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Osama Pulled Out Of The Bag For US Elections

SOTT
29/10/2004

Noooooooooooooo! Say it ain't so! Sadly, it is all too true. Yes indeed, you guessed it, just before the US elections, "Osama" releases another shocking video tape. In this particular masterpiece of smoke and mirrors Osama seated behind a table and dressed in the garb of an elder statesman, talks calmly and coolly about the reasons for the "war on terror" and the ways in which the American people can avoid further attacks. He also appears to hint at the fact that he was responsible for the 9/11 attacks.

Well, what can we say - George Bush really is the luckiest man the world has ever seen.

We mean, really, who could have predicted it? THREE DAYS before the US population exercises their right to put a piece of paper in a box or play eeny meeny miny mo on a touch screen voting machine, Osama bin Laden, aka "the boogey man", is dragged out out from under the bed to scare the bejeesus out of the 13 year old child masquerading as the average American adult.

But do not be fooled. This is not simply about attempting to scare Americans into voting for Bush and his continued "war on terror".

This most recent piece of well-choreographed theatrics is designed to ensure that, when Bush is re-appointed on Nov 2nd as the front man for the greatest farce of a democracy on earth, all those who voted to have him removed from office will think that they were simply outvoted by the Christian fundie right wingers rather than brazenly disenfranchised by the back room boys that really run the US government.

It funny. Almost every mainstream media outlet is interpreting the Osama tape as evidence that Osama wants to influence the US elections and help to oust Bush. But in the tape Osama warns of more attacks against the US, and surely Osama is aware that one way to ensure that Bush stays in office is to provide justification for the phony "war on terror" upon which Bush has staked his presidency.

So what's up with that?

Despite all his experience in fighting against the Russians, the Americans, the Saudis and a host of other powerful regimes, Osama appears to have gleaned very little understanding of the way power politics really works. Is he really so naive to think that by declaring that he wants to help oust Bush, that that American public will help him in his aspirations? Surely it should be obvious to Osama that most Americans will react by doing exactly the opposite of that which their "arch nemisis" desires. We can almost hear them now: "So Osama wants us to get rid of Bush? Well that must mean that Bush is one of the good guys!"

One would almost think that Osama was some sort of asset of the Bush regime and that this video was commissioned just in time for the election... But heck! What are we saying, that would mean that there was some sort of conspiracy going on, and we all know that conspiracies simply don't exist...right?


Bin Laden claims responsibility for 9/11
Last Updated Fri, 29 Oct 2004 21:20:46 EDT
If you look closely you can almost see the strings
QATAR - Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden appeared in a new message aired on an Arabic TV station Friday night, for the first time claiming direct responsibility for the 2001 attacks against the United States.

The militant Islamic group decided "we should destroy towers in America" because "we are a free people... and we want to regain the freedom of our nation," said bin Laden, dressed in yellow and white robes and videotaped against a plain brown background.

In the 18-minute message, parts of which were played on Qatar-based Al-Jazeera just four days before the American presidential election, bin Laden accused U.S. President George W. Bush of negligence on the day 19 suicide hijackers took over four American passenger jets.

He also threatened new attacks if the policies of the U.S. government do not change.

According to translators, bin Laden told American voters: "Your security is not in the hands of [Democratic presidential candidate John] Kerry or Bush or al-Qaeda. Your security is in your own hands.

"Each state that does not meddle with our security has naturally guaranteed its own security."

Bush insists U.S. 'will prevail'

Bush reacted to the tape by saying the United States would not be intimidated by bin Laden's attempt to interfere in Tuesday's election.

"Americans will not be intimidated or influenced by an enemy of our country," he said. "We're at war with these terrorists and I am confident that we will prevail."

Kerry was also quick to condemn bin Laden's threats.

"As Americans, we are absolutely united in our determination to hunt down and destroy Osama bin Laden and the terrorists," he said during a campaign stop in Florida.

Al-Jazeera said it received the message earlier in the day, but would not say how.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said U.S. intelligence officials believe the tape to be authentic.

The FBI is comparing the video to one broadcast Thursday night on the American network ABC. In that message, a masked man who says he is an American member of al-Qaeda says more attacks against the U.S. are imminent.

Bush's reaction on 9/11 ridiculed

This is the first time the world has heard from the fugitive al-Qaeda leader in more than a year and the first time he has accepted responsibility for the 2001 attacks rather than just praising them.

He eluded capture when the United States invaded Afghanistan, where he was based, in late 2001. Many analysts believe he found refuge in a chain of mountains along the border with neighbouring Pakistan.

One of bin Laden's more explosive statements on the tape was that al-Qaeda's suicide airplane attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, would have been less severe if Bush had been more vigilant and acted more quickly.

The World Trade Center towers burning on Sept. 11, 2001. Instead, he said, Bush continued listening to "a little girl's talk about her goat and its butting."

The president was visiting a school in Florida when an aide told him that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center. A cameraman captured the stunned politician continuing to listen to a young student reading My Pet Goat for the next seven minutes.

The al-Qaeda leader said the hijackers had planned to have all the attacks take place within 20 minutes because they were sure the Americans would react quickly and start shooting down errant airplanes.

Bush's delay "gave us three times the required time to carry out the operations, thanks be to God," bin Laden said.

A total of 58 minutes elapsed between the time the first plane hit the first Manhattan office tower and the moment the third plane crashed into the Pentagon – the Defence Department headquarters – in the Washington area.

A fourth plane crashed into a Pennsylvania field after passengers learned what had happened to the other hijacked airplanes and stormed the cockpit in order to divert it from a fourth populated target. That crash came one hour and 25 minutes after the initial airplane hit its target.

Invasion of Lebanon led to Sept. 11 attacks

The al-Qaeda leader said he decided that militants should start planning to attack the United States in the wake of Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon, when apartment towers in Beirut were bombed. The U.S. backed Israel in that action, he said.

Bin Laden also said Bush had misled the American people in the three years since al-Qaeda's 19 hijackers accomplished their deadly mission.

"Bush is still deceiving you and hiding the truth from you and therefore the reasons are still there to repeat what happened," he said.

Comment: Finally, the much anticipated "October surprise", just in time to give the Shrub a last minute kick in the polls, so that he may once again be installed to carry out his iron fisted rule and usher in the final days of the apocalypse.

Regular readers of the Signs page will not be fooled by this apparant charade, knowing full well that this so-called "Osama" is likely just another double in the same vein as Saddam II, now in custody.

Even if it is the "real" bin Laden, it's obvious he was trotted out at this opportune moment by his CIA handlers in order to stand in front of the cameras and take responsibilty for 9/11.

This little maneuver serves two purposes; first to give credence to the very flimsy "official version" of the Sept 11th attacks, and second to scare voters at the last minute into turning to the Bush Reich for protection. That way the neo-cons may not have to resort to tampering with electronic voting machines in order to win by a landslide.

The timing of this revelation is so obvious, so transparant, that only the most gullible, docile and hypnotized of the American populace could possibly buy it.

Unfortunately, judging by the apathy and ignorance that runs rampant in America today, that likely includes a very large majority of citizens who will swallow this tale hook, line and sinker.

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Excerpts: Bin Laden video
Some News Source

Here is a transcript of those excerpts broadcast by al-Jazeera:

Oh American people, my talk to you is about the best way to avoid another Manhattan, about the war, its causes, and results.

Security is an important pillar of human life. Free people do not relinquish their security. This is contrary to Bush's claim that we hate freedom.

Let him tell us why we did not strike Sweden, for example. It is known that those who hate freedom do not have proud souls, like the souls of the 19 people [killed while perpetrating the 11 September 2001 attacks], may God have mercy on them.

We fought you because we are free and do not accept injustice. We want to restore freedom to our nation. Just as you waste our security, we will waste your security.

'Striking the towers'

I am amazed at you. Although almost four years have passed since the [11 September] incidents, Bush is still practising distortion and confusion.

He also continues to conceal from you the real reason [for the 11 September attacks]. Thus, the motives still exist for repeating what happened.

I will speak to you about the reasons behind these incidents. I will honestly tell you about the minutes in which the decision was made so that you will consider. I say to you that God knows that the idea of striking the towers never occurred to us.

But, after things had gone too far and we saw the injustice of the US-Israeli alliance against our people in Palestine and Lebanon, I started thinking of that.

The events that influenced me directly trace back to 1982 and subsequent events when the United States gave permission to the Israelis to invade Lebanon, with the aid of the sixth US fleet.

At those difficult moments, many meanings that are hard to describe went on in my mind. However, these meanings produced an overwhelming feeling to reject injustice and generated a strong determination to punish the unjust ones.

While I was looking at those destroyed towers in Lebanon, it occurred to me to punish the unjust one in a similar manner by destroying towers in the United States so that it would feel some of what we felt and to be deterred from killing our children and women...

We did not find it difficult to deal with Bush and his administration, because it is similar to regimes in our countries, half of which are governed by the military and the other half of which are governed by the sons of kings and presidents; and we have a long experience with them.

In both categories, you find many who are characterised by hubris, arrogance, greed, and unlawful acquisition of money. This similarity transpired since Bush Senior's visit to the region.

While some of our people were dazzled by the United States and hoped that these visits would affect our countries, he, instead, was affected by these royal and military regimes, envying them for remaining in their posts for scores of years, embezzling public money without being held accountable or monitored.

Accordingly, he transferred dictatorship and the repression of freedoms to his son by introducing the Patriot Act under the pretext of fighting terrorism.

Bush Senior deemed it appropriate to assign his sons to states. He also did not forget to convey the [election] rigging experience from the leaders of the [Arab] region to Florida to benefit from it at critical times...

We had agreed with the chief amir [leader - of the 11 September hijackers] Mohammed Atta that he should accomplish all the operations within 20 minutes before Bush and his administration could take notice.

It never occurred to us that the supreme commander of the US armed forces would leave 50,000 of his citizens in the two towers to face those great horrors alone, at a time when they needed him badly.

This is because it seemed to him that being preoccupied with the little child's talk about her goat and its butting was more important than being preoccupied with the planes and their ramming into the skyscrapers.

This gave with three times the period required for carrying out the operations, praise be to God.

Your security does not lie in the hands of Kerry, Bush, or al-Qaeda. Your security is in your own hands. Each and every state that does not tamper with our security will have automatically assured its own security.

Comment: Here are bin Laden's words, videotaped somewhere under your bed. Check tonight before turning out the light. The site where we found the next piece had their lights turned out a long time ago...

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Transcript- Bin Laden Returns to Campaign For Kerry
Hundredpercenter
Osama Bin Laden has appeared in a video tape, warning America. It is obvious that UBL is trying to affect U.S. elections, scheduled for this Tuesday. He, like many other terrorists, do not like George Bush and would prefer the pacifism of a John Kerry administration.

He realizes that a Kerry administration would mean a weaker U.S. led War on Terror.

However, he misunderstands the American street.

Most Americans like the sound of the B-52's heading towards the middle east for revenge. He does not understand that America accepts his challenge, and like a poker match; we are calling his bluff.

America sits with 4 Aces waiting. We will win.

Comment: Here is the spin being put on the "bin Laden" tape by Bush supporters. This site has the transcript of bin Laden's remarks, labelling him "Hitler in a Headscarf". Ouch!

The unfortunate thing is that many Americans probably do like the sound of B-52's heading towards the Middle East for revenge.

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The Politics of the Closed Mind

Intervention Mag
By Stewart Nusbaumer
Oct 27 2004

Springfield, Missouri--I met a man today who did not know the difference between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden; he did not even know the difference between Iraq and Afghanistan. But he did know about the War on Terrorism--well, sort of.

“We had to do something when they knocked those buildings down in New York,” Joe insisted, his mouth twisted with anger.

I calmly explained to this World War II veteran and former mechanical engineer that it was not Iraqis who flew those airplanes into the World Trade Center towers but al Qaeda, which was based not in Iraq but in Afghanistan, two very different countries.

Joe replied with a look of confusion, and then said, “When they say all those foreign names, I just turn my mind off.”

“Turn your mind off?”

“Yeah, turn off my mind” he repeats defiantly.

Missouri is the demographic center of the United States, and some Americans believe it is also the soul of America. “The heart and soul of America,” President Bush said on a recent visit, “is found right here in Springfield, Missouri.”

But what I found in Springfield, Missouri, was an America where intensely personal politics swamps thoughtful public dialogue, where simplistic slogans like “freedom” are a substitute for understanding the substance of freedom. What I found was an America dominated by intransigent minds and tightly sealed mindsets. What I found was not pretty.

From “Turned Off Mind” to “Kill Them All”

I’ve seen a humongous amount of stupid nonsense--too often originating from my own twisted thinking--so I’m not surprised by what the turned off mind says. Yet, what Joe said next surprised me. Leaning forward, looking directly at me, he said slowly: “I say kill them all.”

Joe is in his 80s and lives in rural southwest Missouri, an area that identifies with the long-time embittered Deep South--Missouri was the northernmost slave state--as opposed to the metropolitan areas of St. Louis and Kansas City that feel more like the moderate North. Joe thinks it was the liberal media, and “those liberal politicians,” who lost the Vietnam War, so today he watches Fox News, and only Fox News. Joe doesn’t have to learn those strange sounding foreign names because he trusts his basic instincts, or as he says, “his gut feelings,” and of course Fox News. Joe’s mind can be turned off--Fox is turned on!--and with complete confidence scream, Kill them all!

A turned off mind does not see a four-year-old Iraqi boy with both arms amputated squirming in excruciating pain. A turned off mind does not see a mother’s contorted face, a face insane from unbearable horror. A turned off mind does not hear screams or pleas. A turned off mind cannot understand the futility of occupying Iraq; it does not remember Vietnam. A turned off mind just says, Kill them all!

A turned off mind can be informed of everything, yet know nothing. It is the only mind to have when reality is the enemy.

Here in Springfield, Missouri, the hometown of John Ashcroft, there are churches on nearly every corner, bookstores are hardly anywhere, yet turned off minds are everywhere: in the motel lobby, a man handed me a Jesus Saves brochure, insisting my soul was in jeopardy; on my car radio an angry young man screamed, “Those liberals are the devil’s work”; sitting in a bar, several locals complained that the Democrats run America (aren’t all three branches of the federal government run by Republicans?). But don’t even try to have a discussion with Jesus when you’re the devil.

This is where I heard Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11, as some 40 percent of Americans doggedly insist. In Springfield, the big lie thrives. This is where I heard that we actually found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq but that the U.N. stole and destroyed them. This is where I heard we must support our wartime president, yet I never heard we must pay for this war. And this is where I heard that John Kerry is a traitor.

Here in the Show Me State, there is much they don’t want to be shown.

From “Kill Them All” to Killed Democracy

Anti-intellectualism has a long tradition in America, a long tradition in every country, yet today in our country it seems stronger and more vicious--a relentless plague wiping out reason in whole sections of our country. Males especially, admiring our inarticulate, dimwitted president, have never been prouder of their own inarticulateness and wear shallow thinking as evidence of their swaggering “manhood.” John Kerry not only rubs them the wrong way, he outrages them.

Sometimes I think our advanced technology and great wealth is only a fig leaf for our pathetic primitiveness. Lately I have been thinking that a lot.

Although many of us still cling to the Jeffersonian promise that common citizens in public dialogue can craft thoughtful solutions, we can’t hide from the spreading darkness.

Harry Truman lost the presidency because of the Korean War, Lyndon Johnson quit his job--before he could lose it--because of the Vietnam War, yet George Bush is running neck-and-neck with John Kerry although the Iraq War is clearly a disaster. The difference for America could not be greater.

Our ballooning federal deficit has reached a record $445 billion, yet Congress just approved additional tax cuts. We have allocated $200 billion for Iraq, yet in America 77 million Baby Boomers will soon begin retirement and be dependent upon federal money. Health care costs are skyrocketing, rising 36 percent in the last four years, yet government is doing nothing. Where are the plans to pay for all of this? Where are the public debates? Where is our democracy?

Joe had not heard about the tax cut, which surprised me since he supports all tax cuts, although don’t suggest that government services be cut back for anything that will affect him. He was only vaguely aware of the spiraling deficit, but our national debt doesn’t seem important to him. Health insurance is an issue, but Joe has his. In fact, Joe is busy thinking about something else, about “getting those A-rabs.” Where is our democracy? It’s being swallowed by the politics of illusion that screams kill them all and says little else.

Then Joe dropped another surprise on me, one quite different from wanting to kill them all. After taking a sip of his coffee, he looked at me and with deliberation said, “I know I should vote for Kerry, but I just can’t.”

It was a confession, a sad confession. Retired and living on a fixed income, Joe knows (yet nearly always represses) that he should vote for John Kerry. Yet the warping rhetoric, his revved-up emotions, and the suffocating unitary culture ensure that he will vote for George Bush. The fig leaf was suddenly gone; it was clear that Joe was not in control. Joe was an advocate against his own self-interests.

“Against his own self-interests”? you ask. Is it in his interest to continue the transfer of funds from his dwindling bank account to a small number of wealthy individuals? For each year that George Bush has been president, the average American family has lost $1,600. Is it in his interest to have more unnecessary wars and more unnecessary dead Americans? Will it be one of his grandchildren next year? Is it in his interest to saddle his children with a record debt, which they will be forced to pay off for many years to come? Is it in his interest to continue under-funding veterans’ programs? He needs those Veterans Administration’s programs. Yet this is exactly what Joe will be voting for next week by casting his ballot for George Bush.

Freedom for Joe is the opportunity to do what he should not do, and voting is the right to vote for whom he should not. This is not what Thomas Jefferson had in mind when he wrote about the common sense of common people. This is not what can sustain American democracy.

Although in 2000 Al Gore won St. Louis and Kansas City, the rest of Missouri, including its third largest city, Springfield, went for George Bush and went in a big way: 58 percent to 39 percent. It’s not surprising that the Kerry campaign gave up on Missouri; there are too many Joe’s here. The question for this election, then, is this: how many Joe’s are there in Ohio and Pennsylvania and the other swing states? If many, then the politics of ignorance will win, and George Bush will win the election.

Maybe America is not as dark as I fear, as I have written; maybe Americans will vote with their brains instead of with twisted feelings and stunted thinking. We shall know soon.

Comment: Don't count on it. There are simply far too many Americans who have already shut out so much of reality that there is no way back. The illusion can only deepen until the final and inevitable implosion.

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Awaiting `October surprise'
Oct. 29, 2004. 01:00 AM
TIM HARPER
WASHINGTON BUREAU

WASHINGTON—Five days before the 2000 election, a chastened George W. Bush appeared before the cameras to confirm he had been convicted of drunk driving 24 years earlier.

Another "October surprise."

The term has entered the folklore of U.S. campaigns, but most agree it was coined by former U.S. president Ronald Reagan, who used it in 1980 to warn that incumbent Jimmy Carter was likely trying to spring American hostages in Iran just before voting day.

The irony, of course, is that it is also now accepted that Reagan and his running mate George H.W. Bush (George W.'s dad) were up to their own October surprise, working the back channels to ensure the hostages would be released after his own election. And they were, on inauguration day in January, 1981.

In 2004, conspiracy websites, the deft hand of Bush adviser Karl Rove, and voter cynicism are all at play and millions of Americans expect the president to hop off a bus in rural Ohio any day now with Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in hand.

Comment: Since pundits have been predicting a pre-election bin Laden capture for some time now, it would hardly be a surprise. Better yet, have him appear in a video tape making further threats and taking credit for 9/11.

"The problem with that theory is to assume an October surprise is to assume the Bush administration has the situation under control," says Mark Fenster, a University of Florida law professor who has written on conspiracy theories. "You can't orchestrate a surprise when things are out of control."

Fenster, who has also studied conspiracy theories, says the Bush campaign has not tried to ratchet up the pre-election fear by trotting out Attorney-General John Ashcroft to raise the terror level for a very good reason.

"The administration has never been good at separating politics from the war on terror," he said. "Certainly at least half the country — all Democrats — would say the move was politically motivated."

The October surprise term originally was defined as a last-minute move by an incumbent to assure re-election, but it is now used for any outside event that can play a role in a close campaign.

Comment: Seems Osama has been a pretty busy fellow these days. In between shooting videos from somewhere in the Afghan mountains, he's also supposedly co-ordinating a vast network of terrorist cells in Bosnia.

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US expert believes Osama network active in Bosnia
AFP
October 2004 2112 hrs
BANJA LUKA, Bosnia-Hercegovina : Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is actively directing terrorist cells in the former Yugoslav republic of Bosnia, a top US terrorism analyst told a local daily.

Yossef Bodansky, director of the Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare of the US Congress, told the Glas Srpske daily that terrorists responsible for the bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad last year were trained near the central Bosnian town of Zenica.

"There is a terrorist network in Bosnia, composed of several well-trained and connected groups, which are directly or indirectly responsible to ... Osama Bin Laden," he was quoted as saying in the Serbian-language paper.

He said the cells were using Bosnia as a training ground and a gateway to send terrorists to western Europe or to hide them on their way to the east if they were on the run.

"The network in Bosnia ... is training and controlling terrorists who later travel to Western European countries," Bodansky said in comments translated from Serbian.

"On the other hand, terrorists for whom arrest warrants have been issued in the west are coming back to Bosnia where 'liaison officers' welcome them and provide accommodation and hiding places, and they are later transferred to the east."

He said the Zenica region had provided a training ground for terrorists who conducted a series of suicide attacks in Baghdad in August last year, including the UN bombing which killed 22 people.

"Literally, they were trained in Zenica's milieu, and from there they were sent out through Italy to Iraq to fight American forces," he said.

Bodansky, who met Bosnian officials last week, complained that the international community and local authorities were aware of terrorists' activities but had failed to do enough to stop them.

"Representatives of the international community in Bosnia and (local) authorities are aware of this but they do not work enough to fight international terrorism," he said.

NATO peacekeepers are still deployed in Bosnia under peace accords which ended the country's 1992-95 war, during which hundreds of foreign so-called mujahedeen, or holy warriors, fought alongside Bosnian Muslim forces.

Foreign Muslim fighters were ordered to leave Bosnia under the 1995 peace accords, but some of them stayed and obtained citizenship either on the basis of their army service or by marrying local women.

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More than 400 bodies found in Bosnian grave
Irish Examiner

Forensics experts have exhumed 405 bodies from a mass grave, making it the second-largest such site found in Bosnia since the end of the 1992-95 war.

The site contains the bodies of Muslims and Croats killed at two wartime concentration camps, said Esad Bajramovic, a member of the Muslim-Croat missing persons commission.

Exhumations will continue for another week at the grave in Stari Kevljani, 110 miles north-west of Sarajevo. The mass grave is the 51st found in the area.

Based on evidence so far collected, most of the dead appeared to be Bosnian Muslims who had lived in and around Prijedor and were killed in the Omarska and Keraterm concentration camps in 1992, Bajramovic said.

"We are dealing with a secondary mass grave and expect to find another 20 to 30 bodies in it," he said.

So-called secondary mass graves are sites where bodies have been moved after being buried elsewhere in an effort to cover up the crime.

The remains will undergo DNA analysis in an attempt to identify them.

Over the years, UN and local forensics experts in Bosnia have exhumed 16,500 bodies from more than 300 mass graves. Thousands of people remain missing following the war.

About 260,000 people were killed and 1.8 million driven from their homes during the conflict, which pitted Bosnia’s Muslims, Croats and Serbs against each other.

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Write More About Skull & Bones Secret societies? UFOs? The truth about what *really* happened on 9/11? The media cowers

By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist
Wednesday, October 27, 2004

I get this a lot:

Hey Mark, you're a rather weird, unconventional columnist, why don't you quit toeing the typical blasé journalism line and renounce the corporate-controlled news feeds and standard pop-culture drivel and instead write about the real truths, the real and sinister power structures at work in America and the world?

Like for example how both Kerry and Bush are members of mega-yuppie Yale secret society/boys' club Skull & Bones, and therefore suckle at the same tit of nefarious primeval Illuminati power and draw their ideas from same trough of covert draconian ideology, the one that is right now running the world via an insanely intricate network of corporate fronts and Swiss bank accounts and invisible spaceships and ancient cabals featuring really elaborate handshakes that would make "The Da Vinci Code" seem like a day at the sandbox? Hmm?

And why, furthermore, don't you talk about the real truths of 9/11? Like how BushCo not only allowed the tragedy to occur to further his administration's snarling agenda but also how he actually made it happen, signed the order himself, with the full and complicit cooperation of the FBI and the CIA and the Saudis and maybe even Enron and the Wal-Mart heirs and probably the Olsen twins.

And by the way did you know the planes that crashed into the WTC were fully radio controlled? And Dick Cheney was commanding the entire thing from the ground and they had been rehearsing the attack for months and it was all part of a master plan decades in the making and by the way what about the Pentagon?

Haven't you seen that amazing video on that Web site? Those incredible and damning photos? Noticed the weird cover-up? That wasn't no 747 that crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11, buddy. Look a little closer. See? And what about Building 7? Why did that 47-story tower adjacent to the WTC collapse when it had no fire and no plane crash and no reason to fall? Why isn't the media reporting any of this? Where is the outrage? Goddamn frightening, is what it is.

This is what they say. Mark, don't be a typical media lackey, avoiding the real truth in favor of safe, predigested corporate news tripe. What are you, scared? Repressed? I mean, who cares about the price of raw sweet crude or rampant overfishing when there's astounding crop-circle phenomena and suspicious Air Force inactivity and grainy aerial photos from Area 51 to stare at with a magnifying glass and huge doses of mistrust?

Does this make you laugh? Scoff? It is, after all, incredibly easy to dismiss conspiracy theories as ranty silly unproven wishful thinking wrought by desperately lonely fatalists and nutballs and geeks, fringe kooks ever reaching for some eternally just-out-of-reach meta-explanation, some sort of proof of massive cover-up and of the existence of a very real Matrix, and it's all best explained by the mad brilliance of the books of David Icke.

But you know what? It's not that easy. And it ain't so silly. These people, they have a point. They are indeed onto something quite large and ominous and it very much has to do with the media toeing the line of "safe" information and not really asking truly difficult or radically off-track questions of our leaders or of the strangeness happening in the world. Reptilian super-races from the fifth dimension walking among us and secretly mind controlling your child via MSG and fluoridated water? OK, maybe not. But look just a little deeper.

After all, there is indeed ample evidence that the U.S. government, long before 9/11, had already discussed the quite plausible possibilities and strategic benefits of unleashing a "Pearl Harbor"-type event on America for the purposes of creating havoc and fear and furthering certain agendas. This much is a given. And it's just the tip of the iceberg.

Look. There are plenty of strangely unanswered questions about 9/11, about the stunning inaction of NORAD and Bush's stupefying nonreaction upon hearing of the attack, not to mention his administration's incredible attempts to halt any independent 9/11 investigations, and have you ever read a fully satisfying account of how this whole atrocity could have happened, one that answered all your questions and quelled your lingering doubts and squashed, once and for all, any hints of dread you had about our government's potential role in the tragedy? Neither have I. Neither has anyone.

Of course, no one in any major media will touch this stuff. It is professional suicide to dare suggest an alternate truth to the one supplied by the Pentagon and regurgitated by the media, despite the fact that most every journalist, trained as they are to be suspicious and wary and fully cognizant of the fact that there is always more to a given apocalypse than meets the eye, every journalist knows that buried just beneath the slippery surface of any good conspiracy theory is a gem or three of real truth, a question that begs to be solved or at least researched and, yet, most likely never will, because it has been cast into the madhouse of "outrageous" impossibility and is therefore rendered impotent and hopeless.

Look at it this way. Much of the world believes in UFOs. Or ghosts. Or telekinesis. Or past lives. Or alternate realities. Or the paranormal. Or all of the above. Most of us fully intuit that we are not the center of the universe and that it's rather narcissistic and outrageously arrogant of us to think we are. Whether or not this means shiny blinking flying saucers and androgynous Gumby-like aliens with almond-shaped eyes is beside the point; most sentient bipedal creatures know there is more to all of this than just puny and egotistical little us.

And yet, go ahead and try to get any serious public figure or mainstream pundit to openly admit this belief, this fact, in public. Try to find more than a glossy and supercilious feature in, say, Time magazine (i.e., "UFOs: Gosh, are they really here?") Won't happen, so surrounded are such topics in hokum and wide-eyed ranting and fringe intellectual cheese.

The world of conspiracy theories, it is like a zoo. It is like a black hole. It is the place we as a culture toss ideas that don't fit quite right, that unsettle and disturb and cause us to shudder and shake off the queasy feeling.

And it is the place the Powers That Be will toss any sinister and dark questions about their behavior, safe in the knowledge that anyone who goes to look for the answer will have to dive into that gnarled world and will look foolish and silly and will be probably be laughed off the stage.

Sometimes it's all you -- or I -- can do to hint at the existence of these radical notions and illuminate the frightening possibilities and scream into the Void, hoping to agitate and inform and inspire while still covering your professional butt. A copout? Maybe. But then again, if there's an alternative, I have yet to find it.

And the truth is, we don't really want such unstable questions answered. We simply cannot tolerate to have our world, our leaders, our foundations so questioned. We prefer stasis to growth, security to true knowledge, blind faith to chaotic sticky self-defined wonder.

After all, once you allow the real possibility of UFOs or psychic healing or crop-circle phenomena or the notion that we could very well have a hugely malicious, criminal U.S. government capable of pulling a 9/11 on its own citizens, well, the happy capitalistic all-American Christian world begins to implode. Foundations crumble. Trust in our institutions vanishes. Gods fall and doctrines crumble and televangelists spontaneously combust and everyone starts reimagining the social order in ways that absolutely terrify those who now hold the reins.

Real truth, after all, often means anarchy, disorder, revolution. And God knows we can't have that.

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Open border not just academic concern
Oct. 29, 2004. 01:00 AM
OAKLAND ROSS
Toronto Star

Somewhere in this fair northern land, there's an Iranian-born scientist who refuses to travel to the United States any more.

He's tired of being singled out for search and interrogation by U.S. border guards and has decided it just isn't worth the hassle or the humiliation.

He isn't alone.

A lot of dark-skinned Canadians, or Canadians with Middle Eastern or Arab roots, have reached the same conclusion.

To Robert Birgeneau, who cites the specific case of the unnamed scientist from Iran, this is a big deal.

"There are difficulties now," says the newly appointed chancellor of the University of California at Berkeley, among the premier scientific research institutions in the United States. "Petty behaviour by some people at the border has done a lot of damage."

Birgeneau, who recently departed the president's office at the University of Toronto to take up his new post in California, says it's "imperative" that Canadian researchers and teachers be free to travel to the United States, to attend conferences or to meet their American counterparts.

But that freedom — like much else in this post-9/11 world — is now being threatened. The issue may not have garnered many headlines yet, but it's one more reason that Canadians have a lot riding on the outcome of next Tuesday's presidential election in the United States.

Birgeneau believes that a victory by Democratic challenger John Kerry would help to ease tensions at the U.S. border, particularly for Canadians who happen to have either the "wrong" appearance or the "wrong" place of birth.

"I think this issue would be more readily facilitated under a Kerry administration," he says, although he concedes it's no easy matter to impose courteous manners or enlightened ideas upon a large and unwieldy labour force — in this case, the 190,000 men and women employed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. "It's hard to get them all in line."

Bigotry on the border, if that's what it is, represents one of many areas in which life after 11/2 — that is, next Tuesday — will either change or remain the same, depending on the outcome of the U.S. vote.

Canadians, with their abiding economic dependence on the United States, have almost as much at stake in the elections as Americans do themselves, but Birgeneau warns that the differences between the two principal candidates — Kerry and Republican President George W. Bush — may have been exaggerated.

[...]

But Canadians beware. Much like Americans in general, and Bush in particular, Kerry is not what you'd call a dedicated student of things Canadian.

No matter which man triumphs next week, people in Canada will still have to struggle to be heard above the partisan clamour in Washington and will often wind up feeling ignored and neglected, much as they do now, much as they always have.

Says Birgeneau, "I don't think that would be very different."

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USA Patriot Act comes under fire in B.C. report
Last Updated Fri, 29 Oct 2004 21:47:47 EDT

VICTORIA - The USA Patriot Act violates British Columbia's privacy laws because it can order American companies to hand over information on British Columbians in secret, B.C. Privacy Commissioner David Loukidelis said Friday.

In a report on the privacy implications of the Patriot Act, Loukidelis notes that once information is sent across borders, it's difficult, if not impossible, to control.

The 151-page report states that under the Patriot Act, the U.S. government can demand access to a wide range of personal and confidential information about Canadians from U.S. financial institutions, phone companies and internet providers.

"It is never possible to guarantee perfect protection of information. Regardless, our report concludes that measures can and should be put in place that meaningfully guard against access by the USA Patriot Act," said Loukidelis.

One important recommendation is to have Ottawa and the provinces pass legislation that will "prohibit personal information from being stored or sent outside Canada."

Loukidelis would also like to make it illegal for Canadian subsidiaries of U.S. firms to turn over information to a U.S. agency without a Canadian court order.

Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan and Ontario employ U.S.–based companies to manage provincial government databases.

The B.C. government has contracted out some business to one U.S. firm and wants to use another American company to operate the province's Medical Services Plan.

CIBC credit card holders in Canada sign an agreement that allows personal information about them to be viewed by U.S. authorities, the report said.

The privacy commissioner began his investigation earlier this year after concerns were raised about the effect of the Patriot Act on the privacy rights of British Columbians.

This month the B.C. government passed a law to prevent the U.S. from examining information on British Columbians that is in possession of private U.S. companies.

Those that break that law risk fines from $2,000 for individuals and $500,000 for corporations.

The Patriot Act was enacted following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. It allows the U.S. government to review information on private and public businesses in an effort to hunt down terrorists.

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Patriot Act fights terror not Canadian privacy rights, says U.S. ambassador
By DIRK MEISSNER
October 29, 2004

VICTORIA (CP) - The United States is willing to review a British Columbia report that concludes the U.S. Patriot Act has the power to eyeball private information about Canadians, Paul Cellucci, the U.S. ambassador to Canada, said Friday.

The U.S., like Canada, is concerned about protecting the privacy rights of its citizens, but when it comes to fighting terrorists law enforcers need tools to get the job done, he said.

Cellucci made the comments following Friday's release of a report by B.C. privacy commissioner David Loukidelis who concluded private information about Canadians could be viewed by U.S. authorities despite Canadian attempts to thwart the probes.

"We live in an age of terror," said Cellucci in a telephone interview from Vancouver.

"We have to make sure law enforcement can protect us while at the same time protect privacy rights," he said.

Loukidelis said the long arm of the Patriot Act allows U.S. authorities to access the personal information of Canadians if it ends up in the United States or if it is held by U.S. companies in Canada.

"Our research and analysis led us to the conclusion that the USA Patriot Act knows no borders," he said at a news conference at the B.C. legislature.

Cellucci said the U.S. will review the B.C. report and work with the province and Canada on privacy and protection concerns.

"We're willing obviously to have a look at this to have some dialogue," he said. "We want to find the right balance where law enforcement has the tools to protect people, but we also want to protect privacy rights as well."

Ottawa said it will work with Loukidelis to address the issue of cross-border information sharing.

"Striking a balance between the protection of privacy and the promotion of national security is one of the single most important issues facing our society today," said Jennifer Stoddart, privacy commissioner of Canada, in a statement.

Stoddart's office will work to address several of the 16 recommendations in Loukidelis's report, including reviewing the federal privacy and anti-terrorism acts.

"There is a considerable degree of uncertainty and anxiety with the broader issue of trans-border exchanges of information, done by both public-sector and private-sector organizations," said Stoddart.

"Canadians deserve to know how their personal information is being shared." [...]

The 151-page report also concluded U.S. courts have the power to require American companies to produce records held in Canada by subsidiaries "because they have the legal or practical ability to obtain the records."

The Patriot Act was enacted following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Section 215 of the act allows a special court to secretly issue an order requiring "the production of any tangible things" to the FBI.

It gives the U.S. government sweeping powers to review information banks of private and public businesses in an effort to hunt down terrorists. [...]

Loukidelis said he doesn't agree with earlier B.C. government statements that the risk posed by the USA Patriot Act to the privacy of British Columbians is minimal.

"There is no reason to think that the risk of USA Patriot Act access is minimal or vanishingly small," Loukidelis said. [...]

He said people feel they are losing control over what happens to their personal information and worry their privacy rights are being overtaken by security concerns.

Many are also concerned there is too much blurring of the lines between information used for domestic law enforcement, information used by governments who provide services and information used by governments investigating terrorism threats. [...]

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Ukraine's Dramatic Election
Eric Mrgolis
October 30, 2004
Ukraine’s extremely important national elections tomorrow are causing deep concern among Canada’s ethnic Ukrainian communities and, far too late, in Europe and the United States.

Twenty-three candidates are running for president. But all eyes are on the bitter race between pro-western democratic reformer and former prime minister, Viktor Yushchenko, and the Moscow-oriented current prime minister, Viktor Yanukovych who is considered a stand-in for Ukraine’s widely-criticized president and strongman for the past decade, Leonid Kuchma.

A key political figure in the election is Yulia Tymoshenko, one of the most interesting, attractive female politicians of our day. This brilliant, feisty lady led a one-woman crusade against the rampant corruption in the Kuchma government and was briefly jailed. She told me last year that Ukraine could soon slip back into the orbit of Russia if democracy were not firmly established in the ex-Soviet republic.

The election race has been exceptionally dirty, even by East European standards. Candidates and their families have been threatened, journalists intimidated. The national media controlled by Kuchma and his allies has shamelessly promoted Yanukovych while ignoring Yushchenko. Voter lists and registration forms have been corrupted or destroyed.

Last month, Yushchenko fell gravely ill and spent weeks in hospital after an attempt to poison him. He remains unwell and suffers from partial facial paralysis. Poisoning is a old favorite of KGB. Whether Yushchenko was poisoned by the Russian or Ukrainian KGB is unknown, but he clearly was victim of an assassination attempt.

Yanukovych claimed he, too, was targeted for assassination, and was briefly hospitalized, after being hit by an egg.

While the west has been absorbed by the American election drama, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin orchestrated a massive covert effort to support Yanukovych, including large sums in bribes, and efforts to mobilize Ukraine’s ethnic Russian minority. Over the past decade, Moscow has also conducted a subtle and quite effective campaign to keep Ukraine diplomatically and economically isolated from the west. Much of Ukraine’s economy and power grid remains tied to Russia.

President Putin even made a high profile pre-election visit this week to Ukraine to coincide with a military parade commemorating World War II that led to rumors of an armed coup.

There can be no doubt Moscow is determined to draw Ukraine – which it still views as a breakaway province(as China sees Taiwan) – back into an eventually reconstituted Russian Union. Reunion with Ukraine’s 48 million people would do much to restore Russia to its former superpower status. Yanukovych recently has proposed making Russian an official national language.

As Russian pressure on Ukraine intensified, the west responded by issuing a few feeble warnings about the need for free elections.

The Bush Administration has backed the Moscow-oriented Kuchma-Yanukovych side, lavishing tens of millions in official aid and covert payments on government officials in return for Ukraine sending troops to Iraq. This quickly ended Washington’s previous complaints about the Kuchma government’s human rights violations and corruption.

Yuschenko vows to pull his nation’s troops out of Iraq, so he has been largely ignored by the Bush Administration.

Similarly, the Polish government was also reportedly `induced’ by Washington to send troops to Iraq by very large covert payments to its senior members and to business cronies of the leadership.

Tomorrow’s vote will likely not produce a clear winner. A second ballot is scheduled for 21 November. The election is expected to be fraught with vote tampering, ballot box stuffing, intimidation and a host of other irregularities as the Kuchma-Yanukovych faction struggles to retain power at any cost.

Ukraine’s election will likely determine whether this highly strategic nation slowly degrades back into Russia’s orbit, or firmly orients itself towards the European Union and NATO. The west has neglected Ukraine for far too long, and may now pay the price if the pro-Moscow faction consolidates power.

Comment: A national media controlled by one side, threats, corrupted or destroyed voter's lists, sound like the US election. Yanukovych's close brush with the killer egg sounds similar to Bush's fighting off the killer pretzel. Those assasines are getting crafty.

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No Longer a Christian

by Karen Horst Cobb October 25, 2004

I was told in Sunday school the word "Christian" means to be Christ-like, but the message I hear daily on the airwaves from the “christian ” media are words of war, violence, and aggression. Throughout this article I will spell christian with a small c rather than a capital, since the term (as I usually hear it thrown about) does not refer to the teachings of the one I know as the Christ. I hear church goers call in to radio programs and explain that it was a mistake not to kill every living thing in Fallujah. They quote chapter and verse from the old testament about smiting the enemies of Israel. The fear of fighting the terrorists on our soil rather than across the globe causes the voices to be raised as they justify the latest prison scandal or other accounts of the horrors of war . The words they speak are words of destruction, aggression, dominance, revenge, fear and arrogance. The host and the callers echo the belief in the righteousness of our nation's killing. There are reminders to pray for our “christian” president who is doing the work of the Lord: Right to Life, Second Amendmendment, sanctity of marriage, welfare reform, war, kill, evil liberals. . . so much to fight, so much to destroy.

Let me tell you about the Christ I know. He was born poor to an unmarried woman. He was not born into a family of privilege. He was a radical. He said, “It was said an eye for and eye and a tooth of a tooth, but now I say love your enemies and bless those who curse you.” He said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” (Mattew 5: 3-9) He said, “All those who are called by my name will enter the kingdom of heaven." He said, "People will know true believers if they have the fruit of the spirit--love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, self control.“

He knew he would be led like a sheep to the slaughter. He responded with “Father forgive them.“ He explained that in Christ there is neither Jew nor gentile, slave or free male nor female. He explained that even to be angry is akin to murder. He said the temple of God is not a building, but is in the hearts of those are called by his name. He was called "the Prince of Peace." His final days were spent in prayer, so that he could endure what was set before him, not on how he could overpower the evil government of that day. When they came for him he was led away and didn’t resist his death sentence.

This is a stark contrast to the call of the religious christian right, who vote for war and weapons, and suggest towns and villages be leveled to bring freedom and peace to the people. They proudly boast this country’s superiority, suggesting God has blessed our nation. Today, as I listened to a popular christian news network, I was reminded that in the last days, even God’s elect will be deceived, (II Timothy 3:13). When the religious media moguls preaching prosperity spout their rhetoric, I am reminded of the difficulty Jesus described of a rich man’s ability to enter the kingdom of God. (Matthew 19: 24) (http://www.4religious-right.info/rr_economics.htm) Some who believe they are fighting evil will cry to the Lord, and he will say “I never knew you.“ (Matthew 22). They will have a form or godliness but will deny the power (II Timothy 3:5) to move mountains through prayer. (Matthew 17:20). Jesus explained that he has not given us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind. (II Timothy 1:17) I wonder if the innocent moms and dads, brothers and sisters, and aunts and uncles, and grandmas and grandpas who were the victims of US military weapons (the never reported collateral damages we are protected from in the “liberal” nightly news) felt the love of Jesus with the shock and awe. I wonder if the surviving family members now understand His radical love and that they no longer have any need for weapons or defense.

The solutions to the social issues used to manipulate good, decent people have no resemblance to how Jesus responded to the social concerns of his time. He never once mentioned the “right to life” the year he was born King Herod ordered the execution of all babies. (Matthew 2:16). He knew that passing laws does not change the heart. As a follower of his teaching I believe in the right to life, including the children in Iraq who stumble onto land mines, cross the street at the wrong time, or who are snuggly tucked within the warm bellies of their wounded or grieving mothers as US fighter jets fly overhead. These are living, breathing children. The killing of these little ones are never even reported, and our tax dollars pay for these bombs. I believe in the right to life for those in the United States who are unwanted and impoversihed. I believe in the right to life of the naive kid who was promised by the recruiter they could choose a desk job and still get their education paid or could see the world or could accelerate their life or could play a very realistic video game from a cockpit.

As a shelter worker, I know first hand the reality of unwanted children. I know the reality of this right wing rhetoric when week after week I begged and pleaded with people to give up only one night every three months to sit with these unwanted living children for a few hours while the overworked house parents had a night off. Of the few I found, many changed their minds when they discovered that they would need to wear rubber gloves to change the babies diapers. These “believers” stand on the street corners holding right to life signs and then vote against medical assistance for the mothers and their unwanted children creating an impossible existence for them. The few of these abortion activists who might adopt some of these unwanted children generally want the white and the healthy. The ones with hydrocephalous, tracheotomies, emotional/ mental problems and communicable diseases along with their life long medical expenses can be someone else’s problems.

I cringe as many christians vote for policies that deny help to the poor in our own county, who vote to support the war and military strength, assuring the latest weapons are developed and that the heavens will be dominated by the military of the United States. We develop electromagnetic weapons to shatter skulls , split the earth and silently destroy a body as a thief in the night. Studies are even now searching for the frequencies to override the freewill. These unbelievable technologies are a reality and DNA specific weapons can or soon will target a specific nationality.I weep as the waters Jesus walked on become contaminated with uranium. I grieve as the missiles fly through the atmosphere on the continent where Jesus rose into the sky, defying death and the grave and where the Holy Sprit first descended. I cry out at the horrors of war and the indignity of the prisons so close to where He took captivity captive. So I am no longer a christian if Christianity has become what is presented to us by our christian president and christian media. I cannot support the right of the United States and Israel to develop and use the most heinous weapons ever imagined. I want no part of a temple built on the blood of the innocent. The sheep have been lead astray by the teachings of prosperity and misinterpretation of the final battle between good and evil. Many no longer can recognize the voice of the good Shepard.

Some “good christians” even work at weapons facilities. It is not a stretch to say that a woman who tightens a last rivet on a shiny new missile just off the assembly line might be the same woman who licks the gold star on the attendance chart in morning Sunday school. The missile could be launched by the kid in the youth group who reads the invocation and it will find it’s destiny at a “target of interest” which might or might not have been a result of good intelligence. The collection plate circulates children are taught to love their enemies and bless those who curse them.

The statements and lifestyle of Jesus are difficult for me to understand. What would he say to evil dictators? This God would not justify 15,000 or more deaths. Even the wrathful jealous God of the old testament spared whole cities for a few righteous souls. For christians, to support mass killings as a way to prevent future deaths is not at all like Christ. He would not say, "When I am talking about war I am really talking about peace," like the self professed christian President proudly states. Who but God has the right to determine what price a people should pay for their freedom? The religious leaders on the airwaves today respond to the voices of the few brave peacemakers who dare to speak out. They say that pacifism is insane, and that it doesn’t make sense, but what is forgotten is that logic and faith are separate entities. I believe in the example of Jesus and his admonition to love your enemies and bless those who curse you . Do I understand how this works on the global scale? Do I know what Jesus would say to all the world’s leaders? No, nor do I totally understand how the example of Christ’s life and his message of love works in the world today. That’s why I need faith. Am I always correct in my assessments and actions? No, that’s why I need grace. Am I brave and unafraid? No, that’s why I need the perfect love that casts out fear. Some put trust in Chariots and some in horses but I will remember the name of the lord our God--the Prince of Peace. Perhaps politics has no place for imitators of Christ.

Who will show the face of Christ to the world? Who will speak His radical message? I hear from these so called imitators of Christ that the pacifists are a collection of kids, hippies, socialists and communists who haven’t got a clue. Some of us, however, have come to our beliefs as a result of careful and prayerful study of the scriptures and admonishment from our elders. Many are Mennonite, Amish, Quaker and other Anabaptists, whose ancestors did not resist their torturers and were drowned, burnt at the stake and flogged for their pacifist stand. They truly followed the example of Christ, and their resistance against the catastrophic effects of the merging of church and state cost them a great price. Churches today have signed onto the government plan and have agreed to look the other way in exchange for tax free privileges. The true message of Christ still exists to some degree in the quiet of the land to peacemakers, but sadly these good people have been deceived by the angry words from a righteous sounding religious media majority broadcasting in cars and trucks and tractors all over our land ironically preaching the “good news of war for peace“ and convincing 24-7 “liberal“ bashing. I suspect there are many who share my sorrow at the loss of what it means to be Christ-like, but our voice is seldom heard. The blaring rhetoric drowns out the still small voice of the mighty God. Peace used be the opposite of war, Conservative used to mean the tendency to conserve resources. Liberal used to mean kind and generous, and Christian used to mean like Christ.

So I am no longer a christian but just a person who continues trying to follow the example of Christ. I’ll let him call me what he wants when I see him face to face. Until then, I will pray that someday people like me will be able to reclaim the meaning of Christ’s identity, and the world will see the effects of the radical message of Christ‘s love--the perfect love that casts out fear.

Comment: For more on a different Christian perspective, see Bob Fraley's website, Beast of Revelation.

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Jewishness versus democracy
Azmi Bishara examines the contradictions at the heart of attempts to steamroll an Israeli constitution
The 16th Knesset is strenuously working to hammer together a constitution at a time when the right controls both the Israeli parliament and its Law and Constitution Committee. One of the most important missions of the forthcoming constitution in the view of the Israeli right is to reinforce the notion of the Jewishness of the Israeli state. In order to promote this drive in the media and academic circles the Israeli Institute for Democracy, that elitist establishment that holds its annual conventions in Herzliya, has launched a campaign "for the sake of constitution by consensus".

As part of this campaign, the institute resorted to a tactic generally used by Israeli liberals to compel Arab Knesset representatives to toe the party line, which was to conduct a survey among Arab Israelis. In this case, the survey was designed to impress upon Arab MPs the desire of their Arab constituents to participate in the making of a "historic deal" by approving a constitution that upholds the Jewishness of the state in exchange for full equality in civil rights and liberties.

Naturally, the survey did not take the trouble to point out to respondents the inherent contradiction between the notions of equality and the Jewishness of the state or the fact that the conservative and religious right will have the ultimate say in producing a new, solid and immutable definition of what it means to be a Jewish state.

Until now any such definition has been restricted to a few words in the opening lines of the Basic Laws, which the Arabs never had the opportunity to approve or disapprove to begin with. These same words were imposed on them under Article 7A of the Knesset Law, which the Arabs would oppose if it were put to a vote again, just as they opposed it when the law was first enacted. According to this provision any party that does not recognise Israel as a Jewish and democratic state cannot participate in parliamentary elections.

Unlike the constitutional drives of the 1990s the constitutional coup that is currently being engineered in Israel is anything but liberal in inspiration. Nevertheless, it is capitalising on the fact that to the Arabs the word "constitution" has positive connotations. That Arab propaganda has wrongly portrayed the absence of a constitution as a shortcoming in Israeli law and proof of Israel's refusal to set borders and hence of its expansionist designs reflects nothing but ignorance of the actual reasons why a constitution has never been promulgated in this country. The current campaign is an attempt to entrench ideological and historical concepts that are still being contended. It is being spearheaded by the Israeli right as part of its ongoing battle against the liberal democratic concept of a state for all its citizens and, to a lesser degree, against what it perceives as the liberalism of the Supreme Court.

The origins, sources and dynamics of the development of Israeli democracy cannot be divorced from their Zionist context. Agreement on Israel being a state for Jews, a Jewish state that seeks to attract Zionist migrations, is at the core of Israeli democracy. In the absence of a shared democratic history or national structure, it was this concept that was promoted as the key to creating the unity and cohesion needed to support pluralistic democracy and to forestall any disintegration of the state through, for example, civil/sectarian war. Zionism, and not citizenship, is the vehicle for Jewish democracy and, simultaneously, the prime obstacle to its development. In times of crisis in particular it is a democracy that has all the hallmarks of the tribe.

If it is impossible to separate the Jewishness of the state from the substance of its democracy; this is not because it is stipulated by law. The linking of Jewishness and democracy, that double-barrelled coda appended to the state, appears in only two of the constitutional-like Basic Laws, and these are relatively recent. The Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty of 1992 states that the "purpose of this Basic Law is to protect human dignity and liberty, in order to establish in a Basic Law the values of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state". The formula is repeated in point two of the Basic Law: Freedom of Occupation. "The purpose of this Basic Law is to protect freedom of occupation, in order to establish in a Basic Law the values of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state."

Israel's prevailing Zionist culture fears too loose an interpretation of democracy, specifically one the liberal components of which may undermine the notion of the Jewish state or conflict with the essence, identity or character of that state's democracy. There is an instinctive feeling, seldom articulated, that an inherent contradiction exists between the Zionist ideology and character of the state, and the liberalisation of its democracy in the direction of such concepts as the rights of citizenship. Consequently, in order to preclude any further discussion of the subject in the process of legislating acts of a constitutional nature the Knesset has made it de rigueur to include the phrase "Jewish and democratic" in any Basic Law it contemplates passing.

After more than half a century since its establishment, Israel is not satisfied with mere recognition as a sovereign state; it wants its definition of the ethnic/religious character of that state recognised too. This demand -- indeed, condition -- surfaced in the context of the Israeli government's discussion of the roadmap, which was officially presented to Israel on 30 April 2003 and only approved a month later, on 25 May. More precisely, the Israeli government did not approve the American-sponsored plan but "agreed to accept the steps set out in the roadmap" to which it appended 14 conditions, and even then the decision was only approved by a majority of 12 to 7. The sixth "comment", as these conditions were termed, required the Palestinians to relinquish the right of Palestinian refugees to return to Israel, or as it was so eloquently worded: "In connection to both the introductory statements and the final settlement, declared references must be made to Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state and to the waiver of any right of return for Palestinian refugees to the State of Israel."

As this reservation makes explicit demands for the recognition of the Jewishness of Israel it must be seen against the background of demands that Palestinians relinquish the right to return before negotiations begin, not against the background of any discussion of the two-state solution, or within the debate between religious parties and secularists over the Jewishness of the state or the controversy sparked by democratic nationalists who propose a modern, liberal democratic state for all citizens. And this is the background that has given rise to the pseudo- liberal Zionist drive to engage the Arabs in Israel in a historic deal in accordance with which they add their blessing to the Jewishness the state has enshrined in a constitution. Only thus can the circle be made complete.

The Israeli Law of Return, as was the case with the declaration of independence before that, is founded upon the premise that Israel is the state of the Jewish people. The Supreme Court effectively gave this principle constitutional force when it upheld the decision of the Central Elections Committee (CEC) to disqualify the Land Movement from participating in parliamentary elections. In ruling on the case the court stated: "Israel is not just an independent sovereign state but also a Jewish state on the land of Israel, because its establishment occurred primarily and above all in fulfilment of the natural and historic right of the Jewish people to live, like other peoples, independently in their own sovereign state."

This paragraph was lifted almost verbatim from the Israeli declaration of independence, which has evolved into a document of constitutional standing. The same paragraph was frequently cited by Israeli Supreme Court justices in their rulings before the Knesset enacted, in 1985, legislation barring any party that overtly or implicitly, through its actions or deeds, denied the Jewish character of the state of Israel.

The carefully worded judgement of Supreme Court Justice Dov Levin on the appeal against the CEC's decision to permit the registration of the Progressive List for Peace (PLP) is in this context illuminating. One of the minority justices who voted to void the CEC decision, Levin stated: "The essential character of the state is that it is a Jewish state, the system of government of which is democratic." In other words, the state is Jewish in substance and only democratic in form. The liberal Justice Aharon Barak went a step further to place the liberal versus conservative debate in Israel squarely in its ideological context. Citing the remarks of his colleagues Dov Levin and Menachem Elon in their rulings on the PLP case, Barak stated: "We are a young state in which an old people has returned to its land. The state of Israel is the realisation of aspirations the Jewish people have had for generations to revive their ancient history, the beginning of deliverance and the realisation of the Zionist vision. Deep is the national, religious and historical political bond between the people of Israel and the land of Israel, and between the Jewish state and the Jewish people." Note that Justice Barak attempts, in effect, to codify Zionism's messianic vision through his affirmation that the Zionist bond is a religious-political one which effectively precludes any distinction between the notions of a "Jewish state", a "Zionist state" and "a state for Jews".

The question of the character and identity of the national group that makes up the nation state in the Zionist sense has a direct and crucial bearing on the question of citizenship rights. The Law of Return of 1950 states:

"1. Every Jew has the right to immigrate to Israel.

"4. Every Jew who has immigrated into this country before the coming into force of this law, and every Jew who was born in this country, whether before or after the coming into force of this law, shall be deemed to be a person who has immigrated to this country under this law.

"4A. (a) The rights of a Jew under this law and the rights of an oleh [Jew immigrating to Israel] under the Nationality Law (of 1952), as well as the rights of an oleh under any other enactment, are also vested in a child and a grandchild of a Jew, the spouse of a Jew, the spouse of a child of a Jew and the spouse of a grandchild of a Jew, except for a person who has been a Jew and has voluntarily changed his religion.

"4B. For the purposes of this Law, Jew means a person who was born of a Jewish mother or has become converted to Judaism and who is not a member of another religion."

When advocating this law before the Knesset, Ben Gurion said: "This law determines that it is not the state that grants the Jew from abroad the right to settle in the state. Rather, this right is inherent in him by the very fact that he is a Jew, if only he desires to join in the settlement of the land."

Then begins the verbal alchemy that attempts to reconcile this "right" with the principle of equality: "In the State of Israel the Jews have no right of priority over non- Jewish citizens," he said, but "...the right to return preceded the State."

"In" versus "preceded" -- one cannot help but admire this exercise in political metaphysics, or legal hocus-pocus, that renders equality coterminous with the state and the right of return prior to the state.

Ben Gurion continues: "This right originates in the unbroken historical connection between the people and the homeland, a connection that has also been acknowledged in actual practice by the tribunal of the peoples."

By "tribunal of the peoples" Ben Gurion was referring, of course, to the Balfour declaration and its incorporation into the British mandate over Palestine. It is doubtful that he would also allude to the UN resolution on the partition of Palestine, for although the resolution stipulates the creation of a "Jewish state" and "Arab state" in Palestine, it stresses that the inhabitants of each of these states would be regarded as citizens as long as they did not apply for citizenship in the other state. Under the partition resolution, there is no distinction between Arab and Jewish rights to citizenship in either state; citizenship derives from residence, not from the "right to return" or an "unbroken" historical bond, religious or otherwise.

Had the Arabs not been systematically driven from what would become Israel as Arab villages that fell within the borders of the state defined by the partition resolution were systematically destroyed, Arabs would have formed 45 per cent of the population of the state. Tellingly, there was not so much as an attempt to figure out how the existence of such a large proportion of Arabs could have been rendered consistent with the definition of Israel as a Jewish state. The UN resolution to create two states, one Arab and one Jewish, was a political, not an ideological, decision, but the Zionist leaders exploited it politically to realise their ideological aims. No modern-day Zionist could conceive of a Jewish state, half the population of which is Palestinian. But Israel's founding fathers had no problem accepting the resolution at the time.

Ben Gurion's speech may be more than 50 years old but it remains relevant. The distinction he drew between the Jews' superior right to the state and equality in the state is what liberal Zionists now want us to accept in a constitutionally laid-down definition of Israel as a Jewish state. The distinction is pure illusion. It is logically impossible, and practice has proven it false. Discrimination in the right to the state is what led to the expulsion of the Palestinians following the partition resolution and then gave rise to the state's discriminatory regard towards the Arabs that remained -- as either a burden or testimony to Zionism's abundant tolerance. As long as a segment of the populace exists without a right to the state a question will hover over that segment's membership in the state. It should come as no surprise that on 15 January, 1951, hot on the heels of the above-mentioned Knesset speech, and in the same building, Ben Gurion suggested to his Mapai bloc that Israel should take the first opportunity to expel the Arabs, because "they want to throw us into the sea". In so saying Ben Gurion set two records: he, not Meir Kahana, is the first Israeli politician after 1948 to call for the expulsion of the Arabs and he is also probably the first to use the phrase "throw us into the sea" in Israeli political rhetoric. In all events, the very man who had waxed so eloquently about the equality of all citizens "in" the state then urged that a large proportion of those citizens be removed.

And now we find Sharon echoing Ben Gurion half a century down the line. Arab citizens have rights in the country but not to the country, he said in a Knesset session. There is only one way to interpret this: sovereign rights belong to the Jews and this sovereignty entitles them to grant (or withhold) rights to others in the country. Needless to say, such a distorted conception of rights puts paid to any notion of equality.

The concept of the Jewishness of the state was the instrument that facilitated the enacting of laws for the confiscation of Arab land. It accorded priority to the values of "ingathering" Jews and absorbing Jewish immigrants, regardless of how that conflicted with the rights of non-Jewish citizens, including property rights. The Jewishness of the state was the impetus behind the enactment of the Jewish Agency and International Zionist Organisation Law of 1952, which accords these two Jewish organisations, as well as the Jewish National Fund and other non-governmental organisations, special status and privileges with regard to land ownership, settlement construction and absorbing Jewish immigrants -- tasks that are the sine qua non to the Jewishness of the state.

The 15th Knesset (1999 -- 2003) introduced 15 blatantly racist laws all intended to consolidate the concept of a state for Jews and the Jewishness of the state. Recently the Knesset has been presented with another bill intended to reinforce prohibitions against Arab purchase of "state lands" -- these being the lands upon which were constructed Jewish towns and villages inside the Green Line. We do not need to go to great lengths to explain that these "state lands" were originally acquired through the occupation and confiscation of Arab land. Until now the founding and acceptance committees of the cooperative and community settlements determine who is allowed to live in these towns or villages. It was taken for granted that Arabs were not allowed, as these settlements on confiscated Arab land were established for purely Zionist purposes. Nevertheless, the Supreme Court has recently changed all that, having been forced to rule in favour of an Arab citizen who had expressed his desire to assimilate into Israeli society, specifically by moving into this type of settlement.

Since then, other attempts have been made to keep Arabs out of community ( yishuv ) lands. In April, the Israel Lands Authority (ILA) issued a tender for marketing 43 plots for housing in a neighbourhood in Carmiel. When it transpired that 17 of the families that made successful bids were Arabs, the ILA froze the tender on the grounds that the land belongs to the Jewish National Fund (JNF), and was thus available for sale to Jews only. Three months later the ILA issued another tender for the Carmiel neighbourhood, this time attempting to preempt Arab participation with the announcement that the land for sale was owned by the JNF. When faced with a court injunction to allow Arabs to participate in the bids, the ILA announced that it had decided to cancel the entire tender.

The foregoing cases cast into relief an important historical fact, which is that Israel is still in the process of formulating the contractual relationship between the individual and the state, and that the desired relationship is not one founded upon the concept of citizenship but upon ethnic-religious affiliation. This process is occurring as Arabs are being asked to give a stamp of approval to the Jewish character of the state in a special provision of the constitution.

Recently, the right attempted to cut short all further discussion on this issue by introducing a law that stated: "No Arabs will be allowed to live in a Jewish communal settlement." The parliament's legal bureau refused to allow the bill to be brought to the floor of the Knesset on the grounds that it was racist. Instead it insisted on rewording it as follows: "The designation of ILA lands for the purpose of establishing a small community that wishes to maintain its special character would not be deemed discriminatory even if its inhabitants are to be limited to members of one nation only."

Comment: A racist society founded on the Word of a vengeful and blood-thirsty god, now calling the shots for US foreign policy, creating chaos in the Arab world through a religious war they are fueling, all the while hiding behind the epithet thrown at their enemies of "anti-Semite".

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Bush Ghost Writer Shows Truth About Father and Son
Misleader.org

Mickey Herskowitz - a ghost writer for both George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush - has revealed startling information about both men, which he learned from extensive candid conversations with the 41st and the 43rd presidents. Herskowitz revealed the information in a series of interviews with investigative reporter Russ Baker, which Baker tape recorded.1

Baker's article reveals that "in 2003, Bush's father indicated to [Herskowitz] that he disagreed with his son's invasion of Iraq."2

George W. Bush was reluctant to talk to Herskowitz about his National Guard service. But Bush did tell him "that after transferring from his Texas Guard unit two-thirds through his six-year military obligation to work on an Alabama political campaign, he did not attend any Alabama National Guard drills at all, because he was 'excused.'"3 Bush's comments to Herskowitz "directly contradicts his public statements that he participated in obligatory training with the Alabama National Guard."4

According to Herskowitz, "two years before the September 11 attacks, presidential candidate George W. Bush was already talking privately about attacking Iraq."5 In 1999, Bush said to Herskowitz, "My father had all this political capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait and he wasted it. If I have a chance to invade…. if I had that much capital, I'm not going to waste it. I'm going to get everything passed that I want to get passed and I'm going to have a successful presidency."6

Sources:

1. "Bush Wanted To Invade Iraq If Elected in 2000," Russ Baker, 10/27/04.
2. Ibid.
3. Ibid.
4. Ibid.
5. Ibid.
6. Ibid.

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Suicide bombers trained and ready, warns Russian security chief
Last Updated Fri, 29 Oct 2004 08:02:14 EDT

MOSCOW - More than 80 suicide bombers have been trained on foreign soil to carry out attacks on Russia, the head of country's security service said on Friday.

Federal Security Service director Nikolai Patrushev told Russia's lower house of parliament that some of the potential attackers had been intercepted.

But he says the problem is that authorities do not know what route militants might take to get into the country.

In recent years, rebels have carried out suicidal missions to take large numbers of hostages, such as the seizure of the school in Beslan last month in which more than 330 people were killed.

In August, twin explosions on airlines killed more than 90 people, and nine people died a few days later when a suicide bomber blew up a Moscow subway station.

A former KGB spy, President Vladimir Putin has become the subject of international criticism over the security tactics used to crack down on militants.

Putin has proposed sweeping electoral changes he says are needed to fight terrorism, including abolishing direct gubernatorial elections.

On Thursday, the Kremlin bused in thousands of students and pensioners for a government-sponsored rally in support of Putin's reforms.

In September, more than 100 international politicians and intellectual leaders published an open letter to Putin, accusing him of using terrorism as an excuse to undermine democratic freedoms.

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Israeli troops kill eight-year-old girl

28/10/2004 - 14:48:09

Israeli troops shot and killed an eight-year-old Palestinian girl who was on her way to school in a Gaza Strip refugee camp today, witnesses said.

Rania Iyad Aram of the Khan Younis camp was killed by random machine gun fire an army outpost near the neighbouring Jewish settlement of Ganei Tal, they said.

The Israeli army had no immediate comment.

The Israeli military completed a two-day operation earlier in the week against Palestinian militants firing mortars at Jewish settlements from the Khan Younis area. Seventeen Palestinians were killed in the operation.

In other Israeli-Palestinian violence, 40 Israeli tanks and armoured vehicles moved into the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank last night, exchanging fire with Palestinian militants, witnesses said.

There were no initial reports of injuries.

Military officials said the raid was intended to root out Palestinian militants in the camp and was expected to last a number of days. Israel has frequently raided West Bank towns and refugee camps during the last four years of fighting.

 

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Blast rocks Indian oil refinery injuring 16 workers, 6 others trapped
11:20 PM EDT Oct 29

AHMADABAD, India (AP) - An enormous explosion shook an oil refinery in India's western Gujarat state Friday morning, critically injuring 16 workers, leaving six trapped and shaking homes seven kilometres away, officials said.

The 4 a.m. explosion set fire to part of the refinery, and the fire was still burning hours later, said B.N. Bankapor, executive director of the Indian Oil Corp., which owns the refinery in the town of Koyali, some 115 kilometres southwest of Ahmedabad, the largest city of Gujarat. He said 16 workers sustained critical injuries and that a half dozen were still trapped in the burning unit.

Sudhir Sinha, a regional police official, said in a telephone interview that houses up to seven kilometres from the refinery were shaken by the explosion.

The blast occurred in a boiler in the refinery's fluidized catalytic cracker, said Bankapor, a key unit in refining gasoline and other products from crude oil. The blast then set fire to the entire cracker unit, he said.

The fire did not spread through the refinery, which has a yearly capacity of 13.7 million metric tons, but it was shut down so the fire could be battled, Bankapor said.

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'Surrey corridor' out of this world
Chad Skelton
Vancouver Sun
October 29, 2004

UFOs seem to favour a 3-km-wide strip running along the high-voltage power lines
 
UFO enthusiasts call it the Surrey corridor -- a three-kilometre-wide strip of land that runs from New Westminster to the U.S. border, along BC Hydro's high-voltage power lines.

It is here, they say, where you will find the greatest concentration of UFO sightings and alien encounters in the province.

"I have received numerous reports from inside this area, not only of sightings, but abduction events," said Graham Conway, vice-president of UFO*BC, who said anywhere from one-quarter to one-third of all Unidentified Flying Object sightings in the Lower Mainland take place in the corridor.

Last year alone, there were 304 UFO sightings in B.C., according to Chris Rutkowski, a UFO researcher in Manitoba who collects numbers from provincial groups like UFO*BC.

That made B.C. the number one province for UFO sightings in the country, with more than twice the sightings of second-place Ontario, which had 150. It was B.C.'s fifth year in top spot.

And UFO*BC is doing its best to keep track of it all.

The nine-year-old organization posts detailed reports on sightings and abductions on its website, sends out a quarterly newsletter to its 60 members and even maintains a toll-free hotline where B.C. residents can report UFO sightings and alien encounters. [...]

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