Article - 911 Eye-witnesses
Article - High Strangeness
Article - The Blair Belief Project
Strike Flash Presentation by a QFS member
of the Day
of American citizens go to the polls today to exercise what they have
been led to believe is their "democratic right", convinced of
the fact that their vote will actually be considered in the process of
deciding who becomes the "front man" for the real governing
elite, they would do well to keep the following points in mind:
55,000 people in the state of Florida during the 2000 election and
was subsequently appointed as President by Florida judges, who had themselves
been appointed by George Bush's brother Jeb Bush.
Laden was not
involved in the 9/11 attacks
The CIA knew
exactly where Osama Bin Laden was on September 11th 2001 and had agents
on hand to arrest him if they so chose.
The CIA have,
in the past, peddled
fake Osama Bin Laden tapes as real
Laden may already
is a creation of the the Pakistani Intelligence agency the "ISI"
and is used to recruit mercenaries to carry out "terrorist"
attacks. The ISI itself is controlled by the CIA.
to a classified
document prepared for Rumsfeld by his Defense Science Board, a new
government group called the "Proactive, Preemptive Operations Group
(P2OG)" created in 2002 would carry out secret
missions designed to "stimulate reactions" among terrorist groups,
provoking them into committing violent acts which would then expose them
to "counterattack" by U.S. forces.
administration knew perfectly well that Iraq had no WMDs and posed
no threat to America
the man that the US government claims is behind the Iraq insugent attacks
two years ago
Berg beheading video was a fake staged under the direction of the
CIA and/or the Mossad at the Abu Gharib prison in Iraq.
of Iraq was planned
years in advance of the 9/11 attacks
In 1997 a
number of influential members of the current Bush administration were
a "new Pearl Harbor" to galvanise public opinion and provide
justification for a more agressive US foreign policy.
9/11 attacks were planned years in advance and carried out by Israeli
and US intelligence agencies in league with sections of the US military
command and constituted the "new Pearl Harbor"
757 did not hit the Pentagon on the morning of September 11th 2001
Release of CIA Inspector General’s Report, Cheney Counter-Terrorism
Task Force & War Game Records, Pentagon Evidence Seized by FBI
& Suppressed 9/11 Report of "broadly inaccurate accounts
by several civil & military officials"
Los Angeles, Oct. 31 – In findings
issued today, the Los Angeles Citizens’ Grand Jury condemned
the 9/11 Commission’s official version of the events of September
11, 2001 as "physically impossible, untenable, contradictory,
implausible and fraudulent" and called for the release of several
documents specifically naming officials responsible for 9/11, being
withheld until after the election.
Citing evidence that at least 8 of the 19
alleged suicide hijackers reported themselves alive after 9/11,
that the World Trade Center Towers and Building 7 came down not
from fires from the planes but controlled demolition explosives
which require weeks to prepare, and Administration managed
"war games" (including a field training exercise scenario
covering multiple hijackings and a plane going into a building)
that were actually happening on 9/11 as causing air traffic controller
confusion & lack of fighter response, the nation’s first
Citizens’ Grand Jury on 9/11 unabashedly concluded 9/11 was
"an inside job" that demands "legal prosecution,
civil liability and political condemnation" around the world.
According to the nation’s first Citizens’ Grand Jury
on 9/11, the US government must immediately release the CIA Inspector
General’s report on 9/11, which assigns blame to certain high
level officials but whose release is being suppressed by new CIA
Director Porter Goss until after the election, according to published
reports. Goss is reported to have been having breakfast on the morning
of 9/11 with the Pakistani ISI "money man" himself, General
Mahmud Ahmed, who had wired $100,000 to the alleged head-hijacker
LA’s Citizens’ Grand Jury also issued a demand that
the records of the Vice-President’s Counter-Terrorism Task
Force and preparation and co-ordination of the emergency exercises/war
games the Vice President was overseeing on 9/11 be released as they
may well have contributed to the lack of fighter response to the
In addition, the Citizens' Grand Jury demanded
that the FBI release all surveillance videotape and related evidence
being withheld bearing on the flying object which hit the Pentagon
on the morning of 9/11. Evidence presented to the Jury suggested
that due to the absence of debris from a 60-ton 757, limited damage
to the Pentagon, an "implausible" flight pattern and lack
of skill of the alleged Arab hijacker pilot, possibly a missile
or a remote controlled drone actually hit the Pentagon instead of
American flight # 77 which was last tracked over Ohio by air traffic
controllers. The Jury chose to delay a finding on the Pentagon,
pending further deliberation of eye witness reports and surveillance
Acknowledging vast resources and unacknowledged evidence ignored
by the 9/11 Kean-Hamilton Commission Report, the Los Angeles Citizens’
Grand Jury rejected the official version of
9/11 labeling it "a propaganda fabrication designed to favor
the unleashing of aggressive war, while hiding the activity of a
treasonous cabal of high-level elected and appointed civilian U.S.
government and military officials, and private and/or contracted
third parties and rogue agents under their known or unknown direction
yet to be determined who both actively prepared, promoted, organized,
assisted, fomented, and/or passively favored the September 11 attacks
and supported the cover-up that followed".
The Citizens’ Grand Jury, which had begun its deliberations
on Saturday, October 23 with a large public meeting in the Bob Hope
Patriotic Hall near the Los Angeles Civic Center, refuted the claims
of the 9/11 Commission Report on several detailed points. They decided
to evaluate the attacks as a crime by considering "motive,
means and opportunity" which on several counts were beyond
what Osama bin Laden and 19 suicide hijackers could have accomplished
unaided. Noting in particular the lack of
fighter response for 1 hour and 40 minutes when "67 times in
the year prior to 9/11 by following established procedures when
planes went out of communication or off course, the system worked
perfectly" and fighter planes were usually scrambled within
In addition, they noted the fate of WTC
building 7, a 47-story building housing the DOD, IRS and Security
and Exchange Commission, among others, which has generally been
ignored in press reports. At 5:20 pm on 9/11, it collapsed into
its own footprint – characteristic of a controlled demolition
- without being hit by a plane or debris from the falling Towers
and with minimal fires that allegedly could have been easily extinguished.
Jurors viewed a video of the WTC Leaser, Larry Silverstein, who
said he and the fire department in the afternoon of 9/11 agreed
to "pull it" which is a controlled demolitions industry
phrase that means to demolish through the use of pre-placed explosives.
They concluded the liklihood of a controlled demolition of WTC7
was beyond what Osama bin Laden and 19 hijackers could have done
unaided, which further suggested 9/11 was an inside job. [...]
"It is the hardest thing in the world
to confront," explained Citizens’ Grand Jury convener,
Lynn Pentz, "that members of our own government are responsible
for perjury, treason and mass murder of their own citizens as well
as citizens from 82 other nations around the world.
"Given our political and judicial systems have refused to deal
with the reality of 9/11," she explained, "We the People
must now be responsible for our representatives’ lies, their
war on our freedoms, their terrorizing tactics, the death and destruction
they are waging in our names, their bankrupting of our nation with
their endless war for profit and global hegemony, and for our allowing
the increasing rise of a police state here in America - all rationalized
by the official story of 9/11 and the politicians and media who
have exploited it. The Citizens’ Grand Jury has shown we are
way past begging for the unanswered questions to be answered. We
know a lot of the answers and they are not pretty." [...]
"We call on citizens here and around the world to have your
own Citizens’ Grand Juries, review the evidence and decide
for yourselves", said Ms. Pentz. "Then, we must all, demand
our governments hold the real perpetrators of 9/11 criminally, civilly
and politically responsible. In the meantime, we must do the hard
work of confronting ‘the enemy is us’ and not settle
until we have truly cleaned house".
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - When
the government issues a terror warning, the president's approval
rating increases an average of nearly three points, a Cornell University
"The social theories predict it, and anecdotally we know it
to be true. Now we have statistical science to confirm it,"
said Robb Willer, assistant director of Cornell's Sociology and
Small Groups Laboratory.
On average, a terror warning prompted a 2.75 point increase in
President George Bush (news - web sites)'s approval rating the following
week, said Willer, who published his study in Current Research in
Social Psychology, a peer-reviewed online journal.
Robert Greene, a professor of history and communication at Cazenovia
College, said he did not doubt the correlation, but considered the
small increase barely noteworthy.
"And I would think any benefit would be very temporary. Americans
like crises to be solved," said Greene.
Willer said he took up his study in the aftermath of the Sept.
11, 2001, terrorist attacks after watching Bush's approval rating
soar from 51 percent on Sept. 10 to 86 percent five days later.
Willer tracked the 26 times that a federal agency reported an increased
threat of terrorist activity — not just changes in the alert
level — between February 2001 and May 2004. He compared that
with the 131 Gallup Polls conducted during the same period.
"From the perspective of social identity theory, threats of
attacks from foreigners increase solidarity and in-group identification
among Americans, including feelings of stronger solidarity with
their leadership," he said.
Terror warnings increased presidential approval ratings "consistently,"
Willer said. However, he said he was unable to measure how long
the increase lasted.
For weeks now, the Republicans
have been suggesting that a vote for Senator John Kerry means a
vote for al-Qa'ida. Even bumper stickers have reinforced that message.
As the House Speaker Dennis Hastert put it before his remarks were
drowned out by protests from the Democrats, Osama bin Laden's network
would be able to operate in more comfort if the Democratic candidate
won the vote.
Mr Hastert uttered his opinion six weeks before the al- Qa'ida
leader lobbed his own grenade into the US election on Friday night.
Now, in the light of the Bin Laden video, people are asking: "Why
would the media-savvy Saudi dissident issue a tape that could lead
to the re-election of President George Bush?"
As conspiracy theories ran rife over the
weekend, one of the most bizarre
was that the man who had stage-managed the video's release was the
chief political strategist of the US President, Karl Rove.
It's not even Election Day yet, and the
Kerry-Edwards campaign is already down by a almost a million
votes. That's because, in important states like Ohio, Florida and
New Mexico, voter names have been systematically removed from the
rolls and absentee ballots have been overlooked—overwhelmingly
in minority areas, like Rio Arriba County, New Mexico,
where Hispanic voters have a 500 percent greater chance of their
vote being "spoiled." - Investigative journalist
Greg Palast reports on the trashing of the election.
John Kerry is down by several thousand votes in New Mexico, though
not one ballot has yet been counted. He's also losing big time in
Colorado and Ohio; and he's way down in Florida, though the votes
won't be totaled until Tuesday night.
Through a combination of sophisticated vote rustling—ethnic
cleansing of voter rolls, absentee ballots gone AWOL, machines that
"spoil" votes—John Kerry
begins with a nationwide deficit that could easily exceed one million
The Urge To Purge
Colorado Secretary of State Donetta Davidson just weeks ago removed
several thousand voters from the state's voter rolls. She tagged
felons as barred from voting. What makes
this particularly noteworthy is that, unlike like Florida and a
handful of other Deep South states, Colorado does not bar ex-cons
from voting. Only those actually serving their sentence lose
There's no known, verified case of a Colorado convict voting illegally
from the big house. Because previous purges have wiped away the
rights of innocents, federal law now bars purges within 90 days
of a presidential election to allow a voter to challenge their loss
of civil rights.
To exempt her action from the federal rule, Secretary Davidson
declared an "emergency." However, the only "emergency"
in Colorado seems to be President Bush's running dead, even with
John Kerry in the polls.
Why the sudden urge to purge? Davidson's chief of voting law enforcement
is Drew Durham, who previously worked for the attorney general of
Texas. This is what the Lone Star State's current attorney
general says of Mr. Durham: He is, "unfit for public office...
a man with a history of racism and ideological zealotry." Sounds
just right for a purge that affects, in the majority, non-white
From my own and government investigations of such purge lists,
it is unlikely that this one contains many, if any, illegal voters.
But it does contain Democrats. The Dems may not like to shout
about this, but studies indicate that 90-some percent of people
who have served time for felonies will, after prison, vote Democratic.
One suspects Colorado's Republican secretary of state knows that.
Ethnic Cleansing Of The Voter Rolls
We can't leave the topic of ethnically cleansing the voter rolls
without a stop in Ohio, where a Republican secretary of state appears
to be running to replace Katherine Harris.
In Cuyahoga County (Cleveland), some citizens have been caught
Registering While Black. A statistical analysis of would-be voters
in Southern states by the watchdog group Democracy South
indicates that black voters are three times
as likely as white voters to have their registration requests "returned"
(i.e., subject to rejection).
And to give a boost to this whitening of the voter rolls, for
the first time since the days of Jim Crow, the Republicans are planning
mass challenges of voters on Election Day. The GOP's announced plan
to block 35,000 voters in Ohio ran up against the wrath of federal
judges; so, in Florida, what appear to be similar plans had been
kept under wraps until the discovery of documents called "caging"
lists. The voters on the "caging" lists, disclosed last
week by BBC Television London, are, almost exclusively, residents
of African-American neighborhoods.
Such racial profiling as part of a plan to block voters is, under
the Voting Rights Act, illegal. Nevertheless, neither the Act nor
federal judges have persuaded the party of Lincoln to join the Democratic
Party in pledging not to distribute blacklists to block voters on
Absentee Ballots Go AWOL
It's 10pm: Do you know where your absentee ballot is? Voters wary
about computer balloting are going postal: in
some states, mail-in ballot requests are up 500 percent.
The probability that all those votes—up
to 15 million—will be counted is zip.
Those who mail in ballots are very trusting souls. Here's how
your trust is used. In the August 31 primaries in Florida, Palm
Beach Elections Supervisor Theresa LePore (a.k.a. Madame Butterfly
Ballot) counted 37,839 absentee votes. But days before, her office
told me only 29,000 ballots had been received. When this loaves-and-fishes
miracle was disclosed, she was forced to recount, cutting the tally
Had she worked it the other way, disappearing a few thousand votes
instead of adding additional ones, there would be almost no way
to figure out the fix (or was it a mistake?). Mail-in voter registration
forms are protected by federal law. Local government must acknowledge
receiving your registration and must let you know if there's a problem
(say, with signature or address) that invalidates your registration.
But your mail-in vote is an unprotected crapshoot. How do you know
if your ballot was received? Was it tossed behind a file cabinet—or
tossed out because you did not include your middle initial? In many
counties, you won't know.
And not every official is happy to have your vote. It is well-reported
that Broward County, Fla., failed to send out nearly 60,000 absentee
ballots. What has not been nationally reported is that Broward's
elections supervisor is a Jeb Bush appointee who took the post only
after the governor took the unprecedented step of removing the prior
elected supervisor who happened be a Democrat.
A Million Votes In The Electoral Trash Can
"If the vote is stolen here, it will be stolen in Rio Arriba
County," a New Mexico politician told me. That's a reasoned
surmise: in 2000, one in 10 votes simply weren't counted—chucked
out, erased, discarded. In the voting biz, the technical term for
these vanishing votes is "spoilage." Citizens cast ballots,
but the machines don't notice. In one Rio Arriba precinct in the
last go-'round, not one single vote was cast for president—or,
at least, none showed up on the machines.
Not everyone's vote spoils equally. Rio Arriba is 73 percent Hispanic.
I asked nationally recognized vote statistician Dr. Philip Klinkner
of Hamilton College to run a "regression" analysis of
the Hispanic ballot spoilage in the Enchanted State. He
calculated that a brown voter is 500 percent more likely to have
their vote spoiled than a white voter. And It's worse for Native
Americans. Vote spoilage is epidemic near Indian reservations.
Votes don't spoil because they're left out of the fridge. It comes
down to the machines. Just as poor people get the crap schools and
crap hospitals, they get the crap voting machines.
It's bad for Hispanics; but for African Americans, it's a ballot-box
holocaust. An embarrassing little fact of American democracy is
that, typically, two million votes are spoiled in national elections,
registering no vote or invalidated. Based on studies by the U.S.
Civil Rights Commission and the Harvard Law School Civil Rights
project, about 54 percent of those ballots are cast by African Americans.
One million black votes vanished—phffft!
There's a lot of politicians in both parties that like it that
way; suppression of the minority is the way they get elected. Whoever
is to blame, on Tuesday, the Kerry-Edwards ticket will take the
hit. In Rio Arriba, Democrats have an eight-to-one registration
edge over Republicans. Among African American voters...well, you
can do the arithmetic yourself.
The total number of votes siphoned out of America's voting booths
is so large, you won't find the issue reported in our self-glorifying
news media. The one million missing black,
brown and red votes spoiled, plus the hundreds of thousands flushed
from voter registries, is our nation's dark secret: an apartheid
democracy in which wealthy white votes almost always count,
but minorities are often purged or challenged or simply
not recorded. In effect, Kerry is down by a million votes
before one lever is pulled, card punched or touch-screen touched.
Greg Palast, contributing editor to Harper's magazine, investigated
the manipulation of the vote for BBC Television's Newsnight. The
documentary, "Bush Family Fortunes," based on his New
York Times bestseller, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, has
been released this month on DVD .
It's time to make up your mind and vote.
You've analyzed all the issues, studied the candidates, calculated
which one - if any - will make a difference in your life and you're
ready to go into the voting booth on Tuesday and exercise your democratic
right to vote.
Go ahead. Vote. Waste your time. It won't make
a bit of difference.
Excuse my cynicism but only a blithering idiot can possibly believe
it will make one ounce of difference if we replace one son of privilege
with another at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue or if one corrupt political
party replaces another in the leadership of Congress.
Voting is a sham, an exercise in deception designed
to perpetuate the myth that an average American has any say in how
this country is governed or what happens to you and me in the future.
Replacing George W. Bush with John Kerry won't change how things
are done in Washington. Kerry will still be stuck with a war in
Iraq that we can't win, a economy that rises and falls on its own
and a Congress that would rather stall in bitter partisan gridlock
than do anything to deal with the real issues that face this nation.
If Democrats take control of the House or Senate or both, the
margin will still be razor thin and the minority party, be it Republican
or Democrat, will still be able to deadlock Congress.
The answer to this nation's ills won't be found in replacing one
set of political hacks for another. It doesn't matter which party
controls the White House or Congress as long as both parties put
their own interests above that of the nation.
America's current system of government is a bloated,
aging, belching sow - laid low by decades of corruption, deceit
and inaction. The sow is non-partisan, willing to wallow in the
mud under a Democratic or Republican flag. It exists only to feed
on the gullibility of Americans.
The problems that face America are many; the
corruption eats at the guts of our society, destroying it like a
Continuing to live with that cancer is not an option. It must
be eradicated, cut out of the body politic before the body dies.
You can't fix it in the voting booth. You can't eradicate it by
continuing to support a political system that thrives on it.
The only answer is change - radical change
of the system that continues to deliver a corrupt government run
by corrupt men and women elected by a flawed system.
America is no longer the beautiful. We are no longer the land
of the free and the brave are dying in a far-off land because a
inadequate system of government allowed a incompetent man to wage
war for false reasons.
Sadly, the vote you cast tomorrow won't change
any of that. It won't restore beauty to this once-great land. It
won't restore freedom and it won't stop the carnage in Iraq.
The faces may change but the problems remain. Anybody who thinks
their vote changes that left their brain outside before they entered
the polling booth.
A broad majority of people around the globe
share the same feeling about next week's American elections: Better
the devil you don't know than the one you do.
The George Bush-Dick Cheney partnership has been the most radical
presidency in memory. Their re-election in next week's tight election
will likely produce an even more aggressive U.S. foreign policy
driven by religious fundamentalists and the military-petroleum interests.
Secretary of State Colin Powell, humiliated and sidelined, is
expected to resign and be replaced by one of Bush's neocons. Scott
McConnell, editor of American Conservative magazine, accurately
sums up the Bush Doctrine: "His international policies have
been based on the hopelessly naive belief that foreign peoples are
eager to be liberated by American armies -- a notion more grounded
in Leon Trotsky's concept of global revolution than any sort of
Recently, former U.S. National Security chief Brent Scowcroft,
the dean of Republican foreign policy experts and adviser to Bush's
father, warned of the baleful influence of Israel's far right over
Bush. "(Ariel) Sharon has got him wrapped around his little
finger," said Gen. Scowcroft.
A second Bush term could bring U.S. attacks on Iran and Syria,
as Israel's PM Sharon has urged, and widening Mideast conflict.
More troops and money will be poured into the Iraq quagmire. A military
draft will almost certainly become necessary.
Neither Bush nor his opponent, John Kerry, are
telling Americans two hard truths: First, the principal cause of
anti-American terrorism is the oppression of Palestinians, and U.S.
support for dictatorial regimes across the Muslim World.
Second, Bush's wars in Iraq -- which has caused 100,000 civilian
deaths, according to a Johns Hopkins University study -- and Afghanistan
are already lost. Not on the battlefield, but on the strategic level.
War is the extension of politics by other means, as Karl von Clausewitz
postulated. Bush's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan must be judged defeats
because no viable solution is remotely in sight in either nation
now run by unpopular U.S.-imposed puppet regimes. Soviet-style rigged
elections will not legitimize them.
Kerry's plans for Iraq are specious, too: No
important nations are likely to help the U.S. colonize Iraq. Kerry's
biggest failings have been his spineless support for war in Iraq,
and his pandering to special interests over the Mideast.
The best President Kerry could do is talk tough while finding
a way out of Iraq. But he will be harassed by Republicans and neocons
crying "treason," and forced to wrestle the huge budget
mess Bush left behind.
In Asia, Bush is on a collision course with nuclear-armed North
Korea. His neocons are pressing for a confrontation that could ignite
a major war. Kerry will be far likelier to negotiate a peaceful
resolution to the Korean crisis.
The pro-war neocons around Bush are also pressing a hard line
against China that risks a clash over Taiwan. China will not allow
itself to be bullied by anyone. Kerry has rightly called for co-operation
rather than ideological antagonism towards China.
Europeans are dismayed and frightened by Bush
and his aggressive polices. If Bush wins, Europe, led by France
and Germany, will speed up its growing alliance with China, an entente
that can quickly become an anti-U.S. pact.
Kerry would quickly restore relations with Europe and return America
to its former course of internationalism.
Bush's entente with Russia's Vladimir Putin has tacitly encouraged
restoration of dictatorship in Russia. It will be too late for Kerry
to do anything about this grave development.
Unless the next U.S. administration imposes a just peace on Israelis
and Palestinians and ends the occupation of Iraq, anti-U.S. terrorism
Bush has debauched America's finances by his $290-billion US wars
and $521-billion deficit. Whoever wins, the global economy will
be hit by waves of inflation caused by Bush's ruinous spending.
Kerry is a weak candidate with a lacklustre record. But at least
he is a sensible, educated man who will bring in a team of moderate
advisers that do not want to launch catastrophic foreign crusades
or spend like drunken sailors. Kerry is a cautious internationalist;
Bush an unapologetic Bible-belt imperialist.
Most non-Americans believe the U.S. under
Bush has become a dangerous rogue state that threatens world stability
and peace. For them, anyone is better than George W. Bush.
A widely published investigative journalist
was tackled, punched and arrested Sunday
afternoon by a Palm Beach County sheriff's deputy who tried to confiscate
his camera outside the elections supervisor's headquarters.
About 600 people were standing in line waiting to vote early when
James S. Henry was charged with disorderly conduct for taking photos
of waiting voters about 3:30 p.m. outside the main elections office
on Military Trail near West Palm Beach.
A sheriff's spokesman and a county attorney later said the deputy
was enforcing a newly enacted rule from Elections Supervisor Theresa
LePore prohibiting reporters from interviewing or photographing
voters lined up outside the polls.
But the arrest drew expressions of outrage from a leading Florida
civil liberties expert — and even from one of LePore's fellow
county election supervisors.
When Deputy Al Cinque tried to grab Henry's camera,
Henry ran about 100 feet across the pavement on the side of the
elections office before he was tackled by the deputy.
Cinque yelled at Henry, "Hold still, stop moving," after
he pinned Henry on the pavement, punched him
in the back and grabbed Henry's left arm to put a handcuff
on his wrist.
Cinque then jerked Henry, 54, to his feet by his left arm and
slammed his body against a parked car, where
the deputy punched him again as Henry tried to hand him identification
cards that were later found on the pavement.
A widely published free-lance journalist, as well as a Harvard-educated
lawyer and economist, Henry has written for The New York Times,
The Washington Post, U.S. News and World Report and The New Republic.
According to his Web site, www.submergingmarkets.com, he is working
on "an election-year book, due out this fall, that explores
how the U.S. is falling behind the rest of the democratic world,
including countries like Brazil and South Africa, with respect to
the practice of electoral democracy."
Asked why Henry was being arrested, Cinque said, "You're
not allowed to take pictures of voters."
Henry repeatedly told the deputy: "I'm
a journalist. I'm a journalist doing my job."
A Palm Beach Post reporter and British journalist Marcus Warren,
of the London Daily Telegraph, witnessed Henry's arrest. So did
dozens of waiting voters.
Sheriff's spokesman Paul Miller said that before being transported
to the Palm Beach County Jail, Henry was examined by paramedics
when he complained of shoulder pain. Henry has been charged with
disorderly conduct and resisting arrest without violence, Miller
"We're not going to let anyone interfere with the orderly conduct
of the elections process here," Miller said.
LePore refused to come to the main desk of elections headquarters
to comment on the arrest. She did not return later calls for comment.
One of LePore's peers, Leon County Elections Supervisor Ion Sancho,
called restricting reporters and photographers on public sidewalks
outside polling places "an outrage. I'm shocked. The First
Amendment right to be there is absolute.
"Outside our early voting place we
had Japanese journalists, the BBC, all kinds of reporters and photographers,"
added Sancho, who is based in Tallahassee. "It's
a public place, a public sidewalk. There is no statute, no law that
can take away your right to talk to someone who is willing on a
public sidewalk as long as no one is obstructing or interfering."
Howard Simon, executive director of the Florida chapter of the
American Civil Liberties Union, also called Henry's arrest an outrage.
"Where did Theresa LePore get the authority to criminalize
activities protected by the First Amendment?"
Henry was one of the original "Nader's raiders" who
worked decades ago with consumer advocate Ralph Nader, and was vice
president for strategy for IBM/Lotus before he founded the Long
Island-based Sag Harbor Group, a consulting firm that focuses on
technology strategy. He has continued his investigative reporting
career at the same time, in 2004 publishing The Blood Bankers, a
book reporting on "dirty banking" in developing countries.
The book includes an introduction from former U.S. Sen. Bill Bradley.
The Rev. George Wilson, a Presbyterian minister from Long Island,
N.Y., who accompanied Henry to West Palm Beach Sunday morning, said
Henry was interested in touch-screen voting in Palm Beach County
and had arrived to observe the process.
"We flew down this morning," Wilson said. "I can't
believe they're treating him this way. He was just standing there
"When did taking photographs outside in a public place become
Wilson retrieved Henry's Minolta camera with a large lens from
the top of the trunk of the parked car after Henry was put in a
Assistant Palm Beach County Attorney Leon St. John, who represents
the elections supervisor, said Henry had been charged with disorderly
conduct, a misdemeanor, based on LePore's instructions to deputies.
He said the charge against Henry was based on new rules LePore
implemented Friday, prohibiting reporters from talking to or photographing
voters while they are in line outside the polls. He said she made
the rule as the result of "numerous complaints by voters about
being photographed and interviewed."
However, The Post and other newspapers and television stations
had previously interviewed and photographed voters in line without
incident since early voting began Oct. 18. LePore did not mention
any new restrictions on interviews and photographs during a meeting
with news media representatives Friday.
As for Henry, St. John said: "From what I understand, this
man (Henry) was taking photos of people in line close up. He was
ordered by the deputy to stop and to move to the media tent...
"He said something inappropriate to the deputy, like 'screw
you,' then took a picture of the deputy. He then took off running
and tripped and fell in the parking lot."
In fact, Cinque tackled Henry in the parking lot a few feet from
a Post reporter and Warren, the British journalist.
"That's not what the deputy told me," St. John said.
LePore spokesman Marty Rogol described Henry as "a so-called
investigative reporter who gave people phony credentials."
Told that Henry had been published in The New
York Times, The Washington Post and other publications, Rogol said
Henry had presented "Xeroxed credentials that looked phony
and were not accepted" by the deputy who arrested him.
Late Sunday, Miller said Henry "will probably spend the night
in jail." He was still there late Sunday night on $500 bail.
LOS ANGELES - Some left-leaning Californians
say they would rather leave the United States -- and go to Canada
or elsewhere -- than stay with George W. Bush as president.
''I certainly don't love the climate of Vancouver, but I love
the sanity,'' said Steve Crawford, 54, a singer and actor working
as a volunteer at the Democratic Party offices in Santa Monica.
He and his wife, Karen, have been investigating selling their
home in Pacific Palisades, an upmarket area close to the coast,
and moving to Canada.
''For someone like me, if this happens, I can't in good conscience
allow myself to support another Bush government, even benignly.
And a lot of other people are saying the same.
''I have a good friend who is adamant he will leave if Bush is
re-elected. He's picked two countries and will definitely go to
one should this happen.''
In the heavily Democratic state, famous for its Hollywood- and
San Francisco-inspired latte liberal politics, such talk has become
increasingly common at Starbucks and at dinner parties.
At first, the threat was little more than a joke. Now, on the
eve of one of the most polarized elections in recent history, some
say they really do intend to leave should ''the worst'' occur.
There seems little doubt Californians will deliver the state's
valuable 55 electoral votes to the Democratic candidate. In a poll
on Friday, Mr. Kerry had a seven-point lead statewide, with a 24-point
lead in Los Angeles county and a 35-point lead in the San Francisco
But fear at what may happen in the key swing states of Ohio, Florida
and Pennsylvania has led to an escalation in coffee-shop chatter
about emigration to Canada, Britain and elsewhere.
''Do you think Great Britain would give us political asylum?''
a woman in Starbucks asked. ''It's just ... I don't think I can
stay if Bush wins again.''
Mr. Crawford said it would be a difficult decision to move his
nine-year-old son from his elementary school. ''But if I feel he's
going to be living in an environment that's not safe for him, then
I will do it. First and foremost I'm a dad.''
Gretchen Witte, 35, from Alhambra, east of Los Angeles, who runs
her own Internet business, is making plans to move to London, where
she previously lived for eight years, should Mr. Bush win.
''As a woman, the current climate is becoming intolerable. Bush
has just appointed a man to the FDA reproductive health panel who
believes that women with medical trouble should pray to Jesus for
relief. If this is what America is becoming, I cannot live here.
The only reason I can sleep at night is the thought that I can leave
the country if he wins.''
Robert Boleyn, a 35-year-old independent consultant from Los Angeles,
says he hears people ''all the time' 'saying they will emigrate
if Mr. Bush wins.
''But I think it's often more a measure of frustration with the
last four years than a real intention to leave,'' he added.
Voluntary exile as a political statement is nothing new. Democrat-supporting
celebrities have a habit of making (usually empty) threats to leave
should the election not go their way. Robert Redford, a vocal critic
of Mr. Bush's policies, was reported this month to have vowed to
move to Ireland, where he owns homes near Dublin, if Mr. Bush is
Before the 2000 poll, Alec Baldwin's then wife, Kim Basinger, told
Germany's Focus magazine the actor ''might leave the country if
Bush is elected ... and then I'd probably have to go, too.'' Mr.
Baldwin did not leave.
The only public figure to carry out his promise was Pierre Salinger,
the White House press secretary during the Kennedy administration,
who died last month. Before the 2000 election, he said: ''If Bush
wins, I'm going to leave the country and spend the rest of my life
in France.'' He did.
Applying some of the same brain-scan
technology used to understand Alzheimer's and autism, scientists
are trying to learn what makes a Republican's mind different from
Brain scanning is moving rapidly beyond diseases to measuring how
we react to religious experiences, racial prejudice, even Coke versus
Pepsi. This election season, some scientists are trying to find
out whether the technology can help political consultants get inside
voters' heads more effectively than focus groups or polls.
Already, the scientists are predicting that brain
scanning --known as functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI
-- will be a campaign staple four years from now, despite ethical
concerns about "neuromarketing."
Brain scans measure blood flow. When brain cells start firing in
a part of the brain that governs a particular emotion or activity,
they need more oxygen, which is carried by the blood. During an
fMRI, active regions of the brain can be seen lighting up on a computer
Last month, Drs. Joshua Freedman and Marco Iacoboni of UCLA finished
scanning the brains of 10 Republicans and 10 Democrats. Each viewed
images of President Bush, John Kerry and Ralph Nader.
When viewing their favorite candidate, all showed increased activity
in the region implicated in empathy. And when viewing the opposition,
all had increased blood flow in the region where humans consciously
assert control over emotions -- suggesting the volunteers were actively
attempting to dislike the opposition.
Nonetheless, some differences appeared between the brain activity
of Democrats and Republicans. Take empathy: One Democrat's brain
lit up at an image of Kerry "with a profound sense of connection,
like a beautiful sunset," Freedman said. Brain activity in
a Republican shown an image of Bush was "more interpersonal,
such as if you smiled at someone and they smiled back."
And when voters were shown a Bush ad that included
images of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, the amygdala region of the
brain -- which lights up for most of us when we see snakes -- illuminated
more for Democrats than Republicans. The researchers' conclusion:
At a subconscious level, Republicans were apparently not as bothered
by what Democrats found alarming.
"People make tons of decisions and often they don't know why,"
Iacoboni said. "A lot of decision-making is unconscious, and
brain imaging will be used in the near future to perceive and decide
Freedman came to political brain scanning through his brother Tom,
who served as a consultant to President Clinton. Tom Freedman asked
his neuroscientist brother if the technology could improve on how
campaigns woo voters.
"No one had done fMRI with politics," Dr. Freedman said.
"So we decided to see what we could find."
The UCLA researchers said they have not been contacted by any political
consultants other than Freedman's brother and a collaborator, though
they expect to change after the election.
Already, some companies are dabbling in neuromarketing.
DaimlerChrysler used MRIs to gauge interest in different makes
of cars. Researchers at the Caltech are scanning brains for reaction
to movie trailers. Baylor University scientists just published brain
scans suggesting preference for Coke or Pepsi is culturally influenced,
and not just a matter of taste.
"This is a story of the corruption of medical research,"
warned Gary Ruskin, who runs a Portland, Ore., nonprofit organization
called Commercial Alert. "It's a technology that should be
used to ease human suffering, not make political propaganda more
| A little over three weeks ago, Deputy
Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz visited American military bases
in Germany and, while there, delivered speeches to gatherings of Department
of Defense officials and members of the Family Readiness groups. His
visit coincided with the full onset of absentee voting by American
military personnel, and the trip was paid for by US taxpayers; but
handshakes, speeches and personal photographs weren't the only things
He also brought with him a stack of DVDs, fresh from the White
House assembly line, containing a short speech by Laura Bush, directed
at school-age children of military parents. The DVDs were distributed
to the attendees to the Wolfowitz soirees, which included Department
of Defense school administrators, and they were subsequently shown
to children by homeroom teachers and school counselors. I received
a transcript of the speech from a concerned base resident who got
my email address from a recent piece on the military that appeared
on this site. Here's the transcript of Mrs. Bush's speech, in full
(I have also obtained confirmation of this presentation from other
sources in Germany):
"Message from Mrs. Laura Bush"
"Greetings from back home in America.
President Bush and I are thinking about you and your families
while your mom or dad is protecting our country and helping people
in other nations build a better life. People all across the world
have witnessed the bravery and the courage of your parents. We’ve
seen their kindness, especially to the people of Afghanistan and
Iraq. In those two countries, your parents have helped to free
millions of families and children from violence and hatred. They’ve
given children everywhere, especially here in America, the chance
to grow up in peace.
As they defend our country and advance freedom, they’re
also changing people’s lives. Your moms and dads are supplying
whole villages with their first taste of clean water. They’re
delivering medicine to sick children and supplies to hospitals.
They’re rebuilding schools so that millions of children
can study and learn. In fact, thanks to your parents, little girls
who were not allowed to read or to sit in a classroom at all are
going to school for the first time in their lives. You should
be incredibly proud of your parents, just as every American is
grateful for their service.
We’re also incredibly proud of you. You don’t fly
jet planes or wear uniforms, but as children of our troops, you
serve too. The courage with which you do so is an inspiration
to us all. You face the challenge of moving to new bases, new
schools, and even new countries. You have to learn new languages,
and make new friends while helping your parents at home with housework,
babysitting, and lots of letter writing. And the hardest part,
you worry about your moms and dads far away.
I know being apart from the people you love is not easy, but
as long as there is hatred in the world, there will be a need
for brave men and women like your parents to protect America.
We’ll never forget their commitment to our country. As your
moms and dads are helping others, I hope you’ll continue
to help your families at home. You can set the table for your
mom or dad, or read to your brothers and sisters. You can clean
up your room without being asked, or write a special letter to
your parents where they are deployed. And keep studying and working
hard in school. Being kind to others, helping around the house,
and doing well in school are great ways you can support and honor
Remember that people all across America care about you and your
parents. You are all in our thoughts and prayers. Next time you
write to your mom or dad, tell them how much President Bush and
I appreciate their courage and dedication. Thank you for everything
that you do to support your families and serve your country. May
God grant you strength and patience, and may God bless America."
Coming, as it did, with the arrival of the absentee ballots, this
little classroom "tutorial" by the wife of the Commander-in-Chief
represents a particularly nefarious form of psychological manipulation,
one that should not go unnoticed or remain unchallenged.
English transcript of the Bin Laden audiotape released last
week has now been posted by al-Jazeera. The Arabic text, for those
who can use it, has also been posted.
re-interpretation of the speech, put in motion by the neoconservative
organ, MEMRI, has been flying around the web, suggesting that Bin
Laden is threatening individual American states if they vote for
At the end of his message, Bin Laden said this:
In conclusion, I tell you in truth, that your security is not
in the hands of Kerry, nor Bush, nor al-Qaida. No. Your security
is in your own hands. And every state [wilayah] that doesn't play
with our security has automatically guaranteed its own security.
MEMRI is claiming that the word used for "state" in this
sentence means state as in Rhode Island and New Jersey.
But while they are right to draw attention to the oddness of the
diction, their conclusion is impossible.
Bin Laden says that such a "state" should not trifle
with Muslims' security. He cannot possibly mean that he thinks Rhode
Island is in a position to do so. Nor can he be referring to which
way a state votes, since he begins by saying that the security of
Americans is not in the hands of Bush or Kerry. He has already dismissed
them as equivalent and irrelevant, in and of themselves.
Moreover, the way he uses "wilayah" is strange if he
meant a Rhode Island kind of state. He should have said "ayy
wilayah min al-wilayaat," "any state among the states"
or some such diction.
Since MEMRI's conclusion is impossible given what else Bin Laden
says, then we must revisit their philological point. It is true
that in modern standard Arabic, wilayah means "state"
or "province" and that al-Wilayaat al-Muttahaddah is the
phrase used to translate "United States." A state in the
sense of government or international Power would more likely nowadays
be "dawlah" or "hukumah."
But there are two possible explanations for Bin Laden's diction
here. The first is that he regularly uses archaicisms. He has steeped
himself in ancient, Koranic Arabic and the sayings of the Prophet,
and he and his fellow cultists in Qandahar had developed a peculiar
subculture that rejected much of modernity. The Taliban state characterized
itself as an Emirate (imarah) ruled by an Amir in the sense of a
caliph or Amir al-Mu'minin ("Commander of the Faithful").
In the contemporary Gulf, in contrast, an "amir" is a
prince. The amir (emir) of Kuwait is not claiming to be a caliph!
Bin Laden and Mulla Omar went back to the classical meaning of amir.
In classical Arabic, a ruler is a wali, who then rules over a wilayah
or walayah. Wilayah can have connotations even in modern Arabic
(see Hans Wehr) of sovereignty and it can mean "government."
Bin Laden is attempting to revive ways of thinking he maintains
were common among the first generation of Muslims, and to slough
off centuries of accretions.
So the first possibility is simply that Bin Laden is using a fundamentalist
archaicism. It would be like a Christian fundamentalist wedded to
the King James Bible who insisted on using the word "charity"
to mean a form of selfless love, with the Greek word caritas in
mind, rather than in its contemporary meaning of "philanthropy."
The other possibility is that Bin Laden has lived most of the past
25 years in Persian, Pushtu and Urdu-speaking environments and that
he occasionally lapses into non-standard usages. In Hindi-Urdu,
I noticed that one meaning of vilayat is "the metropole."
At least in past generations, people going from British India to
the UK said they were going to "vilayat." More important,
there is some evidence for fundamentalist Muslims using the word
"wilayah" or "walayah" to mean "country."
The Pakistani radical group Hizb al-Tahrir locates itself in "Walayah
Pakistan", i.e., the country of Pakistan.
I think archaicism is a more likely explanation than what linguists
call "interference" from other languages for Bin Laden's
diction here. But I am quite sure for the reasons of logic given
above that he means "government" by the word, not state
as in province, in this speech.
was founded by a retired Israeli colonel from military intelligence,
and co-run by Meyrav Wurmser, wife of David Wurmser. David Wurmser
is close to the Likud Party in Israel and served in Douglas Feith's
"Office of Special Plans" in the Pentagon, where he helped
manufacture the case that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and
was linked to al-Qaeda. David Wurmser, who wants to get up American
wars against both Iran and Syria, then moved over to Vice President
Dick Cheney's rump national security team.
MEMRI is funded to the tune of $60 million a year by someone, and
is a sophisticated anti-Arab propaganda machine. The organization
cleverly cherry-picks the vast Arabic press, which serves 300 million
people, for the most extreme and objectionable articles and editorials.
It carefully does not translate the moderate articles. I have looked
at newspapers that ran both tolerant and extremist opinion pieces
on the same day, and checked MEMRI, to find that only the extremist
one showed up. It would sort of be as though al-Jazeera published
translations of Ann Coulter, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh,
and Jerry Falwell on Islam and the Middle East, but never published
opinion piences on the subject by William Beeman or Dick Bulliet.
MEMRI is enormously popular with strong Jewish nationalists in
the United States, who often subscribe to it by email, and are being
given an unbalanced view of the region as a result. In some instances
the translations are not very good, but the main objection is the
selectiveness of the material. MEMRI is one of a number of public
relations campaigns essentially on behalf of the far rightwing Likud
Party in Israel that tries to shape American perceptions of Muslims
and the Middle East in a negative direction. Think tanks like the
"Hudson Institute" are another (it is run by . . . Meyrav
Wurmser). The Benador talent agency, which books a lot of talking
heads on US television, is another. (Google it).
It would be just as easy to set up a translation service that zeroed
in on racist and "Greater Israel" statements in the Hebrew
Israeli press and made the articles available in English, while
ignoring more liberal newspapers like Haaretz. If most educated
Americans heard the raving against "ha-aravim" (the Arabs)
that goes on among West Bank settlers, they'd be completely taken
aback by the bigotted terms of reference. Much of such Likudnik
discourse is not different in kind from what one hears from the
Ku Klux Klan about minorities in this country.
Anyway, I am not suggesting that the MEMRI report was an attempt
on behalf of the Likud Party to intervene in the US election. I
suspect they just didn't think through the issue and depended on
a surface reference to modern standard Arabic.
A top aide to Palestinian leader
Yasir Arafat has dropped a new clue about the original “October
Surprise” mystery of 1980: the name of the Republican operative
who sought the Palestine Liberation Organization’s help to
block President Jimmy Carter’s negotiations to free 52 Americans
then being held hostage in Iran.
Longtime Arafat confidant Bassam Abu Sharif said that in mid-1980,
he met in Paris with John Shaheen, a friend to both Ronald Reagan
and Reagan’s campaign chief, William J. Casey. Abu Sharif
told me that Shaheen, a former U.S. intelligence officer of Lebanese
origin, extended a Republican offer of improved U.S. relations with
the PLO if the Arafat-led organization would assist in persuading
the Iranians to delay the hostage release until after the November
Shaheen, who died in 1985, has long been a central figure in the
so-called "October Surprise" case, allegations that Republicans
sabotaged Carter’s hostage negotiations as a way to ensure
the 1980 election of Reagan as president and George H.W. Bush as
vice president. Though Abu Sharif and Arafat have previously discussed
the Republican overture, they had refused to identify the Republican
intermediary until now.
The alleged secret deal between the Reagan-Bush campaign and the
Iranians popularized the idea of an “October Surprise,”
a last-minute event that might alter the outcome of a U.S. presidential
election. The phrase was coined by then-vice presidential candidate
Bush in the context that Carter’s success in freeing the hostages
might be his “October Surprise,” though it later came
to refer to the alleged Republican scheming to derail Carter’s
Republican leaders have long denied that any deal with the Iranians
was struck, although more than two dozen witnesses – including
Iranian officials, European intelligence officers and international
arms dealers – have described aspects of the 1980 Republican-Iranian
contacts carried out behind President Carter’s back.
In 1992-93, a House Task Force conducted a half-hearted investigation
of the controversy and judged the allegations of a Republican-Iranian
deal to be false. But it was later discovered that the Task Force
had concealed evidence that pointed in the opposite direction, including
a classified report from the Russian government stating that Bush,
Casey and CIA officers had met with Iranians in Europe in 1980 to
strike a deal.
Tel Aviv — A Palestinian bomber blew
himself up in a crowded outdoor market in central Tel Aviv on Monday,
killing three Israelis and wounding 32 in the first such attack
since Yasser Arafat left the region for medical treatment last week.
The blast came at a time of growing concern about instability
during Arafat's absence. Extremists appeared to be signalling that
they are setting the pace rather than Mr. Arafat's stand-ins, who
have been trying to convey normality.
Israel has said that while the Palestinian leader
is away it would show restraint in its battle with Palestinian extremists.
The ground shook in the Carmel Market as the explosion ripped
through a dairy store and damaged a neighbouring vegetable stall.
The force of the blast blew the store's sign away, leaving loose
wire dangling out of the wall. Lettuce and parsley were strewn on
Paramedics treated dazed shoppers and wheeled away bodies in black
plastic bags. Rescue workers dug through piles of cheese and spices
inside the store in search of body parts.
"I saw lots of people lying on the ground, lots of people
wounded," shopper Michal Weizman told Israel Army Radio. "There
was a woman whose entire body was torn up."
Police said four people were killed, including the bomber.
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a radical PLO
faction, said in a telephone call to Associated Press that it was
behind the attack. The statement could not immediately be verified.
It was the 116th suicide bombing since the outbreak of Israeli-Palestinian
fighting in 2000. In all, 493 Israelis have been killed in such
attacks. The previous bombing, in September, killed two Israeli
policemen in Jerusalem.
Monday's explosion came as both Israelis
and Palestinians were contemplating the possible repercussions of
Mr. Arafat's departure for medical treatment in France. [...]
Gunmen killed the deputy governor of Baghdad
today on his way to work, Iraqi officials said.
Hatim Kamil was assassinated in a drive-by shooting this morning,
said Baghdad Governor Ali al-Haidari. He had no other details.
Interior Ministry spokesman Colonel Adnan Abdul-Rahman said Mr
Kamil was killed when gunmen opened fire on his car in the southern
Doura neighbourhood. Two of his bodyguards were also wounded in
the attack, Mr Abdul-Rahman said.
Insurgents have killed dozens of Iraqi politicians and government
workers in recent months in a bid to destabilise the country’s
VIENNA, Austria - From the deserts of the
south and west to the outskirts of Baghdad, Iraq is awash in weapons
sites — some large, others small; some guarded, others not.
Even after the U.S. military secured some 400,000 tons of munitions,
as many as 250,000 tons remain unaccounted for.
Attention has focused on the al-Qaqaa site south of Baghdad, where
377 tons of explosives are believed to have gone missing —
becoming a heated issue in the final days of the U.S. presidential
But with the names of other sites popping up everywhere —
al-Mahaweel, Baqouba, Ukhaider, Qaim — experts
say the al-Qaqaa stash is only a tiny fraction of what’s buried
in the sands of Iraq.
"There is something truly absurd about focusing on 377 tons,"
said Anthony Cordesman, a defense analyst and Iraq expert with the
Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.
He contends Iraq’s prewar stockpiles
"were probably in excess of 650,000 tons."
Underscoring the depth of Iraq’s militarization before the
March 2003 invasion, the Pentagon says U.S.-led forces have destroyed
240,000 tons of munitions and have secured another 160,000 tons
that is awaiting destruction.
A nation ‘awash in weapons’
Through mid-September, coalition forces inspected and cleared
more than 10,000 caches of weapons, U.S. arms hunter Charles Duelfer
said in a recent report. But up to 250,000
tons remain unaccounted for, according to military estimates, much
of it in small stashes scattered around the country.
"I caution that there is a lot that we probably don’t
know about, because this was a country, as the inspectors acknowledged,
that was awash in weapons," Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di
Rita said Friday in Washington.
The 377 tons that Iraq says vanished from Al-Qaqaa sometime after
the April 9, 2003 fall of Baghdad represents just "one 1,000th
of the material that we are aware of," Di Rita said.
The Bush administration has touted the thousands of tons of explosives
it did find after the March 2003 invasion as a sign of success,
and officials argue that U.S. forces pushing to Baghdad to topple
Saddam Hussein could not stop to secure every cache.
Critics, however, say war planners should have committed more
troops to the task of securing sites or let U.N. inspectors back
In insurgents’ hands?
The debate is sharpened by the possibility that whatever munitions
unsecured may since have fallen into the hands of Iraqi insurgents
leading a bloody campaign of bombings and attacks on U.S. forces
since the fall of Saddam Hussein.
Among the sites that don’t appear to have
been secured was a cache of hundreds of surface-to-surface warheads
at the 2nd Military College in Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad.
Each warhead is believed to have contained 57 pounds of high explosives.
Peter Bouckaert, who heads the emergency team for New York-based
Human Rights Watch, told The Associated Press he was shown a room
"stacked to the roof" with the warheads on May 9, 2003.
He said he gave U.S. officials in Baghdad the exact GPS coordinates
for the site, but that it was still not secured when he left the
area 10 days later.
"Looting was taking place by a lot of armed men with Kalashnikovs
and rocket-propelled grenades," Bouckaert said Saturday in
a telephone interview from South Africa.
"Everyone’s focused on Al-Qaqaa, when what was at the
military college could keep a guerrilla group in business for a
long time creating the kinds of bombs that are being used in suicide
attacks every day," he said.
What about Ukhaider?
Another prominent site is an ammunition storage area at Ukhaider,
75 miles south of Baghdad, where U.N. inspectors found 11 empty
chemical warheads in "excellent" condition in January
Two U.S. aid workers reported looting at Ukhaider in October 2003,
but were told the U.S. military didn’t have enough troops
to seal the site, The Oregonian reported Friday.
David Albright, a former U.N. inspector, said the sheer volume
of weapons stored across Iraq should have prompted the United States
to invite inspectors back to check on key sites such as Al-Qaqaa.
Instead, he told the AP, "there was
a lot of arrogance" on the part of U.S. officials who rebuffed
the International Atomic Energy Agency’s repeated requests
to resume general inspections.
IAEA inspectors pulled out of Iraq on March 16, 2003, a few days
before the invasion. They since have been allowed to return only
twice, both times to check on the Tuwaitha nuclear complex, the
U.N. agency’s main concern in Iraq. They have not been back
A human rights
group disclosed yesterday that it had told US forces of unguarded
weapons in an Iraqi military college without anything being done.
Peter Bouckaert, head of the New York-based Human Rights Watch,
said he told American officials about rooms "stacked to the
roof" at Baquba, north-east of Baghdad, with surface-to-surface
missiles on 9 May 2003. But the weapons still had not been secured
10 days later, and were being looted daily. [...]
SAN DIEGO — The
CIA interrogated and roughed up Iraqi prisoners in a "romper
room" where a handcuffed and hooded terror suspect was kicked,
slapped and punched shortly before he died last year at the Abu
Ghraib prison, a Navy SEAL testified today.
Blood was visible on the hood worn by the prisoner, Manadel al-Jamadi,
as he was led into the interrogation room at Baghdad International
Airport in November 2003, the navy commando said at a military pretrial
hearing for another SEAL accused of abusing Iraqi prisoners.
Testifying under a grant of immunity, the witness, identified
only by his rank as a hospital corpsman, said he kicked al-Jamadi
several times, slapped him in the back of the head and punched him.
Five or six other CIA personnel in the room laid their hands on
the prisoner, he said, but he did not provide details.
Sometime later, Al-Jamadi was found dead in a shower room at Abu
Ghraib less than an hour after two CIA personnel brought him into
Abu Ghraib as a so-called "ghost detainee," according
to army Maj.-Gen. George Fay's report on the notorious prison. Such
detainees were not listed in the normal roster of military prisoners.
The testimony about the CIA's role came during a hearing for an
aviation boatswain's mate who is accused of punching al-Jamadi and
posing in humiliating photos with the prisoner. The
boatswain's mate allegedly twisted other prisoners' testicles and
struck a prisoner in the buttocks with a wooden board.
An Article 32 hearing, the military equivalent of a civilian grand
jury, was held to determine whether the boatswain's mate should
The hearing concluded Monday. An investigating officer will recommend
what charges, if any, the boatswain's mate should face.
The accused SEAL, who received the Purple Heart for wounds suffered
in Iraq, could get up to 11 years in prison if convicted.
It is only inevitable, I suppose, that some
big issues never make it onto the agenda of a presidential campaign,
and other lesser issues, or total nonissues, somehow emerge instead.
Electoral politics, as Americans are regularly being reminded these
final hard-fought days before the election, is a brutal, messy business,
not an antiseptic political science exercise.
That said, I hereby confess to feeling disappointed over Senator
John Kerry's failure to home in hard on one of the more worrisome
domestic policy developments of the past four years - namely
the Bush administration's drastic expansion of needless government
President Bush's antipathy to open government continues to garner
only a trivial level of attention compared with the pressing matters
that seem to be engaging the country at the moment, including, in
no particular order, the Red Sox, Iraq, terrorism, taxes and the
mysterious iPod-size bulge visible under the back of Mr. Bush's
suit jacket at the first debate. But the implications for a second
term are ominous.
Beyond undermining the constitutional system of checks and balances,
undue secrecy is a proven formula for faulty White House decision-making
and debilitating scandal. If former President Richard Nixon, the
nation's last chief executive with a chronic imperial disdain for
what Justice Louis Brandeis famously called the disinfecting power
of sunlight, were alive today, I like to think he'd be advising
Mr. Bush to choose another role model.
As detailed in a telling new Congressional report, Mr. Bush's
secrecy obsession - by now a widely recognized hallmark of his presidency
- is truly out of hand.
The 90-page report, matter-of-factly titled "Secrecy in the
Bush Administration," was released with little fanfare in September
by Representative Henry Waxman of California, the ranking Democrat
on the House Committee on Government Reform, and one of the most
outspoken critics of the Bush administration's steady descent into
greater and greater secrecy. The objective
was to catalog the myriad ways that President Bush and his appointees
have undermined existing laws intended to advance public access
to information, while taking an expansive view of laws that authorize
the government to operate in secrecy, or to withhold certain information.
Some of the instances the report cites are better known than others.
Among the more notorious, of course, are the administration's ongoing
refusal to disclose contacts between Vice President Dick Cheney's
energy task force and energy company executives, or to explain the
involvement of Mr. Cheney's office in the awarding of huge sole-source
contracts to Halliburton for Iraq reconstruction; the post-9/11
rush to embrace shameful, unconstitutional practices like secret
detentions and trials; and the resistance and delay in turning over
key documents sought by the Sept. 11 commission.
The report lists many other troubling examples as well. Mr.
Bush and his appointees have routinely impeded Congress's constitutionally
prescribed oversight role by denying reasonable requests from senior
members of Congressional committees for basic information. They
forced a court fight over access to the Commerce Department's corrected
census counts, for instance, withheld material
relating to the prison abuses at Abu Ghraib and stonewalled attempts
to collect information on meetings and phone conversations between
Karl Rove, the presidential adviser, and executives of firms in
which he owned stock. The administration
has also taken to treating as top secret documents previously available
under the Freedom of Information Act - going so far as to reverse
the landmark act's presumption in favor of disclosure and to encourage
agencies to withhold a broad, hazily defined universe of "sensitive
but unclassified" information.
Under a phony banner of national security, Mr. Bush has reversed
reasonable steps by the Clinton administration to narrow the government's
capacity to classify documents. Aside from being extremely expensive,
the predictably steep recent increase in decisions to classify information
runs starkly counter to recommendations of the Sept. 11 commission
geared to strengthening oversight of the intelligence agencies.
Not one for self-criticism - or any kind of criticism, for that
matter - President Bush says he's content to leave it to historians
to assess his presidential legacy. What he fails to mention is that
he has seriously impeded that historical review by issuing a 2001
executive order repealing the presumption of public access to presidential
papers embedded in the 1978 Presidential Records Act.
On a superficial level, the hush-hush treatment of this issue
on the fall campaign trail might seem perversely fitting. But Mr.
Bush's unilateral rollback of laws and practices designed to promote
government accountability surely rates further scrutiny by voters.
We've learned over the last four years that what we don't know can
Langchenggang, China — Thousands of
police were guarding a country road on Monday outside a village
in central China where witnesses said rioting
between hundreds of members of the Han ethnic majority and Hui Muslims
killed at least seven people.
Martial law was imposed in Langchenggang in Henan province after
the violence erupted Friday, according to residents contacted by
phone. They said groups of as many as 500 rioters fought with sticks
and burned several houses.
Residents could not confirm a report by The New
York Times that as many as 148 people had been killed.
Police lined the road beginning
10 kilometres from town, spaced every few metres on the dusty shoulder
of the narrow two-lane road, clumped in groups or packed into buses.
Cars were being stopped at checkpoints, but
it was not clear if any had been turned away.
Minivans with loudspeakers strapped to their roofs drove between
buildings broadcasting appeals for calm, and similar messages were
printed on posters stuck to buildings. Local government and Communist
Party officials visited homes telling people not to worry.
The cause of the violence was not immediately
The Times said it erupted after a Han girl was struck and killed
by a Hui taxi driver. An accountant contacted at a factory in the
town said, however, that it grew out of an incident Friday in which
three Hui men beat up a 17-year-old Han boy who blocked their car
on a street.
A group of Han men retaliated by beating the three Hui men, prompting
a group of 30 to 40 Hui to come from a nearby town seeking revenge,
said the accountant, who would give only his surname, Liu. He said
that after that group was driven away, a group of up to 500 Hui
arrived, setting off full-scale violence.
Mr. Liu said he saw several thousand police and
soldiers on the streets of the town after martial law was imposed.
"A lot of people were carrying clubs to fight. They set fire
to several houses," said another Langchenggang resident surnamed
Liu, who was no relation to the accountant. "Right now, there
are lots of police. The local government is allowing local residents
to move around but everyone is afraid of going out."
Town, county and provincial officials refused to confirm whether
the violence occurred.
Several residents said local officials had told
them not to give information to reporters.
The town, about an hour's drive from the major city of Zhengzhou,
was still tense Monday, according to a man who said he lived less
than a kilometre from the scene of the fighting.
"I still dare not leave the house," said the man, who
would give only his surname, Li. "To the west and east are
Hui villages. So people are afraid to go outside."
"Right now, the road to Langchenggang is under martial law,"
said a resident who lives near the village boundary and refused
to give his name.
Police were blocking vehicles carrying large numbers of people
from entering the town, the man said. [...]
JAKARTA, INDONESIA - At least 19 people died
in violence in Indonesia's troubled Aceh province on the weekend.
The bloodshed continued ahead of a key review of the military's
efforts to crush a long-running separatist struggle.
An Aceh military spokesperson said one soldier and 10 rebels were
killed in separate clashes on Sunday, while Indonesian troops killed
eight suspected rebels in five encounters a day earlier.
The latest deaths follow one of the bloodiest weeks for the Free
Aceh Movement rebels since the May 2003 launch of a government offensive
to end their 28-year fight.
Clashes saw 17 die on Thursday and Friday.
As many as 13,000 people have been killed since May 2003. Human
rights activists says many of them were civilians. Rebels say more
than 2,000 guerrillas have been killed.
After a year of martial law, Jakarta put control of Aceh back
into the hands of civil authorities, but kept the impoverished region
under a state of emergency. The state of emergency expires later
this month forcing Indonesia's government to decide whether to renew
VENICE, Italy -- High waters are forcing tourists
and residents in Venice, Italy, to roll up their pants or put on
rubber boots to get around the city.
Tourists and residents make their way through a flooded St. Mark's
Square, Venice, Italy.
More than a foot of water is covering St. Mark's Square in the
heart of Venice. Officials said about 80
percent of the city is underwater.
Officials have put out raised wooden walkways in some areas to
help people get around. At least one person took the matter in his
own hands and canoed through the city.
Venice's boat public transportation system suspended service for
about one hour and some stores called to report water damage as
a result of the flooding
HONOLULU — Heavy rain sent water as
much as 8 feet deep rushing through the University of Hawaii's main
research library Saturday, destroying irreplaceable documents and
books, toppling doors and walls and forcing a few students to break
a window to escape.
Flood water also washed through a biomedical lab, destroying at
least a third of a professor's collection of flies used for genetic
Ten inches of rain fell in 24 hours starting Saturday morning
in the Manoa Valley near Waikiki. Several cars were carried downstream
when Manoa Stream overflowed its banks, and a school and church
that were supposed to serve as polling places for Tuesday's election
also were damaged.
Gov. Linda Lingle toured the university Sunday and declared Manoa
Valley a state disaster area.
Manoa residents shoveled mud and debris out of their homes Sunday,
while University of Hawaii officials canceled Monday classes and
estimated damage in the millions after daybreak revealed the full
extent of damage caused by the Halloween Eve flood.
The UH-Manoa campus was hit hard after the flash flood topped
the banks of Manoa Stream and created a new river that raced through
the heart of campus. Hamilton Library and the Biomedical Sciences
building sustained the most serious damage, officials said. [...]
Vadodara, October 31: Forensic experts and
geologists in village Nandgaon, about 18 kms from the nearest police
station in Kaprada, South Gujarat, are trying to ascertain whether
a black stone — weighing a kg — which fell in one of
the farms, is a meteorite.
Villagers reported a loud bang and falling of
a burning stone in a farm on Sunday evening. The fallen stone had
created a little crater on the ground.
Villages like Nandgaon and Dharampur and other neighbouring villages
in the hilly areas near the Maharashtra-Gujarat border have been
experiencing unseasonal rains for past couple of days. However,
on Saturday evening, the villagers reported
hearing a loud bang-like noise and a streak of fire across the sky.
‘‘The villagers first thought it was an aeroplane
or a fireball, but it turned out to be a black stone which had fallen
in a farm in the village,’’ said a Kaprada police station
With rumours rife that the incident had led to burning of trees
and could be a likely meteor, Kaprada police personnel reached the
spot and brought the stone to the police station. ‘‘It
must be some stone boulder which might have fallen down due to the
rains. There are no burnt trees or anything of sort in the area,’’
said Abhaysinh Chudasama, Valsad DSP, who also visited the village.
Taking no chances, Chudasama added that a geologist from Valsad
district collectorate had been summoned to check the stone.
I am writing this before the election, so
I cannot know whether George W. Bush or John F. Kerry will be our
President, God willing, for the next four years. These two Nordic,
aristocratic multi-millionaires are virtually twins, and as unlike
most of the rest of us as a couple of cross-eyed albinos. But this
much I find timely: Both candidates were and still are members of
the exclusive secret society at Yale, called "Skull and Bones."
That means that, no matter which one wins, we will have a Skull
and Bones President at a time when entire vertebrate species, because
of how we have poisoned the topsoil, the waters and the atmosphere,
are becoming, hey presto, nothing but skulls and bones.
What was the beginning of this end? Some might say Adam and Eve
and the apple of knowledge. I say it was Prometheus, a Titan, a
son of gods, who in Greek myth stole fire from his parents and gave
it to human beings. The gods were so mad they chained him naked
to a rock with his back exposed, and had eagles eat his liver.
And it is now plain that the gods were right to do that. Our close
cousins the gorillas and orangutans and chimps and gibbons have
gotten along just fine all this time while eating raw vegetable
matter, whereas we not only prepare hot meals, but have now all
but destroyed this once salubrious planet as a life-support system
in fewer than 200 years, mainly by making thermodynamic whoopee
with fossil fuels.
The Englishman Michael Faraday built the first dynamo, capable
of turning mechanical energy into electricity, only 173 years ago.
The first oil well in the United States, now a dry hole, was drilled
in Titusville, Pennsylvania, by Edwin L. Drake only 145 years ago.
The German Karl Benz built the first automobile powered by an internal
combustion engine only 119 years ago.
The American Wright brothers, of course, built and flew the first
airplane only 101 years ago. It was powered by gasoline. You want
to talk about irresistible whoopee?
A booby trap.
Fossil fuels, so easily set alight! Yes, and as Bush and Kerry
are out campaigning, we are presently touching off nearly the very
last whiffs and drops and chunks of them. All lights are about to
go out. No more electricity. All forms of transportation are about
to stop, and the planet Earth will soon have a crust of skulls and
bones and dead machinery.
And nobody can do a thing about it. It’s too late in the
game. Don’t spoil the party, but here’s the truth: We
have squandered our planet’s resources, including air and
water, as though there were no tomorrow, so now there isn’t
going to be one.
So there goes the Junior Prom, but that’s not the half of
Increase in forest blazes linked to greenhouse gases
Scientists study recent wildfires across Canada
| Nov. 1, 2004. 01:00 AM
OTTAWA—Canadian climate researchers
have found compelling evidence linking the rise in severe forest
fires across the country to higher summer temperatures from greenhouse
"When the temperature goes up, the area burned goes up,"
said University of Victoria climate researcher Nathan Gillette,
the study's lead author.
Higher summer temperatures boost evaporation and lower moisture,
leaving tinder-dry forests easy to set ablaze by lightning strikes
or human carelessness.
Using a computer climate model and statistical tests, Gillette
found that rising summer temperatures could explain almost two-thirds
of the increase in the total area burned by forest fires since 1920.
The research also demonstrated that the temperature rises matched
the projected warming effect from higher atmospheric levels of greenhouse
gases over Canada from human activity, largely burning fossil fuels.
Last year British Columbia was hit with the worst outbreak this
century with 2,500 wildfires causing damage estimated at $700 million,
the evacuation of more 45,000 people, destruction of 300-plus homes
and three deaths.
The results confirm previous theoretical predictions by federal
forest officials that human-induced climate warming would trigger
more frequent and more damaging forest fires.
"We're pretty sure those sorts of forest fires across Canada
are a consequence of climate change that's associated with greenhouse
gases, mostly carbon dioxide," said climate expert Andrew Weaver,
a University of Victoria professor who supervised Gillette's research.
WASHINGTON – With only eight weeks left
before the elves finish their work and Santa Claus mounts his sleigh,
an eight-nation study on global warming co-sponsored by the United
States has concluded that the North Pole is melting beneath St.
The 144-page report, which is due to be officially released a
week after Tuesday’s elections, says
the accelerated warming of the globe – which it blames mostly
on the emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases produced
by the industrial age – is transforming the Arctic region
The Arctic "is now experience some of
the most rapid and severe climate change on Earth,"
according to the report, which was obtained by the New York Times
and the Washington Post this weekend, apparently from European sources
that wanted to publicize its findings before Tuesday.
The European Union (EU), some of whose member states co-sponsored
the study, strongly supports the Kyoto Protocol to reduce greenhouse
emissions, while President George W. Bush has rejected the accord.
His Democratic challenger, Sen. John Kerry, has called for the U.S.
to rejoin negotiations on the treaty’s terms.
"Over the next 100 years, climate
change is expected to accelerate, contributing to major physical,
ecological, social and economic changes, many of which have already
begun," the report stated, adding that greenhouse gas
emissions have clearly become "the dominant factor" in
the Arctic’s changing climate. [...]
State Democrats reacted quickly
when the Republican Party, trying to garner last-minute support
with New Hampshire's swing voters, began paying part-time workers
$75 this weekend to devote a day to the Bush campaign -- especially
in liberal areas like Hanover.
Democratic field organizers in the area alerted supporters and
volunteers Friday about students from nearby colleges who had been
paid to hold Bush-Cheney signs and wear campaign stickers on the
The program, meant to boost volunteer numbers in key swing states,
is offered nationally, with students from less contentious states
like Vermont being bussed into swing states to campaign for President
Bush. The College Republicans began offering this opportunity to
Dartmouth students Sunday and will continue to do so through Election
In some cases, the Bush-Cheney workers who lined the east side
of the Green Friday supported neither Bush nor his opponent, Massachusetts
Sen. John Kerry.
David Carney, 21, a senior from St. Michael's College in Vermont,
has already cast an absentee ballot for Ralph Nader in his home
state of California. The self-described socialist said he's tried
to find a job, and this was the only work he could get.
"I need food. I haven't had a job for so many months,"
Carney said. "I've got to buy groceries."
The money has attracted Carney and other students from colleges
in the region such as Vermont University and Norwich University.
In contrast to volunteers for Kerry, who stood waving signs on the
corner of the sidewalk, most of the Bush-Cheney campaigners sat
listlessly on the Green's senior fence, wearing campaign stickers
but not brandishing signs.
A few said they were ardent Bush supporters, but the majority said
they just needed the money.
The New Hampshire Democratic Party was quick to disparage the Bush-Cheney
team for paying people to campaign.
REYKAJVIK, Iceland - A volcano
erupted in a remote area of Iceland on Monday, setting off tremors
across the area and prompting officials to warn pilots to avoid
flying through gasses being emitted by the blast.
No evacuations were needed in the unpopulated area around Grimsvotn
mountain in eastern Iceland, the Meteorological Office said, but
visual confirmation of the damage being done was impossible because
heavy winds and rains reduced visibility in the area.
The eruption was believed to have been caused by expansion of a
lake underneath the Vatnajokull glacier.
"The water is under extreme pressure from the glacier. We
believe it could open a part of the Grimsvotn mountain, causing
the release of some magma, though this cannot be confirmed without
visual identification," said Oli Thor Arnarsson at the Meteorological
His office issued the warning to pilots on Monday evening.
Grimsvotn last erupted six years ago. It also erupted in 1995 and
1993, causing flooding.
The mountain lies on the Atlantic Rift, the meeting of the Euro
and American continental plates. The three major volcanoes of Icelan
THE PHILIPPINE Institute of Volcanology
and Seismology has raised the alert level in Taal Volcano and called
on visitors to the island to be vigilant, following a marked increase
in the number of earthquakes since last weekend.
The main crater of Taal is now off-limits to visitors as sudden
steam explosions might occur or high concentrations of noxious gases
might accumulate, said Phivolcs in its latest bulletin on the volcano.
“The ongoing seismic unrest could intensify in the coming
days and weeks so that Phivolcs is recommending appropriate vigilance
by the public when visiting the island,” said Phivolcs.
Phivolcs said there were also several fissures on the Daang Kastila
Trail which, if reactivated and combined with steam emission, could
be potentially hazardous to people.
Killer heatwaves will take a
greater toll as the population grows older and the climate warms,
according to a major study on global disasters.
The developed world can expect to suffer the devastating effects
of even hotter summers than the one last year in Europe, which is
estimated to have killed up to 35,000 people.
A report by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent
Societies warns that more extreme heatwaves can be added to the
long list of natural and man-made disasters that will affect the
world in the coming decades. Extreme summer temperatures in the
developed world will be one of the extra problems affecting humanity
in the 21st century, said Markku Niskala, secretary general of the
federation. "The face of disasters is changing. Soaring urban
populations, environmental degradation, poverty and disease are
compounding seasonal hazards such as droughts and floods,"
he said. "The developed world faces new threats too. Five degrees
more summer heat than usual triggered a disaster that shamed modern,
wealthy societies across Europe in 2003. Up to 35,000 elderly and
vulnerable people suffered silent, lonely deaths, abandoned by state
welfare systems in retreat." [...]
The systematic destruction of
the Amazon is being carried out by slave labour.
The knock on the door Valdemir Maria de Jesus had been hoping for
came at 3am. The early hour was strange but after three and a half
months of clearing rainforest, the salary owed to him and his friend
Antonio was finally to be paid. It was a moment for celebration.
Like thousands of Brazilian labourers working in the Amazon, the
meagre £800 the two men had earned from their back-breaking
efforts in the frontier state of Para would provide them with the
means to start new lives, enough to build a new house, marry or
support their families.
But when Valdemir went to the door, it was
not a wad of banknotes but a gun that his boss, Maciel, was brandishing.
"I opened the door and he shot me," said Valdemir,
a slight man in his twenties who still has the bullets lodged in
him. "When the first hit me, I fell down and pretended to be
dead. He shot me a second time. Then he went over and shot my friend.
After he finished with him, he came back and kicked me several times
in the head to check if I was dead. After he left, people found
me and they somehow got me to hospital."
The first bullet hit Valdemir in the lung, the second in his back.
But, despite being critically wounded, his instinct to feign death
saved him. He is now in hiding at his father's home, hundreds of
miles of away in another province, awaiting surgery to remove the
Antonio was not so fortunate. The wife and children he left behind
to seek his fortune in Para probably do not even know he is dead.
His identity card was stolen by his murderer and nobody else knows
Perhaps the most shocking element is that, far from being an isolated
incidence of greed and inhumanity, it is part of the dark secret
that lurks in Brazil's rural heartlands. Valdemir, whose real name
has been withheld to protect him from reprisals, and Antonio were
among 25,000 men working as slave labourers, forced to destroy thousands
of acres of virgin rainforest or work in Dickensian conditions to
work off debts that can never be paid. [...]
Monkeys lurking at an ancient
Hindu temple in India's northeast have attacked up to 300 children
over three weeks, temple officials said Tuesday.
"They hide in trees and swoop on unsuspecting children loitering
about in the temple premises or walking by, clawing them and even
sucking a bit of blood," Bani Kumar Sharma, a priest at the
Kamakhya temple in Assam state, told The Associated Press. The temple,
one of the most famous in India, is located in Gauhati, Assam's
"I was returning home from school when a monkey suddenly pounced
on me, scratched my head and hand and pushed me to the ground,"
said Jolly Sharma, a 6-year-old girl.
At least 2,000 rhesus monkeys roam in and around
the temple, but none had shown aggressive behavior in the past,
the priest said.
Monkeys are often found in tens of thousands of temples across
India. They are seen as a symbol of Hanuman, the mythical monkey
god, and devotees visiting temples often feed them. While occasional
attacks by monkeys are not uncommon at temples, the sudden surge
in attacks at the Gauhati temple has experts perplexed.
NEW DELHI (AP) - In a capital
city where cows roam the streets and elephants plod along in the
bus lanes, it's no surprise to find government buildings overrun
But the officials who work there are fed up. They've been bitten,
robbed and otherwise tormented by monkeys that ransack files, bring
down power lines, screech at visitors and bang on office windows.
[...] To no avail. Hindus believe that monkeys are manifestations
of the monkey god, Hanuman, and worshippers come to Raisina Hill
every Tuesday handing out bananas.
Last year the monkeys made their presence felt
by hanging from window ledges and screeching at reporters arriving
for a news conference with visiting U.S. Defence Secretary Donald
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