Article - High Strangeness
Article - The Blair Belief Project
Strike Flash Presentation by a QFS member
of the Day
| The Peakers claim that 'Peak Oil'
is the single most important issue that we are facing today. I agree
with that assessment (but not because 'Peak Oil' is a valid concept).
The Peakers claim that much of America's military might has been
directed in recent years at conquering the key oil and gas producing
regions of the world. And that is obviously quite true. Central
Asia and Iraq have been seized, Venezuela has suffered through constant
meddling by the CIA, the Sudan has been targeted for a future assault,
and Saudi Arabia and Iran have been subjected to saber rattling.
The Peakers claim that we will very soon be facing a world where
chaos reigns supreme -- a world of war, famine and death on a scale
unknown in recorded human history. And that does, in fact, appear
to be the case. And we're not talking about the distant future here,
folks; we're talking about the very near future.
But the Peakers also claim that this global "die off"
will be a regrettable, but quite natural, and entirely unavoidable,
consequence of the world's oil taps running dry. And that is the
really big lie. That is the lie that will very soon be used to rationalize
the killing off of hundreds of millions, possibly billions, of the
world's people. There are, you see, simply too many people in the
world who, by merely being alive, are standing in the way of the
aspirations of the global elite.
The people that the 'Peak Oil' pitchmen are fronting for are deadly
serious about selling 'Peak Oil' to the masses -- and not just in
theoretical terms, as a cynical ploy to raise prices and increase
profits. No, it has become clear that the real goal is to actually
cut off most of the world's oil supplies under the ruse that the
oil simply no longer exists. The desired result is massive social
unrest, widespread famine, and endless war. The majority of the
world's people will not survive. Those that do will find themselves
living under the overtly authoritarian form of rule that will quickly
be deemed necessary to restore order. And if you think that we here
in America are exempt, you are sadly mistaken.
In order to pull off this stunt, all the world's major oil producing
regions must be solidly under the control of the U.S. and it's co-
conspirators, otherwise known as 'allies.' In other words, the puppet-
masters have to control all the major oil taps, so that they have
complete control over the flow of oil -- or lack of it. And that,
in a nutshell, is the real reason for America's recent military
ventures. The goal, you see, is not to steal Iraq's oil, or the
oil in the 'Stans, or in the Sudan, or in Venezuela, or anywhere
else. We don't want to take their oil, because the truth is that
don't really need it . What we want to do is sit on the taps
so no one else can get to the oil.
prosecutors have filed terrorism charges against cleric Abu Bakar
Bashir in a major step towards a new trial of the accused leader
of South-east Asia's Jemaah Islamiya network.
"It has been submitted to the south Jakarta court today,"
Didik Istiyanta, south Jakarta state prosecutor, said on Friday.
Asked whether the charges related to terrorism, he said, "Something
like that," adding, "but for details, wait until the trial".
Another prosecutor, Andi Herman, confirmed the charges were related
to terrorism. "Yes they are," he said, but declined to
Herman said normally a trial would be convened within two weeks
of the charges being submitted.
The attorney general's office had said earlier
Bashir would face charges of helping to plot the August 2003 blast
at the JW Marriott hotel in Jakarta which killed 12 people and of
involvement in a conspiracy to hide large amounts of explosives
in central Java.
Authorities believe Bashir inspired fighters who bombed nightclubs
on the tourist island of Bali in 2002 and who carried out the Marriott
bombing and other attacks.
Bashir, who denies any connections with Jemaah Islamiya or terrorism,
was first arrested days after the Bali blasts that killed 202 people,
amid suspicions he led Jemaah Islamiya and had links to violent
However, following a trial using the ordinary
criminal code, the court said there was not enough evidence to prove
Bashir led the group, and ultimately only convictions related to
immigration violations were upheld in appeals courts.
After he had served time on those convictions,
Indonesian police detained Bashir under a tough anti-terror law
in the wake of the Bali bombings.
Abu Bakar Ba'asyir does not cut
the terrifying figure expected of a man accused of being a leading
figure in the murky world of international terrorism.
He is a frail, 65-year-old man with a wispy beard, embroidered
white skull cap and heavy glasses perched on his aquiline nose.
Before his arrest a week after the 2002 Bali bombings, Mr Ba'asyir
was a teacher at an Islamic school in Solo, central Java. He still
insists he is just a simple preacher.
But according to the Indonesian and foreign governments, Mr Ba'asyir
was also the spiritual leader of Jemaah Islamiah (JI), a shadowy
group accused of the 2002 Bali bombings.
Prosecutors accused Mr Ba'asyir of plotting to assassinate Indonesian
leader Megawati Sukarnoputri when she was vice-president in a bid
to turn the country - the world's most populous Muslim nation -
into a hardline Islamic state.
He was also accused of orchestrating a series of church bombings
on Christmas Eve 2000.
The problem for the authorities is that Indonesia's
courts have not found the evidence compelling.
First the courts acquitted him of being JI's spiritual leader,
after judges said there was not enough proof. Then an appeal court
overturned a subversion conviction, cutting his original jail term
from four years to 18 months, since his only remaining offence was
I support Osama Bin Laden's struggle because his is the true struggle
to uphold Islam, not terror - the terrorists are America and Israel
Abu Bakar Ba'asyir
Despite his outspoken support for Osama Bin Laden, Mr Ba'asyir
denies having personal links with him or with terrorism in general.
The cleric has repeatedly denied all the charges against him, and
condemned the Bali bombing as a "brutal act".
Most of the case against Mr Ba'asyir has been
based on statements made by a Kuwaiti man, Omar
al-Faruq, who was arrested in Indonesia last June and is now in
| The jailed cleric accused of heading
a militant group blamed for last week's Australian embassy bombing
condemned the attack today, while accusing Indonesian authorities
of trying to frame him.
Nine people died on September 9 when a car bomb detonated outside
the Australian mission in the Kuningan district of central Jakarta.
About 180 people were wounded in the attack blamed on Jemaah Islamiah,
a South-East Asian militant network allegedly linked to al-Qaeda.
"I personally condemn the bombing (and) I am deeply sorry
and express my condolences to the victims," Abu Bakar Bashir
said according to his lawyer Wirawan Adnan who had visited the cleric
in his cell in Cipinang Prison.
Bashir has been in jail since 2002, when he was convicted for minor
immigration infractions. Prosecutors say they now plan to charge
him with heading Jemaah Islamiah, and for a deadly bombing last
year at the JW Marriott Hotel in Jakarta that killed 12.
There has been speculation that he could also be charged over the
latest embassy attack.
Bashir has repeatedly denied any involvement in
terrorism and claimed that Jakarta buckled under pressure from Washington
to arrest him as part of a crackdown on Islamic activists in the
world's most populous Muslim nation.
"I deny all accusations that connect the
bombing with me," Bashir said. "I had nothing to do with
the Kuningan bombing, the Marriott bombing or any other bombing."
"Terrorists must be punished and eliminated for good,"
Adnan told reporters that Bashir was convinced that the police
were trying to make him a scapegoat to cover up their failure to
prevent terrorist attacks.
"At the time of the Marriott bombing I was
locked up for eight months. How can that be?" Bashir said,
according to his attorney.
| [...] Although initially only one
blast had been reported, a Japanese woman who was taking lunch at
a restaurant in an adjacent building at the time of the attack told
Kyodo News there a second explosion followed the first, and shattered
the restaurant's windows.
The Jakarta Post quoted an eyewitness as describing
four separate blasts at the hotel, including two smaller explosions
on the upper floors of the hotel.
''I was going to take some pictures after
the first blast when suddenly the second blast hit after about 10
minutes. The second was the largest of four,''
the eyewitness, a journalist, reportedly told the daily.
He said the second blast was the one that caused a crater in the
hotel's Sailendra Restaurant.
Earlier, Jakarta Gov. Sutiyoso had told reporters it appeared that
a suicide bomber drove a car to the entrance of the hotel and detonated
an explosive device. Antara quoted a source as saying the bomb or
bombs were brought by a taxi.
There was something interesting
happened just hours before the explosion shocked the JW Marriott
Hotel, Mega Kuningan, South
Jakarta. The US Embassy cancelled the booking
of 10-20 rooms in that hotel. The cancellation was on 8.00 West
Indonesian Time, Tuesday, or only 4.5 hours before the explosion.
This information is from employee of Marriot Hotel who refused
to be identified. He explained that the booking was made several
The US Embassy's guests were planned to stay for 3 days. And the
ceremony was planned on Wednesday.
For information, when there was the explosion, the security of
US Embassy directly came to the Marriot Hotel in Mega Kuningan.
Marriot Hotel is known to be used frequently by US Embassy. On 4
July 2003, the Independent Day of US was celebrated on this hotel.
Last year, it was also celebrated there.
Jakarta police seized documents
last month showing terrorists were planning an attack in the area
around the Marriott Hotel, where 14 people died yesterday in suicide
car bombing. [...]
FOREIGN Minister Alexander Downer
today rejected claims that Indonesian police had discovered a list
of terrorist targets, including the JW Marriott Hotel, in recent
raids on terror suspects.
Mr Downer said he had heard such media reports and immediately
checked with Australian authorities to see what was known.
"I understand now more recently that there wasn't information
that was so specific that would identify the Marriott Hotel,"
he said on ABC radio.
"It was just more general information of possible terrorist
attacks and plans to develop terrorist operations. I have been told
that it wasn't specific to the Marriott Hotel.
"There wasn't a list which included the Marriott Hotel."
TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta:
Former State Intelligence Coordinating Board (BAKIN) chief A.C.
Manulang has said that Kuwaitd citizen Omar Al-Faruq, a terrorist
suspect who was arrested in Bogor, West Java, on June 5, 2002 and
handed over to the US three days later, is a CIA-recruited agent.
Al Faruq was assigned to infiltrate Islamic radical
groups and recruit local agents within these groups.
"When Al Faruq finished his assignments, the CIA created
a scenario that he had been arrested," Manulang told Tempo
News Room in Jakarta on Thursday afternoon (19/9).
Manulang made this analysis based on the pattern used by Al Faruq,
that of having Kuwait citizenship but holding a Pakistani passport,
entering Indonesia as a refugee and marrying an Indonesian woman.
This kind of operation is aimed at starting conflicts
in Indonesia and creating the image that Indonesia is a land of
"After the CIA obtained complete data
on this matter, they then made Al-Faruq disappear. It's common
in intelligence world," said Manulang.
Manulang said he considered several matters in the arrest of Al
Faruq last July to be odd, such as the denial of National Police
chief Gen. Da'i Bachtiar over the police's involvement
in Al Faruq's arrest, and the lack of official documents in
Al Faruq's handing over to the US.
"In the handing over of a detainee to other country, there
should be an announcement or deportation document. Al Faruq's
case indicated a lack of coordination between the Indonesian police
and intelligence agencies," said Manulang.
As for Al Faruq's testimony in Time magazine
that he had masterminded the plan to murder Indonesian President
Megawati and several bombings in Indonesia, Manulang considered
this as an attempt to making Islamic groups the scapegoats for all
"Anti-Islam intelligence agencies committed
the bombings in Indonesia. They have been trained for this and they
are very organized," said Manulang.
Therefore, he added, it was useless to arrest the bombers.
"We must arrest the mastermind of the bombings in Indonesia,"
According to Manulang, it's possible that Al
Faruq recruited radical people from Islamic groups for his plan.
In regards to the murder attempt on Megawati, Manulang did not
consider this as a serious matter.
"Megawati does not need to be worried. She's not the
real target in this matter," said Manulang.
Manulang requested the government immediately verify the CIA report
on Al Faruq.
"Such a report could only be a dummy
or false intelligence information that is aimed at misleading the
public," stated Manulang. (Sapto Pradityo-Tempo News
| French police were investigating
a possible terrorist connection after 10 people were slightly injured
in a pre-dawn bomb blast outside the Indonesian embassy in Paris.
The anti-terrorist section of the Paris prosecutor's office took
charge of the judicial enquiry, amid suspicions it could have been
carried out by Islamic extremists. No claims of responsibility had
been received by the end of the day.
After a meeting of intelligence chiefs chaired by Interior Minister
Dominique de Villepin, the ministry announced that security is to
be stepped up at diplomatic missions, while Foreign Minister Michel
Barnier said the attack "reinforces our determination ... to
continue our fight against terrorism."
However for want of firm evidence the authorities continued to
class the attack as "criminal" rather than "terrorist,"
and officials said other theories including a settling of accounts
inside the embassy were also being looked into.
Radio Monte Carlo unnamed investigators as saying that this was
the favoured theory.
Several hours after the blast in an upscale district in the west
of the capital, forensic experts were combing through debris and
broken glass in search of clues for the type of explosive used,
while investigators interviewed embassy staff.
Nine of the injured -- who included four embassy staff members
-- were treated for cuts in local hospitals and the tenth was attended
to at the scene.
The explosive device was left on the pavement beneath the Indonesian
flag flying from the embassy building on a narrow street corner
and went off shortly after 5:00 am (0300 GMT), leaving a small crater
some 50 centimetres (20 inches) wide by 20 centimetres deep.
Lies and the Lying Liars
that Lie about Lying
What a tangled web we weave when
first we practice to deceive, or in Bush's case, when we are born
Just to make it absolutely, undeniably, positively crystal clear.
Bush is a liar. He lies all the time.
He probably can't help it. He and the members of his administration
survive and thrive on the massive lies they tell to the world public,
who willingly swallow every single word.
This is a fact.
The entire population of America, that's right, approximately 300
million people, and much of the other 6 billion people on the planet
are being deceived by a few dozen men in Washington.
You want proof?
In the recent presidential debate, Kerry accused Bush of stating
that he was not concerned about Osama Bin Laden, the alleged murderer
of 3,000 Americans on September 11th and the reason for the entire
"war on terror". To this accusation, Bush responded:
"Gosh, I just don't think I ever said I'm
not worried about Osama Bin Laden, that's kind of one of those -
Well, you see, Bush DID say that he was not concerned about Osama,
America's arch nemesis and the reason for the "war on terror".
In a March 2002 clip of a White House press conference, Bush replied
to a question about Bin Laden's whereabouts by saying:
"I don't know where he is. You know,
I just don't spend that much time on him. ... I truly am not that
concerned about him"
Now you tell us, was Bush's comment that he DID NOT say that he
is not worried about Osama, a lie? Do our leaders lie? If you agree
that they do, can any of us say categorically that they would not
lie about any particular subject? The 9/11 attacks for example?
What will you do given the clear cut evidence that Bush is prone
to lying in front of millions of people? Are you going to dismiss
it as an anomaly? Are you going to deny the uncomfortable reality
into which this fact thrusts us?
The real truth is that lying to and deceiving the masses is synonymous
with government, it always has been. Our task is to wake up to this
reality and modify our approach to life accordingly.
|Part I - Branch Warfare
and the Evolution of Aggression
The pages of history, those
monuments to humankind's brief rule over the planet, are replete
with violence, death and destruction. Indeed, it can be argued successfully
that war, genocide, ethnic cleansing and human violence against
each other have defined humanity's tumultuous existence on Earth.
We are inseparable from death and destruction, suffering and violence,
having become creatures addicted to the malice inherent in human
evil. Turning the pages of the little we know of our own past, one
thing becomes quite apparent: Throughout time, in all corners of
the world, mankind has lived side by side with war, destruction
and death. We have defined our existence through the self-inflicted
violence we unleash upon ourselves. What is it about the human condition
that espouses in us a propensity to grossly annihilate ourselves,
inflicting horrendous misery onto our kind and never learning from
the devastation unleashed by us onto us?
Violence and humanity were born conjoined twins out of the thick
canopy of our ancestral home in the Eastern African jungles. Even
in the ape-like appearance and behavior of our primate selves could
our violent genes be discerned. Competition forced upon us the will
to survive through the defeat of competitor groups. Wars waged high
in the canopy became the first symptoms of our disease. Group versus
group, competitor versus competitor, the violence ingrained in us
manifested itself in the primitive battles and hollowed screams
of our long-gone ancestors.
Branch to branch, foot by foot, with nail and teeth the prelude
to modern warfare was born. This reality can today be seen in modern
mammals of today. In time we fell off our comfortable branches high
above the canopy, now bipedal and stepping forward in evolutionary
exigencies, ready to take the next leap forward. As we made the
savannah our new ecosystem competition once more reared its ugly
head. New predators arose, new rivalries emerged. Survival of the
fittest never seemed so important. Those born aggressive survived,
those less fortunate perished.
Struggling over territory we fought interlopers; competing for
finite resources we waged battles. Our drive to procreate pitted
male versus male in animalistic bouts of combat that killed, wounded
or banished. The winner of such fights controlled fertile females,
claiming new forested territory as a result, thus becoming the new
procreator of genetic bonds, killing off genetic competitor's offspring
if he had to. Survival of the fittest ensured that only our most
able ancestors succeeded and passed on their seed to future generations.
Our story mirrors that of so many diverse mammals. We are similar
to them in so many ways, living, breathing and surviving in nature
much the same as they have for hundreds of thousands of years. Species
have come and gone, yet mammals we all remain, birthing, eating,
parenting, sleeping, defending, surviving, thriving and dying in
very similar ways. Behaviors and social structures, hierarchy and
competition are, if studied carefully, similar in many species,
including our own. We were once part of the animal world as much
as the animal world was once part of us.
In a world of survival that depended on an ability to defend the
group and protect territory from alien invaders our primate ancestors
had to evolve violence. Only those who developed the greatest propensity
to violence and those who possessed the best skills in combat could
be assured of survival. Thus, it was these skills and propensities
that got passed down generation to generation, eventually becoming
attached to our evolving makeup. Survival of the fittest demanded
that violence become part of the human condition, a necessary and
adaptable behavior needed to survive and thrive. Through eons and
generations of evolutions our bodies changed and minds grew, yet
the struggle for survival heeded the need to defend, kill, maim
and protect. Aggression thus became a tool necessary for continued
existence. To fail in this genetic battle was to declare defeat
and almost certain death. Left without genetic progeny, those lacking
violent arsenals disappeared into the realm of the forgotten, made
extinct by the insufficient predisposition toward aggressiveness.
To fight or fail, to battle and survive became, in our early days
full of competition for sexual mates, territory and finite resources,
the primitive engenderer of the violence that befalls humanity today,
just as it has throughout history. To develop aggressiveness, propensity
to violence and skill in combat assured our ancestors lived another
day. To fail in battle meant almost certain extinction and genetic
banishment. It was those who survived and those who are today our
most direct predecessors that were the most violent, the most lethal
and most adept in aggression whose genes we eventually inherited.
The greatest symptom of our disease today was spawned in the wars
of survival emanating in the now forgotten days of yesteryear. The
virus that causes so much death, destruction and misery today was
forged before we knew what we would eventually become. Out of necessity,
out of adaptability and based on the laws of nature humankind arose
from the jungles and the savannah bipedal and intelligent, predisposed
of violence and competition. The laws meant for the animal world
mutated in form and substance with our ever-evolving brains, creating
the most lethal, self-destructive and violent mammal the world has
Conditioned Minds, Hidden Realities
Our mistake is not wanting to see who and what we truly are. It
is living in the delusion of our grandeur and the imposition of
our omnipotence. It is neglecting to acknowledge the reality of
our origins and the truth behind our behaviors. It is living in
the myth that we are something we are not. Thinking ourselves placed
on this planet through the hands of our metaphysical idol, we believe
in the façade of the magnificence of our civilization and
the perfection of our existence.
Failing to erase the delusion of our god-appointed reign over the
planet or the deity-inspired anointment over all living creatures
we blindly devour anything in our path, destroying the knowledge
of our being by the evisceration of our home. Thinking ourselves
a completely different entity than the mammal world we belong to,
we refuse to realize that from our cousins our behaviors arise.
All mammals derive from a common ancestor, a rat like creature that
evolution transformed to the plethora of diversity our species is
slowly making extinct. It is only natural, then, that we share many
of the same traits and behaviors as our blood relatives. As an example,
we share over 98 percent of the same genes as a chimpanzee, while
we share over 90 percent of the same genetic makeup as a common
To study the animal world is to in many ways delve into the far
and not so far reaches of human behavior, peering through the unobstructed
lens creatures sharing many of our traits comprise. To study the
behavior of our closest relatives is to dive into the deepest wells
of human evolution and seeing who and what we really are. By understanding
that which we fail to escape but refuse to acknowledge better humans
can we all be made to be.
We fail to understand where we come from, what we once were and
how evolution works. Thinking ourselves immune to the same laws
of nature encapsulating the rest of the animal world we are in essence
abandoning an enormous chunk of information that can allow us to
better understand the human condition. We do not comprehend that
evolution works in eons, not decades, that behaviors and genetic
mutations transcend generations and that much of what we think of
as human nature today was first brought to light hundreds of thousands
of years ago, long before the arrival of civilization, technology
Our religions have made us believe in the exquisite creation of
our civilization and in the chosen ascendancy of our almighty sovereignty.
They have, through the perceived greatness of our species deriving
from the heavens above, guided us on paths of human myths, not realities.
Created before our minds could conceive of or understand our relationship
with the animal and natural world, religion furthered beliefs at
odds with our animal selves and our own behavioral and instinctual
evolutions. It condemned the idea of us as animals inclined with
many of the same characteristics as the mammalian world. Instead,
its dogma demanded that we become gods onto ourselves, rulers of
the planet, created by our deity in its same image.
Religion commanded that we look upon ourselves as separate entities
from anything living on Earth. We were placed on the planet by powers
higher than ourselves, created out of thin air, becoming human the
moment we took our first breath. Evolution was non-existent, as
was the idea that humankind was once part of the animal world. Our
evolving physical and mental realities were never taken into consideration,
nor the truth of the natural world that enveloped us.
Religion that was created thousands of years ago continues to control
our lives today, with the same primitiveness of days gone by and
with the same belief structure that fails to include the knowledge
and intelligence we possess today. It is these mechanisms, along
with our inability to escape the cloud of self-aggrandizing delusion
hovering above us that continues to plague our advancement.
We live in the denial of our existence, believing us superior and
chosen, unable, unwilling really, to accept that which our minds
and egos refuse to acknowledge. For to degrade ourselves as having
risen and indeed being part of the world of the beasts and mammals
would be to strike down the fallacy of our own self-absorbed greatness
that has led us down the wrong road for the last ten-thousand years.
Conditioned for millennia to believe in our own hegemony and importance,
we have been led astray, lost in our concrete jungle ecosystems,
wandering aimlessly on our road to perdition, passing through the
ruins of the knowledge that can save us but that we are destroying,
even as we refuse to accept the reality of our creation and the
truth behind our behaviors.
The animal world that birthed us have we abandoned, along with
the vast knowledge it possesses. The keys to understanding ourselves
lie in front of our eyes, in the world we refuse to acknowledge
and only seem to want to destroy. Instead primitive we remain, thrust
upon our violent selves by our refusal to evolve past the dogma
of ancient times that was born to ignorance and fear. A perplexing
quandary has arisen that denies the truth behind our ways and the
understanding we desperately need to squash our demons. In light
we see no evil and in darkness the truth remains.
The grand lie we live of our god-like divinity has for centuries
clashed with the great truth of our animal-like reality. Except
we are too delusional to see beyond the mirage of greatness we espouse
onto our fragile egos. The great fallacy of our omnipotence is corrosively
leading to the impotence of our continued existence.
PART II - Evolving Brain, Advancing Civilization,
Spit out of the jungles by evolution after we landed on solid ground
from the dense branches of our trees above, we began our great Diaspora,
ever-slowly traversing savannah, desert, forest, tundra and oceans,
reaching the far reaches of the globe. Yet within us we carried
the virus that to this day continues to plague our existence.
Attaching itself to the human condition like a blood-sucking leach
firmly entrenched on a mammalian body, our propensity towards violence
has never left us. Like many species of animal, including our primate
cousins, aggression and violence are deeply entrenched in our psyches.
The real danger, however, lies in the evolving brain we have over
the millennia allowed to develop.
What separates our aggression from the instinctual one residing
in the animal kingdom is our capacity for intelligent, analytical
and cognizant understanding. That is, our intelligent brain has
the capability to mutate our many passions, emotions and aggressions
into organized violence against our own kind, done methodically
and purposefully, thereby superceding any instinct we might possess
to the great detriment of our fellow man. The threat to our race
is that unlike animals, whose aggression is minimal and based on
instincts of survival that also serve the laws of nature, our propensity
towards violence exerts pressure to endanger our own kind thanks
to the complex mechanizations of the mind. Our deep thinking and
highly intelligent brain unleashes violence not according to the
laws of the jungle but for much more sinister purposes dealing with
our highly volatile and misunderstood animal passions.
With feelings of anger, hatred, competition, revenge
and jealousy so ingrained into our animalistic selves, it becomes
extremely difficult to sequester them in our daily lives. These
emotions, and the reactions inherent in such circumstances, are
unique to the human race. It is our species that can act out violently
against such passions; we are the only animal that can direct our
passions in violent outrage, whether at one person, an entire army
or an absolute nation. Our vast superiority
in intelligence over the animal world, combined with the same behaviors
and propensities as our mammal relatives, makes us much more dangerous
animals than previously existed. It is our mind, combined
with our animal passions, that allows our violent and aggressive
selves to mutate to the kind of destruction, death and misery we
are so capable of.
It is this Molotov cocktail of human intelligence and animal passions
that makes of man that most dangerous of animals. Intelligence and
passion, when mixed together, can create a volatile concoction that
has been manifested in the often bloody history of man.
When combined with the collective brain of the many, such as in
the case of tribes or nation-states, the propensity towards violence
against competitors or rivals becomes even greater, escalating into
full-fledged war. The same parameters that led to fighting among
our primate ancestors and the animal world of today helps bring
to the surface the human hell that has shackled us from our earliest
beginnings and that today leads to untold levels of misery worldwide.
Competition for food, resources, sexual partners and territory
condemn humans to releasing into the open the virus of violence
attached to our psyches that lingers hibernating in the innermost
closets of our minds, ready at any moment to makes its ominous entrance
into our lives.
With our more intelligent mind, however, new non-nature parameters
that open the scabs of violence have emerged in the last several
hundred thousand years. As differences of religious dogma arose,
eroded and mutated throughout tribal societies, so did the propensity
for war based on differences of belief. Indeed, wars of religious
inclinations have killed, maimed and destroyed more humans than
any other excuse for warfare. The untold
suffering caused by religious wars cannot be adequately described
in words. The "my god is better than your god"
syndrome, combined with the 'my religion is the true and only religion'
belief in which battles for the true religion continue to be fought,
has condemned hundreds of millions and perhaps billions of human
spirits to the nadir of nothingness.
Wars of religious proclivity are the greatest example of the malignant
human hell that legitimizes the murder and killing of our fellow
man. Added to the already prevalent munitions of aggression our
animal selves are born with, this breed of violence, encompassing
a small timeframe of our life on Earth, against differences of religion,
nationality, ethnicity, race, beliefs, goals and vision of the world,
has elevated the violence against one another to a scale the first
humans to inhabit the world could never possibly envisage.
Conflict has defined human society from
time immemorial. Our gravitation to violence has characterized our
existence and our history. After leaving our cradle in Africa,
from our earliest nomadic tribal predecessors to our most advanced
societies today our fate has in large measure been determined as
a result of warfare. Competition for land, homes, food, sexual partners
and resources were once the sole reason for human combat. Today,
added to those just mentioned we can include the much more sinister
wars based on differences of religion, ethnicity, nationality, race,
beliefs and goals. With the advancement of human civilization our
primitiveness only grows. The introduction of new anthropological
creations in human societal evolution have only exacerbated the
need to kill one another. The reasons for human hell keep increasing
with the advancement of our existence and the continued growth of
Conquest, usurpation, power and control have sealed destinies and
advanced humankind to where it stands today. It is these same that
will help seal our fates the more we clash and more we bump into
each other's vested interests. Under growing pressures for the finite
space available and as nation states compete for Earth's dwindling
resources, the human hell we have known since the dawn of time will
only resurface once more, continuing to dance alongside humanity's
unsustainable desires, animalistic passions and our voracious inability
to understand the complexity of who and what we truly are that has
scarred us during our entire time on Earth.
The Human Hell
What is it about war that makes beasts and demons of man? What
is it about destroying our own kind that unleashes such anger and
passion? What is it about the human hell that returns us to the
savage and barbaric days of the past? Our animal and primitive selves
are resurrected with the call to war, opening in our minds the collective
memories of an entire history of death, destruction and misery.
The human hell opens the conveyor belts of accepted violence, a
time when those in power make it moral to destroy a fellow human
energy along with the advancement of entire societies. The human
hell allows warmonger leaders to condemn to death the citizens comprising
the military while permitting those who survive to destroy their
From nails and teeth to stones and branches to arrows and spears
to guns and cannons to missiles and bullets the human condition
has evolved. Along with us, however, is our twin called violence,
sitting on our side waiting patiently for the bells of carnage to
be heard, clandestinely shrouded in the inner bowels of man, released
with the call to arms that mutates us back to the animal world we
claim to rule, not be part of. For violence knows that she will
eventually reap what man sows, commandeering entire armies of enraged
men to become exactly that which human morality and religion stands
Through the cross-hairs of a rifle or the aiming
of a weapon man stops being man. He who fires and aims has become
beast while he who is fired upon is but a subhuman target, losing
all personality and humanity. The human hell turns man into beast,
Jekyll turns into Hyde and the world becomes a bastion for the demons
running rampant in the human condition. Atrocities become accepted,
rapes become desirable, carnage fills the air and humanism erodes
more and more with each new devastation of land and man.
The human hell legalizes those most heinous crimes
our civilization condemns. It makes heroes out of war criminals,
replaces justice with destruction and executes devastation upon
innocence. Murder and cold-blooded execution are given the legal
justifications never granted in society. The losers of war become
war criminals while the victors become war heroes, to be honored
and rewarded for the crimes against humanity they helped perpetrate.
War presidents are given full reign to decimate tens of thousands
of civilians and to make toxic entire nations, ruining countless
lives in the process.
The human hell orchestrates a symphony of macabre manifestations,
unleashing the most deadly weapons known to man upon cities and
standing armies. Artillery rains down from the clouds, missiles
strike like thunder from the gods. Bullets spray mercilessly onto
fragile human bodies while rockets devastate both homes and lives.
The human hell war is called, released from the innards of the human
condition, magnifying the worst symptoms in our disease.
Death, destruction and misery enliven the energy that feeds from
human blood. The animal inside us awakens with the adrenaline rush
of death and survival. Hatred, anger, animosity and revenge are
spawned as our animal selves usurp our human minds. Humans become
worthless, their lives easily taken, their deaths expected. Entire
cities are sacked, children and women are murdered without impunity,
human morals and virtues are made extinct. Human
hell makes monsters of entire peoples acquiescing to the crimes
against humanity being committed in their name.
The enemy is hated, though he is unknown. The desire to kill him
grows, though he never hurt us. Unleashing pain upon him and his
people is ingrained into our minds, though we fail to realize he
is as human as us. The human hell blinds us to a humanity we once
possessed, unearthing our animal passions that, combined with our
human intelligence, causes a weapon of death and destruction, unrepentant,
unrelenting and unforgiving. The human hell makes man the incarnation
of evil, released upon civilization, thrusting decimation upon our
It is evil born of man that our religions warn against. It is our
violent selves our scribes write about. It is man at his worst that
we must fear.
The development of stereotypes, differences in beliefs and racial
identity, the arrival of fears and ignorance, ethnic and cultural
complexities, different goals and ways of seeing the world, auras
of superiority along with competitive pressure for land, food and
resources contribute to the ever-growing need to unleash the human
hell onto our environment.
Genocide and ethnic cleansing have, along with war, been a part
of the virus we call human violence from the very beginning of human
understanding. Entire groups have been extinguished, entire regions
cleansed of humans. It goes on today as much as it did sixty years
ago. Our history has been marked by genocide after genocide, ethnic
cleansing after ethnic cleansing, war after war. After
every atrocity cries of 'Never Again' rise as if this time humanity
will learn its lessons. Yet, as we know too well, the cries go mute
as the deaf ears of mankind once more tremble with yet another thunderous
blast from a hail of bullets and missiles wiping out an entire grouping
In the unrecoverable echoes of our lost humanity can be heard wails
of 'Again and Again,' never learning from our atrocities or the
evil born within us. War, that most dastardly of all human hells,
as old as our first pioneers and as dangerous as the most venomous
human to ever walk among us, has created Holocaust after Holocaust,
monopolized by no group of humans, distributed to all corners of
the globe, regardless of skin color, ethnic makeup or religious
War is hell on Earth, affecting humankind throughout time and space,
inconsequential to the perceptions we might have or the delusion
we might live. War makes demons of our soldiers, free to roam alongside
evil as it infects once placid men who respected human morality
in peace but exterminate its principles in war. Through war humankind
returns to our primitive selves, becoming the smartest of animals,
capable of exterminating its own kind and setting free the misery
that has befallen every generation of humanity from the time of
first beginni ngs.SPAN
The absurdity of human war has yet to be stopped, for we have yet
to fully understand who and what we truly are. Inside us lie the
answers; in knowing the animal world lays our salvation. We claim
ourselves the epitome of modernity, of civilization and of knowledge,
but ape like creatures prone to violence is our reality, intelligent,
sure, self-destructive, you bet. War has never ceased, and there
is no reason to believe that it one day will. War is violence, and
violence is humankind. Our reason is no match
for our animal passions; our younger, analytical mind is easily
clouded by our older, primitive one.
The salvation to the greatest symptom of our disease has been at
our hands since the first human opened its eyes. Yet over the course
of our brief stay on Earth we have been made blind, thanks to our
own devices, to a reality that is as humbling as it is frightening.
Our egos refuse to listen, see or touch that which emanates from
all corners of the globe. We fear knowing that which for centuries
has been denied, afraid that we will see that we are not what we
once thought ourselves to be.
The human hell will continue to linger and determine our fates.
It will continue to maim, murder and decimate. For as long as we
have walked this now scarred Earth the demons running in our veins
have dominated us, corroding our societies and humanity, manipulating
us toward unleashing the great evil living within us. In the end,
the human hell called war will be our demise as our inability to
comprehend who and what we are will crash with the ever-expanding
lethality of our technologies. From rocks and sticks to mutually
assured destruction, our violent selves have never changed. Except
today's version of yesterday's rocks and sticks could conceivably
annihilate entire regions and indeed the entire surface of the planet.
Warfare is ingrained inside the human condition, unrelenting and
dominating. We have yet to exorcise this most terrible demon from
our wake. Humanity and violence are conjoined twins, it seems, inseparable
brothers thriving off each other. Where man goes violence and war
soon follow; where violence is found man will most certainly be
found. In all regions of the globe, in all peoples and societies,
violence lingers about and controls us, from spousal abuse to declared
war among nations.
All it needs to resurrect itself from outside
the crate that lies hidden in our mind is a war like leader eager
to launch the trumpets of war. All that is needed for violence to
release its most toxic cancers upon our civilization is for good
men to do nothing upon the calling of the masses.
As long as we fail to understand the world around us and the true
psychology of the human condition violence and war will continue
to lead to death, destruction and untold misery. As
long as we remain ignorant and silent to the control violence has
over our race children will continue to be buried by their parents.
For, as Plato is claimed to have once said: "Only the dead
have seen the end of war."
To deny the fruit of our impulses is to deny the very existence
of our being. Our denial and failure to accept the reality of what
we are is guiding us down the road to perdition. The corrosive unwillingness
to delve into the internal realizations of our past, present and
future will inevitably lead to our never putting a stop to the dastardly
deeds our species is capable of unleashing upon ourselves and the
lands we inhabit.
As a result, 'Never Again' will continue to be shouted in vain
after yet another war, act of genocide or ethnic cleansing. The
impotence of such words will only be seen in light of the omnipotence
of continued human violence and war. In time, 'Again and Again'
will come to be seen as the perpetual reality that haunts our existence,
plaguing humanity from the beginning to the very end. We seem incapable
of stopping ourselves from repeating a history that is all too familiar
In truth, perhaps our very existence is defined by war and violence,
and addicted we have become to the horrors our creative energies
wreak upon our world. Maybe violence is as ingrained a part of our
psyches as love, affection and happiness are. How else do we explain
an entire existence, spanning many hundreds of thousands of years,
scarred by death, violence, destruction and suffering? Only when
we confront our animal selves and escape this delusion of ourselves
as almighty creatures of chosen prowess will we find respite from
our evil ways. Until then, only the dead can be assured of never
again experiencing that most devastating of human hells called war.
Manuel Valenzuela is social critic and commentator, international
affairs analyst, Internet columnist and author of Echoes in the
Wind, a novel now on sale by Authorhouse.com.
A collection of essays, Beyond the Smoking Mirror: Reflections on
America and Humanity, will be published in early 2005. His articles
appear in alternative news websites and you can find him regularly
on informationclearinghouse.info. His unique style and powerful
writing is read internationally and seeks to expose truths and realities
confronting humanity today. Mr. Valenzuela welcomes comments and
can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
in the Wind Sales Page Mr. Valenzuela's new novel now on sale.
Almost 600 pages in trade paperback form on sale internationally
through secure webpage transaction.
"I THINK it's worth it, Jim." During
the September 30 presidential debate, George Bush didn't hesitate
when asked if the war on Iraq was worth the hundreds of deaths and
thousands of terrible injuries suffered by U.S. troops.
Too bad debate moderator Jim Lehrer couldn't ask Sgt. 1st Class
Larry Daniels the same question. Daniels is one of hundreds of U.S.
troops with critical injuries at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center,
the U.S. military hospital in Germany where nearly all ill or wounded
troops from Iraq and Afghanistan are sent.
In mid-September, Daniels and his men were guarding Iraqi contractors
repairing a chain-link fence near the Baghdad airport when a car
bomb exploded. Today, his arms are pinned with metal rods and wrapped
in bandages from just below the shoulders to the tip of his fingers.
Shrapnel wounds scar his back, from behind his right ear to his
ankles. And Daniels is one of the "lucky ones"--because
doctors believe he'll make a full recovery and won't suffer disabilities.
Col. Earl Hecker, a critical care doctor
at Landstuhl, says that the casualty situation for U.S. troops is
far worse than most people in the U.S. can imagine. "[The
public has] no idea what's going on here, none whatsoever,"
he told New York Newsday. Then he blurted out, "Bush is an
Hecker has every right to feel angry. On an average day, he sees
35 young men and women transported to Landstuhl, mainly from Iraq.
Doctors and nurses at the hospital say it is like something out
of a nightmare--where "the cost of the Iraq war is measured
in amputated limbs, burst eyeballs, shrapnel-torn bodies and shattered
lives," wrote Toronto Star reporter Sandro Contenta.
Since September 2001, more than 18,000 military
personnel have come to the hospital from Iraq and Afghanistan--roughly
20 percent because of combat injuries, the rest due to accidents
or illness. While the Pentagon has reported approximately 7,300
soldiers injured in combat in Iraq, that number doesn't reflect
soldiers evacuated for illnesses, like diarrhea or persistent fever,
which are often related to living conditions.
And it doesn't count the thousands of soldiers sent home because
they are suffering from mental health problems, like post-traumatic
stress disorder. At Landstuhl alone, more
than 1,400 soldiers have been admitted for mental health problems.
Back at home, the Pentagon says that some 28,000 troops out of
the 168,000 who have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan have sought
medical care from the Veterans Administration. Nearly
20 percent of those--well over 5,000--have done so for mental health
It's no wonder why. According to a New England Journal of Medicine
study released in July, during the six weeks that the Iraq war lasted
officially, 95 percent of Marines and Army soldiers surveyed said
that they had been shot at, 56 percent had killed an enemy combatant,
and 94 percent had seen bodies and human remains. "It's probably
the biggest challenge to mental health [in the military] since Vietnam,"
Col. Gary Southwell, chief of psychology services at Landstuhl,
For these soldiers, help may not be available, even if they manage
to make it home alive. The Veterans Administration (VA) has been
overloaded for decades--and has a current backlog of more than 300,000
Of the claims for benefits filed by soldiers returned from Afghanistan
or Iraq, fewer than two-thirds have been processed--leaving more
than 9,750 recent veterans waiting for help, according to the Washington
Post. And a September 20 Government Accountability Office report
concluded that the VA isn't able to determine if it can handle a
rush of post-traumatic stress disorder cases.
Meanwhile, soldiers who are injured in Iraq and sent home are in
for a rude awakening--a 50 percent pay cut. When Marine Lance Cpl.
James Crosby left Iraq, he was unconscious, his legs paralyzed,
his guts pierced by shrapnel.
According to the Boston Globe, that's when
the military cut his pay. "Before you leave the combat zone,
they swipe your ID card through a computer, and you go back to your
base pay," said Crosby. "You need that pay more than ever,
to move your life around." In a wheelchair and attached
to a colostomy bag, Crosby told the Globe: "I still have to
fight the consequences of what happened. I struggle every day.''
That struggle is leading more troops and their families to question
the war. "The army is not going to like what I have to say,
but I think we have no business being there," Larry Daniels'
wife, Cheryl, told Newsday.
She says that she voted for Bush in 2000, but has changed her mind
this year. "I will definitely vote for Kerry, not because I
prefer Kerry over Bush, but because I don't want Bush back in office,"
she says. "I'm hoping that if Kerry takes office, we'll be
pulling out" of Iraq.
Unfortunately, as Kerry has made all too clear,
he won't answer the hopes of people like Cheryl. During the first
presidential debate, when asked if U.S. soldiers were "dying
for a mistake," Kerry answered "No, and they don't have
to...I believe that we have to win this. The president and I have
always agreed on that." That means more U.S. troops killed
and maimed for oil profits.
"I don't want to go to Iraq"
WILL MORE troops be heading to Iraq? No matter
who sits in the White House in January, the answer to that question
is a definite yes--since both Bush and Kerry have made it clear
that they believe the U.S. has too much at stake to withdraw.
That's why the Pentagon recently announced plans to deploy an additional
15,000 troops to Iraq in the first four months of 2005. But with
the occupation spiraling out of control, and thousands of troops
killed or injured, the military is facing a crisis--both in the
number of troops on the ground in Iraq, and in levels of recruitment
Last month, the Pentagon announced that the Army National Guard
fell nearly 10 percent short of its 2004 recruiting goal of 56,000
enlistees--the first time it has fallen short since 1994. This despite
the fact that the Army even eased some of its standards for people
Meanwhile, the average mobilization for members of the Reserves
throughout the military has more than doubled--to 342 days this
year, from 156 days during the 1991 Gulf War. The Pentagon has issued
a controversial stop-loss order, preventing soldiers whose tours
of duty were up or who were scheduled to retire from leaving the
And the brass have called up more than 4,400 Individual Ready Reservists,
former soldiers honorably discharged after finishing their active-duty
tours, but who remained technically eligible for call-up. As of
September 28, 1,765 Individual Ready Reservists had been scheduled
to report for duty. But, according to the Army, some 622--about
30 percent--failed to show up.
Of course, when orders don't work, the Army figures that threats
will do the trick. According to the Rocky Mountain News, soldiers
from a Fort Carson combat unit were recently issued an ultimatum--re-enlist
for three more years, or be transferred to other units expected
to deploy to Iraq.
"They said if you refuse to re-enlist with the 3rd Brigade,
we'll send you down to the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, which is
going to Iraq for a year, and you can stay with them, or we'll send
you to Korea, or to Fort Riley [in Kansas], where they're going
to Iraq," said one of the soldiers, a sergeant. "I don't
want to go back to Iraq. I went through a lot of things for the
Army that weren't necessary and were risky. Iraq has changed a lot
Nicole Colson writes for the Socialist Worker and is a frequent
contributor to CounterPunch.
Pretoria: A South African is killed every
month in Iraq, yet US dollar payments continue to lure thousands
of locals who flock to the country to help restore "peace and
The drawcard is the $1 000 that more than 4 000
South Africans are paid every day while working on security contracts
throughout the war-torn country.
This week two more South Africans were killed outside Baghdad while
escorting a convoy of US construction engineers to a building site.
Johan Botha, 37, who lived in Pretoria North, and Louis Campher,
43, of Port Elizabeth, were shot dead on Tuesday, bringing the number
of South Africans killed in Iraq this year to 11.
On Tuesday last week, Johan Hattingh, 29, a former freefall instructor
from 44 Battalion in Bloemfontein, was killed by a suicide bomber
Both Botha, a former South African infantry soldier at 121 Battalion
in Piet Retief, and Campher, an ex-Johannesburg policeman, worked
for Pretoria security company, Omega Risk Solutions (ORS).
Botha had been in Iraq for less than a month while Campher, who
was working alongside his nephew Terrance Oelofse, a manager at
ORS, had been in the country since August 1.
Both men were on six-month contracts and were due to return home
Yesterday, Botha's distraught sister, Petro Rademan, said she was
beside herself with grief.
"I cannot understand people going to a place like Iraq for
money, especially if you are not going to live to spend it,"
Rademan said she hoped that her brother's death would make those
who were going think about the horrifying ordeal they were about
to put their families through.
"To grow up without a father is not worth it. Money can't
buy you a goodnight kiss, a comforting hug, wisdom or love,"
Botha's one-year-old son, Johan, is now without a father.
His widow said the worst was constantly worrying about the whereabouts
of a relative while they were in the battle-scarred country.
"Every day we would pray that he would be alright, waiting
for his phone calls and e-mails," she said.
The last time Rademan spoke to her brother was on Friday night
when he called to tell her that he loved her and that she should
look after herself.
"I knew then that, deep down, Johan knew he would not be coming
"Johan died as he lived, living his life to the fullest and
doing everything to the end.
"If he had to choose how to die, he would have chosen this
..." she said, referring to his "death-in-action".
ORS West African and Middle East managing director,
Cobus de Kock, declined to say how many South Africans the company
had in Iraq.
"All I can say is that we have plenty on the
ground - in fact, more than enough," he said.
He also declined to say how much their employees in Iraq were paid,
but confirmed that they were paid in US dollars.
De Kock said because of the number of attacks on construction workers
by rebels, it was ORS's job to ensure their safety.
The bodies of both men are due back in South Africa this week for
their funerals in Port Elizabeth.
WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland said Friday it
plans to reduce the number of its troops in Iraq from early next
year and will not remain there "an hour longer than is sensible."
Prime Minister Marek Belka said in a parliamentary speech before
a confidence vote in his minority cabinet that Poland will keep
troops in Iraq as long as needed to secure a power transfer to local
authorities. "Poland will reduce her contingent from the beginning
of 2005 and will be talking about further reductions," he said.
"We will not remain in Iraq an hour longer than is sensible,
than necessary to achieve our mission's goal: To return Iraq to
the Iraqi people and give security to the world," Belka said.
Poland, seen by the U.S. as a key ally in Iraq, has 2,500 soldiers
in the south-central part of the country, heading a multinational
division of 8,000 troops.
But the government has been under growing pressure
to pull out, with nearly three-fourths of Poles against deployment.
Poland said last week it will have plans to pull out its troops
after Iraq holds elections, due in January. Defense Minister Jerzy
Szmajdzinski also floated the idea of withdrawing troops by the
end of 2005.
Seventeen Poles have died in Iraq over the last 13 months.
Belka's cabinet faces a long-scheduled confidence vote in parliament
no earlier than noon GMT. His foreign and health ministers face
no-confidence votes also Friday.
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - Medical evidence
could be barred from the court-martial of a Marine major accused
of abusing an Iraqi prisoner because military pathologists misplaced
body parts, a military judge said Thursday.
If the judge, Col. Robert Chester, decides to bar the evidence,
prosecutors would stand a slim chance of convicting Maj. Clarke
Paulus of aggravated assault, the most serious charge he faces.
Paulus, 35, is accused of ordering one of his men to drag Nagem
Hatab by his neck after the Iraqi prisoner suffered a bout of diarrhea
and collapsed in June 2003 at a makeshift detention facility outside
Nasiriyah, Iraq, known as Camp Whitehorse. Hatab died soon afterward.
Earlier Thursday, an Army pathologist apologized for misplacing
body parts taken from Hatab.
"I should have paid closer attention ... instead of relying
on what turned out to be a miscommunication with my assistant,"
Col. Kathleen Ingwersen said during the hearing at Camp Pendleton
Marine Corps Base.
Perhaps the central piece of evidence —
a broken bone Ingwersen noted in the throat of the Iraqi prisoner
— remains missing.
The broken bone supports the pathologist's finding
that Hatab was strangled, but Ingwersen said she has no idea where
it is. She said medication she took for an allergic reaction to
sand fly bites during her trip to Iraq may have affected her memory.
Other portions of Hatab's throat and his rib cage also had been
declared lost. Part of Hatab's larynx — the muscle and cartilage
that contains the vocal cords — was later found in Germany,
where Ingwersen is based, and his rib cage turned up at the Armed
Forces Institute of Pathology in Washington, D.C.
Ingwersen said she thought she had instructed her assistant to
ship Hatab's larynx to Washington, but he apparently misunderstood
her and the evidence never left Germany. It was unclear how the
rib cage got to Washington.
The judge rebuked the pathology institute for its unwillingness
or inability to accommodate a defense expert for independent DNA
testing on the rib cage.
"I do see a lack of cooperation or attention
by personnel at the (institute of pathology) which I find most troubling,"
The judge did not indicate when he would decide whether to allow
the medical evidence, but said Paulus' court-martial will begin
on schedule Nov. 1.
Paulus faces up to 4 1/2 years in prison if he's convicted of aggravated
assault, dereliction of duty and maltreatment of prisoners. Thursday's
hearing was held to address a defense motion to dismiss the aggravated
Marine Sgt. Gary Pittman, the first person court-martialed in connection
with abuses at Camp Whitehorse, was cleared last month of assaulting
Hatab but convicted of dereliction of duty and abuse of prisoners.
He was sentenced to 60 days of hard labor and demoted to private.
Hatab, 52, had been rumored to be an official of Saddam Hussein's
Baath party and part of the ambush of an Army convoy that killed
11 soldiers and led to the capture of Pfc. Jessica Lynch and five
In a U.S. election campaign that
is more about foreign policy than any presidential race in decades,
one issue is completely off-limits: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
George W. Bush and John Kerry both back Israel 100 per cent, and
neither man will offer a single word of criticism about Israeli
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's "disengagement" plan, even
though it means abandoning the notion of a peace settlement.
Once again, the Israeli tail is wagging the American dog.
Last week, Sharon's chief of staff and most trusted adviser, Dov
Weisglass, indulged in a carefully calculated indiscretion in an
interview with the newspaper Ha'aretz.
"The `disengagement' is actually formaldehyde," he said.
"It supplies the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so
there will not be a political process with the Palestinians."
Perfectly true, of course, and yet it was a shocking thing to say
Sharon was never really going to accept a peace deal with the Palestinians
that required giving up most of the illegal Jewish settlements in
the occupied territories conquered by Israel in 1967. Indeed, he
was the man responsible for starting the settlements in the first
Yet, when he came to power in 2001 he inherited the Oslo peace
accords, which imagined an Israeli-Palestinian peace based on two
states living side by side — and the Palestinian state was
to be created on exactly those territories.
Sharon had to pretend that he agreed with that goal because the
whole international community (including the U.S.) supported the
two-state solution. Over the past few years the "Oslo process"
mutated into the so-called "road map" to peace, but the
goal remained the same: Israeli evacuation of the occupied territories
and the creation of a Palestinian state living peacefully alongside
Israel. In the past six months, however, Sharon has achieved breakout.
"Disengagement" means that Israel will evacuate its settlements
in the densely populated Gaza Strip, where 7,500 Jews live surrounded
by 1.3 million Palestinians, and four other tiny settlements with
only a few hundred people that lie beyond the "security fence"
in the northern West Bank.
They never made any sense in terms of the cost of protecting them
But by abandoning them, Sharon can seem to be making a major concession
for peace — while hanging on to all the other West Bank settlements
where the vast majority of the settlers live forever.
Forever is a long time, and Sharon still maintains the pretense
that at some future time, when there is a different Palestinian
leadership, there might be further negotiations about a Palestinian
But Weisglass spilled the beans on Oct. 6, pointing out that he
had negotiated an agreement with the Bush administration in late
August in which the United States had changed its policy of 37 years
and agreed that the illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank
would eventually become part of Israel.
The 190,000 Jewish settlers there, he boasted, "will not be
moved from their place."
"What I effectively agreed to with the Americans was that
part of the settlements would not be dealt with at all, and the
rest will not be dealt with until the Palestinians turn into Finns,"
said Weisglass, adding that this would stall the peace process indefinitely.
"When you freeze that process, you prevent the establishment
of a Palestinian state, and you prevent a discussion on the refugees,
the borders and Jerusalem.
"Effectively, this whole package called the Palestinian state,
with all that it entails, has been removed indefinitely from our
agenda ... all with a presidential blessing and the ratification
of both houses of Congress."
Weisglass said what he did to win back the more fundamentalist
supporters of Sharon's Likud party, who are threatening to abandon
the party on the grounds that God gave Israel the land and it must
never yield an inch of it.
Bush, presumably, did what he did in order to retain the votes
of the extreme evangelical Protestants, estimated to account for
a third of the Republican core vote, who believe that God's plan
requires the expansion of Israel and a great war in the Middle East.
But why does Kerry go along with it?
Presumably because his advisers tell him that in a tight election
it would be suicide to alienate American Jews, most of whom reflexively
support any Israeli government, regardless of its policies, and
most of whom are still traditionally Democratic voters.
It all make sense in terms of political tactics, but it commits
America to a policy that is contrary to international law and is
not supported by any other government in the world except Israel's.
If Kerry should win, it means he, too, would be shackled to a policy
that makes it impossible for America's European and Arab allies
to co-operate in any Middle Eastern initiative he might launch with
the goal of extricating American troops from the mess in Iraq.
WASHINGTON - Democrats are blaming President
Bush for the record 2004 federal deficit of $413 billion, but Republicans
say the figure shows that the economic and budget pictures are brightening.
The Treasury Department announced the figure Thursday, two weeks
after the government's 2004 budget year ended and just 19 days from
an Election Day in which Bush's economic and fiscal performance
are pivotal issues.
The number easily surpassed the previous record
in dollar terms, the revised $377 billion shortfall of 2003. It
was the highest deficit since World War II when inflation is factored
Republicans emphasized that the figure was
an improvement from earlier deficit projections. At the beginning
of this year, the White House projected a $521 billion shortfall
for 2004 and the Congressional Budget Office forecast a gap of $477
billion, though both lowered their forecasts as the year progressed.
"While the deficit is unwelcome, if we stick with the president's
plan of economic growth and spending discipline, we will continue
to see improvement and we will cut the deficit by more than half
in five years," said White House budget director Joshua Bolten.
Citing data pointing to economic improvements, Treasury Secretary
John Snow said, "All of this shows that the president's tax
relief initiatives are having the intended effects." [...]
LONDON (Reuters) - Questions about the sustainability
of global economic growth held many markets hostage Friday as crude
oil prices bumped close to $55 a barrel and investors awaited a
raft of U.S. data.
European and Japanese stocks fell on worries about the impact of
pricey oil. Currency and bond price moves were limited by the upcoming
data and anticipation of a speech on oil later in the day by U.S.
Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan.
Wall Street looks set to open higher, based on stock index futures,
after falling around 1 percent Thursday.
Investors were looking particularly for signs of whether rising
fuel costs were affecting consumer sentiment, spending and industrial
U.S. retail sales number were expected to show a rise of 0.7 percent
in September after a 0.3 percent decline in August. September industrial
production was seen rising 0.3 percent and the University of Michigan's
preliminary October consumer sentiment index was seen easing to
94.0 from 94.2.
Greenspan was to speak on oil at 1600 GMT.
The soaring price of oil has undermined investors' sentiment, and
brought with it fears of inflation and lower corporate profits.
Crude futures were down slightly on the day, but within reach of
record highs as concern persisted that U.S. heating oil stocks have
yet to build sufficiently to take consumers comfortably through
NYMEX November crude was down 16 cents at $54.60 a barrel. December
Brent was down 25 cents at $49.80 a barrel.
STOCKS, DOLLAR, BONDS
European shares hit fresh 2-week lows, led down by insurers such
as Munich Re amid fears they could be exposed to a U.S. lawsuit
and battered by oil worries.
The insurance sector was by far the biggest declining
sector in early dealings after New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer
sued Marsh & McLennan Cos., the world's No. 1 insurance broker,
for steering unsuspecting clients to certain insurers in exchange
for lucrative payoffs.
The FTSE Eurofirst 300 index was off 0.51 percent while the DJ
Euro Stoxx 50 index shed 0.64 percent.
"There's really a shortage of good news around right now and
unless this changes, equity markets may be set for something of
a bear run over the next few days," said Matthew Buckland,
a trader at CMC Group in London.
Earlier, Japanese stocks fell for a sixth day.
The Nikkei average finished down 0.47 percent at 10,982.95, breaking
the key support level of 11,000.The broader TOPIX index dropped
0.38 percent to 1,105.39.
The dollar steadied broadly after a swelling
U.S. trade deficit and steep oil prices pushed it lower in the previous
LAFAYETTE, La. - A University of Louisiana
at Lafayette physics professor was banned from the campus Wednesday
and taken to the coroner's office for evaluation after threatening
his class, university officials said.
Student Kacie Spears said professor Louis Houston lost control
right after class began Wednesday morning and was yelling obscenities.
"Then he told us if we got out of our seats he's gonna kill
us. He went on the black board and wrote "911 now", so
we were really in fear for our lives," Spears told KATC-TV.
Spears said Houston slapped a student and then told his class he
After class ended, students left the room in Broussard Hall and
someone called campus security.
Houston was taken to campus police to answer questions. Officials
then evacuated Broussard Hall and canceled all classes there while
police searched the building. University police contacted the FBI,
State Police, and the Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Department Intelligence
Unit for assistance.
A bomb dog was also brought in to check for explosives, but nothing
Spears said it wasn't the first time Houston had an outburst in
"He's always acted a little strange, he's yelled and cursed
before, and this time we waited for it to stop, but it never did,"
Law enforcement officers transported Houston to the Lafayette Parish
Coroner's Office to be evaluated for possible involuntary commitment
to a mental health facility. In the meantime, Houston has been banned
from the university's campus and his faculty duties have been suspended.
University officials said in a statement they would make a final
decision about Houston's employment once a full investigation into
the incident is complete.
| A new-found field of impact craters
may mark the site of a recent comet strike.
We have identified an exceptional field of meteorites and impact craters
stretching from the town of Altötting to the area around Lake
Chiemsee in southeastern Bavaria, Germany. While there are many meteorite
"strewnfields" known around the world, few contain significant
craters. The Chiemgau field, which falls within an ellipse 36 miles
long and 17 miles (58 by 27 kilometers) wide, holds at least 81 impact
craters ranging from 10 to 1,215 feet (3 to 370 meters) in size. Many
more craters may lie hidden in heavily forested areas within the ellipse,
and farming activities in the region may have destroyed others.
In autumn 2000, a group of amateur archaeologists working the area
around Lake Chiemsee discovered pieces of metal containing minerals
not found previously in the region. Werner Mayer, the independent
scholar who led the amateur team, noticed that the material was
associated with what appeared to be impact craters, most of which
showed clear rims. In 2004, four other scientists joined Mayer to
form the Chiemgau Impact Research Team: Kord Ernston, a geologist
at the University of Würzburg; independent scholar Gerhard
Benske; Michael Rappenglück, an astronomer with the Institute
for Interdisciplinary Sciences in Gilching; and Ulrich Schüssler,
a University of Würzburg mineralogist.
strewnfields with craters
||width of largest
||1,215 feet (3700m)
||607 feet (158m)
||360 feet (110m)
|Campo del Cielo
||328 feet (100m)
||312 feet (95m)
||87 feet (26.5m)
||380 feet (116m)
Geological evidence makes clear the site's extraterrestrial connection.
Sandstone boulders and small, weathered rock fragments called cobbles
in and around the craters are completely coated by silica glass,
which requires unusually high temperatures. We believe the cobbles
were superheated and ejected in the impact. We found bluish-gray,
dark green, and black glass-like material in unusual shapes —
such as teardrops and dumbbells — indicating rapid cooling
and solidification during flight.
The peculiar minerals found throughout the site include the iron-silicon
alloys gupeiite (Fe3Si) and xifengite (Fe5Si3), both of which were
identified in a meteorite discovered in the Yanshan Mountains of
China in 1984. Gupeiite was also found in FRO 90036, a ureilite-class
meteorite found in the Frontier Mountains of Antarctica, and related
minerals were found in Dhofar-280, a meteorite that probably came
from the Moon.
When did the impact occur? Archaeological finds in the area, as
well as the ages of trees within the craters, tell us the impact
occurred in historical times. The oldest tree we found rooted in
a crater wall is at most 500 years old, and we found xifengite and
gupeiite beneath the retaining walls of Burghausen Castle, which
has been dated to the 15th century a.d. At another site, we unearthed
impact-related minerals along with Celtic artifacts. The artifacts
seem to have been strongly heated on one side. This pushes the earliest
date for the impact to the late Roman period, between 480 b.c. and
30 b.c. Radiocarbon dates from ash samples we removed from layers
in several craters are not yet available.
The growth patterns of Irish oaks slowed dramatically between a.d.
536 and 545, indicating a much cooler climate. Historical records
refer to famine and a dimmed Sun during this period. Many have argued
this so-called "dust-veil event" was the aftermath of
a large (0.3 mile, or 500m) comet fragment exploding high in Earth's
atmosphere. To date, no craters related to such an event have been
However, the rings also show slowed growth around 207 b.c. Roman
authors wrote about showers of stones falling from the sky and terrifying
the populace. In 205 b.c., because of these events, the Senate ordered
that a conical meteorite known as the Needle of Cybele (which had
been worshipped in Asia Minor in connection with the fertility goddess
Cybele) be brought to Rome. On the rim of the largest crater, named
Tüttensee, archaeologists have found Roman relics from about
a.d. 200. This, in addition to the heated coins from the late Roman
period we found at the Chiemgau impact site, lead us to favor this
We believe an asteroid or comet fragment exploded above southeastern
Germany in the late Roman period. Our candidate impactor is a low-density
object, perhaps something like the C-class asteroid 253 Mathilda.
Astronomers believe Mathilda was once completely shattered but reassembled
as a loose aggregate of material — that is, a rubble pile.
Given the material we recovered and the length of the ellipse of
scattered debris, we suggest the impacting body was more likely
a comet fragment — rich in methane, ammonia, and water, with
a relatively small fraction of rocky matter.
We estimate the projectile had a diameter of about 0.7 mile (1.1
km) and a mean density about 30 percent greater than water (1.3
g/cm3). It entered Earth's atmosphere at a speed of 27,000 miles
per hour (43,000 km/h) and broke up at an altitude of 43 miles (70
km). The main mass of the projectile struck the ground at 2,200
miles per hour (3,500 km/h), releasing an amount of energy equivalent
to 106 million tons of TNT. Based on the size distribution of the
craters — the larger ones are in the southern part of the
field, the smaller ones in the northern part — we conclude
the meteoroid came out of the northeast and moved southwest. Multiple
fragmentation events may account for the cratered area's large size.
What would people on the ground have experienced? About 2 seconds
after the strike, people 6 miles (10 km) away would have felt the
ground shake as it would in a magnitude 6.0 earthquake. The air
blast, arriving 30 seconds after impact, would have swept through
at a speed of 500 miles per hour (800 km/h) and produced a peak
pressure of about 1.4 atmospheres (142,000 Pa), easily collapsing
buildings, especially wooden ones. Even from 10 km away, sound from
the impact would have reached 103 decibels — loud enough to
cause strong ear pain. Up to 90 percent of the trees would have
blown over; the rest would have lost their branches.
We found a thin layer of ash in and between the craters. The forest
beneath the blast would have ignited suddenly, burning until the
impact's blast wave shut down the conflagration. Dust may have been
blown into the stratosphere, where it would have been transported
around the globe easily, so it may be possible to trace the event
in ice cores from Greenland or Antarctica.
In any case, the impact undoubtedly had a major effect on the environment
and people then living in the vicinity of Altoetting-Chiemgau. The
region must have been devastated for decades. We are currently looking
for gaps in the historical and archaeological records during the
time we propose for the impact to better understand both the event
itself and its cultural effects.
By JOEY HOLLEMAN
Posted on Fri, Oct. 15, 2004
SHILOH — Hundreds of thousands
of Midlands residents taking the southern route to Myrtle Beach
each summer pass within a few miles of Woods Bay State Natural Area.
Only a handful take the left turn and head for the park.
That's probably a good thing. Woods Bay in the summer is
only for hearty souls with lots of bug repellent.
Between the first frost of fall and the first 90-degree day of
spring, however, Woods Bay is the ideal place to spend an afternoon
experiencing the intriguing geological phenomenon of the Carolina
These oval-shaped, swampy depressions crop up throughout the Atlantic
coastal plain, but they are as mysterious as they are common. Scientists
aren't sure why the bays almost always have a northwest to
southeast orientation. They are intrigued by the sand rims that
usually form on the southeast and sometimes the northwest edges
of the oval. They are perplexed how the bays formed in the first
One theory is that a meteor broke into pieces, which impacted throughout
the Southeast thousands of years ago. Folklorists like to claim
the Carolina bays are dinosaur footprints.
Modern scientists can only say for sure that the ovals are disappearing
under housing developments and shopping centers as the growing Southeastern
population spreads out. That's why the state felt the need
to buy and protect the 1,541 acres of Woods Bay straddling the Sumter-Clarendon
county line in the 1970s.
The park opened in 1975 but never has drawn many people. In 2003-2004,
Woods Bay ranked last among the 46 state parks in attendance, with
only 2,124 visitors.
That frustrates park manager Geoff Akins, who has to remind himself
what one of his supervisors told him about the park: "We're
not popular. We're important."
One reason for the low attendance is the park is a long way from
any large population area, nearly a half-hour drive from Florence
or Sumter. Another is it's hard to get your hands around.
"One of the unfortunate things about the park is so much
of it is inaccessible," Akins said. "I've had
a lot of people walk around the nature trail and think they've
seen the whole park."
TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) -- A strong, offshore
earthquake of magnitude 7.0 has rattled Taiwan, shaking tall buildings
in the capital during lunchtime.
The quake -- the strongest to hit Taiwan
in five years -- had its epicenter under the ocean about
110 kilometers (70 miles) east of Taiwan's east coast harbor town
of Su'ao, the Central Weather Bureau said.
Su'ao is 150 kilometers (90 miles) southeast of the capital Taipei.
There were no immediate details on damage or casualties.
The weather bureau said the temblor was the strongest to hit the
island since a 7.6-magnitude earthquake hit central Taiwan in 1999,
causing more than 2,300 deaths.
The quake rocked buildings for about one minute in Taipei.
On the city's streets, the quake caused sidewalks to go up and
Earthquakes frequently hit Taiwan but usually cause little or no
Tokyo - Japan's southern Okinawa
island chain was rocked by an earthquake measuring 6.6 on the Richter
scale, the Meteorological Agency said on Friday.
The quake is likely the same one as reported by Taiwanese authorities
measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale, an agency official said.
There were no reported casualties or damage.
The quake struck at 4am, 20km north-west of southern Yonakuni island
near Taiwan, and 90km below sea level, the agency said.
There was no danger of tsunami waves, the agency said.
MEXICO CITY -- Western Mexico's
Volcano of Fire spewed hot lava and rock Thursday, the latest in
a series of spectacular but non-threatening eruptions in the past
The volcano near the city of Colima, 430 miles northwest of Mexico
City, unleashed a column of smoke and ash along with a flow of burning
orange lava on Sept. 29. Since then, scientists have reported nearly
daily eruptions from its 12,533-foot peak.
The eruptions have been caused by seismic activity, and scientists
can't predict how long they will last.
The activity has sometimes left a light coating of ask on nearby
communities, but officials say there is no immediate danger.
A major eruption in 1999 sent glowing rock down the volcano's slopes
and fired a plume of ash more than five miles high.
In 1913, an explosion created a crater 1,650 feet deep, blasted
fast-moving flows of hot ash down the volcano's slopes and rained
ash on Guadalajara, 75 miles to the north.
Vulcanologists consider the Colima volcano to be one of the most
active and potentially the most destructive of the volcanoes in
It has erupted violently dozens of times since its first recorded
eruption in 1560.
| Lava began to ooze out of the Mount
St Helens volcano in the U.S. this week, building up the lava crust
in the volcano's crater.
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has kept its warning level at
the agency's second-highest setting of "heightened activity".
As magma continued to build up underneath the lava dome created
after Mount St Helens' violent eruption in 1980 there was still
a chance that the volcano could erupt again, USGS scientists said.
Scientists said the volcano was entering a new period of dome growth.
Lava would continue to add mass to the volcano's lava dome, accompanied
by small steam and ash eruptions, similar to a previous dome-building
period that lasted until 1986, USGS geologist Tina Neal said.
"The volcano remains restless," said Neal.
| Imagine finding unexplained condoms
around your house and then waking up one night to find your partner
having sex with a stranger.
It might sound like an affair, but what if your 'cheating' partner
was fast asleep during the act?
The phenomenon, called sleep sex, was described to doctors at a
meeting in Australia.
Sleep physician Peter Buchanan, from Sydney's Royal Alfred Hospital,
described this real life case.
Mr Buchanan told the Australasian Sleep Association how a patient
of his, who was a respectable middle-aged woman with a steady partner,
would leave the house while sleepwalking and have sex with strangers.
The woman was totally unaware of her double life until her partner
became suspicious and found her engaged in the act.
"He was aware of some sleepwalking and there was circumstantial
evidence, including the unexplained presence of condoms around the
house," Mr Buchanan told the conference.
Mr Buchanan ran a series of tests on the woman and diagnosed her
problem - sleep sex.
Whatever they are dreaming about, which at that time is their reality,
they actually do
Sleep expert Neil Stanley
This is a condition completely distinct from sleepwalking and is
a form of sleep disorder called REM behavioural disorder.
Normally, when a person enters the deepest phase of sleep, the
REM (rapid eye movement) phase in which we dream, our bodies are
In the case of sleep sex, this doesn't happen and the person can
act out their dreams.
UK sleep expert Neil Stanley from the Human Psychopharmacology
Research Unit at Surrey University explained.
"In some people, it can be genetic or in others it is triggered
by alcohol or stress, they do not lose the muscle tone.
"So that means whatever they are dreaming about, which at
that time is their reality, they actually do."
He said if what the person was acting out fitted with the dream
they might not wake up.
"If you are lying there dreaming about having sex with your
wife and you just happen to be having sex with your wife then there's
nothing there to stop the dream. You don't perceive that as wrong."
He said there were documented cases where people had committed
murders in their sleep.
"There is a case in English law where a guy was beating his
girlfriend over the head with a video recorder and she was screaming
He said the man only woke up when the girlfriend said "I love
"Probably that was such a stupid thing in his dream that did
not fit that it woke him up.
"It's like when you hear the phone in the middle of your dream
and you wake up."
He said people would not necessarily remember what they had done
while they were dreaming.
"You only remember your dreams if you wake up during them.
"But even then, it can be very difficult to comprehend that
you have done what you dreamed about."
He said finding out what was the trigger of the REM behavioural
disorder and eliminating it could help.
Other treatments include medications to induce sleep or reduce
Mr Buchanan said almost half of all sleep sex cases were associated
with psychological problems and, in the case of the woman he described,
strange life form has been identified in Bradford.
Genetic analysis reveals that the organism is so bizarre and unlike
anything else seen by scientists that perhaps it should be placed
in its own category of living things.
The mimivirus at 200,000 times' magnification
The creature, first discovered in a small industrial cooling tower
on the outskirts of the city, could qualify for a new "domain"
in the tree of life - where a domain is a bigger category than a
kingdom or a phylum.
The "giant virus", dubbed the Mimivirus, or "mimicking
microbe", because it was first mistaken for a bacterium, inhabits
amoebae and is more than twice as big as any other virus so far
found. At about half a millionth of a metre across - around the
size of a small bacterium - it is one of the few that can be seen
under a light microscope.
Two research teams in the Marseille School of Medicine, led by
Prof Didier Raoult and Prof Jean-Michel Claverie, have "read"
the genetic code of the organism and found a number of genes previously
thought to belong only to more complex life forms.
The size and complexity of the Mimivirus genetic code - which is
1.2 million "letters" long, at least 10 times larger than
the code of a typical virus - "challenges the established frontier
between viruses and parasitic cellular organisms", they report
today in the journal Science.
One of the defining characteristics of a virus is that it is unable
to make proteins independently, instead relying on the cells it
infects to manufacture its proteins and thus reproduce. But the
Mimivirus contains a number of genes for protein translation.
It also contains genes for DNA repair enzymes and other proteins,
all typically thought to be trademarks of cellular organisms.
The Mimivirus - which so far has only been found in Bradford -
appears to represent a new family of "nucleocytoplasmic"
large DNA viruses that emerged with the first life on Earth some
four billion years ago, said Prof Raoult. After much debate among
his team, "for the first time we have enough genetic information
to conclude that there is a fourth domain of life", he said.
"If this is true, this is revolutionary."
The other three domains of life are the eukaryotes, which have
cells that contain a nucleus, and the prokaryotes, unicellular organisms
that are divided into the bacteria and archaea.
The family tree drawn up by Prof Claverie shows that the Mimivirus
is no more related to the eukaryotes as it is to bacteria. 'This
organism is as old as all the rest of living organisms," he
However, Dr Dave Roberts, head of microbiology at the Natural History
Museum, London, was "deeply sceptical" that the Mimivirus
deserves to be placed in its own domain, though he agreed that it
did mark a new family.
"There are a lots of odd things turning up in the microbial
world all the time," he said.
"It is a fascinating paper and very exciting. The virus seems
to link to a group prior to the appearance of the three domains
we currently recognise. But we are not convinced that the tree of
life is still a branching structure when you get that deep."
The giant virus has not so far been linked with disease.
| A select group of people have a
unique ability to spot when someone is lying, US research shows.
A University of San Francisco study found only 31 people out of
13,000 could identify in nearly all cases when someone was lying.
The group used facial expressions, body language and ways of talking
and thinking to spot liars while the others did little better than
The team are now using them to help train police and other investigators.
In the tests, during which the participants were shown video clips
of people, the select group, dubbed wizards, were able to observe
a few seconds of footage and detect lying.
Our wizards are attuned to picking up 'micro-expressions'
Dr Maureen O'Sullivan, of the University of San Francisco
The study said the wizards had a "natural talent" although
they were highly motivated and tended to be older.
Police, lawyers and FBI agents were all among the groups who were
unable to tell if people were lying.
The wizards' success rate was even higher than the traditional
polygraph test, which is used in the US and is claimed to have a
60% to 70% success rate.
Dr Maureen O'Sullivan, the university's professor of psychology,
said: "We hope that by studying wizards, we'll learn more about
the kinds of behaviours and ways of thinking and talking that can
betray a liar to an experienced interviewer."
She said that even though people may try to control their expressions,
most are not able to keep their feelings from showing on their faces.
"Some of the muscles involved in expressions are not under
"Especially when we feel strong emotions, those expressions
appear on our faces, even if only for a fraction of a second.
"Our wizards are attuned to picking up 'micro-expressions'."
By analysing how the wizards spot liars, Dr O'Sullivan's team has
developed a training course to help people become better lie detectors.
The course stresses the importance of emotional clues and cognitive
clues, such as inconsistencies in the way people are talking.
But Aldert Vrij, professor of social psychology at the University
of Portsmouth, who has written books on lie detection, cast doubt
on whether people possessed the ability to spot liars.
"People who lie react differently when they lie so there is
no set pattern. They can feel afraid, guilt or excitement while
lying, it really depends on the person.
"And even if a select group are able to tell if people are
lying, will they be able to explain how they do it?"
we need your help to collect information on what is going on in your part
of the world!
We also need help to keep
the Signs of the Times online.
out the Signs of the Times Archives
your comments and article suggestions to us
Fair Use Policy
Contact Webmaster at signs-of-the-times.org
Cassiopaean materials Copyright ©1994-2014 Arkadiusz Jadczyk and Laura Knight-Jadczyk. All rights reserved. "Cassiopaea, Cassiopaean, Cassiopaeans," is a registered trademark of Arkadiusz Jadczyk and Laura Knight-Jadczyk.
Letters addressed to Cassiopaea, Quantum Future School, Ark or Laura, become the property of Arkadiusz Jadczyk and Laura Knight-Jadczyk
Republication and re-dissemination of our copyrighted material in any manner is expressly prohibited without prior written consent.