ensuring they can reach school bus drivers in an emergency.

The Education Department sent its letter by e-mail Wednesday to school police, state school officers, school boards, groups representing principals and many other organizations.

The Homeland Security Department also sent a bulletin to federal, state and local emergency officials to provide fresh guidance based on the review of the school siege in Russia.

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When terror bell rings, George Bush smiles

WASHINGTON: An article published in the Current Research in Social Psychology journal has revealed that when the US government issues a terrorist warning, presidential approval ratings jump by leap and bounds.

Robb Willer, the assistant director of the Sociology and Small Groups Laboratory at Cornell, tracked 26 instances of federal agency report that showed an increased threat of terrorist activity in the United States between February 2001 and May 2004.

Simultaneously he also tracked the 131 Gallup Polls in the same period, and found presidential approval ratings quite positive in relation to the warnings on terror.

"Results showed that terror warnings increased presidential approval ratings consistently. They also increased support for Bush's handling of the economy. The findings, however, were inconclusive as to how long this halo effect lasts," said Willer.

Willer pointed to the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States as an example of the tendency. After 9/11, approval of Bush's job performance jumped from 51 per cent on Sept 10, 2001, to 86 per cent on Sept 15, 2001, in a Gallup Poll. Similarly, approval for Bush's handling of the economy jumped from 54 per cent on July 11, 2001, to 72 per cent on Oct 5, 2001.

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British minister "sorry" over Iraq intelligence error 2004-10-08 19:18:21
LONDON, Oct. 8 (Xinhuanet) -- British Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt on Friday became the first government minister who directly apologized for using inaccurate intelligence to justify the US-led war against Iraq.

"All of us who were involved in making an incredibly difficult decision are very sorry and do apologize for the fact that information was wrong," Hewitt said when she appeared on BBC One's Question Time.

"What we said at the time and in the dossier about the stockpiles of weapons was wrong and we have apologized for that," said Hewitt, who claimed that she was speaking on behalf of the entire cabinet led by British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

She was responding to members of the audience who challenged her comment that Blair had already apologized for the inaccuracy of the intelligence.

Blair told the annual conference of his ruling Labor Party last week that he "can apologize for the information that turned out to be wrong, but I can not, sincerely at least, apologize for removing (former Iraqi President) Saddam (Hussein)."

On Hewitt's comments, major opposition Conservative Party policy coordinator David Cameron told the BBC that the government was "apologizing for the wrong thing."

"Yes, the information about weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) was wrong. What the apology is required for is the way in which the information was presented to Parliament," Cameron said.

British opposition parties have urged Blair to come to the parliament to make a full statement aimed at explaining why Britain went to war on a false premise, after the US-led Iraq Survey Group released a report on Thursday saying it had found no evidence that Saddam had chemical, biological or nuclear weapons when Iraq was invaded.

The British government published an Iraq's weapons dossier in September 2002, claiming that Iraq could deploy chemical and biological weapons within 45 minutes of an order to do so.

Blair, the staunchest US ally over Iraq, used the claim as a major justification for the Iraq war.

Comment: Isn't this just simply touching. The information was wrong, and they are now admitting it. Not that they are apologising for the invasion and occupation of Iraq itself. No! That would be too much. After all, "we" got rid of Saddam! So, too bad for the Iraqis who are dead or maimed, too bad for the families whose lives have been ruined. Too bad for those who will continue to suffer as the Iraqi resistance fights to reclaim their country from foreign occupiers.

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FBI Seizes IMC Servers in the UK

Thursday morning, US authorities issued a federal order to Rackspace ordering them to hand over Indymedia web servers to the requesting agency. Rackspace, which provides hosting services for more that 20 Indymedia sites at its London facility, complied and turned over the requested servers, effectively removing those sites from the internet.

Since the subpoena was issued to Rackspace and not to Indymedia, the reasons for this action are still unknown to Indymedia. Talking to Indymedia volunteers, Rackspace stated that "they cannot provide Indymedia with any information regarding the order." ISPs have received gag orders in similar situations which prevent them from updating the concerned parties on what is happening.

It is unclear to Indymedia how and why a server that is outside the US jurisdiction can be seized by US authorities.

At the same time an additional server was taken down at Rackspace which provided streaming radio to several radio stations, BLAG (linux distro), and a handful of miscellanous things.

The last few months have seen numerous attacks on independent media by the US Federal Government. In August the Secret Service used a subpoena in an attempt to disrupt the NYC IMC before the RNC by trying to get IP logs from an ISP in the US and the Netherlands. Last month the FCC shut down community radio stations around the US. Two weeks ago the FBI requested that Indymedia takes down a post on the Nantes IMC that had a photo of some undercover Swiss police and IMC volunteers in Seattle were visited by the FBI on the same issue. On the other hand, Indymedia and other independent media organisations were successfull with their victories for example against Diebold and the Patroit Act. Today however, the US authorities shut down IMCs around the world.

The list of affected local media collectives includes Ambazonia, Uruguay, Andorra, Poland, Western Massachusetts, Nice, Nantes, Lilles, Marseille (all France), Euskal Herria (Basque Country), Liege, East and West Vlaanderen, Antwerpen (all Belgium), Belgrade, Portugal, Prague, Galiza, Italy, Brazil, UK, part of the Germany site, and the global Indymedia Radio site.

Comment: We have been warning about a coming clampdown on the Internet. It will come step-by-step with different tactics to keep people off guard. Some of them may masquerade as spam control. Others may appear as special services offered to paying customers that may one day permit them to restrict the access on the "public" Internet. Then there are the various backdoors available in Microsoft products. And, yes, they can outright seize servers as they did in this story.

This is not the first seizure of an ISP's computers or hard drives. What is curious about this seizure is that it occurred in the UK, which is not part of the United States as far as we are aware - even though Tony Blair would like to think so.

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France says report's bribe claims are bid to smear Chirac
By John Lichfield and Anne Penketh
The Independent
08 October 2004

Washington and London have been accused of a concerted effort to smear France in an attempt to distract from the main conclusions of America's official report on Iraq's non-existent weapons programmes.

A section of the 1,000-page report by the chief US weapons inspector in Iraq contains allegations about Baghdad's attempts to bribe and subvert French politicians in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq last year.

The war went ahead after France, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, threatened to veto military action, saying that more time was needed for the UN inspection effort, and fearing that war would destabilise the region.

The report does not suggest that such bribes were ever actually offered or accepted, but rather that Iraqi intelligence had told Saddam Hussein they had "targeted" France for treatment of this kind.

Efforts appeared to be under way yesterday to draw public attention away from the absence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq by suggesting that senior figures in France and Russia - which was also anti-war - may have been paid to support Saddam's regime. The ultra-nationalist Russian politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky, whose name is on the list, repeated his denial that he benefited from Saddam's bribes yesterday.

The report also partially repeats a list naming figures from all over the world - including a French oilman said to be close to the French President, Jacques Chirac - who received preferential treatment in the allocation of oil export licences.

However, unlike the first list published by the Iraqi newspaper al-Mada in January, which detailed the beneficiaries of a kickback scheme devised by Saddam, this one carries the official approval of the US authorities.

All the American names, and all but one of the UN names, have vanished. The names of US companies and individuals had been removed "because of US privacy laws". [...]

M. Pasqua, once a close associate of M. Chirac, has been a marginal figure in French politics, excluded from the President's inner councils for almost a decade. M. Maugein is an oil man who could legitimately have sought contracts under the oil-for-food programme with Iraq. Both men have previously denied taking any money from Iraqi oil export licences.

The report also says Iraqi intelligence identified "ministers and politicians, journalists, and business people" who could help Iraq in its prime goal of lifting the UN sanctions. The report also suggests that French businessmen were interested in sanctions-busting, saying that it had found evidence of procurement transactions that included "negotiations for possible WMD-related mobile laboratories".

The French government reacted angrily to the accusations in the Duelfer report yesterday. The allegations had already been denied by the individuals and companies concerned and the French government had no reason to believe that they were true, said the French foreign ministry spokesman Hervé Ladsous.

A senior official in the foreign ministry said that he thought that France was the victim of a clumsy smear campaign. "If there were French individuals who were involved in corrupt dealings with Iraq, they should be investigated," the official said. "But to suggest that there was a concerted bribing of French politicians is absurd. You only have to look at what is happening in Iraq every day of the week to see why there was no support for the war in France last year."

Comment: So, we have a report that, "...does not suggest that such bribes were ever actually offered or accepted, but rather that Iraqi intelligence had told Saddam Hussein they had 'targeted' France for treatment of this kind". In other words, there were no bribes. Rove and company are just up to their old tricks again, deflecting talk of the severe lack of WMD's in Iraq by playing the France-bashing card. Never mind that many Americans don't even know where France is located on the globe...

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Chirac warns of 'catastrophe' of world 'choked' by US values
HANOI, Oct 7 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac warned Thursday of a "catastrophe" for global diversity if the United States' cultural hegemony goes unchallenged.

Speaking at a French cultural centre in Hanoi ahead of Friday's opening of a summit of European and Asian leaders, Chirac said France was right to stand up for cultural and linguistic diversity.

The outspoken French president warned that the world's different cultures could be "choked" by US values.

This, he said, would lead to a "general world sub-culture" based around the English language, which would be "a real ecological catastrophe".

Citing Hollywood's stranglehold over the film industry as an example, Chirac stressed that only with government assistance could
countries maintain their cultural heritage.

Vietnam is a former French colony, but only around 375,000 of its 81 million people speak French. English is considered by most people a far more valuable and practical second language, particularly among businessmen.

Comment: McDonald's, Hollywood, music, graffiti. The best that America can produce and widely distributed around the world, softening up the rest of us to be thankful for US domination.

French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard quotes an American senator from the early part of the 20th century in his film In Praise of Love. The senator was discussing the importance of exporting US films around the world. "Films precede trade", said this man wise in the ways of the world.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. And so US cultural domination continues, while we are convinced that we go to American films because we want to.

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France steps up security after embassy blast
October 8, 2004

PARIS (AFP) - France announced it was stepping up security around embassies and other "sensitive sites" after the morning's bomb blast outside the Indonesian embassy which slightly injured 10 people.

"Protection of sensitive sites, notably diplomatic missions, will be reinforced," the interior ministry said.

Interior Minister Dominique de Villepin was earlier briefed by intelligence chiefs on the significance of the attack.

The bomb went off at around 5:00 am (0300GMT) in the exclusive Passy neighbourhood of the French capital, where several embassies are based. It broke windows and damaged several cars but caused no serious destruction.

Villepin described the blast as a "criminal act" but the authorities were keeping an open mind about a possible terrorist link. [...]

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Distrust of Muslims Common in U.S., Poll Finds

By Caryle Murphy
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 5, 2004; Page A02

One in four Americans holds a negative stereotype of Muslims, and almost one-third respond with a negative image when they hear the word "Muslim," according to a new national poll commissioned by a Washington-based Islamic advocacy group.

Officials with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which sponsored the survey, called the findings alarming. Although the organization was aware that hate crimes and discrimination against Muslims had increased since the 2001 terrorist attacks, "we did not know [anti-Islamic sentiment] was that deep," the council's executive director, Nihad Awad, said yesterday at a news conference.

He and other council officials urged that American Muslims increase their outreach and that U.S. officials speak out against anti-Islamic bias.

The violence in Iraq, including the beheadings of hostages by Muslim radicals, might be fueling the negative attitudes, Awad said.

The telephone poll of 1,000 Americans was conducted from June 23 to July 2 by Genesis Research Associates, a Southern California marketing firm.

When asked if they agreed with such statements as "Muslims teach their children to hate unbelievers" and "Muslims value life less than other people," between 26 percent and 29 percent of respondents said they did. Fifty-one percent said Islam encourages the oppression of women.

When respondents were asked what comes to mind when they hear the word Muslim, 32 percent responded with a negative image and 2 percent offered a positive image. The remaining 67 percent gave a neutral response, which CAIR officials called somewhat encouraging.

"We take comfort in this finding," said Awad, adding that "the majority of Americans are open-minded and receptive" to learning more about Islam.

Other hopeful results from the poll, council officials said, were that 64 percent said terrorists are misusing the teachings of Islam; 63 percent agreed that Muslims have family-oriented values; and 47 percent said Muslims have contributed to civilization. And 47 percent of the poll's participants said American Muslims are cooperating in the war on terror, with 21 percent disagreeing with that statement and the other respondents having no opinion.

But when asked whether Muslims are as active as they should be in condemning terrorism, 50 percent said no and 46 percent said yes.

The council's board chairman, Omar Ahmad, said that Muslims "have condemned 9/11, they have condemned every act of violence in the name of Islam." He noted that a petition condemning violence and posted on the council's Web site has garnered 700,000 online signatures.

Council officials also cited several projects they have begun to teach Americans about Islam, including a national ad campaign and a program to put books about Islam into all public libraries.

Ahmad said the organization commissioned the poll after its annual civil rights report in May counted more than 1,000 incidents of alleged harassment, violence and discrimination against American Muslims in 2003, an increase of 70 percent from 2002.

Among the poll's other findings:

- People younger than 45, African Americans and people with Muslim friends or colleagues generally had more favorable views about Islam than did other Americans.

- Those with the most negative attitudes tended to be white males who had no more than a high school education and who described themselves as conservative or Republican.

- Almost half of those polled (49 percent) disagreed with the statement that the war in Iraq was justified because Muslims attacked the United States on Sept. 11, 2001. Twenty-nine percent agreed with the statement, and 23 percent had no opinion.

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Arab, Muslim Americans Targeted Again
William Fisher

NEW YORK, Oct 4 (IPS) - Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are again contacting Arab and Muslim Americans for what they describe as "voluntary interviews," as the Bush administration launches a new anti-terrorism campaign designed to thwart efforts to disrupt the U.S. elections.

In conjunction with the FBI campaign, an agency of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is initiating a separate programme in major metropolitan areas that will target Arab communities prior to the Nov. 2 polls.

According to the 'Washington Post', the campaign will probably include rounding up and arresting hundreds of aliens from Middle Eastern and other countries known to be havens for terrorists.

Human rights groups see the initiatives as repeats of the massive sweeps carried out by the government immediately following the Sep. 11, 2001 attacks on New York's Twin Towers and the Pentagon, operations that reportedly netted more than 5,000 individuals.

The Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) says the DHS project "consists of a stepped-up effort to arrest a number of non-citizens whose immigration paperwork is 'out of status'."

The Washington, DC-based advocacy group says it is "troubled by the idea that immigration sweeps are being portrayed by the Bush administration as successes in the 'war on terror'."

"To date it is unclear whether the ICE initiative will be selectively carried out against only Arabs and Muslims," adds the ADC, repeating "its strong objection to any selective enforcement initiative that is based solely on race, national origin or religion."

In September, DHS Secretary Tom Ridge told reporters al-Qaeda is continuing to make plans to disrupt the election.

Attorney General John Ashcroft often uses high-profile press conferences to announce arrests for alleged terror-related crimes. But such events are rarely organised when these charges are dismissed or substantially reduced.

Numerous legal experts, and the websites of many human rights groups and Arab and Muslim-American organisations, have questioned the effectiveness of the government's approach to Arabs and Muslims.

Supporters of the measures, including President George W Bush, point out the United States has not been attacked since 9/11. Echoing a finding of the commission that recently completed an exhaustive probe of the attacks, Bush says the nation is "safer than it was before Sep. 11, though not yet safe."

The assertion has become a central pillar of the president's re-election campaign.

But how can the average U.S. citizen judge the effectiveness of the government's strategy to protect the homeland? One way is to examine the record.

Between Sep. 11, 2001 and Sep. 1, 2004, the Justice Department obtained one terror-related conviction. Two Moroccan immigrants were convicted in Detroit in June 2003 of being a "sleeper cell" for al-Qaeda, the terrorist group that carried out the 9/11 attacks, and of conspiring to provide material support to terrorists.

But the Detroit cases were deeply flawed by prosecutorial malfeasance and, on Sep. 2, 2004, after the defendants had spent more than three years in jail, their convictions were thrown out.

"Until that reversal," wrote civil liberties law authority David Cole, in 'The Nation' magazine, "the Detroit case had marked the only terrorist conviction obtained from the Justice Department's detention of more than 5,000 foreign nationals in anti-terrorism sweeps since 9/11."

"So (Attorney General John) Ashcroft's record is 0 for 5,000."

Cole, a law professor at Georgetown University, told IPS: "If the attorney general is 0 for 5,000 thus far in terms of actual terrorist convictions for those foreign nationals subjected to preventive detention after 9/11, it makes you wonder why he's now planning another roundup."

Little is known about most of the 5,000 detainees. The reason is that they were rounded up and held by what used to be the Immigration and Naturalisation Service, now part of the DHS.

As described by author Mark Dow in his book, 'American Gulag', the prisoners were locked up, many for extended periods, in INS jails -- America's most secret prison system. Some were eventually deported for visa violations -- not for terrorism -- and others were finally released. No one was ever charged with a terror-related crime.

The Justice's Department's inspector general, testifying recently before a congressional committee, confirmed that hundreds of non-nationals picked up in the post-Sep. 11 sweeps were deprived of basic human rights. Most of those detained were Muslim males of Middle Eastern or South Asian origin.

Organisations representing Arab and Muslim-Americans continue to object to what they claim is government harassment of members of their community.

The ADC says the government's action "constitutes selective enforcement of immigration laws based on national origin à racial profiling."

In a statement on its website the group said it "finds this form of collective intimidation of our community extremely curious a month before a hotly contested election (and) as an effort to divide communities and reinforce the fear that individuals already feel."

According to a poll conducted in September in four closely-contested states, Bush is gaining on Kerry in support from Arab-Americans, although the Democratic challenger still has the support of 49 percent of decided voters, versus 31.5 percent for Bush.

The ADC is also concerned "this initiative could be perceived by the community as intimidation to U.S. citizens (and) an inhibitor to voting, especially those newly registered to vote." It adds, "Measures to combat terrorism should not be confused with immigration law enforcement."

In a Sep. 30 statement the DHS's immigration and customs enforcement (ICE) division said it had been working at a "heightened level" for several months as part of an inter-agency programme that will continue until the presidential inauguration in 2005.

It added, "ICE is not conducting a 'round-up' or a 'sweep' in any community; ICE is not profiling based on race or religious affiliation; ICE is not instituting a blanket detention policy."

Just as some are questioning the legitimacy of the sweeps only one month prior to the vote, others have queried recent national terrorism alerts, particularly one issued the day after Democratic presidential challenger John Kerry was officially nominated to run against President George W Bush.

Many people in the Arab and Muslim-American community are already angry at the government's treatment of Yusuf Islam, the former pop singer Cat Stevens. Islam was removed from a plane bound for Washington from London last month when his name showed up on a government "watch list."

A DHS spokesman said Islam was denied admission to the United States "on national security grounds."

Advocacy groups are also upset by the recent treatment of two other well-known Muslims. Moderate Swiss Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan, named by 'Time' magazine as one of the 100 most likely innovators of the 21st century, was on his way to teach at Notre Dame University's International Peace Studies Institute when the DHS revoked his work visa under a provision of the USA Patriot Act.

Oregon lawyer and U.S. citizen Brandon Mayfield, a 37-year-old convert to Islam, was jailed for several weeks as a material witness because the FBI charged -- in error -- that his fingerprints were found on a backpack used in the Madrid train bombings in March. Mayfield got an apology from the Justice Department.

Meanwhile, federal, state and municipal law enforcement agencies are reporting record numbers of anti-Islamic hate crimes, including murders, beatings, arsons, attacks on mosques, shootings, vehicular assaults and verbal threats. The FBI reports that hate crime incidents rose 1,600 percent in the past year.

Nonetheless, FBI Director Robert Mueller says he is "vitally concerned that the rights of Arab Americans, Muslims and Sikhs be protected."

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Israeli experts in torture have taken part in the torture of the Iraqi prisoners in Abu Ghraib Jail

According to the Al-Manar report which was published on the first page of its edition number 673, The American forces killed 1400 Iraqi prisoner since they occupied Iraq and buried most of them in the desert, far away in the countryside. These prisoners died during torture sessions made by the torture teams, who cut parts of the prisoners bodies.

Al-Manar says that there are over 30,000 Iraqi prisoners spread in different American jails. There is 2100 women and girls among the prisoners, some of them are minors. All the women prisoners have passed through terrible torture sessions, some of them were raped.

Al-Manar points out that the torture instructions were sent in written to the jail guards and to the interrogators. The torture experts were following these instructions and this led to abuse of the the Iraqi prisoners. There torture team seriously harmed 37 children under the age of 13.

Al-Manars sources confirmed that there are Israeli experts of torture taking part in the torture of the Iraqi prisoners. The Israeli torture experts team has transferred to the country of Israel some of the Iraqi political prisoners and military officers to continue the investigation sessions there. Some of these prisoners have already died. The American torture teams add different kinds of inhuman torture in the Iraqi jails besides to the physical torture. They were forcing the prisoners to take different kinds of medicine during the torture session. The medical torture provoked serious symptoms on the prisoners health who had taken the medicine.

Al-Manar mentions that the officers in charge of torturing the detainees at the Iraqi prisons were sending daily reports for Washington with detailed information about the torture methods used at the Iraqi prisons. The reports mentioned that the Iraqi prisoners were also tortured in a prison in Qatar.

Al-Manar said that the American persons whose names have been spread in the news in relation to the now well-known scandal regarding torture of Iraqi prisoners were paid by other higher officers and political addresses in order to hide the real facts behind the torture of the Iraqis. There are high military and political officers involved in this case, but they are hiding behind the lower rank personnel.

Al-Manar sources ended the report saying that there are some American military personnel from the Intelligence and the military police who have more information about the torture in Iraq and who have written documents which were sent to President Georg Bush himself as well as to Pentagon and the military officers. These officers have disappeared. One of these officers was responsible for burying the Iraqi prisoners after their death.

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Israeli commandos and pilots conducting special operations in Iraq: sources – October 5, 2004 (MNA)

Israeli commandos played an active role in the occupying forces' attacks on Najaf, Sadr City, Tall'Afar, Mosul, Samarra, Falluja, and some areas in Tikrit, Ramadi, and Baqubah.

With the increased crackdown on the Iraqi people, the presence of Zionist forces has become more evident, to the extent that Israelis have taken over some military operations in Tall'Afar, Samarra, and Falluja, informed sources in Iraq, including two Iraqi National Guard officers, said.

One of these officers told the Mehr News Agency that Israeli commandos significantly increased their presence in Iraq after some Israeli jet pilots joined the occupying forces.

U.S. occupation troops have been using the experiences of these commandos in suppressing the Palestinian people, he added.

The Iraqi National Guard officer said the Zionist commandos are now stationed at the Baghdad airport, just south of Falluja, and in two palaces of toppled Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, adding that one of their headquarters came under missile attack last month.

He said the U.S. military is making serious efforts to prevent contact between the Israeli forces and members of the new Iraqi National Guard and police, even though these commandos may have contact with Baathist commanders who have taken over the security of Falluja.

According to certain reports, there are over 200 Zionist troops in Iraq dressed in U.S. Army uniforms and under the command of a fully-equipped intelligence network.

A short time ago, the head of Israeli military intelligence, General Aharon Zeevi, acknowledged that Tel Aviv should compensate the United States for the Iraqi quagmire.

Aharon even warned that the U.S. may put pressure on Israel to modify its policies toward the Palestinians because of the problems it is facing in Iraq.

The Zionist general admitted that the deeper the U.S. sinks in the Iraqi quagmire, the more Israel should pay.

After the occupation of Iraq, reports surfaced about the extensive activities of Israeli companies and Jewish organizations in Iraq, especially in the north of the country. The reports also said that the Jewish companies attempted to buy Iraqi land at high prices.

Even though these reports have been dismissed by Iraqi officials, some media outlets have occasionally published reports about the clandestine activities of the Israeli intelligence service Mossad and the active presence of Israeli companies in Iraq.

In addition, some time ago senior Israeli officials ordered the Mossad to provide a report on the country as the Iraqi crisis worsened. The intelligence service received help from Iraqi and other Middle Eastern experts and some research centers which have ties with the Israeli military and security services in compiling the report.

A single draft of the 40-page report has been delivered to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Some other organizations have received drafts of the report.

The report says that Israeli security and commercial companies have succeeded in earning great profits from the Iraqi market. It adds that Israel is preparing to insert specialized security groups into sensitive Iraqi centers with the consent of the Iraqi interim government.

The report argues that security and military cooperation with any side would be like opening a brilliant chapter of cooperation and diplomatic ties and would also be in the best interests of Israeli national security.

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Tornadoes kill 5 in Bangladesh
Last Updated Thu, 07 Oct 2004 17:54:11 EDT

DHAKA, BANGLADESH - A series of tornadoes ripped through parts of Bangladesh on Thursday, killing seven people and injuring hundreds more.

Five people died when the storm touched down on a field where a large number of Muslim devotees had gathered to pray.

The storm lasted just a few minutes but destroyed several houses and uprooted trees.

In southwestern Faridpur, one person died and 40 people were injured when a tornado hit the area. Another tornado in northwestern Bogra left one dead and 30 injured.

Meanwhile, five people died in heavy rains in the Indian city of Calcutta, when their homes collapsed. Parts of the city have been flooded, along with hundreds of villages.

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Lull on Mount St. Helens may not last for long
By Ian Ith, Hal Bernton and Christopher Schwarzen
Seattle Times staff reporters
Thursday, October 07, 2004

VANCOUVER, Wash. - Magma forcing its way to the top of Mount St. Helens has forced a bulge up to 100 feet higher since Tuesday, bringing the festering deformity as high or higher than the old lava dome inside the crater, scientists said this morning.

Despite that, and another belching of steam from vents in the crater about 9:30 a.m. today, the volcano danger warning level is still reduced. And scientists continue to say St. Helens is in for an extended period of fits and starts.

"We're going to see more of this; we're going to see more explosions," said Jake Lowenstern, a U.S. Geological Survey vulcanologist.

Earthquakes have picked up slightly since a lull Tuesday night, but they are still relatively minor, coming about one a minute and never rating more than a one on the Richter scale, Lowenstern said.

The supposition is that the majority of the thick rock barring the magma's rise in the crater has been broken up, so there's less rumbling as the magma moves up.

Nonetheless, the magma is still beneath the surface, though how deep is a matter of speculation. Some scientists think it could be right under the lava dome in the crater, while others think it could be more than several hundred meters down. None has oozed to the surface yet.

The alert level remains at 2, on a 3-point scale, meaning scientists don't believe lives or property is in immediate peril.

This morning Bruce Duffe, an engineer with the Army Corps of Engineers in Portland, reiterated that a sediment dam on the North Fork of the Toutle River would be sufficient to hold back the majority of mudflows that the volcano might generate and dissipate them so that the effect to downriver towns would be no worse than a typical winter flood.

Winds today are blowing to the northeast, so any ash that might puff out of St. Helens would again drift toward small timber towns in eastern Lewis County, where a tiny dusting of ash fell this week.

Meantime, Secretary of Agriculture Ann M. Veneman arrived at Mount St. Helens this morning and was planning to tour the volcano, then hold a news conference this evening.

It's not uncommon for volcanoes to cough to life, then pause a while, then cough to life again, scientists say.

"We still have a volcano in a period of unrest," said Rob Harper of the state Emergency Management agency.

The mountain calmed amid a major weather change, with as much as 3⁄4-inch of rain pouring into the crater Tuesday night, USGS officials said.

The rain helped trigger small lahars, or mudslides, overnight Tuesday that rolled north into Spirit Lake. The moisture also appeared to freshen the volcanic landscape north of the mountain with soft hues of green.

But even if the eruptions were to continue into the winter, melting snow, the scientists said they don't think lahars are a serious threat to communities in the shadow of the volcano.

The mountain is under continuous study by volcanologists, geologists, hydrologists, seismologists and other scientists who have years of collective experience tracking Mount St. Helens and other volcanoes around the world.

They say periods of quiet lasting days or weeks are not unusual as gas-rich magma works its way to the surface.

For example: Mount St. Helens' May 18, 1980, eruption, which claimed 57 lives, came after a drop in seismicity. The volcano first began rumbling nearly two months earlier, with a 4.1-magnitude earthquake, 10 times stronger than any quake in the last weeks.

The 1980 earthquakes continued until the last week of April, then subsided sharply. They started again May 8, according to Thom Corcoran, author of "Mount St. Helens: Story Behind the Scenery."

Scientists have consistently discounted the possibility that Mount St. Helens would erupt now with the ferocity of 1980. The volcano was a different mountain then. That eruption included an enormous landslide and a massive lateral blast that did much of the damage.

For now, scientists are reviewing two broad scenarios:

In one, magma would quietly ooze to the surface and rebuild the lava dome in the crater. In the other, the magma would trigger a substantial, explosive eruption, producing large ash clouds that could send dust over downwind communities.

Even with the lull, there is a sort of slot-machine psychology in play at Mount St. Helens and at the scientific command post in Vancouver, a feeling that the very second you stop watching, the next pull of the handle will bring on the jackpot.

Larry Mastin, a USGS scientist, said the thermal energy pent up inside the volcano makes him lean toward the explosive-eruption scenario.

"People should be prepared for an eruption, possibly without warning, in the next days or weeks ahead," he said.

But the question remains a topic of debate among scientists.

"There's vigorous discussion of which will occur," said Steve Malone a University of Washington seismologist. "We're having a good time guessing, but nobody is certain."

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Far from quiet at Mount St. Helens

MOUNT ST. HELENS, Wash. Scientists say swelling magma caused Mount St. Helens' crater floor to rise as much as 100 feet in the past couple of days, but that there's no need to raise the alert level.
One volcano expert says "the skids are greased" for the magma to flow easily, noting that earthquake rates are low.

But Jake Lowenstern says there's no way to know when the magma will reach the surface.

Experts say there's still an outside chance that a plume of ash might rise 15 miles into the air, but they say there's no indication that any eruption is imminent or that Mount St. Helens would threaten lives or property.

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Earthquake Activity Picking Up Again at Mount Saint Helens

The University of Washington says earthquake activity is starting to pick up again at Mount Saint Helens.

Activity reportedly dropped off after the volcano threw steam and ash Tuesday, causing scientists to lower the alert level to a level two.

However, the UW Seismology Lab in Seattle recorded a slight increase in earthquake activity Wednesday morning.

Scientists admit the volcano is restless and while they do think there will be an eruption they're not sure if it will happen in days, weeks or months.

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Temblors increase at Mexico's Volcano of Fire as lava eruptions continue
The Canadian Press
Updated at 22:06 on October 6, 2004, EST.
MEXICO CITY (AP) - Western Mexico's Volcano of Fire showed increased seismic activity Wednesday, as swarms of small temblors accompanied continued eruptions of thick, block-like lava, vapour and ash.

"There has been a marked increase in seismic activity Wednesday in comparison with previous days," according to a statement by the civil defence department of the state of Jalisco, which borders the volcano.

The peak, also known as the Colima volcano, sprang back to life Sept. 29, when it unleashed a towering column of smoke and ash, as ropes of burning orange lava poured out from its 3,820-metre peak.

A light coating of ash dusted nearby communities that are home to about 600 people in the first eruptions, but authorities said there was no immediate danger to nearby towns.

Over the past three days, there have been about 32 eruptions that tossed material at least 400 metres into the air, but the ash and lava "does not at present pose a risk to the inhabitants of nearby communities," according to the statement.

The volcano straddles the border of Colima and Jalisco states, 480 kilometres west of Mexico City.

A major Volcano of Fire eruption in 1999 sent glowing rock five kilometres down its slopes and fired a plume of ash more than eight kilometres high.

In 1913, an explosion created a crater 500 metres deep, blasted fast-moving flows of hot ash down the volcano's slopes and rained ash on Guadalajara, 120 kilometres to the north.

Vulcanologists consider the Colima volcano to be one of the most active and potentially the most destructive of the volcanoes in central Mexico.

It has erupted violently dozens of times since its first recorded eruption in 1560.

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Magnitude 6.8 Earthquake - SOLOMON ISLANDS
2004 October 8 08:27:53 UTC

A strong earthquake occurred at 08:27:53 (UTC) on Friday, October 8, 2004. The magnitude 6.8 event has been located in the SOLOMON ISLANDS. (This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.)

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Strong earthquake hits northern Japan
10/7/2004, 7:33 p.m. ET
The Associated Press
TOKYO (AP) — A strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.1 shook northern Japan early Friday. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

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Earthquake Rattles Aegean Sea Island
New Scotsman

A strong earthquake shook the central Aegean Sea island of Astipalea early today, but did not cause any damage or injuries.

The quake had a preliminary magnitude of 5.2 and struck at 4.02am (0102 GMT), said the Athens Geodynamic Institute.

Its epicentre was located on the seabed near the island of Astipalea, about 190 miles east of Athens.

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Earthquake jolts southern Iran
Thursday, October 07, 2004

LONDON, Oct 7 ( IranMania) - An earthquake measuring 5.2 on the open-ended Richter scale on Wednesday hit the far southeastern Iranian town of Jiroft, but there were no immediate reports of casualties or serious material damage, according to AFP.

"We have no reports of damage or victims, but the quake was felt in Kerman," situated 240 kilometers (145 miles) to the north, Kerman province's natural disasters office director Mohsen Salehi told the state news agency.

Jiroft has a population of 208,000, and is situated not far south of the city of Bam -- devastated in a quake in December 2003 that killed 31,000 people.

Iran is criss-crossed by seismological faults, and tremors and quakes are an almost daily occurrence.

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Earthquake jolts Philippines
Friday, October 8, 2004 Posted: 1503 GMT (2303 HKT)

MANILA, Philippines (AP) -- A major earthquake shook Manila on Friday night, sending high rises swaying, knocking out power to some areas and sending frightened residents into the streets. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

The shaking lasted for more than a minute and was felt in provinces north of Manila on the main Philippine island of Luzon.

The Philippines is along the so-called Pacific "Ring of Fire," where earthquakes and volcanic activity are common. A magnitude 6.2 quake shook Manila and surrounding areas of Luzon three weeks ago.

A magnitude 7.7 earthquake in 1990 killed nearly 2,000 people on Luzon.

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Thessaloniki, 8 October 2004 (15:46 UTC 2)
A strong earthquake measuring 5 on the Richter scale was recorded in FYROM close to the city of Bitola and was felt in Greece's border regions of Florina, Kastoria and Pella. No damages were recorded.

According to Thessaloniki's Aristotle University Geophysics Laboratory, the earthquake was recorded at 3:47 am this morning and its epicenter was located 154 kilometers northwest of Thessaloniki.

Aristotle University Seismologist Manolis Skordilis stated that the region north of Bitola, where the earthquake's epicenter was located, has no high seismic activity and underlined that two days will have to pass before reaching any conclusions.

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Going over the wall on the moon
Oct. 7, 2004 12:00 AM

Today's question:

Is there a magnetic north pole on the moon? If a prisoner in a lunar jail got over the walls, could he find his way south of the border using a compass?

This question has a number of interesting points to it. First of all, the south-of-the-border thing. On the moon? South of what border? Second, the question itself is kind of interesting. Third, it turns out that it is from a prisoner, although not one from a lunar prison.

It's from some guy locked up down in Florence. He didn't say why he's locked up. I bet I don't want to know. Anyway, I guess he's got plenty of time on his hands to wonder about stuff like the moon's magnetic fields.

OK, here's the deal: The moon does not have a global magnetic field the way we do here on Earth, so a compass wouldn't do you much good.

It's possible that the moon once did have a global magnetic field when it still had a liquid core and was spinning enough to get that magnetism thing going.

However, that was probably about 3.6 billion years ago, and eventually the core solidified or froze up or whatever, and that was the end of that. Try not to worry about it.

This is not to say the moon doesn't have any magnetic fields at all, it's just that they aren't like ours.

It has at least a couple of fairly big magnetic fields, maybe as large as 100 square miles or so. They are anti- podal to a couple of the moon's largest craters. Antipodal means they are on the opposite side of the moon from the craters. One theory holds that these antipodal magnetic fields were created by something called shock magnetization.

When you take a rock and whack it with a hammer or a whopping great meteor, it loses its magnetic field and takes on the field of the stuff around it. This gets a little complicated and involves huge clouds of debris and lots of heat and ionized plasma and so on and so forth, but they think that's what created the magnetic fields, shock magnetization.

So on Earth, our global magnetic field creates a magnetosphere that protects us from nasty old solar winds. On the moon, this obviously isn't the case, which is why if you have your druthers, you don't want to get sentenced to prison on the moon.

However, parts of the magnetic fields the moon does have are strong enough to deflect solar winds, which is good to know, I suppose, but offhand I can't think why.

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Arctic ice melting more quickly
CBC News
Last Updated Thu, 07 Oct 2004 20:54:37 EDT
BOULDER, COLO. - Sea ice in the Arctic is melting at an increasing rate, researchers at the University of Colorado say.

Satellite information shows the ice coverage was 13.4 per cent below its average in September, the university's National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) said.

"This is the third year in a row with extreme ice losses, pointing to an acceleration of the downward trend," NSIDC's Walt Meier said.

The ice loss is roughly equal to the area of Ontario.

The decline in 2003 was 12 per cent. The long-term average is eight per cent.

Global warming may be to blame, although natural shifts in the climate are probably contributing to the melting, the researchers said.

Antarctic warming?

Another U.S. study suggests it will soon be the Antarctic's turn.

While the climate there has been cooling for 30 years, the trend is likely to rapidly reverse, researchers from NASA's Godard Institute of Space Studies concluded.

The prediction, based on a model, matched observations, they said.

While there are factors that are working against melting, "global warming is expected to dominate in future trends," said researcher Drew Shindell.

Georgiy Mamedov visited Manitoba to push for a shipping route between Murmansk and the port of Churchill on Hudson Bay.

"I think it has huge potential," he said.

While the route is covered by ice eight months of the year, the shipping season is a week longer than it used to be.

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'Dancing elephants' help chart prehistoric Canada
CBC News
Last Updated Thu, 07 Oct 2004 12:13:11 EDT
MONTREAL - Imagine an ocean on the Prairies and mountains higher than the Himalayas in Ontario.

That's part of the picture unveiled by Lithoprobe, a 20-year examination of Canada's ancient geological history. Named for the probe of the lithosphere (the earth's outer shell) the project used 20-tonne trucks dubbed "dancing elephants" to generate some of its data.

Since 1984, more than 800 university, government and industry scientists have been examining the movements of ancient continents, oceans and islands, piercing together the evidence to draw a map of Canada's origins.

They call it "Canada's basement," a view of the country 80 kilometres deep and 6,000 wide.

"Underneath the surface of Alberta, we found a subsurface mountain range," said Dr. Ron Clowes, Lithoprobe's head and a professor of earth and ocean sciences at the University of British Columbia.

Even more spectacular, "There was once an ocean ... on the scale of the current Pacific" under modern day Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Often working in groups of four, the dancing elephants – more properly called vibroseis trucks – created seismic waves by co-ordinated bouncing on a pad. The waves are reflected back from the earth, but the reflections vary, depending on what the waves hit.

The reflected waves are then recorded, producing data and charts.

The information is already being used by mining companies to explore for minerals, and is providing data on the process that might lead the volcano in Mount St. Helens, Wash., to erupt.

Comment: Most geologists would have us believe that these changes happened gradually: the tectonic plates shifted, pushing into one another, forming continents, oceans, and mountain ranges. Can you imagine the Rockies or the Alps being formed through the gradual pushing together of tectonic plates? An inch a year during 40,000 years? Only then to wear down over the next 40,000 years?

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38 dead, hundreds hurt as torrential rains pound Bangladesh, India
October 8, 2004

GUWAHATI (AFP) - At least 38 people have died and hundreds have been injured as torrential rains lash parts of Bangladesh and India, inundating large towns and forcing thousands to flee their homes, officials said.

Eleven people died in landslides in Guwahati, taking the overnight death toll to 18 in the northeastern Indian city, officials reported on Friday.

Witnesses said cars and homes were submerged by the worst deluge in a decade in Assam's biggest city.

Guwahati residents took to makeshift bamboo rafts, an AFP reporter said from his flooded office in the town.

In neighbouring Bangladesh, at least 11 people died and hundreds more were injured by a series of tornadoes that ripped through towns and villages on Thursday, officials said.

Eight people were killed when a whirlwind crashed into a field where a large number of Muslims had gathered to pray in central Bangladesh on Thursday, a police official said. Eight of the injured were in serious condition.

In the eastern Indian city of Calcutta, which also adjoins Bangladesh, rains caused by a low pressure in the Bay of Bengal, have claimed nine lives since Thursday, officials said.

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Heavy rains flood Istanbul, paralyse traffic
Thu Oct 7, 1:30 PM ET

ISTANBUL (AFP) - Heavy rainstorms flooded roads and homes and paralysed traffic in Istanbul, but there were no immediate reports of deaths or injuries, rescue officials said.

Five schools were closed in the worst-hit area of Alibeykoy, a low-lying neighborhood on the European side of this city that spans two continents, while dozens of kilometers (miles) of jams halted traffic on the beltway and the two bridges linking Europe and Asia.

"More than 30 kilos (eight gallons) of rain per square meter (10.8 sq feet) fell on Istanbul over the past few hours, peaking at 100 kilos (26 gallons) in some areas," Cengiz Ozturk, a spokesman for the city's Disaster Coordination Center, told AFP.

"Traffic is paralysed, there are lots of accidents, cellars and ground floors are flooded, but we have no reports of dead or missing," he said.

By midday, firemen in this sprawling city of 12 million had been called on more than 600 times, Ozturk said, while media reports, quoting firemen, said flood waters had reached heights of more than 1.5 meter (five feet) in some areas.

The main road was inundated in the leafy Bosphorus suburb of Istinye where the Istanbul Stock Market is located on the European side of the city and flood waters mixed with waste gushed out of sewage holes.

Istanbul's notoriously inadequate sewage system quickly overflows with almost every heavy rain, and most of the damage occurs in low-lying neighborhoods with almost non-existant infrastructure that mushroom around the city as a result of uncontrolled urbanization.

Heavy rains in August, said to be the worst in decades, had again flooded Alibeykoy, where Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbas had pledged to expropriate property and move people to safer areas, but action has yet to be taken.

Dozens of houses and workplaces were isolated by flood waters in Beykoz, on the Asian shore, and firemen came to the rescue of a stranded school bus, the Anatolia news agency reported.

Two subway stations were evacuated and there were power cuts in some areas, city officials said.

Ironically, the downpour, which began around midnight (2100 GMT) Wednesday and is expected to last for three more days, according to the weather department, came after a 40-hour cut in the water supply in wide swathes of the city's European side.

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Typhoon cancels Japanese GP qualifying until Sunday
October 8, 2004

SUZUKA, Japan - The qualifying sessions for the Japanese Grand Prix were cancelled and moved to Sunday because of the threat of a typhoon scheduled to hit the Suzuka track.

Typhoon Ma-on is due to hit the region at 9:00 am local time (0000 GMT) on Saturday and officials have decided to close the track because of concerns over possible winds of up to 200km/h. [...]

The typhoon, which is yet to hit land, has intensified in strength to a super typhoon but it is understood that once it has passed through the weather will improve significantly. [...]

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AT&T to Cut About 7,400 Jobs
By Justin Hyde
October 7, 2004

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - AT&T Corp. will cut another 7,400 jobs and reduce the value of its assets by $11.4 billion, spurred by its retreat from traditional consumer telephone services, the company said on Thursday.

The company said the new job cuts, which raises its total cuts to 20 percent of its work force this year, and other cost measures would boost operating profits in the second half of the year.

The moves are part of efforts by the third-largest U.S. telephone company to shift its focus to business services and cut costs amid a price war for long-distance telephone services and increasing competition from the dominant U.S. local telephone companies. [...]

Comment: If the economy is improving, why the layoffs?

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Bank of America to Cut 4,500 More Jobs
October 7, 2004

NEW YORK - Bank of America Corp. will cut an additional 4,500 jobs from its ranks, increasing the number of jobs lost since its FleetBoston Financial acquisition by 36 percent to 17,000.

The extra job cuts will begin this month as it simplifies operations, the No. 3 U.S. bank said on Thursday.

Bank of America expects severance costs of $150 million over the next three quarters beginning with the third quarter of 2004.

The Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank, which currently employees 178,000 people, said the cuts will occur across the company but primarily in support positions.

"The primary driver of head count reductions was the consolidation of divisions," said Jeffery Harte, an analyst with Chicago-based Sandler O'Neill & Partners L.P. "What they really did was find additional cost savings, and the bottom line is improved efficiencies are a good thing." [...]

Comment: Whether or not you still have a job, it appears that oil won't be getting any cheaper in the near future...

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Oil Hits $53 on Winter Worries, Nigeria
By Barbara Lewis
Thu Oct 7, 3:29 PM ET

LONDON - Oil prices scaled new heights at $53 for U.S. crude Thursday on concerns over tight winter heating fuel supplies and an unexpected strike at Nigerian oil terminals.

U.S. light crude set a record at $53 a barrel -- marking a surge of $20, or more than 60 percent, this year -- before settling at $52.67 for a gain of 65 cents. London crude also struck a new peak, at $49.20 a barrel, before ending at $48.90 a barrel, up 91 cents.

"Where it ends, who knows?" said Jan Stuart, an analyst with Fimat USA. "What's going to happen when the winter hits? I'd say we have a better than fifty-fifty chance of hitting $60 by year end." [...]

Comment: The economic noose is tightening, while the draft has been placed on the back burner - at least until after the election.

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And Finally...

Orgies are the way to ease social tensions, claims US judge

Oliver Burkeman in New York
Friday October 1, 2004
The Guardian

He is the conservative bastion of the US supreme court, a favourite of President Bush, and a hunting partner of the vice-president. He has argued vociferously against abortion rights, and in favour of anti-sodomy laws.

But it turns out that there is another side to Justice Antonin Scalia: he thinks Americans ought to be having more orgies.

Challenged about his views on sexual morality, Justice Scalia surprised his audience at Harvard University, telling them: "I even take the position that sexual orgies eliminate social tensions and ought to be encouraged."

Comment: So, folks, remember that the next time the Supreme Court elects the President for you or makes another ruling infringing upon your freedoms. The cure for your depression? You have it here from the horse's mouth.

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