Friday, October 29, 2004
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Picture of the Day

The Lord God Almighty bestows His grace upon a young Republican through His emissary, George W. Bush. As he laid his hand upon the child, Bush declared, "CAN you feel the POWER of JEEEEsus?! HALLELUJAH!" The young girl reportedly fell over backwards and began speaking in tongues while the crowd sang "God Bless America".
(Photo credit: AFP/Paul J. Richards)

‘Invisible’ comet could hit earth, scientists claim
28/10/2004

Research conducted by a Cardiff University astronomy scientist suggests that a comet colliding with earth is actually more likely than was previously believed.

Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe, Honorary Professor Bill Napier and research student Janaki Wickramasinghe of Cardiff University’s centre for Astrobiology believe that some comets are not visible using current astronomical scanning equipment.

They argue that if this is the case, international programmes designed to detect near-earth asteroids, and ways to reduce the worst effects of them colliding with Earth may need to be urgently reviewed.

Professor Wickramasinghe said, "It’s possible that we are missing many of these Earth-threatening objects and we need to think again about mitigating strategies - some of which assume decades or centuries of warning before impact."

The team has found that the surfaces of inactive comets, if composed of loose, fluffy organic material like cometary meteoroids, develop such small reflectivities - they appear invisible. The near-earth objects may therefore be dominated by a population of fast, kilometres-wide bodies, too dark to be seen with current surveys.

A new NASA mission will scan the entire sky with an infrared telescope - like a powerful set of night vision goggles to search for cool, or failed, stars, called brown dwarfs, and also dark comets and cometary fragments, of the type proposed by Professor Wickramasinghe and his team, that pose a previously unrecognised threat to our planet.

Comment: Hmmm. Is someone trying to tell us something?

If it might take decades or centuries of warnings, then perhaps it is already too late? Or perhaps some people have known and the events that we see transpiring on the Earth today are their "preparations"? Save the elite and let the rest of us die miserably, either from the hit or from the years of after effects?

No. Our leaders wouldn't do that!

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Fireball in the Sky
WVPI Philadelphia
October 28, 2004
An Action News viewer captured a fireball in the sky.

Brooks Efaw of Hamilton, New Jersey was videotaping his son's birthday party when he saw it on Saturday afternoon.

Other viewers have contacted us since we first showed the tape on Action News at five to say they saw it too. So what was it?

The FAA and the National Weather Service say they have no activity on record.

NASA says the fireball was probably space junk re-entering the earth's atmosphere.

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Confirmed: meteor passes over region
Friday, 29 October 2004
WAS it a bird, was it a plane ... no it was a meteor.

Rumours have been flying thick and fast since a bright light with a short flame and trail of white behind it crossed over the Murraylands at 10.25am on Friday.

Listeners to the local radio station were lead to believe a meteorite landed on in a field of cows on a property just outside Mannum. The rumours then escalated over the weekend with no-one just too sure of exactly what happened.

But it can be confirmed a meteor did cross over the Murraylands on Friday, but it did not land.

Astronomical Society of South Australia technical information officer Tony Beresford said a meteor had been seen in areas from Renmark to Adelaide before fading out.

The meteor was brighter than the full moon and left a trail of dust which took about 10 minutes to dissipate.

A sonic boom, which occurs when the meteor enters the atmosphere below 30 kilometres, was heard at Renmark and Gumeracha.

Mr Beresford has called on people in the Murray Bridge area to contact him if they heard the sonic boom, however he doubted it would have been noticed over the general traffic noise in the city centre without being mistaken for a car backfiring.

"I would be interested to see the footprint ... so anyone in the immediate vicinity of Murray Bridge who heard the boom I would appreciate hearing from them," he said.

The meteor travelled north-west across the State before breaking up.

Comment: For more on the numerous sightings of fireballs, please see our Meteor Supplement, six pages of reports from the last two years...and growing.

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Sunspots more active than for 8000 years
Maggie McKee
18:00 27 October 04
NewScientist.com news service
The Sun has been more active in the last 70 years than it has for the previous 8000, according to an analysis of tree rings dating back 11,400 years. But researchers say its recent bout of hyperactivity does not account for the rapidly rising temperatures recorded on Earth over the last three decades.

Sunspots are surface concentrations of the star's magnetic field and the more there are, the more energy the Sun is emitting. The dark features have been observed and recorded regularly since 1610.

Scientists have tried to reconstruct previous sunspot activity using ice cores and tree rings. These contain isotopes, such as carbon-14 and beryllium-10, created when high-energy particles from deep space, called cosmic rays, slam into the atmosphere. Fewer cosmic rays reach the Earth when the Sun is very active, because the charged particles from the Sun deflect them.

Now, a team led by Sami Solanki of the Max-Planck-Institut fur Sonnensystemforschung in Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany, has analysed records of trees preserved in riverbeds and bogs that date back 11,400 years to produce the most precise study yet of sunspot history.

Back in time

The team started by using sunspot records to calibrate models of how carbon-14 in tree rings correlate withsolar activity. The models "reproduce the observed record of sunspots extremely well, from almost no sunspots during the seventeenth century to the current high levels", writes Paula Reimer, a paleoclimate expert at Queen's University, Belfast, UK, in an article accompanying the research paper in Nature.

They then extrapolated the tree ring data backwards in time and discovered that no period in the last 8000 years has been as active as the last 70. About 75 sunspots have appeared every year in this period, compared to an annual average of about 30 over the last 11,400 years.

"We are living in extraordinary times as far as solar activity is concerned," says study co-author Manfred Schussler. "Extended periods of high activity seem to be much more rare than we previously thought."

Indeed, the data also showed that high activity periods only occurred for about 10% of the period studied, and tended to last for about three decades. "That's one of the interesting things - this latest cycle has already lasted longer than most do," says Reimer.

Inside the Sun

Models of the Sun can account for the well-known 11-year-long cycle of solar activity but the underlying reason for the 70-year high is unknown. "There is a consensus that the magnetic field underlying the solar activity is generated in the solar interior, but the details of this mechanism are still not understood," Schussler told New Scientist.

Furthermore, previous data from carbon-14 studies of tree rings suggest patterns change on scales of 200 years. "It seems like that periodicity should be driven by the Sun, but people argue back and forth on this all the time," Reimer told says. That is because the total energy emitted by the Sun actually changes by a relatively small amount as the number of sunspots varies.

The new research will allow scientists to see if past climate changes "are too large to be explained by the sunspot cycle alone", Reimer says.

She notes that the current upsurge in sunspots is not enough to account for the approximate 0.5°C rise from pre-industrial temperatures over the last 30 years.

Journal reference: Nature (vol 431, p 1047, p 1084)

Comment: We have a hypothesis to explain the Maunder Minimum, the seventy year period of a solar minimum mentioned in this article. We discuss it here.

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Astronomers chart asteroid threat
BBC
Thursday, 28 October, 2004, 09:33 GMT 10:33 UK

The team will be tracking asteroids with high-performance telescopes
A team of astronomers has stepped up a project which one day could help to preserve the Earth from annihilation.

The team from Queen's University in Belfast is monitoring asteroids in space to see if they are on a collision course with our planet.

Their crucial data will be fed into an international programme for protecting the Earth from any future impact.

On average 30 to 40 Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) - asteroids or comets on a path to Earth - are discovered each month.

High-performance telescopes

More than 3,000 NEOs have now been found so far.

Now a team of astronomers at Queen's will be tracking these objects each week using large high-performance telescopes.

The UK Astrometry and Photometry Programme (UKAPP) for Near-Earth Objects, based at the university, is using the Faulkes Telescope North, which is physically located on the Hawaiian island of Maui.

At the end of this year they will also start using the twin Faulkes Telescope South at Siding Spring, Australia.

The telescopes' mirror size of 2m allows astronomers to see fainter NEOs.

We are looking at a series of asteroids two or three times a week now with these telescopes in Hawaii and Australia.

Dr Alan Fitzsimmons, Reader in Observational Astrophysics at the university and the project's leader, told the BBC's Good Morning Ulster that it was likely that the Earth would be hit by an asteroid.

"In fact, we know that an asteroid will hit us at some point in the future.

"Of course, these things are out there and they just randomly hit us when the Earth gets in the way.

"However, generally it is not a 24-hour or even a 45-minute warning that we get. It is normally timescales of years or even decades."

Dr Fitzsimmons said that his project was acting as an "early, early warning system for the Earth".

Earth's atmosphere

He said that these long lead times gave scientists at the European Space Agency time to develop a strategy for dealing with an asteroid on a collision course.

Any object smaller than 50 metres across will not usually make it through the Earth's atmosphere intact so Dr Fitzsimmons is training his telescope on asteroids which are 50 to 100 metres across or larger.

"We are looking at a series of asteroids two or three times a week now with these telescopes in Hawaii and Australia," he said.

"There are 30 or 40 new objects discovered every month that we want to keep an eye on.

"So we only concentrate on the ones that do pass particularly close to us or are predicted to pass close in the next century or so."

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Russian Expert Says Flu Epidemic May Kill Over One Billion This Year

28.10.2004
MosNews

The world is on the brink of a major flu epidemic — one that could claim more than a billion lives, the head of the Russian Virology Institute, Academician Dmitry Lvov said at a press conference organized by the RIA-Novosti news agency on Thursday.

“Up to one billion people could die around the whole world in six months,” Lvov said. The expert did not give a timeframe for the epidemic, but said that it is highly probable that it will start this year. “We are half a step away from a worldwide pandemic catastrophe,” the academic said.

The Russian expert said that U.S. researchers possessed data suggesting that if a pandemic hits, up to 700,000 people will fall ill in the United States. He said that the population of the United States can be roughly compared to that of Russia and thus the number of cases will be approximately the same.

The academician said the pandemic was most likely to be caused by the so-called bird flu stem. “The death rate among those who contract this type of flu reaches 70 percent,” Lvov said.

The expert called for the Russian authorities to prepare for the epidemic. The country will need a reserve of at least 300,000 hospital beds if an epidemic breaks out, he said

Comment: Well folks, time will tell if we were correct in our prognosis, but last year we predicted that the US government, or factions within it, was planning on disbursing a deadly Flu virus. Yesterday the head of the Russian Virology Institute claimed that up to 1 billion people, that's 16% of the world's population, could be dead within a year as a result of a new form of flu caused by avian flu. Stage one of Kissinger's depopulation plan?

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The Haig-Kissinger Depopulation Policy

By Lonnie Wolfe - Special Report EIR (Executive Intelligence Review)
6-25-00

(Note - This 20 year old story is making the rounds on the net. With 6 billion people now on the planet, it would seem that by any measure such policy has not been effective. However, with the proliferation of WMD and the explosion of AIDS, HepC and the resurgence of TB including the untreatable variety - the prospects for future mass population reduction appear notable.)

WORLD DEPOPULATION IS TOP NSA AGENDA - CLUB OF ROME

Investigations by EIR have uncovered a planning apparatus operating outside the control of the White House whose sole purpose is to reduce the world's population by 2 billion people through war, famine, disease and any other means necessary.
This apparatus, which includes various levels of the government is determining U.S. foreign policy.

In every political hotspot -- El Salvador, the so-called arc of crisis in the Persian Gulf, Latin America, Southeast Asia and in Africa- the goal of U.S. foreign policy is population reduction. The targeting agency for the operation is the National Security Council's Ad Hoc Group on Population Policy. Its policy-planning group is in the U.S.State Department's Office of Population Affairs, established in 1975 by Henry Kissinger. This group drafted the Carter administration's Global 2000 document, which calls for global population reduction, and the same apparatus is conducting the civil war in El Salvador as a conscious depopulation project.

"There is a single theme behind all our work-we must reduce population levels," said Thomas Ferguson, the Latin American case officer for the State Department's Office of Population Affairs (OPA).

"Either they [governments] do it our way, through nice clean methods or they will get the kind of mess that we have in El Salvador, or in Iran, or in Beirut. Population is a political problem. Once population is out of control it requires authoritarian government, even fascism, to reduce it

"The professionals," said Ferguson, "aren't interested in lowering population for humanitarian reasons. That sounds nice. We look at resources and environmental constraints. We look at our strategic needs, and we say that this country must lower its population-or else we will have trouble. So steps are taken.

Civil wars are somewhat drawn-out ways to reduce population, the OPA official added. "The quickest way to reduce population is through famine, like in Africa or through disease like the Black Death," all of which might occur in El Salvador. Ferguson's OPA monitors populations in the Third World and maps strategies to reduce them. Its budget for FY 1980 was $190 million; for FY 198l, it will be $220 million. The Global 2000 report calls for doubling that figure. The sphere of Kissinger In 1975, OPA was brought under a reorganized State Department Bureau of Oceans, International Environmental, and Scientific Affairs-- a body created by Henry Kissinger. The agency was assigned to carry out the directives of the NSC Ad Hoc Group. [...]

According to OPA expert Ferguson, Kissinger initiated a full about-face on U.S. development policy toward the Third World. "For a long time," Ferguson stated, "people here were timid" They listened to arguments from Third World leaders that said that the best contraceptive was economic reform and development. So we pushed development programs, and we helped create a population time bomb. "We are letting people breed like flies without allowing for natural causes to keep population down.

We raised the birth survival rates, extended life-spans by lowering death rates, and did nothing about lowering birth rates. That policy is finished. We are saying with Global 2000 and in real policy that you must lower population rates. Population reduction and control is now our primary policy objective-- then you can have some development." Accordingly, the Bureau of Oceans, International Environmental, and Scientific Affairs has consistently blocked industrialization policies in the Third World, denying developing nations access to nuclear energy technology--the policies that would enable countries to sustain a growing population. According to State Department sources, and Ferguson himself, Alexander Haig is a "firm believer" in population control.

Comment: Indeed it seems that the ground has been prepared for a new pandemic, but it is anything but "natural"...

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Flashback: US Army scientists create "Spanish Flu" virus in laboratory

Sunshine Project
09/10/2003

- medical benefit questionable [...]

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Flashback: Biosafety Irregularity in Spanish Flu Experiments

The Sunshine Project
News Release
21 October 2003

Highlights the Need to Strengthen Biodefense Transparency

(Austin and Hamburg) - Genetic experiments to recreate one of the most devastating viruses of the past century were not reviewed or approved by a biosafety committee. The University of Georgia claims that it was too troublesome to convene its Institutional Biosafety Committee to review research to genetically reconstruct the Spanish flu. Instead, the University signed off on the experiments based on ad hoc talks between only four members of its biosafety committee. As a result, no minutes were taken to describe safety review of the experiments. In fact, by not convening its committee, Georgia's actions ensured that there was no timely opportunity to raise concerns at all.

The case demonstrates a severe weakness in the public disclosure provisions of federal research rules (the NIH Guidelines) and underscores the need for mandatory committee-level (or higher) review of research projects with disease agents. By approving the experiments with an ad hoc subcommittee, requirements for public disclosure were avoided. The existence of the experiments only came to light through journal articles. According to Edward Hammond of the Sunshine Project, "Genetic engineering of bioweapons agents has national and international implications for health, biosafety, and security. But Georgia shied away from these and simply rubber-stamped the Pentagon-led project to recreate the Spanish flu."

In 1918-19, the Spanish flu killed 20-40 million people worldwide. In the US, deaths from the flu strain resulted in a 10 year drop in life expectancy. Recreating the deadly flu may create international unease, in particular because of the leadership of the US military in the project.

The Spanish flu reconstruction began at a University of Georgia biosafety level three (BSL-3) facility in 1999. Researchers from US universities, the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) are involved. The lab specializes in diseases of poultry, including avian influenza. The Sunshine Project has confirmed - and reconfirmed - under the Freedom of Information Act that USDA has no biosafety committee minutes related to the experiments. The Project also directly contacted the University of Georgia and requested Institutional Biosafety Committee meeting minutes that are required by the NIH Guidelines for Recombinant DNA Research. Georgia's Biosafety Officer stated that no minutes exist.

Scientists have recently begun to accept the need to reinforce the Institutional Biosafety Committee system established under the NIH Guidelines for Recombinant DNA Research. But the discussion, including that in a recent report on biosafety by the National Academies of Science, is out of balance because it is taking place almostly exclusively between scientists, government regulators, and the Pentagon. "There is a need to make more room at the table. The public has a right to help determine if, and under what conditions, risky research proceeds." says Hammond, "Biosafety review must be a matter of law, and public access provisions of federal research rules must be strengthened. Otherwise, risky experiments such as this one will take place with little or no transparency, and that will decrease international security and create environmental and health risks."

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Spanish Flu - Why is the US government interested?

source

A recent commentary in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine (Madjid et al. 2003) noted that influenza is readily transmissible by aerosol and that a small number of viruses can cause a full-blown infection. The authors continued:"the possibility for genetic engineering and aerosol transmission [of influenza] suggests an enormous potential for bioterrorism" The possible hostile abuse of influenza virus is seen as a very real threat by public health officials in the USA. Just two weeks ago, $15 million was granted by the US National Institutes of Health to Stanford University to study how to guard against the flu virus "if it were to be unleashed as an agent of bioterrorism".

US scientists led by a Pentagon pathologist recently began to genetically reconstruct this specifically dangerous 1918 influenza strain. In one experiment a partially reconstructed 1918 virus killed mice, while virus constructs with genes from a contemporary flu virus had hardly any effect.

Attempts to recover the Spanish flu virus date to the 1950s, when scientists unsuccessfully tried to revive the virus from victims buried in the permafrost of Alaska. In the mid 1990s, Dr Jeffrey Taubenberger from the US Armed Forces Institute of Pathology started to screen preserved tissue samples from 1918 influenza victims. It appears that this work was not triggered by a search for flu treatments, or the search for a new biowarfare agent, but by a rather simple motivation: Taubenberger and his team were just able to do it. In previous experiments they had developed a new technique to analyse DNA in old, preserved tissues and for now looking for new applications: "The 1918 flu was by far and away the most interesting thing we could think of" explained Taubenberger the reason why he started to unravel the secrets of one of most deadliest viruses known to humankind.

Comment: We do not doubt that a deadly form of the flu virus could be used as "an agent bioterrorism", but the question is, which group of "terrorists" would be behind it?

Are we really expected to believe that with the US military looking over his shoulder, it is a mere coincidence that Taubenberger chose "one of deadliest viruses known to humankind" as a test subject? Furthermore, is it also a coincidence that, in the case that a human to human transmissable form of deadly bird flu were to sweep the planet, it could be blamed on "fate"?

It is no secret that the US and other governments have a keen interest in biological weapons, indeed, it seems that one of the standing orders for government scientists is to find the most efficient way of killing the most people with the least effort.

As Laura Knight-Jadczyk states in the "Adventures with Cassiopea" series:

And this brings us to other strange matters, something called Alternative 3 that is somehow mixed up with this cover-up of the ideas of the Holy Grail, the Ark of the Covenant, and the true history of mankind, including cyclic cometary destruction. Let me just insert a very couple of very strange little exchanges with the C's here that I would like the reader to have in mind as we go along:

10-21-95
Q: […] OK, where is the Ark of the Covenant currently located?
A: Alternative 3.
Q: (L) Alternative 3 is the plan to take all the people, all the smart guys, all the elite, off the planet and leave everybody else here to blow up, isn't it?
A: Maybe. Maybe not. [This "maybe not" was delivered in the midst of the next question and was originally included with the nest answer. But it rightly belongs here, and so I have moved it to retain the proper context.]
Q: (L) Where is it currently located?
A: Discover.
Q: (L) We're trying to discover through our interaction with you. How else can we discover something as obscure as this? I mean, that's a pretty darned obscure question, I would think. (SV) Who's in charge of Alternative 3, Laura? (L) That's too complicated.... (SV) Well, maybe they have it, who ever's in charge of it. (L) Well, are you gong to tell us anything about it?
A: Study alternative 3 to find answer!

Curiously, as we will discover, the very next question relates to the subject of Alternative 3, though I did not know it at the time.

Q: (L) OK, the Matrix Material says that Henry Kissinger is the current head of MJ12. Is this correct?
A: No.
Q: (L) Is he just a red herring, so to speak?
A: Yes. MJ12 is no longer MJ12.
Q: (L) What is MJ12 now known as?
A: Institute of Higher Learning.
Q: (L) Are you talking about Brookings Lab, or Brookhaven?
A: Not really.
Q: (L) Is it a specific institute of higher learning?
A: Yes.

And we will soon discover that Alternative 3 has a lot to do with HAARP as well.

02-17-96
Q: (L) […] Some people on the net want me to ask about this HAARP thing... seems to be some sort of antennae thing...
A: Disguise for something else.
Q: (L) What is that something else?
A: Project to apply EM wave theories to the transference of perimeters.
Q: (L) What does that mean?
A: If utilised as designed, will allow for controlled invisibility and easy movement between density levels on surface of planet as well as subterranially.
Q: (L) Who is in charge of building this thing?
A: More than one entity.
Q: (L) What groups?
A: INVELCO is one guise as well as UNICON and banking interest.
Q: (L) Who is in disguise as INVELCO and UNICON? Are they just dummy companies for cover?
A: Close.
Q: (L) Can you tell us if this is a human organization or aliens, or a combination?
A: Human at surface level. […]
Q: (L) Is there more you can tell us about this?
A: It has nothing to do with weather or climate. These things are emanating from 4th density, as we have told you before. […]
Q: (L) So, HAARP has nothing to do with the weather?
A: And also EM associated with same as reported.
Q: (L) So, when is this HAARP thing scheduled to go into operation?
A: Open.
Q: (L) Is it currently in operation?
A: Experimental.
Q: (L) How long have they been working on this thing?
A: Since the 1920s.
Q: (L) What?! The 1920s?
A: Yes.
Q: (L) Well, that certainly is strange.

What is Alternative 3?

On Monday, June 20, 1977, the UK's Anglia Television broadcast the last program in a series of serious science documentaries called Science Report. All of the shows were produced by highly respected science reporters and it was simulcast in UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Greece, and Yugoslavia. The title of the segment was Alternative 3, and it was never broadcast in the United States. Some say that the "powers that be" prevented it from being screened here.

The documentary presented the following purported "facts":

There is a secret joint US/USSR space program that has gone far beyond what the public sees. Astronauts landed on Mars in 1962. It has been discovered that there is other intelligent life in the universe. The earth is dying. We have polluted it beyond repair. The increasing "greenhouse effect" will cause the polar ice caps and glaciers to melt and flood the Earth.

There are three possible solutions for mankind:

Alternative 1 - Stop all pollution immediately and blow two huge holes in the ozone layer. This would allow excessive UV light to reach the earth and millions would die of skin cancer.
Alternative 2 - Immediately begin digging underground cities for the Elite (The "New World Order"?) - the lucky ones deemed worth saving - and let the teeming billions perish on the polluted surface.
Alternative 3 - Build spaceships and get the Elite off the planet - to the Moon and Mars. Kidnap and take along some "ordinary" people for use as slave labor. Use "mind control" techniques to control them. Leave the remainder of humanity to wallow in its own filth.

After the television show was aired, a book was published with three authors listed: Leslie Watkins, Christopher Miles, and David Ambrose. Christopher Miles, who also directed and co-wrote the documentary, is the brother of actress Sara Miles. The actual author of the book, Leslie Watkins, was a writer of thrillers even before Alternative 3. The Fortean Times later published an article in which Nick Austin, then editorial director of Sphere Books, revealed that he commissioned Leslie Watkins to write the book version for literary agent Murray Pollinger.

The question is, however, whether there was any fact behind that fiction. Bill Cooper, recently killed in a shoot-out with the law, incorporated many of the Alternative 3 elements into his conspiracy theories. The stories came fast and furious, and Alternative 3 was grafted onto the mythos of the Philadelphia Experiment that became the Montauk experiment as promulgated by Al Bielek and others. What is most interesting are the comments of the author of the book about the correspondence she received after its publication:

"In fact, the amazing mountains of letters from virtually all parts of the world - including vast numbers from highly intelligent people in positions of responsibility - convinced me that I had ACCIDENTALLY trespassed into a range of top-secret truths.

Documentary evidence provided by many of these correspondents decided me to write a serious and COMPLETELY NON-FICTION sequel. Unfortunately, a chest containing the bulk of the letters was among the items which were mysteriously LOST IN TRANSIT some four years later when I moved from London, England, to Sydney, Australia, before I moved on to settle in New Zealand. For some time after Alternative 3 was originally published, I have reason to suppose that my home telephone was being tapped and my contacts who were experienced in such matters were convinced that certain intelligence agencies considered that I probably knew too much.

It would be a mistake to file "Alternative 3" away too cozily with Panorama's spaghetti harvest and other hoaxes. Suppose it were fiendish double bluff inspired by the very agencies identified in the program and that the superpowers really are setting up an extraterrestrial colony of outstanding human beings to safeguard the species?" [Letter from Alternative 3 author Leslie Watkins to "MS Dittrich" of Windwords Bookstore]

I think that Leslie Watkins is onto something in saying that this story may have something to do with "top secret truths," but when we consider the modes of disinformation, we have to realize that the "truth" maybe not necessarily the story that is promoted, AS it is promoted. And it may have little to do with the setting up of an extraterrestrial colony of "outstanding human beings" in order to safeguard the species," as Watkins suggests.

Looking at the first "fact," and considering it as an item of disinformation, can we speculate about what it is designed to cover up or distract attention away from?

There is a secret joint US/USSR space program that has gone far beyond what the public sees. Astronauts landed on Mars in 1962. It has been discovered that there is other intelligent life in the universe

The first part is the "joint US/USSR space program that is concealed by political posturing and maneuvers. Keeping in mind that disinformation is generally composed of truth wrapping a lie, we can suppose that there is, indeed, a "One World Government" at some level, where the US and Russia are unified in some effort. But it seems sort of transparently obvious that the statement is promoting the idea that it is a HUMAN government. The statement seems designed to distract our attention from the SUPER advanced technological capabilities of hyperdimensional existence and focuses it on a somewhat advanced human technology. The next part of the disinformation above seems to be that there is a space program that is far beyond what the public sees. How else to cover up the UFO and extraterrestrial activity? It's too evident to deny, so give it a different "reason" for existence.

The next item: Astronauts landed on Mars in 1962 and there is other intelligent life in the universe.

We see here the program of Richard Hoagland, Zecariah Sitchin, Courtney Brown, and many others. If it is suggested that this intelligent life is "Martian," or even related to a "10th planet," it is a lot easier to accept its existence. It is, after all, more or less "like us" in the idea that it exists in our reality. Again, this distracts our attention away from the hyperdimensional nature of this "intelligent life," and conceals its true capabilities. We can all go back to bed and get some rest if "aliens" are more or less physical beings as we are, with the same limitations and the same reliance on human oriented technology. What's more, it covers the fact that there may be anomalies on Mars or the Moon that are difficult to explain. If too many people start looking at the history of the earth, they may discover something frightening, and we can't have that happening. Let's attribute everything to the "Martians" and then we won't have to deal with the ongoing, multi-millennial manipulation of human beings here on our own planet. After all, a tall blonde Martian or Annunaki is socially acceptable; hyperdimensional beings who manifest a form truer to their intrinsic nature are not invited to the best parties! As the C's pointed out at the time of the announcement of the existence of rocks from Mars on earth:

08-11-97
Q: (L) OK, what's the scoop on this Mars Rock? […] Is this rock from Mars?
A: Yes.
Q: (L) How long have they known that rocks from Mars are on the planet?
A: 12 years.
Q:(T) About the same length of time it took them to analyze the soil samples that they got from Mariner probes. (L) OK, Why all of a sudden are they revealing, or releasing this information about this Mars Rock in such a big and manipulative way? (T) You just said it!
A: You have already figured it out yourselves.
Q: […] (L) Well, OK, but is this Mars Rock, and is this opening of the doors concept, is this leading up to some definite, overt interaction with aliens?
A: Gradually. […] Notice how you heard nothing about the Mars Probes until the rock
announcement?
Q: (T) This is the new stuff? […]
A: The excavation robot spacecraft. One Probe is already on its way, another to follow. No further explanation about "loss" of Mars Explorer.
Q: (L) What did happen to the Mars Explorer?
A: Blacked out. You see, 'Too risky.' And too much too soon, due to pressure from Hoagland and others.
Q: (T) My own opinion is that they've already been there, and they know what's there.
A: No. Microbes are easier to swallow than humans in togas!
[…]
Q: (T) OK, you just mentioned that somebody from this planet already launched a Mars Probe. A new Mars Probe, that no one in public knows about. Because it's never been talked about. So, it's a secret probe. Who does it belong to?
A: Was secret US government.
[…]
Q: (T) What is the purpose of these probes?
A: Excavation to display living organisms.
Q: (T) Display? (L) Yes, for public consumption. In other words, not only do we have a rock now, that shows evidence that there was... (T) Oh, display, as when they find it and dig it up, they're going to show it on camera! (L) Yes! (T) Connie Kourek will interview it! (L) Right! (F) First they said they found no evidence, then they said it was inconclusive... Now, who the hell knows what they found! In revealing things, we'll start with fossilized life, and then move on... (L) So, they're going to display the discovery of living organisms on Mars to take the next step to acclimate...
A: Yes.
Q: (L) So, in other words, this process is going to be something of an ongoing thing, and that all of these people who are cranking around about, you know, alien landings...
A: No faces, though.
Q: (L) There's not going to be any 'Faces On Mars?' They are not going to show us...
A: Won't be revealed, what do you think happened with Mars Explorer?
Q: (L) Well, what did happen with the Mars Explorer? (T) Now, now, now, let me...
A: Hoagland forced their hand.
Q: (T) What do we think happened to the Mars Explorer? I think they switched channels. They just moved it from one communication post to another, and it's doing exactly what it's supposed to be doing. And they did it in such a way, that the NASA people really didn't know what happened, so that when they were asked, they could say, 'We don’t know what happened to it!' Because they really don't know what happened! (L) When we're talking about attack, as we were before, as in plane crashes, the Olympics, all these different things - this dealing with these Mars Explorers - is all this stuff, or most of this stuff, coming from the 4th density manipulations of human minds, rather than...
A: Yes.
Q: (L)... rather than actual, physical entry [into our plane of existence] and doing of deeds? Is that it?
A: Yes.
[…]
Q: (T) I have a question. They're going to display live organisms, like, how did they put that 'Living organisms'? How big are these living organisms going to be? How advanced?
A: Teeny-tiny.
Q: (T) So, we're still talking about microscopic organisms here?
A: Yes.
Q: (J) So, they won't wave at us!
A: But these will be alive. Can't you see the progression here? "Don't
want to scare Grandma Sally Bible Thumper/Stockmarket Investor!"

And again there is a reference to Economics as the means of control. But, getting back to Alternative 3, the next purported fact: "The earth is dying. We have polluted it beyond repair. The increasing "greenhouse effect" will cause the polar ice caps and glaciers to melt and flood the Earth."

It is an obvious fact that there is most definitely something going on in terms of weather. What we see here is the effort to divert attention away from hyperdimensional manipulations. At the same time, what this manipulates us to feel is that we are in deep doo doo and we need Big Brother to haul us out of the soup.

What seems to me to be true about this line of thinking is that it is a layer of "disinformation" that has been promulgated even to many of the outer circle of the "insiders" in order to induce them to put forth effort to deal with the human population issues as well as the "survival" of the elite. How better to induce scientists to work on such projects than to convince them that the future of the planet depends on it? This means that they will be busy building shelters, seeking technology to "transcend" the problem, and just generally creating an infrastructure of control that they THINK is designed to solve this problem, but which is actually intended for something else altogether.

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Comment: Getting back then to the avian flu linked virus that is slated to kill up to 1 billion people this coming year. An article in the New Scientist magazine from earlier this year gives us an idea of it's origins...


Flashback: Superflu is being brewed in the lab

February 04
Exclusive from New Scientist Print Edition

After the worldwide alarm triggered by 2003's SARS outbreak, it might seem reckless to set about creating a potentially far more devastating virus in the lab. But that is what is being attempted by some researchers, who argue that the dangers of doing nothing are even greater.

We already know that the H5N1 bird flu virus ravaging poultry farms in Asia can be lethal on the rare occasions when it infects people. Now a team is tinkering with its genes to see if it can turn into a strain capable of spreading from human to human. If they manage this, they will have created a virus that could kill tens of millions if it got out of the lab.

Comment: Like it or not, there are people on this planet who have a vested interest in ensuring that such a virus actually does "get out of the lab"

Many researchers say experiments like this are needed to answer crucial questions. Why can a few animal flu viruses infect humans? What makes the viruses deadly? And what changes, if any, would enable them to spread from person to person and cause pandemics that might prove far worse than that of 1918? Once we know this, they argue, we will be better prepared for whatever nature throws at us.

Others disagree. It is not clear how much we can learn from such work, they argue. And they point out that it is already possible to create a vaccine by other means. The work is simply too dangerous, they say.

"I'm getting bombarded from both sides," says Ronald Atlas, head of the Center for Deterrence of Biowarfare and Bioterrorism at the University of Louisville in Kentucky. "Some say that this sort of research is dangerous because of the risk of the virus escaping or being using in bioterrorism, and others that it's good science."

Rodents and monkeys

Some researchers refuse to discuss their plans. But Jacqueline Katz at the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, told New Scientist her team is already tweaking the genes of the H5N1 bird flu virus that killed several people in Hong Kong in 1997, and those of the human flu virus H3N2.

She is testing the ability of the new viruses to spread by air and cause disease in ferrets, whose susceptibility to flu appears to be remarkably similar to ours.

Albert Osterhaus of Erasmus University in Rotterdam in the Netherlands plans to test altered viruses on rodents and macaque monkeys. Other groups are also considering similar experiments, he says.

If such work were to show that H5N1 could cause a human pandemic, everything that is happening in Asia would be even more alarming, Osterhaus argues. If, on the other hand, it failed to transform H5N1 into a highly contagious human virus, we could relax. "It becomes a veterinary health problem, not a public health problem. That would be an enormous relief."

Cell cultures

But Wendy Barclay of the University of Reading in the UK, who "thought long and hard" about trying to create a pandemic flu virus before abandoning the idea, disagrees. "If you get a negative, how can you be sure that you have tested every option?" she says. Health authorities would still have to take the precaution of creating H5N1 vaccines.

Barclay concedes, however, that creating a virus that spreads in people might tell us how real the threat is. For instance, do you need one mutation for H5N1 to adapt to humans, or dozens?

Osterhaus is more optimistic. "Within the next decade, the whole thing will be solved," he says. "We will know the rules." In other words, once experts understand what the genetic sequence of any flu virus means, they could predict which animals it can infect, how severe it will be, and how easily it will spread.

Yet any new viruses could only be tested in human cell cultures or in animals, not on people. None of these methods exactly reflects how flu behaves in humans. This has led some flu experts to argue that attempts to create a pandemic virus should be put on hold until there is agreement on the best way of testing it.

Mix flu genes

And there is an even more fundamental objection to such experiments: the processes used to create the viruses may be too artificial. Researchers who want to see if H5N1 can be pandemic can take two approaches.

One is to tinker with the genome of the bird flu virus to mimic mutations that might occur naturally. This can be done precisely using a technique called reverse genetics. The other approach is to mix bird flu genes with those of human flu viruses, either using reverse genetics or through random re-assortment in cells infected with both types.

Although re-assortment sounds more natural, there is a problem. "Re-assortments can be made very easily in the lab using cells or animals," says flu expert Graeme Laver, formerly at the Australian National University in Canberra. "But one of the big mysteries is that [human] viruses that appear by reassortment are extremely rare in nature. There is something else involved that we don't understand."

Comment: Unethical or naive scientists, funded by an unethical government, tampering with a virus which, by their own admission, they do not fully understand. Feel safer yet?

Then there is the question of safety. The worst-case scenario is that researchers might end up engineering extremely dangerous viruses that would never have evolved naturally.

Masks or hoods

In 2001, for instance, Australian researchers created a mousepox virus far more virulent than any wild strains. This scenario is unlikely, but not impossible, says virologist Earl Brown of the University of Ottawa, Canada. "You could create something that is right out of whack, but I'd be surprised."

For those reasons, several prominent flu researchers told New Scientist that the H5N1 experiments must be done at the highest level of containment: Biosafety Level 4, or BSL-4. But the CDC work is being done at BSL-3Ag, an intermediate level between BSL-3 and BSL-4. Workers wear half-suits with masks or hoods to prevent infection, for instance, rather than full-body suits as in BSL-4.

"US Department of Agriculture guidelines specify that work with highly pathogenic avian strains be done in BSL-3 (also known as BSL-3Ag) laboratories," a CDC spokeswomen says.

One of the reasons is that the H5N1 virus is regarded as a non-contagious, treatable disease in humans. But this is not necessarily true of all of the genetically engineered strains that might be created. And drug supplies would quickly run out if an escaped virus triggered a major epidemic.

New Variants

A recent report by the US National Academy of Sciences recommends a series of checks be put in place to control such research. It says a panel of leading scientists and security experts should be set up to regulate it.

"Some public representation is another option," says Atlas, who helped draw up the report. At the moment, however, such experiments can be carried out without any special consultation.

Methods like reverse genetics might also be used to create new variants of other diseases. "You can make some pretty unusual things new viruses that would never have existed in nature," says Barclay. "It's not just an issue for flu."

Comment: And an article from the BBC from around the same time tell us...

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Flashback: Japan confirms bird flu outbreak

BBC News
Feb 17 2004

Conditions favourable for the emergence of antigenic shift have long been thought to involve humans living in close proximity to domestic poultry and pigs. Because pigs are susceptible to infection with both avian and mammalian viruses, including human strains, they can serve as a “mixing vessel” for the scrambling of genetic material from human and avian viruses, resulting in the emergence of a novel subtype. Recent events, however, have identified a second possible mechanism. Evidence is mounting that, for at least some of the 15 avian influenza virus subtypes circulating in bird populations, humans themselves can serve as the “mixing vessel”.

Comment: Humans as "mixing vessels" for a deadly form of Flu. Every year a lot of people get the Flu, perhaps 10-20% of the entire population. Those are decent odds. There is one way however to increase the odds that you will get the flu to 100% - take the flu vaccine. Once you have done that, simply wait until the fear is ramped up over bird flu and rush to your nearest pharmacy to get the avian flu vaccine - et voila! You have just ingested a lethal cocktail, courtesy of your government.

Indeed, the threat of the deadly avian flu spreading among the population need not be as a result of the "fortuitous" combination of a human flu strain and a bird flu strain within humans take the vaccine and you might just be getting two in one!

An article from one year ago on the perils of the human flu vaccine makes for interesting reading

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Risks of FluMist Vaccine

source

An Investigation By RFD Columnist, Dr. Sherri Tenpenny

[...] An ever greater concern about FluMist is the contents within the vaccine. Each 0.5ml of the formula contains 10 6.5-7.5 particles of live, attenuated influenza virus. That means that between 10 million and 100 million viral particles will be forcefully injected into the nostrils when administered. The viral strain was developed by serial passage through "specific pathogen-free primary chick kidney cells" and then grown in "specific pathogen-free eggs." That means that the culture media was free of pathogens that were specifically tested for, but not a culture that was necessarily "pathogen-free." The risk that the vaccine may contain contaminant avian retroviruses still remains. In addition, a stabilizing buffer containing potassium phosphate, sucrose (table sugar) and nearly 0.5 mg of monosodium glutamate (MSG) is added to each dose. [...]

Comment: How does all this relate to the 1918 Spanish Flu that Pentagon scientists were resusitating?

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1918 flu victim may hold clues to outbreak

JOHN VON RADOWITZ
The Scotsman.co.uk

A VICTIM of the world’s worst flu epidemic is to be exhumed to help scientists trying to avert the spread of bird flu, it was revealed yesterday.

Scientists plan to remove lung samples from the body of 20-year-old Phyllis Burn, who was buried 85 years ago.

The army officer’s daughter, from Strawberry Hill, London, was one of 50 million people killed by a devastating strain of influenza that swept across the world in 1918.

Evidence points to the 1918 virus being a type of bird flu similar to the one which is now claiming human lives in Asia.

Scientists are desperate to know more about what caused the pandemic, in order to avoid another disaster on a similar scale. [...]

Comment: So what is the conclusion? What is all of this pointing to? Let us venture a theory that is certainly backed up by all that we have just read.

The agencies within the US government (possibly in league with agencies from other countries) having revived the deadly Flu virus of 1918, have recently arranged for it to be released in Asia. This was a test and designed to acclimatise the public to the fact that bird flu is "on the loose". 21 people have so far (17/02/04) contracted it and 14 have died. Soon there will be a larger scale disbursement causing the virus to spread across the globe. It has only just begun..

In order to facilitate the largest possible infection rate, a second form of infection has also been planned.

Governments have prepped the public by using scare tactics to encourage millions to get the normal human flu vaccine shot. Once the more recent bird flu scare has reached the sufficient levels governments will use the same scare tactics to urge millions to get the bird flu vaccine also. This vaccine ( naturally containing the bird flu virus) will then combine and mutate with the previously taken human flu vaccine (containing the human flu virus) within the human "mixing vessel", thereby creating the deadly strain of human transmissible bird flu.

If depopulation were a concept that was being studied and actively pursued, how might it be achieved? Naturally it would unfold by way of deception since in this way chances of success are optimised. What the people do not know will not hurt them until it is too late to do anything about it.

What better way then to effect depopulation than to engineer it by way of something as commonly accepted as "normal" and as seemingly random as the common Flu...

To surmise. It does not look good. The US and other world governments may well be planning to introduce a flu virus that will decimate the human race. Of course it will be called "a deadly strain of flu", but in reality how would the public know that it was not deliberately introduced? The only argument that we have to fall back on is the popular, "They wouldn't do that". But as we look objectively at current and past world events, are we really in a position to make such an assertion?

If the US government were happy to allow Pearl Harbor to happen in order to justify entry to WWII, if they planned to blow up a US passenger plane and blame it on Cuba as justification to invade that country; if they were willing to stage attacks killing over 3,000 of their own citizens on 9/11 to justify a worldwide campaign of further murder, how can anyone have faith in what they "would not do". Surely an assertion such as this is based more in wishful thinking than in objective reality, and as someone wise once said, "Wishful thinking will get you every time".

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Will There Be A War Against The World After November 2?
By John Pilger
October 27, 2004

There is a surreal quality about visiting the United States in the last days of the presidential campaign. If George W Bush wins, according to a scientist I met, who escaped Nazi-dominated Europe, America will surrender many of its democratic trappings and succumb to its totalitarian impulses. If John Kerry wins, according to most Democrat voters, the only mandate he will have is that he is not Bush.

Never have so many liberal hands been wrung over a candidate whose only memorable statements seek to out-Bush Bush. Take Iran. One of Kerry's national security advisers, Susan Rice, has accused Bush of 'standing on the sidelines while Iran's nuclear programme has been advanced'. There is not a shred of evidence that Iran is developing nuclear weapons, yet Kerry is joining in the same orchestrated frenzy that led to the invasion of Iraq. Having begun his campaign by promising another 40,000 troops for Iraq, he is said to have a 'secret plan to end the war' which foresees a withdrawal in four years. This is an echo of Richard Nixon, who in the 1968 presidential campaign promised a 'secret plan' to end the war in Vietnam.

Once in office, he accelerated the slaughter and the war dragged on for six and a half years. For Kerry, like Nixon, the message is that he is not a wimp. Nothing in his campaign or his career suggests he will not continue, even escalate, the 'war on terror', which is now sanctified as a crusade of Americanism like that against communism. No Democratic president has shirked such a task: John Kennedy on the cold war, Lyndon Johnson on Vietnam.

This presents great danger for all of us, but none of it is allowed to intrude upon the campaign or the media 'coverage'. In a supposedly free and open society, the degree of censorship by omission is staggering.The New York Times, the country's liberal standard-bearer, having recovered from a mild bout of contrition over its abject failure to challenge Bush's lies about Iraq, has been running tombstones of column inches about what-went-wrong in the 'liberation' of that country.

It blames mistakes: tactical oversights, faulty intelligence. Not a word suggests that the invasion was a colonial conquest, deliberate like any other, and that 60 years of international law make it 'the paramount war crime', to quote the Nuremberg judges. Not a word suggests that the American onslaught on the population of Iraq was and is systematically atrocious, of which the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib was merely a glimpse.

The coming atrocity in the city of Fallujah, in which British troops, against the wishes of the British people, are to be accessories, is a case in point. For American politicians and journalists - there are a few honourable exceptions - the US marines are preparing for another of their "battles". Their last attack on Fallujah, in April, provides a preview. Forty-ton battle tanks and helicopter gunships were used against slums. Aircraft dropped 500lb bombs: marine snipers killed old people, women and children; ambulances were shot at. The marines closed the only hospital in a city of 300,000 for more than two weeks, so they could use it as a military position.

When it was estimated they had slaughtered 600 people, there was no denial. This was more than all the victims of the suicide bombs the previous year. Neither did they deny that their barbarity was in revenge for the killing of four American mercenaries in the city; led by avowed cowboys, they are specialists in revenge. John Kerry said nothing; the media reported the atrocity as 'a military operation', against 'foreign militants' and 'insugents', never against civilians and Iraqis defending their homes and homeland.

Moreover, the American people are almost totally unaware that the marines were driven out of Fallujah by heroic street fighting. Americans remain unaware, too, of the piracy that comes with their government's murderous adventure. Who in public life asks the whereabouts of the 18.46 bn dollars which the US Congress approved for reconstruction and humanitarian aid in Iraq?

As Unicef reports, most hospitals are bereft even of pain-killers, and acute malnutrition among children has doubled since the 'liberation'. In fact, less than 29m dollars has been allocated, most of it on British security firms, with their ex-SAS thugs and veterans of South African apartheid. Where is the rest of this money that should be helping to save lives? Non-wimp Kerry dares not ask.

Neither does he nor anybody else with a public profile ask why the people of Iraq have been forced to pay, since the fall of Saddam, almost 80m dollars to America and Britain as 'reparations'. Even Israel has received an untold fortune in Iraqi oil money as compensation for its 'loss of tourism' in the Golan Heights - part of Syria it occupies illegally. As for oil, the 'o-word' is unmentionable in the contest for the world's most powerful job. So successful is the resistance in its campaign of economic sabotage that the vital pipeline carrying oil to the Turkish Mediterranean has been blown up 37 times. Terminals in the south are under constant attack, effectively shutting down all exports of crude oil and threatening national economies. That the world may have lost Iraqi oil is enveloped by the same silence that ensures Americans have little idea of the nature and scale of the blood-letting conducted in their name.

The most enduring silence is that which guards the system that has produced these catastrophic events. This is Americanism, though it dares not speak its name, which is strange, as its opposite, anti-Americanism, has long been successfully deployed as a pejorative, catch-all response to critical analysis of an imperial system and its myths. Americanism, the ideology, has meant democracy at home, for some, and a war on democracy abroad.

From Guatemala to Iran, from Chile to Nicaragua, to the struggle for freedom in South Africa, to present-day Venezuela, American state terrorism, licensed by both Republican and Democrat administrations, has fought democrats and sponsored totalitarians. Most societies attacked or otherwise subverted by American power are weak and defenceless, and there is a logic to this. Should a small country succeed in breaking free and establish its own way of developing, then its good example to others becomes a threat to Washington.

And the serious purpose behind this? Madeleine Albright, Bill Clinton's secretary of state, once told the United Nations that America had the right to 'unilateral use of power' to ensure 'uninhibited access to key markets, energy supplies and strategic resources'. Or as Colin Powell, the Bush-ite laughably promoted by the media as a liberal, put it more than a decade ago: "I want to be the bully on the block." Britain's imperialists believed exactly that, and still do; only the language is discreet.

That is why people all over the world, whose consciousness about these matters has risen sharply in the past few years, are 'anti-American'. It has nothing to do with the ordinary people of the United States, who now watch a Darwanian capitalism consume their real and fabled freedoms and reduce the 'free market' to a fire-sale of public assets. It is remarkable, if not inspiring, that so many reject the class and race based brainwashing, begun in childhood, that such a class and race based system is called 'the American dream'.

What will happen if the nightmare in Iraq goes on? Perhaps those millions of worried Americans, who are currently paralysed by wanting to get rid of Bush at any price, will shake off their ambivalence, regardless of who wins on 2 November. Then, will a giant awaken, as it did during the civil rights campaign and the Vietnam war and the great movement to freeze nuclear weapons? One must trust so; the alternative is a war on the world.

John Pilger is currently a visiting professor at Cornell University, New York. His latest book is Tell Me No Lies: investigative journalism and its triumphs (Jonathan Cape)

Comment: Rumours of a new draft. Bellicose language vis-à-vis Iran. A quagmire in Iraq. So much to look forward to during the next four years regardless of who "wins" the election in the US.

The following report published in the respected medical journal The Lancet, gives us a glimpse into the future.

Many more dead.

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Civilian death toll in Iraq exceeds 100,000
18:44 28 October 04
NewScientist.com news service
The invasion of Iraq in March 2003 by coalition forces has lead to the death of at least 100,000 civilians, reveals the first scientific study to examine the issue.

The majority of these deaths, which are in addition those normally expected from natural causes, illness and accidents, have been among women and children, finds the study, released early by The Lancet on Thursday.

The most common cause of death is as a direct result of violence, mostly caused by coalition air strikes, reveals the study of almost 1000 households scattered across Iraq. And the risk of violent death just after the invasion was 58 times greater than before the war. The overall risk of death was 1.5 times more after the invasion than before.

The figure of 100,000 is based on "conservative assumptions", notes Les Roberts at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, US, who led the study.

That estimate excludes Falluja, a hotspot for violence. If the data from this town is included, the study points to about 200,000 excess deaths since the outbreak of war.

Public health

“These findings raise questions for those far removed from Iraq - in the governments of the countries responsible for launching a pre-emptive war,” writes Richard Horton, the editor of The Lancet in a commentary accompanying the paper.

“In planning this war, the coalition forces - especially those of the US and UK - must have considered the likely effects of their actions for civilians,” he writes.

He argues that, from a public health perspective, whatever “planning did take place was grievously in error”.

“The invasion of Iraq, the displacement of a cruel dictator, and the attempt to impose a liberal democracy by force have, by themselves, been insufficient to bring peace and security to the civilian population. Democratic imperialism has led to more deaths, not fewer,” he asserts.

He also praises the “courageous team of scientists” for their efforts, and notes the study’s limitations.

GPS sampling

The team of US and Iraqi scientists recorded mortality during the 15 months before the invasion and the 18 months afterwards. They carried out the survey of 988 Iraqi households in 33 different areas across Iraq in September 2004.

Using a GPS (global positioning system) unit, the interviewers randomly selected towns within governates. They then visited the nearest 30 houses to the GPS point randomly selected.

Families living under one roof were asked about deaths in their household before and after the war. “Confirmation was sought to ensure that a large fraction of the reported deaths were not fabrications,” write the team. The interviewers did ask for death certificates, but only in two cases for each cluster of houses. This was because of concerns that implying the families were lying could trigger violence.

But the team believes that lying about deaths is unlikely and, if anything, “it is possible that deaths were not reported” because families might want to conceal them.

Horton acknowledges the potential for recall bias among those interviewed and also the relatively small sample size. “The research was completed under the most testing of circumstances - an ongoing war. And therefore certain limitations were inevitable and need to be acknowledged right away,” he says.

But he also calls for an “urgent political and military response”.

Comment: Bush doesn't care. Cheney doesn't care. Powell doesn't care. Rumsfield doesn't care. The neocons don't care. Kerry doesn't care. The Democrats don't care. The Republicans don't care. The whole world doesn't care.

How can things possibly get any better?

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9/11 "black box" cover-up at Ground Zero?
Philadelphia Daily News
October 28, 2004

Two men who worked extensively in the wreckage of the World Trade Center claim they helped federal agents find three of the four “black boxes” from the jetliners that struck the towers on 9/11 - contradicting the official account.

Both the independent 9/11 Commission and federal authorities continue to insist that none of the four devices - a cockpit voice recorder (CVR) and flight data recorder (FDR) from the two planes - were ever found in the wreckage.

But New York City firefighter Nicholas DeMasi has written in a recent book -- self-published by several Ground Zero workers -- that he escorted federal agents on an all-terrain vehicle in October 2001 and helped them locate three of the four.

His account is supported by a volunteer, Mike Bellone, whose efforts at Ground Zero have been chronicled in the New York Times and elsewhere. Bellone said [he] assisted DeMasi and the agents and that saw a device that resembling a “black box” in the back of the firefighter’s ATV.

Their story raises the question of whether there was a some type of cover-up at Ground Zero. Federal aviation officials - blaming the massive devastation - have said the World Trade Center attacks seem to be the only major jetliner crashes in which the critical devices were never located.

A footnote to the 9/11 Commission Report issued this summer flatly states: “The CVRs and FDRs from American 11 and United 175” - the two planes that hit the Trade Center - “were not found.”

And officials for the FBI - which oversaw the cleanup at Ground Zero - and the New York City Fire Department repeated this week that the devices were never recovered. The “black boxes” - actually orange - could have provided valuable new information about the worst terror attack to ever take place on American soil.

The cockpit voice recorder uses two microphones to capture the sounds of the cockpit for the last 30 minutes of a doomed flight on a tape loop. In the case of the hijacked 9/11 jetliners, the devices should have captured any conversations or actions involving the hijackers, as well as radio transmissions.

The flight data recorder records things like airspeed, heading, and altitude. Both devices - located in the tail of the airplane - emit loud “pings” so they can be located even in ocean jetliner crashes, like the 1996 explosion of TWA Flight 800 off Long Island.

They are built to survive an impact of enormous force - 3400 Gs - and a fire of 1100 degrees Celsius for one hour, somewhat higher than official estimates of the World Trade Center blaze.

“It's extremely rare that we don't get the recorders back. I can't recall another domestic case in which we did not recover the recorders,” Ted Lopatkiewicz, spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board, told CBS News in 2002. However, officials said little of the jets was recovered.

DeMasi was with now defunct Engine Company 261 in 2001. He wrote up his recollections of the Ground Zero recovery in a glossy book self-published by a group that calls itself Trauma Recovery Assistance for Children, or the TRAC Team. The book was published in 2003 but received little notice.

(There's more on the book and how people can get it at this site.)
DeMasi, an all-terrain vehicles hobbyist - said he donated 4 ATVs to the clean-up and became known as “the ATV Guy.”

“At one point, I was asked to take Federal Agents around the site to search for the black boxes from the planes,” he wrote. “We were getting ready to go out. My ATV was parked at the top of the stairs at the Brooks Brothers entrance area. We loaded up about a million dollars worth of equipment and strapped it into the ATV...”

“There were a total of four black boxes. We found three.”

Efforts over several days to locate and interview DeMasi, who is now said to be with the FDNY’s Marine Unit, were not successful.

But his account was verified by another member of the so-called TRAC Team, recovery site volunteer Bellone. He recalled FBI agents arriving for the search one day in early October, setting up their equipment near Brooks Brothers. He said he didn’t go out with them on the ATV but observed their search.

At one point, Bellone said he observed the team with a box that appeared charred but was redish-orange with two white stripes. Pictures of the flight recorders on the NTSB and other Web sites show devices that are orange, with two white stripes.

“There was the one that I saw, and two others were recovered in different locations - but I wasn’t there for the other two,” Bellone said. He said the FBI agents left with the boxes.

If the account by DeMasi and Bellone is true, it’s not clear what motive federal authorities would have for claiming they weren’t found.

By the same token, however, it’s not clear what incentive either man would have to lie.

An FBI spokesman in New York, Jim Margolin, said after checking with the leader of the Ground Zero investigation that none of the boxes were recovered.

Frank Gribbon, the FDNY spokesman, also said “no one in the Department is aware of the recovery of any of the airline "black boxes" at the WTC site.”

Bellone has encounted some unrelated problems in connection with the TRAC group, however. In April, the New York Post reported (story not available online) that TRAC owned money to a number of creditors, including the company that published the book. Fire officials also told Bellone, who was made an honorary firefighter by a New York engine company, that he couldn’t wear an official uniform on school visits.

Comment: The only motive that the federal authorities would have to claim that the boxes were never found, despite several eyewitness accounts to the contrary, is if those authorities were "ordered" to deny the recovery of the boxes as a cover-up to protect those who were really behind the attacks.

Now who do you suppose these federal authorities take their orders from? It certainly isn't Osama Bin Laden.

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News video shows what could be tonnes of missing explosives in Iraq
06:22 AM EDT Oct 29

WASHINGTON (AP) - Videotape shot by a Minnesota television crew travelling with U.S. troops in Iraq when they first opened the bunkers at the Al-Qaqaa munitions base nine days after the fall of Saddam Hussein shows what appeared to be high explosives still in barrels and bearing the markings of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The video taken by KSTP of St. Paul on April 18, 2003, could reinforce suggestions that tonnes of explosives missing from a munitions installation in Iraq were looted after the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq. The video was broadcast nationally Thursday on ABC.

"The photographs are consistent with what I know of Al-Qaqaa," David Kay, a former American official who directed the hunt in Iraq for unconventional weapons and visited the site, told The New York Times. "The damning thing is the seals. The Iraqis didn't use seals on anything. So I'm absolutely sure that's an IAEA seal."

The question of what happened to the tonnes of explosives has become a major issue in the closing days of the presidential campaign.

Democrat John Kerry says the missing explosives, powerful enough to demolish a building, bring down a jetliner or set off a nuclear weapon - are another example of the Bush administration's poor planning and incompetence in handling the war in Iraq. President Bush says the explosives were possibly removed by Saddam's forces before the invasion.

Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld entered the debate Thursday, suggesting the 377 tonnes of explosives were taken away before U.S. forces arrived, saying any large effort to loot the material afterward would have been detected.

"We would have seen anything like that," he said in one of two radio interviews he gave at the Pentagon. "The idea it was suddenly looted and moved out, all of these tons of equipment, I think is at least debatable."

The Pentagon also declassified and released a single image, taken by reconnaissance aircraft or satellite just days before the war, showing two trucks outside one of the dozens of storage bunkers at the Al-Qaqaa munitions base.

The particular bunker is not one known to have contained any of the missing explosives, and Pentagon spokesman Larry Di Rita said the image only shows that there was some Iraqi activity at the base when it was taken, on March 17. Di Rita said the image says nothing about what happened to the explosives.

Rumsfeld, in one radio interview, also cast doubt on the suggestion of one of his subordinates that Russian forces assisted the Iraqis in removing them.

John Shaw, the deputy U.S. undersecretary of defence for international technology security, suggested to The Washington Times in an interview that the Russians may have been involved, prompting an angry denial from Moscow.

Rumsfeld said, "I have no information on that at all, and cannot validate that even slightly."

But at issue is whether the weapons were moved before or after U.S. forces occupied that region of the country in early April. No one has been able to provide conclusive evidence either way, although Iraqi officials blamed it on poor U.S. security after Baghdad fell.

The Pentagon has said it's looking into the matter, and officials note that 400,000 tonnes of recovered Iraqi munitions have either been destroyed or are slated to be destroyed.

Comment: More lies from Rummy. Gotta keep up that wall until after November 2.

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US gave date of war to Britain in advance, court papers reveal
By Colin Brown, Deputy Political Editor
27 October 2004

Secret plans for the war in Iraq were passed to British Army chiefs by US defence planners five months before the invasion was launched, a court martial heard yesterday.

The revelation strengthened suspicions that Tony Blair gave his agreement to President George Bush to go to war while the diplomatic efforts to force Saddam Hussein to comply with UN resolutions were continuing.

Alan Simpson, the leader of Labour Against the War, said the documents were "dynamite", if genuine, and showed that Clare Short was right to assert in her book, serialised in The Independent, that Mr Blair had "knowingly misled" Parliament.

The plans were revealed during the court martial of L/Cpl Ian Blaymire, 23, from Leeds, who is charged with the manslaughter of a comrade while serving in Iraq. Sgt John Nightingale, 32, a reservist from Guiseley, West Yorkshire, died after being shot in the chest on 23 September last year.

The court, at Catterick Garrison, North Yorkshire, heard that contingency plans were drawn up by Lt Col Christopher Warren, staff officer at Land Command, Salisbury, Wiltshire, who was responsible for operational training.

Lt Col Warren said US planners had passed on dates for which the invasion was planned. The hearing was told Army chiefs wanted the training for the Army to start at the beginning of December 2002. However, due to "sensitivities" the training was delayed.

The court heard the training for the TA began two months late and for the regular Army one month late. Lt Col Warren was asked what the sensitivities were. He replied: "Because in December there was a world interest. If the UK had mobilised while all this was going on that would have shown an intent before the political process had been allowed to run its course."

The hearing was adjourned.

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Insurgents Slaughter 11 Iraqi Soldiers
By MARIAM FAM
Associated Press Writer
Published October 28, 2004, 8:34 PM CDT

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Insurgents slaughtered 11 Iraqi soldiers, beheading one, then shooting the others execution-style, and declared on an Islamic militant Web site Thursday that Iraqi fighters will avenge "the blood" of women and children killed in U.S. strikes on the guerrilla stronghold of Fallujah.

The wave of foreigner kidnappings claimed another victim -- a Polish woman in her 60s who is married to an Iraqi. Her captors demanded that Poland withdraw its 2,400 soldiers and that the U.S.-led coalition free all Iraqi women held at Abu Ghraib prison.

The killing of the 11 Iraqi National Guardsmen was claimed by the Ansar al-Sunnah Army, which posted a videotape of their brutal deaths on its Web site Thursday along with a warning for all Iraqi police and soldiers to desert or face death. The militants said earlier the soldiers were abducted this week on the road between Baghdad and Hillah, 60 miles to the south.

After forcing each of the soldiers to state his name and unit, the militants forced one of them to the ground and sawed off his head. The others were forced to kneel with their hands bound as a gunman fired shots into the back of their heads.

A voice on the videotape warned all Iraqi soldiers and police to "repent to God, abandon your weapons, go home and beware of supporting the apostate Crusaders or their followers, the Iraqi government, or else you will only find death."

"We will not forget the blood of our elderly, our women and our children that is shed daily in Fallujah, Samarra, Ramadi and elsewhere," a statement on the Web site said. [...]

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Iraqi group claims it has missing explosives
Last Updated Thu, 28 Oct 2004 09:46:44 EDT

BAGHDAD - An Iraqi militant group said Thursday that it had obtained a large amount of explosives missing from a munitions depot near Baghdad.

The group warned it would use them against foreign troops threatening Iraqi cities, according to a video obtained by Associated Press Television News. The video's authenticity couldn't be confirmed.

Its members got the missing explosives by co-ordinating with officers and soldiers "of the American intelligence," said the group, which calls itself Al-Islam's Army Brigades, Al-Karar Brigade.

Mohamed ElBaradei, chief of the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency reported on Monday that 350 tonnes of explosives had gone missing from an Al-Qaqaa storehouse south of Baghdad.

Two weeks earlier, Iraqi officials reported that 342 tonnes of explosives had gone missing because of a lack of security.

The missing explosives have become a hot issue in the U.S. presidential election campaign, with Democratic candidate John Kerry accusing U.S. President George W. Bush of failing to control the security situation in Iraq.

"The Bush administration first tried to convince the American people that this was not a big deal – not a big deal that 380 tons of high-grade explosives were now likely in the hands of terrorists and insurgents," said Kerry during a Wednesday campaign stop.
Bush accused Kerry of jumping to conclusions in an attempt to get elected.

"The senator is making wild charges about missing explosives when his top foreign policy adviser admits, 'We do not know the facts.' Think about that," Bush said.

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Russia denies involvement in removing explosives from Iraqi military facility
Associated Press
October 28, 2004

MOSCOW - Russia angrily denied allegations Thursday that Russian forces had smuggled a cache of high explosives out of Iraq prior to the U.S. invasion in March 2003.

Defense Ministry spokesman Vyacheslav Sedov dismissed the allegations as "absurd" and "ridiculous."

"I can state officially that the Russian Defense Ministry and its structures couldn't have been involved in the disappearance of the explosives, because long before the beginning of the American-British operation in that country, Russian servicemen weren't in Iraq," he was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.

"I can understand when they try to make an elephant out of a fly, but this time there wasn't even a fly," the ITAR-Tass news agency quoted Sedov as saying.

The denial followed a story in The Washington Times on Thursday that quoted a high-ranking U.S. defense official alleging that Russian special forces had "almost certainly" helped spirit out the hundreds of tons of high explosives that went missing from the al-Qaqaa base. The newspaper based its report on an interview with John Shaw, the deputy U.S. undersecretary of defense for international technology security.

Two weeks ago, Iraqi officials told the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency that 377 tons of explosives vanished as a result of "theft and looting ... due to lack of security." The compounds, HMX and RDX, are key components in plastic explosives, which insurgents in Iraq have used in bomb attacks.

Russia' charge d'affaires in Iraq, Ilya Morgunov, also denied the report.

"I didn't hear about any weapons to be taken out," Interfax quoted him as saying. "Moreover, there was nobody to take them out, because we actually evacuated all of our personnel."

He said there had been no Russian special forces in Iraq, only civilian specialists working for foreign firms.

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Church to Cut Dollars to Firms Aiding Israeli Occupation
Emad Mekay
Oct 20 (IPS)

WASHINGTON, - The U.S. branch of a global church that threatened to stop investing in companies whose actions support the Israeli military's occupation of Palestinian land says it will go ahead with the plan despite an outcry from Israel, some Jewish groups and members of the U.S. Congress.

The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) says it will take the next step in its plan by drawing up guidelines it will use to determine which multinational firms are supporting the occupation.

"We already had what we consider to be a very prudent and deliberate process and we are going to continue moving along that path," said Reverend William Somplatsky-Jarman, who runs the church's body responsible for social justice, the mission responsibility through investment (MRTI) committee.

The criteria will be announced in November, but are expected to state that companies would have to meet a number of conditions before they could be said to be directly involved in the occupation.

"We have to figure out the criteria as to what companies are involved and activities that may be harming the peace process or causing harm to honest folks in Israel and Palestine," Somplatsky-Jarman said.

The PCUSA has an investment portfolio worth eight billion dollars, which includes many companies that work in Israel, but Somplatsky-Jarman would not name the businesses that could be cut off from church money.

But Clifton Kirkpatrick, the top official of the U.S. Presbyterian Church, said Tuesday that officials have already held talks with Caterpillar, a U.S. bulldozer maker whose machines are routinely used in the Israeli Army's demolition of Palestinian homes, as a form of collective punishment for attacks on Israel.

Recently, U.S. peace activists, including many Jewish groups, also organised a campaign against Caterpillar. It was sparked by the 2003 death of 23-year-old U.S. peace activist Rachel Corrie, who was crushed to death by a Caterpillar machine as she protested demolitions of Palestinian homes.

The company continues to operate, as usual, in Israel. [...]

The PCUSA says its resolution was in part a response to calls by Palestinian Christians, who are also suffering under the occupation, which has devastated living conditions. For example, the number of poor in the Palestinian territories tripled from 637,000 in September 2000 to two million in March 2003, according to the World Bank.

The move has angered members of the right-wing and supporters of the governing Likud Party in Israel, with some calling it tantamount to declaring a boycott of firms that do business with Israel.

The 'Jerusalem Post' newspaper called the churches "misguided" and predicted that the planned economic pressure, in addition to moral censure, would fail to affect Israel. The newspaper ridiculed the Christian denominations as increasingly "shrinking in membership."

The church's decision also provoked a backlash from some Jewish groups and Zionist institutions in the United States, including the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee.

On Tuesday, Jewish groups met with a delegation from the church. At a press teleconference afterward, Jewish leaders expressed deep concern that other Protestant churches would follow the Presbyterian lead.

Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the Union of Reform Judaism, said the Jewish community feels "utter dismay" over the Presbyterian move. "We have differences on a variety of issues, but this is the one felt most viscerally," he said.

Jewish groups say they have made "pre-emptive contact" with other Christian groups, especially the Anglican Church, in an attempt to block future divestment plans.

The Presbyterian Church is also facing political pressure from the U.S. Congress. A group of 14 congressional representatives, who support the Likud government of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, sent a letter this month to the leader of the Presbyterian Church General Assembly deploring the resolution.

The letter said the move is, "irresponsible, counter-productive and undermines the prospect of peace by emboldening those who seek to de-legitimise the State of Israel."

Rev Clifton Kirkpatrick of the PCUSA fired back, saying Congress had failed to act as a balanced arbiter for peace in the region or to condemn the illegal expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

"While Congress has passed repeated statements against the Palestinian Authority, it has never passed a resolution condemning the continuous illegal construction of settlements in the West Bank," Kirkpatrick wrote in a letter seen by IPS.

"There has been nothing done by Congress to pressure Israel to adhere to international law. Rather, Israel has been encouraged by Congress to violate international law."

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What The Boston Globe Won't Print About Israel
By John Spritzler
Oct 28, 2004, 11:13

Editor's Note:  We followed closely, John Spritzler's correspondence with the Boston Globe which refused to publish his poignant response to an article by Shimon Peres, published earlier by the Globe.  We asked him if he would consider writing an article about his experience with this corporate newspaper, owned by the New York Times.  He generously agreed to our request and wrote the following analysis. - Les Blough, Editor (AxisofLogic.com)

On October 21 the Boston Globe ran an Op-Ed piece by Shimon Peres, a former Prime Minister of Israel, stating that "Israel has always been about serving the world from the uniqueness of our history and culture." On the same day the Globe's Op-Ed editor emailed me that my Op-Ed submission, titled Is It Anti-Semitic to Oppose a Jewish State? "does not meet our needs at this time."

At this time there is a virtual united front, on the part of America's major newspapers and media outlets, to censor opinions about Israel which cross a certain line in the sand. Since around 1967 it has been taboo -- verboten! -- to challenge the new central dogma before which the Anti-Defamation League insists we all bow down in somber agreement. The dogma says: It is anti-Semitic to oppose the idea of a Jewish state. Granted, admits the ADL and media pundits, it is not necessarily anti-Semitic to criticize a particular policy or action of the Israeli government (though who besides an anti-Semite or a Jewish "self-hater" would want to do so?); but to oppose the idea of a Jewish state, per se, crosses the line and is pure anti-Semitism.

My Op-Ed piece made the following simple points to refute the dogma.

1) Prominent Jews like Albert Einstein and Judah Magnes (the first Chancellor of Israel's Hebrew University) opposed the idea of a Jewish state.

2) What makes Israel a Jewish state is that it officially declares the ultimate sovereign authority in Israel to be "the Jewish people" rather than all Israeli citizens regardless of their religion.

3) One fifth of Israeli citizens are non-Jews and therefore are officially second class citizens as long as Israel remains a Jewish state. (The word limit on the Op-Ed prevented it from pointing out that this second class citizenship is the basis for discrimination against non-Jewish Israeli citizens in their ability to own, buy and lease land, live in certain neighborhoods, gain access to public services and government benefits, marry a Jewish person, and so forth – the kind of discrimination which the ADL would denounce as anti-Semitic if directed against Jews in the United States.).

4) The founder of the World Zionist Organization, Theodor Herzl, in 1896 rejected the principle of democracy -- that a state's legitimacy derives from the consent of all whom it governs, not just those of a favored religion or race or ethnicity. Herzl argued, instead, that the Jewish state's authority would derive from the need of Jews for a state to be their guardian, even if Jews were a minority of its citizens.

5) In 1948 when Zionist leaders founded the state of Israel as a Jewish state they knew that it could only gain legitimacy by purporting to be a democracy. But this required that Jews make up the overwhelming majority of the citizenry. And this in turn required ethnic cleansing, which -- as documented by pro-Zionist Israeli historian Benny Morris and others -- Israel's new leaders did indeed carry out, resulting in the Palestinian refugees whom Israel continues to bar from returning to their homes in Israel.

6) Far from being anti-Semitic, opposition to the idea of a Jewish state is the only way to consistently embrace the universal values of equality and democracy.

7) Exactly the same arguments apply to a Muslim, a Christian, a Black or a White state.

The above points are almost never seen or heard by the general public. Most people who support the idea of a Jewish state do it out of sympathy for Jews resulting from horror at what they have learned about the Holocaust. They have been told over and over again that sympathy for Jews equals support for the idea of a Jewish state. They have never been asked to think about whether they actually approve of the idea of a state officially making non-Jews second class citizens, or engaging in ethnic cleansing in order to ensure that the majority of the population belongs to the officially approved religion. They have never been asked to consider whether ordinary Jews would be better off living in peace with ordinary Arabs as equals instead of living in daily fear of violence from Arabs who are raging with quite justified anger at being treated like dirt in refugee camps because a Jewish elite insists on lording it over non-Jews in a Jewish state (this was Einstein's great concern.)

No Gallup poll asks people if they approve or disapprove of these things. To read our major newspapers, one would think that a Jewish state is no different from a French state or a German state and that its existence is no more controversial. Pundits don't point out that in Germany, once you're a citizen you're legally German; but in Israel, being a citizen doesn't make one a Jew. Ted Koppel, when interviewing ADL's director, Abraham Foxman, on Nightline doesn't ask him these embarrassing questions. And the Boston Globe, drawing the same line in the sand, refuses to print an Op-Ed piece that raises these simple questions.

Were these questions to be raised publicly, the entire structure of U.S. foreign policy would be called into question. Why, people would ask, does our government support and defend, almost unconditionally, the state of Israel when it is founded on a principle that violates the basic idea of democracy and equality? Is U.S. foreign policy really about supporting democracy and equality or not? Does our government actually want Israel to foment hatred between Jews and Arabs? Does this make it easier for undemocratic Arab regimes to control "their" people in the Middle East and preserve arrangements whereby rich Americans and oil-rich Arabs gain at the expense of ordinary Arabs and Jews? Who's really running America? Do we have a democracy?

It is not hard to understand why the Boston Globe, always the voice of corporate New England even before it was bought by the New York Times a few years ago, decided that my Op-Ed piece "did not meet their needs at this time." If, on the other hand, you think it does meet your needs at this time to hear a truly balanced mix of opinions about Palestine/Israel, then you might want to let the Op-Ed editor, Marjorie Pritchard, know about it at oped@globe.com .

Perhaps Ms. Pritchard will one day come to the conclusion that the needs of the Globe to retain some shred of credibility for being fair and unbiased will cost them the price of printing views on the wrong side of their line in the sand.

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NEWEST POLITICAL SCAM - GAZA 'withdrawal'
Mid-East Realities

And Dem Party Propagandists Email American Jews

MIDDLEEAST.ORG - MER - Washington - 27 October: It's another big-time Israeli-designed and U.S. "approved" political scam regarding "peace" in the Middle East. There's a long history of this now and people in the region, especially the Palestinians, are well-aware of what is going on; even if at this point in history they feel quite helpless to do much about it.

But people in Western countries, especially in the United States, remain terribly misinformed and ignorant of the actual realities of the situation. And this is largely because of the complicity of the major corporate media in falsely reporting what is really up with such things as yesterday's vote in the Knesset to approve Ariel Sharon's latest scheme. Amazingly -- thanks to massive Israeli, U.S., and Jewish media propaganda -- this latest political scam is being played up in a big way and worse yet in a ridiculously positive way.

The first reality is that with this latest ploy the Israelis have completed turning Gaza into the world's largest and most densely populated prison and concentration-camp; while in recent years taking steps to emulate what they have done to Gaza to nearly all Palestinians towns and cities in the West Bank as well. Nothing like this has been done to any other people any place else in the modern world. And this situation will be worsened, not improved, when the small number of 8000 settlers have been relocated outside of Gaza ghetto.

The second reality is that the Palestinians are collectively being quite literally imprisoned, starved, bombed and tortured into greater misery and submission than ever before. As Mahatma Gandhi's grandson recently said upon his first visit to the occupied territories, "this is ten times worse than Apartheid was."

The third reality is that while the Israeli 'left wing' worked hard with it's own 'peace' scam of the last decade to bring about a shrunken, quisling, permanently crippled, Palestinian statelet...the Israeli 'right wing' has now totally aborted even that effort -- bad as it was for the Palestinians -- making all but impossible any real Palestinian State short of Israel's destruction.

Just watching once again none other than Shimon Peres teaming up with Ariel Sharon for this latest historic deception is maddening to many. But don't expect to see anyone with such awareness and perspective on any of the many corporate media's talk shows or on the major newspaper Op Ed pages.

The price for the past political trickery has already been very high. The poison of the Israeli-Arab conflict has spread continually for decades now and played a substantial role in bringing about today's 'Clash of Civilizations' whose end is yet in sight. The eventual future price for what is happening these days threatens to be higher yet, potentially catastrophic.

Meanwhile...in the United States...there are other basic political realities nearly always overlooked by the complicitous and usually cowardly corporate 'mass media'. While today's Republican Party is very much in bed with both the extremist 'fundamentalist' Christian Evangelicals as well as with the Sharon-connected Jewish neocons, the Democratic Party is nearly totally mortgaged to the other wing of the Israeli-Jewish lobby long-associated with Israel's Labor Party and Peres.

Trying hard to court both Jewish support and influence the following letter is being distributed to American Jews in a surreptitious way by operatives in the Democratic Party hoping to frighten them to vote for John Kerry because he is even better for Israel than George Bush.

Comment: There is a rather sickening letter on the Mid-East realities page that has this article. In it, an American Jew, who spends six months a year in Jersusalem, gives other Jewish voters a long list of reasons why Kerry would be better for Israel than Bush!

We kid you not. But, then, if you read these pages regularly, you'd already know that.

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Another Jew Speaks Out Against Zionism

By Terrell Arnold
10-28-4

Elias Davidsson
Reykjavik, Iceland
10-28-4

I wish to thank you for your thoughtful article "An outrageous invastion of American diplomacy". I am one of those "self-hating Jews" who consider it a honor to be designated in such terms by people who are not capable to engage in rational debate.

While I fully agree with your reasoning, I believe that it does not go far enough. It is not sufficient to defend those who criticize Israeli policies from the slur of antisemitism. It is necessary to expose Zionist organisations who operate freely in the United States and West European countries, as racist organisations which should be banned by law. According to the International Convention on the Abolition of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, to which most Western democracies are Parties, states are under the obligation to outlaw racial discrimination as well as organisations which promote racial discrimination.

The Jewish National Fund is an agency conferred constitutional status in Israeli legislation by a Basic Law. The JNF is an agency whose Charter mandates it to develop the land of Israel for the sole benefit of Jews. The JNF is thus conferred by the legislator in Israel to deal with rural and urban development to the exclusion of the non-Jewish citizens and residents of the state. Such activities are deemed racial discrimination under international law. Furthermore the denial by the Jewish state to allow non-Jewish refugees to return to their erstwhile homeland is a gross and blatant form of racial discrimination, for this denial is uniquely grounded on the fact that the refugees are not Jews.

American Zionist organisations collect regularly funds to be transferred both to the JNF, support the aims of the JNF, and support by various means the existence of the racist nature of the State of Israel. I wonder whether the US legislator would accept to give tax-deductible status to overseas organisations would include in their Charter provisions of a discriminatory nature against members of a specific national or religious denomination, let alone when such organisations undertake in practice a government function (The JNF is not to be compared to a charitable foundation of say some Church organisation or a Jewish school in a secular state. It enjoys specific constitutional status and privileges in the "Jewish" State) ?

I urge you to call for the prohibition of tax-deductible status of Zionist organisations in the United States on the ground that such organistions support or endorse racial discrimination.

If you need more details on the JNF, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Kindly,

Elias Davidsson
Reykjavik, Iceland

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Video of Purported U.S. al-Qaida Airs
By KATHERINE PFLEGER SHRADER, Associated Press Writer
Thu Oct 28,11:06 PM ET

WASHINGTON - A shrouded man claiming to be an American member of al-Qaida promised attacks that will make U.S. streets "run red with blood" in a video aired Thursday night by ABC News.

Intelligence officials, however, have not been able to verify the tape's authenticity, and officials do not have information linking the video to a specific threat, said an intelligence official, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

They also have not been able to positively identify the speaker.

"We remain concerned, however, about al-Qaida's interest in attacking the homeland," the official said.

In the 75-minute message, the speaker who identifies himself as "Azzam the American" praised the Sept. 11 attacks, called Osama bin Laden and his deputy his leaders, and said a new wave of attacks could come at any moment.

ABC News obtained the video in Pakistan on Friday from a source known to have Taliban and al-Qaida connections, according to the ABC report.

ABC's Web site said it paid the source $500 in transportation fees. Since then, the network has been working with intelligence officials to understand the tape's content and origins.

On the tape, the speaker says: "Allah willing, the streets of America will run red with blood, matching drop for drop the blood of America's victims."

The speaker, who wore a headdress that covered his face except for his eyes, claims the United States is his country of origin but does not say specifically where he lives. He speaks both Arabic and English with an international accent that is hard to characterize, the intelligence official said.

The video appears to have been released by al-Qaida's media organization, containing a banner attributing the video to the Sahab Production Committee.

"The video content is classic al-Qaida propaganda, in terms of anti-U.S. ideology and denunciation of the U.S.," the official said.

The official also said the video appears to have been made in the last several months, perhaps as recently as late summer, because of references to the conflict in Darfur, Sudan, and the Sept. 11 commission.

Comment: The speaker has an international accent that is hard to characterize, eh? The Christian Science Monitor reports that the man is speaking English with an American accent. In any case, the man in the video is being portrayed as a member of the "American al-Qaeda". The logical next step would be a crackdown on "American al-Qaeda agents" within the US. Don't worry though - it won't happen until after Bush reinstalls himself in the White House...

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Cameras to Keep Watch in Hollywood
By Jessica Garrison Times Staff Writer
Thu Oct 28, 7:55 AM ET

In a new step for crime fighting in Los Angeles, the Police Department plans to start installing surveillance cameras on city streets, beginning with Hollywood Boulevard.

Five video cameras will train their electronic eyes on one of the world's most famous — and infamous — streets as early as January. And if all goes according to plan, there eventually will be 64 cameras on Hollywood, Santa Monica and Sunset boulevards and Western Avenue.

The Hollywood-area cameras are the beginning what some city officials hope will be a wave of virtual law enforcement that will help the understaffed LAPD investigate and deter crime from the San Fernando Valley to South Los Angeles.

Although the City Council and the Police Department have not yet devised a comprehensive approach, at least two council members have found money to begin installing cameras in their districts.

On Wednesday, Councilman Eric Garcetti introduced a motion calling on the city to accept a donation to pay for the Hollywood cameras.

The city is embarking on the effort with little public debate over which streets and neighborhoods warrant cameras, how the LAPD will find the personnel to watch the cameras, and how the city will ensure that the sophisticated devices are not used to peer into the homes of residents.

Los Angeles already has some cameras observing public places, including MacArthur Park and selected graffiti hot spots, but these would be the first police-monitored cameras on city streets.

Even so, Los Angeles would not be at the forefront of video surveillance. Other major cities, including Chicago, have many more cameras. [...]

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Imagine a world without us [the USA]
A Signs Guestbook Entry
The following entry was left in the Signs forum in response to another reader. We thought it was an interesting thought experiment.
Mike said "..imagine a world without us [the USA]".

Yes, Mike, let's imagine a world without the USA as it has stood for the last 100 years (remember that it is a nation founded on the genocide of the American Indian race):-

No financing and other support for Germany before and during WWI. The assassination in Sarajevo would never have sparked WWI without Germany being financed by American (and British) banking interests. Therefore no Weimar Republic. No home for the doctrine of Eugenics. No base from which Hitler could rise. No IBM to organise the Third Reich, no American money to finance Hitler. No war in Europe. No Pearl Harbour and therefore no Hiroshima or Nagasaki. No Israel as there would have been no holocaust.

That's just WWI and WWII. It is probably reasonable to assume that there would not have been a cold war at all as the whole myth of Capitalism versus Communism would never have been cooked up in Yalta. Then look at the roughly 40 countries in whose affairs the USA has meddled since WWII - the assassinations, death squads (courtesy of the School of the America's), suppression of real freedoms for the peoples of the developing world, sanctions and on and on it goes.

Given that there is reasonable evidence to show that the CIA and its friends has run and continues to run between about 1/2 to 3/4 of the worlds drug trade it would seem reasonable to suggest that the world's drug problems would be much smaller. In addition the USA founded Al Quaeda and the fundamentalist extremism (both Islamic and Christian) that we have today (based on the roots planted by the British) and has singlehandedly funded and supported the genocide of the Palestinians by Israel.

That is just the politics. In economic terms the USA has crushed all hope of many countries ever crawling out of extreme poverty through its approach to "free trade" aka protectionism and globalisation.

No doubt some other nation would have fulfilled the role the USA has fulfilled and the British (and to a less extent other Europeans) fulfilled before them as that is the dynamic of the world we live in. Let us however be realistic and acknowledge the evil that has been done in the name of America, Britain, Spain, France and stop buying in to the illusion that the "free world" has been the bastion of any real freedoms or improvement of the lot of the common man.

Nations are illusions foisted upon us to make us "patriotic" and thence to allow us or make us do unspeakable things in the name of that patriotism.

We should not be viewing eachother as Muslim, Christian, Jewish, American, British, Italian, Thai, Chinese, but as PEOPLE all of whom should logically have a common interest. A a species we have failed to do this and it seems we will now "reap the whirlwind".

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Region's police win access to FBI files via national crime database
Thursday, October 28, 2004
By PAUL SHUKOVSKY
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER REPORTER

A powerful new database that gives street cops around the Puget Sound region access to files from local, state and federal police agencies went online this month in a program that, in some form, is likely to encompass the nation.

In addition, high-level talks were being held last week that could lead to the police database being shared by U.S. and Canadian agencies.

The program, called LInX (for Law Enforcement Information Exchange), is a direct response to calls after the 9/11 terrorist attacks to greatly enhance information sharing between local law enforcement and federal investigative agencies such as the FBI.

LInX is the first instance in which the FBI has committed to share a portion of its digitized records, called 302s, with local law enforcement in a database the bureau does not control.

In the culture of the FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies, narrative records of investigations such as the 302s have been sacrosanct -- usually untouchable by people outside the agencies that generated the record.

That the bureau is willing to give up some control of its records shows how seriously the government takes the criticism leveled after the 9/11 attacks that it failed to "connect the dots" between disparate events around the country that might have allowed investigators to disrupt the plot.

U.S. Attorney John McKay, who has been a champion in Washington, D.C., of the program being led by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, called the FBI's action "a huge breakthrough."

But LInX's unprecedented power to catch criminals and thwart terrorists also carries a serious potential for abuse of civil rights.

The Seattle Police Department, one of 15 agencies that make up LInX, is restricted from accessing the system because a Seattle municipal ordinance would give a civilian oversight panel possible access to criminal investigations filed on LInX by the other 14 agencies.

The oversight panel, established more than two decades ago in response to police abuse of intelligence information, raises the question of whether there is adequate oversight of LInX information.

Scott Jacobs, special agent in charge of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, said the LInX governing board would ensure that no such abuse takes place.

Some especially sensitive records from the FBI will not be shared on the LInX system. No 302s involving foreign counterintelligence, international terrorism, domestic terrorism, public corruption or civil rights investigations will be carried on LInX. Additionally, all the 302s provided will be only from closed case files.

But McKay said last week he is "very confident" LInX will ultimately include active case files from all the Justice Department investigative agencies including the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the U.S. Marshals Service.

[...]

But the computer power that allows police to connect a traffic stop to a criminal syndicate has profound ramifications for free speech and other constitutionally protected activities such as political opposition to administration policies in Iraq.

For example, the FBI has recently gathered information on the tactics, training and organization of antiwar groups, according to The New York Times. Such information containing the names of individual activists could reach down the traffic cop making a stop for speeding.

Jacobs, with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, says LInX has a board of directors composed of executives from its 15 constituent agencies that will oversee the system and ensure that it is not abused. [...]

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NASA photo analyst: Bush wore a device during debate

Physicist says imaging techniques prove the president's bulge was not caused by wrinkled clothing.

By Kevin Berger
Oct. 29, 2004

George W. Bush tried to laugh off the bulge. "I don't know what that is," he said on "Good Morning America" on Wednesday, referring to the infamous protrusion beneath his jacket during the presidential debates. "I'm embarrassed to say it's a poorly tailored shirt."

Dr. Robert M. Nelson, however, was not laughing. He knew the president was not telling the truth. And Nelson is neither conspiracy theorist nor midnight blogger. He's a senior research scientist for NASA and for Caltech's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and an international authority on image analysis. Currently he's engrossed in analyzing digital photos of Saturn's moon Titan, determining its shape, whether it contains craters or canyons.

For the past week, while at home, using his own computers, and off the clock at Caltech and NASA, Nelson has been analyzing images of the president's back during the debates. A professional physicist and photo analyst for more than 30 years, he speaks earnestly and thoughtfully about his subject. "I am willing to stake my scientific reputation to the statement that Bush was wearing something under his jacket during the debate," he says. "This is not about a bad suit. And there's no way the bulge can be described as a wrinkled shirt."

Nelson and a scientific colleague produced the photos from a videotape, recorded by the colleague, who has chosen to remain anonymous, of the first debate. The images provide the most vivid details yet of the bulge beneath the president's suit. Amateurs have certainly had their turn at examining the bulge, but no professional with a résumé as impressive as Nelson's has ventured into public with an informed opinion. In fact, no one to date has enhanced photos of Bush's jacket to this degree of precision, and revealed what appears to be some kind of mechanical device with a wire snaking up the president's shoulder toward his neck and down his back to his waist.

Nelson stresses that he's not certain what lies beneath the president's jacket. He offers, though, "that it could be some type of electronic device -- it's consistent with the appearance of an electronic device worn in that manner." The image of lines coursing up and down the president's back, Nelson adds, is "consistent with a wire or a tube."

Nelson used the computer software program Photoshop to enhance the texture in Bush's jacket. The process in no way alters the image but sharpens its edges and accents the creases and wrinkles. You've seen the process performed a hundred times on "CSI": pixelated images are magnified to reveal a clear definition of their shape.

Bruce Hapke, professor emeritus of planetary science in the department of geology and planetary science at the University of Pittsburgh, reviewed the Bush images employed by Nelson, whom he calls "a very highly respected scientist in his field." Hapke says Nelson's process of analyzing the images are the "exact same methods we use to analyze images taken by spacecraft of planetary surfaces. It does not introduce any artifacts into the picture in any way." [...]

Comment: Yeah, people are making a big thing about this. We think the important point is that it shows that, once again, Bush was lying when he said it was due to a poorly tailored shirt.

But, then, if you aren't already convinced that Bush and his government should be impeached, and then sent to The Hague for a war crimes trial, you haven't been paying attention since the last election.

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Yasser Arafat, confused and weak, heads to Paris for treatment
06:22 AM EDT Oct 29
LARA SUKHTIAN
RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) - Battling serious illness, a weakened Yasser Arafat flew from his battered West Bank compound Friday, heading to Paris for urgent medical treatment and leaving behind the sandbagged headquarters that had been his virtual prison for nearly three years.

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Venezuela proposes energy sector integration in Latin American
www.chinaview.cn 2004-10-29 10:52:20

CARACAS, Oct. 28 (Xinhuanet) -- Venezuela presented a proposal for energy sector integration in Latin American and the Caribbean during the 34th Meeting of Experts of the Latin American Energy Organization (OLADE) which concluded in Margarita Island on Thursday.

Venezuelan Energy and Mining Minister Rafael Ramirez said Thursday that the proposal seeks energy integration among the nations and thus enable them to enjoy the benefits from their resources.

"We seek to develop state-run companies based on strategic alliances," Ramirez added.

Venezuela is considering to establish special alliances with Brazil, Colombia, Trinidad and Tobago and the Dominican Republic.

Ramirez said main obstacles to energy supply must be overcome to guarantee supply security. Meanwhile, steps must be taken to cope with problems concerning energy storage and commercialization.

The meeting will be followed by a meeting of OLADE energy ministers on Friday in Venezuela's Margarita Island, which Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is expected to attend.

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Sarkozy call to end secular French state stirs furore
AFP
PARIS, Oct 28 (AFP) - Nicolas Sarkozy, France's ambitious finance minister who sees himself as president one day, has suggested shaking up his country's century-old separation of state and religion, partly as a way of reaching out to disaffected Muslim youths.

He makes the suggestion in a book on the subject due out Friday which asks whether 1905 legislation enshrining France's strictly secular governance is "obsolete".

The 172-page book has sparked a furious debate among France's political classes and main religions.

Based on interviews with Sarkozy, its central idea of scrapping the section of the law banning the state from subsidising religions runs counter to principles adhered to by virtually all MPs, both in the conservative ruling UMP party and on the left-wing opposition
benches.

But Sarkozy, the country's most popular politician, relishes being the focus of debate and has used it to elevate his profile to a point where he is seen as President Jacques Chirac's most likely challenger in 2007 elections.

In the book - written by a philosopher, Thibaud Collin, and a Dominican priest, Philippe Verdin - Sarkozy ponders how to "invent Islam in France" and turn it into "a precious example for all the Muslim world" while maintaining its basic identity.

"One of the biggest challenges in the century that is beginning is the struggle in the Muslim world between moderate Islam and the fundamentalism of certain currents," he is quoted as saying.

He says that in French suburbs with disaffected Muslim communities, "it is much preferable for youth to have spiritual hope than to have in their head the religion of violence, drugs or money."

He argues that, more generally, the state should be allowed to help finance the construction of mosques and other religious buildings, especially those of minority faiths struggling to assert themselves in a predominantly Roman Catholic country.

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Bomb in downtown Athens
AFP
Fri Oct 29, 4:18 AM ET

ATHENS - A bomb placed by the side of a road in downtown Athens exploded as two riot police buses with around 35 officers were driving by, causing no damage or casualties, police said.

"The attack occurred at 07:04 (0404 GMT)... no damage was caused," greater Athens police chief Vassilis Tsatouras told reporters, speaking on television.

Another senior police official told AFP that the attack was set off by a 30-metre wire from a nearby location.

"The bomb was of relatively small force... it was a simple device," the official said. Contrary to earlier reports that the bomb was put in a garbage container, the official added that it had been attached to the railings at the side of the road.

According to media reports, initial findings suggest that one kilo of dynamite exploded.

The riot police officers were on their way to daily duties at Athens high security Korydallos prison, where 18 members of Greece's recently convicted members of extremist groups November 17 and People's Revolutionary Struggle (ELA) are serving stiff prison sentences and life terms.

The attack is similar to urban guerilla attacks mounted by those two groups in the 1980s and 1990s. Greece arrested November 17 and ELA members for the first time in 2002 to boost security for the Athens August Olympics.

Convicted November 17 leader Alexandros Yiotopoulos started a hunger strike on October 21 to protest the group's detention at a separate wing of the prison. November 17 chief of operations Dimitris Koufontinas suspended a 31-day hunger strike on September 18 after the group's conditions of detention were improved.

"It's worrying... we don't know if it means new groups are assembling themselves or if it's just an expression of anger by radical circles," a security expert told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Low-level urban violence with small bombings and arson attacks has continued in Greece after the ELA and November 17 arrests.

Three small bombs exploded outside an Athens police station in May, causing only slight damage. The attack was claimed by a previously unknown group which also threatened wealthy foreigners and security officials visiting Greece for the Olympic Games.

A policeman was slightly injured in a bomb attack on Athens main court in September 2003, claimed by the same group, the Revolutionary Struggle.

In June, other Greek leftists claimed responsibility for a foiled attempt to bomb a showroom displaying British-made Rover cars as a protest against Britain's part in organising security for the Olympics.

Contrary to widespread fears, no Greek or foreign extremist groups attacked the August 13-28 Games, which were protected by an unprecedented deployment of security forces.

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At least 10 reported killed in Siberian mine blast
SMH
October 28, 2004 - 3:40PM

Ten people died and about 20 others were injured after a gas explosion ripped through a mine in central Siberia trapping dozens of miners, the Interfax news agency reported citing a spokesman for the local government.

Russia's emergencies ministry meanwhile said that seven miners had been killed and 23 injured during the blast.

More than a 100 miners were underground at the time of the explosion, the ministry said. Initial reports had put the number at  240.

There were conflicting figures on how many miners were able to get to the surface after the blast, with the local government spokesman putting the number at 30, while rescue officials had said  60 miners were now above ground. [...]

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Ireland Battered by Year's Worst Storm
By SHAWN POGATCHNIK, Associated Press Writer
Wed Oct 27, 6:18 PM ET

DUBLIN, Ireland - The city of Cork and several towns were severely flooded Wednesday as the year's strongest Atlantic storm arrived with heavy rain and wind gusts of more than 70 mph. No deaths or injuries were reported.

The River Lee, which runs through Cork, burst its banks and flooded the southwestern city's main roads with up to 9.5 feet of water. Records indicated it was the worst such flood since 1962.

The surging tide caught shop workers in Ireland's second-largest city and homeward-bound commuters by surprise. Scores of cars, with water lapping at their windows, were abandoned on roads. Flotillas of beer kegs bobbed from pubs' cellars as shop owners scrambled to erect makeshift — and largely ineffective — barricades at their front doors.

Firefighters escorted to safety people trapped in their cars by the flooding.

Flooding in towns to the east of Cork, like Waterford and Dungarvan, was nearly as bad. The River Suir also burst its banks, flooding key roads, forcing people to abandon waterlogged cars and sending workers into a frantic, often-futile battle to sweep back the tide with brooms.

Thousands of homes along Ireland's southern coast suffered periodic blackouts as the state-owned Electricity Supply Board struggled to repair downed lines.

Cork's airport also diverted many flights to other Irish airports and outbound passengers faced delays averaging four hours.

Authorities warned that worse was likely to come, with at least another day of harsh weather forecast and coastal residents braced for more possible flooding as high tides approached.

Most ferry services on routes to Britain and France were canceled.

But one Irish Ferries ship with more than 200 people aboard was caught in the storm as it crossed the Irish Sea to the southern Wales port of Pembroke. The captain, unable to dock the ship safely in Pembroke because of choppy seas, kept the ship at sea for several hours after its intended arrival.

In Dublin, the storm caused a tidal surge that trapped a Dutch man on a seaside walkway. Rescue workers in a helicopter used a line to pull him to safety.

The Irish Coast Guard advised people to avoid harbors, piers, cliffs, coastal walkways and other exposed seaside spots because of the risk of being blown or swept into the ocean.

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Earthquake Shakes Big Bear Lake
POSTED: 3:12 pm PDT October 27, 2004

BIG BEAR LAKE, Calif. -- An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 3.8 occurred near San Bernardino Mountains communities Wednesday.

The quake hit at 2:41 p.m. and was centered seven miles north of Big Bear Lake, seven miles south of the desert community of Lucerne Valley and 27 miles northeast of the city of San Bernardino.

The quake occurred at a depth of 3.4 miles.

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Mount St. Helens Volcano Steaming
October 27, 2004
By Associated Press

VANCOUVER, WA - Scientists are taking advantage of clear weather today to check the instruments monitoring Mount St. Helens.

The volcano is steaming, and the U-S Geological Survey says magma is still pushing into the crater of the volcano, adding to the lava dome.

Samples of lava collected last week show it is similar to the lava from the dome-building eruption that ended 18 years ago.

Scientists says there's a chance of a more explosive eruption. If there were an ash cloud today the plume would drift southwest.

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Alert level 1 up at Taal volcano
abs-cbnNEWS.com
Friday, October 29, 2004 5:09 PM
National

Alert Level 1 was hoisted over areas surrounding the Taal volcano in Talisay, Batangas following the increased seismic activity on the island, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) said in a bulletin Friday.

Surface observations, however, do not indicate any significant change in the thermal and steam emission characteristics of the main crater lake area, the agency clarified.

PHIVOLCS assured residents within the island and villages along the coast of Taal Lake that there is no indication of an impending eruption.

Alert Level 1 means that there is a slight increase in seismic activity but no eruption is imminent, PHIVOLCS said. The agency, however, warned that the seismic unrest could intensify in the coming days and weeks and that the public should be vigilant when visiting the island.

It also recommended that the main crater area should be off-limits to human traffic because sudden steam explosions may occur or high concentrations of noxious gases may accumulate.

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Homeland Security Agents Visit Toy Store
AP
Thu Oct 28, 5:20 PM ET

ST. HELENS, Ore. - So far as she knows, Pufferbelly Toys owner Stephanie Cox hasn't been passing any state secrets to sinister foreign governments, or violating obscure clauses in the Patriot Act.

So she was taken aback by a mysterious phone call from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to her small store in this quiet Columbia River town just north of Portland.

"I was shaking in my shoes," Cox said of the September phone call. "My first thought was the government can shut your business down on a whim, in my opinion. If I'm closed even for a day that would cause undue stress."

When the two agents arrived at the store, the lead agent asked Cox whether she carried a toy called the Magic Cube, which he said was an illegal copy of the Rubik's Cube, one of the most popular toys of all time.

He told her to remove the Magic Cube from her shelves, and he watched to make sure she complied.

After the agents left, Cox called the manufacturer of the Magic Cube, the Toysmith Group, which is based in Auburn, Wash. A representative told her that Rubik's Cube patent had expired, and the Magic Cube did not infringe on the rival toy's trademark.

Virginia Kice, a spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said agents went to Pufferbelly based on a trademark infringement complaint filed in the agency's intellectual property rights center in Washington, D.C.

"One of the things that our agency's responsible for doing is protecting the integrity of the economy and our nation's financial systems and obviously trademark infringement does have significant economic implications," she said.

Six weeks after her brush with Homeland Security, Cox told The Oregonian she is still bewildered by the experience.

"Aren't there any terrorists out there?" she said.

Comment: Feeling safer yet?

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Bush beats Gollum to Movie Villain of the Year award

By Lester Haines
Published Thursday 28th October 2004 12:08 GMT
The Register

George Bush has seen off some stiff competition to win Total Film magazine's movie Villain of the Year, the London Evening Standard reports.

Bush was awarded the honour for his role in Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 and in the process eclipsed the contributions of shortlisted Doctor Octopus, Leatherface (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre), Gollum and Elle Driver (Kill Bill) to the cause of world villainy. Total Film editor Matt Mueller told the Standard: "It is possible that people have been a little bit tongue in cheek here, but they are also saying that Bush was very scary in Fahrenheit 9/11. He was absolutely terrifying in that film. He looked like a man who had lost control - the famous scene where he sits there in a school, absolutely paralysed, after being told about the twin towers, is just one example."

Around 10,000 people took part in the Total Film poll - which will be published in full in the magazine's next issue on 4 November, just two days after Americans flock to the polls to vote for their "US Presidential Candidate of the Year".

Comment: Uh, we guess not....

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