Article - 911 Eye-witnesses
Article - High Strangeness
Article - The Blair Belief Project
Strike Flash Presentation by a QFS member
of the Day
9/11 - The Basic Facts
Did the World Trade Center towers
undergo a deliberate "power-down" on the weekend prior
to the 9-11 terrorist attacks? According to Scott Forbes, a senior
database administrator for Fiduciary Trust, Inc. – a high-net
investment bank which was later acquired by Franklin Templeton –
this is precisely what took place. Forbes, who was hired by Fiduciary
in 1999 and is now stationed at a U.K. branch office, was working
on the weekend of September 8-9, 2001, and said that his company
was given three weeks advance notice that New York's Port Authority
would take out power in the South Tower from the 48th floor up.
The reason: the Port Authority was performing a cabling upgrade
to increase the WTC's computer bandwidth.
Forbes stated that Fiduciary Trust was one of the WTC's first
occupants after it was erected, and that a "power-down"
had never been initiated prior to this occasion.
He also stated that his company put forth a huge investment
in time and resources to take down their computer systems due to
the deliberate power outage. This process,
Forbes recalled, began early Saturday morning (September 8th) and
continued until mid-Sunday afternoon (September 9th) – approximately
30 hours. As a result of having its electricity cut, the
WTC's security cameras were rendered inoperative, as were its I.D.
systems, and elevators to the upper floors.
Forbes did stress, though, that there was power to the WTC's lower
floors, and that there were plenty of engineers going in-and-out
of the WTC who had free access throughout the building due to its
security system being knocked out. In an e-mail to journalist John
Kaminski, author of The Day America Died (Sisyphus Press) and America's
Autopsy Report (Dandelion Books), Forbes wrote: "Without
power there were no security cameras, no security locks on doors,
and many, many ‘engineers' coming in and out of the tower."
Forbes didn't think much of these occurrences at the time, and
said that he worked until Monday morning (September 10th) to get
all the computer systems back online. Due to his IT-related duties
on Saturday & Sunday, Forbes had Tuesday,
September 11th off, and thus watched the World Trade Center towers
collapse from his apartment. While doing so, he recalled, "I
was convinced immediately that something was happening related to
the weekend work."
In addition, Forbes says there were other peculiarities revolving
around this unreported event, including:
1) Fiduciary employees trapped between the 90-97th floors of the
South Tower told family members (via cell-phone calls) that they
were hearing "bomb-like explosions" throughout the towers.
2) Video cameras positioned atop the World Trade Center which
were used to feed daily images to local television stations were
inexplicably inoperative that morning.
3) A Fiduciary employee who was on one of the lower floors and
escaped immediately after the first (North) tower was struck, reported
that he was amazed by the large number of FBI agents that were already
on the streets surrounding the WTC complex only minutes after the
4) Last but not least, Ann Tatlock, CEO of Fiduciary Trust and
now a board member of Franklin Templeton, had just arrived at a
conference hosted by Warren Buffet at the Offutt Air Force Base
(home of the U.S. Strategic Command Headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska)
when the 9-11 attacks took place. Coincidentally, later that day
President George W. Bush flew into this very same base on Air Force
One for "security reasons."
In the end, Forbes says that even though these disclosures could
jeopardize his current employment, he has stepped forward because,
"I have mailed this information to many people, including the
9/11 Commission, but no one seems to be registering these facts."
A WARRINGTON woman
has spoken of the terror she felt when she realised her brother
could have been involved in the devastating attack on the World
Trade Center last Tuesday.
And she has paid tribute to his actions which saved at least four
of his colleagues from certain death.
Scott Forbes, aged 40, works on the 97th floor of the south tower
in the IT department of the Fiduciary Trust Company International
- but on the day of the atrocity he was at home in Jersey City,
waiting for an engineer to carry out repairs on his apartment. He
could see the tragedy unfolding from his window as he witnessed
the planes hit the twin towers, and he frantically called his workmates
to tell them to get out of the building. He knows of four who escaped,
but a further 95 are still missing. The plane which hit the south
tower struck at around the 70th floor leaving the staff with a terrifying
journey downwards through heat and smoke as they tried to make their
Scott's sister, Frances Ireland, of Rydal Avenue, was at work when
the terrorists struck.
"My husband rang me at the office as soon as the news broke,"
"I rang Scott's apartment to find out just what was going
on and when he picked up there was a great sense of relief.
"Somebody was looking after him that day. If it had happened
on the Monday or the Wednesday he would have been there.
"All this has made me feel so grateful for him to be alive,
but I also feel guilty because so many other people have lost so
"Scott feels guilty because he has lost a lot of colleagues.
"They wanted to get trading going again as
soon as possible so Scott and other employees from other companies
are now under armed guard at a recovery centre in New Jersey because
it is feared they are still a target."
Rumors persist despite official
denial from Jeb Bush administration
WHO KNEW? Jeb Bush signed Florida TWO YEAR emergency order 4 days
Those words, as frightening as they are shocking, headlined one
of several Internet articles that appeared in the wake of the Sept.
11 terrorist attacks upon the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
WorldNetDaily investigated. The articles provided links directly
to the executive orders themselves, and these were exactly as described.
Bush, through Executive Order 01-261, had
activated units of the Florida National Guard on Sept. 7, four days
before the kamikaze assault on the Trade Center. His second
executive order, EO 01-262, did in fact delegate awesome powers
to a non-elected official, the interim head of the Division of Emergency
Management, the agency responsible for implementing Florida's Comprehensive
Emergency Management Plan. Moreover, the governor issued it shortly
after the attacks, strongly suggesting he had been apprised of events
ahead of time and was ready to sign the order with a stroke of his
pen as soon as he received an appropriate signal.
There was just one problem with the scenario: As of late September,
there were no reports in either the press or on the Internet of
properties being seized, of people being rousted from their beds
and hauled away in the dead of night, or of soldiers patrolling
the streets of Tallahassee, Tampa and other Florida cities. Although
the Florida code acknowledges the implicit power of a governor to
declare martial law, it wasn't clear from the information at hand
whether he had actually done so by executive order. Officials in
the Jeb Bush administration vehemently denied he had.
"Absolutely not," exclaimed Jim Loftus of the Division
of Emergency Management, when asked if the state of Florida was
under martial law. [...]
The executive orders
On Sept. 7, Bush signed EO 01-261, delegating
to the adjutant general "all necessary authority … to
order members of the Florida National Guard into active service
… for the purpose of training to support law-enforcement personnel
and emergency-management personnel in the event of civil disturbances
or natural disasters and to provide training support to law-enforcement
personnel and community-based organizations relating to counter
The order is set to expire June 30, 2003, unless revoked earlier.
In his letter, Woodring described it as a "routine" training
order that "allowed the activation of select members of the
National Guard to assist the Florida Department of Law Enforcement
in training for port security and protection." It was issued
to place "select members on active duty, so that if they were
injured during the training they would be eligible for health and
medical benefits only available to members on active duty."
Woodring said the order did not give the Florida National Guard
any authority over civilian matters.
EO 01-262 was signed Sept. 11 and reads in part: "The scale
of the destruction and the coordination, orchestration, and timing
evident in these acts of terrorism suggest that they may be part
of a larger pattern of acts of terrorism; … I hereby declare
that a state of emergency exists in the State of Florida."
Bush delegated to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement the
"operational authority to coordinate and direct the law enforcement
resources of any and all state, regional and local governmental
agencies …" and placed all law enforcement resources
under the operational authority of FDLE as long as the order is
in effect, which by statute is limited to 60 days unless the governor
extends it or the legislature revokes it. This means the EO will
expire Nov. 11.
William "Craig" Fugate, then-interim director, now director,
of the Division of Emergency Management, an agency within the Department
of Community Affairs, was designated state coordinating officer
and delegated numerous powers to be exercised "as needed to
meet this emergency." These include:
* "The authority to suspend the effect
of any statute or rule governing the conduct of state business,
and the further authority to suspend the effect of any order or
rule of any governmental entity … any and all statutes and
rules which affect … the conditions of employment and the
compensation of employees. …
* "The authority to direct all state, regional
and local governmental agencies, including law enforcement agencies,
to identify personnel needed from those agencies to assist in meeting
the needs created by this emergency, and to place all such personnel
under the direct command of the State Coordinating Officer to meet
* "The authority to
seize and utilize any and all real and personal property as needed
to meet this emergency, subject always to the duty of the State
to compensate the owner;
* "The authority to
order the evacuation of any and all persons from any location in
the State of Florida, and the authority to regulate the movement
of any or all persons to or from any location in the State.
The adjutant general was ordered to "activate the Florida
National Guard for the duration of this emergency," and the
National Guard was placed under the direction of the state coordinating
officer (Craig Fugate) for the duration of the emergency.
"… all statutes, rules and orders are hereby suspended
… to the extent that literal compliance with [them] may be
inconsistent with the timely performance of emergency response functions,"
the order states. In reviewing the history of this EO, with its
awesome grants of authority, what was noteworthy was not the speed
with which Bush's aides were able to produce it for his signature,
but the fact that similar executive orders – each declaring
a state of emergency and with identical grants of authority –
had been issued over half a dozen times in the past three years,
with Florida residents apparently oblivious to the fact. [...]
Martial law in the classroom
WorldNetDaily contacted Rev. Chuck Baldwin, pastor of Crossroads
Baptist Church in Pensacola, Fla., and host of the radio talk show
"Chuck Baldwin Live." Baldwin is not one to dismiss allegations
of martial law lightly. In April 1999, he
denounced on the air a mock takeover of a nearby school by military
"Does anyone remember the good old days when schools taught
reading, writing and arithmetic?" he asked his radio audience
at that time. "Nowadays, they teach political correctness,
cultural Marxism and martial law. That's right, martial law.
"It seems that last week at the Hobbs
Middle School in Milton, Fla., a mock military takeover was staged
to demonstrate martial law. I am not making it up. Military personnel
from the Navy, Marines and Coast Guard took part. The exercise began
when these words thundered over the school intercom system: 'Military
personnel, take your classrooms.' A Navy lieutenant who participated
said, 'We're going for shock value.' The occupying force then proceeded
to take over the teaching assignment for the day. Shock value? I
guess so," declared the outraged minister. [...]
Infrastructure for oppression
But Don Harkins, editor and publisher of the Idaho Observer, a
monthly conservative newspaper, fears there is plenty to be concerned
about on the local as well as national level. He was interested
– though not surprised – to learn that executive orders
similar to EO 01-262 had been issued in the past and continue to
be issued, and that the citizens of Florida were essentially unaware
of the fact. While there may be no immediate
danger in Florida of abuse of power by the governor and his officials,
the "infrastructure" for an oppressive government is,
in Harkins view, "in place," and the potential for abuse
is very real. But then, Florida is not unique in this respect, he
Three years ago, Harkins had tried to alert his readers across
the country to take note of what was happening in their own communities
and state legislatures. Cities were passing ordinances granting
city managers – who are appointed, not elected, officials
– the power to declare states of emergency, and provisions
were being placed in state statutes granting extraordinary powers
to governors and agency personnel. He asked
readers to check their county ordinances and state codes to see
exactly what was in place and to send him the results so an overview
could be developed. Few responded.
"I was very disappointed," Harkins recalled. "People
wanted to complain about Bill Clinton, but only a few were willing
to take the trouble to go to the library and find out what powers
had already been granted so they'd know what to expect in the case
of a really serious emergency."
In his view, "We should be looking at the ordinances at the
city and county, at the governments close to home. All
the mechanisms are in place, with overlapping law-enforcement jurisdictions,
non-elected people moved into managerial positions and given incredible,
fundamentally legislative authority. We're
in deep trouble in terms of the infrastructure already being laid
to oppress people or even to impose a martial law-style of regime.
It's happening in every state – even at the city and county
level, and people are hardly aware of it."
The ratcheting up of power
Robert Higgs – author of the classic 1987 study, "Crisis
and Leviathan: Episodes in the Growth of American Government,"
and a senior fellow of the Independent Institute, a non-profit,
public-policy research organization in Oakland, Calif. – has
spent years analyzing the conditions and circumstances that prompt
sharp expansions in government power at the expense of the rights
of citizens. Higgs has shown that it is at times of crisis, such
as war, an economic collapse or other turmoil, that government powers
increase exponentially – "ratcheted" is the term
he uses. But when the crisis is passed, while
there is some "ratcheting down," conditions never return
to the point they were before the crisis; there is always less freedom
Did Higgs see any problems or possible threats to liberty in Florida
or elsewhere through the kind of declaration of a state of emergency
issued by Bush?
"That would depend entirely on the circumstances under which
it was issued," he answered. "As you've discovered, some
of these governors' orders are fairly routine. They are usually
issued in the event of a catastrophe, a natural disaster of some
kind. In those cases, it is a way of triggering some additional
state resources and also of creating conditions through which a
state can request federal assistance, things of that sort.
"I don't think there's anything grave about the normal way
in which state governors exercise those powers," he explained.
"But in conditions such as those that exist at the moment,
they could be grave because we're not dealing with a natural catastrophe
but with a threat from abroad that has got in among us, which is
the ideal condition for frightening the people. [It is] also potentially
a condition in which a state government or the national government
might take extraordinary measures that would be very damaging to
"So I think the present circumstances are potentially more
a cause for concern than we are accustomed to," he said.
Americans, he said, should be "very much
concerned" about a potential loss of liberty at this time,
because "as a general proposition, given what has happened
historically, these kinds of emergencies have been the occasion
for all sorts of mischief, and we would be well-advised to watch
what the government does at every level – local and state,
as well as federal.
"It's much more dangerous when extraordinary powers are exercised
at the federal level, but that doesn't mean the state powers are
harmless," Higgs said. "Any time executive officers exercise
extraordinary police powers there is reason to be concerned. It
means that we don't have the ordinary checks and balances, we don't
have the usual procedures for the government to exercise its powers
or the usual protections.
"It's a time to watch out," he warned.
An elite U.S.
Army study center has devised a plan for enforcing a major Israeli-Palestinian
peace accord that would require about 20,000 well-armed troops stationed
throughout Israel and a newly created Palestinian state. [...]
The cover page for the recent SAMS (Army School of Advanced Military
Studie) project said it was done for the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
But Maj. Chris Garver, a Fort Leavenworth spokesman, said the study
was not requested by Washington.
"This was just an academic exercise," said Maj. Garver.
"They were trying to take a current situation and get some
training out of it."
The exercise was done by 60 officers dubbed "Jedi Knights,"
as all second-year SAMS students are nicknamed.
The SAMS paper attempts to predict events in the
first year of a peace-enforcement operation, and sees possible dangers
for U.S. troops from both sides.
It calls Israel's armed forces a "500-pound gorilla in Israel.
Well armed and trained. Operates in both Gaza [and the West Bank].
Known to disregard international law to accomplish mission. Very
unlikely to fire on American forces. Fratricide a concern especially
in air space management."
Of the Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service,
the SAMS officers say: "Wildcard. Ruthless and cunning. Has
capability to target U.S. forces and make it look like a Palestinian/Arab
On the Palestinian side, the paper describes their youth as "loose
cannons; under no control, sometimes violent." The
study lists five Arab terrorist groups that could target American
troops for assassination and hostage-taking.
The study recommends "neutrality in
word and deed" as one way to protect U.S. soldiers from any
attack. It also says Syria, Egypt and Jordan must be warned
"we will act decisively in response to external attack."
It is unlikely either of the three would mount an attack. Of Syria's
military, the report says: "Syrian army quantitatively larger
than Israeli Defense Forces, but largely seen as qualitatively inferior.
More likely, however, Syrians would provide financial and political
support to the Palestinians, as well as increase covert support
to terrorism acts through Lebanon."
Of Egypt's military, the paper says, "Egyptians also maintain
a large army but have little to gain by attacking Israel."
The plan does not specify a full order of battle. An Army source
who reviewed the SAMS work said each of a possible three brigades
would require about 100 Bradley fighting vehicles, 25 tanks, 12
self-propelled howitzers, Apache attack helicopters, Kiowa Warrior
reconnaissance helicopters and Predator spy drones.
The report predicts that nonlethal weapons would be used to quell
U.S. European Command, which is headed by NATO's supreme allied
commander, would oversee the peacekeeping operation. Commanders
would maintain areas of operation, or AOs, around Nablus, Jerusalem,
Hebron and the Gaza strip.
The study sets out a list of goals for U.S. troops to accomplish
in the first 30 days. They include: "create conditions for
development of Palestinian State and security of [Israel]";
ensure "equal distribution of contract value or equivalent
aid" . . . that would help legitimize the peacekeeping force
and stimulate economic growth; "promote U.S. investment in
Palestine"; "encourage reconciliation between entities
based on acceptance of new national identities"; and "build
lasting relationship based on new legal borders and not religious-territorial
Maj. Garver said the officers who completed the exercise will hold
major planning jobs once they graduate. "There is an application
process" for students, he said. "They screen their records,
and there are several tests they go through before they are accepted
by the program. The bright planners of the future come out of this
James Phillips, a Middle East analyst at the Heritage Foundation,
said it would be a mistake to put peacekeepers in Israel, given
the "poor record of previous monitors."
"In general, the Bush administration policy is to discourage
a large American presence," he said. "But it has been
rumored that one of the possibilities might be an expanded CIA role."
The devastating terror attacks
that rocked New York and Washington yesterday will produce aftershocks
that will be felt in U.S. foreign policy for decades to come.
President Bush faced intense pressure to respond
to the attacks before U.S. officials could even hazard a guess as
to who had orchestrated and carried out the world's worst act of
"Everything changes," said Thomas Henriksen, a senior
fellow at the Hoover Institution and a specialist on states accused
of harboring terrorists. "Terrorism has always been remote,
but now it has touched us."
"This was clearly not an isolated attack,"
former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said in an interview yesterday
on CNN. "It can't be dealt with by just one retaliatory blow."
Foreign policy experts predicted a vastly heightened sense of urgency
in the global war against terrorism. With much of the early speculation
focusing on Islamic fundamentalist groups with links to Saudi financier
Osama bin Laden, the attacks could foreshadow
a profound change in the dynamics of the Middle East peace process.
Some predict that current U.S. laws forbidding
the use of assassination and infiltration of suspect terrorist groups
abroad may be amended or repealed in the wake of the attacks.
"There was clearly an intelligence failure of massive, international
proportions here," said George Friedman, chairman of the Texas-based
forecasting service Stratfor. "It really raises question of
whether our intelligence capabilities are up to par."
As expressions of sympathy and outrage poured in from leaders around
the globe, several pointed to the attacks as proof of the need to
coordinate the response to terrorism. Many of the calls came from
states who fear the resurgence of militant Islamic fundamentalist
movements on their own borders.
Said Russian President Vladimir Putin: "What happened today
underlines the relevance of the offer of Russia to unite the powers
of the international community in the fight against terrorism, the
plague of the 21st century."
Scrambling for clues yesterday, U.S.
officials said in private briefings they suspected
the attacks were the handiwork of bin Laden, whom intelligence officials
accuse of running an anti-American terrorist network from his sanctuary
in Afghanistan. Afghanistan is run by the Taliban, a strict
Muslim fundamentalist movement.
"We need to call our allies on the carpet, especially those
like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia that recognize the Taliban,"
said Jim Prince of Control Risks Group, a former Middle East specialist
for the House International Relations Committee and the Council
on Foreign Relations.
Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Sen.
Orrin G. Hatch, the Utah Republican who sits on the Senate Select
Committee on Intelligence, suggested yesterday that the United States
must strike hard at the Taliban if bin Laden and his supporters
are linked to the attack.
"Bin Laden sits in Afghanistan," said Mr. Barak. "We
know where the terror sites are. It's time for action."
Taliban spokesman Wakil Ahmed Mutawakel
denied in a brief press conference in Kabul yesterday that his government
had any knowledge of yesterday's events. He condemned the
attacks but said his own government had been the target of terrorist
activity as well.
Pakistan's military ruler, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, issued his own
statement condemning the "brutal and horrible" attacks
in New York and Washington.
"The world must unite to fight against terrorism in all its
forms and root out this modern-day evil," Gen. Musharraf said.
Ariel Cohen, a defense analyst at the Heritage Foundation, noted
that U.S. relations with both Saudi Arabia and Yemen have been strained
over friction in the investigation of past terrorist attacks on
"We may be in for a period of protracted turbulence
in the Middle East because of these attacks," said Mr. Cohen,
although he and others cautioned that the identities of the terrorists
still had not been determined.
Stratfor's Mr. Friedman said Israel, which is dealing
with its own wave of suicide bombers in the latest violent stand-off
with the Palestinians, could emerge as a "big winner"
from yesterday's events.
"I can see this changing the whole
dynamic of the American approach to that conflict,"
"If [Palestinian leader Yasser] Arafat had been counting on
U.S. pressure on Tel Aviv on the terms of a cease-fire, he can pretty
much forget it now. The whole game has changed," he said.
Several analysts and lawmakers said Mr. Bush was under pressure
to respond more effectively than President Clinton did after previous
bin Laden attacks, which they said had barely dented the Saudi terrorist's
"This cannot be a Clintonesque response, a slap on the wrist,"
said the Hoover Institution's Mr. Henriksen.
Rep. Bob Barr, Georgia Republican, has authored
legislation to lift the ban on assassinations of foreign leaders
deemed a threat to the United States. "We have to be smart
about our retaliation," said Mr. Barr. "It needs to be
swift and decisive."
Virtually every observer agreed that the attacks have pushed intelligence
and security to the top of the American foreign policy agenda.
"This is the kind of shock that can
be a turning point," said Edward S. Walker Jr., president
of the Washington-based Middle East Institute and former Assistant
Secretary of State for Near Eastern affairs.
"The fact that we are so vulnerable to such an extraordinarily
well-conceived attack is going to bring a sense of urgency and cooperation
to the terrorism issue that wasn't there before," he said.
"President Bush faced intense pressure to respond to the
attacks before U.S. officials could even hazard a guess as to
who had orchestrated and carried out the world's worst act of
Former U.S. Secretary of State
George Shultz said yesterday that he was "startled" by
a little-noticed State Department memo that was issued a week ago
and warned that Americans "may be the target of a terrorist
The memo, issued just four days before the attacks
on New York and Washington, identified the threat as coming from
"extremist groups with links to Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda
"I have not idea what intelligence lies behind the warning,"
Shultz said, ''but they put this out because they had some sort
Shultz, who served as secretary of state under President Reagan,
said he received a copy of the Sept. 7 "worldwide warning"
in his San Francisco office on the day before the fatal attacks.
The memo addressed concerns for Americans overseas and made no mention
of any possible attack on U.S. soil.
Reached last night, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein said this was
the first she had heard anything about the State Department warnings.
"Everyone should have been (alerted), but then you would have
to ask whether they would have known what to look out for,"
"Of course," Feinstein said, "today is a different
world, and I think a lot of things are going to change.
"Bin Laden's people had made statements three weeks ago carried
in the Arab press in Great Britain that they were preparing to carry
out unprecedented attacks in the U.S.," she said. "Whether
that was the derivation of this (State Department ) bulletin, I
The warning dealt primarily with military bases in Japan and Korea.
But as Shultz pointed out, the mere fact that
a warning was issued indicates that "something was cooking."
And indeed, in the one-page alert, the State Department
said it had received information in May 2001 "that American
citizens may be the target of a terrorist threat from extremist
groups with links to Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda organization."
"Such individuals have not distinguished between official
and civilian targets," the report said, adding, "As always,
we take this information seriously. U.S. Government facilities worldwide
remain on heightened alert." [...]
Officials at San Francisco International Airport
said they weren't aware of the State Department warning - but someone
in the airport security section knew of it and passed word of the
warning onto Mayor Willie Brown when he called to check on the status
of flight he was planning to take to New York.
"I didn't give it much thought at the
time," Brown said. "It wasn't until after the attacks
that I even remembered the call." [...]
CBS News Correspondent Jim Stewart reports on Aschcroft's travel arrangements.
(CBS) Fishing rod in hand, Attorney
General John Ashcroft left on a weekend trip to Missouri Thursday
afternoon aboard a chartered government jet, reports CBS News Correspondent
In response to inquiries from CBS News over why
Ashcroft was traveling exclusively by leased jet aircraft instead
of commercial airlines, the Justice Department cited what it called
a "threat assessment" by the FBI, and said Ashcroft has
been advised to travel only by private jet for the remainder of
"There was a threat assessment and
there are guidelines. He is acting under the guidelines," an
FBI spokesman said. Neither the FBI nor the Justice Department,
however, would identify what the threat was, when it was detected
or who made it. [...]
I believe in President George W. Bush. I've
always believed him.
I believe the president invaded Iraq to secure liberty and democracy
for the Iraqi people. I believe he had compelling evidence that
Iraq was a significant threat to America and the world, and presented
that evidence in a complete and balanced manner. Like 42 percent
of Americans – and 62 percent of Republicans – I believe
Saddam Hussein was involved in the September 11 attacks.
I believe we have enough troops on the ground in Iraq to ensure
stability. I believe the rising American fatality rates, the rising
casualty rates, and the rising American share of those coalition
fatalities and casualties testify to the undeniable progress we're
making there. I believe it is inappropriate and traitorous, however,
for the media to broadcast pictures of American flag-draped caskets
returning from Iraq.
I believed then-candidate Bush when he said during the 2000 campaign
that America should not nation-build, and believe him now when he
says our nation was divinely chosen for this task. I believe, as
the president claims, that "free societies are peaceful societies,"
but that the political and civil rights in oppressive, undemocratic
countries like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are exempt from this standard.
I believe Iraqis view Americans as liberators, and that once this
swift, cheap war concludes the world will be more stable, our allies
more cooperative, and our enemies fewer and less threatening.
I believe the best response against an Islamic fundamentalist
network operating from a South Asian cave which used boxcutters
to attack us is to invade a secular Arab dictator living in 11 palaces
in a Middle Eastern country whose (supposed) weapon of choice was
nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. I further believe that
the best way to accomplish that mission was to land on air aircraft
carrier in military garb and stand in front of a banner declaring
I believe the president when he says he would have moved "heaven
and earth" had he any "inkling" that terrorists were
planning to attack America with hijacked airplanes. I believe the
security briefing the president read five weeks before the attacks
– which was entitled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike
Inside United States," and specifically mentioned hijacked
airplanes and New York City as a target – was an inkling-free,
"historical" document. I believe we should re-double our
investments in a missile defense system, which could have prevented
the 9/11 attacks and will prevent future attacks like it from occurring.
I believe the president was right to oppose the formation of the
9/11 Commission, to change his mind but then oppose fully funding
it, to change his mind but then oppose granting its request for
an extension, to change his mind but refuse to testify for more
than an hour, to change his mind but then testify alongside Vice
President Dick Cheney so long as transcripts and note-taking were
prohibited. I believe the investigation into the Abu Ghraib prison
scandal shows it was the fault of a handful of misguided underlings
who simply misunderstood a memo signed by the Secretary of Defense
which authorized the use of dogs to interrogate prisoners.
Domestically, I believe income tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans
are the solution to budget surpluses or deficits, high or low inflation,
stable or unstable interest rates, expanding or shrinking trade
deficits, widening or narrowing wealth gaps, increasing or decreasing
poverty rates, rising or falling unemployment, prosperity or recession,
wartime or peace. I believe record-setting budget deficits, record-setting
trade deficits, and a burgeoning national debt are examples of the
president's fiscally-conservative economic leadership.
I believe that a president who insists that hard-working Americans
deserve tax breaks should continue to stand fast against cutting
payroll taxes – the direct tax on hard work. Clearly, I do
not believe that payroll taxes coupled with income taxes on work
constitute "double taxation," but the dividend tax on
assets does. I believe those who complain that one third of American
children live in poverty, or that the wealthiest nation on the planet
should feel sheepish about having 45 million uninsured citizens,
deserve California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's ridicule as "economic
I believe the best way to improve local-run schools is to spend
billions of dollars on a massive, federal testing program to tell
us our schools are failing. I do not believe, however, that requiring
local school districts to meet new, federal standards without resources
is an example of an "unfunded mandate." I believe the
president's education initiative will leave no child behind, much
as his "clear skies" and "healthy forests" initiatives
will make skies clearer and forests healthier.
Finally, I believe a white man of privilege who was accepted to
Yale University despite a middling performance in prep school; was
accepted to Harvard Business School despite a middling performance
at Yale; was admitted to the Texas Air National Guard despite no
flight background and an entrance exam score in the bottom quartile;
was given funds by Osama bin Laden's father to start a failed oil
company; and was chosen to serve as Texas governor and 43rd President
of the United States despite a lifelong record of mediocrity, is
a man with the moral authority to criticize affirmative action as
a policy that gives opportunities to the undeserving.
Make no mistake: I believe that President Bush, just as he promised
he would, has restored honor and integrity to the White House and
united us as Americans.
A secret document obtained from inside
Bush campaign headquarters in Florida suggests a plan - possibly
in violation of US law - to disrupt voting in the state's African-American
voting districts, a BBC Newsnight investigation reveals. Election
supervisor Ion Sancho believes some voters are being intimidated.
Two e-mails, prepared for the executive director of the Bush campaign
in Florida and the campaign's national research director in Washington
DC, contain a 15-page so-called "caging
It lists 1,886 names and addresses of voters
in predominantly black and traditionally Democrat areas of Jacksonville,
An elections supervisor in Tallahassee, when shown the list, told
Newsnight: "The only possible reason
why they would keep such a thing is to challenge voters on election
Ion Sancho, a Democrat, noted that Florida
law allows political party operatives inside polling stations to
stop voters from obtaining a ballot.
They may then only vote "provisionally" after signing
an affidavit attesting to their legal voting status.
Mass challenges have never occurred in Florida. Indeed, says Mr
Sancho, not one challenge has been made to a voter "in the
16 years I've been supervisor of elections."
"Quite frankly, this process can be used to slow down the
voting process and cause chaos on election day; and discourage voters
Sancho calls it "intimidation."
And it may be illegal.
In Washington, well-known civil rights attorney, Ralph Neas, noted
that US federal law prohibits targeting challenges to voters, even
if there is a basis for the challenge, if race is a factor in targeting
The list of Jacksonville voters covers an area with a majority
of black residents.
When asked by Newsnight for an explanation of the list, Republican
spokespersons claim the list merely records returned mail from either
fundraising solicitations or returned letters sent to newly registered
voters to verify their addresses for purposes of mailing campaign
Republican state campaign spokeswoman Mindy Tucker Fletcher stated
the list was not put together "in order to create" a challenge
list, but refused to say it would not be used in that manner.
Rather, she did acknowledge that the party's poll workers will
be instructed to challenge voters, "Where it's stated in the
There was no explanation as to why such clerical
matters would be sent to top officials of the Bush campaign in Florida
In Jacksonville, to determine if Republicans were using the lists
or other means of intimidating voters, we
filmed a private detective filming every "early voter"
- the majority of whom are black - from behind a vehicle with blacked-out
The private detective claimed not to know who
was paying for his all-day services.
On the scene, Democratic Congresswoman Corinne Brown said the
surveillance operation was part of a campaign of intimidation tactics
used by the Republican Party to intimate and scare off African American
voters, almost all of whom are registered Democrats.
I think even better than seeing
John Edwards Sunday was talking to the best collection of people
that area had to offer. I'm one of those people who can strike up
a conversation with anyone so this gave me a whole crowd to work.
I LOVED IT! Where I come from talking to complete strangers is considered
normal, no one is a stranger for long. When I lived in Indiana,
I got alot of strange looks for doing that but I made alot of friends
too. My new found friends were ordinary working folks that some
ignore but everyone has a story and I'm most comfortable around
that group of people. Grocery clerks, gas station attendants, liberians....etc
they are the kind that have the most facinating stories once you
get them to open up. Conversation is kind of a lost art in America,
we are all too busy to talk and meet each other. [...]
I met a Korean War vet who cried when I brought up Iraq. He said
that Bush never should have sent our boys over there. He was wearing
some VFW stuff so I asked him how things were at the VFW Hall. The
Vet said they were divided over the the Iraq War and that there
was always a lively discussion of it going on there often leading
to arguements. The pro-war side was much larger last year but now
has dwindled down to just a few diehards. He said he was ashamed
to say that he did support the war at first because he believed
the reasons we were told. When he got the impression that maybe
things were not what they seemed, he went over to the local library
and learned to do research on the internet. It was the first time
in his life that he had ever used a computer. His wife first thought
he was crazy when he started coming home with reports on what he
had found out from reading foreign media reports. He said she now
goes with him twice a week to the library to find out what our media
won't tell us. They are getting a computer for each other for Christmas.
Back in the sunnier days of September,
George W. Bush's political team was hoping that his lead would grow,
as John Kerry was bedeviled by Swift boat ads questioning his Vietnam
heroism and by taunting chants of "flip-flop." But Bush's
clunky debate performances and weakening poll numbers mean it's
time for Plan B.
Bush's Plan B looks to be a kind of "October/November
Surprise," a coordinated strategy to suppress the vote in battleground
states like Ohio and especially in Democratic strongholds. The heart
of the plan will be to swarm the polls with Republican activists
who will use challenges against individual voters to tie up the
process, lengthen voting lines and cause time-strapped voters to
give up and go home.
To some political historians, the scheme has the
offensive smell of Jim Crow tactics used during the days of the
segregationist South to keep African-Americans from voting. But
the strategy has a more recent precedent, the disruption of recounts
in Florida in November 2000 as Bush was clinging to a tiny lead.
To make sure that the recounts didn't change that result, the Bush
campaign flew in Republican activists from Washington to stage noisy
disruptions. One demonstration in Miami became known as "the
Brooks Brothers riot," for the preppie clothes the rioters
wore. With Republican demonstrators roughing
up Democrats and storming the doors of the Dade County canvassing
board on Nov. 22, 2000, the vote counters hastily abandoned their
recount plans, effectively throwing out 10,750 uncounted ballots.
After their storm-trooper-style victory, the rioters celebrated
at the Hyatt Regency Pier 66 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Crooner Wayne
Newton sang "Danke Schoen," German for "thank you
very much." Another highlight of the evening was a thank-you
conference call from George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, who joked about
the successful riot, according to the Wall Street Journal. [Nov.
The tab for renting the hotel – $35,501.52 – was paid
by the Bush-Cheney recount committee. [For details, see Consortiumnews.com's
"Bush's Conspiracy to Riot."]
In preceding decades, there also has been a rich
history of Republican "October Surprise" operations that
have undercut the Democrats.
In 1968, for instance, historical records
show that Richard Nixon condoned back-channel contacts with South
Vietnamese leaders, promising them a better deal if they boycotted
Paris peace talks called by President Lyndon Johnson. As
South Vietnamese negotiators stayed away and Johnson's peace talks
floundered in the days before the 1968 election, Nixon narrowly
beat Vice President Hubert Humphrey.
Though Johnson was livid when he learned of Nixon's subterfuge,
the Democrats kept quiet to avoid further dividing the country,
according to former Johnson administration officials. The Vietnam
War dragged on another four years as tens of thousands of more U.S.
soldiers died as did hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese. [For an
account of the 1968 case, see Robert Parry's Secrecy & Privilege:
Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq.]
Nixon's success in 1968 may have contributed to his decision to
undercut the Democrats again in 1972, when his political operatives
waged a clandestine campaign to drive the strongest Democrats out
of the race and to spy on the party's strategies. Nixon overreached,
however, when a team of his burglars was caught planting bugs at
the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate
Despite Nixon's ouster over the Watergate scandal -- the one time
the GOP paid any serious price for a dirty trick -- the Republicans
were back at it in 1980. This time, the Republicans were concerned
that President Jimmy Carter might pull off his own "October
Surprise" by managing to free 52 American hostages in Iran
right before the election.
The evidence is now overwhelming that this
fear led to a Republican operation – which included then-vice
presidential candidate George H.W. Bush – to establish clandestine
contacts with Iran's Islamic leaders. Those contacts, in turn, appear
to have culminated in a secret deal for the American hostages to
be released only after Carter lost to Ronald Reagan. [For
details on this 1980 "October Surprise" case, including
new incriminating evidence, see Secrecy & Privilege.]
In 1992, in a tough fight for reelection, the elder George Bush
couldn't resist the temptation to try another "October Surprise."
Trailing Bill Clinton in the polls, Bush ranted to his staff about
the need to find information that would discredit Clinton. Under
this White House pressure, State Department officials pawed through
Clinton's passport file, looking for a rumored letter in which Clinton
supposedly sought to renounce his citizenship.
Though no such letter turned up, assistant Secretary of State Elizabeth
Tamposi drafted a baseless criminal referral, suggesting that a
Clinton associate might have tampered with the file to remove damaging
material. The criminal referral to the FBI was then leaked to the
news media, enabling Bush to raise doubts about Clinton's loyalty.
Some Bush supporters went so far as to suggest
that Clinton had been recruited by the Soviet KGB while a Rhodes
scholar traveling in Eastern Europe over Christmastime 1969. But
the Bush administration's passport gambit backfired, sparking an
embarrassing campaign scandal that became known as Passportgate.
[For details, see Consortiumnews.com's "Bushes Play the Traitor
The common thread through all these "October
Surprise" cases is the determination of the Republicans to
grab or hold onto power even if they must break the rules to do
so. "First win and then worry about the consequences,"
their motto seems to be.
The Republicans also have found that the Democrats
are hesitant to call them to account for campaign abuses that do
come to light. The Democrats are either afraid of sore-loser charges
or they believe that disclosure of the dirty tricks would
undermine the American people's faith in the democratic process.
A key difference in the 2004 case, however, is that George W. Bush's
campaign is being forced to reveal its plans before the election.
As Kerry pulls even or ahead in some polls, the Bush campaign is
finding itself with little choice other than to conduct this year's
"October/November Surprise" out in the open.
Already, Republicans have challenged the
eligibility of 35,000 voters in closely contested Ohio. The Republicans
also have announced plans to send 8,000 activists to Ohio polling
places to challenge newly registered voters. [Washington
Post, Oct. 26, 2004]
The prospect is for these Election Day challenges to gum up the
balloting, stopping not just questionable voters but also lengthening
lines and extending wait times so many voters will grow discouraged
and head home. Similar aggressive strategies to whittle down the
Democratic vote have surfaced in Florida, another top battleground
Yet while these hardball tactics may succeed in depressing the
Democratic vote, they also run the risk of reminding voters across
the country about Bush's tainted victory in 2000. And unlike the
Florida recount battle in November-December 2000, American voters
can do something about what the Republicans are planning for this
election: the voters can go to the polls on Nov. 2 and make the
Republicans pay a price for what looks like voter suppression.
Indeed, maybe the only way to stop the GOP's historic pattern of
"October Surprise" gambits is for American voters to demonstrate,
once and for all, that messing with the people's right to vote won't
| JEDDAH — Normally it is Washington
that worries about stability in Arab countries.
These days, however, there is much official nail biting in Arab
capitals over the threat of instability in the United States.
"What we are witnessing in the United States
is their second civil war," says an Arab diplomat posted to
Washington. "The difference is that this war is waged in the
media, in churches, on the hustings, and inside many American homes."
That next week's presidential election is the closest in US history
seems certain. What is causing concern in
Arab and other capitals is that the intense passions unleashed by
both sides could provoke instability and violence regardless of
Arab diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity, claim that
the Democrats, many of whom believe their party was robbed of victory
in 2000, are determined to fight hard to dislodge President George
W. Bush from the White House.
Fears that the "American street" might
explode, in the fashion often attributed to the "Arab street,"
may well be exaggerated. But the possibility of US government becoming
paralyzed for weeks, if not months, as a result of disputes over
election results cannot be discounted.
Both President Bush and his Democrat challenger Sen. John Kerry
start from a solid support base of around 40 percent of the electorate
each. The remaining 20 percent consists of undecided or floating
voters whose decision could affect the outcome in 12 states still
up for grabs.
In the 2000 presidential election the closeness of the results
in the state of Florida provoked a legal duel that was ultimately
decided by the US Supreme Court. This time the experience of Florida
could be repeated in many other states.
Both Republicans and Democrats have already set up legal headquarters
in Florida, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, Wisconsin,
Minnesota, Iowa, Ohio, West Virginia and New Hampshire. Most polls
show the two candidates neck-and-neck in those states. That means
the outcome could be decided by a few dozen or a few hundred votes.
Some of the states have laws under which if the margin of victory
is less than half of one percent a recount is automatically conducted.
Others have no such laws, forcing the loser to take the matter to
court on other grounds such as possible fraud.
The Florida fight in 2000 dragged on for more than a month. Similar
fights in a dozen or more states could last longer. And that could
put American decision-making on autopilot, so to speak.
"The prospect of the US being unable to take urgent decisions
for months cannot be taken lightly," suggests an Arab diplomat.
"Such paralysis could be dangerous in our region where the
situation remains volatile. The war in Iraq, the dispute over Iran's
nuclear ambitions, the UN fight with Syria over Lebanon, and the
Israeli plan to withdraw from Gaza cannot be put on the backburner
The calendar of events for the three months ahead is unusually
full in the region.
• Three weeks after the American election Egypt will host
an international conference, in Sharm al-Sheikh on the future of
Iraq. A lame-duck US administration bogged down in domestic electoral
disputes would lack the clout and he credibility to provide leadership.
• A few days after that the International Atomic Energy Agency
will have to decide whether to refer Iran to the United Nations'
Security Council for an allegedly illegal nuclear program.
• Also in November Hamed Karzai is scheduled to be sworn
in as the first directly elected president of Afghanistan, and to
form a new Cabinet. Again, the US is required to play a central
role in bringing the rival factions together to ensure a smooth
transition to a pluralist system in Kabul.
• Early in December UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan is scheduled
to report on Syria's compliance with resolution 1559 that requires
the withdrawal of foreign troops from Lebanon. Political paralysis
in Washington could render action impossible, thus deepening the
crisis in Lebanon.
• In January, Iraq is scheduled to hold elections for a Constituent
Assembly to approve the draft of a new constitution for submission
to popular vote in a referendum. The perception that the US is too
pre-occupied with domestic electoral disputes to focus on Iraqi
elections could encourage the forces that are fighting to disrupt
the process of democratization in Baghdad.
• In February, Israel is expected to start withdrawing troops
from Gaza. This would require American leadership in forming an
international peacekeeping force.
If Bush wins the Democrats are certain to do all they can to delay
the finalization of the results through litigation.
But even if Kerry wins, the transition might not be as smooth as
in 2000. The Republicans are likely to retain control of the Senate;
and that would give them the possibility of delaying the formation
of a Kerry administration by vetoing his nominees for key posts.
"It may be exaggerated that we are biting our nails in worry,"
says an Arab official. "But we need contingency plans to cope
with a situation in which the US is busy with its domestic fights."
Israeli troops withdrew today from the southern
Gaza Strip refugee camp of Khan Younis, leaving behind a wide swath
of destruction, officials said.
Troops killed 16 Palestinians and wounded 98 others in the raid,
which began on Sunday night, to halt Palestinian mortar fire at
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency said the army had destroyed
23 Palestinian homes during the raid. Also troops had ripped up
roads, damaging the water and sewage pipes on the outskirts of the
camp, witnesses said.
The army deliberately destroyed one of the houses, belonging to
a Hamas militant, and others may have been damaged during the fighting,
military officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Early Tuesday, an Israeli aircraft shot a missile at a group of
people, killing one Hamas militant and wounding seven other people,
including two other militants, Palestinian hospital officials said.
The military had no immediate comment.
Israel has told
the United Nations to sack its expert on starvation after a report
found that 22% of Palestinian children in the occupied territories
Itzhak Levanon, Tel Aviv's ambassador to the UN in Geneva, said
on Monday that Swiss sociologist Jean Ziegler had exceeded his responsibilities
by calling for political measures to be taken against Israel.
"He attacks Israel on every occasion and will start again
at the UN General Assembly in two days' time. It's not the first
time," Levanon said.
"We have asked the Commission on Human Rights to consider
the possibility of ending his mandate."
A UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Ziegler's latest
report to be presented on Thursday shows that nearly a quarter of
Palestinian children are malnourished and nearly half are dependent
on food aid.
"Grave violations of the right to food have been recorded;
they are clear," Ziegler said on Tuesday, adding there must
be political pressure to affect a change.
He added that the European Union had one of the only means of pressure
available to stop alleged violations of the Palestinians' right
to food in the form of its association agreement with Israel.
EU political pressure
The agreement includes a clause which lays out respect for human
rights as "an essential element" of the trade agreement.
Ziegler said he had written to outgoing European Commission president
Romano Prodi asking for the application of the clause.
Levanon said the UN rights expert had abused his mandate by calling
on the EU to take measures against a sovereign state.
Israel has already called for the Swiss sociologist, who was appointed
to the UN post in 2000, to be dismissed after he released a report
on the situation in the occupied territories last year which was
highly critical of the Israeli authorities.
The 53-member states of the UN Commission on Human Rights hold their
annual assembly every spring.
THE former commander of the international
peacekeeping force in Afghanistan warned today the surge in drug
trafficking threatens to undermine stability there, calling it "the
crocodile in the room".
But Lieutenant General Rick Hillier, the chief of staff of the
Canadian army, acknowledged that curbing the drug trade will be
difficult because the rewards for impoverished Afghans cultivating
poppy far outweigh the risks.
"The drug issue, growing in an almost unconstrained manner,
really threatens to be the crocodile in the room, and that could
undermine the other efforts all throughout," he told reporters.
Lt-Gen Hillier, who commanded the NATO-led International Security
Assistance Force (ISAF) from February to August, cited estimates
that 3500 tons of opium are coming out of Afghanistan a year.
He described travelling through 50km of poppy fields on a visit
to Fayzabad, the capital of Badakshan in northeastern Afghanistan.
"The problem is there is no easy solution to it. You simply
can't go in and just eradicate. Because if you do, this is in fact,
for many people it's a matter of survival."
He called for a comprehensive approach combining economic development
with more effective policing aimed first at curbing the growth in
opium production, and then reducing it.
Members of the Afghan government understood the stakes involved,
"They believe that in the next six to 12 months if that drug
production continues to grow in an unrestrained manner it is going
to affect the international investment coming into that country,"
The drug trade also is a factor in dealing with two other threats
to stability in Afghanistan, warlords and the Taliban and al-Qaeda
extremists, who he said were "severely beaten but not broken".
"And unfortunately, worrying to us, we saw the links between
all those pieces of threats I've talked about," Lt-Gen Hillier
| Published on Thursday, September 16, 2004
by Lisa Martinovic
| Now that the various Abu Ghraib
commissions have finished their unseemly tap dance around the assignation
of blame, it's time to explore some of the subtler, far-reaching implications
of the "scandal."
Before Abu Ghraib,
before Fallujah, in fact just weeks before the whole shock and awe
campaign was to launch, came news of a preemptive strike -- on memory.
The stealth attack was initiated by clever scientists who thought
not of a cure for infectious greed, or a vaccine against the plague
of moral relativism, but instead prepared to market a pill that
will help us forget what we cannot bear to remember.
To the unimpeded brain, painful memories provoke
responses as varied as solemn reflection, incapacitating fear, or
self-imposed exile to the bleak landscape of guilt and regret --
depending on our role in the precipitating event.
But with a very off-label use of the beta-blocker
propranolol, doctors can stop the emotions associated with a traumatic
event from embedding in the brain where they otherwise act like
land mines; every time they're triggered, an explosion of memories
forces us to relive the grief we suffered … or inflicted.
Scientists seeking to spare the rape victim her
trauma forgot that what's good for the victim is good for the perp,
forgot there might be a downside to sealing off access to a conscience
-- the very capacity that defines us as human and endows us with
compassion and empathy. Imagine: our internal moral compass, painstakingly
honed by evolutionary forces over millennia, circumvented by one
And wouldn't this pharmacological end-run come in handy during
the preemptive wars of the future? Handy for any soldier not sufficiently
amputated from his emotions by military hardening and pre-battle
infusions of sado-porn and methamphetamine; useful for those medics
who cannot block the acrid stench of charbroiled flesh; and essential
for the Special Forces operative who's not far enough away from
collateral or intentional damage to pretend that this strike was
surgical and he a mere technician.
So if he's close enough, and sober enough, his senses not dulled
enough to keep him from taking in the enormity of his deed, he can
instead take the warring-after pill and feel no pain, suffer no
remorse, believe he was just doing his duty. He'll go home PTSD-free,
kiss his wife, and get on with his life. He may still father deformed
children and die of cancer the VA insists is unrelated to depleted
uranium, but by God he'll die with no regrets at all.
But that was before shock and awe, before Fallujah, and before
Abu Ghraib where American soldiers and their digital cameras proved
that there was no big bonanza for the pharmaceutical companies because
among the perpetrators there was no guilt that needed to be medicated,
nor memories to be short-circuited.
To the contrary, the offending troops were
so unconcerned with the legality and morality of their behavior
that they chose to immortalize it, gleefully sharing those memories
with friends and family. Pfc. Lynndie England apparently spoke for
many when she testified to her belief that she had done nothing
wrong. (It's not like we were beheading anyone.) Likewise,
for Rush Limbaugh and a startling number of Americans, the whole
episode was on par with a fraternity prank, little more than light
amusement for the troops. Others among us pray that those same troops
will someday discover that you can't dehumanize your enemy without
diminishing your soul.
And those further up the chain of command? Apparently,
if all you did was order the torture, or look the other way, or
sign a Presidential Directive authorizing it in the name of national
security, well you've got no trauma to get over, do you?
And, perhaps, no soul to wound.
In the end, we are all being poisoned by a culture that breeds
generals who boast our god is better than theirs; a nation where
lawyers are paid good money to decide who is eligible for civil
rights and who for torture; and a press corps that laughs along
with a president who jokes about not finding the weapons of mass
destruction he dreamed up to justify a war he can't win.
In such a culture that little pill for guilt is
Because we're Americans.
We have no regrets.
We're in a war on terror and our humanity is just
so much collateral damage.
The use of memory-blunting pharmaceuticals has not been much reported,
though it deserves to be. Even the President's Council on Bioethics
has concerns. Check them out at http://www.bioethics.gov/reports/beyondtherapy/chapter5.html
As the British Government has approved sending
its soldiers north to free up the US Army to attack Falluja, it
is necessary to focus on what this coming onslaught will mean for
the city and its people.
Falluja is already being bombed daily, as it is softened up for
the long-awaited siege. It has been a gruelling year for its people.
First, they were occupied by the US Army's 82nd Airborne, an
incompetent group of louts whose idea of cultural sensitivity was
kicking a door down instead of blowing it up. Within eight
months of the invasion, the 82nd had killed about 100 civilians
in the area and lost control of Falluja, leaving it to the US marines
to try to retake the city last April.
After killing about 600 civilians, the marines retreated, leaving
the city in the hands of 18 armed groups, including tribesmen, Islamists,
Baathists, former criminals and an assortment of non-Iraqi Arab
Fallujans have now been offered a choice: hand
over the outsiders they dislike (mostly Arabs) who are protecting
them from the outsiders they really hate (the Americans), or get
blown apart by the world's most lethal killing machine, the US marines.
Today, many Fallujans are tired even of their own mujahideen,
but trust the US Army even less, and with good reason. Recently,
a Bush Administration official told The New York Times the bombing
was driving a wedge between the citizenry and the non-Iraqi fighters.
If, indeed, the civilian population is being
bombed for this end, this is a grave war crime.
Last April I found myself inching across a bridge into Falluja
holding an old white T-shirt: in front of me, marines blocking the
bridge, screaming at me to go back; behind me, Iraqis yelling at
me to go forward so they could follow and rescue their families.
After a while, the marines opened the bridge, allowing hundreds
of women and children to stream out, but stopped boys older than
16 and men younger than 60. Preventing civilians
from leaving a battle is against the Geneva conventions - although
battle doesn't capture what a meat grinder the city had become in
that first week of the assault, when most civilian casualties were
blown apart by precision, and often inaccurate, air strikes.
Falluja's doctors told me of "multiple blast wounds, lost
limbs, abdomens blown open". Under the
Geneva conventions, force must be proportionate and when these images
appeared on Arabic TV - dead families stacked on top of each other
- it looked anything but proportionate; it looked like mass murder.
Against the advice of the marine commanders, the White House
ordered a ceasefire. The resistance regrouped, re-supplied itself
and fought on.
I made it back into Falluja in the second week of fighting using
fake Iraqi ID.The countryside from Ramadi east to Falluja and then
to Baghdad was in revolt. We had to pass through resistance lines
to get to the marines and then through insurgents to get into the
city. It was the marines who were surrounded,
not the rebels. This is why the US needs British troops to free
up its soldiers.
The US has more than enough troops to attack Falluja, but as soon
as they do the area will once more erupt, and it will take everything
the Americans have to control surrounding villages. The Iraqi President,
Ghazi al-Yawar, has said there is a good chance that when the marines
hit Falluja again, even Mosul, home to 3 million Sunnis, will explode.
The third time I went into Falluja mujahideen were busy attaching
wires to bombs on street corners. Today the city is one giant improvised
explosive device. But it is the snipers the people of Falluja fear
more than anything else.
There is no doubt the marines can take the city. But the US has
a habit of winning engagements while losing the war - while breaking
the laws of war. This is what Britain's redeployment will help to
CAIRO, Egypt — A video on a militant
Islamic website today showed a captive it said was a Japanese man
kidnapped by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's group and threatened to behead
him within 48 hours unless Japan pulls its troops from Iraq.
The man, who appeared in a white T-shirt, was identified only
as someone connected to the Japanese armed forces. He spoke briefly
in English and Japanese, before one of three masked militants standing
behind him read a statement.
"They want to withdraw the Japanese troops from Iraq or cut
my head," the man said.
One of the militants said Japan had 48 hours with withdraw the
troops, "otherwise his fate will be the same as his predecessors,
Berg and Bigley and other infidels," referring to the beheadings
of British engineer Kenneth Bigley and U.S. businessman Nicholas
The video bore the logo of Al Qaeda in Iraq, the new name for
al-Zarqawi's group, which has claimed responsibility for the beheadings
of Bigley and Berg, as well as numerous car bombings and other attacks.
In Iraq, 380 tons of powerful explosives have
been looted and may have fallen into the hands of insurgents. In
an effort to deflect blame, administration officials are pushing
the theory that when "U.S. forces...reached
the Al Qaqaa military facility in early April 2003, the weapons
cache was already gone."1 This theory is not credible.
According to an AP report, U.S. solders visited the Al Qaqaa in
April 2003 and "found thousands of five-centimetre by 12-centimetre
boxes, each containing three vials of white powder."2 Officials
who tested the powder said it was "believed to be explosives."3
Yesterday, "an official who monitors developments in Iraq"
confirmed that "US-led coalition troops had searched Al Qaqaa
in the immediate aftermath of the March 2003 invasion and
confirmed that the explosives, which had been under IAEA seal since
1991, were intact."4 Thereafter, according to the official,
"the site was not secured by U.S. forces."5
It makes sense that the explosives were there when the U.S. solders
arrived because, as the LA Times notes, "given the size of
the missing cache, it would have been difficult to relocate undetected
before the invasion, when U.S. spy satellites were monitoring activity."6
1. "White House Downplays Missing Iraq Explosives," Los
Angeles Times, 10/26/04.
2. "U.S. troops find signs of chemical readiness," Associated
4. "380 tons of explosives missing in Iraq," Associated
6. "White House Downplays Missing Iraq Explosives," Los
Angeles Times, 10/26/04.
Before invading Iraq, the Bush administration
knew that a huge facility, called Al Qaqaa, contained nearly 380
tons of deadly explosives.
They knew exactly where this facility was and
what was there. But they took no action to secure or protect the
Due to the stunning incompetence of the Bush administration and
their incomprehensible failure to plan, those explosives have now
somehow disappeared (380 TONS! POOF!).
Those explosives could be used in major bombing attacks against
American or Iraqi forces. The explosives, mainly HMX and RDX, could
be used to produce bombs strong enough to shatter airplanes or tear
apart buildings. The bomb that brought down Pan Am Flight 103 over
Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988 used less than a pound of the material
of the type stolen from Al Qaqaa, and somewhat larger amounts were
apparently used in the bombing of a housing complex in November
2003 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and the blasts in a Moscow apartment
complex in September 1999 that killed nearly 300 people.
There were "only" 760,000 pounds of this material at
The International Atomic Energy Agency publicly warned about the
danger of these explosives before the war, and after
the invasion it specifically told United States officials about
the need to keep the explosives secured, European diplomats
said in interviews last week. (NY Times, today)
But: on freerepublic.com, the Republican blog site, I picked up
"We need to get on this one fast, people. Start smearing
the NYT, smear the reporter, and focus on the WMD angle. This could
be bad...reinforces the Dem media narrative that we didn't plan
the war carefully. We need to silence this, fast! WHERE'S OUR SURPRISE!!??!!??"
That's the spirit! Yes, we know who the Republicans are. They
don't care enough to even be concerned about what the threat might
be to our soldiers.
I'm beginning to learn how to laugh uncontrollably and sob uncontrollably
at the same time. I have never imagined, let alone seen in my life,
that there could be such a simultaneous, mind-blowing display of
hubris, ignorance, incompetence, arrogance, and just plain moron-level
The truth is coming out. It's available to anyone willing to ask
a question. An astonishing 48% of the US electorate, it seems, is
going to vote for the person in charge. Yet the media still haven't
had a "field day" on this kind of information. I don't
know which is more tragic.
weapons that target selected ethnic groups could become part of the
terrorists' arsenal unless governments and scientists act now, the
British Medical Association warns.
designer weapons would be based on the growing ability of scientists
to unravel and compare human DNA.
In theory, experts could engineer organisms to attack genetic variations
commonly found in, say, Chinese or German populations.
Genetically engineered anthrax, smallpox and polio viruses are
also "approaching reality", the BMA claims in a new report,
Biotechnology, Weapons and Humanity II.
The report, released yesterday in London, adds that organisms designed
to attack food crops and even human immune and nervous systems are
For instance, the agent used by Russian authorities to end the
Moscow theatre hostage crisis in 2002, a fentanyl derivative, is
an example of a "bio-regulator" targeted against the human
"All of the above are feasible or possible
if anyone would be mad enough or evil enough to do it," commented
University of Melbourne immunologist Sir Gus Nossal.
"There already exist potential biological weapons of enormous
destructive power, chief among them smallpox and anthrax,"
added Professor Emeritus Nossal, who in 1979 announced the eradication
of smallpox on behalf of the World Health Organisation.
He agreed with BMA head of science and ethics Vivienne Nathanson
that, "If we wait too long it will be virtually impossible
to defend ourselves (against biological weapons)".
According to the BMA report the "window of opportunity"
to control the spread of powerful biological weapons is shrinking
That's so, said the report's author, Malcolm Dando of Britain's
Bradford University, because "the same technology being used
to develop new vaccines and find cure's for Alzheimer's and other
debilitating diseases could also be used for malign purposes".
Professor Dando said it was essential that governments worldwide
beef up the international Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention
when it comes up for review in 2006.
The BTWC prohibits signatory states from acquiring biological weapons
and means of delivery them.
But eminent Australian microbiologist Frank Fenner questioned the
effectiveness of the BMA recommendations.
"It's all very well to say governments ought
to adhere to these suggestions, but they didn't adhere to them before
and even now the US Government says it's not
going to take any notice of the (BTWC)," he said.
According to Emeritus Professor Fenner -- who was central to the
development of myxoma virus to control rabbits, as well as the WHO
smallpox eradication campaign -- public health strategies designed
to respond to biological weapons such as smallpox are more likely
to be effective.
In Canberra, a spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs
and Trade said Australia signed the BWTC in 1972 and ratified it
ESSEX, Vt. (AP) - Local, state and federal
agents met Tuesday with their Canadian counterparts for one of the
first cross-border terrorism drills between the two countries.
They were trying to work through the details of how they would
respond if a weapon of mass destruction were to be used along the
Vermont-Quebec border. "We know how porous our border is,"
said police Lieut. Dan Begiebing, the commander of the St. Albans
barracks, which covers the border with Quebec in Franklin County.
"It's something we take very seriously. Is Vermont a target?
I don't think so. Could Vermont be a corridor
(between Canada and the United States)? Absolutely,"
More than 150 people from Vermont and Quebec participated in the
daylong meeting called Operation Border Safe. They spent the day
responding to a mock incident that was played out on screens with
"If they have to make a very fast-moving decision on either
side of the border, how would they do that?" Marcel Savard,
the head of the counterterrorism branch of the Quebec Provincial
Police, said before the exercise began.
Participants worked through the difficulties that would follow
an attack along the border, such as whether local firefighters or
police can cross the border to respond to an attack on the other
And it goes beyond just firefighters and police. Legal teams from
the U.S. attorney's office and the Vermont attorney general's office
were there to answer legal questions.
The Department of Homeland Security has
authorized similar exercises for all 16 states along the U.S.-Canadian
and U.S.-Mexican borders. The Vermont exercise was the first.
The scenario that was played out at the Inn at Essex was developed
by police and other agencies who work along the border and are aware
of the threats they could face. But officials
would not describe the specifics of the mock attack out of security
The Department of Homeland Security's Office of Domestic Preparedness
paid about $75,000 US for the cost of the exercise. The Vermont
State Police paid to rent the room where the exercise took place.
And as much as the mechanics of responding to an attack, the exercise
gave officials on both sides of the border a chance to get to know
Under existing law and practice, fire departments routinely cross
between Vermont and Quebec to fight fires, but police and border
agents from the United States cannot carry their weapons into Canada.
Savard said officials were considering a full-scale field exercise
in the spring. [...]
Windsor, Ont. — Investigators say a
man apparently stabbed himself, set himself on fire and then "intentionally"
crashed a burning truck into a Children's Aid Society building on
The blazing pickup slammed into the front of the newly built facility
just an hour before children and their families usually arrive at
"Oh, this was intentional," said Staff Sgt. Gerry Corriveau
after surveying the wreckage. "He was
trying to blow up the building."
Police and fire officials said the driver and his blue Ford pickup
were already in flames when the truck smashed into the four-storey
building's north facade around 7:30 a.m. causing $1.5 million in
"The truck was on fire prior to its impact," Staff Sgt.
Corriveau said. "In fact, the driver was on fire as well."
Nobody was hurt other than the driver, who was badly burned and
is listed in critical condition.
Staff Sgt. Corriveau said only six employees were inside at the
time of the crash.
After lining the truck's bed with aerosol spray cans and two gasoline
cans, the 49-year-old driver lit a pair of propane tanks inside
the truck's cab, police said.
He then sped toward the glass-walled building, but the truck didn't
explode on impact.
The man suffered second-degree burns to 20 per cent of his body.
He also stabbed himself at some point during the ordeal, said the
head of the Windsor police arson unit.
"He's got what appears to be a self-inflicted stab wound
to the side," said Staff Sgt. Stefan Kowal.
Police had yet to locate the knife as they were waiting for a
warrant to search the truck's interior, Staff Sgt. Kowal said.
Staff Sgt. Corriveau said police had "some indication that
the person involved was an ex-employee of the Children's Aid Society."
Local CAS executive director Bill Bevan would not divulge the
man's name, but said he worked well with youngsters, with whom he
sometimes lived in CAS-rented apartments.
"This person was a well-respected
employee," said Mr. Bevan, who did not know what prompted
incident. "We don't have any early guesses around that. Let's
hope the individual survives, and they can tell their story and
we can find out why they would ever think to do this."
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - A small private plane crashed
while approaching the airport here, killing two of three people
aboard and seriously injuring the survivor, officials said.
The single-engine Cessna 182, which seats up to six people, was
en route from Oklahoma to the Springfield-Branson Regional Airport
when it crashed about a half-mile away Tuesday night, said Tony
Molinaro, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration in
Chicago. The cause was not known.
Three people were aboard; two were killed and one was seriously
injured, Molinaro said. Cox South hospital would not release that
person's condition late Tuesday night. The crash victims were not
Gary Cyr, acting director of aviation at the airport, said the
plane was trying to land when it crashed in a farm field.
"It appears that it hit trees initially, and then it hit the
ground," Cyr said. He said the aircraft broke in half.
Cyr said there was no indication that anyone had radioed to report
Also Tuesday, a small airplane crashed in the woods in the central
Wisconsin town of Marion, killing both people aboard. Authorities
indicated the victims were a man and woman in their 50s from central
Investigators said the aircraft had filed a flight plan with the
Minneapolis Air Traffic Control Center.
TOKYO (AP) - A 6.0-magnitude
earthquake hit a quake-ravaged area of northern Japan on Wednesday,
officials said. No injuries or damage were immediately reported.
The Japan Meteorological Agency said the quake was centred at
a depth of 10 kilometres. The quake hit the
same area where a 6.8-magnitude quake and a series of strong aftershocks
struck Saturday, killing at least 31 people and injuring
The quake, which hit at 10:40 a.m. was strong enough to sway buildings
in the Japanese capital.
The mystery of which fault line
shifted to trigger the devastating earthquake in Niigata Prefecture
on Saturday is gradually becoming clear. By closely studying the
aftershocks and crustal movements, experts now suspect the Muikamachi
fault line south of the quake's epicenter was the first to spur
That fault had just caught the attention of researchers in August,
when the Headquarters for Earthquake Research Promotion added it
along with 10 others to its list of faults that need to be closely
The state body said those 11 faults could cause potentially devastating
earthquakes with a magnitude of 7 on the Richter scale.
A group of faults runs under the area near the epicenter of Saturday's
Experts estimate the location of underground faults by mapping
the aftershock area. Aftershocks from Saturday's quake stretch from
south-southwest to north-northeast along the Uonuma hills, sandwiched
by the Muikamachi and Tokamachi fault lines.
It was not clear if the Muikamachi fault slopes downward toward
the east or the west.
But from crustal movement data provided by the Geographical Survey
Institute, researchers now believe the fault line slopes from east
to west-making it the likely source of the quakes that began Saturday.
The Muikamachi fault stretches north to an area on the eastern
lower half of the aftershock area, but researchers are not sure
how far the fault line extends north.
"We estimate the Muikamachi fault line stretches further north
from the northern end of the already-known fault line,'' said Masakazu
Otake, who heads the Coordinating Committee for Earthquake Prediction.
The Japanese archipelago lies in an area where the Continental
Plate is pushing back westward pressure from the Pacific Ocean Plate.
Fault lines in Japan are active because the force from the Pacific
Ocean Plate slips under the Continental Plate, pushing the Earth's
crust around the faults.
The erosion of the crust led to the extraordinarily strong and
Inland quakes and aftershocks tend to have shallow focuses, usually
where a tectonic plate is thin at its edge.
The Japan Meteorological Agency says it may take about a week for
the aftershocks to calm down.
Mass e-mails are annoying, but this one could
A message getting wide circulation on the Internet has alarmed
rescue experts, who say it offers misleading and dangerous advice
about what to do in an earthquake.
It says that when the shaking starts, you should lie down next
to something heavy and strong rather than duck under it. That is
where a "triangle of life'' will supposedly form if the building
collapses -- a void where you can be safe.
"Everyone who simply 'ducks and covers' when buildings collapse
is crushed to death -- every time, without exception,'' says the
e-mailed advice from self-styled rescue expert Douglas Copp. "People
who get under objects, like desks and cars, are always crushed.''
However, people who study survival in quakes -- and those who
dig survivors out -- say this is not true. They say "duck and
cover'' is still the best practice, Copp is not credible, and people
who follow his advice are putting themselves at more risk of being
injured or killed.
Capt. Larry Collins, a search-and-rescue specialist with the Los
Angeles County Fire Department, said he has been peppered with calls
and e-mails from city and school officials who wonder whether Copp
is for real.
"It's a serious public safety concern at this point,'' he
said. "I'm really surprised he's been allowed to go this far.''
Not only is Copp's message dangerous, Collins
said, but Copp himself is a danger at disaster scenes, where he
poses as a rescue worker and tries to talk his way past the barricades.
Copp, 53, says his American Rescue Team International is "the
world's most experienced rescue team.'' He claims to have crawled
inside 875 collapsed buildings and worked with rescuers from 60
However, a series of articles last summer in the Albuquerque Journal
questioned Copp's credentials and experience, including the assertion
that he had been injured while rescuing people from the World Trade
Rep. Tom Udall, D-N.M., has asked the Justice
Department to investigate whether Copp acted fraudulently in collecting
more than $649,000 from the fund set up to compensate victims of
the Sept. 11 attacks.
"Doug Copp? Stand clear,'' said Harold Schapelhouman of the
Menlo Park Fire Protection District, who leads one of the Bay Area's
three urban search-and-rescue teams. "This guy is causing us
so many problems with people who are now questioning what to do.
I wouldn't hold his credibility very high.'' [...]
A powerful Alaskan storm began sweeping across
California on Tuesday, flooding homes in San Francisco, cutting
power to thousands and leading to a record-breaking snowfall in
The University of California, Berkeley's Central Sierra Snow Lab
reported that 48 inches of snow have fallen this month at Soda Springs
by Tuesday afternoon, the most at the site for October since it
began keeping records in 1945. That eclipsed the previous record
of 36 inches in 2000.
Many Sierra ski resorts were reporting their earliest openings
"It's snowing like a son of a gun," said Norm Sayler,
owner of Donner Ski Ranch at 7,200-foot Donner Summit, just up the
highway from the snow lab.
A surprise storm last week already had dumped 2-to-3 feet of snow.
The storm is expected to linger through Thursday, dropping several
inches of rain across the state and 2 feet of snow or more in the
mountains. The National Weather Service forecast called for intense
rain in Southern California, prompting flash flood warnings and
fears of mudslides in mountain areas scarred by wildfires over the
past year. [...]
The Met Office has issued a flood alert as
Ireland prepares for gale-force storms and heavy rains in the coming
The eastern and southern coasts are expected to be worst-hit by
the storm, which will be exacerbated by high tides.
Met Eireann said the combination of these two factors and a low-pressure
system approaching the south-west coast would create a high risk
ROOFS were torn from sheds, houses damaged,
silos toppled, and trees uprooted when a heavy storm buffeted southern
Counter Disaster and Rescue Service acting Toowoomba area manager
Bob Bundy said the storm began battering the Darling Downs towns
of Millmerran, Tara, Elton, Clifton and Dalby - all west of Toowoomba
- about 7pm (AEST) - refusing to let up for three hours.
He said Tara was the worst hit, struck by strong winds and heavy
hail which left several roads closed by debris.
Six emergency service volunteers had worked for most of the night
in Tara, while 10 were now clearing debris from roadways and houses.
"There is apparently a huge number of trees down, damage
to sheds and that sort of thing," he said.
So far only two houses had been reported to have suffered minor
damage during the storm.
But he said calls were still coming in from people who had only
just assessed the damage to their properties.
STRONG winds and heavy rain in Melbourne
have kept State Emergency Service crews busy, with about 100 calls
for help this morning.
Heavy rain overnight and this morning, and south-westerly winds
gusting up to 80km/h, had resulted in roof damage, mainly to homes
in Melbourne's east, SES spokesman Peter Cocks said.
"Our volunteers are out there ... having a lot of people
being affected by this heavy rain," Mr Cocks told radio station
"And of course, just to make it worse, the strong winds that
are crossing Melbourne ... are creating a different range of hazards,
with tree branches and trees being blown on to roads and lots of
other debris flying around." [...]
A top NASA climate
expert who twice briefed Vice President Dick Cheney on global warming
plans to criticize the administration's approach to the issue in
a lecture at the University of Iowa tonight and say that a senior
administration official told him last year not to discuss dangerous
consequences of rising temperatures.
The expert, Dr. James E. Hansen, director of the NASA Goddard Institute
for Space Studies in Manhattan, expects to say that the
Bush administration has ignored growing evidence that sea levels
could rise significantly unless prompt action is taken to reduce
heat-trapping emissions from smokestacks and tailpipes.
Many academic scientists, including dozens of Nobel laureates,
have been criticizing the administration over its handling of climate
change and other complex scientific issues. But Dr. Hansen, first
in an interview with The New York Times a week ago and again in
his planned lecture today, is the only leading scientist to speak
out so publicly while still in the employ of the government.
In the talk, Dr. Hansen, who describes himself as "moderately
conservative, middle-of-the-road" and registered in Pennsylvania
as an independent, plans to say that he will vote for Senator John
Kerry, while also criticizing some of Mr. Kerry's positions, particularly
his pledge to keep nuclear waste out of Nevada.
He will acknowledge that one of the accolades he has received for
his work on climate change is a $250,000 Heinz Award, given in 2001
by a foundation run by Teresa Heinz Kerry, Mr. Kerry's wife. The
awards are given to people who advance causes promoted by Senator
John Heinz, the Pennsylvania Republican who was Mrs. Heinz Kerry's
But in an interview yesterday, Dr. Hansen said he was confident
that the award had had "no impact on my evaluation of the climate
problem or on my political leanings."
In a draft of the talk, a copy of which Dr. Hansen provided to
The Times yesterday, he wrote that President Bush's climate policy,
which puts off consideration of binding cuts in such emissions until
2012, was likely to be too little too late.
Actions to curtail greenhouse-gas emissions "are not only
feasible but make sense for other reasons, including our economic
well-being and national security," Dr. Hansen wrote. "Delay
of another decade, I argue, is a colossal risk."
In the speech, Dr. Hansen also says that last
year, after he gave a presentation on the dangers of human-caused,
or anthropogenic, climate shifts to Sean O'Keefe, the NASA administrator,
"the administrator interrupted me; he told me that I should
not talk about dangerous anthropogenic interference, because we
do not know enough or have enough evidence for what would constitute
dangerous anthropogenic interference."
After conferring with Mr. O'Keefe, Glenn Mahone, the administrator's
spokesman, said Mr. O'Keefe had a completely different recollection
of the meeting. "To say the least, Sean is certain that he
did not admonish or even suggest that there be a throttling back
of research efforts" by Dr. Hansen or his team, Mr. Mahone
Dr. Franco Einaudi, director of the NASA Earth Sciences Directorate
at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., and Dr. Hansen's
supervisor, said he was at the meeting between Dr. Hansen and Mr.
O'Keefe. Dr. Einaudi confirmed that Mr. O'Keefe had interrupted
the presentation to say that these were "delicate issues"
and there was a lot of uncertainty about them. But, he added: "Whether
it is obvious to take that as an order or not is a question of judgment.
Personally, I did not take it as an order."
Dr. John H. Marburger III, the science adviser to the president,
said he was not privy to any exchanges between Dr. Hansen and the
administrator of NASA. But he denied that the White House was playing
down the risks posed by climate change.
"President Bush has long recognized the serious
implications of climate change, the role of human activity, and
our responsibility to reduce emissions,'' Dr. Marburger said in
an e-mailed statement. "He has put forward a series of policy
initiatives including a commitment to reduce the greenhouse gas
intensity of our economy.''
In the interview yesterday, Dr. Hansen stood by his assertions
and said the administration risked disaster by discouraging scientists
from discussing unwelcome findings.
Dr. Hansen, 63, acknowledged that he imperiled his credibility
and perhaps his job by criticizing Mr. Bush's policies in the final
days of a tight presidential campaign. He said he decided to speak
out after months of deliberation because he was convinced the country
needed to change course on climate policy.
Dr. Hansen rose to prominence when, after testifying at a Senate
hearing in the record-warm summer of 1988, he said, "It is
time to stop waffling so much and say the evidence is pretty strong
that the greenhouse effect is here."
|NEVADA -- Eyewitness News has learned that the
illness that has plagued the Flamingo hotel and casino is the norovirus.
We were the first to tell you about the spreading illness at the hotel.
And Tuesday, the health district told us that they've had as many
as 250 unconfirmed cases of norovirus -- most were Flamingo employees,
and some were guests.
The Flamingo says they will fog all the 3,500 rooms in the hotel
with an anti-viral chemical. They will also leave a letter in each
room telling new guests about the situation.
Norovirus is spread by humans, after being picked up by fecal-oral
contact. Washing hands after using the restroom is a critical preventive
The hotel is aggressively cleaning the property and is using foggers
to spray a sanitizer in the air to penetrate hard to clean surfaces.
The biotechnology revolution is even shaking
up the pet world.
First came a cloned cat. Then came the fish genetically engineered
Now, a Los Angeles company plans to strike it rich by exploiting
the latest in biotechnology to create cats genetically engineered
to be nearly free from the allergy-causing proteins that plague
millions of people.
Allerca Inc. president Simon Brodie said by 2007 the company will
use "RNA interference" to "silence" a gene in
cats that produces the irritant, which is excreted through saliva
and the skin.
Scientists researching everything from cancer to crops are using
RNA interference to silence genes to create drugs, gene-searching
tools and even a new way of decaffeinating coffee.
Now Brodie hopes to bring that same promise to the cat world and
eliminate the need for allergic cat lovers to receive symptom-reducing
shots while encouraging others put off by the allergy to buy a pet
for the first time.
The company is now accepting $350 deposits for the British Short
Hair breed of cats it plans to charge $3,500 a piece for in the
United States and $10,000 each in Japan. Brodie said he hoped to
ultimately sell about 200,000 of the genetically engineered cats
a year. The four-person company has yet to engineer any cats, which
will be spayed and neutered to prevent breeding with naturally born
Using the genetically engineered pet fish as a guide, Brodie said
he doesn't expect to run up against federal regulators. Neither
the Department of Agriculture or the Food and Drug Administration
stepped into regulate the Florida-bred GloFish - a common zebra
fish that has been implanted with a fluorescent sea anemone gene
- because it wasn't meant for human consumption.
Federal regulators with the two agencies couldn't be reached late
"Obviously, things can change," Brodie said. "But
as long as people don't start eating cats and they don't enter the
food chain, then we should be handled like the GloFish."
YAXCOPOIL, Mexico (Reuters) - One minute you're
a big T-Rex, the next you're toast.
Challenging conventional theory, new scientific research suggests
the dinosaurs may have been scorched into extinction by an asteroid
collision 65 million years ago that unleashed 10 billion times more
power than the Hiroshima nuclear bomb.
Earth's temperatures soared, the sky turned red and trees all over
the planet burst into flames, said atmospheric physicist Brian Toon
of the University of Colorado.
Among the few survivors would have been animals living in water
or burrowed in the ground like turtles, small mammals and crocodiles.
"Essentially, if you were exposed you were
broiled alive. That is probably what happened to the dinosaurs.
They were big creatures that didn't have anywhere to hide,"
Scholarly debate over how the dinosaurs died is fierce and the
theory put forward by Toon and others adds one more twist to the
greatest forensic mystery of all time.
Despite opposition from some scientists, the idea that the dinosaurs
were killed by an asteroid that slammed into Mexico's Yucatan peninsula
has won general acceptance since it was first mooted in the early
Under that argument, academics say the giant reptiles mostly froze
or starved to death when a huge cloud of particles kicked up by
the meteorite blocked the world's sunlight for months.
But Toon, the co-author of a study published in the Geological
Society of America Bulletin in May, reckons the dinosaurs' end was
even more dramatic.
Creatures living near ground zero would have been vaporized immediately
while those in the Caribbean area and southern United States would
have drowned in 330-feet-high (100-metre) tsunamis when the asteroid
impacted near today's Gulf of Mexico shoreline at a speed of 33,750
mph (54,000 kph).
Then, a column of red-hot steam and dust soared thousands of miles
(km) into space and most of it fell back toward Earth within a few
hours, turning the heavens into hell.
"The entire sky would be radiating at you.
It would be like standing next to a giant fire; you'd be burned
very severely," Toon said, whose research is based on mathematical
and computer models.
Land dinosaurs all around the world perished from the intense heat
of several hundred degrees Fahrenheit, said Toon.
He agrees with other scientists that the dust cloud later cooled
and blocked out the sun, but says the land dinosaurs were already
history by that time.
The darkness finished off many of the remaining marine reptiles
and fish by killing plankton and disrupting the food chain, said
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