Monday, November 1, 2004
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Strange Tale & Pictures of the Day

by a Survivor

Well, here is my story:

Once upon a time a Brother from Outer Space came down to Earth in a rainy Pyrenean forest to shed his 4th Density light upon Mankind. A member of a local tribe was the first to greet the Space Brother. The Space Brother told the tribesman that he had been sent by the Great Council of the Stars to save mankind from themselves. The Great Council, in their cosmic wisdom, had seen that things were getting out of hand on this planet, and no matter their attempts to intervene on the Astral Planes, humanity just wasn't receiving the message.

More Light Workers were needed!

It turned immediately into a Cult, as it can be seen in this image from the forthcoming documentary, Many Hams Make Light Workers:

Impressed by his message of peace, and overcome by the Rays of Magnificence given off by his Imperial Being, humans offered him devotion, naked women and bottles of French Wine ...

And of course the Space Brother loved that:

Space Brother secretly thought that the Wine should help him to get a Deep Male Voice. The blur on the picture is caused by this intense 4th D thinking.

But at the same time, a Shaman was living in the deepest and darkest part of the Tall Pine Forest:

This man of vast knowledge (who spoke in Gaelic!!) became furious because he was no longer the object of the Tribal Cult. He had to come up with a plan in order to win back the attentions of the Forest Tribe.

He decided to create a giant bow to send a giant arrow into Outer Space to kill 'em all (talking about the Space Brothers, of course)(Sorry it's hard to translate Gaelic gurglings):

The Shaman, at the nadir of his influence over the Tribe, tries to carry a giant arrow on his shoulder in order to bushwhack the Space Brother. Dark STS forces are powerfully emanating from his body as he's closer and closer to achieve his revenge!

What will happen next ?

Shall the Wise One, the Glove Eater, save the Space Brother?

Or will he succomb to the powerful magic of the Shaman?

You'll get the answer next week !!


US warns of 'new terror threat'
BBC News
The US has warned its citizens in Nordic and Baltic states of the threat of imminent attacks.

In a statement posted on the Finnish embassy website, the state department warns citizens to be vigilant, especially when using public transport.

A statement on the Latvian embassy website warns citizens to avoid crowded areas and transport hubs from Monday.

They do not provide further details or say whether the threat is linked to Tuesday's US presidential elections.

'Threat information'

"The US Department of State wishes to alert US citizens, either resident in or travelling through the Nordic/Baltic region, that it has received threat information," says the statement on the Helsinki embassy website.

It warns all citizens to "be vigilant as to their surroundings, especially in centres of ground-based mass transit, and to report any unusual or suspicious persons, incidents or circumstances to the nearest police authorities."

The statement on the Riga embassy website adds that "citizens are urged to avoid large shopping areas and transportation hubs on or about 1 November".

No further details are available at present.

The Nordic countries comprise Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway and Iceland.

The Baltic states are Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Comment: Remember this from Osama's latest video:

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.

Curious how two days after Osama says that Sweden is safe because it doesn't interfere in the politics of the Arab countries, the US should come out with such a warning.

Coincidence? We think not.

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Bin Laden lives in safe place in Afghanistan: Paper
Sunday October 31, 2004 (1312 PST)

KUWAT CITY, November 01 (Online): Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is living in a safe place northeast of the Afghan capital under the protection of a tribe, Kuwait's Al-Rai Al-Aam newspaper quoted Islamic sources as saying Saturday.

An unnamed person met Omar two weeks ago and also saw bin Laden some two and a half months ago and told the sources the Al Qaeda leader was in good spirits.

"Sheikh Abu Abdullah (bin Laden) is in good health and high morale. He lives along with four people in a safe place with an Afghan tribe that provides him with all means of comfort and safety," the sources quoted the man as saying.

"Sheikh Osama lives in an area northeast of Kabul and closely follows the military actions of his followers," he added.

Bin Laden's number two Ayman al-Zawahiri also lives in Afghanistan but in an area far away from where the Al Qaeda leader is hiding, the sources said. The two leaders exchange information and coordinate through well-trusted men.

Both the Taleban and Al Qaeda are currently "regrouping" in preparation to launch "qualitative" attacks against US forces in Afghanistan, the sources added.

Al Qaeda is not capable at present of carrying out military attacks in Iraq, disputing statements by interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi that bin Laden had sent one of his followers to command operations in Iraq, the sources said.

Bin Laden threatened the United States with attacks similar to September 11, 2001 and accused President George W. Bush of "misleading" his people, in a video message aired Friday just days ahead of the US presidential election.

Comment: O, woe is us! To weed through the disinfo in these pre-election days! Sweden. Not Sweden. Al Qaeda is in Iraq. Al Qaeda is not in Iraq. What is a voter to do!

Well, the first thing is to realise that the election is already decided, and that your only "right" is that of slipping a piece of paper in a box. Then you are free to celebrate this democratic pantomine in whatever way you wish, although the preferred fashion is to remained glued in front of your TV as the results come in and the spin masters attempt to catch you up in the excitement, the thrill of a close race, and the possibility of legal recourse and a long, drawn-out period of contestation in the courts, mining your emotional energy for weeks.

Then again, they may go for the swift kick in the gut, delivering a massive KO within hours, thereby provoking a quickly surging rage in a deeply divided country.

The winner? The military-industrial complex and their agenda of war, US exceptionalism, and hatred towards the Arab world.

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Afghanistan's fatal addiction
Barnett R. Rubin International Herald Tribune
Thursday, October 28, 2004

NEW YORK There's good news from Afghanistan. President George W. Bush boasts that freedom is on the march. He showcases the presidential elections of Oct. 9, in which millions voted. Hamid Karzai is headed for a clear victory. The Taliban and Al Qaeda were unable even to disrupt, let alone halt, this election. The inevitable irregularities and disputes should not detract from this success.

Unfortunately, there is also bad news from Afghanistan. The CIA had been scheduled to release a report on drugs in Afghanistan last Friday. But the Los Angeles Times reported on Oct. 4 that the CIA estimated that the land planted in opium in Afghanistan had increased 60 percent over the previous year. And last year, according to the United Nations, income from opium growing and trafficking was equal to more than half of the legal economy of Afghanistan. So the administration decided that Friday afternoon was not a deep enough well to drown this report in and postponed its release until late November, according to a Pentagon source.

The Bush administration's decision to arm and fund commanders with long histories of involvement in drug trafficking, and its failure for almost three years to do anything about it, has greatly exacerbated this problem. When he visits Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld meets military commanders whom Afghans know as the godfathers of drug trafficking. The message has been clear: Help fight the Taliban and no one will interfere with your trafficking.

Drugs have become the key political and economic issue. Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, told The Boston Globe, "Just as people can be addicted to drugs, countries can be addicted to a drug economy. That's what I am seeing in Afghanistan."

Drugs provide livelihoods for poor farmers as well as employment for laborers during the harvest. Teachers and bureaucrats earn extra money as small-time traders. Merchants and money lenders earn profits as financiers and middlemen. Militia commanders, including members of Karzai's cabinet and the commanders of the country's principal military garrisons, have enriched themselves protecting the trade.

Every time Rumsfeld goes to Kabul, he exudes enthusiasm over the revival of commerce and construction. He notices all the new vehicles in the streets. Just what does he think is financing most of that investment and imports? The $3.3 billion of international aid disbursed on active projects since January 2002, or the $7 billion in opium revenues over the same period of time?

No government can establish security or the rule of law under these circumstances. [...]

If foreigners destroy half of their economy without offering an alternative, without any meaningful consultation, what, then, will the Afghans think of the elections? Will they feel they are living in an emerging democracy?

Afghans will work to eliminate drugs if America develops, with the Afghan government, a long-term program that balances law enforcement against traffickers and warlords with a major effort to transform rather than destroy the Afghan economy.

Comment: We are less optimistic that the opium trade can be replaced. The CIA, which uses such trade to finance many of its covert operations, would never allow it.

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Celestial fallout Coast never clear from possible meteorite bombardment
November 1, 2004

I don't want anyone to panic. Let's all remain calm as we talk about rocks that can fall from space anytime, anywhere and without warning.

We probably should begin our discussion today by defining some terms.

* Asteroids -- minor planets in our solar system, ranging in size from a small chunk to more than 1,000 kilometers across. They are irregular in shape and most orbit the sun in a belt between Mars and Jupiter.

* Meteoroids -- small, almost grainy rocks that orbit the sun, most weighing just a few grams. Most are leftover debris from comets or the result of asteroid collisions.

* Meteor -- a piece of rock or dust that has entered Earth's atmosphere and is in the process of burning up, creating a bright flash in the sky. A meteor is sometimes called a "shooting star."

* Meteorite -- a meteor that survived the trip through our atmosphere and has struck the surface.

Meteorites leave an impression on our planet. Perhaps the most famous is the Barringer Crater in Arizona, formed when a meteorite measuring 50 meters across struck Earth 50,000 years ago. This crater is 1.2 kilometers across and 200 meters deep.

Some collisions are more drastic. In the 1970s, geological dating determined that iridium-rich clay found in a layer between limestone strata all over the world was 65 million years old. That date coincides with a time when more than two-thirds of the species, including the dinosaurs, suddenly became extinct.

The connection? At the end of the Mesozoic era, a meteorite approximately 10 kilometers in diameter struck Earth, ejecting enough dust (including iridium) into the atmosphere to block the sun for several years, causing decreasing temperatures and mass extinctions.

Without the dinosaurs, the stage was set for mammals to develop and thrive in the Cenozoic era. Very humbling, in retrospect: If not for the extinction of the dinosaurs, would we mammals ever have risen to our present dominance?

Evidence now shows that our world experienced several large impacts in the past that have severely altered the biological landscape of this planet.

You might think that since these impacts can be so destructive, there would be millions of dollars and thousands of professionals protecting us.

Nope. There is only a handful of professional "asteroid hunters" working with limited resources. And it's a very big sky to search.

Now, you're saying, "Tom, I hear you. But, hey, aren't the odds of us being hit so low that we shouldn't worry about it?"

Perhaps. And, yes, the number of collisions has decreased dramatically over Earth's 5 billion-year history. But before we relax, let's consider the following three anecdotes.

* On Nov. 30, 1954, Mrs. E. Hulitt Hodge was taking a nap on her couch. A meteorite burst through her ceiling, ricocheted off her radio, and bore its way through two heavy quilts before penetrating her hip. She was severely injured but survived. The meteorite is now in a permanent collection at the Smithsonian.

* A fireball appeared in the skies over Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Missouri on March 26, 2003. Soon after, the peaceful town of Park Forest, Ill., was subjected to a massive meteorite shower when a meteor, as heavy as 7,000 kilograms, broke apart in the atmosphere. No injuries were reported, but insurance representatives were overworked with damaged houses, cars and businesses. Even the fire department was not spared as a 545-gram meteorite tore though the firehouse.

* On Sept. 29, 2004, an asteroid called Toutatis, 4.5 kilometers across, came within 1.5 million kilometers of earth. This is only four times the distance from the earth to the moon. While Toutatis' orbit is such that it will not strike Earth, it does serve to remind us that the celestial coast is not clear and that the threat of large-scale impacts is still very real.

Have a nice day. Don't forget your umbrella.

Comment: For more on recent meteor showers and fireballs, check out our meteor supplement.

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Slim lead for PM in Ukraine poll
Early results from Ukraine suggest the Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych is leading in the presidential poll by a narrow margin.

With more than 80% of the vote counted, Mr Yanukovych is ahead of opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko by 42% to 37%. [...]

The elections are being closely watched by both Russia, which backs Mr Yanukovych, and the US, which has complained about a "deeply disappointing" campaign.

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On the Road to Civil War
Uri Avnery
(2004-10-25 01:41:53.0)

Everybody in Israel is talking about the Next War. The most popular TV channel is running a whole series about it.

Not another war with the Arabs. Not the nuclear threat from Iran. Not the ongoing bloody confrontation with the Palestinians. The talk is about the coming civil war.

Only a few months ago, that would have sounded preposterous. Now, suddenly, is has become a possibility, and a very real one. Not another blown-up media sensation. Not yet another of Sharon’s political manipulations. Not just a new blackmail attempt by the settlers, but the real thing, in the flesh.

They talk about it at cabinet meetings and in the Knesset, on TV talk-shows, in editorials and the news pages. The Chief-of-Staff has publicly warned that the army may fall apart. One of the ministers says that the very existence of the State of Israel is in danger. Another minister prophesies a bloodbath like the Spanish civil war.

Quietly and not so quietly, the Shin Bet is taking precautions. The prison service has been ordered to prepare facilities for mass detentions. The army leadership is planning the call-up of 10 thousand reserve soldiers and starting to think about the steps they must take in the case of…

No, it’s a very real threat. On the face of it, it may seem to have appeared from nowhere. But whoever has eyes to see knew that it is going to happen, sooner or later.

The seeds of the civil war were sown when the first settlement was put up in the occupied territories. At the time, I told the Prime Minister in the Knesset: “You are laying a land mine. Some day you will have to dismantle it. As a former soldier, let me warn you that the dismantling of land mines is a very unpleasant job.” Since then, hundreds of mines have been laid. The minefields are being extended even now.

The process has been led by religious fundamentalists. Their declared aim, as they said then and never tire of repeating, is to drive all the Arabs out of the country that God promised us. And the land God promised us, as one of them reminded us on TV the other day, is not the “Palestine” of the British mandate, but the Promised Land - including Jordan, Lebanon and parts of Syria and Sinai. Quoting the Bible, another one declared that we have come to this country not only to inherit, but also to disinherit the others, to drive them out and take their place.

Since the then Minister of Defence, Shimon Peres, implanted the first settlement, Kedumim, in the middle of the Palestinian population on the West Bank, the settlements have spread like locusts. Every settlement has gradually stolen the lands and water of the neighboring Palestinian villages, uprooted their trees, blocked their roads and built new roads, barred to Palestinians. Almost all the settlements have spawned satellite outposts on the nearby hills.

This has never ceased, even after Sharon solemnly promised President Bush to dismantle the “outposts”. On the contrary, since then dozens of new one have sprung up, and not one has been dismantled. A recently published finding by the State Comptroller details how several government ministries actively and knowingly subverted the law in order to ensure continued clandestine government funding for settlement activities.

When we warned of the danger, we were told to relax. Only a small minority of the settlers, we were comforted, are fanatical kooks. These are indeed crazy and will forcibly resist any attempt to remove them. But that will not be a big problem, because the vast majority of Israeli citizens detest them and consider them nuttier than fruitcakes.

Most of the settlers, we were told, are not fanatics. They went there because the government presented them with expensive villas, which they could not even dream about in Israel proper. They were looking for “quality of life”. When the government tells them to move, they will take the compensation and move on.

This was a dangerous delusion. As Karl Marx observed, people’s consciousness is determined by their situation. The good Laborites who were implanted by the Labor government on the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip now talk and behave like the worst followers of the late fascist rabbi Meir Kahane.

Moreover, we were told, even the weirdos recognize Israeli democracy. Nobody will raise his hands against soldiers of the Israeli army. When the government and the Knesset decide to evacuate settlements, they will obey. They may raise a ruckus and put up a show of resistance, as they did during the evacuation of the North Sinai settlements in 1982, but at the end of the day they will give in. After all, even in North Sinai not one single settler refused, in the end, to accept their compensation.

But this disdain for the settlers is no less dangerous than the disdain for the Arabs. What had been hidden all the time is now becoming clear: the settlers don’t give a damn for democracy and the institutions of the state. Their hard core spells it out: when the resolutions of the Knesset contradict the Halakha (Jewish religious law), the Halakha has priority. After all, the Knesset is just a gang of corrupt politicians. And what value have the secular laws, copied from the Goyim (Gentiles), compared to the word of God, blessed be his name?

Many settlers do not yet say so openly and pretend to be insulted when such attitudes are attributed to them, but in fact they are dragged along by the hard core that has already thrown off all the masks. They challenge not only the policy of the government, but Israeli democracy as such. They declare openly that their aim is to transform Israel from a democratic republic into a Halakhic one.

A State of Law is subject to the will of the majority, which enacts the laws and amends them as necessary. The State of the Halakha is subject to the Torah, revealed once and for all on Mount Sinai and unchangeable. Only a very small number of eminent rabbis have the authority to interpret the Halakha. That is, of course, the opposite of democracy. In any other country, these people would be called fascists. The religious coloration makes no difference.

The religious-rightist rebels are powerfully motivated. Many of them believe in most xenophobic interpretations of the Kabbala, which, state that secular Jews are really Amalekites who succeeded in infiltrating the People of Israel at the time of the exodus from Egypt. God Himself has commanded, as everyone knows, the eradication of Amalek from the face of the earth. Can there be a more perfect ideological basis for civil war?

Why has this become a threat at this point in time? It is not yet clear whether Sharon really intends to dismantle the few settlements in the Gaza Strip. But as the settlers see it, even the idea of removing one single settlement is a casus belli. It attacks everything that is holy to them. Sharon tried to convince them that it is only a ploy – to sacrifice a few small settlements in order to save all the others. In vain.

In preparation for the Great Rebellion, the settlers have unveiled their potential. The most eminent rabbis of the “Religious Zionist movement” have declared that the evacuation of a settlement is a sin against God and have called upon the soldiers to refuse orders. Hundreds of rabbis, including the rabbis of the settlements and the rabbis of the religious units in the army have joined the call.

The voice of the few opponents is being drowned out. They quote the Talmudic saying “the law of the kingdom is law”, meaning that every government has to be obeyed, much as Christians are required to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, etc. But who listens to these “moderate rabbis” now?

The conquest of the army from the inside began long ago. The “arrangement” with the “yeshivot hesder”, that serve in the army as separate units, has allowed the entry of a stable of Trojan horses into the IDF, including its officer corps. In any confrontation between their rabbis and their army commanders, the majority of the soldiers of the yeshivas will obey the rabbis.

The fact that the settlers and the Hesder Yeshiva have systematically penetrated the ranks of the officers’ corps means that they can attempt barratry, potentially even more dangerous than mutiny.

The right-wing refusal to obey orders is unlike the left-wing conscientious objection. The leftist refusal is a personal stand, the rightist refusal a collective mutiny. On the left, a few hundred refused to serve the occupation, on the right, many thousands, even tens of thousands, will obey their rabbis’ orders to refuse. As the Chief-of-Staff has warned, the army may disintegrate.

Altogether, the settlers, together with their close allies in Israel including the yeshiva students, may amount to something like half a million people, a mighty phalanx for rebellion.

As of now, the settlers are only using this threat as an instrument for blackmail and deterrence, in order to choke off any thought of evacuating settlements and territories. But if the blackmail does not do the job, the Great Rebellion is just a matter of time.

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The ruthless Karl Rove
Oct. 31, 2004. 01:00 AM

WASHINGTON—In its final hours, the U.S. presidential campaign has been blown off course by the gale-force winds of a real world far from the battleground bubbles of Grand Rapids, Mich., or Des Moines, Iowa.

Eight more dead U.S. Marines in Iraq. Terrorist tapes. Missing munitions. Hostages. Beheadings. The slaughter of Iraqi security troops.

At the centre of this storm is a man with the low centre of gravity that allows him to withstand the gusts that buffet others.

How Karl Rove, the political strategist for U.S. President George W. Bush, handles these external events will go a long way toward consolidating his reputation as a political Wizard of Oz, a man who's forged his otherworldly aura as a brilliant, ruthless political tactician in the final moments of the closest of races.

The genius tag has a limited shelf life, however.

It could be in the trash can by Wednesday morning.

Rarely, if ever, has a single person had the power and responsibilities behind a presidential campaign like Rove in 2000 and 2004, and there is nothing in the Bush campaign against Democratic challenger John Kerry which does not bear his imprint.

The single-minded focus on terror and homeland security. Character. Resolve. Never vary the message. Never say you were wrong or apologize. Play the fear card. Always bring it back to Sept. 11, 2001.

These are the Rove rules.

This squat man, often seen whispering in a reporter's ear, wearing a windbreaker and a `W' cap, has such a reputation for political mysticism that no less than journalistic icon Walter Cronkite, tongue firmly-in-cheek, suggested Friday on CNN that Rove had likely ordered up the Osama bin Laden tape to take the focus off the missing 350 tonnes of deadly explosives in Iraq which had roiled the campaign for almost a week.

Within hours, Rove had his man on the offensive, calling Kerry "shameful" for trying to score political points from the bin Laden tape, forcing the Democrats to respond late Friday.

Although the polls don't yet show it, a quick sampling of pundits and academics yesterday showed the charge may be sticking to Kerry after he told a Milwaukee interviewer the bin Laden video showed that Bush "outsourced" the hunt for the Al Qaeda leader to Afghan warlords.

"It will have a modest effect, but the Kerry campaign overreacted and some voters could see it as a crass attempt to score some points," said Peter Feaver, a political scientist at Duke University in North Carolina.

Rove is a man who, after all, once won a campaign by launching anonymous attacks on his own candidate, who, some believe, dispatched U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney to Hawaii today to build the illusion of Republican strength on the island and force Democrats into defence.

When an embarrassed CBS anchor Dan Rather had to admit to being duped in going to air with documents discrediting Bush's National Guard service, there were immediate whispers that Rove had set him up.

The Swift Boat Veterans who knocked Kerry off message in August were rife with Rove associates.

For every admirer of the 53 year old, there is an enemy, someone who's seen firsthand an eleventh-hour dirty trick that points right back to Rove.

But when blame is about to be apportioned, the magic man disappears.

"He has his opponents shooting at shadows," says Michael Munger, the chair of the political science department at Duke University.

"Karl Rove really is one of the best organizers and planners in politics," says Larry Sabato, a political analyst at the University of Virginia. "George W. Bush would never have had a chance in this race without him. You are seeing the fruition of four years of meticulous planning."

The guy who came prancing to the back of the press plane last week banging Bush thunder sticks, or ambled back with a cloth surgical mask over his face, announcing "Dr. Rove is here?"

The guy who collected the bag of ice balls from a hockey rink and began an ice fight at another campaign stop last week?

Yeah, that's the guy, the one who summed up his political philosophy in a recently published interview.

"You need to keep talking about the differences," he said. "You need to keep talking about your agenda. You need to keep talking about what it is that you hope to achieve in the next four years and what the job demands are in the way of character and principle.

"And you need to do it right up to the closing moment. Nobody can afford to sort of let up and let their foot off the accelerator and coast."

Nothing has been more controversial, daring, or divisive than Rove's attempt to win Tuesday's election for Bush by consolidating and mobilizing the Republican base, not reaching out to swing voters.

He has vowed to mobilize an estimated four million evangelical Christians who did not vote for Bush in 2000. But in consolidating your base, you inevitably alienate the enemy.

"I believe it cripples the political system's ability to handle compromise," Munger said. "It has created not just Congressional gridlock, but hatred, gridlock that is just dripping bile.

"No matter who wins Tuesday, this is like Beirut. Karl Rove has turned the country into a religious divide, no longer a political contest, but an ideological contest that endangers the ability of the system to function."

Democrats point to another problem with Rove's strategy.

He doesn't have the numbers, they say.

"Theirs is a campaign of base-hardening, not base-expanding," said Kerry strategist Joe Lockhart.

"A large voter turnout has undermined that ... and now you see how shaky this assumption is for winning this campaign," he added.

Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg said a Kerry victory will throw into question all of Rove's theories.

"We're going to look real hard at whether Rove succeeded in getting enough energy and enthusiasm among his voters but also whether he produced more anti-Bush voters than Bush voters," he said.

Rove comes by his convictions honestly — or dishonestly, according to detractors.

In 1994, when Bush confounded pundits and beat the popular incumbent Texas governor Ann Richards, rumours that Richards was a lesbian or too soft on gays was a staple of the campaign's final days.

The most famous allegations of dirty tricks occurred in the South Carolina Republican primary in 2000, when Bush faced an unexpectedly strong challenge by Arizona Senator John McCain.

In the final days, a vicious whisper campaign began accusing McCain of cracking as a prisoner-of-war, betraying his country and being mentally unfit for office.

There was word that he had a "Negro" child, word slipped out that McCain's wife Cindy had a "drug problem."

None of this has ever been pinned on Rove.

In an article in Atlantic Magazine, author Joshua Green recounts a particularly sardonic Rove manoeuvre in a 1996 race for the Alabama Supreme Court in which his candidate was losing.

So Rove had flyers printed up, Green writes, viciously attacking his own candidate and his family and then anonymously flung on voters' doorsteps, leaving voters with the logical conclusion that dirty Democrats were attacking the poor Republican.

The flummoxed Democrat didn't know how to react, seeing the futility of blaming the Republicans for attacking their own candidate.

Rove's man won.

Max Cleland, a triple amputee who lost his limbs in the Vietnam war, also blames Rove for spearheading an ugly campaign in the 2002 Senate race in Georgia in which Democrat Cleland was pilloried as unpatriotic and a friend of terrorists because he opposed the creation of a Homeland Security department until workers could be unionized. Republican Saxby Chambliss won the election.

Still, Rove seemed curiously off his game after The New York Times and CBS News reported 350 tonnes of munitions were missing in Iraq.

Kerry was given two days of attack without an answer from Bush. Rove could only blame the liberal media.

But even Rove cannot control a cascade of bad news out of Iraq.

On Tuesday he wants to win the popular vote, cement his own reputation and then begin work on burnishing the Bush legacy.

And if he loses?

"When you lose, you lose and everyone associated with you is a loser," Sabato says. "It may not be fair, but that is the way it is."

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Will Osama Help W.?
October 31, 2004

WASHINGTON — Some people thought the October surprise would be the president producing Osama.

Instead, it was Osama producing yet another video taunting the president and lecturing America.

After bin Laden's pre-election commentary from his anchor desk at a secure, undisclosed location, many TV chatterers and Republicans postulated that the evildoer's campaign intrusion would help the president.

O.B.L., they said, might re-elect W.

They follow the Bush strategists' reasoning that since President Bush rates higher than John Kerry on fighting terror, anytime Americans get rattled about Iraq and Al Qaeda, it's a plus for the president. And Republicans can keep claiming that Al Qaeda wants the "weak" Democrat elected, even as some intelligence experts suggest the terrorists prefer that the belligerent Mr. Bush stay in power because he has been a boon to jihadist recruiting, with his disastrous occupation of Iraq and his true believer, us-versus-them, my-Christian-God's-directing-my-foreign-policy vibe.

The Bushies' campaign pitch follows their usual backward logic: Because we have failed to make you safe, you should re-elect us to make you safer. Because we haven't caught Osama in three years, you need us to catch Osama in the next four years. Because we didn't bother to secure explosives in Iraq, you can count on us to make sure those explosives aren't used against you.

You'd think that seeing Osama looking fit as a fiddle and ready for hate would spark anger at the Bush administration's cynical diversion of the war on Al Qaeda to the war on Saddam. It's absurd that we're mired in Iraq - an invasion the demented vice president praised on Friday for its "brilliance" - while the 9/11 mastermind nonchalantly pops up anytime he wants. For some, it seemed cartoonish, with Osama as Road Runner beeping by Wile E. Bush as Dick Cheney and Rummy run the Acme/Halliburton explosives company - now under F.B.I. investigation for its no-bid contracts on anvils, axle grease (guaranteed slippery) and dehydrated boulders (just add water) .

Osama slouched onto TV bragging about pulling off the 9/11 attacks just after the president strutted onto TV in New Hampshire with 9/11 families, bragging that Al Qaeda leaders know "we are on their trail."

Maybe bin Laden hasn't gotten the word. Maybe W. should get off the trail and get on Osama's tail.

W. was clinging to his inane mantra that if we fight the terrorists over there, we don't have to fight them here, even as bin Laden was back on TV threatening to come here. The president still avoided using Osama's name on Friday, part of the concerted effort to downgrade him and merge him with Iraqi insurgents.

The White House reaction to the disclosures about the vanished explosives in Iraq was typical. Though it's clear the treasures and terrors of Iraq - from viruses to ammunition to artifacts - were being looted and loaded into donkey carts and pickups because we had insufficient troops to secure the country, Bush officials devoted the vast resources of the government to trying to undermine the facts to protect the president.

The Pentagon mobilized to debunk the bunker story with a tortured press conference and a satellite photo of trucks that proved about as much as Colin Powell's prewar drawings of two trailers that were supposed to be mobile biological weapons labs.

Republicans insinuated that it was a plot by foreign internationalists to help the foreigner-loving, internationalist Kerry, a U.N. leak from the camp of Mohamed ElBaradei to hurt the administration that had scorned the U.N. as a weak sister.

In their ruthless determination to put Mr. Bush's political future ahead of our future safety, the White House and House Republicans last week thwarted the enactment of recommendations of the 9/11 commission they never wanted in the first place.

While pretending to be serious about getting a bill on reorganizing intelligence agencies before the election, the White House never forced Congressional Republicans to come to an agreement. So the advice from the panel that spent 19 months studying how the government could shore up intelligence so there wouldn't be another 9/11 may be squandered, even though Dick Cheney's favorite warning to scare voters away from Mr. Kerry is that we might someday face terrorists "in the middle of one of our cities with deadlier weapons than have ever before been used against us," including a nuclear bomb.

Wow. I feel safer. Don't you?

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See tape as boost for Prez
By Thomas M. DeFrank

With his typical flair for drama, Osama Bin Laden inserted himself directly into the presidential election yesterday, and both parties believed it would boost President Bush's reelection hopes.

Bin Laden popping up like a malignant jack-in-the-box four days before the balloting may bolster John Kerry's argument that Bush should have finished wiping out Al Qaeda before turning his attention to Iraq.

But it also refocused the nation on terrorism, which polls show helps Bush. And it reminds voters of their horror on Sept. 11 and Bush's well-received response, as well as obliterating the recent flood of bad news for Bush.

"We want people to think 'terrorism' for the last four days," said a Bush-Cheney campaign official. "And anything that raises the issue in people's minds is good for us."

A senior GOP strategist added, "anything that makes people nervous about their personal safety helps Bush."

He called it "a little gift," saying it helps the President but doesn't guarantee his reelection.

In the closing weeks of the campaign, Kerry has accused Bush of "letting Bin Laden escape" when he was cornered at Tora Bora by "outsourcing" the job to unreliable Afghan warlords instead of using U.S. troops. And he has mocked Bush for never mentioning the Al Qaeda leader after pledging to get Bin Laden "dead or alive."

But the new tape - which is so nakedly political that it should end with the words "I'm Osama Bin Laden and I approved this message" - makes it difficult for Kerry to keep hammering Bush on the subject without appearing to be capitalizing on terror. Kerry eliminated those lines from his speeches yesterday evening.

"If Kerry had been making this a bigger issue, as he should have been, it would definitely translate to his benefit," said a Democratic strategist with ties to the Kerry camp.

Kerry's staff looked somber.

"It's very important for us to move forward. We're going ahead and doing our events as we would," said spokesman Mike McCurry.

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US economy: The challenges ahead
By Jorn Madslien
BBC News business reporter
The dead heat between the two US presidential candidates has pushed economic arguments ever higher on the agenda.

President George W Bush is keen to pull employment statistics out of his sleeve. Almost two million jobs have been created during the last year, he points out.

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry is keen to rip Mr Bush's arguments apart by pointing out that the overall number of jobs in the US has fallen by more than 800,000 since early 2001.

And so the two men continue their ping-pong match. Selective statistics are used for political gain, point scoring is the name of the game.


But there is one thing neither candidate is happy to concede: that unless drastic action is taken, the US could slide into a painful and lengthy recession.

US GDP growth

Current economic growth is strong at about 3-4%, with the economy having bounced back from the mini-recession in 2001, and neither candidate is prepared to accept that the growth rate could slip back anytime soon.

"Unfortunately, while the debate has also involved competing claims over qualifications for economic stewardship, neither candidate has clearly articulated the long-term challenges we now face, much less a comprehensive and credible vision for meeting them," insists Morgan Stanley economist Richard Berner.

It is a controversial view since it suggests that, in economic terms, it does not really matter who wins the race, as neither have faced up to the real economic issues. But is it true?

Debt mountain

The view may not represent that of the majority - doomsayers rarely do - but the gloomy arguments are well worth exploring nevertheless.

A major part of the problem is this: The US is living beyond its means, and this is true both for the American people and the government.

At the grass-roots level, personal savings for retirement or for rainy days has fallen out of vogue. Spending, meanwhile, has reached frantic levels.

Shoppers have been spurred on by tax cuts and by policy-makers who see them as the main drivers behind economic growth. Indeed, consumer spending accounts for 70% of economic activity in the US.

The growth has also been based on easy access to cheap credit. The private debt burden has ballooned to $9.7 trillion, equivalent to almost 85% of the country's economic output, or gross domestic product (GDP).


Some economists say such reliance on the consumer makes America's economic prosperity fragile, especially given that the government's finances are in disarray as well.

US government debts have soared to $7.4 trillion. The country's pensions system is in crisis. And America desperately needs to push through very expensive health care reform.

"Each candidate claims to acknowledge these challenges, but in my opinion neither has adequately addressed them," says Mr Berner.

At consumer level, policy-makers are left with a tough choice: encourage consumers to start repaying debts, and spending is hit.

Trying to influence which way consumer demand is heading may be futile anyway, of course.

During Spring, consumer spending slipped back as confidence was hit by global insecurity and rising oil prices.

And although demand has since bounced back, the Spring weakness sparked fears that the consumer might give up the ghost.

Historically high oil prices, coupled with the weak US dollar, remains problematic, not least due to America's fast growing reliance on oil imports.

In 1985, the US imported fewer than 5,000 barrels per day. This year the figure will be closer to 12,000 barrels per day.

Optimistic projections

All this has led the doomsayers to warn that the US could slide into a painful and lengthy recession.

If they are right, the US electorate should expect little in the way of economic remedies promised by both candidates during the election campaign.

The health care system would not be fixed as promised. Taxes might have to rise. The country's deficit would not, as promised by both Mr Bush and his opponent John Kerry, be halved by 2009.

The reasons for this are simple. Both men have based their promises on the assumption that the US economy will continue to grow by more than 3% per year throughout the next term.

A recession, or even just slower growth, would make it difficult for them to keep their promises.

Moreover, however good the presidential candidates' intentions, they may not be able to push change through Congress where, due to the close election race, neither party is likely to have a solid majority.

"I share the view of most financial market observers that neither candidate would have a sweeping mandate to govern, much less enact changes in economic policy," warns Mr Berner.

Whatever is said in the election campaign by either candidate relies heavily on their ability to deliver in the face of a recession.

The American voters must try to predict which one of the candidates would stand the best chance.

Comment: Economic chaos is a certainly in the future. It is one of the ways the elite that govern this planet will work to "depopulate" the Earth. The economy is made of smoke and mirrors. One minute, all is well, the next, the stock market crashes and all of that paper wealth vanishes.

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Body of abducted Iraqi editor found in Baghdad
Monday, November 1, 2004

BAGHDAD, Oct 31 (Reuters) The body of a kidnapped Iraqi Kurdish journalist who was well-known in Saddam Hussein's era has been found in Baghdad, his wife said today.

Nasrallah al-Dawoodi worked as editor of the Arabic-language Iraq newspaper until Saddam's overthrow by US-led troops. The daily was devoted mainly to Kurdish affairs.

His wife said Dawoodi, 55, had disappeared on Wednesday after being invited to a Ramadan evening meal. His kidnappers later contacted her demanding a big ransom.

Police found Dawoodi's bullet-riddled body in New Baghdad, a southeastern suburb of the Iraqi capital, yesterday.

A car bomb attack the same day on the Baghdad office of Dubai-based Al Arabiya television channel killed seven people and wounded 19 in the bloodiest attack on a media organisation since the invasion in March, 2003.

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17 hurt by Chechnya car bomb
Oct. 31, 2004. 01:37 PM

ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia (AP) — A car bomb exploded outside the main hospital in Chechny's capital, Grozny, today, injuring 17 people in an attack apparently targeting members of a Chechen security force bringing in wounded from an earlier explosion, officials said.

The first blast struck a vehicle carrying the Chechen security troops on a highway in the outskirts of Grozny, Federal Security Service spokesman Maj.-Gen. Ilya Shabalkin said on Russia's NTV television. As the injured were being taken into Grozny's Hospital No. 9, a second car exploded outside the building, he said.

A car laden with explosives detonated outside the hospital around 8 a.m. The blast dug a crater into the ground and shattered the hospital's windows.

Thirteen of the wounded were members of the Chechen presidential security service, headed by Chechen First Deputy Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov, said Maj. Igor Golubenko, a duty officer for the southern Russian headquarters of the Emergency Situations Ministry in Rostov-on-Don. Three other victims were hospital workers. The security service officers appeared to have been the target, Golubenko said. One child was also injured, he said.

Golubenko said one person was wounded in the highway blast, which he blamed on a car bomb. Shabalkin, however, put the number of wounded at three and said one person had died, according to the Russian media. It was not immediately possible to reconcile the conflicting accounts. [...]

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Poisonous gas in Chinese coal mine
October 31, 2004

BEIJING (AP) - A burst of poisonous gas in a coal mine in northeast China killed 15 miners, the government said, days after the death toll in another accident rose to 141.

The rush of gas occurred Saturday at the Xilutian Mine in Fushun, a city in Liaoning province, when 50 miners were working underground, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

The miners were about 395 metres from the entrance of the shaft, Xinhua said, citing Li Sen, an executive with Fushun Coal Industry Corp., which owns the mine.

Fifteen workers were killed instantly, while the rest managed to escape, Li said.

The accident was still being investigated.

China's mines are the world's most dangerous, and thousands of miners are killed every year in fires, explosions and floods. The lack of safety equipment and lax regulations are often to blame.

On Oct. 20, a massive blast at a coal mine in the central province of Henan left 148 miners missing. Last week, rescuers said they had found 141 bodies and that the remaining workers were unlikely to have survived.

It was the worst mining accident in four years.

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WHO convenes flu vaccine summit to deal with pandemic threat

WASHINGTON (AP) - The World Health Organization has called an unprecedented summit meeting of flu vaccine makers and countries to ramp up plans for dealing with the growing threat of a flu pandemic.

Sixteen vaccine companies and health officials from the United States and other large countries already have agreed to attend the summit in Geneva, Switzerland, on Nov. 11, said Klaus Stohr, influenza chief of the United Nations' health agency.

With increasing signs that bird flu is becoming established in Asia and several worrisome human cases that can't be linked directly to exposure to infected poultry, it's only a matter of time until such a virus adapts itself to spread more easily from person to person and cause a severe worldwide outbreak, he said.

"We believe that we are closer to the next pandemic than we ever were," Stohr said in an interview before a speech at an American Society for Microbiology meeting in Washington, D.C.

The world's total capacity for flu vaccine now is only 300 million doses, and it would take at least six months to develop a new vaccine to fight a pandemic. The WHO wants to get "all issues on the table," monetary and scientific, that prevent getting more vaccine more quickly, he said.

"If we continue as we are now, there will be no vaccine available, let alone antivirals, when the next pandemic starts," Stohr said. "We have a window of opportunity now to prepare ourselves."

Flu kills about 36,000 people in the United States and a million worldwide each year by conservative estimates, Stohr said. But tens of millions die in a pandemic, which occurs every 20 to 30 years, when a flu strain changes so dramatically that people have little immunity from previous flu bouts.

The current vaccine shortage in the United States, caused by loss of one of the country's two major flu shot suppliers, reveals how vulnerable the world is and serves as a "dress rehearsal" for the kind of rationing and emergency measures that would be needed in a pandemic, said Dr. Wendy Keitel of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

"The ability to respond with the production of billions of doses of vaccine is quite limited," Keitel said. "We need to think through these problems now. Ninety per cent of vaccines are produced in 10 countries that have 10 per cent of the world's population."

The United States is the only country that has commissioned work on potential pandemic bird flu vaccines, Stohr noted. The National Institutes of Health has given Aventis Pasteur and Chiron Corp. contracts to produce prototype bird flu vaccines that are expected to be ready for human tests late this year. Aventis already has made 8,000 doses at its plant in Swiftwater, Pa.; Chiron is making its doses at a factory in Europe, not the one in Britain that regulators shut down last month, causing the U.S. vaccine shortage.

If a pandemic occurred and a vaccine wasn't ready, antiviral drugs could play a key role in slowing its spread, said Dr. Frederick Hayden, a University of Virginia virus expert who has researched and consulted on many flu vaccines and drugs including oseltamivir, or Tamiflu, which showed some activity against bird flu in lab experiments.

It, too, is in short supply.

"It's hard to get explicit numbers but the production capacity worldwide is very limited," making it difficult to develop an international stockpile that could be used in a pandemic, Hayden said.

The WHO has 120,000 packages of the drug, Stohr said, and the United States is stockpiling several million doses.

"That will not go very far" he said, but if targeted to a region where a pandemic was breaking out, "we might be able to buy time" and limit its spread while a vaccine was being readied, he said.

Bird flu actually describes three deadly strains of avian influenza, which have wiped out millions of chickens in Asia. So far they have not spread easily from person to person but have been very deadly to those who have become infected. They're named and numbered for the two H and N proteins on the surface of the virus.

The first strain, H5N1, appeared in Hong Kong in 1997, causing 18 human infections and six deaths. It reappeared last year and so far this year has caused 44 human cases and 32 deaths throughout Asia, according to Stohr.

A second strain, H9N2, appeared in 1999 in Hong Kong and China, and caused two human cases in Hong Kong last year. A third strain, H7N7 appeared in 2003 in the Netherlands.

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Mild intensity earthquake jolts Gilgit
Sunday October 31, 2004 (1359 PST)

GILGIT, November 01 (Online): Mild Intensity tremors were felt in Gilgit and its surrounding areas on Sunday morning.

According to TV report, the first shock of tremors was felt at 5:19 am early morning and was recorded at 4.8 on the Richter scale.

The second shock was felt around 11:03 am and was recorded on the Richter scale as 4.5 in Gilgit and surrounding areas.

It is pertinent to mention that no loss of life or damage to property was reported till the filing of the report.

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Earthquake Shakes Up Friday in Wine Region
updated Saturday, October 30, 2004 - 3:08 AM

Residents of the wine country felt the earth move under their feet Friday morning, as a magnitude 3.8 earthquake struck southwestern Lake County.

The temblor, which hit at 11:02 a.m., was centered 26 miles north of Santa Rosa near the Geysers area. The earthquake occurred at the relatively shallow depth of about 2.6 miles.

The quake was felt fairly strongly in Middletown and other communities in southern Lake County, although reports of shaking were received from throughout Napa and Sonoma counties.

Some seismologists believe a rash of recent earthquakes in the area are the result of a project to inject thousands of gallons of water into the ground to replenish steamfields. The steam drives turbines at a geothermal powerplant located at the Geysers, just two miles from the epicenter of quake.

No reports of damage or injuries have been received.Story last

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Major earthquake in Accra expected?

Cape Coast, Ghana - The Cape Coast Municipal Chief Executive, Mr Muniru Arafat Nuhu on Friday observed that the upsurge in the number of minor earth tremors should give cause for concern.

He said the fear of major earthquake in Accra and its environs was more frightening since "not all the active faults in the country have been clearly located and mapped and for us to know the exact locations to prepare a seismic hazard map".

These were contained in an address read on his behalf at a forum organised by National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) to mark the celebration of World Disaster Day at Cape Coast.

Mr Arafat Nuhu said the existence of such a map would inform prospective estate developers to make the appropriate designs that could resist high degree of ground shaking.

He said a number of houses in the Municipality were owner-built with little or no engineering, which put the occupants to great risks in the event of an earthquake. [...]

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