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Picture of the Day



©2004 Pierre-Paul Feyte


Interview with Robert Kennedy

Johannes von Dohnányi
Blick, Switzrland
(Translated by a reader)

Q: Mr. Kennedy, during the election campaign you supported John Kerry. How disappointed are you now about the victory of the Republican George W. Bush?
K: I still haven't got over the shock. Bush is a catastrophe for my country, its economy, the environment and our international relationships.

Q: Most of your fellow citizens have seen this differently. They have elected Bush because of the moral values he represents.
K: I have to tell you something: The top traditional value of the USA is democracy. From here democracy dispersed. The US stands also for fairness, justice and an independent jurisdiction. For the right of the people to control the things themselves that influence their lives directly. And mainly we have fulfilled the expectations the world put on us.

Q: And this is over now?
K: When I was travelling through Europe with my father as a little boy, people were standing on the roads, ten of thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands just to see an American politician. Then we were the moral and political leading nation. Streets and places were named after US presidents like Lincoln, Roosevelt or Kennedy. Just one day after the attacks of 9/11 the biggest French newspaper "Le Monde" had a headline: "We are all Americans now".

Q: Such a headline would be impossible today.
K: Exactly. All the international respect and the moral leadership that was built-up over 230 years in the USA, with discipline and visionary leadership, president Bush has given away in just three and a half years.

Q: Is nothing left of it?
K: All that is gone. And just because of the monumental arrogance and incompetence of this one president. The USA is the most hated nation of the world. 5.5 billion people around the world fear and despise us. That's for me the most bitter pill of the Bush presidency. And Americans have no idea about it, how much they are hated around the world. They just won't get informed.

Q: The free American press withholds such information?
K: The media today are the result of a thirty year old strategy of the American right. In the seventies an unholy alliance was built between the environment destroying industries and the right-wing ideologists. First they created right-wing think-tanks in the shadow of the capitol. Then they overtook the media.

Q: Mr. Kennedy - You exaggerate!
K: You think? I tell you: Right-wing, almost right-wing extremists are controlling all 5000 US TV-stations, the 15,000 radio stations and 80% of our print media. The free press, invented in the USA, is now controlled by a Christian taliban. By right-wing extremist, fundamentalist heretics!

Q: Do you know that the people all over the world see CNN?
K: And do you know that 72% of the Bush-voters still believe that it was Iraq that was behind 9/11? This is the kind of information that will always be distributed by, for example, Fox news. Owned by Rupert Murdoch, this broadcaster distributes such news into US broadcasts. With only the "Los Angeles Times" on the West-coast and the "New York Times" on the East-coast, you can't hold against it. It's just impossible.

Q: And what are the consequences of this situation?
K: You know, I'm at the point of hating radio in the US. In the United States of America today it is like the twenties of the past century in Germany, Italy or Spain. A true brown-shirt attitude takes over. Whoever criticises the government will be branded as unpatriotic. But without a free and critical press the survival of our democracy is very difficult to imagine.

Q: Now you've gone to far!
K: Also in Europe there were the right-wing industrialists who made a pact with fanatical fascists, which until then just existed on the edge of civil society. But with the money of industries... Don't forget - also Hitler was elected democratically - from the people of the most educated nation of the world. And as with Hitler, so also Franco and Mussolini. In the USA we see today a similar pattern. This is pretty scary for those who believe in progress and democracy.

Q: That's strong tobacco - The USA like the pre-nazi Germany!
K: Look at the composition of the cabinet of the Bush government. There are three times more CEOs as in any other previous American government. And they will continue in the levels below of this administration. Everywhere are sitting the lobbyists of the most greedy and destructive industries in the political top-positions.

Q: Can you prove this?
K: The boss of the public forest authority was former lobbyist of the wood industry. The boss of the land conservation authority comes from the mining industry. The top guard of the quality of our air was a lobbyist of the energy industry. The woman that should help us to assert the existing environmental laws, was in the past helping the destroyers of the environment to circumvent just these laws. They didn't go into public service to work for the public welfare. They just there to overthrow the existing laws.

Q: And what about the "compassionate conservatism" Bush declared as his top maxim?
K: For whatever Bush and his people stand for - it's nothing but a fraud. Take the word conservative. It comes from conservation, therefore to keep, preserve. But where do the neo-conservatives preserve? They preach about the free market, but are instead only interested in the well-being of their own multinational groups [companies]. Do you know what I call this?

Q: What?
K: Capitalism for the poor and socialism for the rich. The Bush-people say that they stand for law and order. And then they are the first to release law-breakers. They call themselves Christians and continuously break all rules the Christian faith has given to us. It was given to us to be responsible with earth, to preserve it for future generations. We shall take care of our poor brothers and sisters. It's about this and not the balances of the multinational groups [companies] the Christian teachings talk about. The form of capitalism Bush propagates, that we normally only know from countries like Nigeria, paralyses democracy, our efficiency and reduces our prosperity.

Q: Such a tough self-criticism you don't hear much from the USA.
K: I don't say anything new. We seem to have just forgotten that Abraham Lincoln, the maybe greatest republican of all, said at the peak of the civil war: "I have the Confederacy before me and the bankers behind me, and I fear the bankers most." And Franklin Roosevelt described the control of the government by the power of the multinational groups [companies] as the essence of fascism. Mussonlini preferred to say corporatism. The merging of the state with the power of the multinational groups [companies] is a danger for our democracy.

Q: But you are the heir of the president John F. Kennedy and Robert, his minister of justice, your father. Where is your engagement for the American democracy?
K: Of course I fight back. I do nothing else but fight those guys. I don't know yet what I will do in four years. First the dust has to settle down. But whatever happens - the following four years I will be in a direct fight with these guys. And probably a long time after that.

From a reader: Just to give you another example of what the media write about the US in Europe, here is an interview from this Sunday in "Blick" the most read newspaper of Switzerland. It's the one with many pictures in it. I would have compared it from what I heard with "USA-Today". And of course with "Sun" in the UK.

I can see however, how the interviewer and also Mr. Kennedy are both still full of wishful thinking. Sorry this is not available in the Internet, so therefore no link.

Click here to comment on this article


Fascism Anyone?
Laurence W. Britt
The following article is from Free Inquiry magazine, Volume 23, Number 2.

Free Inquiry readers may pause to read the "Affirmations of Humanism: A Statement of Principles" on the inside cover of the magazine. To a secular humanist, these principles seem so logical, so right, so crucial. Yet, there is one archetypal political philosophy that is anathema to almost all of these principles. It is fascism. And fascism’s principles are wafting in the air today, surreptitiously masquerading as something else, challenging everything we stand for. The cliché that people and nations learn from history is not only overused, but also overestimated; often we fail to learn from history, or draw the wrong conclusions. Sadly, historical amnesia is the norm.

We are two-and-a-half generations removed from the horrors of Nazi Germany, although constant reminders jog the consciousness. German and Italian fascism form the historical models that define this twisted political worldview. Although they no longer exist, this worldview and the characteristics of these models have been imitated by protofascist1 regimes at various times in the twentieth century. Both the original German and Italian models and the later protofascist regimes show remarkably similar characteristics. Although many scholars question any direct connection among these regimes, few can dispute their visual similarities.

Beyond the visual, even a cursory study of these fascist and protofascist regimes reveals the absolutely striking convergence of their modus operandi. This, of course, is not a revelation to the informed political observer, but it is sometimes useful in the interests of perspective to restate obvious facts and in so doing shed needed light on current circumstances.

For the purpose of this perspective, I will consider the following regimes: Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Franco’s Spain, Salazar’s Portugal, Papadopoulos’s Greece, Pinochet’s Chile, and Suharto’s Indonesia. To be sure, they constitute a mixed bag of national identities, cultures, developmental levels, and history. But they all followed the fascist or protofascist model in obtaining, expanding, and maintaining power. Further, all these regimes have been overthrown, so a more or less complete picture of their basic characteristics and abuses is possible.

Analysis of these seven regimes reveals fourteen common threads that link them in recognizable patterns of national behavior and abuse of power. These basic characteristics are more prevalent and intense in some regimes than in others, but they all share at least some level of similarity.

1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism. From the prominent displays of flags and bunting to the ubiquitous lapel pins, the fervor to show patriotic nationalism, both on the part of the regime itself and of citizens caught up in its frenzy, was always obvious. Catchy slogans, pride in the military, and demands for unity were common themes in expressing this nationalism. It was usually coupled with a suspicion of things foreign that often bordered on xenophobia.

2. Disdain for the importance of human rights. The regimes themselves viewed human rights as of little value and a hindrance to realizing the objectives of the ruling elite. Through clever use of propaganda, the population was brought to accept these human rights abuses by marginalizing, even demonizing, those being targeted. When abuse was egregious, the tactic was to use secrecy, denial, and disinformation.

3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause. The most significant common thread among these regimes was the use of scapegoating as a means to divert the people’s attention from other problems, to shift blame for failures, and to channel frustration in controlled directions. The methods of choice—relentless propaganda and disinformation—were usually effective. Often the regimes would incite "spontaneous" acts against the target scapegoats, usually communists, socialists, liberals, Jews, ethnic and racial minorities, traditional national enemies, members of other religions, secularists, homosexuals, and "terrorists." Active opponents of these regimes were inevitably labeled as terrorists and dealt with accordingly.

4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism. Ruling elites always identified closely with the military and the industrial infrastructure that supported it. A disproportionate share of national resources was allocated to the military, even when domestic needs were acute. The military was seen as an expression of nationalism, and was used whenever possible to assert national goals, intimidate other nations, and increase the power and prestige of the ruling elite.

5. Rampant sexism. Beyond the simple fact that the political elite and the national culture were male-dominated, these regimes inevitably viewed women as second-class citizens. They were adamantly anti-abortion and also homophobic. These attitudes were usually codified in Draconian laws that enjoyed strong support by the orthodox religion of the country, thus lending the regime cover for its abuses.

6. A controlled mass media. Under some of the regimes, the mass media were under strict direct control and could be relied upon never to stray from the party line. Other regimes exercised more subtle power to ensure media orthodoxy. Methods included the control of licensing and access to resources, economic pressure, appeals to patriotism, and implied threats. The leaders of the mass media were often politically compatible with the power elite. The result was usually success in keeping the general public unaware of the regimes’ excesses.

7. Obsession with national security. Inevitably, a national security apparatus was under direct control of the ruling elite. It was usually an instrument of oppression, operating in secret and beyond any constraints. Its actions were justified under the rubric of protecting "national security," and questioning its activities was portrayed as unpatriotic or even treasonous.

8. Religion and ruling elite tied together. Unlike communist regimes, the fascist and protofascist regimes were never proclaimed as godless by their opponents. In fact, most of the regimes attached themselves to the predominant religion of the country and chose to portray themselves as militant defenders of that religion. The fact that the ruling elite’s behavior was incompatible with the precepts of the religion was generally swept under the rug. Propaganda kept up the illusion that the ruling elites were defenders of the faith and opponents of the "godless." A perception was manufactured that opposing the power elite was tantamount to an attack on religion.

9. Power of corporations protected. Although the personal life of ordinary citizens was under strict control, the ability of large corporations to operate in relative freedom was not compromised. The ruling elite saw the corporate structure as a way to not only ensure military production (in developed states), but also as an additional means of social control. Members of the economic elite were often pampered by the political elite to ensure a continued mutuality of interests, especially in the repression of "have-not" citizens.

10. Power of labor suppressed or eliminated. Since organized labor was seen as the one power center that could challenge the political hegemony of the ruling elite and its corporate allies, it was inevitably crushed or made powerless. The poor formed an underclass, viewed with suspicion or outright contempt. Under some regimes, being poor was considered akin to a vice.

11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts. Intellectuals and the inherent freedom of ideas and expression associated with them were anathema to these regimes. Intellectual and academic freedom were considered subversive to national security and the patriotic ideal. Universities were tightly controlled; politically unreliable faculty harassed or eliminated. Unorthodox ideas or expressions of dissent were strongly attacked, silenced, or crushed. To these regimes, art and literature should serve the national interest or they had no right to exist.

12. Obsession with crime and punishment. Most of these regimes maintained Draconian systems of criminal justice with huge prison populations. The police were often glorified and had almost unchecked power, leading to rampant abuse. "Normal" and political crime were often merged into trumped-up criminal charges and sometimes used against political opponents of the regime. Fear, and hatred, of criminals or "traitors" was often promoted among the population as an excuse for more police power.

13. Rampant cronyism and corruption. Those in business circles and close to the power elite often used their position to enrich themselves. This corruption worked both ways; the power elite would receive financial gifts and property from the economic elite, who in turn would gain the benefit of government favoritism. Members of the power elite were in a position to obtain vast wealth from other sources as well: for example, by stealing national resources. With the national security apparatus under control and the media muzzled, this corruption was largely unconstrained and not well understood by the general population.

14. Fraudulent elections. Elections in the form of plebiscites or public opinion polls were usually bogus. When actual elections with candidates were held, they would usually be perverted by the power elite to get the desired result. Common methods included maintaining control of the election machinery, intimidating and disenfranchising opposition voters, destroying or disallowing legal votes, and, as a last resort, turning to a judiciary beholden to the power elite.

Does any of this ring alarm bells? Of course not. After all, this is America, officially a democracy with the rule of law, a constitution, a free press, honest elections, and a well-informed public constantly being put on guard against evils. Historical comparisons like these are just exercises in verbal gymnastics. Maybe, maybe not.

Note

1. Defined as a "political movement or regime tending toward or imitating Fascism"—Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary.

References

Andrews, Kevin. Greece in the Dark. Amsterdam: Hakkert, 1980.
Chabod, Frederico. A History of Italian Fascism. London: Weidenfeld, 1963.
Cooper, Marc. Pinochet and Me. New York: Verso, 2001.
Cornwell, John. Hitler as Pope. New York: Viking, 1999.
de Figuerio, Antonio. Portugal—Fifty Years of Dictatorship. New York: Holmes & Meier, 1976.
Eatwell, Roger. Fascism, A History. New York: Penguin, 1995.
Fest, Joachim C. The Face of the Third Reich. New York: Pantheon, 1970.
Gallo, Max. Mussolini’s Italy. New York: MacMillan, 1973.
Kershaw, Ian. Hitler (two volumes). New York: Norton, 1999.
Laqueur, Walter. Fascism, Past, Present, and Future. New York: Oxford, 1996.
Papandreau, Andreas. Democracy at Gunpoint. New York: Penguin Books, 1971.
Phillips, Peter. Censored 2001: 25 Years of Censored News. New York: Seven Stories. 2001.
Sharp, M.E. Indonesia Beyond Suharto. Armonk, 1999.
Verdugo, Patricia. Chile, Pinochet, and the Caravan of Death. Coral Gables, Florida: North-South Center Press, 2001.
Yglesias, Jose. The Franco Years. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1977.

Comment: We have been discussing the danger of fascism in the US for several years, highlighting the similarities between the thirties in Germany and today's events in the US. At first, many people thought the comparison was too crude. Now, we find the same idea being expressed by one of the Kennedy clan.

Our most recent thoughts can be found in Laura Knight-Jadczyk's article The Global Game of Survivor: America's Next Four Years.

Click here to comment on this article


Evidence Mounts That The Vote May Have Been Hacked
Thom Hartmann
CommonDreams.org

When I spoke with Jeff Fisher this morning (Saturday, November 06, 2004), the Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives from Florida's 16th District said he was waiting for the FBI to show up. Fisher has evidence, he says, not only that the Florida election was hacked, but of who hacked it and how. And not just this year, he said, but that these same people had previously hacked the Democratic primary race in 2002 so that Jeb Bush would not have to run against Janet Reno, who presented a real threat to Jeb, but instead against Bill McBride, who Jeb beat.

"It was practice for a national effort," Fisher told me.

And some believe evidence is accumulating that the national effort happened on November 2, 2004.

The State of Florida, for example, publishes a county-by-county record of votes cast and people registered to vote by party affiliation. Net denizen Kathy Dopp compiled the official state information into a table, available at http://ustogether.org/Florida_Election.htm, and noticed something startling.

While the heavily scrutinized touch-screen voting machines seemed to produce results in which the registered Democrat/Republican ratios largely matched the Kerry/Bush vote, in Florida's counties using results from optically scanned paper ballots - fed into a central tabulator PC and thus vulnerable to hacking the results seem to contain substantial anomalies.

In Baker County, for example, with 12,887 registered voters, 69.3% of them Democrats and 24.3% of them Republicans, the vote was only 2,180 for Kerry and 7,738 for Bush, the opposite of what is seen everywhere else in the country where registered Democrats largely voted for Kerry.

In Dixie County, with 9,676 registered voters, 77.5% of them Democrats and a mere 15% registered as Republicans, only 1,959 people voted for Kerry, but 4,433 voted for Bush.

The pattern repeats over and over again - but only in the counties where optical scanners were used. Franklin County, 77.3% registered Democrats, went 58.5% for Bush. Holmes County, 72.7% registered Democrats, went 77.25% for Bush.

Yet in the touch-screen counties, where investigators may have been more vigorously looking for such anomalies, high percentages of registered Democrats generally equaled high percentages of votes for Kerry. (I had earlier reported that county size was a variable this turns out not to be the case. Just the use of touch-screens versus optical scanners.)

More visual analysis of the results can be seen at http://us together.org/election04/FloridaDataStats.htm, and www.rubberbug.com/temp/Florida2004chart.htm. Note the trend line the only variable that determines a swing toward Bush was the use of optical scan machines.

One possible explanation for this is the "Dixiecrat" theory, that in Florida white voters (particularly the rural ones) have been registered as Democrats for years, but voting Republican since Reagan. Looking at the 2000 statistics, also available on Dopp's site, there are similar anomalies, although the trends are not as strong as in 2004. But some suggest the 2000 election may have been questionable in Florida, too.

One of the people involved in Dopp's analysis noted that it may be possible to determine the validity of the "rural Democrat" theory by comparing Florida's white rural counties to those of Pennsylvania, another swing state but one that went for Kerry, as the exit polls there predicted. Interestingly, the Pennsylvania analysis, available at http://ustogether.org/election04/PA_vote_patt.htm, doesn't show the same kind of swings as does Florida, lending credence to the possibility of problems in Florida.

Even more significantly, Dopp had first run the analysis while filtering out smaller (rural) counties, and still found that the only variable that accounted for a swing toward Republican voting was the use of optical-scan machines, whereas counties with touch-screen machines generally didn't swing - regardless of size.

Others offer similar insights, based on other data. A professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, noted that in Florida the vote to raise the minimum wage was approved by 72%, although Kerry got 48%. "The correlation between voting for the minimum wage increase and voting for Kerry isn't likely to be perfect," he noted, "but one would normally expect that the gap - of 1.5 million votes - to be far smaller than it was."

While all of this may or may not be evidence of vote tampering, it again brings the nation back to the question of why several states using electronic voting machines or scanners programmed by private, for-profit corporations and often connected to modems produced votes inconsistent with exit poll numbers.

Those exit poll results have been a problem for reporters ever since Election Day.

Election night, I'd been doing live election coverage for WDEV, one of the radio stations that carries my syndicated show, and, just after midnight, during the 12:20 a.m. Associated Press Radio News feed, I was startled to hear the reporter detail how Karen Hughes had earlier sat George W. Bush down to inform him that he'd lost the election. The exit polls were clear: Kerry was winning in a landslide. "Bush took the news stoically," noted the AP report.

But then the computers reported something different. In several pivotal states.

Conservatives see a conspiracy here: They think the exit polls were rigged.

Dick Morris, the infamous political consultant to the first Clinton campaign who became a Republican consultant and Fox News regular, wrote an article for The Hill, the publication read by every political junkie in Washington, DC, in which he made a couple of brilliant points.

"Exit Polls are almost never wrong," Morris wrote. "They eliminate the two major potential fallacies in survey research by correctly separating actual voters from those who pretend they will cast ballots but never do and by substituting actual observation for guesswork in judging the relative turnout of different parts of the state."

He added: "So, according to ABC-TVs exit polls, for example, Kerry was slated to carry Florida, Ohio, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, and Iowa, all of which Bush carried. The only swing state the network had going to Bush was West Virginia, which the president won by 10 points."

Yet a few hours after the exit polls were showing a clear Kerry sweep, as the computerized vote numbers began to come in from the various states the election was called for Bush.

How could this happen?

On the CNBC TV show "Topic A With Tina Brown," several months ago, Howard Dean had filled in for Tina Brown as guest host. His guest was Bev Harris, the Seattle grandmother who started www.blackboxvoting.org from her living room. Bev pointed out that regardless of how votes were tabulated (other than hand counts, only done in odd places like small towns in Vermont), the real "counting" is done by computers. Be they Diebold Opti-Scan machines, which read paper ballots filled in by pencil or ink in the voter's hand, or the scanners that read punch cards, or the machines that simply record a touch of the screen, in all cases the final tally is sent to a "central tabulator" machine.

That central tabulator computer is a Windows-based PC.

"In a voting system," Harris explained to Dean on national television, "you have all the different voting machines at all the different polling places, sometimes, as in a county like mine, there's a thousand polling places in a single county. All those machines feed into the one machine so it can add up all the votes. So, of course, if you were going to do something you shouldn't to a voting machine, would it be more convenient to do it to each of the 4000 machines, or just come in here and deal with all of them at once?"

Dean nodded in rhetorical agreement, and Harris continued. "What surprises people is that the central tabulator is just a PC, like what you and I use. It's just a regular computer."

"So," Dean said, "anybody who can hack into a PC can hack into a central tabulator?"

Harris nodded affirmation, and pointed out how Diebold uses a program called GEMS, which fills the screen of the PC and effectively turns it into the central tabulator system. "This is the official program that the County Supervisor sees," she said, pointing to a PC that was sitting between them loaded with Diebold's software.

Bev then had Dean open the GEMS program to see the results of a test election. They went to the screen titled "Election Summary Report" and waited a moment while the PC "adds up all the votes from all the various precincts," and then saw that in this faux election Howard Dean had 1000 votes, Lex Luthor had 500, and Tiger Woods had none. Dean was winning.

"Of course, you can't tamper with this software," Harris noted. Diebold wrote a pretty good program.

But, it's running on a Windows PC.

So Harris had Dean close the Diebold GEMS software, go back to the normal Windows PC desktop, click on the "My Computer" icon, choose "Local Disk C:," open the folder titled GEMS, and open the sub-folder "LocalDB" which, Harris noted, "stands for local database, that's where they keep the votes." Harris then had Dean double-click on a file in that folder titled "Central Tabulator Votes," which caused the PC to open the vote count in a database program like Excel.

In the "Sum of the Candidates" row of numbers, she found that in one precinct Dean had received 800 votes and Lex Luthor had gotten 400.

"Let's just flip those," Harris said, as Dean cut and pasted the numbers from one cell into the other. "And," she added magnanimously, "let's give 100 votes to Tiger."

They closed the database, went back into the official GEMS software "the legitimate way, you're the county supervisor and you're checking on the progress of your election."

As the screen displayed the official voter tabulation, Harris said, "And you can see now that Howard Dean has only 500 votes, Lex Luthor has 900, and Tiger Woods has 100." Dean, the winner, was now the loser.

Harris sat up a bit straighter, smiled, and said, "We just edited an election, and it took us 90 seconds."

On live national television. (You can see the clip on www.votergate.tv.) And they had left no tracks whatsoever, Harris said, noting that it would be nearly impossible for the election software or a County election official - to know that the vote database had been altered.

Which brings us back to Morris and those pesky exit polls that had Karen Hughes telling George W. Bush that he'd lost the election in a landslide.

Morris's conspiracy theory is that the exit polls "were sabotage" to cause people in the western states to not bother voting for Bush, since the networks would call the election based on the exit polls for Kerry. But the networks didn't do that, and had never intended to.

According to congressional candidate Fisher, it makes far more sense that the exit polls were right - they weren't done on Diebold PCs - and that the vote itself was hacked.

And not only for the presidential candidate - Jeff Fisher thinks this hit him and pretty much every other Democratic candidate for national office in the most-hacked swing states.

So far, the only national "mainstream" media to come close to this story was Keith Olbermann on his show Friday night, November 5th, when he noted that it was curious that all the voting machine irregularities so far uncovered seem to favor Bush. In the meantime, the Washington Post and other media are now going through single-bullet-theory-like contortions to explain how the exit polls had failed.

But I agree with Fox's Dick Morris on this one, at least in large part. Wrapping up his story for The Hill, Morris wrote in his final paragraph, "This was no mere mistake. Exit polls cannot be as wrong across the board as they were on election night. I suspect foul play."

Thom Hartmann (thom at thomhartmann.com) is a Project Censored Award-winning best-selling author and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk show. www.thomhartmann .com His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People: A Call To Take Back America," and "What Would Jefferson Do?: A Return To Democracy."

Comment: Yes, the election was fixed. This should not be a surprise to anyone who was watching the preparations and who understands that 911 was an inside job. Perhaps public awareness of a rigged election could lead to a greater awakening. However, one should not be deluded into thinking that things would have been better if it had been Kerry sent to the White House.

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Poll: Voters Relieved by Decisive Election

By WILL LESTER, Associated Press Writer
November 8, 2004

WASHINGTON - Most American voters say the decisive presidential election last week has given them renewed confidence about the nation's electoral system and they're hopeful about the next four years, an Associated Press Poll finds.

At the same time, they feel a sense of urgency about Iraq, their top priority for President Bush to tackle after his re-election, questioning disclosed. Iraq was followed by terrorism among voters' leading concerns.

Voters took comfort from an election that wasn't tied up in the courts as in 2000.

"Anytime you have to wait as long as it the election did in 2000, it leaves people with doubts and a bitter taste in their mouths," said Jim Seaman, a Republican businessman from Summerville, S.C.

The poll taken in the days following the election also found that voters want Bush to cut the deficit, which ballooned under his watch, rather than pushing for more tax cuts.

The voters' concerns stood in contrast to the priorities Bush cited after he defeated Democrat John Kerry. Bush pledged to aggressively pursue major changes in Social Security, tax laws and medical malpractice awards. Terrorism was a chief concern both for Bush and many voters in the poll. [...]

On another domestic issue, six in 10 voters say they are comfortable the president will nominate the right kind of person to serve on the Supreme Court. Bush has sidestepped questions about who he would name if there were an opening, more likely with Chief Justice William Rehnquist's battle against cancer. [...]

Voters were generally accepting of the election results, Democrats were very likely to be in a gloomy mood. [...]

Comment: On yesterday's Signs page, we ran an article about Americans looking into emigrating to New Zealand, Canada, or Australia. Prime minister Helen Clark welcomed the news that more Americans were thinking about moving to New Zealand. Obviously, there are at least some Americans who are aware to some extent that Bush has a few screws loose. So, is the poll even accurate?

If the poll does accurately represent the views of the American people, then it is painfully evident that most of them have learned nothing in Bush's first four years. If the poll is not an accurate representation of Americans' views, then the media supports the Bush Reich. Either way, Bush is here to stay.

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Only the Paranoid Survive

Rigourous Intuition
November 07, 2004

"I've seen the future, baby, and it's murder."

Here's something else Leonard Cohen sings: "There is a war between the ones who say there is a war and the ones who say there isn't." You can see that divide online today within the ranks of American Democrats. While one side collects evidence of another stolen election and has shaken off the illusion of democracy, the other still holds an unrequited love for the system, and passionately strokes off to Hillary/Obama revenge fantasies for 2008. ("Just wait - We'll get 'em next time!")

Do you know what's happening in the Ukraine, America? Tens of thousands are in the streets of Kiev, protesting alleged election fraud:

"Vote results from Ukraine's Central Election Commission showed Yushchenko trailing Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych in last Sunday's race, but final results have not been announced and Yushchenko's supporters want a re-count. Yushchenko backers claim he won 300,000 more votes than Yanukovych. Some exit polls also put Yushchenko in the lead."

In the Ukraine, when election results conflict with exit polls, it's grounds for belief a fraud was perpetuated. While in the United States, when results reverse exit polls only in battleground states, even outside the margin of error, and only in favour of Bush, it's the fault of bloggers for disseminating "erroneous" data which "confused" voters.

"Why don't you come on back to the war - that's right, get in it."

Can we stop saying, please, that fascism is coming to America? Fascism has arrived. We needn't await a Holocaust to say so. (Though we needn't have long to wait.) The regimes of Mussolini, Franco, Salazar, Peron, Marcos and more - many of them loyal US allies - were fascist as well, and some were better than others at maintaining the illusion of representative government.

I expect most Democrats who believe they lost fair enough last week, and are picking themselves up with the mantra of "third time's the charm," would balk at the notion that America is now a fascist state. Some will concede that fascism - understood chiefly as a vague boogie man to "get out the vote" - may threaten America, but many more would say that using the f-word demonstrates political immaturity and "alienates the heartland." They argue the Democratic Party merely needs to repackage, or redefine itself, or whatever; and then, God willing, it can groove once again to "Don't Stop thinking about tomorrow."

To the former I say, what are you waiting to see before you will be able to see? To the latter, enjoy your coping mechanism. It may save your peace of mind, but it won't save your country or our world.

"Why don't you come on back to the war - don't be a tourist."

November 2 confirmed the sum of my fears. That is, it isn't "just me" - the world really is this fucked. But the self-diagnosis isn't exactly cheering. Rather a dose of mental illness than global calamity. But we "tinfoilers" expected the worst last week, and damn if we didn't get it. We had been screaming since the mid-term theft of 2002 about the vulnerability of America's electronic vote, and were roundly ignored by many because, in the words of J Edgar Hoover, "the individual is handicapped by coming face to face with a conspiracy so monstrous he cannot believe it exists."

Here's Chris Floyd, more than a year ago:

"Who's behind these private companies? It's hard to tell: The corporate lines – even the bloodlines – of these "competitors" are so intricately mixed. For example, at Diebold – whose corporate chief, Wally O'Dell, a top Bush fundraiser, has publicly committed himself to "delivering" his home state's votes to Bush next year – the election division is run by Bob Urosevich. Bob's brother, Todd, is a top executive at "rival" ES&S. The brothers were originally staked in the vote-count business by Howard Ahmanson, a member of the Council for National Policy, a right-wing "steering group" stacked with Bushist faithful.

Ahmanson is also one of the bagmen behind the extremist "Christian Reconstructionist" movement, which openly advocates a theocratic takeover of American democracy, placing the entire society under the "dominion" of "Christ the King." This "dominion" includes the death penalty for homosexuals, exclusion of citizenship for non-Christians, stoning of sinners and – we kid you not – slavery, "one of the most beneficent of Biblical laws." Ahmanson also has major holdings in ES&S, whose former CEO is Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska. When Hagel ran for office, his own company counted the votes; needless to say, his initial victory was reported as "an amazing upset." Hagel still has a million-dollar stake in the parent company of ES&S. In Florida, Jeb Bush's first choice for a running mate in his 1998 gubernatorial race was ES&S lobbyist Sandra Mortham, who made a mint installing the machines that counted Jeb's votes.

Ahmanson, counter of America's votes, has admitted "My purpose is total integration of biblical law into our lives." Now, and in light of mounting and massive evidence of anomalies favouring the Republican ticket, which is more incredible: that fundamentalists would allow unaudited virtual ballots to be hacked in order to further the establishment of God's law upon American lives, or that George Bush won 51% of the vote? (Coincidentally, the 51/48 split was the margin Dick Cheney forecast a week before the election.)"

Eva Sion on the Christian reconstructionists and their faith-based electronic voting machines:

"Theonomic Reconstructionism is a belief that the only true authority is God's, that allegiance to biblical laws trumps that of civic law and that the Kingdom of Heaven needs to be built on Earth before Jesus will come again. In addition to that, homosexuals should be put to death, women should be banned from civic office, apostates and heretics should be stoned to death and there is a great need for more Christian politicians.

Not content to philosophize about such things, the TR movement sprang into action. Funded by billionaires such as Howard Ahmanson and the Coors and Hunt families, Reconstructionists formed think tanks such as the Chalcedon Institute and the Rutherford Institute (the friendly guys that funded Paula Jones' lawsuit against Clinton) to give the Christian Right a philosophical base to draw from, and political action committees to finance their elections....

Ahmanson inherited his money from his father, owner of Home Savings & Loan (during the S&L scandal of the Reagan years, Home's investors, mostly small family investments, lost over $150 million dollars. No one went to jail). In addition to funding PACs and think tanks, Howard Jr. parlayed his fortune into the majority stock of a business called American Information Systems (AIS) started by two enterprising brothers, Todd and Bob Urosevich. AIS later merged with Business Records Corporation (BRC) and became Election Systems & Solutions (ES&S). ES&S is the number one provider of touch-screen voting machines. Their website claims that their products were used in collecting 56% of the national vote in the last presidential elections.

Todd Urosevich is now Vice President of ES&S. Strangely enough, brother Bob moved on to head the second largest computerized vote-counting business, Global Election Systems, recently purchased by ATM and security giant Diebold. (They now have both the Ohio and Georgia contracts.) In a round table swap of incestuous patronage the previous executives of Global moved on to head the third largest vote-counting company in the nation, Advanced Voting Systems. Combined, these three corporations will process nearly 80% of the next nationwide elections."

So wake up, America, to your perfect Straussian nightmare: abroad, the neoconservatives are pursuing their imperial energy strategy, while at home Christo-fascists dope the populace on crusader morality and levitical law. If you still can't see the lights going out, it's because your eyes have adjusted to the dark.

"Why don't you come on back to the war - let's all get nervous."

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BILL: WHY BUSH WON

By LOIS WEISS
New York Post

November 6, 2004 -- Former President Bill Clinton, in his first comments on President Bush's re-election, yesterday urged Democrats not to "whine" about the outcome, but to find a "clear national message."

Clinton also said that Democrat John Kerry was hurt by the polarizing issue of gay marriage, which was legalized by Massachusetts' top court and put on the ballot in 11 states, and the surfacing of a tape from Osama bin Laden in the final days of the race.

Reminded of terrorism by the bin Laden tape, voters decided they didn't want to "change horses" during a time of heightened concern over national security, Clinton said in a speech to the Urban Land Institute at the New York Hilton.

Clinton said Hispanic voters tilted to Bush because of terrorism fears, as did suburban "soccer moms," who Clinton said turned into "the security moms of 2004."

He also said that while Democrats registered more new voters than Republicans, the Bush campaign did a better job of getting voters to the polls who were already registered but had not previously voted.

Despite the GOP victory, the former president — whose wife Hillary is already being mentioned as the top contender for the White House in 2008 — said Democrats "shouldn't be all that discouraged" by Kerry's defeat.

Clinton said it would be "a mistake for our party to sit around and . . . whine about this and that or the other thing."

Clinton attributed Kerry's loss to the Democrats' failure to combat how they were portrayed by Republicans to small-town America.

"If we let people believe that our party doesn't believe in faith and family, doesn't believe in work and freedom, that's our fault," he said.

Democrats "need a clear national message, and they have to do this without one big advantage the Republicans have, which is they won't have a theological message that basically paints the other guy as evil," he said.

Clinton said the country was more divided than it was in 1968 and called for an end to the "culture war."

In his hourlong speech Clinton, who had open-heart surgery in September, gave Bush and the Republicans full credit for the election victory.

"The Republicans had a clear message, a good messenger, great organization and great strategy," he said.

Clinton said Bush should use his second term to move toward less dependence on foreign oil.

"This election presents a great opportunity for President Bush and a great opportunity for Democrats, and the two are not necessarily in conflict," he said.

The biggest opportunity he noted was the prospect of an Israeli-Palestinian peace amid the impending demise of Yasser Arafat.

Peace in the region would "take enormous steam" out of Islamic fundamentalist terrorism worldwide, Clinton said. "They would have to think of a new excuse to murder people."

Comment: Do we all now understand? There is, and has been for many years, only one party in the US.

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Aide alleges Israel poisoned Arafat
Nov. 8, 2004 0:25
By LAMIA LAHOUD

Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat was poisoned by Israel, one of his advisers said Sunday.

The option is being seriously considered by the PA, which has sent blood samples to the US and Germany to confirm or rule out the option, he said.

Arafat suffers symptoms similar to those of former PFLP military leader Wadi'a Hadad, he said.

Hadad was poisoned in the late 1970s by a close aide who was allegedly recruited by the Mossad, the adviser said, although the official reason for his death was cancer.

"It took Hadad eight weeks to die... he also entered a coma", he said, "Unless they find an antidote, Arafat will die," he added.

There are four possible reasons for the breakdown of Arafat's red blood cells, and two options have been ruled out, he said.

He does not have cancer and did not take an overdose of certain medications, he added. Poisoning is one of the two remaining possibilities, he claimed.

Other PA officials, including Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei said they could not rule out that Arafat was poisoned, but said they needed to see some proof before publicly making such accusations.

Some PA officials dismissed the poisoning option.

They said it was in the PA's interest to keep Arafat on life support to allow PLO deputy Mahmoud Abbas and Qurei to run the PA.

Comment: Sharon and other Israeli leaders have been openly talking about killing Arafat for years. See the next article for a few examples. The timing is very "convenient", coming as it does with Bush's "re-election".

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The Daily Life of Kawther Salam

...Israel Poisoned Arafat...

November 7, 2004


1999 - Arafat during a visit to Hebron with Nabil Abu Rudeineh and an emissary from the EU

"Arafat is not privileged"
Ariel Sharon, Israeli Prime Minister, repeatedly during talks about killing and deporting Arafat.

"Killing Arafat is an open choice for us"
"The Israeli Minister-President for Political and Security affairs made a tentative decision to remove Arafat as an obstacle to peace."

Ehud Olmert, Israeli Deputy Prime Minister
(link in Arabic)

"We will choose the right way and the right time to kill Arafat"
Shaul Mofaz, Israeli Defence Minister

"We Should kill Arafat softly"
"The only way to achieve the peace process is deporting Arafat."
"We must kill him softly and throw him out from the PA Presidential palace, we must find an alternative leadership. I'm sure Mohamed Dahlan is qualified for this mission"

Moshe Ya'alon, ITF Chief of Staff
(link in Arabic)

(Note: All these quotes and more are matter of record and can be found in various media archives)

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in all probability discussed the killing of President Arafat with U.S President George Bush during his last visit to the White House. Israel has continuously accused Arafat of promoting violence and terror and has sought to isolate him in his half-ruined Ramallah headquarters since December 2001. Israeli government officials have often threatened to kill Arafat in the past. All the while, Israel never once offered any conclusive evidence to sustain their accusations against Arafat.

In the end President Arafat was slowly and fatally poisoned by Israel in his isolated headquarters in Ramallah. The Israeli collaborators who officially work in the PA and Arafat's office poisoned his food slowly, caused him serious problems in his blood platelets, a case which lead to continuous coma.

The Jordanian personal doctor of Arafat, Ashraf Kurdi said: "All the symptoms of Arafat's sickness confirm that he was poisoned, sometimes he would awaken when the influence of the poison vanished from his blood." The spokesperson of military hospital in Paris said that the wife of the President Arafat, Suha, asked them to keep secrecy regarding her husbands situation and sickness.

Suha

Suha. Arafats "widow", now swimming in stolen PA money

Why did Madam Suha ask for that? The Palestinians suspect the secrecy which Suha imposed around Arafats sickness as this secrecy  serves the interests of Israel, who poisoned Arafat in the first place, and not the Palestinian national interests. Suha fled to Paris during the Intifada. She did not honestly stay in the company President Arafat even though she was his wife. This has been matter of much talking among the majority of the Palestinians. We didn't like Suha, her marriage with our President Arafat was seen as a big mistake by everybody. In hindisght this appreciation was correct. At the first sign of trouble she ran to Paris where she led a more than luxurious lifestyle with PA money from Palestinian taxes and international sources.



Mohammed Dahlan. Death squad leader from Gaza in the service of the CIA.

The corrupt "ugly businessman" Mohammed Rashid, Palestinian Minister for Civil affairs and suspected collaborator Jamil al-Tarifi, and the Israeli–CIA representative Mohammed Dahlan all accompanied Suha and President Arafat to Paris. This increased an already high level of anger in the West Bank and Gaza. None of them are honest, they are all suspected of machinating the end Arafat behind the scenes. Suha fled to Paris taking her child Zahwa and leaving her husband Yassir Arafat behind, at the beginning of Al-Aqsa Intifada. This caused lots of criticism on President Arafat, who continued transferring big sums of Palestinian money so she could keep her lavish lifestyle in Paris.



Mohammed Rashid. Thief and Israeli collaborator.

At the beginning of this year the Palestinian Parliament members asked for investigation 9 millions dollars which had been transferred to Suha. The money had been transferred first to a PA bank account in Switzerland and from there to Madam Suha's account in a Paris Bank. The Palestinian Parliament President Rafiq Al-Natsheh was fired from his post as President of the Parliament because he asked for an investigation into the matter.



Rafiq Al-Natsheh, former President of the Palestinian Parliament

Khaled Salam is well known as the most corrupt in the PA. He is an "asset" of the Israeli Mossad and the American CIA, and furthers the dirty business of these organizations in the Palestinian territories. He controls the PA budget under a veil of secrecy, having parked  Palestinian Authority moneys in overseas accounts under his name. The Palestinian Minister for Civil Affairs, Jamil al-Tarifi, is another corrupt operator and well known collaborator, so much so that he is known as "the right arm of Israel" among Palestinians.



Jamil Tarifi, Minister and Israeli collaborator

Palestinians take the slow poisoning of Arafat very seriously, and many are asking for the execution of these well-known Israeli collaborators inside the PA. Many Palestinians also refuse to acknowledge any new Israeli-CIA installed "leadership" of corrupt operators in the next future. This is a new situation brought as a consequence of the murder of Arafat.

Arafat is in all probability dead since last Wednesday, and while the bickering around the future of Palestinian "leadership" goes on, the corpse will be transferred to Egypt, from where transport to Gaza will be easiest. Israel has already said that they do not want to have Arafat buried in Jerusalem, and Suha has helped them implement their plan by first bringing Arafat to die far from home in Paris.

Given the many sordid characters named in connection with Arafat's "illness" and the interests involved, the logic conclusion to be drawn is that, through proxy or otherwise, Israel Poisoned Arafat.

UPDATE

A reader of LibertyForum posted an interesting link to the Jerusalem Post. A short quote:

"Arafat suffers symptoms similar to those of former PFLP military leader Wadi'a Hadad" "Hadad was poisoned in the late 1970s by a close aide who was allegedly recruited by the Mossad, the adviser said, although the official reason for his death was cancer." "It took Hadad eight weeks to die... he also entered a coma", he said, "Unless they find an antidote, Arafat will die"

According to DerStandard (link in German) Michael Barnier, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, has found it necessary to go public and deny "any signs of poisoning". Denials of this kind can normally be taken as a sign that major political fallout is feared ahead.

The Arab edition Yediot Aharonot is running an article stating that the matter of Arafat having been poisoned has caused a row in the Knesset.
Specifically, MK Isam Mahoul stated that he "couldn't deny that Israel had administered poison to Arafat and caused him a fatal poisoning". According to the article, Mr. Mahoul also stated that he wouldn't put it beyond the government to poison Arafat, as they had a long record of poisoning their political opponents. He mentioned the case of Khaled Mishal (link in Arabic) as an example.

A reader from England has written to say that in the UK Television it is being reported that Arafat has been poisoned. Various other readers from the US and UK have written to say they are very upset about this.

The San Francisco Gate has written an article with information about Suha and the finances of the PA.

(Picture Credits: Various Palestinian and Arab Newspapers)

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ARAFAT IS DEAD
Frantic manuevers for power, money, and burial underway
MER Editorial

How and Where to Bury Arafat

MIDDLEEAST.ORG - MER - Washington - 7 Nov: Yasser Arafat is Dead; likely assassinated by blood poisoning by the Israelis. Frantic struggles and manuevers are underway for power, money, and the symbolism of how and where Arafat will be buried. Arafat's long-time cronies neither of whom has any real popular support but who are trying to take total control of the PLO and the PA with Israeli and U.S. assistance -- Abu Mazen and Abu Ala -- are on the way to Paris. They are hoping one way or another to finalize everything regarding Arafat and then to be seen to accompany Arafat's body to whereever the Israelis, the Americans, and key Arab governments will allow them to go. Even though the source of this first article known on the Internet as Debka is always suspect for extensive connections with Israeli intelligence much of the information in the report, if not the analysis, may well be accurate. The additional report that follows comes from the UK published in today's Telegraph.

Paris Tells Palestinians to Remove Arafat
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report -November 7, 2004

French president Jacques Chirac’s patience with the Palestinians’ desperate maneuvers to cover up Yasser Arafat’s demise has run out. DEBKAfile’s Paris and Washington sources reveal exclusively that Friday, November 5, exactly a week after Arafat was admitted to the Percy military hospital near Paris, the French president put in a call to the White House and informed President George W. Bush that it was all over.

Paris and Washington both then swung into action.

An American delegation, organized at top speed by US Middle East diplomats, called on Palestinian prime minister Ahmed Qureia in Ramallah on Saturday, November 6, and asked him how Washington could help expedite a fitting end to the episode. The visit was more a token of support than a practical offer of help.

In Paris meanwhile, Suhah Arafat sacked the PLO ambassador Leila Shahid, the Palestinian spokesperson who issued almost daily bulletins after Arafat arrived in Paris.

What happened next was that Christian Estripeau, spokesman of the French military health services, informed Mrs. Arafat that he would issue no more bulletins on Arafat’s condition; neither would Percy hospital. She was given to understand that the hospital had kept her husband artificially alive as long as it intended to. The conversation followed a decision by a top-level conference of French officials, attended also by the president, to disengage from the pretence that Arafat was still alive. They realized it was no longer tenable without compromising the military hospital’s ethical position and medical credibility.

They also decided to settle the Arafat problem before November 12, because that is when Ramadan ends with "Orphan’s Friday" and moves into the three-day Eid al Fitr festival, during which no business of any kind can be contracted with Muslim authorities. If the Palestinian leader can be buried by Wednesday or Thursday, the French government reckons, the days of mourning can be wound up in time for Muslims to celebrate the festival and get started on the post-Arafat era.

However, French efforts to unload Arafat by mid-week have been stymied by the lack of any accredited authority willing and able to organize the funeral or even determine the Palestinian leader’s final burial place. No Arab or Muslim leader will attend a funeral in Gaza or Jerusalem because it would entail transiting through an Israeli international port as well as risking his life in a Palestinian terrorist battle zone such as the Gaza Strip.

An earlier suggestion to overcome this difficulty, by Arab and European leaders attending a lying-in-state ceremony in Paris before the coffin’s transfer to Cairo, fell through. According to DEBKAfile’s Middle East sources, three governments - France, Egypt and Jordan – refused to allow any part of the final ceremonies on their soil. Paris then asked the Tunisian president Zeit bin Ali for permission to hold the central ceremony in his capital, so that European, Arab and Muslim leaders could pay their last respects in safety. The coffin would then be flown to Cairo and on to the Gaza Strip for burial.

The Tunisian president agreed. The Egyptian government firmly declined, as did Jordan.

In Ramallah, the power vacuum is widening.

Prime minister Ahmed Qureia and his predecessor Mahmoud Abbas are losing ground in their attempts to assume the interim reins of government.

1. Saturday, Qureia went to Gaza City to try and negotiate a temporary halt in terrorist attacks with the heads of 13 Palestinian factions – at least until after the funeral. They turned him down. Hamas demanded that first a unified Palestinian leadership be established with a place for itself.

2. The Gaza-based Palestinian Authority secretary Tayeb Abu Rahim Qureia humiliated Qureia at Saturday’s session of the Palestinian national security council by declaring angrily that nothing in the Palestinian constitution provided for the prime minister to step in as acting PA Chairman in Arafat’s absence. That prerogative, he said, belongs to another Gazan, the Palestinian legislature’s speaker, Fathi Rouh.

3. Then, the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s politburo chief, Farouk Kaddumi, who turned up in Paris Thursday, questioned Abbas’s constitutional credentials to stand in for Arafat as chairman of the PLO central committee. Kaddumi claimed that he was the rightful chairman and Abbas, who is listed as one of two deputies, must report on his every action to Kaddumi as his subordinate. DEBKAfile Exclusive Report -November 7, 2004

Arafat doctors 'told to delay' brain death tests
By Kim Willsher and Inigo Gilmore

Telegraph, November 7 , 2004: Crucial tests to establish whether Yasser Arafat is brain dead have not been carried out by a Paris hospital, a French newspaper reported yesterday, leading to claims that doctors are under pressure to delay tests to determine his condition.

Amid conflicting reports of the Palestinian leader's health, there were rumours on the West Bank that he was being kept alive in order to buy time for a political deal on his succession to be hammered out.

Mr Arafat allegedly has no blood-flow to the brain

In France, a patient can be declared brain dead only after a series of strict clinical tests. They include two brain scans - either two EEGs performed four hours apart or an EEG and an artery scan showing no blood flowing to the brain.

According to the newspaper, Liberation, Mr Arafat, 75, underwent only one brain scan on Thursday, which showed a blood-flow failure. The required second scan was reportedly not carried out.

Earlier last week, unidentified French medical officials said that Mr Arafat was brain dead but being kept alive on life-support machines.

The Percy military hospital, where the ailing leader was taken from the West Bank on October 29, did not respond yesterday to queries from the Telegraph about the second scan. But a senior Palestinian adviser, Nabil Abu Rudeina, denied that Mr Arafat was beyond recovery, saying that his condition remained critical but not hopeless.

As confusion over Mr Arafat's condition grew, a Palestinian legislator last night called for his financial adviser, Mohammed Rashid, who controls a multi-billion dollar network of Palestine Liberation Organisation accounts, to be investigated.

Over the past 40 years, Mr Arafat's PLO has built up a global empire of investments, worth an estimated $4.2 billion to $6.5 billion. (£2.3-£3.5 billion). Meanwhile the Palestinian Authority, which administers the territories, is virtually bankrupt.

Abdul Jawwad Saleh, a leading independent member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, wants Mr Rashid to be questioned at the organisation's Ramallah headquarters. His demand reflects concern that very few people will know the whereabouts of more than £2 billion of PLO funds if Mr Arafat dies. Mr Rashid left Ramallah some months ago, and is currently in Paris. Hassan Khreishe, another legislative council member, said Mr Rashid would be held to account. "We will follow him, don't worry," he said.

Mr Saleh is also calling for Mr Arafat's wife, Suha, who is said to be a business partner of Mr Rashid, to be questioned. "Mr Arafat's situation has presented a chance for us to question Mohammed Rashid," he said. "He knows better than anyone else the whereabouts of all the money, all the secret accounts. This is the people's money."

A confidential report last month by the Palestinian finance ministry shows that the Palestinian Authority is running a deficit of about £73 million a month.

Last year, the International Monetary Fund said Mr Arafat had diverted $1 billion or more of Palestinian Authority funds from 1995 to 2000.

A Palestinian lawyer who has investigated PLO corruption, and who wished to remain anonymous, said he knew of three or four Arafat loyalists who held secret bank accounts. "He paid a lot of this money to buy loyalty, squandering millions of dollars," he said.

"The corruption was huge. The PLO had monopolies on cement, petrol, construction, taxes and cigarettes. It has investments everywhere. Nobody knows what has happened to all these assets."

Conflicting reports about Mr Arafat's condition have fuelled rumours that he was poisoned by Israeli agents.

Dr Hisham Ahmed, a member of Mr Arafat's Fatah faction, said a bodyguard told him that the Palestinian leader had whispered to him: "This time they got me."

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Arafat's wife accuses Palestinian officials

(Filed: 08/11/2004)

Yasser Arafat's wife has accused senior Palestinian officials of plotting to "bury her husband alive" as they try to succeed him in power.

The criticism originally forced the officials to put off a trip to France to visit Mr Arafat. However, they have now reversed their decision and will travel to Paris.

Reports in the Israeli media intitially said that Mr Arafat was to be taken off life-support equipment after Mahmoud Abbas, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, Ahmed Qurie, the Palestinian prime minister, and Nabil Shaath, the foreign minister, arrived in France.

But the trip was then postponed after Suha Arafat appeared on the Arabic satellite television station al-Jazeera condemning a "conspiracy" against her husband.

Mrs Arafat said that the Palestinian leader was well and would be returning home as she accused the officials of being desperate to take his place.

But officials have privately accused Mrs Arafat, who had not seen Arafat for three years before he was flown to a Paris military hospital at the end of last month, of limiting access to their leader.

They have now denied that they had postponed the trip and should see Mr Arafat tomorrow.

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US troops begin Falluja assault

Staff and agencies
Monday November 8, 2004

Ayad Allawi, the interim Iraqi prime minister, today said he had given US and Iraqi forces the authority to clear the city of Falluja of "terrorists who continue to use [it] as a base for their operations".

The long-anticipated assault on the city appeared to be under way as US marines stormed into its western outskirts and secured two bridges today.

Mr Allawi announced a 48-hour closure of Baghdad's airport, the Syrian and Jordanian borders and the imposition of emergency rule on Falluja and the rebel stronghold on Ramadi.

Roads and government institutions in the two cities will be closed and all weapons banned.

"We have no other option but to take the necessary measures to protect Iraqi people from these killers and liberate Falluja," Mr Allawi told a press conference.

US and Iraqi forces have been encroaching on the rebel stronghold for the last few weeks, but the assault put them on the other side of the Euphrates river from suspected insurgent bases in the main part of the city.

In the first movement into Falluja proper, US forces secured an apartment building in the north-west corner. Captain Brian Heatherman, a US marine commander, said there were some Iraqi casualties as the troops seized the building. [...]

Overnight, artillery fire and AC-130 gunships pounded Falluja. Most of the population has fled but there are estimated to be tens of thousands of civilians left. [...]

Several hundred Iraqi troops were sent into Fallujah's main hospital after US forces sealed off the area. The troops detained about 50 men of military age inside the hospital, but about half were later released.

Iraqi doctors said 10 people were killed and 11 others injured during overnight clashes. Two US marines were killed in the assault.

Dr Salih al-Issawi, the head of the hospital, said he had asked US officers to allow doctors and ambulances go inside the main part of the city to help the wounded but they refused. There was no confirmation from the US military.

During the siege of Falluja last April, the hospital was a main source of reports about civilian casualties that US officials insisted were overblown. Those reports generated strong public outrage in Iraq and elsewhere in the Arab world, prompting the Bush administration to call off the offensive.

There is little guarantee that the fresh assault will calm the insurgency.

The Iraqi president, Ghazi al-Yawar, has spoken out publicly against the operation.

A similar attack last month on Samarra, another rebel stronghold north of Baghdad, was hailed a success. But insurgents promptly flooded back into the city.

Comment: Note the comments above of CIA asset and phony Iraqi PM Allawi:

"We have no other option but to take the necessary measures to protect Iraqi people from these killers and liberate Falluja"

The problem here is that Allawi is a sniveling liar and like BushCo is given to calling anyone that stands in his way a "terrorist". Pretty handy, huh? Think about it. The American and world population have been so indoctrinated with the idea of "terrorist", that politicians and government leaders can simply whip out the label and stick it on anyone they choose. Of course, this tactic works so wonderfully well because vast numbers of people in Western countries are so easily manipulated, and indeed find false security in the idea of "us versus them".

The insurgents in Fallujah are no threat to the people of Fallujah and many are drawn from the population of Fallujah itself. They do however pose a definite threat to the occupying US forces and to the credibility of people like Bush and Allawi and their phony "war on terror" which is in reality a war of conquest and global domination.

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U.S.: 42 Insurgents Killed in Fallujah

Monday November 8, 2004 3:46 PM
By JIM KRANE
Associated Press Writer

NEAR FALLUJAH, Iraq (AP) - Backed by a barrage from warplanes and artillery, American troops fought their way into the western outskirts of Fallujah on Monday, seizing a hospital and two bridges over the Euphrates River in the first stage of a major assault on the insurgent stronghold.

The U.S. military reported its first casualties of the offensive - two Marines killed when their bulldozer flipped over into the Euphrates. A military spokesman estimated that 42 insurgents were killed across Fallujah in the opening round of attacks.

Comment: A bulldozer? Shades of the tactics of the murderous IDF in Palestine. Now what might the US be using (no doubt armored) bulldozers for? Destroying of homes perhaps? Yes indeed, what a just war the US military is waging. What are we to expect next? Little Falluja scoolgirls with their bodies and heads riddled with bullets?

Four foreigners, including two Moroccans and two unidentified people, were captured when U.S. and Iraqi forces swept into the first objective: Fallujah's main hospital, which the military and Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi said was under insurgent control.

Comment: So according to Allawi, hospitals are now also under "insurgent" control. Would they be "insurgent" doctors that are controlling it? What about the local grocery stalls, are they also under the control of "insurgent" grocers, armed with deadly explosive lettuces? How much more BS are we expected to swallow from this little tin pot dictator?

Iraqi soldiers stormed through the facility, blasting open doors and pulling handcuffed patients into the halls in search of gunmen.

Comment: Didn't you know? Those crazy "insurgents" are known to undergo open heart surgery and implant hard-to-detect explosive devices for later use in attacks on the "liberating" US army, therefore the US army is now authorised to pull "insurgent" patients out of their hosptial beds and shoot them. Makes sense, doesn't it?

Allawi said he had given the green light for international and Iraqi forces to launch the long-awaited offensive against Fallujah, considered the strongest bastion of Iraq's Sunni insurgents. "We are determined to clean Fallujah of terrorists,'' he said.

Comment: And any "insurgent civilians" who happen to be standing anywhere near the "insurgent terrrorists".

Allawi initially said 38 people were killed in the hospital seizure, but the U.S. military said no one was killed in the hospital operation. A military spokesman later gave a figure of 42 dead across the city since the Fallujah assault began. The spokesman, 1st. Sgt. Steven Valley, said the situation was "fluid'' and information on casualties was difficult to pin down.

Comment: "Well you see, we attacked the hosptial and didn't find any "terrorists" but managed to murder 38 patients who may or may not have been thinking about becoming "insurgents" and/or "terrorists" when they recovered. So we took decisive action to prevent that scenario from developing. Actually eh... that is a lie, we didn't kill anyone in the hospital."

Doctors in Fallujah reported 10 people killed and 11 wounded during the bombardment overnight.

Throughout the morning, artillery and mortars pounded targets in Fallujah and on its outskirts, and a U.S. jet swooped low to fire rockets at insurgent positions. An AC-130 gunship raked the city all night long with cannon fire, and and before dawn, four 500-pound bombs were dropped, raising orange fireballs over the city's rooftops.

Outside the city. U.S. troops set up mortar positions and filled sandbags in preparation for an anticipated assault. U.S. troops clashed with insurgents in several locations along the outskirts of the city, firing rifle shots as they took cover around corners and behind the doors of their Humvees.

Commanders said the toughest fight was yet to come: when American forces cross to the east bank of the Euphrates and enter the main part of Fallujah - including the Jolan neighborhood where insurgent defenses are believed the strongest.

U.S. commanders have avoided any public estimate on how long it may take to capture Fallujah, where insurgents fought the Marines to a standstill last April in a three-week siege.

Marine commanders have warned the new offensive could bring the heaviest urban fighting since the Vietnam war. Some 10,000 U.S. Marines, Army soldiers and Iraqi forces are around Fallujah, where commanders estimate around 3,000 insurgents are dug in. More than half the civilian population of some 300,000 people is believed to have fled already.

Much depends on whether the bulk of the defenders, believed to be Iraqis from the Fallujah area, decide to risk the destruction of the city or try to slip away in the face of overwhelming force. Foreign jihadis may choose to fight to the end, but it's clear how many of them are still in the city.

Another issue is the role of Iraqi forces fighting alongside the Americans. A National Public Radio correspondent embedded with the Marines outside Fallujah reported desertions among the Iraqis. One Iraqi battalion shrunk from over 500 men down to 170 over the past two week - with 255 members quitting over the weekend, the correspondent said.

Clerics in Fallujah denounced Iraqi troops participating in the assault, calling them the "occupiers' lash on their fellow countrymen.''

"We swear by God that we will stand against you in the streets, we will enter your houses and we will slaughter you just like sheep,'' the clerics said in a statement.

A senior aide to firebrand Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr urged Iraqi forces not to fight alongside U.S. troops.

"We appeal to the Iraqi National Guard and Iraqi police not to help the occupation troops as they want to target the Iraqi people in Fallujah,'' said Sheikh Abdul-Hadi al-Daraji. The Iraqi troops should not be a tool in the hands of the occupation troops.'' [...]

One key reason to take Fallujah hospital early was likely to control information: The facility was the main source of Iraqi death tolls during the first U.S. siege of Fallujah in April, and U.S. commanders accused doctors there of exaggerating numbers.

The U.S military said Monday that insurgents had been in control of Fallujah General Hospital - located on the west bank of the Euphrates - and were "forcing the doctors there to release propaganda and false information.''

The reports of hundreds of civilians killed in the April siege - and scenes of soccer fields turned into mass graves for the dead - generated strong public outrage in Iraq and elsewhere in the Arab world, prompting the Bush administration to call off the offensive. U.S. officials insisted the numbers were overblown. [...]

The Association of Muslim Scholars, an influential Sunni clerics group that has threatened to boycott elections, condemned the assault on Fallujah, calling it "an illegal and illegitimate action against civilian and innocent people.''

Comment: Now lets consider what might be the most likely scenario here.

On the one hand we have the US military using AC-130 "Spectre" gunships over an urban area. These planes fly in ever decreasing circles over an area about the size of a football field while continuously firing high caliber machine gun rounds, eventually completely obliterating the area in question. Added to that we have 500lb guided bombs being dropped on residential buildings.

Now you tell us, is it possible that by using such lethal firepower the US military might possibly end up with a high civilian death count? Of course it is. Yet the US government is asking us to believe that it is doctors in Fallujah who are hyping the casualty figures for propaganda purposes rather than the US military downplaying them in an attempt at damage limitation.

As the above report states, during the last attack on Fallujah the US military killed up to 1,000 civilians. These figures were released by doctors in the abovementioned hospital who were treated the dead and dying. Thanks to the fact that these murders were actually reported for a change and the public outrage that they caused, the US military was forced to abandon the operation. This time the war planners have decided that their first objective should be the "loud mouth" doctors in the Fallujah General Hospital. Now that they have effectively silenced them, they can continue with massacring the civilians of Fallujah with impunity.

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Marines turn to God ahead of anticipated Fallujah battle

Sat Nov 06 2004
Drudge Report

NEAR FALLUJAH, Iraq, Nov 6 (AFP) - With US forces massing outside Fallujah, 35 marines swayed to Christian rock music and asked Jesus Christ to protect them in what could be the biggest battle since American troops invaded Iraq last year.

Men with buzzcuts and clad in their camouflage waved their hands in the air, M-16 assault rifles laying beside them, and chanted heavy metal-flavoured lyrics in praise of Christ late Friday in a yellow-brick chapel.

They counted among thousands of troops surrounding the city of Fallujah, seeking solace as they awaited Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's decision on whether or not to invade Fallujah.

"You are the sovereign. You're name is holy. You are the pure spotless lamb," a female voice cried out on the loudspeakers as the marines clapped their hands and closed their eyes, reflecting on what lay ahead for them.

The US military, with many soldiers coming from the conservative American south and midwest, has deep Christian roots.

In times that fighting looms, many soldiers draw on their evangelical or born-again heritage to help them face the battle.

"It's always comforting. Church attendance is always up before the big push," said First Sergeant Miles Thatford.

"Sometimes, all you've got is God."

Between the service's electric guitar religious tunes, marines stepped up on the chapel's small stage and recited a verse of scripture, meant to fortify them for war.

One spoke of their Old Testament hero, a shepherd who would become Israel's king, battling the Philistines some 3,000 years ago.

"Thus David prevailed over the Philistines," the marine said, reading from scripture, and the marines shouted back "Hoorah, King David," using their signature grunt of approval.

The marines drew parallels from the verse with their present situation, where they perceive themselves as warriors fighting barbaric men opposed to all that is good in the world.

"Victory belongs to the Lord," another young marine read.

Their chaplain, named Horne, told the worshippers they were stationed outside Fallujah to bring the Iraqis "freedom from oppression, rape, torture and murder ... We ask you God to bless us in that effort."

The marines then lined up and their chaplain blessed them with holy oil to protect them.

"God's people would be annointed with oil," the chaplain said, as he lightly dabbed oil on the marines' foreheads.

The crowd then followed him outside their small auditorium for a baptism of about a half-dozen marines who had just found Christ.

The young men lined up and at least three of them stripped down to their shorts.

The three laid down in a rubber dinghy filled with water and the chaplain's assistant, Navy corpsman Richard Vaughn, plunged their heads beneath the surface.

Smiling, Vaughn baptised them "in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit."

Dripping wet, Corporal Keith Arguelles beamed after his baptism.

"I just wanted to make sure I did this before I headed into the fight," he said on the military base not far from the city of Fallujah.

Comment: Jesus freaks with M-16s let loose on the Middle East. What might be the result?

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Hezbollah drone over Israel leaves air force red-faced
AFP
Nov 08, 2004
JERUSALEM - The flight over Israel of an unmanned Hezbollah spy plane has deeply embarrassed the Jewish state's air force, which has prided itself for decades on having total control of the region's skies.

"Breach in aerial security. Air force embarrassed. Hezbollah sees all," read Monday's front-page headline in Israel's top-selling daily Yediot Aharonot.

"And what if next time the drone carries a bomb?" asked the daily Maariv.

The Lebanese guerrilla group announced on Sunday that it had sent the drone over "northern Palestine" (Israel) in retaliation for repeated violations of Lebanese airspace by Israel, deemed "Zionist attacks on Lebanese sovereignty".

Hezbollah also warned that it could carry out more such flights.

After several hours of complete silence from the Israeli military about the incident, the army eventually confirmed the overflight of its territory.

"This morning, an Iranian UAV (unmanned air vehicle) operated by the Hezbollah terror organization infiltrated into Israel over the western Galilee," a military spokesman said in a statement.

The army said the spy plane, launched from southern Lebanon, flew for about 15 minutes along Israel's northern Mediterranean coast until it reached the coastal resort of Nahariyah.

The drone later crashed in southern Lebanon, Israeli military sources told

"We must know immediately how it's possible for such a rudimentary device to pass through the Israeli army's heavy air defenses, in which billions have been invested," said opposition Labor parliamentary deputy Eitan Cabel. [...]

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Dollar expected to fall amid China's rumoured selling
By Steve Johnson in London and Andrew Balls in Washington
Financial Times
November 7 2004 19:43

The dollar could slide still further, in spite of hitting an all-time low against the euro last week in the wake of George W. Bush's re-election, currency traders have said.

The dollar sell-off has resumed amid fears among traders that Mr Bush's victory will bring four more years of widening US budget and current account deficits, heightened geopolitical risks and a policy of "benign neglect" of the dollar.

Many currency traders were taken aback on Friday when the greenback fell in spite of bullish data showing the US economy created 337,000 jobs in October.

"If this can't cause the dollar to strengthen you have to tell me what will. This is a big green light to sell the dollar," said David Bloom, currency analyst at HSBC, as the greenback fell to a nine-year low in trade-weighted terms.

The dollar's fall comes as the Federal Reserve is widely expected to raise US interest rates by a quarter point to 2 per cent when it meets on Wednesday and to signal that it will continue with a measured pace of rate increases.

Speculative traders in Chicago last week racked up the highest number of long-euro, short-dollar contracts on record. Options traders have reported brisk business in euro calls - contracts to buy the euro at a pre-determined rate.

However, the market has been rife with rumours that the latest wave of selling has been led by foreign governments seeking to cut their exposure to US assets.

India and Russia have reportedly been selling US assets, as well as petrodollar-rich Middle Eastern investors.

China, which has $515bn of reserves, was also said to be selling dollars and buying Asian currencies in readiness to switch the renminbi's dollar peg to a basket arrangement, something Chinese officials have increasingly hinted at. Any re-allocation could push the dollar sharply lower and Treasury yields markedly higher.

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Dollar Spirals to Record Low Versus Euro
By Christina Fincher
November 8, 2004

LONDON (Reuters) - The dollar hit a new record low against the euro and a nine-year low on a trade-weighted index Monday as investors continued to shun the greenback on worries over the United States' bloated deficits.

The dollar fell as low as $1.2985 to the euro in early trade and analysts said it was only a matter of time before it dropped through the psychological $1.30 level.

"The U.S. has a current account deficit, a budget deficit and a president who appears unconcerned about dollar weakness," said Shahab Jalinoos, senior currency strategist at ABN AMRO. "No one can see any reason to buy the dollar at the moment."

The latest leg of dollar weakness began last Wednesday as investors took the view the administration of re-elected President Bush would do little to alleviate the United States' twin deficits.

The U.S. budget deficit is about $427 billion, or 3.7 percent of gross domestic product, while its current account -- the broadest measure of trade -- hit a record $166.18 billion shortfall in the second quarter.

The dollar's weakness was broad based with the U.S. currency hitting a nine-year low against a basket of currencies below 83.80, a 12-year low against the Canadian dollar and multi-month lows against sterling and the yen.

"The euro/dollar's break of $1.30 is only a matter of time," said Naomi Fink, senior currency strategist at BNP Paribas. "It's just a question of momentum." [...]

Top central bankers meeting in Basel said on Sunday they were keeping a wary eye on currencies, but analysts said Japanese and euro zone policymakers were unlikely to step into the market to stop the dollar's fall at this stage.

The dollar fell to 105.30 yen in early European trade, its lowest since April but still some way off this year's low below 103.40 yen.

Japan intervened heavily on the foreign exchanges, selling about 35 trillion yen ($332.2 billion) in 2003 through to March this year. But analysts say Tokyo is unlikely to repeat such a large scale campaign given the Japanese economy is now in better shape.

A weaker dollar helps combat inflation and cushion the impact of high oil prices and analysts reckon euro zone policymakers are also more tolerant of dollar weakness now than they were earlier in the year. [...]

Comment: It seems that the rug is about to be pulled out from under the feet of America's economy. The US economy tanking would be just the thing Bush needs to further his goals.

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Report: 9/11 Victims Get $38.1 Billion
By DEVLIN BARRETT, Associated Press Writer
November 8, 2004

WASHINGTON - Victims of the Sept. 11 attacks received $38.1 billion in compensation, with insurance companies picking up the largest portion of the tab, according to a study released Monday.

The report by Rand Institute for Social Justice found that civilians killed or injured have received an average of $3.1 million per person from the government, charities and insurance companies, or $8.7 billion.

Emergency personnel killed or injured were given a total of about $1.9 billion. First responders received an average of $1.1 million more than civilians with similar economic losses, the study found. Most of the extra money came from charities.

Insurers paid 51 percent of the overall total, or about $19.6 billion. The government distributed $15.8 billion, or 42 percent, and charities paid $2.7 billion, or 7 percent.

The majority of the money went to New York City businesses, which received $23.3 billion, according to Rand. Three out of every four dollars that went to businesses came from insurance companies.

In such a large-scale disaster, even the secondary assistance added up to billions of dollars in compensation. About $3.5 billion was paid to displaced residents, workers who lost their jobs, and those who suffered emotional problems or were exposed to environmental dangers.

Lloyd Dixon, who co-authored the study, said the results raise questions about the future role of insurance companies in the response to any attack.

"It points out the hole that would be created if we don't have terrorism insurance," Dixon said. "What if the insurers weren't there the next time?"

A federal guarantee protecting companies against major financial losses in the event of another attack is set to expire at the end of 2005, and some in Congress are pressing for an extension now to keep premiums down. [...]

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Mild Earthquake Shakes West Alabama

No Damage Reported

POSTED: 1:53 pm CST November 7, 2004
UPDATED: 3:41 pm CST November 7, 2004

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- A magnitude four earthquake shook parts of west Alabama about 5:20 a-m Sunday, but apparently caused no damage.

The U.S. Geological Survey's National Earthquake Information Center said the epicenter of the moderate earthquake was located 25 miles southwest of Tuscaloosa and 45 miles north of Linden.

While no damage was reported, some people in Eutaw, Livingston and Northport felt a light shake.

Earthquake magnitudes are measures of earthquake size calculated from ground motion recorded on seismographs.

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Earthquake centered near Utah border

Posted on Sun, Nov. 07, 2004
Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY - A magnitude 4.1 earthquake shook a sparsely populated area along the Utah-Colorado state line, and was felt about 60 miles away, the University of Utah Seismographic Stations reported.

There were no immediate reports of damage.

The epicenter of the earthquake late Saturday was in the Paradox Valley area, seven miles east of the state line and 16 miles southwest of the mining ghost town of Uravan, Colo., said Dr. Walter Arabasz.

People reported feeling the tremor in Grand Junction, Colo., about 60 miles to the northeast, Arabasz said.

Previous shocks in the area include a magnitude 4.3 earthquake in May 2000, and two shocks of magnitude 3.7 and 3.8 in June and July 1999.

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Earthquake rocks northern Japan
11/7/2004 10:26 PM
By: Capital News 9 web staff
An earthquake of a 5.8 magnitude rocked northern Japan.

The quake occurred near the area where the country's deadliest earthquake in years struck last month. The quake appears to be an aftershock to the earthquake that killed 39 people and injured more than 2,000 last month.

Thousands of people in the area are still living in temporary shelters.

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Y-12 plant's earthquake weaknesses identified

Fixing 'seismic deficiencies' comes with $72M price tag

By FRANK MUNGER, munger@knews.com
November 8, 2004

OAK RIDGE - An updated safety analysis has identified "extensive seismic deficiencies" at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant.

According to a staff memo at the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, the earthquake concerns involve the plant's 9212 complex - the hub for manufacturing uranium warhead parts.

"The seismic analyses indicated extensive seismic deficiencies with the building structure as well as facility systems and components," the Oct. 15 memo said.

There apparently is a debate, however, about whether the fixes are worth the price tag - as much as $72 million - because the government hopes to replace the old warhead-making shops over the next decade. [...]

This is not the first time seismic issues have been raised at Y-12 and its main production facility.

In 1989, an engineer with Lockwood Greene, a federal contractor, claimed he was fired because he raised seismic concerns at the 9212 building. Paul Nestel concluded that the building's unreinforced walls would collapse during a serious earthquake.

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SHIVELUCH VOLCANO IN KAMCHATKA ACTIVE AGAIN
Novosti

PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKI, November 8 (RIA Novosti) - The Shiveluch volcano, which is located in the so-called "Country of geysers and volcanoes" - the Kamchatka peninsula in the north-east of the Asian part of Russia, washed by the waters of the Bering Sea and the Okhotskoe Sea - continues to eject ashes to the heights between 1,500 and 4,500 meters.

According to experts from the Kamchatka scientific and methodological seismology research group, they registered a 3,000-meter-high emission at 11:05 local time on Monday (the time difference with Moscow is 9 hours)

Poor weather conditions hindered the visual observation of the volcano for the most part of yesterday. However, according to seismic data, the volcano has already registered at least 5 high-altitude emissions of gas and ashes.

Satellite pictures, provided by the Alaska volcanological observatory, show an 85-km long ash cloud moving in southeast direction. Seismic stations in the vicinity of the volcano register ground shocks at the depth of 5 kilometers and intermittent volcanic vibration.

Kamchatka's northernmost active 3,283-meter-high Shiveluch volcano registered the increase in its activity back in January of this year.

At present, it does not pose any danged to residents of nearby villages. Nevertheless, clouds of emitted ashes might be very dangerous for aircraft and tourists, anglers and hunters who get too close to the volcano.

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Revealed: secret plan to push 'happy' pills
Jamie Doward and Robin McKie
The Observer
Sunday November 7, 2004

Britain's largest drug company drew up a secret plan to double sales of the controversial anti-depressant Seroxat by marketing it as a cure for a raft of less serious mental conditions, The Observer can reveal today.

The contents of the 250-page document have alarmed health campaigners who accuse the firm, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), of putting profit before the therapeutic needs of patients by attempting to broaden the market for the drug which has been linked to a spate of suicides.

The revelation is likely to prompt further concerns about the role and influence of the pharmaceutical industry, which has come under severe scrutiny in recent months. The document is now being investigated by a parliamentary inquiry into the drugs industry.

The internal report carries a section which outlines how GSK planned to double sales of 'selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI)' - the industry term for anti-depressants - by winning the marketing war against Seroxat's chief rival, Prozac, manufacured by Eli Lilly.

Written in 1998 and subsequently updated in following years, the section is entitled: 'Towards the second billion - all SSRIs are not the same' and discusses strategies to see off the threat posed by Prozac.

The document outlined how GSK intended to market Seroxat for a range of conditions other than clinical depression. Chief among these was a condition the company identified as social anxiety disorder, although other forms of anxiety were also discussed internally.

'What this document makes clear is that a number of different forms of anxiety were being targeted in a systematic way. The thrust was to move sales beyond the $1 billion to $2 billion mark by pushing it to people who were not clinically depressed,' said Professor David Healy, a psycho-pharmacologist at Cardiff University, who has given evidence to the House of Commons Health Select Committee. [...]

In addition the document shows GSK made a great virtue of the fact that Seroxat had a relatively short 'half-life' compared with Prozac, an argument which has subsequently proven deeply controversial.

A half-life is the scientific term for how long it takes for the concentration of a drug to drop by 50 per cent in a patient's bloodstream. The company suggested Seroxat's short half-life meant patients could come on and off the drug easily, compared with those on Prozac, even to the extent that they could take 'treatment holidays'. 'There was an argument that a short half life was really good news,' Brook said.

'But five years later, Seroxat has withdrawal issues. It's the short half life that causes the problems. The substances get into the body so quickly it causes some sort of dependency reaction. So one of the things the company was saying was a benefit was actually a problem.' [...]

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Australia launches campaign to save seabirds endangered by fishing
AFP
Nov 07, 2004

HOBART, Australia - Australia will host a conference here this week to try to win international support for a campaign to save endangered seabirds from being wiped out by fishing and pollution, the government said Sunday.

Australia has already won the support of New Zealand, Ecuador, Spain, Britain and South Africa in ratifying an agreement to protect albatrosses and petrels, which came into effect in February.

But it believes the plight of the two seabirds is now so dire that much more needs to be done if they are to be rescued from extinction.

"Australia is hosting this meeting because we believe that more can be done to protect these birds, whose journeys have inspired mariners for years and continue to link Southern Hemisphere countries," said Environment Minister Ian Campbell. [...]

Comment: It's amazing that so many nations will join together to save some birds, yet human beings in Palestine and Iraq are basically left to fend for themselves against the Zionist/Neocon war machine...

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