Thursday, October 14, 2004
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©2004 Pierre-Paul Feyte

911Truth.org and SeptemberEleventh.org

Dennis Bernstein, host of KPFA's Flashpoints has begun a two-week series to support rigorous inquiry into the truth about the events of 9/11. Flashpoints is a respected progressive political radio show that is broadcast in the San Francisco Bay Area (94.1 FM, 5-6 pm), New York, Washington D. C., Houston, Los Angeles, and Fresno through Pacifica radio. All shows are available on the web at:

http://www.flashpoints.net

Over the next two weeks, Bernstein will feature a variety of leading researchers, authors, and activists who are addressing the suspicious lines of evidence that strongly suggest government complicity in facilitating the attacks of September 11th.

On Monday, the first day of the series, 911 Citizen's Watch founder and 911Truth.org board member Kyle Hence introduced material from the 911 Citizens' Commission, which gathered prominent leaders in New York on September 9th, 2004 to examine this evidence and give testimony. It was chaired by former congresswoman Cynthia McKinney. (A full 198-page PDF transcript is available at http://www.911truth.org/media/september-hearings.pdf .

In the course of the broadcast, Bernstein referred to the Kean Commission explicitly as a "cover-up commission" or at best a "limited hangout to suppress crucial information." He and Hence discussed the importance of FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds, who Bernstein noted had "been essentially silenced by the government." The show featured an extensive segment from Los Angeles investigator Mike Ruppert naming Dick Cheney as a prime suspect in facilitating the 9/11 attacks, based on many strands of evidence. Ruppert is the author of the recently released Crossing the Rubicon, which meticulously chronicles the motive, means and opportunity for government complicity in 9/11.

We encourage you to listen and forward this information to skeptical friends and allies. It is important that this material be addressed publicly, honestly, and rigorously before the November 2nd elections. We also encourage you to support Flashpoints and KPFA during their fundraising drive. Donation premiums include David Ray Griffin's New Pearl Harbor and a 3 DVD set from the NYC 9/11 Citizens' Commission.

Thanks and keep up your great work in getting the word out! Our work is starting to pay dividends.

Comment: It is important to get people asking questions about the true history of 911. Different groups offer different explanations, but each and every person on this planet should come to their own conclusions about the matter.

Don't accept anyone's take on this matter just because you consider them an authority, be it Bush or Cheney, 911Truth.org, Mike Ruppert or Daniel Hopsicker, John Kaminski, or even Signs of the Times.

Do your own homework.

Make up your own mind.

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Bush and Kerry clash on domestic policy

· President attacks 'far left' challenger
· Health and security top agenda
· Kerry targets women voters

Dan Glaister in Tempe, Arizona
Thursday October 14, 2004
[...] Attempting to paint his opponent as a liberal who is out of step with ordinary Americans Mr Bush said: "There's a mainstream of American politics and you sit right on the far left bank."

Comment: Yeah, Kerry is a real extremist! He comes from that extreme left nucleus in the Skull and Bones!

The unfortunate thing is that millions of Americans are going to believe Bush. They do believe that Kerry is an extremist, as if the Democratic Party itself is extreme. This is the Big Lie of American politics. It get repeated over and over again. A recent interview republished on these pages from Salon with E. Howard Hunt was another example. Hunt said he quit the CIA because there were too many Democrats! So the myth is maintained that there are important differences between the two parties when they are both sold out to corporate interests and are engaged in a game of good cop/ bad cop where the American people are treated like criminals.

One only has to step out of the United States to see the rank absurdity of the idea that there are extreme differences between the two parties.

Not that stepping out of the US is something that most Americans are ever likely to do.

After all, the American right-wing considers Canada a dangerous haven of socialism!

In France there are many different political parties, from Jean-Marie Le Pen's neo-fascist National Front on the extreme right to a Trotskyite party on the extreme left. Comfortably in the middle, there are still several parties, Chirac's UMP, the centrist UDP, and the centre-left Parti Socialiste. In France, the socialists are centre-left!

We have used this analogy before, but since it so well describes the vacuity of political discourse in the US, we'll repeat it. Imagine a rainbow, with its full spectrum of colours. There are millions of shades, as you can see using any computer graphics program. Now imagine that out of all of those colours, you chose two shades of blue, not very far apart, say a deep blue, and then a deep blue with just a touch of purple.

There you have American politics, two shades of blue calling each other names while the rest of the colours stand around and think, are these colours crazy? What about the difference between yellow and deep blue? Or hot pink and deep blue? Unfortunately, people who have never seen hot pink, or who have been told that hot pink is anti-American and so they never look at that part of the rainbow, will indeed focus all of their attention on the ever-so-slight differences between a deep blue and the deep blue with that touch of purple.

For a True Believer, those little nuances are very important. They are the lines of demarcation between sects, the slight differences that make each of these individuals who they are, that is, that give them their sense of identification with their group. Differences of colour are seen as stains, impurities in the pristine character of their belief.

American politics is not a democratic political system where ideas contend in a public space, and where the parties attempt to work towards a consensus that will benefit the whole; it is a belief system where one side wishes to impose its views upon the other. Rather than encourage popular participation in a meaningful way, the entire system is designed to alienate the voter, to make them believe either that it isn't worth the bother to participate because they can't change anything, or that it is all too complicated and it is better to let George or John decide for us. The idea that they are caught in a false dichotomy set up to keep them entrapped is out of the range of their thinking abilities. So the name calling continues between Tweedledum and Tweedledee while the house burns down around them all.

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Forwarded from a reader

Today I received via e-mail what follows, forwarded from an
acquaintance. Originally, it was intended to be a witty and pithy
commentary on His Smugness by some blogger. Actually, it's not
abundantly witty, but pith it does possess, in abundance. So I
thought I'd share it here.

"I've been avidly watching the presidential debates this year. The first debate had Kerry sticking to his facts and Bush kind of doing okay but then failing all over the place during the second half. The second one had Bush coming back stronger (duh!) and Kerry sticking to the same routine but also getting a little brainy. All through it, a lot of my friends (mostly Bush-haters) were always pointing out, first and foremost, certain verbal and personality quirks that George W. Bush possesses in public. Every time I hear someone laughingly talk about how Bush is a 'moron' in front of a camera, I'm kind of like, I dunno, don't they realize every time Bush says 'internets' on national TV (like he did in the second debate) without flinching that the collective eyeballs of his support base roll back into their heads in ecstasy? No, I mean real ecstasy - they feel as if they're hearing the very word of God.

"These subtle verbal red flags have neutron bomb powers within their respective zones, and act as decoys for those un-hip to their semiotics, which signify unspoken rules. Bush saying 'I've been hearing rumors on the internets...' or bobbing his head every which way in confusion during press conferences sends a POWERFUL message to his base supporters. In their eyes, it says that Bush is a very real person, a simple man, with good, homespun values. He's lost in the 'Hollyweird' world of media politics, even perhaps a little worn from it, but he's gonna keep trudging on despite how foolish he may look because 'those people's' rules are irrelevant to the big picture. Its kind of an underdog thing, like in a 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington' way, but with more limos.

"When Bush said 'internets' there was a pause before he said it, as if he was actually having to collect his thoughts to be able to pronounce it correctly (a lie -- he knows it by heart) and then the word was delivered slightly slow, and pronounced with a subtle up- turn in pitch, like at the end of a question, as if he was actually asking those listening if they knew if he were pronouncing it correctly. Every Bush supporter tuned in to those debates screamed in orgasmic delirium and maybe even passed out with sheer delight like those clips from the audience at the Ed Sullivan Show for The Beatles. It's true.

"I grew up in Southern Baptist circles in Dallas, Texas for most of my formative years. Many of the adults I was around (at church mainly - duh!) exhibited these characteristics. It's all an act, but it's a social grace that is expected within the clan. They pronounce certain words with a feigned apprehension and a touch of phony ignorance. These are words that represent NEW objects, places, technologies or social concepts that have not been fully integrated into traditional society for at least a couple of decades, but are nevertheless obviously very popular in the society at large, and that the speaker is aware of. It's a romantic unfamiliarity communicated with verbal cues. It is feigned ignorance that moves one upwards in those particular social circles. Weirdly, it's mostly the men who do it. Southern Christian women can get away with saying new fangled words representing things not fully accepted by family values- preaching subcultures. They can just blurt out, without pause, 'new hat' or 'microwave' or 'aloe vera' without pause. Women can get away with it because the traditional rules of femininity within that realm gives a green light to becoming familiar with new things quickly, and even talking about them enthusiastically. But for a man in those circles to say a word like 'internet' with brisk ease, and no pause to collect his thoughts, is to seal the doom of his reputation among his peers.

"Remember how everyone was mocking that Republican publicity campaign to change the words 'French Fries' to 'freedom fries' in response to France's refusal to support the U.S. position on Iraq during 2003? Everyone was all 'Haw! Haw! Can you believe the stupidity!' and loudly and proudly pointing out how truly laughable the whole thing was because the actual dish came from Belgium and really had nothing to do with France. The name 'French Fries' was just developed over time due to complex linguistic paths it took throughout American history. A correct rebuttal, but a total misfire. These people were impervious to that accusation. To counter-attack with such bookish brainy-ness was to only strengthen the original plan. In fact, whether they knew it at the time or not, upon learning this fact, it no doubt made their resolve that much stronger, and their proud smiles that much wider. To be familiar with how French Fries got their name, or that they were invented in Belgium, would be very bad. To be unfamiliar with culinary history would be very good. My bet is that many of them knew all along.

"Remember the first time you heard 'shock and awe' uttered from a Republican's totally serious, without-irony face on television? Remember how you instantly understood what they were trying to convey, but you were thrilled and delightfully 'baffled' at how stupid-sounding and clueless and parody-proof the whole grouping of words was? It sure did sound stupid, didn't it?

"Not that they're plotting and scheming -- far from it. These thought processes are automatic. Laugh at Bush all you want, but don't mis-interpret his verbal flubs as mistakes. They're effects. Trust me."

Comment: We received the above message from a reader today. It demonstrates how Bush is able to communicate with his Christian audience through subtle signals masked as fumbling for words. We follow with two other articles that look at how Bush speaks in code to his Christian fundamentalist base.

Speaking in code allows Bush to connect with his audience while hiding the true content of his politics. Therefore, there are no sound bytes available to play on the news depicting how reactionary and religion-based his political programme really is.

Click here to comment on this article


Warm-up speakers take heat off Bush
By Ken Herman
Cox News Service
Saturday, September 04, 2004

COLUMBUS, Ohio — As he revs up the crowds at his rallies, President Bush speaks in something of an insiders' code, using the coolest of phrases for some of the hottest of issues.

But speakers brought in to warm up the crowd are nowhere near as reluctant to talk about core conservative issues in core conservative terms.

It's a tactic that allows the Bush base voters to leave the events having heard the message they want to hear, but it inoculates Bush against having to serve up the kinds of quotes Democrats covet for their effort to paint Bush as far right of the moderate mainstream.

Bush, for example, never uses the word abortion, but draws enthusiastic applause from voters opposed to abortion rights when he uses phrases like "culture of life."

He steers clear of direct mention of his belief that marriage is for a man and a woman, but anti-gay marriage crowds cheer wildly when he says, as he did in West Virginia last week, "We stand for institutions like marriage and family, which are the foundations of society."

Bush speaks in low-key tones about his belief that government money should flow to faith-based programs but never comes close to offering testimony about his deep religious faith.

The crowds, through their cheers and ovations, always seem to know what he is talking about.

And that has a lot to do with the straight-up talk on conservative issues offered up by speakers, many of whom appear long before Bush arrives, brought in to warm up crowds that often wait hours to see the president.

Be it local personality or area clergy, there is frequently somebody to talk about issues such as abortion, gay marriage, school prayer and keeping "under God" in the pledge of allegiance.

In Columbus, Ohio last week, former NFL linebacker Chris Spielman excited a crowd of more than 18,000 by praising Bush for working against abortion rights.

"We have a practice in this country that is basically the slaughter of innocent children," Spielman said.

He also drew cheers by calling for prayer rooms in public schools.

"See I don't want to send my kids to school and if they mention the name Jesus they're suspended or taken to court," he said.

The crowd also roared when Spielman talked about the proselytizing potential of Bush's faith-based initiatives, a concept the president never mentions.

"There's people afraid that we are going to impose our Christianity," Spielman said of foes of the plan. "It is not our job to impose, but it is our job to expose people to the truth and they have the free will and the right to make up their own mind."

The separation of church and state, Spielman told the crowd, "was created for the state to stay out of the church, not the church to stay out of the state."

Before Spielman spoke, Pastor John Hays of Columbus drew applause for an invocation that thanked God "for a president who understands that the basic building block of our society is the home and the strength of the home is reflected in the strength of a marriage between one man and one woman."

The pattern of warm-up speakers invoking words and tones Bush never does repeats itself along the campaign trail.

In West Virginia last Sunday, Mike Ingole's speech had a small-town hockey arena crowd screaming as if the hometown Wheeling Nailers had just scored an overtime goal to clinch the East Coast Hockey League championship.

Ingole said he was speaking as a man of three hats, a father and husband, a steelworker and a pastor at the Jubilee Christian Fellowship in East Liverpool, Ohio. He drew cheers for praising Bush's efforts on behalf of families and steelworkers. But the reaction was loudest and longest when Ingole talked religion.

"I'm glad we have a president who is not afraid to speak about his faith," Ingole said. "He doesn't put it on the shelf. He doesn't add it to his resume when it politically benefits him, but he is a true believer in Jesus Christ."

Similar comments about Bush's faith drew a major ovation from a crowd that baked in the hot sun at a Hedgesville, W. Va. high school football stadium last month.

In Wheeling, Ingole said he knew Bush was his man when the then-governor, during a debate early in the 2000 primary season, identified Jesus Christ as the most influential person in his life, a comment Bush never chooses to make at political rallies.

"We know when he is in the White House that he stands for morality and righteousness," Ingole said, drawing applause. "And we know we've had too much of the other."

Ingole also offered a more direct approach that Bush does concerning same-sex marriage.

"Our family is under attack in this country and I praise God for him today that he is able to stand and say the things he believes," Ingole said.

In suburban Detroit last week, as Bush campaigned toward the Republican National Convention, the warm-up speech came from John Kruse, executive director of Michigan Catholic Radio, who praised Bush for "leading the way to protect the most innocent among us, the unborn," a line that drew thunderous applause.

"President Bush is fighting not only to protect the most innocent among us, the unborn, but also fighting against the terrible idea of euthanasia and the terrible idea of experimenting on stem cell research," Kruse said, telling the crowd that science has determined "there's other directions to go in that are much more ethical."

"And we should also be fighting to protect marriage between one man and one woman," Kruse said, again

getting the crowd to erupt.

After the pledge, he noted that many in the crowd emphasized the words "under God" and assured them Bush would fight to keep them in the pledge.

Bush, sticking with the stump-speech game plan, made no mention of the pledge, talked more about the tax implications of marriage than about who should be allowed to get married, never mentioned abortion but came out for "the culture of life in America, where every person counts and every person matters."

Instead, he opened with the reliable local-reference approach.

"Laura and I are thrilled to be here, home of the WNBA champs. It's the home of the NBA champs," he said, drawing applause. "More importantly, it's the home of really decent people."

By then, the really decent people – thanks to the warm-up speech – already had heard what they wanted to hear about Bush's position on social issues that can divide an electorate.

The president was free to give the issues the once-over lightly approach without running the risk of sending his conservative base home disappointed about not hearing anything about those topics.

And it left Democrats without the kind of Bush quotes they covet as they try to make the case that he is far to the right of mainstream America.

The Bush campaign suggests that this is not deliberate.

"We invite local officials from the areas that the president visits to speak in the pre-program and every

elected official has their own style," said campaign spokesman Scott Stanzel.

Stanzel said that also applies to speakers who are not elected officials.

"All of these people are supporters of the president and have their own view and their own style," he said.

Kruse said he understood the difference between his role and that of the president.

"He is speaking to a much broader audience than the person warming up the crowd," said Kruse.

"He is going to craft the message a little more carefully than some big-mouth guy like me," he said.

Comment: It is amazing. All Bush has to do is speak this coded language, mention Jesus or talk about his "belief", and the Christians who listen to him believe he "stands for morality and righteousness"., the morality of abandoning international law to go it alone and the righteousness of lying to his citizens and the rest of the world about the dangers of Saddam.

But rational arguments are not going to win over people who are blinded by belief. Bush's identity is invested in his so-called Christian beliefs, not that they have anything to do with the words of Jesus as passed down through the New Testament.

Not all Christians buy into Bush's rhetoric, as the next piece shows.

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Bush's Speeches Employ Crafted Christian Code Words
Posted on Sunday, October 03 @ 22:47:16 MST by Archie
We [at Cutting Edge Ministries] may have a portion of the oft-asked question by Cutting Edge subscribers as to why so many Evangelical Christians are so terribly and stubbornly deceived about whether President Bush is a genuine Christian.

A Chicago University professor has discovered that President Bush uses "Christian code words" which stimulate the minds of the Christian in a manner almost subliminal. The result is that many millions of Christians are almost invisibly drawn to supporting the President because his art of speaking has led them to believe he is genuinely Born Again.

NEWS BRIEF: "Words matter: How Bush speaks in religious code", By Bruce Lincoln, Boston Globe, September 12, 2004

"George W. Bush believes God has called him to be president. You won't hear him say so openly, of course, but he regularly conveys this to a core constituency -- the religious right ... But he has also been careful. Aware that he must appeal to the center to secure reelection, he employs double-coded signals that veil much of his religious message from outsiders. Biblical references, allusions to hymns, and specialized vocabulary are keys to this communication ..."

For generations, practitioners of the "Occult Sciences" have been taught sophisticated mind control techniques by which they could hold sway over their followers, succeed in business, and be the absolute best in winning the hearts and minds of the people with whom they came into contact or of the people whom they wanted to influence. "Double-Coded Signals" are their stock-in-trade secrets by which they accomplished this feat. During President Bush's Inaugural Address, January 20, 2001, we noted that he used an Illuminati code word (Read NEWS1464) by which he signaled fellow occultists throughout the world as to his true nature and intentions without letting anyone else in on the "little secret".

But, here, we are speaking of an entirely different kind of " double-coded signals". These type of signals are very sophisticated, undoubtedly written in advance by a speechwriter skilled in this "occult science" and then delivered by the President. Keys to delivering these hidden signals are halting speech, many pauses, a lot of repetition, and painting word pictures. With this information in mind, let us return to this Boston Globe article.

"The president learned this art when he served as his father's liaison to the religious right in 1988 .... Well-connected staff introduced him to evangelical leaders and taught him to win their trust. 'Signal early and signal often' was their motto." (Ibid.)

If the President was to successfully appeal in an almost subliminal manner to the Christian Right, he had to know their inner language, thier Biblical word pictures, and key doctrines. Notice that Bush set out to learn this "Christian Right" language in connection with his "well-connected staff". Undoubtedly, this staff included people who were expert in this "Occult Science", although a lifelong Adept in Skull & Bones like President George W. Bush can be expected to have been thoroughly trained in this fine art of controlling and manipulating people's minds. Most of our current crop of politicians are using this technique virtually everyday; President Clinton was a true master of this art, but probably not any better than Bush. Let us now return to this article for crucial information:

"Accordingly, most of Bush's speeches are discreetly larded with religious content. His seemingly secular acceptance speech at the recent Republican National Convention offers a case in point. Beyond the single paragraph on abortion, gay marriage, and "faith-based" charities, a strong religious subtext was carefully crafted to slip beneath the radar."

This phrase, "carefully crafted to slip beneath the radar" speaks clearly to the bold intent of the skilled speechwriter, to subliminally speak to the inner mind of the targetd listener -- the Born Again Christians of America. These techniques over-ride -- or perhaps slip beyond -- the conscious mind and drives powerfully into the subconscious. In Seminar 1, "America's Leadership of the New World Order", we carefully examine the subliminal techniques used daily by expert advertising firms working for key retailers and factories. We learned that their major discovery was that the Conscious Mind possessed the moral safeguards which acted as a guarded gateway, controlling which stimuli was so offensive to the mind that it needed to be stopped; however, the Subconscious Mind contained no such moral guarded gateway. Therefore, using subliminal techniques, advertisers in all Mass Media advertising are able to bypass the Conscious Mind altogether and pitch their product directly to the unguarded Subconscious Mind. We show examples of just this kind of advertising.

Let us now go back to this Boston Globe article to see which types of Biblical imagery Bush has been using on Christians for a very long time.

"Biblical references were firmly planted at the beginning and end of the speech. Early on, Bush spoke of 'hills to climb' and seeing 'the valley below', an allusion to Israel's escape from slavery and Moses' vision of the Promised Land, as described in Deuteronomy 34. Given the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous use of the same passage ('I've been to the mountaintop'), Bush thus associated himself with both King and Moses, characterizing his presidency not just as a struggle for freedom, but a religious mission with risks of martyrdom."

"In his closing paragraph, Bush quoted Ecclesiastes 3, 'To everything there is a season', but quickly departed from the Biblical text. 'A time for sadness', he began, with reference to 9/11, then 'a time for struggle' -- Afghanistan and Iraq -- and finally 'a time for rebuilding'. This pattern of loss followed by recovery recurred in passages devoted to the economy, the war against terrorism, the national mood, and the state of morality since the 1960s. In all cases, Bush described losses overcome through hope, steadfastness, and faith. Only when he reached his culminating example did he name what he saw in them all. "For as long as our country stands," he proclaimed, 'people will look to the resurrection of New York City and they will say: Here buildings fell, and here a nation rose' . Resurrection." (Ibid.)

When the President used the word, "resurrection", he hit a major mental nerve with Christians. Their subconscious minds responded positively and said, "this President is one of us -- a Born Again Christian". All the religious imagery mentioned in this above paragraph, and in the paragraphs below, did hit home in the subconscious minds of untold numbers of genuinely Born Again Christians. This linguistic hypnosis is probably the reason Bush seems to have such a stranglehold on Evangelical Christians who should be objectively judging Bush on his Spiritual Fruits, not on his rhetoric.

Returning back to this Boston Globe article, we see even more elements of religious words and symbolism, most always repeated often:

"Twelve times Bush used the phrase 'I believe', many more than any other ... repetition hammered home the crucial point: Bush is a man who believes. Two of these beliefs were meant to justify his wars as holy. 'I believe that America is called to lead the cause of freedom in a new century' - I believe freedom is not America's gift to the world, it is the Almighty's gift to every man and woman'."

Like he has so many times, President Bush did not say "Jesus Christ", but the clearly Masonic term, "Almighty". But, he clearly "believes". Not too long ago, I listened with horror when a Fundamental Baptist pastor stood up in his podium to announce that "All of America's wars have been just"! Not only is this most definitely not true (Seminar 2, "America Determines The Flow of History") but this war in Afghanistan and Iraq is the most unholy, Illuminist-planned imaginable! Yet, this preacher stood before his packed congregation, telling them that ALL of America's wars have been just; since the word "ALL" includes this present war, Christian men and boys in the audience feel reassured that they can morally be a part of our military machine right now, even though we are most definitely fighting to produce Antichrist.

Now, let us return for our final insight from this Boston Globe article:

"In the course of his speech, the president thus suggested he is a pious man, called to lead a righteous nation. Like the nation itself, he is committed to a sacred cause and is guided in all things by his Christian faith. His sole concern in Iraq -- so he insists -- is to spread freedom, and in doing this he serves the Almighty. If you heard that and can accept it, it must be terribly reassuring. Rather less comforting is the realization that Bush is selling his dubious war to the base he has skillfully courted for years, which he knows to be credulous, fiercely patriotic, and enormously loyal." (Ibid.)

This type of skilled speech literally hypnotizes its audience. It is an Occult Art which has lately been given a distinctive name: Neuro-Linguistic Programming" (NLP). Believe me, this linguistic skill literally "programs" its target audience. We shall be starting a series of articles on this most powerful subject next week. As we head into this election season, understanding how you are being manipulated is critical.

But now you know on major reason why the vast majority of genuine Born Again Christians are so deceived about President Bush. However, Christians could not have been so deceived had they been following their Lord closely. Today's Christian ignores his Bible, is not taught correctly and thoroughly from the pulpit or the Sunday School class, ignores daily Bible Study and prayer, and does not vigorously apply Biblical doctrine to his/her daily life.

With this kind of spiritual weakness and lukewarmness, Christians have set themselves up for the kind of unparalleled spiritual deception of which our Lord warned in Matthew 24:24. This weak Christian faith is the reason people accept President Bush as a Christian based only on his words, ignoring his many evil spiritual fruits.


Note from Archie:

I think the most prime example of Bush using bible verses and twisting them to manipulate the people is this one.

"You're either with us or against us in the fight against terror."

-George W. Bush

compare to...

"He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad." Mathew 12:30

-Jesus Christ

It is amazing that I could not find on the web even one Christian commentary on Bush's use of that bible verse.

Supposedly those words delivered in a speech by George W. Bush shortly after 9-11 was directed at other countries and at the United Nations. But the truth of the matter is it was directed at his "Christian" supporters in the United States. It locked them most unambiguously in to his "preemptive" war on Iraq. He was subliminally equating himself with Jesus Christ. The message was if you do not go with (wholeheartedly support) him (Jesus Christ) and his actions, you are against Jesus Christ and His plans.

When Bush's speech writers craftily use words of holy scripture, they are most decidedly against Jesus Christ.

Fortunately for those who still listen to Bush and take his words seriously, and not just enjoying his speeches as the high comedy they are, they are spared at least some mind control of themselves because George W. Bush routinely bollixes up his script and the most elegant Tavistock, mind-controlling phrases are turned into wonderful jokes.

This is an important article in that it teaches and explains a big part of the Illuminast's craft.

Comment: We offer the above as evidence that there are Christians in the US, even very zealous Christians, who do not believe Bush. Unfortunately, these people are not very likely to listen to people from other countries, either. Perhaps the truth is that Bush is simply a psychopath, with no capacity to feel anything other than the most base human emotions, or maybe he is just a gibbering idiot...

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New York Times: Bush "Utterly Incoherant"

New York Times
October 9, 2004

[...] One of the uncommitted voters in the [Presidential debate] audience sensibly asked President Bush to name three mistakes he'd made in office, and what he had done to remedy the damage. Mr. Bush declined to list even one, and instead launched into an impassioned defense of the invasion of Iraq as a good idea. The president's insistence on defending his decision to go into Iraq seemed increasingly bizarre in a week when his own investigators reported that there were no weapons of mass destruction there, and when his own secretary of defense acknowledged that there was no serious evidence of a connection between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda.

Even worse, the president's refusal to come up with even a minor error - apart from saying that he might have made some unspecified appointments that he now regretted - underscores his inability to respond to failure in any way except by insisting over and over again that his original decision was right.

Unfortunately, for long stretches of the evening, the format did not lead to such telling responses. On occasion, the arguments were impossible to follow. Heaven help any citizen who relied on last night's debate to understand what is going on with North Korea or who tried to understand the fight about tax cuts on Subchapter S corporations.

Mr. Bush was deeply unpersuasive when asked why he had not permitted the importation of cheaper prescription drugs from Canada. He claimed that the reason was "I want to make sure it cures you and doesn't kill you." Mr. Kerry cleanly retorted that four years ago in a campaign debate, Mr. Bush had said importing medicine from Canada sounded sensible.

And the president was utterly incoherent when asked about whom he might name to the Supreme Court in a second term. His comment about how he didn't want to offend any judges because he wanted "them all voting for me" was a joke - but an unfortunate one, given the fact that the president owes his job to a Supreme Court vote.

Comment: Is there anyone left on the entire planet that is not fully convinced that Bush is little more than a grotesque caricature? But then again, most fundie Christians don't care one way or the other, just as long as he keeps talking up the "end times", he'll always be their man...

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An Entrails Reader’s Guide to the November Election
by Maureen Farrell
October 13, 2004

"Fully 59% [of Americans] say they believe the events in Revelation are going to come true." – Time Magazine

"What harm can he do in four years?" That was my initial reaction to the Supreme Court's selection of George W. Bush in Dec. 2000, back when I was trusting and naïve and life in this country felt oh-so-different. "It’s not the end of the world," I thought, not realizing, at the time, how many Americans were praying for just that.

Initially, Armageddon angst was amusing, yet embarrassing, like VH1’s The Surreal Life whenever Brigitte Nielson appears onscreen. Remember when people saw Satan’s visage in the 9/11 smoke clouds? And how others kept tabs on the Rapture? A Time/CNN poll even showed that one third of all Americans were checking the news for apocalyptic signs, making "End Times Watch" a lot like "Cosmo’s Bedside Astrologer," except that instead of learning that Sagittarians are "whifty," we discovered that Jerry Falwell rightly refers to G.W. Bush as "his bitch."

Yes, superstitious hogwash was entertaining at first, but by the time we figured out that members of Congress and the Bush White House had actually powwowed with End Times zealots, even comedians found it decidedly unfunny. "Thomas Jefferson said the book of revelations was the ravings of a lunatic. George Bush organizes his foreign policy around it," Bill Maher said, referring to the widely held notion that the Jews must control Israel before Jesus will make His long-awaited comeback.

But though Evangelical broadcaster Pat Robertson also warned that Bush better play by Evangelicals’ rules (Roadmap, Schmoadmap, a Palestinian state is part of "Satan's plan to prevent the return of Jesus Christ," Pat says), others remain steadfast in their belief that George W. Bush was "chosen" by a power greater than Clarence Thomas. The newly released DVD Faith in the White House drives this notion home, at one point even showing Bush and Jesus side-by-side via split screen -- a Jedi mind trick if ever there was one. "I’m voting for Bush because I have to support the candidate who I believe has the most faith. Systematically, God is being erased from our culture, our society our government," actor Stephen Baldwin recently told Entertainment Weekly, echoing a sentiment shared by millions.

But do the nation's Stephen Baldwins ever question the propaganda? Do they wonder if G.W. Bush might be one of the bad guys the Bible warns of? After all, some of Bush's reported statements flash "false prophet" like a sign in a David Lynch movie. "I trust God speaks though me," Bush reportedly told the Amish. "God told me to strike at al Qaida and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did," Haaretz quoted Bush saying. "We will export death and violence to the four corners of the earth in defense of our great nation," Bob Woodward said Bush said.

"This is why religion is so dangerous in our society," Bill Maher told Larry King. "George Bush is not just a Christian. He's a born-again, they believe Jesus is coming back any day now. And they want everything to be perfect for him. They call it the rapture, right? . . . It's like half this country wants to guide our ship of state by a compass. A compass, something that works by science and rationality and empirical wisdom. And half this country wants to kill a chicken and read the entrails like they used to do in the old Roman Empire."

But the Book of Revelation is just the beginning. There are plenty of places to find ominous warnings of death, destruction and the end of life as we know it. In other words, there's more than one way to read entrails, Bucko. Here are but a few:

Entrails Reading: The Scientific Approach

"You know, this is one of the biggest differences between Europe and America. This is a huge cultural gulf between us... Brits, everyone in Europe, none of us go to church really very much... We can't understand the role that religion plays in your politics. We just don't get it. We don't get why there has to be this presidential candidate who has to go to church, has to profess their faith. It worries us slightly, makes us slightly uncomfortable." -- The BBC’s Katty Kaye
Not too long ago, the History Channel ran a segment on the "Bible Code," featuring a controversial, semi-scientific means of divining the future. Based on Orthodox Jewish mathematicians’ assertion that hidden messages are embedded within the Torah, the Bible Code was first brought to mainstream attention in 1997, when former Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Drosnin's The Bible Code became a New York Times bestseller.

Using a letter-based numerological system created by Jewish mystics and facilitated by computer technology, Drosnin "decoded" the Bible’s hidden secrets and concluded that the Holocaust, Hiroshima and Kennedy killings were among major events foretold in the first five books. He also used the code to predict the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin and searched the Mezuzah scroll for signs of the Apocalypse.

In 2002, Drosnin released a sequel, The Bible Code II, which, despite massive debunking of his first book, also became a bestseller. Retroactively asserting that the Bible did, in fact, warn of Sept. 11, Drosnin found these brand new hints:

• "President Bush" appears alongside "President" and "by mistake, in error."

• "Afarafat," "Sharon" and "Bush" align with "the end of days."

• "War of Bush," coincides with "the nations under heaven" and "the evil that will befall you in the end of days."

• "New York" and "fire from a missile" appear with 5761 (2001) and 5764" (2004).

• "Smallpox" is encoded with "Jerusalem" and "Tel Aviv" and 2005.

• "Shooters of Arafat" is found next to "assassin will assassinate."

• "World war" and "atomic holocaust" are linked with 2006.

What the entrails say: Using the Bible Code as a guide, it looks as if George Bush will be president again for the next four years. After all, when it comes to Armageddon, who better to 'bring it on"?

But, although the Bible Code's mathematical underpinnings make this method seem more rational than the more widely accepted "God will soon selectively suck up true believers in a gigantic Hoover" Rapture theory, Drosnin's findings should be treated with a heaping helping of skepticism. After all, one mathematician used the same technique to decode Moby Dick and found hidden messages regarding the assassination of Gandhi, Leon Trostsky and Martin Luther King, while another found "the code is bogus" embedded within Genesis and discovered "Guilty Lee Oswald shot Kennedy. Both died" within the pages of War and Peace.

Entrails Reading: The Mystical Approach

"Anticipating George W. Bush, prophecy writers in the late 20th century also quickly zeroed in on Saddam Hussein. If not the Antichrist himself, they suggested, Saddam could well be a forerunner of the Evil One. In full-page newspaper advertisements during the Persian Gulf war of 1991, the organization Jews for Jesus declared that Saddam 'represents the spirit of Antichrist about which the Bible warns us.'" -- Paul S. Boyer

Soon after Sept. 11, a fake Nostradamus quote snaked its way around the Internet. Written by a student mimicking the French physician's style, it was identified as a hoax and was suitably debunked. Few seemed to care. In the aftermath of the greatest terror attack on U.S. soil, Nostradamus, a guy who has not written anything noteworthy in the past 500 years, became a best-selling author.

But Sept. 11 aside, Iraq has provided the perfect backdrop for true believers. Hitler analogies? Small beans considering that Nostradamus disciples have long felt that Saddam Hussein might be the third and final antichrist (Hitler was the second). Believing Nostradamus' "Mabus" to be a mirror reflection of the Iraqi pronunciation of Saddam (Sudam), many saw evidence of Hussein's Gulf War villainy in the lines: "He will enter, wicked, unpleasant, infamous; Tyrannizing over Mesopotamia, All friends made by the adulterous woman."

Of course, after watching the past two Presidential debates, Nostradamus could just as well have foreseen George Bush's performance. "He will enter, wicked, unpleasant, infamous"? Yep. Sounds about right. And setting aside the identity of the adulterous woman, some Nostradamus nerds have followed Internet ideologues' leads by speculating that "George Bush is the antichrist" – speculation that has spilled over into Op-ed writers' pens and perhaps even Papal minds.

But antichrist rumors are but a sliver of the overall picture. Other interpretations of Nostradamus' prophecies include predictions that:

• A "King of Terror" will descend from the skies and usher in a devastating global war. (Though Nostradamus predicted this would occur in 1999, one quatrain referred to "hollow mountains" (skyscrapers?) and the "new city." As author Francis X. King explained in 1994: "After the descent of the 'King of Terror, "the world [will] be ravaged by conflict of a previously unknown ferocity").

• There will be an attack on New York and perhaps a coinciding event in the Middle East, as evidence by the quatrain: "The heaven will broil at forty-five degrees; Fire approaches the great new city: An enormous, widespread flame leaps up; When they want to have proof of the Normans." (Hopefully, "wanting proof of the Normans" won't lead to more French-bashing).

• The Russian-U.S alliance will dissolve and fester: "The two will not remain allied for long; within thirteen years they give into barbarian power."

• A world leader aligned with a necromantic cult would be responsible for "setting the East aflame." (Anyone familiar with Skull and Bones should understand why believers see George Bush's role in this apocalyptic vision).

What the entrails say: Using Nostradamus as a guide, it looks as if the future holds more death and destruction and more George W. Bush. Luckily, however, with a prophet as vague as Nostradamus, misinterpretation is always a risk. In the winter of 1939-1940, for example, Magda Goebbels urged her husband to consider to the seer’s prediction that in 1939, Germany would go to war with France and Britain over Poland. Believing that Nostradamus foretold Germany's triumph, Joseph Goebbels used the prophet’s predictions as pro-Nazi propaganda.

Conclusion? Believing interpretations of Notradamus is as risky as allowing evangelicals to dictate U.S. foreign policy.

Entrails Reading: The Native American Approach

"America has entered one of its periods of historical madness, but this is the worst I can remember: worse than McCarthyism, worse than the Bay of Pigs and in the long term potentially more disastrous than the Vietnam War." – John le Carre

In 1982, a blind Native American Indian shaman named No-Eyes was interviewed about the future. And while she foresaw the usual plagues, economic disasters and ghastly wars, her main thesis was that Mother Earth was unhappy and some "changes" were about to take place. But among her more noteworthy predictions were assertions that:

• The Supreme Court will make bad decisions that don't benefit the people.

• America will eventually become a police state.

• Several undeclared wars will be waged simultaneously.

• Propaganda and terrorism will increase.

• There will be high-level secrecy and clandestine agreements between nations.

• There will be a nuclear interchange in which "one will strike New York City."

• The draft will be reinstated.

• The American public will discover information about government duplicity and cover-ups.

• There will be widespread rebellion, including tax evasion and draft resistance.

What the entrails say: Featured in an obscure book from an obscure publishing house No-Eyes sounds suspiciously like Bob Dole. Her warnings about secrecy, cover-ups and police states are worth mentioning, even though, by 1984, columnist Jack Anderson issued similar statements concerning FEMA. But, even so, predictions about the Supreme Court and the draft clinch it: These entrails foretell four more years of G.W. Bush and the end of life as we know it.

Have a nice day!

There are other prophecies worth mentioning, of course. The Mayan calendar for example, which centers on precise mathematical equations, ends abruptly on Dec. 21, 2012, signaling either the end of the world or that the Mayans got bored.

Then, too, regular folks have weighed in as well. Back in 2002, Arab League Secretary-general Amr Musa warned that an attack on Iraq would "open the gates of hell," and on Sept 14, 2004, it became official: "The gates of hell are open in Iraq," he said.

And finally, on the eve of war, former Nixon Aid Charles Colson spelled it out. "Some wonder if the president might be influenced by evangelical teachings that envision an end-of-the-world battle between Israel and its enemies," he told U.S. News. "It would be dangerous for a president to take a particular theology like that and apply it to world events."

Yes, it would be. With polls jumping all over the place, the future is less certain than ever. But clearly, in the midst of all this, the question, "What harm can Bush do?" now seems woefully naïve. And, of course, the phrase "it's not the end of the world" is less convincing, too.

But regardless what evangelicals or prophets or ancient Mayans believed, and despite slings and arrows of outrageous GOP goons, to some extent, "we the people" still decide our own fate.

And it doesn't matter what the entrails say, because though Bush has been a disaster, it doesn't have to end in disaster -- provided the "compass people" win out in the end.

But if we're stuck with Furious George for another four years? I'll go out on a limb right here and now and make a prediction of my own: Even if it's not the end of the world, it's certainly going to feel like it is.

Comment: The author does a good job of using humour to poke fun at Dubya's evangelical leanings, and how he fits the role of the beast fortold in Revelations. Although her comments are made in jest, the author may be closer to the truth than she realizes. You may want to read LKJ's article, The Beast and His Empire for a well-researched interpretation of the last book of the bible. Also Bob Fraley's website The Beast of Revelation, gives an interesting Christian perspective.

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Push for holy war an issue left in silence

By MARTIN DYCKMAN
St. Pete Times Columnist
October 10, 2004
TALLAHASSEE - One of the most urgent but least discussed issues of the presidential campaign is the extreme religious agenda that appears to be distorting U.S. policy toward Israel, to the peril of both nations.

The force in question is the Christian fundamentalist movement most commonly known as premillennialism. It prophesies that Jesus will return and true believers will be whisked bodily to heaven, minus their clothes and jewelery, upon the fulfillment of certain conditions familiar to readers of the popular Left Behind books. These include the creation of the state of Israel, Israel's occupation of all of its "biblical lands," and the construction of a Third Temple on the Temple Mount, currently the site of the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa mosques.

The first is fact. The second goes so far beyond the disputed West Bank and Gaza that not even Israel aspires to it. The third, which contemplates the desecration of one of Islam's holiest places, would set off a nuclear war (think Pakistan and Iran) with infinitely more certainty than anything predicted in the Book of Revelation. A simple visit by Ariel Sharon to the Temple Mount four years ago was enough to bring on the current intifada that by one estimate has claimed nearly 4,000 lives and made Sharon prime minister.

But to the millennialists, a holy war in the Middle East would be good news, not bad, because it would be the war leading to Armageddon. As for the Iraqi war, it's a prophecy fulfilled.

As Bill Moyers remarked in a speech last month, "A war with Islam in the Middle East is not something to be feared but welcomed. If there's a conflagration there, they come out winners on the far side of tribulation, inside the pearly gates, in celestial splendor, supping on ambrosia to the accompaniment of harps plucked by angels."

The present danger is not so much that people making U.S. policy believe these end-times prophecies, as some do, to the extent that they would deliberately try to fulfill them. But the White House is clearly so sensitive to voters who believe them that it has bent policy to their will, most recently by endorsing the expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Comment: Horse hockey. Bush is a saved evangelical Christian who believes that God gives him orders directly. Ashcroft had an "indecent" statue covered up in the entry of the Justice Department, truly symbolic of what has happened since he came to office. Now, who actually believes that such individuals wouldn't try to deliberately fulfill end-times prophecies, especially when they relate to Israel, the favorite country of US officials like Perle, Wolfowitz, and Feith?

Yet this has gone unmentioned in the debates so far and remains largely unnoticed in the mainstream American press despite Moyers' eloquent warning in a speech last month to the Society of Professional Journalists.

Moyers, an ordained clergyman who knows as much as anyone about the interaction of religion and politics, said the millennialists amount to only 15 percent of the electorate but most are Republican, and that Bush "knows who they are and what they want." When Bush asked Sharon to withdraw tanks from Jenin two years ago, Moyers said, more than 100,000 fundamentalist e-mails hit the White House and Bush said nothing more about it. The West Bank concession, reversing decades of sensible U.S. policy, was another manifestation.

"No wonder Karl Rove walks around the west wing whistling Onward Christian Soldiers," Moyers said. "He knows how many votes he is likely to get from these pious folk who believe that the Rapture Index now stands at 144 - just one point below the critical threshhold at which point the prophecy is fulfilled, the whole thing blows, the sky is filled with floating naked bodies, and the true believers wind up at the right hand of God."

Israel is nothing more than a means to an end for the millennialists. In their eschatology, Jews who don't convert when Jesus returns face as grotesque a fate as anything the Inquisition ever invented.

With friends like those, Israel doesn't need enemies. What it needs from its real friends, including the United States, is the tough love that compels it to get out of Gaza and the whole West Bank. Having done that, Israel could build a security fence entirely on its own territory and no one would be entitled to complain. [...]

Many people believe that oil was the real reason for the Iraq war. Whether true or not, even that would be more rational than a policy that invites a wider war for the sake of pleasing Karl Rove's "base." In Arabic, by the way, "the base" is pronounced al-Qaida.

Comment: Imagine for a second that the roles in the war on terror were reversed. Imagine that the Arab or Islamic world housed the "greatest democracy on earth" and that "terrorists" were mainly Western white and Christian (or Zionist).

Imagine people like John Ashcroft and Sharon in the place of the Mullahs. Imagine Arab or Muslim leaders condemning the fundamentalist Christian groups accusing them of plotting to destroy the fundamental tenets of Arab and Muslim society. Not so far fetched, is it?

The real question however is: How would the average moderate citizen of Western society feel about being labeled a "fundamentalist Christian terrorist" simply because of where they live and the religious beliefs of those that purport to speak and act their name? How would they feel about having their homes, livelihoods and country destroyed, their brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters murdered, all in the name of stamping out "fundamentalist Christian terrorism", a phenomena about which they know little and to which they certainly do not subscribe?

Sure it requires a little empathy to really get it, but try it and, as a Western citizen, you will quickly understand how unjust and barbaric the so-called "war on Arab terror" is. You may also come to see how religion can be deliberately used by Western governments to gain public support to wage a war of conquest and profit under the guise of fighting nonexistent"Fundamentalist Islamic terrorism". And finally, you might come to the frightening conclusion that such a war could eventually be brought home in order to clamp down on religious freedoms and usher in a de facto dictatorship - and all under the guise of religion.

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Son of a Preacher Man

Vicki Haddock, Insight Staff Writer
Sunday, August 4, 2002
How John Ashcroft's religion shapes his public service

Of all the Bible stories John Ashcroft knows by heart, none mirrors his own life like the Old Testament melodrama of Daniel.

As a Hebrew captive exiled to Babylon, Daniel worked his way into the palace and was promoted to a high-ranking administrative position. The powers- that-be saw him as smart and politically ambitious, but also as a sanctimonious prig. His religious rectitude invited ridicule, as when he refused to "defile" himself by partaking of the rich food and wine of royalty because his God favored a vegetable-and-water diet.

So his critics set him up, persuading King Darius to outlaw worship of anyone else but the king. Daniel kept praying. They dropped him into a den of lions.

This was a lesson that John David Ashcroft absorbed as a Pentecostal minister's son reared in an Assemblies of God congregation in Springfield, Mo. The moral was clear: Never waver, never doubt, never permit skepticism and mockery to deter you from the course you believe is right.

Today Ashcroft -- the Bush administration's front man in its war on terrorism -- is expanding his power as attorney general with a stunning degree of moral certitude. Never one to see issues in shades of gray, he believes America's campaign against terror is as black and white as it gets.

Supporters cheer him as a moral avenger. Foes consider him a pharisaical vigilante whose willingness to trample civil liberties is scary.

One thing is clear: While other politicians pick up religion as a fashion accessory, Ashcroft exudes it from his core.

Says Franklin Zimring, law professor at UC Berkeley and a law school classmate of Ashcroft: "You'd learn a heck of a lot more about John Ashcroft researching his church than you would turning the University of Chicago Law School upside down. What's problematic about his career as attorney general is not his technical legal training. It's his values."

It's impossible to understand Ashcroft's view of the world without understanding his view of God, whom he says he "invites" into all his daily activities. And it's impossible to overestimate how deeply Pentecostal biblical training permeates his view of right and wrong -- and stiffens his spine against criticism.

History is written by the winners, and they may or may not get it right, Ashcroft is fond of saying. "I don't particularly care if I do what's right in the sight of men. The important thing is for me to do right in God's sight... The verdict of history is inconsequential; the verdict of eternity is what counts."

That unblinking certainty bothers some people.

"There is a rigidity there that is very troubling," said Ralph Neas, head of the liberal People for the American Way, who maintains Ashcroft is suited to direct the Moral Majority, not the Justice Department. "He is so confident of his world view that he doesn't have to seek any advice that would challenge his opinion . . . or interfere with his bending the law his way by executive fiat.

"John Ashcroft thinks John Ashcroft knows what's best."

Ashcroft may be in worldly Washington, but he clearly is not of it.

A bemused national press has made much fun of the fact that he is an attorney general who doesn't drink, smoke, dance, sleep around, swear or otherwise defile himself. Even activist Phyllis Schlafly was taken aback when he balked at buying a raffle ticket for a Rush Limbaugh book at a right-wing fund-raiser because that would be gambling.

Yet to catalog his abstinences is to but scratch the surface of his makeup.

His rectitude has made him the Bush administration's heat shield for controversy.

It has kept the attorney general from flinching in the face of concerns that he too blithely puts the Constitution "on hold" under the guise of pursuing potential terrorists, an investigation that to date has yielded few tangible results. (Of some 1,200 "material witnesses" initially detained domestically after 9/11, none has been charged with terrorism.) [...]

His daily devoutness again became a novelty when he held voluntary office prayer meetings before work, and when aides draped the exposed breasts of partially disrobed statuary inside the Justice Department.

Some observers thought Ashcroft seemed almost bored with his new job. But on Sept. 11, on a flight to Milwaukee, he took a call over his secure phone, hung up and announced to aides: "Our world has changed forever."

In the 11 months since, Ashcroft has applied his good-versus-evil paradigm to the war on terrorism. He has become chief crusader in his own holy war -- not against Muslims, but against perceived terrorist threats.

"His religion teaches him there are concrete, clear-cut right and wrong answers to things," said Julie Ingersoll, assistant professor of religious studies at the University of North Florida, who until recently taught in Springfield. "Someone else might look at Christianity and Islam as two different constructs of reality. Certainly he wouldn't."

Ashcroft has no patience for introspective doubters who question the morality, constitutionality or even the wisdom of military tribunals, secret detentions, expanded wiretapping, blocking of Freedom of Information Act requests and eavesdropping on lawyers.

"Those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty, your tactics only aid terrorists, for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve," he scolded the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Just days ago, the House stripped from the Homeland Security Bill the Ashcroft "TIPS" plan to recruit millions of amateur observers -- meter readers, mail carriers, cable installers and the like -- to keep their eyes peeled for "suspicious activities" and report on fellow Americans.

Lately, even some conservatives are fretting about Ashcroft's zeal to infiltrate subversive groups -- they fear a future Democratic administration could turn the tactic against them.

To Ingersoll, the conflict simply reflects a paradox between two competing strains of Ashcroft's Pentecostalism: a libertarian belief that the government should mind its own business and a fundamentalist faith in law and order. "He's had to appeal to the fundamentalists to build his political base, and he's now the nation's top law enforcement officer, so that side is winning out in him."

Now White House sources are beginning to grumble anonymously to reporters that Ashcroft is too overtly political, and tends to grab headlines instead of being a team player.

It's doubtful any of this criticism is giving Ashcroft second thoughts about his mission.

Although he gives lip service to the value of "creative self-doubt," there isn't much evidence he engages in it. In his memoir he tries to demonstrate the value of self-doubt by relating a tale in which the press and an opponent once criticized him. But the unintentionally comic moral he offers is not that he was wrong, but that he forgave them for being so wrong about him.

Is this sense of self-righteousness, this imperviousness to criticism, a virtue or a fatal flaw?

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Sidelined neo-cons stoke future fires

Asia Times
By Jim Lobe

WASHINGTON - Sidelined by their failed predictions for Iraq and US President George W Bush's efforts to reassure voters he is not a warmonger, prominent neo-conservatives and their Christian Right allies are nonetheless trying hard to prepare the ground for future US adventures in the Middle East.

Echoing increasingly threatening noises from the government of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon about preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, neo-cons are calling for Washington to undertake covert action, at the very least, to oust what some of them call the "terror masters" in Tehran as part of a more general "World War IV" against alleged Arab and Islamic extremism. (The Cold War is widely considered as World War III.)

Some neo-cons are even complaining that if Bush had been serious about the "war on terrorism", he should have taken on Iran after Afghanistan, rather than Iraq.

"Had we seen the war for what it was, we would not have started with Iraq, but with Iran, the mother of modern Islamic terrorism, the creator of Hezbollah, the ally of al-Qaeda, the sponsor of [Abu Musab al-]Zarqawi, the longtime sponsor of Fatah and the backbone of Hamas," wrote part-time Pentagon consultant Michael Ledeen of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) this week.

His article also reprised an argument he first made three years ago - that the Iranian people were already rising up against the mullahs and needed only a little nudge from Washington to succeed.

Neo-conservatives are also busy stoking tensions with Syria, even amid indications that Washington and Damascus are feeling their way toward some kind of "modus vivendi" that may even include joint military patrols along the latter's porous border with Iraq.

Last week they heard from a Syrian exile, Farid Ghadry, who apparently aspires to become the Ahmed Chalabi - the neo-con boosted leader of the exiled Iraqi National Congress whose standing in Washington plummeted after it was alleged he passed secrets to Iran - of his homeland.

In addition to lobbying for the pending Syria Liberation Act, which would commit the US government to "regime change" in Damascus, Ghadry charged that the government of President Bashir Assad was building "a new colony of terrorism" for youths in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley.

The neo-conservatives, who led the charge to war in Iraq, have steadily lost influence over US policy in Baghdad since a year ago, when US troops found themselves welcomed by a serious and growing insurgency rather than the flowers and sweets the neo-cons had predicted.

At the same time, Bush's top political adviser, Karl Rove, was reported to have told unhappy war hawks in the Pentagon and Vice President Dick Cheney's office, the two neo-con strongholds, that Bush's re-election prospects would be greatly enhanced if there was "no war in '04".

Led by arch-realists Secretary of State Colin Powell and his deputy Richard Armitage, the State Department gradually wrested control over policy towards Syria and Iran. With US troops bogged down next door, a policy of confrontation, as advocated by neo-cons, not only risked another war, the realists argued, but could also invite more damaging efforts by both Damascus and Tehran to destabilize Iraq.

Wary engagement with both countries has thus become official policy. The recent visit by a high-level US delegation to Damascus and the invitation of European and Arab allies and Iraq's neighbors to attend a US-sponsored meeting on Iraq in Tehran later this fall mark hard-fought advances in the State Department's agenda.

But while the neo-cons may be down, they are by no means out. As more than one foreign-policy analyst has noted, no neo-con within the administration has resigned or been fired, despite their responsibility for the Iraqi quagmire and public calls by even some senior Republican lawmakers and retired military officers that they be ousted.

Some analysts have argued the neo-cons remain in place only because their departure now would amount to an admission by the administration - and thus Bush himself - that serious mistakes had been made. In this view, Bush would purge them in a second term, as he continued along the State Department's "realist" line.

But a growing number of observers, particularly in the State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), are coming to the conclusion that the neo-cons may actually enjoy greater influence if Bush wins re-election.

In just the past few days, for example, an article, The State Department's Extreme Makeover, published by online magazine Slate and attributed to an "anonymous" veteran foreign service officer, made precisely this argument.

It is in this context that neo-cons' recent efforts to focus their fire on Syria and Iran, in particular, should be seen.

Ghadry spoke at an all-day symposium co-sponsored by the Committee on the Present Danger (CPD), a predominantly neo-conservative lobby group set up in August, and by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), a group created two days after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the US, whose views largely mirror those of Israel's ruling Likud Party.

On FDD's board of advisers are prominent neo-cons and Iraq war boosters, including former Defense Policy Board chairman and Ledeen's sidekick at AEI, Richard Perle; AEI fellow Jeane Kirkpatrick; and former CIA director James Woolsey, who also co-chairs the CPD.

Joining them are Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, whose own Project for the New American Century first named Iran and Syria - as well as Iraq and the Palestinian Authority - as targets of the "war on terrorism", in an open letter published just 10 days after September 11.

The conference was addressed briefly by telephone by former secretary of state George Shultz, the group's new co-chair, while Woolsey announced that former Czech Republic president Vaclav Havel and former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar had agreed to head an international chapter.

Keynoters for the symposium, titled "World War IV: Why We're Fighting, Whom We're Fighting, How We're Fighting", included Woolsey, who has long spoken of the fight against "Islamo-fascism" - defined as including "the mullahs of Iran", the Ba'athist parties of Iraq and Syria, and "the Wahhabis", of which the al-Qaeda terrorist group is a part - as the equivalent of a world war.

On hand was Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, whose participation appeared not only to provide an official sanction of the radical agenda, but also to confirm that the neo-con faction within the Bush administration is alive, kicking and unashamed despite the quagmire in Iraq.

Neo-conservative godfather Norman Podhoretz, who has also used "World War IV" as his favored description for the challenges Washington faces in the Near East, in particular, made a rare public appearance.

He called Israeli tactics in the occupied territories a "model for how to fight this kind of war", and asserted that "Iran is unquestionably on the agenda" of a second Bush administration.

"I have no doubt that we're going to have to do it and do it fast," he declared, noting there were "many different instrumentalities" at Washington's disposal for dealing with the mullahs and their nuclear program.

Podhoretz, whose son-in-law Elliott Abrams is the Middle East director on the National Security Council staff, also offered a sweeping vision of what the region might look like when the US triumphed.

Stressing the long-held Likud view that the nations of the region were artificial creations forged out of the defeated Ottoman Empire, he suggested, 'What was done in the aftermath of World War I can be undone in World War IV." [...]

Comment: The above article provides an interesting insight into the depth of dangerous delusion to which the Washington Neocons have sunk. Taken with the previous articles relating the right-wing religious fervor that also grips many members of the Bush cabal, we understand that, even if Bush was unaware of what he meant when he was told to use the words "new crusade" to describe the war on terror, the real US policy makers know exactly what they are doing. Sadly however, it appears that the rest of us mere mortals have been condemned to play the role of cannon fodder in the forthcoming US/Israel-inspired Armageddon.

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Infamy: Pearl Harbor, 911 and the Coming Outrage

by Heather Wokusch
September 10 2004
Three years after 911, we still have no real clarity about "whodunit" let alone "whatdunit" - and if history is any indication, it could be decades before the truth is finally revealed.

But the Armageddon dreams of our nation's leaders mandate a more urgent time frame.

Were 19 hijackers armed with box cutters really responsible for the WTC/Pentagon carnage? Seems increasingly implausible, as does the administration's claim of no prior knowledge. Remember Bush's comment about watching the first airplane hit the WTC before the second airplane even made impact? What video feed does he have anyway? The rest of us sure didn't see that live on our TVs.

As sick as it seems, it wouldn't be the first time a US administration has furthered its own political ambitions through attacks on American citizens.

Take Pearl Harbor. The official story (long ago discredited, yet still touted in Hollywood B-movies) was that Japanese forces caught the US totally off guard when they brutally attacked on December 7, 1941.

It was probably a lie. Many historians believe that members of Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration actually knew about the impending assault, and just let the carnage roll in order to get the US public primed for war with Japan.

In his 1982 book 'Infamy: Pearl Harbor and Its Aftermath', Pulitzer-prize winner John Toland reveals that almost everything the Japanese were planning to do "was known to the United States" on the morning of the attack, via intercepted messages never communicated to commanders at Pearl Harbor. He cites the case of US counterintelligence translator Dorothy Edgers who uncovered critical Japanese messages days before the assault, including "a scheme of signals regarding the movement and exact position of warships and carriers in Pearl Harbor." But Edgers' boss, Alwin Kramer, seemed "more annoyed than electrified" at the discovery and ordered her to "run along home." Unbeknownst to Edgers, Kramer was part of the subterfuge.

We all know what happened next. Japanese bombs rained down on the US naval vessels and aircraft poised like sitting ducks at Pearl Harbor, and the ensuing bloodbath left over 2,400 US service members and civilians dead. The following day, Congress voted overwhelmingly to give FDR all of the resources he wanted to wage war with Japan.

The parallels with 911 are stunning.

Today's Edgers is Sibel Edmonds, a former FBI translator who was fired in March 2002 after exposing corruption at a critical FBI counterintelligence unit. Among Edmonds' charges: supervisors covered for a colleague who was smuggling sensitive documents out of FBI headquarters in order to protect contacts in "semi-legit" organizations. When Edmonds started speaking out about this stunning breach of national security, Attorney General John Ashcroft slapped her with a gag order.

Even worse, Bush's 911 Commission didn't address any of Edmonds' accusations, including her closed-door testimony that in April 2001, a long-term FBI informant had revealed "Osama Bin Laden was planning a major terrorist attack in the United States, targeting 4-5 major cities," and that "the attack was going to involve airplanes."

You've got to wonder - if the 911 Commission left out that crucial tidbit, then what else did it fail to mention?

But the whole inquiry was a farce from the start. Appointing Henry Kissinger (notorious for covering up US involvement with murderous South American dictatorships) as chairman was the first clue. Replacing him with former New Jersey governor Thomas Kean was the second.

According to Fortune magazine (Jan. 22 2003), "Kean appears to have a bizarre link to the very terror network he's investigating - al Qaeda . Kean is a director of petroleum giant Amerada Hess, which in 1998 formed a joint venture - known as Delta Hess - with Delta Oil, a Saudi Arabian company, to develop oil fields in Azerbaijan. One of Delta's backers is Khalid bin Mahfouz, a shadowy Saudi patriarch married to one of Osama bin Laden's sisters. Mahfouz, who is suspected of funding charities linked to al Qaeda, is even named as a defendant in a lawsuit filed by families of Sept. 11 victims."

For the record, bin Mahfouz denies bin Laden is his brother-in-law and also denies ever having had ownership interest in Delta Oil. Interesting coincidence though that Hess severed ties with Delta just three weeks before Kean was appointed to the 911 Commission.

Another interesting coincidence: 28 pages of the inquiry's final report, covering "specific sources of foreign support for some of the September 11 hijackers," were blanked out. According to an official quoted in The New Republic (Aug. 1 2003), "There's a lot more in the 28 pages than money . We're talking about a coordinated network that reaches right from the hijackers to multiple places in the Saudi government."

Very murky indeed. And a third interesting coincidence surrounds the deadly anthrax-laced letters that hit the nation within weeks of 911. While "shocked" administration members were quick to blame Osama bin Laden and/or Saddam Hussein, they failed to mention one intriguing point: claims that Bush's staff had started taking Cipro, an anthrax-treatment drug, weeks before the attacks occurred.

According to the public-interest group Judicial Watch: "In October 2001, press reports revealed that White House staff had been on a regimen of the powerful antibiotic Cipro since the September 11th terrorist attacks." Judicial Watch Chairman Larry Klayman notes, "One doesn't simply start taking a powerful antibiotic for no good reason. The American people are entitled to know what the White House staffers knew."

While the anthrax attacks have never been solved, the Bush administration has had some clear results: increased justification to reduce civil liberties, to rev up biodefense spending and to create more hysteria around the need to invade Iraq.

The idea of using civilian casualties for political gain was codified in Operation Northwoods, a 1960's plan by top US military brass to orchestrate terrorism in American cities and blame it on Castro, thereby creating public support for a war with Cuba. More recently, the September 2000 neocon guidebook, Rebuilding America's Defenses, claims "some catastrophic and catalyzing event - like a new Pearl Harbor" would help speed up the process of transforming the US into "tomorrow's dominant force."

So it's no surprise that over the past four years, we've learned to pay attention when the Bush administration and its minions in the press start dropping hints about the next big attack. They've most recently floated the idea of a catastrophic October Surprise assault, which they suggest could necessitate postponing the election. One official warned, "I can tell you one thing, we won't be like Spain," in an apparent reference to the conservative ruling party's having lost power days after the Madrid train bombings.

But Spain's election was a high-turnout, democratic contest in which voters fair and square booted an unpopular, lying, war-mongering administration. Why can't US voters have the same chance?

Another apparent option is a strike on Iran, maybe preceded by a stateside assault blamed on Tehran. A raving Washington Post column (July 23 2004) summed it up with:

"Did we invade the wrong country? One of the lessons being drawn from the Sept. 11 report is that Iran was the real threat. It had links to al Qaeda, allowed some of the Sept. 11 hijackers to transit and is today harboring al Qaeda leaders . If nothing is done, a fanatical terrorist regime openly dedicated to the destruction of the 'Great Satan' will have both nuclear weapons and the terrorists and missiles to deliver them. All that stands between us and that is either revolution or preemptive strike."

Of course, the recent Pentagon spy scandal (in which top-secret presidential policy papers on Iran were reportedly leaked to Israeli officials) may put a damper on this alternative. The scandal highlights the neocons' power struggle with other administration members, and until that battle is decided, there won't be consensus enough to invade Iran. But if Israel does decide to bomb Iran's nuclear facilities, then chances are strong Bush will jump in too, and we could be looking at WWIII.

As a sidelight, there's an interesting connection between the Pentagon spy scandal and September 11th: allegations that Israeli intelligence may have known about the 911 attacks in advance and not told the United States. In December 2001, Fox News ran a four-part series suggesting that Israeli intelligence may have had prior knowledge of the attack, through its spying on Arabs in the United States.

So where does all of this leave us as the third anniversary of 911 approaches? With more questions than answers. Whodunnit? Should we blame Osama and the hijackers, Saudi funders, Israeli intelligence agents, the Bush administration or some combination? And Whatdunnit? Was it airplanes, bombs, missiles, or some combination? And when will we ever learn the truth?

Following the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor and the ensuing cover-up, President Roosevelt's Chief of Staff reportedly told other officers, "Gentlemen, this goes to the grave with us."

Unfortunately, today it seems that the president and his staff are busily digging our graves in order to satisfy their own grandiose power grabs.

This outrage must stop.

Comment: Sadly, it is unlikely that the outrage will stop, particularly if history is anything to go by...

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FLASHBACK! On this day in history

Peace taken hostage

Leader
Friday October 15, 2004
The Guardian

The disastrous end last night to the kidnapping of the Israeli soldier could not have happened in a more damaging way. The affair had already seriously compromised relations between Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin while it created new divisions among the Palestinians as Mr Arafat was obliged to bear down heavily on Hamas. It also completely devalued yesterday's Nobel prize award and the peace process with it. All this is now raised to a new degree of crisis by the bungled attempt to rescue Nachson Waxman near the village of Bir Nabala and its wider implications. Mr Rabin had gone out of his way to hold Mr Arafat responsible for the 'life and safety' of the young soldier. He and all Israeli officials insisted - on the basis, they claimed, of the most reliable intelligence information, - that Corporal Waxman was held in the Gaza Strip. The detailed chronology is still lacking but there must be a supposition that all or part of the Israeli assertion was a blind to persuade the kidnappers that their real location - in the West Bank, under Israeli control - was unknown. Last night it was being suggested that the fact the kidnappers were not, after all, in Gaza, somehow let Mr Arafat 'off the hook' and the peace process with it. It is just as likely to impale all concerned more deeply on the same hook. Mr Arafat will be accused - by supporters as well as enemies - of succumbing to a mixture of blackmail and fraud. Mr Rabin and his ministers will be accused of having staged a multiple deception.

Mr Arafat was fooled though most Israelis will say that the action he took against Hamas was long overdue. But if so (and it is more likely to have weakened his position) it is hard to see how he can credibly continue to maintain such action now. The Hamas kidnappers were fooled too - and so were their intermediaries - into agreeing to a 24-hour extension which gave the Israeli special forces time to move in. There is a grim logic about such events: a successful operation would have blurred these questions. It was not succcessful, and the military failure is greatly compounded at the political level. Of course the kidnapping was inhumane and evil. But it achieved the result which Hamas evidently desired. The kidnapping of Corporal Waxman touched a deep emotional nerve among Israelis who for decades have regarded their nation as one in which everyone is a soldier. Mr Rabin was undoubtedly under pressure from public opinion and from the unprincipled opportunism of the Likud opposition. The peace process itself became a hostage to the hostage-taking of Hamas - which was their intention. But some Israeli commentators, despite the hysteria, were still able to point to the underlying problem. Mr Arafat's effectiveness is limited by the fact that he controls much less than a state within a state. The people of Gaza have yet to be convinced that the peace process will change their lives. Much more has to be done to encourage Palestinians to transfer their support to the PLO.

An end to the negotiations between Mr Rabin and Mr Arafat would be a fatal blow. We must hope that these negotiations will survive, but, inevitably, last night's debacle has put them under even greater strain.

Comment: Ten years ago today, October 14, 1994, Yasser Arafat, Yitzhak Rabin, ans Shimon Peres were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Immediately, Hamas went into action and killed a kidnapped Israeli soldier, just as they have gone into action so often to launch attacks on Israeli target just after the Palestinians get some good press.

Need we remind the reader that Hamas was supported in its early days by Israeli intelligence as a way of countering the influence of Yasser Arafat?

On this day in 1933, Germany left the League of Nations.

In 1066, William the Bastard became William the Conqueror by defeating Harold at the Battle of Hastings.

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21st Century Book-Burning

Mrs. Cheney, there's more to U.S. history than heroes.

By Steven J. Ross
Los Angeles Times
10/13/04

One of the marks of authoritarian regimes is their effort to stop the spread of knowledge and free speech. In May 1933, Nazi sympathizers in Berlin burned 20,000 "degenerate" books, many of them written by Jews and anti-fascists such as Albert Einstein, Bertolt Brecht and Franz Kafka. Here at home, slaveholders were so frightened by the power of the word that throughout the antebellum South legislatures made it a crime to teach slaves to read and write.

Now, Lynne Cheney, Vice President Dick Cheney's wife and the former head of the National Endowment for the Humanities, has placed herself in the company of dictators and slaveholders. At her urging, the Education Department destroyed more than 300,000 copies of a booklet designed to help parents and children learn more about America's past.

Cheney objected to the booklet's reference to the National Standards for History, guidelines for teaching history in secondary schools that were developed at UCLA in the 1990s and that suggest that American history should be taught with an eye not only to America's successes but to its struggles and dark moments as well.

Cheney could learn important lessons from the kind of history she apparently finds so un-American.

One is that the lines between authoritarianism and democracy have never been as sharply drawn as we might think. In his latest novel, "The Plot Against America," Philip Roth describes what the United States might have been like if voters had spurned Franklin D. Roosevelt and elected Charles A. Lindbergh, an anti-Semite and admirer of Adolf Hitler, as their president in 1940. In 1935, Sinclair Lewis' "It Can't Happen Here" presented a scenario in which newly elected President Berzelius "Buzz" Windrip, the demagogic darling of big business and religious extremists, stripped Americans of their rights, destroying the power of the legislature and judiciary and installing a fascist dictatorship.

What was so horrible about the National Standards for History that any reference to them would merit the mass destruction of several hundred thousand volumes of knowledge? According to Cheney, the standards failed to recognize the achievements of America's traditional heroes and focused instead on the accomplishments of women, minorities and radicals such as Harriet Tubman, the former slave who helped found the Underground Railroad. As Cheney wrote in 1994, "We are a better people than the national standards indicate, and our children deserve to know it."

Cheney insisted that the standards focused too much on the negatives of the past, on the presence of such stains on our democratic legacy as the Ku Klux Klan and McCarthyism, and not enough on great heroic figures such as Paul Revere, Gen. Robert E. Lee and the Wright brothers.

What Cheney really opposes is the prominent place that "social history" has assumed over the last 30 years. Known among its practitioners as "history from the bottom up," social historians argue that American history has too often been taught as the history of famous white men, political parties and industrialists.

Far less attention has been paid to the history of the "ordinary" people who helped build our nation. Social historians do not reject the important contributions of the former, as Cheney has repeatedly insisted. Rather, they suggest that there are two American histories worth knowing: the history of the nation and the history of its peoples. The latter is composed of a number of different histories: the history of rich and poor; of employers and employees; of men and women; of blacks, whites, Asians and Indians; of Protestants, Catholics and Jews.

As someone who has taught, written about and studied history for more than 25 years, I would suggest that good historical writing tries to help us understand the full contours of the past, paying equal attention to our triumphs and tragedies. Historians should not be afraid to hail the heroic figures of the past, but those should also include the less-than-famous men and women who struggled on behalf of democracy. Likewise, historians should never avoid dealing with the dark stories of our past — such as slavery, the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II and McCarthyism. As our founding fathers understood, democracies are not perfect; they only grow stronger by learning from the mistakes of the past.

Destroying books that disagree with one's vision of history will never take us closer to truth and freedom. As President Eisenhower warned Dartmouth College graduates in June 1953: "Don't think you're going to conceal faults by concealing evidence that they ever existed." His words remain true today.

Steven J. Ross is chairman of the history department at the University of Southern California and author of "Working-Class Hollywood: Silent Film and the Shaping of Class in America" (Princeton University)

Comment: Well, there ya have it folks! It's the start of book burning in the good old US of A!

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Fire in Basement of Capitol Building
AP
Wed Oct 13,11:48 PM ET

WASHINGTON - Fire broke out Wednesday night in a basement storage room in the Rayburn House Office Building. No injuries were reported.

A Capitol Police spokeswoman, Sgt. Contricia Ford, said the building was evacuated at about 10:50 p.m. EDT. Only a few workers were in the building at the time. Firefighters extinguished the blaze less than an hour later, Ford said.

The cause of the fire was unknown.

Rayburn is one of several office buildings for lawmakers near the U.S. Capitol.

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Judge Holds Second Reporter in Contempt
By CURT ANDERSON, Associated Press Writer
October 13, 2004

WASHINGTON - A second reporter was held in contempt Wednesday by a federal judge for refusing to reveal confidential sources before a grand jury investigating the leak of an undercover CIA officer's identity.

U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan ordered Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper jailed for up to 18 months and the magazine fined $1,000 a day for refusing to comply with a grand jury subpoena seeking the testimony. Hogan suspended the jail time and fine pending the outcome of an appeal.

The ruling was nearly identical to one issued last week by Hogan in the case of Judith Miller, a reporter for The New York Times who is also refusing to name her sources. Miller and Cooper, both represented by lawyer Floyd Abrams, are expected to join together in appealing their cases on First Amendment grounds.

"No reporter in the United States should have to go to jail for simply doing their job," said Cooper, who is Time's White House correspondent.

Hogan repeatedly has cited the Supreme Court in ruling that reporters do not enjoy special protection from providing testimony to grand juries unless they can show prosecutorial harassment or bad faith. Hogan said he could find no evidence of either on the part of U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, who was appointed special prosecutor in the investigation.

"I'm convinced this is not a fishing expedition or an improper exercise of prosecutorial authority," Hogan said.

The investigation concerns whether a crime was committed when someone leaked the identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame, whose name was published by syndicated columnist Robert Novak on July 14, 2003.

The column appeared after Plame's husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, wrote a newspaper opinion column criticizing President Bush's claim that Iraq had sought uranium in Niger — a claim the CIA had asked Wilson to check out.

Wilson has said he believes his wife's name was leaked as payback for his outspokenness.

Disclosure of the identity of an undercover intelligence officer can be a federal crime, if prosecutors can show the leak was intentional and the leaker knew about the officer's secret status.

Novak, who cited two senior administration officials as his sources, has refused to say whether he has testified or been subpoenaed. Fitzgerald declined comment Wednesday.

Prosecutors have interviewed President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell and other current or former administration officials in the investigation. At least five reporters have been subpoenaed.

In August, Cooper agreed to provide limited testimony about a conversation he had with Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, after Libby released Cooper from his promise of confidentiality. Fitzgerald then issued a second, broader subpoena seeking the names of other sources.

"The prosecutor came back a few days later and basically asked for everything in my notebook," Cooper said.

Abrams said he expected legal filings in the appeals of both Miller and Cooper to be completed by Nov. 10 before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which would then likely schedule an oral argument. That means the CIA leak criminal investigation, which began in September 2003, could drag on into early 2005.

Comment: Novak was the author of the article that revealed the name of an undercover CIA officer - yet, as the article indicates, no one really knows if he is also in hot water. In any case, Miller and Cooper certainly are in trouble. They have refused to disclose all their sources, and they may now go to jail for it. Or at least that is what we are meant to think...

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Flashback: The Times Scoops That Melted

Cataloging the wretched reporting of Judith Miller.

By Jack Shafer
Slate
July 29, 2003

If reporters who live by their sources were obliged to die by their sources, New York Times reporter Judith Miller would be stinking up her family tomb right now.

In the 18-month run-up to the war on Iraq, Miller grew incredibly close to numerous Iraqi sources, both named and anonymous, who gave her detailed interviews about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction.

Yet 100 days after the fall of Baghdad, none of the sensational allegations about chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons given to Miller have panned out, despite the furious crisscrossing of Iraq by U.S. weapons hunters. [...]

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Flashback: Embedded Reporter's Role In Army Unit's Actions Questioned by Military

By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 25, 2003; Page C01

New York Times reporter Judith Miller played a highly unusual role in an Army unit assigned to search for dangerous Iraqi weapons, according to U.S. military officials, prompting criticism that the unit was turned into what one official called a "rogue operation."...

Viewed from one perspective, Miller, a Pulitzer Prize-winning correspondent, nationally recognized expert on weapons of mass destruction and co-author of a best-selling book on bioterrorism, was acting as an aggressive journalist. She ferreted out sources, used her long-standing relationship with Chalabi to pursue potential stories and, in the process, helped the United States take custody of two important Iraqis. Some military officers say she cared passionately about her reporting without abandoning her objectivity, and some of her critics may be overly concerned with regulations and perhaps jealous of the attention Miller's unit received...

In a May 1 e-mail to Times colleague John Burns, The Post reported, Miller said: "I've been covering Chalabi for about 10 years, and have done most of the stories about him for our paper. . . . He has provided most of the front page exclusives on WMD to our paper."...

One military officer [...] says that Miller sometimes "intimidated" Army soldiers by invoking Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld or Undersecretary Douglas Feith... Rosenthal said.

Comment: This article chronicles the tale of how Judith Miller, reporter for the New York Times, used her connections with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Undersecretary Douglas Feith and Iraqi National Congress leader Ahmed Chalabi to influence the actions of this unit during their tour in Iraq. Miller is no ordinary journalist. She has been an effective propagandist for the Bush Reich. As noted by Robert Fisk, it was Miller who began the slander campaign against the UN weapons' inspectors back in September of 2002.

Miller writes blatantly in support of Israel. Kathleen Christisen points out:

In an analysis of the nationalistic reaction to the intifada throughout the Arab world written two weeks into the intifada, Judith Miller wrote that the "rift between Israeli Jews and the Arab citizens of Israel" was another "profound emotional scar" left by the violence. Her evidence of the "emotional scar" was that Israeli Jews "were horrified by the ferocity of this uprising, which closed off large sections of their country, and by the 'Death to the Jews' slogans chanted by the Arab protesters." She made no mention of an emotional scar for Israeli Palestinians, no mention at all of the fact that 13 unarmed Israeli--Palestinian demonstrators had recently been shot to death, no mention that Israeli police had never in Israel's history opened fire on demonstrators when they were Israeli Jews, and no mention of the fact that Israeli Jewish demonstrators had chanted "Death to Arabs" during demonstrations at the same time.

And M. Shahid Alam mentioned her in a list of neo-conservatives who have supported the work of Bernard Lewis.

This Zionist camp has been led for more than fifty years by Bernard Lewis, who has enjoyed an intimate relationship with power that would be the envy of the most distinguished Orientalists of an earlier generation. He has been strongly supported by a contingent of able lieutenants, whose ranks have included the likes of Leonard Binder, Elie Kedourie and David Pryce-Jones. There are many foot-soldiers too who have provided distinguished service to this new Orientalism. And no compendium of these foot-soldiers would be complete without the names of Daniel Pipes, Martin Kramer, Thomas Friedman, Martin Peretz, Norman Podhoretz, Charles Krauthammer, William Kristol and Judith Miller.

Lewis believes that the Arabs are incapable of putting in place democratic governments. He has also stated that Arabs are "different" than "we" are and that "we" must be "reasonable" in our expectations of "them", that no matter what "we" do, Arab countries will be led by "corrupt tyrants".

So Miller is the mouthpiece of this Zionist and anti-Arab (and therefore anti-Semitic) ideologue.

Douglas Feith is the co-author with Richard Perle and David Wurmser of a document entitled "Clean Break" written in 1996 for then Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The two main points of this document were: 1) the necessity for the dismantlement of Iraq, and 2) the neutralisation of Syria. Feith is very close to the Zionist Organization of America. He also holds a large number of Israeli Bonds. These are people closely connected with the Likud Party in Israel and believe that what is good for Israel is good for the US. They openly support the butchery of Ariel Sharon.

Steve Perry has a number of links on this at his Bush Wars page.

Perhaps the latest developments in the CIA leak case are an attempt to portray Bush and neocon mouthpiece Judith Miller as a heroine and defender of free speech, while simultaneously bolstering the image of the US media as an independent and unbiased source of information... which would be curious because within the US, the right denounces the US media as having a liberal bias. After watching the US media jump on the Iraq/WMD/Saddam is evil bandwagon without a second thought -- or even any thought whatsoever -- with the US media's lack of gumption in its analyses of the real events of 911, with their complete capitulation to the US policy of defence of Israel at any cost, including the security of their own country, we have often wondered how it is possible to see the US media as liberal!

Then it occurred to us that it is true that much US TV programming is a cesspool of promiscuity and violence. The right has been able to sell the public on the idea that these are "liberal values". So the "liberal" label is then applied across the board to the US media, taking in the US news media, owned by the same corporations that produced the junk that airs nightly. But the news is in no way liberal. It has been compared, since the events of 911, to the worst state broadcasting from the former Soviet countries, towing the line, never questioning, relying on those "anonymous sources" so dear to today's journalists. The news media is the mouthpiece of the government and the corporations.

So what is going on that the same owners that enforce a right-wing news agenda across the board permit programming that the right sees as "permissive" and an affront to "Christian values"? Maybe someone should start asking this question.

Could this be by design?

Or is that too close to "conspiracy theory"?

The US public, through TV and the education system, has been dumbed down over the last few decades. The couch potato syndrome creates a backlash, and we get the fitness syndrome to compensate. Notice that people don't react by going to books and studying history or current events. No, that would be a creative response to the dynamic; the mechanical reactions we see never rise to the level of creativity. They are mere automatic reactions to stimuli, Pavlovian programming applied to the society as a whole.

So who is doing the programming? Is it simply due to the logic of the marketplace: giving the people what they want? Or are we trained to want what we are given, trained to cry out for the chains that enslave us, be it stupid TV or the Second Coming of Jesus?

In no case are the citizens of the US called upon by the media, the government, or the Churches to think for themselves.

Coincidence? We think not.

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House About to Strip More Civil Liberties in Name of Anti-terrorism

by Madeleine Baran
Oct 7 2004

Civil liberties and immigrant rights advocates say House Republicans are using legislation based on the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations as cover to implement a series of troubling, un-related reforms condoning torture, limiting immigration and increasing surveillance of both non-citizens and citizens.

The House will vote on the 9/11 Recommendations Implementation Act this week. Opponents say the Republican leadership rushed the legislation to the floor without much time for debate or public input, just as Congress prepares to recess for a pre-election break.

In addition to overhauling national security agencies, as recommended by the 9/11 Commission, the legislation would also allow the US government to deport immigrants to countries that allow torture, severely restrict asylum seekers, and compile a massive database of information on law-abiding citizens. The 9/11 Commission did not recommend any of these reforms, some of which were found in the Domestic Security Enhancement Act, commonly known as "Patriot II" -- legislation so alarming, public outcry kept it from coming to a vote. Recently lawmakers in both the House and Senate have introduced legislation that would revive pieces of that controversial bill.

"The House is acting as a rogue group," Tracy Hong, director of policy for the National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium, a civil rights and advocacy group. "They’re defying the 9/11 Commission."

House Republicans disagree, saying the bill would prevent terrorists from entering the US. In a written statement, House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL), said the bill "will improve terrorism prevention and prosecution, so we can get the terrorists -- and those who help them -- before they get us. It will improve border security and make it harder for terrorists to travel to America. It will improve international cooperation and better coordinate anti-terrorism efforts with our allies."

Congressman F. James Sessenbrenner, Jr. (R-WI), a leading supporter of the bill, also released a statement calling the bill "a firm, serious stand against terrorism," which will both protect civil liberties and make the country safer.

The Senate version, also expected to come to a vote this week, contains few of the extra provisions. If the House bill passes, the differing versions will be reconciled in committee.

The bill would allow the government to deport non-citizens who committed serious crimes or human rights violations to countries where they would likely be tortured. The provision appears to be in direct violation of the Convention Against Torture, signed by the US in 1989 Article Three of which states: "No State Party shall expel, return…or extradite a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture." [...]

Civil liberties activists say the legislation also contains disturbing provisions increasing government surveillance of law-abiding citizens. The Senate version would create an "Information Sharing Network," combining commercial and government information into a massive database, similar to the controversial Matrix (previous coverage) system already rejected by most states.

Timothy Edgar, legislative counsel for the ACLU, said the legislation would also allow private individuals to access the data, with "no real protections for privacy." Edgar added that companies like Seisint, creators of Matrix, could attempt to sell their extensive databases to the government if the bill passes. Matrix came under scrutiny when state officials and civil liberties activists raised concerns about the safety of the data, which included everything from hunting and fishing licenses to photographs of neighbors and business associates.

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Heavy hand of the law

Last week's seizure of material belonging to anti-globalisation websites could have serious consequences for citizen publishers. Bobbie Johnson reports

Thursday October 14, 2004
The Guardian

It is a story with components that would have most conspiracy theorists running for the nearest tinfoil hat shop: a radical media organisation, the FBI and an apparently anonymous foreign government.

Last week, Rackspace, a hosting company with headquarters in Texas, handed two of its London-based web servers to the FBI after a subpoena for their contents was issued by a US district court. The servers contained material belonging to the Independent Media Centre - better known as Indymedia - a conglomeration of global radical anti-globalisation sites produced by ordinary citizens. Indymedia claims it was not informed of the decision to seize its content, nor has it been told the reasons, despite the fact that 20 sites and more than 1m pieces of content were affected.

The FBI has said it was acting on behalf of a foreign government, though for the American subpoena to have power in the UK, it would need approval from either the British courts or the home secretary. Such agreements would usually be made over investigations into terrorism, though nobody involved has been able to confirm this.

Rackspace said it is complying with a court order "which establishes procedures for countries to assist each other in investigations such as international terrorism, kidnapping and money laundering". Clearly, such serious allegations against any media organisation - even one produced by amateurs - could be devastating.

"The site crashed last Thursday at 4pm," says one Indymedia UK volunteer who asked to remain anonymous. "Since then, the only official communication we've had was from Rackspace, but they would only say they couldn't tell us what was going on. No one at the FBI has talked to us about this, and we have not been told anything."

With the situation shrouded in a legal fog, the often-controversial grassroots news organisation has struggled to operate its sites across countries including the UK, France, Belgium, Serbia, Portugal, Italy and parts of South America.

"This seizure has grave implications for free speech and privacy," says Kurt Opsahl, staff attorney of Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights campaign group working with Indymedia to uncover the root of the FBI action.

It is not the first time Indymedia has come to blows with law enforcement. During the G8 summit in Genoa three years ago, buildings used by Indymedia journalists were among those raided by Italian police. Computers were destroyed and equipment seized in an action that international press watchdog Reporters Sans Frontieres described as unprecedented and incredibly violent.

Founded as an anti-globalisation news source covering the protests against the World Trade Organisation summit held in Seattle in 1999, Indymedia quickly turned into an international network of citizen journalists. It provides a voice of underground political opinion around the world, though its open door policy has seen the occasional publication of unsavoury and offensive content, including anti-semitism and incitement to violence - though representatives are quick to disown these.

The latest raid is more than just emblematic of the conflict between one radical anti-government organisation and the establishment. It highlights the potential for conflict between law enforcement agencies and citizen publishers and sends a warning to anyone involved in web publishing operations.

"Certainly on face value it looks like an attempt to gag an independent media organisation," says Barry Hugill, a spokesman for civil liberties organisation Liberty. "It is just possible that there is a legitimate reason for this action, but we certainly need more clarification."

At a time when mainstream media is being opened up to the masses, such crackdowns deal a blow to citizen journalism. Threats to the freedom of web publishers could damage the amateur investigators and webloggers who are the lifeblood of independent online journalism. The lack of information given about these seizures raises the potential threat that anyone could see their content removed without warning or explanation. It shows how fragile internet publishing can be - even in the hands of major media organisations.

"It is easy to go after the provider or the hosting company to close down a website," says Yaman Akdeniz, the director of Cyber Rights and Civil Liberties and a lecturer at the University of Leeds cyberlaw research unit. "Unfortunately, arbitrary censorship exists. There are less risky places to publish information and there are more risky places. I do not recommend anybody to rely on a hosting company in the UK, and certainly our cyber-rights.org servers are run outside the UK for a variety of reasons."

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Patriot Act II - Final Piece of Police State Puzzle Ready

AFP
By John Tiffany

The Bush administration’s allies in Congress, led by J. Dennis Hastert of Illinois, the speaker of the House, have launched another assault on constitutionally protected civil liberties with a bill many are calling Patriot Act II (PA II). However, it is not to be confused with the 2003 version of Patriot Act II. But according to the Associated Press, in a draft of the House GOP legislation, many of the provisions are similar to the draft copy of the “Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003” that leaked out of the Justice Department in January 2003.

Many Democrats and civil libertarians charge the new PA II authorizes heavy-handed infringements on civil liberties. House Democratic leaders and civil liberties advocates said on Sept. 22 that the Republican bill ostensibly responding to the findings of the 9-11 commission would go well beyond the panel’s recommendations. It would call for broad new powers for law enforcement agencies, they said, and would include new authority to conduct electronic surveillance in terrorism investigations.

Among the provisions, said AP, are measures on the deportation of aliens who are suspected of being linked to foreign revolutionary groups which have been labeled as terrorists, mandatory pretrial detention for terrorism suspects, warrants against non-citizens even when a target can’t be tied to a foreign power and enhanced penalties for threats or attempts to use chemical or nuclear weapons.

John Feehery is a spokesman for Hastert. Feehery told AP that criticism of the bill was unwarranted as of the evening of Sept. 22, because the legislation was still not in final form and was not ready for release to the public. A spokesman for House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) agreed on Sept. 22 that House members were still working on a final version of the legislation.

But critics warn that the proposed law is aimed against the entire U.S. population, not a minority of Arab immigrants.

The proposal, they say, would grant the government the power to strip citizenship of native-born Americans and deport them without any evidence of wrongdoing, even though this would be contrary to the Constitution.

It would also allow for secret arrests, secret trials and secret torturing of “suspects.” Habeas corpus, Americans’ most sacred right, would be eliminated.

The law would also remove all restrictions on police spying on citizens.

Patriot Act II would create 15 new death penalties, one of which could be applied to acts of protest. Under the Hastert measure’s definitions, anti-war protesters could be deemed terrorists. In fact, any dissident could be spied on, harassed, and imprisoned indefinitely for exercising their legal and constitutionally protected rights.

This legislation would give the government the same power that Stalin and Julius Caesar gave themselves, said one detractor.

While terrorism certainly is a threat that must be addressed, curtailing the civil liberties of innocent Americans is by no means a way of doing so.

AFP readers will recall that the first so-called Patriot Act was passed without the members of Congress being allowed to view the draft of the bill. Those who wanted it to be read and debated were told to vote for it or they would be blamed for the next terrorist outrage. It passed overwhelmingly.

Many experts fear similar tactics will be used to pass PA II, keeping the public ignorant of the proposed law’s existence until it is too late.

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TSA body search upsets local woman

By Jeff Ristine
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
October 10, 2004

A new layer of security at the nation's airports last month caught a Mira Mesa woman by surprise. Now Ava Kingsford wants other women to know just how uncomfortable the "secondary screening" process can become.

Kingsford, 36, was traveling back to San Diego from Denver International Airport with her 3-month-old son when she was flagged for a pat-down search, possibly because of an expired driver's license.

She took the procedure in stride until the female Transportation Security Administration screener announced, "I'm going to feel your breasts now."

Kingsford, wearing a snug-fitting tank top, objected to what she considered an unduly invasive search. More security agents arrived, warned her that she couldn't board her flight without submitting to the final step of the search, and the situation escalated.

"I was crying; I was shaking," she said. And just after she tugged down the top of her shirt just a bit to show that she wasn't hiding anything, the agents told her she wasn't going anywhere. She ended up renting a car for a two-day drive home.

"It was unbelievable," Kingsford said. "I think there is a line they cannot cross."

But Transportation Security Administration officials say their screeners did nothing wrong and that Kingsford's experience reflects a brutal new reality in passenger checkpoint screening.

The agency announced the extra security measures Sept. 16, just a few weeks after two Russian jetliners exploded in midair, killing all aboard. Authorities believe two women smuggled explosives onto the aircraft, possibly in "torso packs" underneath their clothing.

Bob Kapp, customer service manager for the TSA in Denver, said that to conduct a thorough pat-down search of women, "it does require going beneath, between and above the breasts."

In these first few weeks of the procedure, Kapp said, "a few people have been a little bit alarmed" by the touching. But he called it "a sign of the times" that is probably here to stay. Screeners are coached to try to minimize the discomfort by explaining each step as they go along.

Kingsford, however, thinks there ought to be some common sense to the approach and that the TSA is going to get a lot more complaints.

"There is nothing that I could possibly have been hiding there," she said.

Comment: Quit your complainin...it's called "freedom and democracy"! War is peace, freedom is slavery, don't ya get it? No? Well maybe another terror attack will convince you...

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Does Dayton know something we don't?
Kevin Diaz,  Star Tribune Washington Bureau Correspondent
October 14, 2004

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Bill Dohse, of Plymouth, planned to visit the Capitol next week with his wife and daughter, who will be on a school break.

On the family's schedule was a tour with Sen. Mark Dayton's office.

But after Dayton announced Tuesday that he has closed his Capitol Hill office because of concerns over a terrorist attack, Dohse is no longer sure he wants to make the trip. "If he knows something we don't, should we be going?" said Dohse, an electrical engineer manager.

About 200 Capitol Hill staffers were asking the same question Wednesday as they filed into a meeting with Senate Sergeant-at-Arms William Pickle.

What they heard was a chronology from Dayton's office of how he made his decision, although not the details of the intelligence briefing that swayed him.

Over much of the political landscape in Washington on Wednesday, Dayton's move was met with bipartisan derision, concern, and in some cases, laughter.

Washington Mayor Anthony Williams, a Democrat, said, "I'm literally scratching my head trying to figure out what frequency he's on."

D.C. House Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat, said that lawmakers have an obligation to avoid creating an atmosphere of fear. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, issued a statement saying "Though the threat is always higher in D.C. than it is in Minneapolis or Mexia (Texas), I know of no specific threat that would cause me to shut down the office."

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, who has an office next to Dayton, sent a tongue-in-cheek letter asking if he could use Dayton's vacant office space.

In his meeting with the Capitol Hill staffers, the sergeant-at-arms Pickle said he tried to assuage the staff members' fears by telling them Dayton had not been told anything that other senators had not.

"Senator Dayton's decision caused some concern to the Hill population here, because many of them perhaps thought he was privy to information that they were not," Pickle said after the 45-minute meeting. "They all understand now that what Senator Dayton did was his prerogative and he exercised an abundance of caution."

Dayton and his staff defended his decision Wednesday, describing alarming but unspecified threat assessments that they say have not been as widely distributed as some other senators suggest.

"I believe in my soul that I made the right and necessary decision," said Dayton, sticking to his assessment that he would not advise anybody to visit Capitol Hill unless absolutely necessary.

Dayton cited a "top secret intelligence report" for his decision to close his Russell Building office until after the Nov. 2 elections.

Dayton did not, however, cite the specific nature of the threat, saying it would be illegal to disclose the information.

Amy Call, a spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., said the threat Dayton appeared to be reacting to had been issued in August, and that since then no new information has been developed except regular updates for members of Congress.

She said the information received in August, which she did not specify, led to an expansion of the security perimeter around the Capitol.

That account was disputed Wednesday by Dayton chief of staff Jack Danielson, who addressed the sergeant-at-arms' meeting of congressional staff members.

Danielson said Dayton attended a closed-door briefing on Iraq by Senate leaders on Sept. 22. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other Pentagon brass were there.

At the meeting, he said, Frist announced a new threat assessment dated Sept. 15, and encouraged senators to read it. Dayton told his staff that Frist described the intelligence report as sobering.

Dayton read the report the following day, Sept. 23. "It alarmed him," Danielson said. "It was very different in tone from previous reports."

Dayton also discussed the report with Pickle, a former secret service agent. Dayton quoted Pickle as saying it was the most "declarative" threat assessment he'd seen in 30 years.

Pickle confirmed Dayton's account, adding that "all the senators who saw it found it very sobering."

But, Pickle added, "there was nothing specific. ... It didn't mention the Capitol or any other public institution."

According to a Senate staffer who spoke on condition of anonymity, the briefing included a report of possible terrorist surveillance around the Capitol.

A separate federal official said Dayton and other senators were shown a CIA document that projected a worst-case scenario involving synchronized terrorist attacks on multiple U.S. cities. The scenario was based on an uncorroborated piece of intelligence that did not contain any specifics, the official said.

Between Sept. 23 and Oct. 1, Dayton talked to Frist three times, trying unsuccessfully to get him to convene a meeting of senators to discuss security precautions.

On Friday, Dayton told his staff he would close the office.

Some Republicans have questioned this time lag between reading the report and shutting the office.

"None of this stuff is black and white," Danielson said. "All of us who work in Washington bear this risk. But the value of gathering intelligence and making threat assessments is that you make decisions based on them, and you take precautions."

Dayton said he read an update of the report over the weekend. He said that while the update "qualified" some of the threat assessments, it did not "retract" them.

Pickle said the updated report "dilutes" the original intelligence assessment somewhat.

Others, especially Republicans, continue to question the message that Dayton sent the public by closing his office.

"It's irresponsible to scare your staff, and it's irresponsible to send the message to the public that your capital is not safe," said Erich Mische, chief of staff to Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn.

Mische said he spent part of the day calming nerves on his own staff. "It wasn't helpful, and it wasn't productive," Mische said of Dayton's move.

Dayton said that he expected his decision to be questioned, but that he feels other senators, most of whom have left Washington for an election recess, are asking their staffs to take a risk that they are not taking themselves.

"If I didn't have the courage of my convictions, I don't belong here" in the Senate, he said.

Some of the tourists visiting the Capitol Wednesday were aware of Dayton's action.

"You've got to live your life," said Clark Milner, a tourist from Colorado Springs. Milner, visiting with his wife, three children and his parents, said "You've got to keep doing what you normally do."

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FDA Approves Use of Chip in Patients
By DIEDTRA HENDERSON
Oct 13, 4:44 PM (ET)

WASHINGTON (AP) - Medical milestone or privacy invasion? A tiny computer chip approved Wednesday for implantation in a patient's arm can speed vital information about a patient's medical history to doctors and hospitals. But critics warn that it could open new ways to imperil the confidentiality of medical records.

The Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday that Applied Digital Solutions of Delray Beach, Fla., could market the VeriChip, an implantable computer chip about the size of a grain of rice, for medical purposes.

The news pleased investors. On Wednesday, Applied Digital shares were up $1.45, or 68.4 percent, at $3.57 on the Nasdaq Stock Market - near the middle of their 52-week range of $1.94 to $5.

With the pinch of a syringe, the microchip is inserted under the skin in a procedure that takes less than 20 minutes and leaves no stitches. Silently and invisibly, the dormant chip stores a code that releases patient-specific information when a scanner passes over it.

Think UPC code. The identifier, emblazoned on a food item, brings up its name and price on the cashier's screen. At the doctor's office the codes stamped onto chips, once scanned, would reveal such information as a patient's allergies and prior treatments, speeding care.

The microchips have already been implanted in 1 million pets. But the chip's possible dual use for tracking people's movements - as well as speeding delivery of their medical information to emergency rooms - has raised alarm.

"If privacy protections aren't built in at the outset, there could be harmful consequences for patients," said Emily Stewart, a policy analyst at the Health Privacy Project. [...]

Comment: Think UPC code. Think biometric passports. Think national IDs...

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Report Finds Lavish Spending at TSA
By LESLIE MILLER, Associated Press Writer
Wed Oct 13,11:26 PM ET

WASHINGTON - The government agency in charge of airport security spent nearly a half-million dollars on an awards ceremony at a lavish hotel, including $81,000 for plaques and $500 for cheese displays, according to an internal report obtained by The Associated Press.

Awards were presented to 543 Transportation Security Administration employees and 30 organizations, including a "lifetime achievement award" for one worker with the 2-year-old agency. Almost $200,000 was spent on travel and lodging for attendees.

The investigation by the Homeland Security Department's inspector general, Clark Kent Ervin, also found the TSA gave its senior executives bonuses averaging $16,000, higher than at any other federal government agency, and failed to provide adequate justification in more than a third of the 88 cases examined.

The report said lower-level employees were shortchanged, with a far lower percentage receiving bonuses.

"A substantial inequity exists in TSA's performance recognition program between executive and non-executive employees," the report said.

TSA spokeswoman Amy von Walter said the agency believes the bonuses and party were justified "given the hours and productivity of the work force during this critical period."

This year, said von Walter, the TSA will conduct awards ceremonies at individual airports, as well as a much smaller and less expensive event at its headquarters in November.

Congressional skeptics have criticized the TSA's hiring and spending practices during its short existence. Republicans say the agency has grown far larger than they envisioned when it was created following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Ervin also is investigating why the agency's private recruiters worked out of lush resort hotels with golf courses, pools and spas.

Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., said that he had not seen the full report but that it indicated "a colossal waste of money."

"There's something terribly wrong with that agency," Dorgan said. "Of all the agencies, that's the one that's supposed to be working full-time against terrorist attacks."

The awards banquet, which cost $461,745, was held at the Grand Hyatt, which bills itself as "one of the most magnificent" hotels in the nation's capital. According to the report, the agency chose that site because it was the only hotel available on Nov. 19, 2003, the agency's second anniversary. It also was one of the few places that could accommodate about 600 honorees and as many guests.

While the inspector general noted the agency sought competitive bids for the party planner and chose the company with the lowest estimate, it found the "costs of the ceremony and reception were higher than necessary."

The event planning company, MarCom Group Inc. of Fairfax, Va., was paid $85,552 for its work and given an additional $81,767 for plaques, $5,196 for official photographs, $1,486 for three balloon arches and $1,509 for signs.

The reception included finger food, coffee and cake that averaged $33 per person. Seven cakes cost a total of $1,850; three cheese displays, $1,500.

In a written response, the TSA said the costs "were neither extraordinary nor incurred without careful consideration of the amount, the reasonableness of the cost, and value the activities would have to the employees."

The inspector general also expressed concern that the TSA was more generous than most other federal agencies in awarding bonuses to executives. Federal agencies on average gave cash awards to 49 percent of their executives in 2002, while 76 percent of TSA executives received them in 2003. [...]

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E-Voting Machine Crash Deepens Concerns
By RACHEL KONRAD, AP Technology Writer
Thu Oct 14, 1:52 AM ET

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A computer crash that forced a pre-election test of electronic voting machines to be postponed was trumpeted by critics as proof of the balloting technology's unreliability.

The incident in Palm Beach County — which is infamous for its hanging and pregnant chads during the 2000 presidential election — did not directly involve the touch-screen terminals on which nearly one in three U.S. voters will cast ballots on Election Day.

But critics of the ATM-like machines said it proved how fickle any computer-based voting system can be and highlighted the need for touch-screens to produce paper records.

Tuesday's public dry run had to be postponed until Friday because a computer server that tabulates data from the touch-screen machines crashed, said county elections supervisor Theresa LePore. Such "logic and accuracy" tests are required by law.

She said she suspected Hurricane Jeanne, which struck in September, may have zapped electricity and air conditioning to the room where the server was stored, causing temperatures to soar to 90 degrees or more and possibly causing the crash. The storm wiped out power to nearly 1.3 million homes and businesses throughout Florida.

The incident raised questions in the minds of computer hardware and software engineers about the reliability of other computers on which Floridians will depend for an accurate vote count on Nov. 2 — especially touch-screen machines. [...]

Comment: We can just hear Bush now: "My fellow Americans, we can't vote because of some crashed computaters that was the resultification of the hurricanes a couple months back. So, by the power invested in me by the Lord God Almighty, I re-elect myself forever and ever. Amen."

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Israel Kills Five Gazans After Renewed Hamas Threat
By Nidal al-Mughrabi
October 14, 2004

GAZA (Reuters) - Israeli air strikes killed five Palestinians in Gaza Thursday after Hamas militants renewed threats to rain rockets on nearby Israel despite a massive 16-day-old army offensive aimed at crushing them.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon seeks a decisive triumph over militants to overcome rightist opposition to his plan to "disengage" from conflict with Palestinians by evacuating all Jewish settlers from Gaza and a few from the West Bank in 2005.

Missiles killed two Hamas gunmen in the sprawling urban Jabalya refugee camp in north Gaza stormed by more than 200 tanks and troop carriers after a Hamas rocket killed two toddlers across the border in Israel on Sept. 29.

Helicopters backing up a separate army sweep into Rafah refugee camp in Gaza's far south fired three missiles, killing two militants and a civilian man of 70, local medics and residents said. A woman was seriously wounded.

Military sources said Israeli forces targeted gunmen who had just launched an anti-tank rocket at troops operating to uncover tunnels used to smuggle in weapons from nearby Egypt.

Witnesses said Israeli troops with armored bulldozers also demolished about 20 houses before withdrawing at around daybreak from Rafah, like Jabalya a frequent tinderbox in a four-year-old Palestinian revolt against Israel.

Israeli forces frequently raze Palestinian buildings they say harbor militants who fire at them or, in Rafah's case, are used as outlets for arms-smuggling tunnels. Palestinians denounced the practice as collective punishment.

100 PALESTINIANS KILLED IN TWO WEEKS

Israel's north Gaza incursion, its biggest inside the desert territory since a Palestinian revolt began in 2000, has killed at least 100 Palestinians. At least 57 were militants and most of the rest believed to be civilians, medics say.

Israel says the great bulk of Palestinian dead were gunmen.

Three Israelis and a Thai farmworker in one of Israel's isolated Jewish settlements in Gaza have also been killed.

Gaza militants have cranked up gun, rocket and mortar attacks of late, hoping to portray any Israeli retreat from territories occupied in the 1967 Middle East war as a victory.

Sharon is determined to batter them into quiescence first and intends to hold onto swathes of the West Bank with most of the 240,000 settlers as a tradeoff for dumping smaller Gaza.

Polls show most Israelis support Sharon's strategy, regarding Gaza as too costly in lives and money.

But nationalists inside and outside Sharon's fraying right-wing coalition see any pullback as appeasement of "Palestinian terrorism," and hard-line settlers planned a series of street rallies around Israel later Thursday.

Sharon, trying to erode rightist resistance before an Oct. 25 parliament vote on "disengagement," has promised to press on with the north Gaza offensive against Hamas rocket squads.

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Israeli diplomats predict country's isolation
Oct. 13, 2004. 03:50 PM
ASSOCIATED PRESS

JERUSALEM — Israel is set on a collision course with the European Union and could turn into a pariah state, like South Africa during the apartheid years, if the Mideast conflict is not resolved, Israel's Foreign Ministry warns in a confidential 10-year forecast.

The document, put together by the ministry's Center for Political Research, says the EU is pushing to become a major global player in the next decade, and as a result, the United States, Israel's main ally, could lose international influence. The forecast, written for internal consumption, was obtained by The Associated Press today.

The analysts wrote that if the EU, a 25-nation alliance, overcomes internal divisions and speaks in one voice, its global influence would grow considerably, and be more in line with its powerful economy.

A more influential Europe would likely demand greater Israeli compliance with international conventions and could try to limit Israel's freedom of action in its conflict with the Palestinians, the 25-page document said. Israel might also have to pay a price for growing competition between the European Union and the United States.

Israel-EU relations have long been shaky, and Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom has repeatedly warned that Israel has to work to strengthen ties with Europe. However, Israel accuses the Europeans of pro-Palestinian bias and complains of a growing wave of anti-Semitism in parts of Europe.

EU officials in Brussels said that while the EU and Israel have sound relations in trade and scientific research, they have definite differences over Mideast peacemaking.

They also said the alliance is seeking more of a say. ``Regarding the Middle East peace process and our relations with Israel and the Palestinians, there is no doubt that the role of the EU has increased," said Christina Gallach, a spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana.

"We have had difficult moments (with Israel) when we responded to things like the West Bank wall and now what is happening in Gaza," Gallach said, referring to Israel's separation barrier in the West Bank and a major military offensive in Gaza.

The EU says Israel's planned withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005 must be followed by major troop withdrawals in the West Bank, and pave the way for Palestinian statehood. "None of this is exactly what the Israelis want to hear, but we have to say it,'' Gallach said.

She said the Israeli government wants to broaden the relationship with Europe, without giving the EU a bigger role in resolving the Mideast conflict.

According to the Foreign Ministry document, which was written in August, Israel could become increasingly isolated in the coming years if Europe becomes more influential.

"In extreme circumstances, this could put Israel on a collision course with the European Union. Such a collision course holds the risk of Israel losing international legitimacy and could lead to its isolation, in the manner of South Africa," according to the document.

"The EU could sharpen its expectation that Israel will comply with international norms ... and honor the authority of the United Nations and its agencies — an issue that has the potential of leading to friction," the analysts wrote.

Israel has accused the United Nations of being biased against Israel.

Even if the EU fails to become a major international player, Israel will still become increasingly isolated if it fails to resolve the conflict with the Palestinians, according to the document, which was also quoted in reports today by Israel Army Radio and the Israeli daily Haaretz.

In the best possible outcome, with the Mideast conflict moving toward solution, Israel and the European Union would still not be on good terms, the document said. "In almost every scenario, there is the potential for friction in Israel-EU relations," the analysts wrote.

Ron Prosor, director general of Israel's Foreign Ministry, said Israel is investing a great deal in improving ties with the EU, especially in economic areas.

"The situation is not easy, but there is an investment here, especially in Europe, that is important to us all," Prosor told Israel's Army Radio.
Europe is Israel's major trading partner.

However, the Foreign Ministry analysts wrote that there is no substitute for Israel's close political alliance with the United States.

EU ambassador to Israel Giancarlo Chevallard wrote on the delegation's Web-site that when it comes to the Mideast conflict, Israel "tends to keep Europe at arms length and prefers to place all its eggs in the American basket.''

Comment: There is an obvious solution to Israel's problem: more false-flag terror attacks, this time in Europe.

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Bomb alert forces Virgin Atlantic plane to land at Stansted airport
AFP
October 14, 2004

LONDON - A bomb alert forced a Virgin Atlantic flight from Hong Kong to London's Heathrow airport to land at Stansted airport, north of the British capital, as a "precautionary measure", officials said.

Virgin Flight VF201 touched down at Stansted at 5:30 am (0430 GMT), with 214 passengers and 18 crew, a Metropolitan Police spokesman said, adding that police were searching the Airbus 340-600.

A Virgin spokesman in London said the flight was diverted as a "precautionary measure".

"The aircraft and passengers are now subject to full security checks by the appropriate authorities," he added.

"The safety and welfare of our crew and passengers is Virgin Atlantic's top priority and we would like to thank passengers for their patience and we regret any inconvenience caused to them," he said.

Stansted airport mainly handles budget and charter flights within Europe. Situated in Essex, in the east of England, it is in an area that is less populated than Heathrow, which adjoins residential suburbs of west London.

Thursday's security alert was the latest in a number of incidents in Britain in which commercial flights have been diverted as a result of threats which have turned out to be hoaxes.

Two flights from Athens to New York, and a third between Berlin and London, were diverted on September 26, 28 and 30 after bomb threats were received. In each case, the aircraft was searched, and nothing was found.

Ten days ago, a Singapore Airlines Boeing 747 flying between Frankfurt, Germany and New York was diverted to Manchester, in the north of England, after a bomb threat.

It too was searched, then declared safe, enabling it to complete its transatlantic journey.

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Terror suspects jailed in Britain losing their minds: psychiatrists
October 13, 2004

LONDON (AP) - Foreign terrorist suspects detained indefinitely without trial in Britain have suffered severe and possibly irreparable damage to their mental health, a group of psychiatrists who examined the men reported Wednesday.

The experts, who met eight men held under Britain's anti-terrorist laws, said all displayed similar symptoms of depression, anxiety, self-harm and thoughts of suicide. "All of the men I saw were extremely desperate," said Ian Robbins, a clinical psychologist at St. George's Hospital in London.

"All had considered suicide and had attempted self-harm, either through cutting themselves or in one case by trying to hang himself."

In their report, the seven psychiatrists and one psychologist concluded mental health damage "is inevitable under a regime which consists of indefinite detention."

Under measures brought in after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States foreign terrorist suspects may be detained indefinitely without charge or trial if they cannot safely be removed to another country. Seventeen people have been held under the provision of the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act; 11 remain in custody.

Britain's top court is currently considering an appeal by nine of the men, who argue their detention is inconsistent with Britain's democratic principles.

In their report, the doctors said all the detainees they saw were depressed and a number suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. Several had developed "significant psychotic symptoms."

The experts said they doubted whether prison health care staff were "adequately able to combat the deterioration in mental health."

Three of the men's wives who were interviewed by the doctors also appeared to be clinically depressed, the report said.

The doctors examined the detainees at the request of their lawyer, Gareth Peirce. They decided to release a joint report when they realized "the circumstances of the detainees and their psychiatric illnesses had features in common," said Dr. James MacKeith, another of the report's authors.

"The damage to the health of these people under these conditions is predictable and grave," he said.

"We cannot be sure whether they will be able to recover fully from the damage thus caused."

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Teen accused of creating "kill list" at North Seattle high school arrested
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
By Jennifer Sullivan
Seattle Times staff reporter

A teenager accused of creating a "kill list" composed of 15 students and staff at Ingraham High School and posting the list on the Internet was arrested at the school yesterday.

The 16-year-old, a junior at the North Seattle school, posted the information to an Internet chatroom and signed the threats with an alias. School officials were able to connect the teen with the alias, said Patti Spencer, spokeswoman for Seattle Public Schools.

"It looks like it was some sort of kill list," said Seattle police spokesman Officer Scott Moss. "Apparently he was having problems with the students and teachers and he made a list of who he wanted to kill."

At around noon yesterday a parent sent Ingraham Principal Martin Floe an e-mail telling him about the threats. School officials then interviewed the suspected student then contacted police. The student was arrested and "emergency expelled," Spencer said.

The student, who lives in Seattle, was booked into the King County Youth Service Center on investigation of harassment.

Spencer said all of the staff and students listed in threatening Internet posting have been contacted.

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Ontario playground booby-trapped with glass shards
Last Updated Wed, 13 Oct 2004 12:53:02 EDT

BURLINGTON, ONT. - Police in an Ontario city are searching for a person who glued shards of glass onto playground equipment.

A parent in Burlington found the shards attached to a slide and monkey bars at the city's Desjardines Park. The person removed the shards, which had been attached with silicon and glue, and called police on Sunday.

City workers then began checking other playgrounds in the city, and school officials scoured schoolyards.

Police said it appears as if it was done deliberately, but added that the vandalism looks like an isolated incident.

The mayor of Burlington, a city of about 150,000 people 60 kilometres west of Toronto, called the act revolting.

"Whoever has done this is a sick individual," said Mayor Rob MacIsaac.

In September, Toronto police shut down beach volleyball courts in the city after 12 wooden blocks studded with razor blades were found buried in the sand at one location.

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Sydney swelters in hottest October day on record
ABC.net.au
Wednesday, October 13, 2004. 4:52pm (AEST)

Temperatures in the Sydney CBD hit a record high for October today.

Meteorologist Peter Dundah, says the highest temperature has been recorded at Observatory Hill.

"We've had records since 1859 - the previous hottest October day was in October 4, 1942 when Observatory Hill recorded 37.4 degrees," he said.

"Today we surpassed that and actually recorded 38.2 degrees at about 1:30pm."

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Hurricane Ivan drags US oil output to 50-year low
AFP
October 13, 2004

NEW YORK - Hurricane Ivan battered US crude oil production to a 50-year low in September and repairs to Gulf of Mexico operations may not finish before 2005, officials and analysts said.

Disruptions in the Gulf of Mexico, along with temporary dips in Alaskan operations, cut US output 15 percent from last year to 4.85 million barrels per day, according to the private American Petroleum Institute.

It was the lowest monthly output rate in half a century.

The Gulf of Mexico region usually produces about 1.7 million barrels of oil per day.

But latest government figures showed 471,328 barrels per day were still out of production.

Based on preliminary information supplied by operators, 150,000 barrels per day may be back on line by the end of October, according to the Department of Interior's Minerals Management Service (MMS).

But for the longer term, the agency said operators could only promise that about 96 percent of the normal daily Gulf of Mexico production "should be back on line within six months."

"We have already lost 19 million barrels so far and it looks like by the time we're done with repairs it is going to be closer to 30 million barrels," said PFC Energy analyst Jamal Qureshi.

Ivan, which careened into the Gulf of Mexico September 16, may be the most damaging hurricane yet for the oil industry.

Ten platforms in the Gulf are still evacuated.

The hole in US supplies is widely blamed for pushing up the oil market, where New York's light sweet crude price has jumped about 60 percent since the start of this year.

Unlike other, sometimes more powerful hurricanes that crossed the southwestern United States in mid-August -- Charley, Frances, Jeanne -- or others of previous years, Ivan's trajectory took it on a particularly devastating path for the oil industry.

Its point of impact was to the west of Florida, in Alabama, near the mouth of the Mississippi, a region hosting a quarter of the US petroleum infrastructure.

"Ivan had a very heavy concentration in production areas," Qureshi said.

The result: landslides, massive waves and powerful winds damaged 16,000 kilometers (10,000 miles) of pipelines and 150 platforms.

ChevronTexaco, Shell, El Paso and Noble Energy were among the worst hit.

"The companies are engaged in around the clock repair operations and only bad weather is slowing down further progress," MMS Gulf of Mexico regional director Chris Oynes said in the service's latest report October 8.

Pipelines in mud slide areas off the mouth of the Mississippi River failed and would require a "significant effort" to locate and repair because they were buried in 20 to 30 feet (seven to 10 meters) of mud, the MMS said.

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Winds cause chaos across top of South Island
14 October 2004
(New Zealand) - Severe gales lifted roofs, skittled trees, cut power and closed roads, causing chaos for emergency services at the top of the South Island.

Hundreds of homes in Motueka, Golden Bay and Marlborough were without power this morning as Network Tasman battled to restore services.

Fallen trees delayed firefighters getting to a small blaze that began on the Takaka Hill about 5.30am after power lines were brought down by the winds.

State Highway 60, from both sides of the Takaka Hill, was closed until about 8.30am while emergency services cleared the debris. [...]

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Moderate earthquake jolts Indonesia's Bali island
Channel NewsAsia

JAKARTA : A moderate earthquake measuring 5.5 on the Richter scale rocked the Indonesian resort island of Bali and the eastern tip of Java island, the meteorology office said on Thursday.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage from the tremor, which struck at 12:09pm (04:09 GMT), the national headquarters of the meteorology office here said.


The earthquake was centred some 74 kilometres under the ocean floor around 153 kilometres southwest of Denpasar, the capital city in Bali.

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Helens' siblings might be nastier

Thu Oct 7, 8:08 AM ET
By John Ritter, USA TODAY

Mount St. Helens' daily throes have muscled TV's disaster watch away from Florida's hurricanes and gotten the nation wondering if another monster eruption like the killer of 1980 is in store.

Scientists wonder, too. But they're also keeping an eye on 13 other major active volcanoes in the Cascade Range of the Pacific Northwest, aware that Mount St. Helens isn't even the most fearsome rock on the block.

That distinction goes to Mount Rainier, a 14,410-foot giant towering from 80 miles away over Seattle and its 3 million metro area residents.

A year-round playground for hikers and skiers, Rainier hasn't blown big-time in 500 years - hardly a blink of an eye in geologic time. But if it did with the intensity of 1980's St. Helens blast, which killed 57, catastrophe could result.

"The Cascades is an environment where explosive volcanoes are the norm," said Jeff Wynn, the U.S. Geological Survey (news - web sites)'s chief volcano hazards scientist.

"And we all agree that Rainier is the most dangerous - not because it's restive now but because of the exposure to people," he said.

On Wednesday, the Geological Survey said the danger of a strong Mount St. Helens eruption had passed and downgraded its alert level from 3, the highest, to 2. (Related story: Scientists lower alert level)

"We no longer think an eruption is imminent in the sense of minutes or hours," geologist Willie Scott said.

But the volcano, which awoke Sept. 23 and erupted - if weakly - for the first time in 18 years Friday, was far from back to sleep and could keep venting steam and ash for several weeks, scientists said.

And Rainier is never far from their thoughts. More ice and snow cover its big dome than all the other Cascades volcanoes combined. So a big eruption would trigger gigantic debris flows - "more like a wall of wet concrete that nothing can stop," Wynn said - plus enormous snow and ice surges all the way to Puget Sound.

"The more ice, the more danger," he said. "Water really lubricates the flow and makes the distance it can cover far greater."

Alarms at Rainier

Residents of nearby towns would have less than an hour to get to high ground and watch their homes be swept away. Greater Seattle wouldn't be spared. Geologists have discovered, for instance, that Tacoma's port sits on a debris flow from the eruption five centuries ago.

That one blew off the east side of the mountaintop, the side pointing away from Seattle, but still spilled around the other side and into what are now densely populated areas.

What scares scientists today is the threat of a big one that blows off Rainier's west side. It's why the government has spent millions of dollars in recent years installing alarms around the volcano.

Mount Hood near Portland, Ore., hovers over 2 million people.

It hasn't blown since just before Lewis and Clark arrived in 1805, but recently swarms of small earthquakes have rumbled inside the 11,239-foot peak. A major eruption from Hood could threaten Portland's water supply if sediment flows reached the Sandy River, Wynn said.

The 1,000-mile-long Cascade chain is part of a vast loop of volcanoes, called the "Ring of Fire," that runs along the Pacific rim, from New Zealand up to Japan, along Alaska's Aleutian Islands and down the Pacific coast of Central and South America.

Three-fourths of the world's 600 active volcanoes sit on the ring.

The USA has 50 active volcanoes. St. Helens is the Cascades' most active member because of its location astride two of the gigantic plates that make up the Earth's crust, plates that constantly slide and bang into each other.

A vent for heat

Think of volcanoes as Earth's heat outlets. Volcanoes tend to erupt where one plate slides under another. Gas-rich molten rock called magma has a way to escape the earth's core.

Mount St. Helens is more active than other volcanoes because it lies along an especially weak area of crust.

But eruptions seen over a lifetime lack context. Mount St. Helens' 1980 calamity was "fairly small change in its own history," Wynn said. Three eruptions in the 14th century were all much larger.

An ancient eruption in what's now Yellowstone National Park - a "super volcano" - deposited several hundred feet of ash as far away as Colorado Springs.

Other Cascades volcanoes, such as 14,161-foot Mount Shasta in northern California, are considered low risks to erupt. Geologists believe Shasta, the chain's second-highest peak, blows about once every 600 years.

But don't expect the tumult inside Mount St. Helens to set off other volcanoes in the Cascades.

"They're independent systems," Wynn said.

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Berthoud meteorite rocks scientists
By John C. Ensslin, Rocky Mountain News
October 12, 2004

BOULDER - Out of a clear blue sky, a bit of space history as old as the solar system and no bigger than a softball slammed into the soft, wet earth beside a Berthoud family's home Oct. 5.

John Whiteis saw light and a little bit of dirt move. His wife, Meghan, saw a dark streak. Their 19-year-old son, Casper, heard something like this:

"Wsssssssshh. Thud!"

"We were kind of trying to figure out what we had just witnessed," said John Whiteis, a former auto mechanic and self-described Star Trek fan.

At first he thought it might be a piece of a passing plane. But there were none overhead.

Maybe a model rocket launched by a neighbor, they wondered. Nah.
A few moments passed before the family realized what they had just seen: a shiny, black meteorite plunging at more than 100 mph into a pasture, just 75 feet from their home.

Scientists say meteorites pepper the Earth's atmosphere daily, almost every hour. Most burn up as "shooting stars." Some land in sizes as small as a grain of sand.

The Whiteis family, however, witnessed only the fifth confirmed sighting of a meteorite hitting the ground in Colorado since 1924.

On Monday, the family gathered at the University of Coloradoto talk about their discovery along with a panel of geologists and astronomers.

Judging by their reactions, it was a close call as to which group was more excited by the find: the family or the scientists.

"Isn't this exciting?" CU geologist Steve Mojzsis gushed. "Thank you for bringing the meteorite in."

CU planetary scientist Nick Schneider described his reaction when he first heard Casper Whiteis' rendition of how the meteorite sounded as it landed.

"I got chills up and down my spine hearing that description," Schneider said. "I get a zing from this rock."

"This came from outer space. It probably took a million years to get here," he added. "If you're feeling a little bit old, just come and touch this and it'll put things in perspective."

If not for some furniture the Whiteis family bought at an auction last weekend, this meteorite might have fallen to earth unseen.

It rained on Monday, so the furniture stayed in the vehicle. On Tuesday, John Whiteis was home from work early, so in came the furniture. And down came the meteorite.

It took the family about 25 minutes after impact to locate the meteorite.

A smooth black surface about the size of a golf ball peeked out from under the dirt.

John Whiteis turned back to the house to get a shovel. But before he could get there, Casper had grabbed a hammer and dug it out of the earth.

By then it was cool to the touch, said Casper, an aeronautics engineering student at AIMS Community College, who hopes to study at CU some day.

While meteorites have value to collectors and can fetch up to $1 a gram, the Whiteis family say their two-pound meteorite is not for sale. Instead they plan to let CU scientists study the rock and put it on public display.

Scientists at CU also hope to study the meteorite and compile other eyewitness accounts of any fireball sightings that day to determine its trajectory.

On Saturday, with permission from local property owners, scientists and volunteers hope to search up to four square miles of the area around the Whiteis home for other fragments.

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World's biggest meteorite field found in Egypt
www.chinaview.cn
2004-10-12 14:46:44

BEIJING, Oct. 12 (Xinhuanet) -- A team of French and Egyptian scientists say they've discovered the biggest meteorite field on Earth.

The meteorite site, with more than a hundred traces of crashed meteorites has been found in the region of the Egyptian-Lebanese border.

A spokesman of the French scientific research center CNRS, says the meteorite shower remains had hit the earth about 50 million years ago and covered the territory of 5,000 square kilometers.

Craters ranging from 20 meters to one kilometer in diameter have been created as a result of the clash. Meteorite remains are buried at an 80-meter depth.

Until recently, an Argentine meteorite field of 60 square kilometers has been considered the biggest in the world.

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Dinosaurs were in their prime when meteorite impact wiped them out
By Charles Arthur Technology Editor
14 October 2004
The common perception that dinosaurs were edging towards extinction when a huge meteorite wiped them out 65 million years ago is false, says a new study that claims the animals were in their prime when disaster struck.

The variety of species existing around the end of the Cretaceous period suggests that they were diversifying at a remarkable rate, with an explosion of genetic diversity that was reflected in their success dominating the planet.

Scientists from the University of Rhode Island at Kingston, in the United States, established that at least 245 dinosaur genera - the "families" from which species emerge - lived during the late Cretaceous era, from 99 million to 65 million years ago.

They included some of the best known dinosaurs, such as tyrannosaurus rex and the three-horned triceratops.

Peter Sheehan, from the Milwaukee Public Museum, who took part in the research, told New Scientist magazine: "The lifestyles of dinosaurs became much more diverse. By the late Cretaceous, we have much more specialised animals."

The first dinosaurs evolved about 230 million years ago and were all much the same.

By the late Jurassic period, which began about 160 million years ago, they had produced about 40 different genera, or species families.

Then in the Cretaceous era which followed there was an explosion of dinosaur diversity, according to a new analysis of fossils from around the world.

Dr Sheehan said the diversity of plant-eating dinosaurs of the period was "absolutely breathtaking". For example, hadrosaurs evolved a duck-billed jaw filled with teeth for chewing vegetation, while the rhinoceros-like ceratopsians grew elaborate horns.

But the controversy over the dinosaurs' evolutionary path looks likely to continue: on Tuesday a paper published in the scientific journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution by Professor David Penny of Massey University in New Zealand and Dr Matt Phillips of Oxford University claimed the precise opposite - that birds and mammals began to "out-compete" dinosaurs about 80 to 90 million years ago, well before the end of the Cretaceous era.

"The combined evidence from fossils and molecules appears to support an expansion of birds and mammals, and a decline of pterosaurs and dinosaurs, starting many millions of years before the end of the Cretaceous," the scientists wrote.

What is not in doubt however is that there was a serious meteor strike on the Earth roughly 65 million years ago, in the Bay of Mexico. That is reckoned to have thrown up so much dust into the atmosphere that it cooled the planet abruptly, making it much harder for the cold-blooded dinosaurs to survive, and giving warm-blooded animals including mammals the evolutionary edge.

Comment: Will there be a debate in several million years about whether or not "man" was at the height of his powers when the comet came and wiped most of him out?

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TV Host O'Reilly Accused of Harassment
By DAVID BAUDER, AP Television Writer

NEW YORK - Bill O'Reilly, whose Fox News Channel show is the highest-rated cable news program, has been accused of sexual harassment by one of his producers. O'Reilly says the complaint is a politically motivated extortion attempt.

Both sides filed lawsuits Wednesday, with the woman, Andrea Mackris, saying the commentator had phone sex with her against her wishes three times.

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Mobile phone 'ear tumours risk'
BBC News
Using a mobile phone for 10 years or more increases the risk of ear tumours by four times, Swedish research shows.

The Karolinska Institute study of 750 people found the risk of acoustic neuroma rose by 3.9 times on the side of the head the phone is used.

There was no increase in risk on the other side of the head - giving an overall rise in risk of 1.9 times.

Acoustic neuroma is a benign tumour in the auditory nerve, which can cause brain and nerve damage.

It affects one in 100,000 people.

Those who had used mobile phones for less than 10 years were not at a greater risk, the team reported.[...]

The mobile phone industry has always maintained there is no scientific evidence of negative effects from mobile phone use.

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Learning a second language can change anatomy of brain: scientists
Channel NewsAsia

LONDON : Scientists say that learning a second language can result in changes to the anatomy of the brain.

Andrea Mechelli, a neuroscientist at University College London, said: "The grey matter in this region increases in bilinguals relative to monolinguals - this is particularly true in early bilinguals who learned a second language early in life."


The findings, published in the science journal Nature, could explain why children are so much better than adults at mastering a second language.

The reserachers found that people who speak two languages have more grey matter in the language region of the brain.

The earlier they learned the language, the larger the grey area.

"The degree is correlated with the proficiency achieved," said Mechelli.

Learning another language after 35 years old also alters the brain but the change is not as pronounced as in early learners.

"It reinforces the idea that it is better to learn early rather than late because the brain is more capable of adjusting or accommodating new languages by changing structurally,"
Mechelli said.

"This ability of the brain decreases with time," he added.

Mechelli and his team used structural brain imaging to compare the size of the grey matter in the brains of 25 monolinguals, 25 early bilinguals who learned a second language before the age of five and 33 late bilinguals.

All the volunteers in the study, which is described in the science journal Nature, were native English speakers of comparable age and education.

In the bilinguals, the grey matter in the left inferior parietal cortex was larger than in the monolinguals or the bilinguals who picked up the second language between the ages of
10-15.

"By looking at the size of the change (in the brain) I can tell whether someone is very proficient or not because the bigger the change the better the proficiency," said Mechelli.

Grey matter in the brain is made up of neurons, or brain cells.

The scientists do not know whether the change in bilinguals means there is an increase in the size of the cells, the number of cells or the connections between them.

"The next step would be to understand the change better at a small-scale level," according to Mechelli.

He and his colleagues are planning further studies with people who have difficulty learning languages to see whether their brain behaves differently.

They also plan to study speakers of several languages to determine whether the increase in grey matter is proportional to the number of languages they have mastered. - CNA

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