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New! The Global Game of Survivor: America's Next Four Years

911 Eye-witnesses

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New Publication! The Wave finally in book form!

The Wave: 4 Volume Set
Volume 1

by Laura Knight-Jadczyk

With a new introduction by the author and never before published, UNEDITED sessions and extensive previously unpublished details, at long last, Laura Knight-Jadczyk's vastly popular series The Wave is available as a Deluxe four book set. Each of the four volumes include all of the original illustrations and many NEW illustrations with each copy comprising approximately 300 pages.

The Wave is an exquisitely written first-person account of Laura's initiation at the hands of the Cassiopaeans and demonstrates the unique nature of the Cassiopaean Experiment.

Pre-order Volume 1 now. Available at the end of November!

Picture of the Day

© 2004 Pierre-Paul Feyte

CNN covers 9/11 Truth Movement, own Poll: 90% believe in Cover-up
Some News Source
September 5, 2004

(Graphic below: Final screenshot, 6:17 PM EST (11/11), after CNN closed the poll and also started to remove cached files)

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Flashback: September 11 - US Government accused

03/08/2002
The-News.net

A Portugal-based investigative journalist has presented THE NEWS with version of the September 11th attacks that has to date failed to attract the attention of the international press. The report, compiled by an independent inquiry into the September 11th, World Trade Centre attack, warns the American public that the government’s official version of events does not stand up to scrutiny.

A group of military and civilian US pilots, under the chairmanship of Colonel Donn de Grand, after deliberating non-stop for 72 hours, has concluded that the flight crews of the four passenger airliners, involved in the September 11th tragedy, had no control over their aircraft.

In a detailed press communiqué the inquiry stated: "The so-called terrorist attack was in fact a superbly executed military operation carried out against the USA, requiring the utmost professional military skill in command, communications and control. It was flawless in timing, in the choice of selected aircraft to be used as guided missiles and in the coordinated delivery of those missiles to their pre-selected targets."

The report seriously questions whether or not the suspect hijackers, supposedly trained on Cessna light aircraft, could have located a target dead-on 200 miles from take off point. It further throws into doubt their ability to master the intricacies of the instrument flight rules (IFR) in the 45 minutes from take off to the point of impact. Colonel de Grand said that it would be impossible for novices to have taken control of the four aircraft and orchestrated such a terrible act requiring military precision of the highest order.

A member of the inquiry team, a US Air Force officer who flew over 100 sorties during the Vietnam war, told the press conference: "Those birds (commercial airliners) either had a crack fighter pilot in the left seat, or they were being manoeuvred by remote control."

In evidence given to the enquiry, Captain Kent Hill (retd.) of the US Air Force, and friend of Chic Burlingame, the pilot of the plane that crashed into the Pentagon, stated that the US had on several occasions flown an unmanned aircraft, similar in size to a Boeing 737, across the Pacific from Edwards Air Force base in California to South Australia. According to Hill it had flown on a pre programmed flight path under the control of a pilot in an outside station.

Hill also quoted Bob Ayling, former British Airways boss, in an interview given to the London Economist on September 20th, 2001. Ayling admitted that it was now possible to control an aircraft in flight from either the ground or in the air. This was confirmed by expert witnesses at the inquiry who testified that airliners could be controlled by electro-magnetic pulse or radio frequency instrumentation from command and control platforms based either in the air or at ground level.

All members of the inquiry team agreed that even if guns were held to their heads none of them would fly a plane into a building. Their reaction would be to ditch the plane into a river or a field, thereby safeguarding the lives of those on the ground.

A further question raised by the inquiry was why none of the pilots concerned had alerted ground control. It stated that all pilots are trained to punch a four-digit code into the flight control’s transponder to warn ground control crews of a hijacking - but this did not happen.

During the press conference Captain Hill maintained that the four airliners must have been choreographed by an Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS). This system can engage several aircraft simultaneously by knocking out their on-board flight controls. He said that all the evidence points to the fact that the pilots and their crews had not taken any evasive action to resist the supposed hijackers. They had not attempted any sudden changes in flight path or nose-dive procedures - which led him to believe that they had no control over their aircraft.

THE NEWS, in an attempt to further substantiate the potential veracity of these findings, spoke to an Algarve-based airline pilot, who has more than 20 years of experience in flying passenger planes, to seek his views. Captain Colin McHattie, currently flying with Cathay Pacific, agreed with the independent commission’s findings. However, he explained that while it is possible to fly a plane from the ground, the installation of the necessary equipment is a time-consuming process, and needs extensive planning. THE NEWS will publish a full interview with Captain McHattie in next week’s edition.

The FBI also came in for criticism for the various pieces of contradictory evidence it has published regarding the suspects. Questions are now being asked as to how incorrect information was given out regarding the ID cards of the suspects, and the seat numbers they supposedly occupied after boarding the flights.

None of the suspects named by the FBI appeared on any of the official passenger lists. A further point was how the FBI had managed to retrieve the passport of one of the suspects amid the molten and twisted remains of thousands of tons of steel and rubble brought about by the Twin Towers collapse.

Dr. Paul Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury, and presently Senior Research Fellow at Stamford University, has lent his support to the independent inquiry findings. He also claims that Osama Bin Laden was not responsible for September 11th. The doctor has challenged President Bush to make public the so-called "irrefutable evidence" incriminating Bin Laden.

Colonel Donn de Grand said that if President Bush is lying it would not be the first time that the American people had been mislead by its government. He cited the recently published official government archives describing President Roosevelt’s duplicity in deceiving Americans about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour, which triggered the US entry into WWll.

He also highlighted the role of the country’s government in misleading its citizens in respect of the Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba, and the events that brought about the Spanish American war in the late 19th, century. "Whilst considering who committed this act of war on September 11th," he said, "albeit Russia, China, an Islamic country or NATO, we must also consider that the enemy may well be within the gates.

"Not for the first time the American public might be being mislead, by those with ulterior motives, into lending its support to a war, this time against Iraq, that has no bearing whatsoever on the interests of the people of the USA."

So far the mainstream American news media has failed to publish or broadcast any details regarding the independent inquiry. Similarly, the White House, whilst having received a copy of the report, has remained silent on its findings.

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Mini-Nukes Placed by FBI Were Used in Oklahoma Bombing

Alex Jones Radio Show
Nov. 11, 2004

Interview of Dr. William (Bill) Richard Deagle, MD (see link for full transcript)

[...] WD: What happened is, this guy started really having a bit of panic attack right in my examination room at the St. Francis hospital in Colorado Springs. So I said what’s going on – these are military personnel and they’re used to being in difficult situations. The same teams were in the Khobar Towers forensic evaluation over in Riyad, Saudi Arabia, I guess a couple of years before that. I said, "Look, I’m not going to do anything for you until you come clean because I have to know what you were exposed to, if it was chemicals or dust or whatever." He said it wasn’t any of those. It was radiation. I said, "Come on." He said, "We got exposed to radiation." And he said, "Look at this." And he showed me this weird rash. And I thought, that looks strange. And he said, "Look, I want sperm counts. I want blood tests." And I said, "Look, you’ve got to tell me the whole story of what happened." He said, "Look, you are not going to put my name on there" and I won’t. But he told me everything.

He said, "We removed two baseball-size micro-nuclear weapons that were on the pillars of the building and a very large C4 pineapple that could have vaporized the building. He also told me that the debris was hauled away by Wackenhut under armed security and they were told that all of their bags were searched and checked with radiation detectors. [...]

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KERRY WON OHIO: JUST COUNT THE BALLOTS AT THE BACK OF THE BUS
By Greg Palast
Friday, November 12, 2004
In These Times
Most voters in Ohio chose Kerry. Here's how the votes vanished.

This February, Ken Blackwell, Ohio's Secretary of State, told his State Senate President, "The possibility of a close election with punch cards as the state’s primary voting device invites a Florida-like calamity." Blackwell, co-chair of Bush-Cheney reelection campaign, wasn't warning his fellow Republican of disaster, but boasting of an opportunity to bring in Ohio for Team Bush no matter what the voters wanted. And most voters in Ohio wanted JFK, not GWB. But their choice won't count because their votes won't be counted.

The ballots that add up to a majority for John Kerry in Ohio -- and in New Mexico -- are locked up in two Republican hidey-holes: "spoiled" ballots and "provisional" ballots.

OHIO SPOILED ROTTEN

American democracy has a dark little secret. In a typical presidential election, two million ballots are simply chucked in the garbage, marked "spoiled" and not counted. A dive into the electoral dumpster reveals something special about these votes left to rot. In a careful county-by-county, precinct-by-precinct analysis of the Florida 2000 race, the US Civil Rights Commission discovered that 54% of the votes in the spoilage bin were cast by African-Americans. And Florida, Heaven help us, is typical. Nationwide, the number of Black votes "disappeared" into the spoiled pile is approximately one million. The other million in the no-count pit come mainly from Hispanic, Native-American and poor white precincts, a decidedly Democratic demographic.

Ohio Republicans, simultaneously in charge of both the Bush-Cheney get-out-the-vote drive and the state's vote-counting rules, doggedly and systematically insured the spoilage pile would be as high as the White House.

Vote spoilage comes in two flavors. There are "overvotes" -- too many punches in the cards, and "undervotes." Here we find the hanging, dimpled and "pregnant" chads created by old, dysfunctional punch card machines, in which the bit of paper covering the hole doesn't fall out, but hangs on. Machines can't read these, but we humans, who know a hole when we see one, have no problem reading these cards … if allowed to. This is how Katherine Harris defeated Al Gore, by halting the hand count of the spoiled punch cards not, as is generally believed, by halting a "recount."

Whose chads are left hanging? In Florida in 2000 federal investigators determined that Black voters' ballots spoiled 900% more often than white voters, mainly due to punch card error. Ohio Republicans found those racial odds quite attractive. The state was the only one of fifty to refuse to eliminate or fix these vote-eating machines, even in the face of a lawsuit by the ACLU.

Apparently, the Ohio Republicans like what the ACLU found. The civil rights group's expert testimony concluded that Ohio's cussed insistence on forcing 73% of its electorate to use punch card machines had an "overwhelming" racial bias, voiding votes mostly in Black precincts. Blackwell doesn't disagree; and he hopes to fix the machinery … sometime after George Bush's next inauguration. In the meantime, the state's Attorney General Jim Petro, a Republican, strategically postponed the trial date of the ACLU case until after the election.

Fixing a punch card machine is cheap and easy. If Ohio simply placed a card-reading machine in each polling station, as Michigan did this year, voters could have checked to ensure their vote would tally. If not, they would have gotten another card. Blackwell knows that. He also knows that if those reading machines had been installed, almost all the 93,000 spoiled votes, overwhelmingly Democratic, would have closed the gap on George Bush's lead of 136,000 votes.

JIM CROW'S PROVISIONAL BALLOT

Add to the spoiled ballots a second group of uncounted votes, the 'provisional' ballots, and -- voila! -- the White House would have turned Democrat blue.

But that won't happen because of the peculiar way provisional ballots are counted or, more often, not counted. Introduced by federal law in 2002, the provisional ballot was designed especially for voters of color. Proposed by the Congressional Black Caucus to save the rights of those wrongly scrubbed from voter rolls, it was, in Republican-controlled swing states, twisted into a back-of-the-bus ballot unlikely to be tallied.

Unlike the real thing, these ballots are counted only by the whimsy and rules of a state's top elections official; and in Ohio, that gives a virtually ballot veto to Bush-Cheney campaign co-chair, Blackwell.

Mr. Blackwell has a few rules to make sure a large proportion of provisional ballots won't be counted. For the first time in memory, the Secretary of State has banned counting ballots cast in the "wrong" precinct, though all neighborhoods share the same President.

Over 155,000 Ohio voters were shunted to these second-class ballots. The election-shifting bulge in provisional ballots (more than 3% of the electorate) was the direct result of the national Republican strategy that targeted African-American precincts for mass challenges on election day.

This is the first time in four decades that a political party has systematically barred -- in this case successfully -- hundreds of thousands of Black voters from access to the voting booth. While investigating for BBC Television, we obtained three dozen of the Republican Party's confidential "caging" lists, their title for spreadsheets listing names and addresses of voters they intended to block on any pretext.

We found that every single address of the thousands on these Republican hit lists was located in Black-majority precincts. You might find that nasty and racist. It may also be a crime.

Before 1965, Jim Crow laws in the Deep South did not bar Blacks from voting. Rather, the segregationist game was played by applying minor technical voting requirements only to African-Americans. That year, Congress voted to make profiling and impeding minority voters, even with a legal pretext, a criminal offence under the Voting Rights Act.

But that didn't stop the Republicans of '04. Their legally questionable mass challenge to Black voters is not some low-level dirty tricks operation of local party hacks. Emails we obtained show the lists were copied directly to the Republican National Committee's chief of research and to the director of a state campaign.

Many challenges center on changes of address. On one Republican caging list, 50 addresses changed from Jacksonville to overseas, African-American soldiers shipped Over There.

You don't have to guess the preferences registered on the provisional ballots. Republicans went on a challenging rampage, while Democrats pledged to hold to the tradition of letting voters vote.

Blackwell has said he will count all the "valid" provisional ballots. However, his rigid regulations, like the new guess-your-precinct rule, are rigged to knock out enough voters to keep Bush's skinny lead alive. Other pre-election maneuvers by Republican officials -- late and improbably large purges of voter rolls, rejection of registrations -- maximized the use of provisional ballots which will never be counted. For example, a voter wrongly tagged an ineligible "felon" voter (and there's plenty in that category, mostly African-Americans), will lose their ballot even though they are wrongly identified.

KERRY BLACKS OUT

It was heartening that, during his campaign, John Kerry broke the political omerta that seems to prohibit public mention of the color of votes not counted in America. "Don't tell us that in the strongest democracy on earth a million disenfranchised African Americans is the best we can do." The Senator promised the NAACP convention, "This November, we're going to make sure that every single vote is counted."

But this week, Kerry became the first presidential candidate in history to break a campaign promise after losing an election. The Senator waited less than 24 hours to abandon more than a quarter million Ohio voters still waiting for their provisional and chad-spoiled ballots to be counted.

While disappointing, I can understand the cold calculus against taking the fight to the end. To count the ballots, Kerry's lawyers would, first, have to demand a hand reading of the punch cards. Blackwell, armed with the Supreme Court's Bush v. Gore diktat, would undoubtedly pull a "Kate Harris" by halting or restricting a hand count. Most daunting, Kerry's team would also, as one state attorney general pointed out to me, have to litigate each and every rejected provisional ballot in court. This would entail locating up to a hundred thousand voters to testify to their right to the vote, with Blackwell challenging each with a holster full of regulations from the old Jim Crow handbook.

Given the odds and the cost to his political career, Kerry bent, not to the will of the people, but to the will to power of the Ohio Republican machine.

We have yet to total here the votes lost in missing absentee ballots, in eyebrow-raising touch screen tallies, in purges of legal voters from registries and other games played in swing states. But why dwell on these things? Our betters in the political and media elite have told us to get over it, move on.

To the victors go the spoils of electoral class war. As Ohio's politically ambitious Secretary of State brags on his own website, "Last time I checked, Katherine Harris wasn't in a soup line, she's in Congress."

NEW MEXICO GOES KERRY - BUT WHO'S COUNTING?

Why single out Ohio? So it also went in New Mexico where ballots of Hispanic voters (two-to-one Kerry supporters) spoil at a rate five times that of white voters. Add in the astounding 13,000 provisional ballots in the Enchanted State -- handed out "like candy" to Hispanic, not white, voters according to a director of the Catholic Church's get-out-the-vote drive -- and Kerry wins New Mexico. Just count up the votes … but that won't happen.

Comment: We continue to bring you articles on the fraudulent elections in the US not because we think things would have been different had Kerry won; rather, we offer the overwhelming evidence of the corruption that goes to the heart of the American political process.

In 2000, the Republicans stole the election in Florida by taking black voters off of the voting lists illegally. No, it wasn't Ralph Nader. Blaming Nader is a diversion.

Think, in 2001, members of the Bush Administration in league with Israel attack their own country, brought in draconian legislation that cuts to the heart of America's supposed democracy, the same "democracy" that is being imposed in Afghanistan and Iraq. America, look what you have to look forward to.

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The Unexplained Exit Poll Discrepancy
BUZZFLASH
November 11, 2004

BuzzFlash was forwarded a copy of a new research paper (271k PDF) on the exit polls from the 2004 election.

In "The Unexplained Exit Poll Discrepancy," Dr. Steven F. Freeman says:

"As much as we can say in social science that something is impossible, it is impossible that the discrepancies between predicted and actual vote counts in the three critical battleground states [Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania] of the 2004 election could have been due to chance or random error."

The odds of those exit poll statistical anomalies occurring by chance are, according to Freeman, "250,000,000 to one." That's 250 MILLION to ONE.

He concludes the paper with this:

"Systematic fraud or mistabulation is a premature conclusion, but the election's unexplained exit poll discrepancies make it an unavoidable hypothesis, one that is the responsibility of the media, academia, polling agencies, and the public to investigate."

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Palm Beach County Logs 88,000 More Votes Than Voters

November 5, 2004 04:56 PM

Update: Palm Beach County has updated their numbers and added 91,802 absentee ballots and 1,041 provisional ballots. Note that the vote totals for president only increased by 1,543 votes. To view an archived copy of the previous report, click here. While Palm Beach County appears to have accounted for the discrepancy, this underscores the flaws in the system and data compilation.

According to the official election results posted on the Palm Beach County election website, 542,835 ballots were cast for a presidential candidate while only 454,427 voters turned out for the election (including absentee). This leaves a discrepancy of 88,408 votes cast for the presidential candidates.

Palm Beach County's supervisor of elections is Theresa LePore who is known for the 2000 Presidential Election and the notorious "butterfly ballot" that caused confusion among seniors and other Floridians.

Other election oddities occurred throughout Florida with some counties registering a 400% increase in expected voter turnout among Republicans while Democrats supposedly experienced a -60% decline in expected support within certain counties. The 50 counties experiencing the high percentage fluctuations in expected turnout used optical scan voting machines on November 2nd.

Vote discrepancies were also found in Gahanna, Ohio which gave an extra 4,000 votes to President Bush. The error was explained away by Franklin County administrators as a "glitch" in the electronic voting system

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Private Company Still 'Controls' Election Outcome

By Christopher Bollyn
American Free Press

Secretive company administers almost every last aspect of ‘democratic’ election process

CHICAGO, Illinois—The morning after Election Day, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry and the vice presidential candidate John Edwards promised the nation that the Democrats would make sure that every vote counts, and that every vote is counted. Later in the day, Kerry and Edwards, however, conceded defeat before some 170,000 to 250,000 provisional ballots from Ohio, which could have changed the outcome of the election, had been counted.

But how were the votes actually counted across the nation on Nov. 2? On Election Day, voters in Cook County, Ill., were among the 60 million Americans who voted with machines made by Election Systems & Software, a secretive company based in Omaha.

ES&S, as it is known, calls itself "the world’s largest and most experienced provider of total election management solutions." According to the company’s own figures, 42 percent of all registered voters in the United States voted on ES&S equipment on Election Day.

ES&S sells its "end-to-end election management suite of solutions" to replace traditional voting methods and election officials with what it calls "‘one-stop-shop,’ full service election coordination from start to finish."

What this means on Election Day is that ES&S, a private company, manages everything about the voting, from voter registration, the printing of ballots, the programming of the voting machines, the counting and tabulation of the votes and the final reporting of the results—for 60 million Americans in 47 states.

Four years after first revealing the flaws inherent in the insecure ES&S electronic voting machines used in Cook County, American Free Press went to the county clerk’s office to observe how ES&S manages the counting of the votes for America’s third largest city, Chicago, and the suburban area around it.

Scott Burnham, spokesman for the county clerk, had informed me that the vote count is open to the public and that press credentials would not be required.

Shortly after arriving, I ran into Burnham and David Orr, the county clerk, in the hallway. Although I had arrived just shortly before the polls closed at 7 p.m., I was the only member of the public or the press around except for a couple of Associated Press (AP) reporters in the far corner of the room.

They were busy setting up their laptop to the ES&S computer in the backroom, which provided them with "direct feed" of the results. I was surprised to see so few people attending such an important event. In France, scores of citizens watch the vote count in each polling station. While the results were coming in, the AP reporter read a novel while her laptop did the communicating.

PLEASE LEAVE

When I went to talk to the AP reporter, Burnham quickly appeared and told me to leave. "You should talk to AP," he said.

"She is AP," I replied.

"She just works for AP," he said.

Clearly the subject of AP having direct data feed from the mainframe computer was something Burnham did not want me to discuss.

Dane Placko, a local reporter for the Fox News network, told AFP that "Fox gets direct feed."

Any actual counting of the votes by citizens is very rare in the United States except for a few counties in Montana and other states where paper ballots are still hand-counted.

In most counties the ballots are treated as input data to be processed through computer systems controlled by private companies like ES&S.

In Cook County the ballot is inevitably a cluttered punch card with nearly 100 votes. After voting for the president and vice president, a senator and a congressman, the voter has to wade through pages of choices to vote for some 80 local officials from the sanitation board to the state’s general assembly. Every voter had to vote on nearly 80 judges.

LONG & COMPLICATED

Rather than holding separate elections for national and local officials, as is done in most countries, the Cook County ballot is extremely long and complicated. Officials who support electronic voting systems give the complexity of the ballot as the main reason why voting machines are necessary—because it would take too much time to count the votes manually.

After calling and personally visiting ES&S headquarters in Omaha and Chicago, I can say it is a highly secretive company. In August, I visited ES&S company headquarters on John Galt Blvd. in Omaha.

Although the company says it is the largest voting machine company in the United States, they were unable to provide any information about their company or their products. The ownership of the company is a closely guarded secret.

I asked to meet with Todd Urosevich, one of the two brothers that founded the company.

Bob and Todd Urosevich started ES&S as a company called Data Mark in the early 1980s. Today, Bob Urosevich heads Ohio-based Diebold Election Systems, a competitor of ES&S and the second largest U.S. manufacturer of electronic voting machines. Together, the computerized ballot scanners and touch-screen voting machines systems made by ES&S and Diebold recorded some 80 percent of all votes cast in the recent U.S. presidential election.

As ES&S had no media relations person available, and Todd Urosevich was not willing to be interviewed, the company’s chief financial officer Tom O’Brien finally appeared. Clearly displeased with my visit and questions, O’Brien refused to provide any information about the company.

MORE NAUSEOUS

Although I was ill on Election Day, I knew I had to go to the county clerk’s office to observe "counting" of the vote. It is, after all, the only "counting" open to the public. What I saw in Chicago, however, only made me more nauseous.

The only "vote count" the press or public can observe in Chicago is what is projected on screens.

The opening screen read: ES&S Automatic Election Returns, Release 35, Under License to the City of Chicago, Serial No. 0004, Copyright 1987. Carl Zimmerman, technical supervisor for the clerk’s office, said that the computer that ran the system was in the back—"in the ES&S room," he said.

At 7 p.m., Jonathan Lin, a worker on the county clerk’s computer staff, came out and turned on the monitors on the 6th floor, where the City of Chicago votes were tallied and displayed. Behind him was Rick Thurman, an ES&S technician, checking the first results.

Thurman seemed surprised when I asked him if he worked for ES&S. He said that the company had about six engineers running the computer in the back room. He then checked himself, saying he had said too much.

Later I asked Lin who was actually operating the computer that was generating the results being shown on the monitors. "ES&S is running the mainframe for all of this," Lin said, pointing to the television displays.

In the press room in the back I noticed stacks of boxes containing "Votamatic" voting machines and "prepunched" ballots printed by ES&S of Addison, Texas, for the different precincts in Cook County. In the rear hallway behind the pressroom was the ES&S room. Only ES&S personnel were allowed into the room.

When I poked around in the hallway and peeked into the ES&S room, an armed marshal and ES&S employee quickly appeared. In no condition for a confrontation, I made myself scarce.

I met a couple reporters from CLTV, a local cable channel of WGN. One of the reporters asked about my interest in the Chicago tallies. I said I was interested to see how a private company runs the elections in Chicago.

Seemingly unaware of how ES&S operates elections in Cook County, I explained the basics. "I’ve observed elections across Europe," I added, "from France and Germany to Serbia and Holland. Everywhere in Europe, voting is done on paper ballots that are counted by the citizens, except Holland."

Obviously uncomfortable with this discussion, the reporter responded: "I’m glad I’m not in Serbia. I don’t mind if a machine counts the votes."

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Game Boy
Global Eye
By Chris Floyd
November 12, 2004

We said it here over and over, going back to 2003: If the U.S. presidential election was close enough to be gamed, it damn sure would be gamed. And the chunks of evidence now rolling in -- like so many cracked shells of fact in a high tide of pompous drivel -- increasingly indicate that millions of votes were indeed monkeyed with on the way to amassing George W. Bush's teeny-tiny one percent majority last week.

It seems we were all a bit too quick to concede the reality of Li'l Pretzel's "mandate." For example, in county after county, state after state, unprecedented discrepancies between the exit polls and the final result turned up -- in areas that used electronic voting, that is, usually without a recountable paper trail. In almost every such case, exit poll leads for John Kerry -- sometimes very substantial leads, beyond the realm of statistical error -- were converted in the end to narrow victories for Bush. Yet strangely enough, in those areas that relied on paper ballots -- utterly tangible records of voter intent -- the exit polls and final counts were in virtual lockstep. Of course, for decades exit polls have been phenomenonally successful in gauging the actual electoral outcome -- until the advent of national elections involving Bush and his political puppeteer, Karl Rove.

There was also the wild imbalance between party identification in voter registration and the actual vote in key counties across the nation, particularly in Florida. In the latter, counties where Democrats comprise more than 70 percent of the voters suddenly showed Bush winning 50, 60, even 70 percent of the total. In Calhoun County, for example, an 82 percent Democratic registration somehow morphed into a 63 percent Bush vote. To be sure, an incumbent in wartime, running on a campaign of wild fearmongering and deliberately stoked (or is it stroked?) sexual panic might peel away a few of the other party's voters. Yet every single measure of the electorate this year showed that partisanship was extraordinarily high and remarkably solid: Only a sliver of party-identified voters crossed the line to vote for the other side. So where did they come from, these astounding registration reversals that produced, in discrete packets here and there, hundreds of thousands of extra Bush votes that no one had expected?

We've often spoken here of the fact that more than one-third of all American votes were counted this year on machines owned, programmed, installed -- and in some cases even inspected -- by private companies whose bosses are major Bush financial donors and campaign officials. Some of the main players in the virtual-vote game were originally bankrolled by a single Bushist tycoon, Howard Ahmanson, who spent decades pushing "Christian Reconstructionism" -- i.e., complete theocratic rule of society and government by Christian mullahs who advocate, among other delights, death by stoning for homosexuals. Studies by leading scientists at Stanford, Johns Hopkins and other bastions of the "reality-based community" showed that these corporate e-vote systems are eminently -- even laughably -- hackable, either from the inside, by the Bushist companies themselves, or from the outside, by, say, "information warfare" specialists at the CIA or Pentagon, as investigative journalist Robert Parry notes. Nor would this hackery require placing gremlins in the thousands of voting machines operated by the Bushist firms; the final tabulations are actually made by a handful of central computers drawing together totals from outlying precincts, as analyst Thom Hartmann reports. Thus one little aptly placed "worm" could poison the well of an entire state.

Meanwhile, legions of phantom voters stalked polling booths across the land. In one key Ohio county alone -- carried by Bush -- the number of votes cast outstripped the number of actual registered voters by 93,000 -- a pattern repeated in numerous e-voting precincts. Yet another Ohio county sealed its vote count from public scrutiny after Bush's Homeland Security commissars told terrified local officials that their suburban area had suddenly become a terrorist target of "the highest order," MSNBC reports.

Bush's limp mandate was also engorged with a double dose of electoral Viagra: voter purges and voter suppression. As intrepid investigator Greg Palast notes, key states controlled by Bushist officials conducted mass purges of qualified voters from the rolls, utilizing an array of arcane laws, obscure regulations and -- as in Florida 2000 -- race-specific lists of supposed convicted felons, drawn up by private corporations using deliberately vague criteria that guaranteed false "matches" with legitimate voters, disenfranchising thousands of people -- the majority of them law-abiding African-Americans. Meanwhile, an unprecedented voter suppression operation flooded low-income areas with bogus "official" letters and phone calls warning the poor they could be imprisoned for voting if they had unpaid bills or outstanding debts.

Even when these targeted minorities were able to get to the polls, they had to run a gauntlet of antiquated machinery that produced a massive amount of "spoiled" votes by mangling ballots, leaving those infamous chads unpunched and otherwise failing to register the voter's choice. Official U.S. government studies confirm that the majority of this "spoilage" does indeed occur in minority precincts; in 2000, for example, more than 1 million African-American votes were simply thrown in the trash. With this year's higher turnout straining the thin resources of such precincts, experts say the spoilage rate will be even higher.

Of course, given Bush's strong support among the vast Deluded-American community, he might have won the election anyway, even without all this criminal katzenjammer. But now we'll never know. His "mandate" -- miniscule as it is -- will be forever tainted by doubt, smeared with the vicious sleaze and contempt for democracy that has marked every aspect of his malevolent reign.

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New: In Memoriam - Yassir Arafat


Arafat buried in Ram Allah
Saturday 13 November 2004, 2:02 Makka Time, 23:02 GMT

Veteran Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat has been laid to rest at his battered Muqata compound in the West Bank town of Ram Allah.

Shortly after his coffin was lowered on Friday into a marble-and-stone grave, the crowd began a prayer joined by Palestinian leaders, including newly appointed Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) chairman Mahmud Abbas and Prime Minister Ahmad Quraya.

Arafat had been due to lie in state ahead of the burial, but the programme was disrupted by chaos at the compound, where thousands of mourners surged past security forces.

"He was buried ahead of time because of the emotion of the crowd. We had no choice," one official said.

Wounded by gunfire

Before the burial, thousands of mourners rushed to the coffin and police fired into the air to disperse the crowd that held up the removal of his body from the aircraft that flew in from Egypt.

Medics said four people were wounded by gunfire in the
crowd.

Arafat, who became a Third World liberation icon and won a Nobel Peace Prize, died at the age 75 in a French hospital on Thursday from an undetermined cause.

The chaotic scenes in Ram Allah were in sharp contrast to a funeral service earlier at a Cairo air base, where the public was kept away and even some world leaders were mistakenly shut out by overzealous Egyptian guards.

A few kilometres from the burial site, an explosion in a car
killed two people in a reminder of the continuing violence in the region.

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Secrecy surrounds diagnosis
By Elisabeth Rosenthal International Herald Tribune
Friday, November 12, 2004
PARIS Even after Yasser Arafat's death Thursday morning, French health officials continued their stony silence about exactly what disease killed the Palestinian leader. And so, the man who lived so much of his life simply and in the public eye, died mysteriously, surrounded by secrecy.

After two weeks, the medical databases at Percy Military Training Hospital in Clamart must be crammed with information about Arafat's condition - scans, biopsies, reams of blood test results - that would have defined for doctors within minutes the condition of Arafat's kidneys, liver and lungs. But these remain top secret.

The hospital officially announced Arafat's death in a terse statement delivered by the hospital spokesman, General Christian Estripeau, who told reporters there would be no details released on tests, the cause of death or whether there would be an autopsy. When reached by telephone later on Thursday, Estripeau said there would be "no information."

In fact, all the information about Arafat's sudden death that has dribbled out comes from his Palestinian aides, who provide facts through a non-medical and highly politicized filter. These few misshapen puzzle pieces are insufficient to create a picture of what went wrong.

As their beloved leader deteriorated in the past two days, Arafat's aides announced only that he was in a deep coma on life-support machines, having suffered a brain hemorrhage - a stroke caused by bleeding into the brain. But such a fatal event can have many underlying causes, and does not explain why Arafat's health had deteriorated so precipitously in the past month.

In France, a patient or the next-of-kin must give permission for doctors to release information. In his carefully worded statements, Estripeau suggested that this permission was not given: "It is not up to the defense forces' health services to reveal information given to the family," he said today.

Strokes are generally sudden affairs, and Arafat's was almost certainly a secondary result of his underlying and undisclosed illness. At the time of his medical evacuation to Paris two weeks ago, aides revealed that he was suffering from a low platelet count and had undergone a platelet transfusion. Since platelets are involved in blood clotting, patients with low platelet counts are predisposed to brain hemorrhages, and this may have contributed to Arafat's death.

But low platelet counts in the blood are a common finding in a wide range of illnesses, including severe infections, liver disease, end-stage cancer, and even AIDS. And doctors made no mention of a hemorrhage until Wednesday, suggesting that it was a recent event.

On Nov. 4, doctors and aides announced that Arafat was being transferred to the intensive care unit because his condition had deteriorated. No mention of a brain hemorrhage was made at that time, although such bleeding would have been immediately obvious on a CAT scan.

It is accepted medical practice throughout the world that patients or their families have the right to keep medical information private. In France, politicians and celebrities frequently keep their medical lives secret, but in many countries, such as the United States, public figures are expected to reveal private health information and hospitals tend to encourage it.

"There can be tension between what the public would like to know and what the family feels comfortable talking about, but our policy is that the privacy of the patient and the patient's family comes first and is paramount," said Myrna Manners, spokesperson for the New York-Presbyterian Hospital, which has treated many world leaders including the Shah of Iran.

But, she added: "Rather than have rumors or speculation run amok, we feel its better to have a clear process and a bit of information. We encourage that."

There are various reasons why Arafat's inner circle would want to keep the cause of his death a secret. Perhaps he suffered from a disease that they considered embarrassing. Or perhaps the doctors who treated him during the early phases of his illness in Ramallah missed a treatable medical condition, letting him deteriorate to the point it was too late to cure him once he was moved to Paris.

In the end, the actual timing of his death - like in much of his life - was probably tinged with a hefty dose of politics and religion.

At some point after he was transferred to intensive care, Arafat was placed on a ventilator, a machine that assists in breathing. Such assistance can be required because of lung problems - like pneumonia - or in cases where the brain-centers that control breathing are not functioning properly. Both deep comas and large strokes can damage these centers temporarily and require that a patient be placed on a machine.

Once a patient's breathing is maintained by a ventilator, the exact timing of death often becomes something of a matter of choice. More important, it also becomes subject to religious variations concerning the ethics of caring for terminally ill patients.

Islamic scholars have generally prohibited the discontinuation of life support machines, since the Koran advises: "Don't throw yourself into death." Nabil Shaath, the Palestinian foreign minister, reacted violently to press reports yesterday that Palestinian officials had arrived in Paris to "pull the plug" on Arafat.

"We don't accept euthanasia," he said, Arafat "is in the hands of God."

But in France, as in much of the world, death is now defined by the death of the brain, or "brain death." A patient on a ventilator can be breathing and have a pumping heart- at least for some time - even though he is medically and legally dead.

Many Islamic scholars say that a patient can be disconnected from life support once he is brain dead, since he is no longer really alive. But some conservative Muslim groups, as well as many conservative Jews, still maintain that the person lives so long as the heart is beating.

It is not known if Arafat was removed from life-support machines or if his heart stopped beating while he was still on them.

Comment: Israel publicly threatened Arafat many times. The symptoms of his death match those of a poison used unsuccessfully on another Palestinian several years ago. From the Right, the slanderers have not stopped in death, with people like David Frum suggesting Arafat died from AIDS.

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PUBLIC THREATS TO KILL ARAFAT FROM THE ISRAELIS
MiddleEast.org

These are some of the public threats in the past few years. One can only imagine what has been said when the cameras and microphones were not present.

Israeli Cabinet, September 11, 2003: "Recent day's events have proven again that Yasser Arafat is a complete obstacle to any process of reconciliation. ... Israel will act to remove this obstacle in the manner, at the time, and in the ways that will be decided on separately."

Ariel Sharon: "We took action against Ahmed Yassin and Abdelaziz Rantisi (both assassinated) and a few other murderers when we thought the time was right. On the matter of Arafat we will operate in the same way, when we find the convenient and suitable time. One needs to find the time and do what has to be done."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3654928.stm

Ariel Sharon: "I wouldn’t suggest either one of them should feel secure. I wouldn’t propose that any insurance company gives them coverage" (reference to Arafat and other Palestinian leaders). www.haaretz.co.il/hasen/spages/411795.html

Editorial, The Jerusalem Post, Jerusalem, Israel, 11 Sept 2003: "The world will not help us; we must help ourselves. We must kill as many of the Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders as possible, as quickly as possible, while minimizing collateral damage, but not letting that damage stop us. And we must kill Yasser Arafat, because the world leaves us no alternative.... Arafat’s death at Israel’s hands would not radicalize Arab opposition to Israel. The current jihad against us is being fueled by the perception that Israel is blocked from taking decisive actions to defend itself…. Killing Arafat, more than any other act, would demonstrate that the tool of terror is unacceptable."

Ehud Olmert: Deputy Prime Minister of Israel told Israel Radio that killing Arafat "is definitely one of the options" under consideration by the government.
International Herald Tribune, 24 September 2003

Silvan Shalom: Israel's foreign minister said yesterday in an apparent attempt to soften remarks by the vice premier who said that assassination was an option. "Israel has not adopted a formal decision to kill Yasser Arafat"

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/09/16/world/main573485.shtml

http://archives.tcm.ie/irishexaminer/2003/09/16/story892785356.asp

Tuesday, September 15th & 16th, 2003

Comment: The elections. The death of Arafat. The bombing of Fallujah. Are these three things interrelated? Israel chose the time to murder the Palestinian leader, likely with the support of the Bush Administration.

For years Israel has portrayed Arafat as the obstacle to peace. Yet Arafat and the Palestinians tried many different methods to find peace. It was the Israelis over and over again that sabotaged the process, as the next article discusses.

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Levine on Arafat: Guest Editorial

The Death of Arafat and the Myth of New Beginnings

Juan Cole

Guest editorial by Mark LeVine, Professor of modern Middle Eastern history at UC Irvine, author of Overthrowing Geography: Jaffa, Tel Aviv and the Struggle for Palestine (Berkeley: University of California Press) and Why They Don't Hate Us: Lifting the Veil on the Axis of Evil (forthcoming, Oneworld Publications.)

In the weeks leading up to Palestinian President Yassir Arafat’s death American politicians and pundits have repeatedly called on the Palestinian people to use the opportunity of his passing to transform the intifada from a violent uprising into a non-violent, democratic and pragmatic program for achieving independence. This is very good advice, needless to say, except for one small problem: Palestinians have been trying to build such a movement for the last two decades, and the Israeli Government, IDF and American policy-makers have done everything possible to make sure it could not be heeded.

One of the first exponents of Palestinian non-violence the Palestinian-American doctor Mubarak Awad, founded the Palestinian Centre for the Study of Nonviolence in 1985. His innovative ideas and training of Palestinians in the tactics of non-violent resistance to the occupation was considered dangerous enough by Israel that it expelled him from the land of his birth in 1988. During the same period, the government supported the rise to power of militant religious groups such as Hamas as a counterweight to the PLO (which that year recognized Israel’s right to exist).

By the time the first intifada wound down in the early 1990s Jewish/Israeli-Palestinian "dialog" or "people-to-people" groups had become all the rage, most of whom had as an important goal building relationships of trust and solidarity that could help Palestinians build a viable political future. Unfortunately, while liberal Israelis were busy sharing hummus with their new Palestinian friends successive Likud and Labor governments accelerated the pace of land confiscation, settlement construction and economic closure of the Territories, which ultimately left many Palestinians to wonder if all the conversation wasn’t a ruse to keep them occupied while Israel permanently secured its hold on their lands.

But mid-way through the Oslo era hope was still in the air. In January 1996 I sat on the terrace of a friend’s house in Abu Dis as about 100 meters away Yaser Arafat cast his vote in perhaps the greatest day in the history of Palestinian nationalism: the elections for the presidency and Legislative Assembly. Unfortunately, soon after the elections the CIA and Shin Bet began what seemed like weekly meetings with the "security" officials of the Palestinian Authority. The stated reasons were always to "coordinate security;" the real reason was to make sure the new Assembly was still born because newly elected legislators promised to investigate PA corruption and push for a final settlement more in line with the desire of Palestinian society.

Needless to say, the Assembly didn’t make it. In its place, however, Hamas did quite well, precisely because it constituted perhaps the only powerful voice of dissent against the emerging status quo of corruption and continued occupation.

Since the outbreak of the "al-Aksa intifada" in September 2000 most Palestinians I know--and increasingly, their comrades in the Israeli peace movement--have exerted incredible energy trying to build grass roots non violent movements that could somehow check the inexorable advance of the occupation and the slow death of the national dream of an independent state. The response by the Israeli military has often been brutal. Not just Palestinian activists, but foreign peace activists and even Israelis are routinely beaten, arrested, deported, and even killed by the IDF, with little fear that the Government of Israel would pay a political price for crushing non-violent resistance with violent means.

In this environment the very act of going about ones daily life without losing all hope and "joining Hamas" (something former Prime Minister Barak admitted he would have done if he were Palestinian) has become perhaps the supreme, if unheralded, act of non-violence against the occupation. The Israeli Government is quite aware of this, which is why it does its best to make daily life as difficult as possible for Palestinians.

Not surprisingly considering this dynamic, a poll I helped direct earlier this year revealed that Hamas has now surpassed the PLO as the most popular Palestinian political movement. But what of the courageous Palestinians who still believe in non-violence, who are risking their lives working with Israeli peace activists to fulfill the fading Oslo dream of two states living side by side in peace? We could ask this question to Ahmed Awad, founder of the non-violent Committee for the Popular Struggle against the Separation Fence, which has brought Palestinian and Israeli activists together in a relatively successful campaign to redirect the separation wall away from local olive groves. In the process his group has become a model for grass-roots, non-violent struggle.

Unfortunately, we’d have to wait at least three months for an answer, as Awad has just been jailed without charge by a military court on the accusation he constituted a "threat to security." The judge who handed down the order hoped that his detention would lead him to "turn away from th[is] bad road with its unhappy ending," although its hard to see whom his stated goal of "letting the world understand that there can be coexistence between us and the Jews" threatened. In the meantime, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports that the army has stepped up violence and aggression against protesters in order to enable the fence to proceed along its original route.

And on it goes. As the Bush Administration and America’s pundocracy search for a new generation of pragmatic and non-violent Palestinian leaders, they should be heartened to know that they won’t have to look very hard to find them. But that’s because so many are either in the hospital, jail or exile. And like Arafat shriveling away in his besieged Muqata’a (which will now be his tomb), the Palestinian peace movement will continue to wither as long as Israel is more comfortable confronting Hamas than Ahmed Awad.

Mark Levine
Associate Professor of History
Department of History
Murray Krieger Hall
Irvine, CA 92697-3275

Comment: The slanders against Arafat will continue, fed in the US by a media that is owned in large part by unquestioning supporters of Israel. The Palestinian voice is not heard. Another look at Blaming Arafat. And a letter to the Editor at the New York Times that wonders why there were no Arab voices allowed to speak about Arafat in the Times pages, and that ends with the following question:

Finally, we should ask whether the Times, or any American news organization, would take a similar approach if Sharon were to die. Sharon -- responsible for at least as many atrocities as Arafat, "architect" of the settlement policy, and recently revealed by Dov Weissglas to be opposed to real Palestinian statehood (NYT, Oct. 7), something honest observers already knew anyway.

Would we then see an Op-Ed page with no Israeli voices? Would we see Palestinians writing on the meaning of Sharon's death? Would we see Palestinians, or even Americans, telling Israelis what to think?

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Sharon Killed ARAFAT?

MER
November 2004

Assassination Cover Up Succeeds. Quick Clean Funeral and Burial Planned

MIDDLEEAST.ORG - MER - Washington - 11 November: The powers that be have gotten things mostly their way when it comes to the death of the man Yasser Arafat, as well as they must be thinking to the symbolic end of the true Palestinian nationalist quest he came to symbolize.

Amazingly the assassination of Yasser Arafat is being covered up right in front of the whole watching world.

By at the least a preponderence of all the evidence and circumstances Arafat was blood poisoned by the Israelis with the help of turned Palestinians and an American OK. His own personal doctor reached that diagnosis before being barred from seeing Arafat at the French military hospital and from speaking out further. After threatening to go public about the great 'conspiracy you can't imagine' of which she screamed in her short frantic call to Al-Jazeera Monday, Arafat's 'wife', Suha Tawil, appears to have been herself threatened and bribed to shut up or else.

The announcement of Arafat's death was withheld for some days as the Israeli and U.S.-approved new 'Palestinian leadership' worked to coordinate with those in Washington and Jerusalem, in addition to the French, just how to transfer to themselves as much of Arafat's powers and monies as they could; how to best take care of the funeral and burial with the least fanfare they could get away with; and how to position everyone for the new political pressures and disingenuous 'peace plans' now immediately ahead.

[...] the new 'Palestinian leadership' has been taught a special lesson with the killing of Yasser Arafat. If the Israelis and the U.S. can manage this assassination and its aftermath in such a crafty and deceptive manner, and get away with it all so easily, the message is rather clear:

"You Arab and Palestinian 'leaders' have much more to fear from us (Israel and the U.S.) if you don't play ball than you do from your own people. On top of all the other leaders we have killed off or imprisoned one way or another, we can even pull off a 'Stealth Assassination' of Nobel Peace Prize winner, former most frequent foreign guest to the White House, and international famed Yasser Arafat because he refused to do as we told him he must. So beware: COMPLY, RESISTANCE IS FUTILE."

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CBS News Fires Producer Over Arafat Special Report
By Steve Gorman
Reuters
Nov 12, 10:10 PM (ET)

LOS ANGELES - CBS News has fired the producer responsible for interrupting the last five minutes of a hit crime drama with a special report on the death of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, a network source said on Friday.

Word of the dismissal came a day after CBS apologized to viewers for breaking into "CSI: NY," one of its top-rated shows, on Wednesday night.

"An overly aggressive CBS News producer jumped the gun with a report that should have been offered to local stations for their late news. We sincerely regret the error," the network said in a statement on Thursday.

The network, owned by Viacom Inc., declined comment on a report of the dismissal posted on the Web site of trade publication Broadcasting & Cable.

But a network source told Reuters that CBS fired the producer who decided to break into "CSI" with a report from "Up to the Minute" anchor Melissa McDermott.

According to the source, the producer failed to follow standard procedures that require a senior CBS News executive to be consulted before interrupting regular programming.

The fact Arafat already had been reported near death for several days also figured in the network's decision. The source said the producer disregarded explicit, advance instructions that breaking news of Arafat's death -- if it occurred during prime time -- was to be reported with a news "crawl" at the bottom of the screen.

"Arafat had been literally on his deathbed for a week. Everyone knew he was going to die. It was just a matter of when," the source said. [...]

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Fallujah turned into disaster area
GETHIN CHAMBERLAIN
DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT

AID workers yesterday warned that four days of fighting had turned the city of Fallujah into a disaster area, with water and electricity cut off and the stench of dead bodies permeating the air.

The majority of the city’s inhabitants are thought to have fled before the attack started on Monday, but thousands are still trapped inside their homes, unable to get out.

US military commanders say civilian casualties have been low, but that is disputed by residents, who describe incidents in which non-combatants, including women and children, have been killed by shrapnel or hit by bombs.

Rasoul Ibrahim, a father of three, fled Fallujah on Thursday morning and arrived with his wife and children in Habbaniya, about 12 miles to the west, later the same day. He said families left in the city were in desperate need. "There’s no water. People are drinking dirty water. Children are dying. People are eating flour because there’s no proper food," he told aid workers in Habbaniya, which has become a refugee camp sheltering around 2,000 families.

The Iraqi Red Crescent Society, which receives support from foreign agencies, including the Red Cross and UNICEF, said it had asked US forces and Iraq’s interim government to let them deliver relief goods to Fallujah and station medics there, but it had received no reply.

"We call on the Iraqi government and US forces to allow us to do our humanitarian duty to the innocent people," said Firdoos al-Ubadi, Red Crescent spokeswoman. "This is their responsibility."

The Red Crescent has seven teams of doctors and relief workers, backed by trucks of food and other aid, ready to go into each of Fallujah’s districts when the word is given.

Scores of buildings in Fallujah have been completely destroyed, with TV footage showing some districts all but levelled. Water and electricity have been shut off for days and food shops have been closed, residents say.

"Anyone who gets injured is likely to die, because there’s no medicine and they can’t get to doctors," said Abdul-Hameed Salim, a volunteer with the Red Crescent. "There are snipers everywhere. Go outside and you’re going to get shot." [...]

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Palestinians doubtful of Bush's sincerity
Saturday 13 November 2004, 11:02 Makka Time, 8:02 GMT

The Palestinian Authority has reacted with scepticism to US President George Bush's expressed support of elections and hope of establishing a Palestinian state in the next four years.

Speaking to Aljazeera on Friday, Palestinian Labour Minister Ghassan al-Khatib said the US had not been serious in assisting Palestinians hold elections in the past.

He pointed out that when Palestinians recently started to prepare for elections and began registering voters for local and presidential polls, Israel hindered the process, especially in Jerusalem.

This went against Israel's agreement with the Palestinians, he said. As for the US, it did nothing to help, the minister added.

Al-Khatib said it was up to the Palestinians to decide on elections. "The manner in which thousands of Palestinians responded to the death of Arafat was an indication of the popular support he enjoyed and the backing the people gave for his political methods and positions," he said.

Legitimacy

Ghassan al-Khatib, Palestinian Authority labour minister
Whether elections are held or not, the future of Palestinians would be decided by the Palestinian people, al-Khatib said. And, the course they adopt will be internationally legitimate, he added.

The minister said there was a peace road map with a specific time frame for a Palestinian state.

"Bush has drawn back from an old promise; it is unfortunate, unacceptable and inexcusable," al-Khatib said.

The minister said a European view and a unified Arabic stance were crucial if peace was to be achieved in the region.

He said there were specific resolutions of the UN Security Council on the issue and that the US "should be more serious and honest in applying these to the region so as to ensure international legitimacy".

Comment: The US and Israel want chaos in the Middle East, chaos in the Arab countries and the occupied territories, because the last thing they want is a united front of the Islamic countries demanding justice. One by one the US and Israel will replace the governments, putting in their place puppet regimes like we see in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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U.S. marines blast way across Fallujah

Edward Harris
Canadian Press
Friday, November 12, 2004

FALLUJAH, Iraq -- Trooping past bodies and abandoned weapons, U.S. marines blasted their way through walls and hammered open doors Friday in the hunt for insurgents in Fallujah. On the Muslim holy day, no calls to prayer were heard in a town dubbed "the city of mosques."

As the main offensive pushed into the southern part of the city, marines scoured a northern district looking for fighters hiding behind the front line.

"What we're doing now is killing any that snuck in behind us or we might have missed earlier. And blowing up weapons caches," said 2nd Lieut. Adrian Pirvu, 22, of Dearborn, Mich., leading a patrol from the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment.

Explosions began rocking Fallujah at dawn and U.S. warplanes swooped out of the sky to blast targets with machine-gun fire. Howitzer and mortar shells slammed into the city, flinging chunks of shrapnel hundreds of metres.

"Damn, flying Harleys!" one of the marines quipped as one piece of steel whirred overhead.

Heavy gunfire could be heard across the city of low, yellow-brick buildings silhouetted by tall minarets from mosques. The few civilians in the streets were outnumbered by dogs and cats skittish from the sounds of combat.

Avoiding narrow alleys that can be turned into deathtraps by guerrillas, the marines moved through the neighbourhood using plastic explosives and blasting cord to knock down doors and tear open walls connecting darkened homes. They also leaped from roof to roof, carrying a sledgehammer to break open locked, metal doors leading down into buildings.

In one house, they found two bodies in a room scattered with AK-47 assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenade launchers. The two men apparently died in combat earlier in the week when the U.S. offensive pushed through.

"The terrorists, they deserve it," said Lance Cpl. Freddy Ramosavila, 22, of Commerce City, Colo. "Better them than me. They're killing us, too."

Marines said the fight had been easier and faster than they expected.

Officers estimated between 1,000 and 5,000 fighters were holed up in Fallujah when the attack began early Monday after a heavy artillery bombardment that collapsed some buildings and spattered shrapnel into others.

"I don't know if they ran, but you can see all the weapons on the ground," Cpl. Jeremy Mueller said, referring to the ammunition boxes, body armour, grenades and rifles lying in doorways on many streets.

"I guess they're pulling back into the centre of the city, where they must have stockpiles. But they won't carry their guns, because they know if we see them, we'll shoot them," said the 23-year-old from Steelville, Ill.

As they moved from building to building, the marines checked through cupboards and drawers, looking for weapons and ammunition, but more often coming across the mundane of daily life, including family photos and prayer beads.

Early Friday, a group of eight Iraqi civilians waved a green flag of surrender at the patrol, which herded the group together for transfer off the battlefield.

"We're not animals. When we come across innocents, we try to hook them up," said Pirvu, the commander.

They also captured a man in a white dishdasha robe who they said shot at them the previous evening.

Although U.S. commanders have warned that capturing Fallujah won't immediately break the resistance, they hope stepped-up offensives against insurgents will spread security and increase the chances for successful elections planned for January.

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'Catastrophic conditions' in Falluja
Saturday 13 November 2004, 15:08 Makka Time, 12:08 GMT

The six-day US-led assault on Falluja has turned catastrophic for civilians there and fuelled fighting in Iraq's northern city of Mosul.

"Conditions in Falluja are catastrophic," said Firdus al-Abadi, spokeswoman for the Iraqi Red Crescent in Baghdad.

A four-truck convoy of relief supplies left Baghdad for Falluja, even though the US military and Iraq's interim government have not accepted the Red Crescent's pleas for permission to enter the urban war zone.

Dangerous destination

"Our destination is Falluja. We know it is risky but this is our duty as a humanitarian society and as Iraqis," she said.

The trucks were carrying food, blankets, first-aid kits, medicine and a water purification unit from the Red Crescent, the International Committee of the Red Cross and Unicef.

"We've had no contact with the Americans," said Jamal al-Karbouli, the doctor in charge of the convoy. The trucks would drive until troops stopped them, he said.

"Then we'll try to talk to them, let them search the trucks to see we only have medicine, food and first-aid," he said as the convoy began its eastward 50km drive to Falluja.

Fierce fighting

Fadhil Badran, Aljazeera correspondent in Falluja reported that fighting was fierce and continuous in Falluja's south-eastern neighbourhood al-Shuhadaa and in the al-Julan on the north-west.

Day sometimes turns night-like due to the intense smoke from the burning of homes, shops and factories as also from the burning of US military vehicles, Badran said.

US forces have moved from the middle to the north of the city, he reported. The north and west are still controlled by the Iraqi resistance, Badran said, adding that large numbers of fighters were in the Senaee and Askari neighbourhoods.

Describing the conditions for civilians as very hard, Badran reported that US air strikes had killed several families. Women, children and patients have been buried in their gardens, he said."

"I met a Falluja civilian who told me that he asked the Red Crescent for help but they could not oblige. He said he had buried two of his children and that too would die today and hence he did not need any assistance," Badran reported.

Resentment

Meanwhile, the attack on Falluja has inflamed resentment across central Iraq, where anti-US fighters have launched a wave of attacks and bombings.

Iraqi national guardsmen based near the Syrian border were ordered to move to Mosul where the fighters have taken over streets and police stations since Wednesday.

On Saturday, looters rampaged through a palace that had been used as a US base in Mosul after troops apparently left at dawn.

Cars and trucks packed with people swarmed to the palace, where they were seen making off with food, equipment and clothes, even a mattress, a reporter at the scene in northern Mosul said.

Air strikes

The government fired Mosul's police chief after nine police stations fell into the hands of fighters. Residents said armed men roamed the streets on Saturday, with no sign of security forces.

The US military denied on Friday that Mosul was out of control, but said it had launched air strikes on Thursday night to try to curb fighters.

The United States said the Falluja offensive launched by 10,000 US and 2000 Iraqi troops on Monday would not stop until all resistance in the city had been wiped out.

Aljazeera regret

In New York, the Committee to Protect Journalists said it was deeply disturbed by a new directive from Iraqi authorities warning media to stick to the government line on Falluja.

"It damages the government's credibility in establishing a
free and democratic society," CPJ director Ann Cooper said.

Aljazeera has meanwhile apologised to its viewers for being unable to cover the Iraqi events directly due to the closure of its offices by the Iraqi interim government three months back.

AMS member held

Meanwhile, Iraqi national guards force arrested Mustafa al-Dulaimi, a member of Iraq's influential Muslim body, Association of Muslim Scholars, after raiding his home in Baghdad.

Eyewitnesses confirmed that he was beaten fiercely by some guards.

Al-Dulaimi had recently led a demonstration in front of Abu Haneefa mosque to condemn the US and Iraqi forces attacks on al-Felluja.

Comment: The "Iraqi" forces fighting with the US soldiers in Mosul are Kurds. Mosul is a city of Sunni Muslims. Such incidents will not be forgotten and may be a deliberate strategy by the NeoCons to foment civil war in Iraq.

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Iraqi gov't warns media about coverage
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Thursday, November 11, 2004

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- The Iraqi government warned news organizations Thursday to distinguish between insurgents and ordinary civilians in coverage of the fighting in Fallujah and to promote the leadership's position or face unspecified action.

The warning came in a statement sent to news organizations by Iraq's Media High Commission, which cited the 60-day state of emergency declared Sunday on the eve of the offensive in Fallujah.

"You must be precise and objective in handling news and information," the statement said.

It stressed the necessity of differentiating between "innocent citizens of Fallujah who are not targeted by the military operations and between the terrorist groups who infiltrated the city and took its people hostage under the pretext of resistance and jihad."

It also told news organizations to tell their correspondents "to be credible and precise" and not to "add patriotic descriptions to groups of killers and criminals."

Finally, the commission told news organizations to provide space to explain "the government position, expressing the ambition of most of the Iraqi people" and underscore that "these military operations did not come about until all peaceful means were attempted" to avoid violence.

It said that failure to follow the instructions will require authorities to "take all necessary measures to safeguard the supreme interest of the homeland." The statement did not provide further details.

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Eyewitness: Smoke and corpses

Thursday, 11 November, 2004

US troops, backed by Iraqi forces, are locked in a fierce fight to wrest the city of Falluja from rebel control. The BBC News website spoke by phone to Fadhil Badrani, an Iraqi journalist and resident of Falluja who reports regularly for Reuters and the BBC World Service in Arabic.

We are publishing his and other eyewitness accounts from the city in order to provide the fullest possible range of perspectives from those who are there:

"A row of palm trees used to run along the street outside my house - now only the trunks are left.

The upper half of each tree has vanished, blown away by mortar fire.

From my window, I can also make out that the minarets of several mosques have been toppled.

There are more and more dead bodies on the streets and the stench is unbearable.

Smoke is everywhere.

Sleeping through bombardment

A house some doors from mine was hit during the bombardment on Wednesday night. A 13-year-old boy was killed. His name was Ghazi.

I tried to flee the city last night but I could not get very far. It was too dangerous.

I am getting used to the bombardment. I have learnt to sleep through the noise - the smaller bombs no longer bother me.

Without water and electricity, we feel completely cut off from everyone else.

I only found out Yasser Arafat had died because the BBC rang me.

It is hard to know how much people outside Falluja are aware of what is going on here.

I want them to know about conditions inside this city - there are dead women and children lying on the streets.

People are getting weaker from hunger. Many are dying from their injuries because there is no medical help left in the city whatsoever.

Some families have started burying their dead in their gardens.

Iraqi soldiers

There has been a lot of resistance in Jolan.

The Americans have taken over several high-rise buildings overlooking the district.

But the height has not helped them control the area because the streets of Jolan are very narrow and you cannot fire into them directly.

The US military moves along the main roads and avoids the side-streets. The soldiers do not leave their armoured vehicles and tanks.

If they get fired on, they fire back from their tanks or call in air-strikes.

I saw some Iraqi government soldiers on the ground earlier.

I don't know which part of the country these soldiers are from. They are definitely not from any of the western provinces such as al-Anbar.

I have heard people say they are from Kurdistan.

They are well co-ordinated. When the US forces pull back from an area, the Iraqi soldiers will take over there."

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Dutch Troops to Withdraw from Iraq
12 November 2004, Friday

The Netherlands will pull out its troops from Iraq on March 15, sticking with a decision first made in June.

Dutch news agency ANP cited Defense Minister Henk Kamp on Friday as saying that the country's 1,350-contingent will leave the US-led multinational contingent.

The Netherlands first sent troops to Iraq in August 2003 and won parliamentary approval this summer to extend their stay until March 2005.

Iraq's interim administration wants to hold elections in January despite mounting violence, and the Netherlands has come under increasing US and British pressure to keep its troops there after March.

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UK soldiers' killer may be European

By Tom Newton Dunn at Camp Dogwood
(Filed: 09/11/2004)

A suicide bomber who killed three Black Watch soldiers was white, suggesting British troops are being targeted by European terrorists.

The bomber's face was seen by surviving troops as he drove up to a road block seconds before the blast. His features have allowed Army commanders to rule him out as an Arab.

A senior military source in Iraq said: "The bomber was Caucasian. That means he could be from anywhere between Bosnia to Birmingham. We don't know any more because there wasn't much left of him.

"But it confirms our fears that the Black Watch are now up against foreign terrorists."

The killer and the second suicide bomber who left two more British soldiers seriously injured on Sunday both attacked with a calm grin on their faces.

Their relaxed manner and broad smile seconds before they struck fooled troops into thinking that they meant no harm.

The senior source added: How they could commit such a cold-blooded act in that manner is very hard to comprehend."

The two corporals - both bomb disposal experts - blown up on Sunday only escaped death because they were standing behind an armoured door. Most of the blast was absorbed by the open door of a Warrior fighting vehicle but the full force hit them below the knees.

One had his legs blown off and the other suffered serious lower limb injuries.

The men, part of the 850-strong battle group at Camp Dogwood, 20 miles south of Baghdad, were put on an emergency flight from Baghdad to a US military hospital in Germany yesterday for specialist treatment.

A video by one of the bomber's conspirators was released yesterday on the website "The al Qa'eda Group in the Land of Two Rivers".

Entitled "First martyr operation against British forces in Baghdad", it shows a sports utility vehicle being driven along a desert road.

It then explodes and military vehicles and a helicopter are shown at the site "evacuating the dead and wounded", according to a voice-over on the tape.

The terrorists then plumb new depths when one is seen repeatedly stamping on part of an arm. The voice on the tape described the arm as part of the "remains" of the British soldiers.

As religious chanting is heard in the background, the voice adds: "Crush them. Do not respect neither truce nor peace."

This pooled dispatch was compiled under Ministry of Defence reporting restrictions.

Comment: In all likelihood the Mossad and the CIA are employing many of the foreign mercenaries they have recruited over the years to attack American troops and new Iraqi policemen and civilians. Why? Because from the point of view of the current administration war is the best way to maintain power. When the US is "at war" all sorts of infringements of civil liberties and measures can be taken to tighten their grip on the reins of power. The phony "war on terror" also benefits greatly from Iraq's continued "war-torn" status. "Terrorists" are everywhere, don't ya know? They may even be operating from other countries like Iran or Syria, just give the CIA a little time to trump up the evidence...

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Terror Threat Said to Be Still Significant
By KATHERINE PFLEGER SHRADER, Associated Press Writer
Sat Nov 13, 3:27 AM ET

WASHINGTON - Government counterterror experts say the threat of an attack by al-Qaida remains a significant concern, perhaps even this year, although the nation safely passed the benchmark of the Nov. 2 election.

The Homeland Security Department this week lowered the terror alert for the financial sector in New York, Washington and northern New Jersey that was in place for three months. But authorities still caution the possibility of an attack is just as high as it was a month ago.

"The whole notion taking a deep breath and saying, 'Wow, we got past this and now we are OK for a while' is a ... very dangerous train of thought," Homeland Security Deputy Secretary James Loy told reporters in a conference call Wednesday.

Since April, U.S. authorities have warned of an increased risk of attack to disrupt democracy, often pointing to the now-passed elections. But they remain concerned about the upcoming holidays, the Jan. 20 presidential inauguration and beyond. Loy said the time period does not have a termination date.

He said a relaxed posture for financial institutions — from code orange, or heightened, to code yellow, or elevated — came because government and private-sector officials had run drills, improved security and taken other measures to "harden" the potential targets. The passing of the election, too, was on the minds of authorities.

Now, counterterrorism officials are analyzing why al-Qaida may not have attacked and what may be ahead.

Comment: "Al-Qaeda" didn't attack because "Al-Qaeda" knew that they didn't need another attack to keep Bush in the White House. The lies are simply too deep and too precious for too many Americans.

Among other efforts, experts in and out of government have been combing through two tapes released by al-Qaida in the two weeks before the election — first by a man calling himself "Azzam the American" and another by Osama bin Laden, leader of the terrorist group.

In a recent analysis, Ben Venzke, president of the private IntelCenter and a consultant to government counterterrorism agencies, said three bin Laden videos directly addressing Americans — in October of 2002, 2003 and 2004 — were followed between one and 53 days by attacks. Venzke said he didn't know why the videos come annually in October.

None of the attacks was in the continental United States. Al-Qaida attacked a French oil tanker off the coast of Yemen and a Saudi housing complex in Riyadh after the 2002 and 2003 videos, respectively.

However, Venzke said he was particularly concerned about an attack directly against U.S. interests now because the new tapes represent "the most significant effort by al-Qaida to address the American people in the last couple years." [...]

Comment: Now that the election has passed, the Bush administration can really get down to business with the "American Al-Qaeda" issue ...

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Ashcroft says judges threaten national security by questioning Bush decisions
The Associated Press
Nov. 12, 2004

WASHINGTON - Federal judges are jeopardizing national security by issuing rulings contradictory to President Bush's decisions on America's obligations under international treaties and agreements, Attorney General John Ashcroft said Friday.

In his first remarks since his resignation was announced Tuesday, Ashcroft forcefully denounced what he called "a profoundly disturbing trend" among some judges to interfere in the president's constitutional authority to make decisions during war.

"The danger I see here is that intrusive judicial oversight and second-guessing of presidential determinations in these critical areas can put at risk the very security of our nation in a time of war," Ashcroft said in a speech to the Federalist Society, a conservative lawyers' group.

Comment: In other words, the danger here is that a few judges have dared to second-guess the psychopathic fuhrer, and that's just not gonna fly...

The Justice Department announced this week it would seek to overturn a ruling by U.S. District Judge James Robertson in the case of Salim Ahmed Hamdan, who the government contends was Osama bin Laden's driver.

Robertson halted Hamdan's trial by military commission in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, rejecting the Bush administration's position that the Geneva Conventions governing prisoners of war do not apply to al-Qaida members because they are not soldiers of a true state and do not fight by international norms.

Without mentioning that case specifically, Ashcroft criticized rulings he said found "expansive private rights in treaties where they never existed" that run counter to the broad discretionary powers given the president by the Constitution.

"Courts are not equipped to execute the law. They are not accountable to the people," Ashcroft said.

Comment: Courts are not equipped to execute the law... Huh?! The next step is to appoint judges who agree with everything Bush says. After that, heck! Why bother with a court system?

During his successful re-election campaign, Bush repeatedly promised to appoint judges who would adhere to strict interpretations of the Constitution. In addition to numerous lower courts, Bush is likely to appoint at least one and perhaps several justices to the Supreme Court during the next four years.

The administration lost a crucial legal battle this year when a divided Supreme Court determined the president lacks the authority to hold terror suspects classified as enemy combatants indefinitely with no access to lawyers or the ability to challenge their detention.

Ashcroft intends to remain as attorney general until his nominated successor, Alberto Gonzales, is confirmed by the Senate.

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Deputy Chief Resigns From CIA

Agency Is Said to Be in Turmoil Under New Director Goss

By Dana Priest and Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, November 13, 2004; Page A01

The deputy director of the CIA resigned yesterday after a series of confrontations over the past week between senior operations officials and CIA Director Porter J. Goss's new chief of staff that have left the agency in turmoil, according to several current and former CIA officials.

John E. McLaughlin, a 32-year CIA veteran who was acting director for two months this summer until Goss took over, resigned after warning Goss that his top aide, former Capitol Hill staff member Patrick Murray, was treating senior officials disrespectfully and risked widespread resignations, the officials said.

Yesterday, the agency official who oversees foreign operations, Deputy Director of Operations Stephen R. Kappes, tendered his resignation after a confrontation with Murray. Goss and the White House pleaded with Kappes to reconsider and he agreed to delay his decision until Monday, the officials said.

Several other senior clandestine service officers are threatening to leave, current and former agency officials said.

The disruption comes as the CIA is trying to stay abreast of a worldwide terrorist threat from al Qaeda, a growing insurgency in Iraq, the return of the Taliban in Afghanistan and congressional proposals to reorganize the intelligence agencies. The agency also has been criticized for not preventing the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and not accurately assessing Saddam Hussein's ability to produce weapons of mass destruction.

"It's the worst roiling I've ever heard of," said one former senior official with knowledge of the events. "There's confusion throughout the ranks and an extraordinary loss of morale and incentive."

Current and retired senior managers have criticized Goss, former chairman of the House intelligence committee, for not interacting with senior managers and for giving Murray too much authority over day-to-day operations. Murray was Goss's chief of staff on the intelligence committee.

Transitions between CIA directors are often unsettling for career officers. Goss's arrival has been especially tense because he brought with him four former members of the intelligence committee known widely on the Hill and within the agency for their abrasive management style and for their criticism of the agency's clandestine services in a committee report.

Three are former mid-level CIA officials who left the agency disgruntled, according to former colleagues. The fourth, Murray, who also worked at the Justice Department, has a reputation for being highly partisan. When senior managers have gone to Goss to complain about his staff actions, one CIA officer said, Goss has told them: "Talk to my chief of staff. I don't do personnel."

The overall effect, said one former senior CIA official, who has kept up his contacts in the Directorate of Operations, "is that Goss doesn't seem engaged at all."

If other senior clandestine officers leave, said one former officer who maintains contacts within the Langley headquarters, "the middle-level people who move up may eventually work out, but meanwhile the level of experience and competence will go down."

The CIA declined to comment on the issues raised by the current and former officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. A CIA spokesman said McLaughlin's retirement "was a long-planned personal decision taken at a natural transition point in the administration and not connected to any other factors."

McLaughlin issued a statement that said: "I have come to the purely personal decision that it is time to move on to other endeavors."

Goss, too, issued a statement, which applauded McLaughlin's "outstanding service."

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School Talent Show Draws Secret Service
Colorado Band Singing Dylan Song Seen as Threatening President Bush
ABC News

Parents and students say they are outraged and offended by a proposed band name and song scheduled for a high school talent show in Boulder this evening, but members of the band, named Coalition of the Willing, said the whole thing is being blown out of proportion.

The students told ABC News affiliate KMGH-TV in Denver they are performing Bob Dylan's song "Masters of War" during the Boulder High School Talent Exposé because they are Dylan fans. They said they want to express their views and show off their musical abilities.

But some students and adults who heard the band rehearse called a radio talk show Thursday morning, saying the song the band sang ended with a call for President Bush to die.

Threatening the president is a federal crime, so the Secret Service was called to the school to investigate.

Students in the band said they're just singing the lyrics and not inciting anyone to do anything.

The 1963 song ends with the lyrics: "You might say that I'm young. You might say I'm unlearned, but there's one thing I know, though I'm younger than you, even Jesus would never forgive what you do ... And I hope that you die and your death'll come soon. I will follow your casket in the pale afternoon. And I'll watch while you're lowered down to your deathbed. And I'll stand o'er your grave 'til I'm sure that you're dead."

'We Were Just Singing'

The students told KMGH they never threatened the president and never changed the lyrics to the song.

"It's just Bob Dylan's song. We were just singing Bob Dylan's song ... If you think it has to do with Bush that's because you're drawing your own conclusions. We never conveyed that Bush was the person we were talking about," said Allysse Wojtanek-Watson, a singer for the band.

"She never said anything about killing Bush ... It's crazy, it's chaos. We have nothing in there it says about killing Bush," band leader Forest Engstrom told KMGH.

The principal of the school said he stands behind the students.

"Never was it rehearsed or auditioned with a change of lyrics. I want to be very clear about that," Boulder principal Ron Cabrera said.

Cabrera said Secret Service agents questioned him for 20 minutes and took a copy of the lyrics. They did not ask to speak to any of the students but they did question a teacher who had supervised a student protest that was held at the school last weekend.

Despite the controversy, the Boulder School District said it will allow the students to perform this evening.

"Boulder High School has expectations for the appropriateness of talent show acts and those expectations are communicated to the performers. Over the course of the rehearsals, the faculty has worked with the performers to create a show that falls within those expectations. School staff have monitored the performance and spoken with the students and are satisfied that the performance is simply student expression and not a threat against anyone," Boulder Schools spokeswoman Susan Cousins said in a statement.

During the rehearsals for the show, teachers Jim Vacca and Jim Kavanaugh played backup in the band at the students' request but the teachers decided not to perform this evening because they don't want to detract from the students' performance, Cousins said.

The band had at one point considered calling itself The TaliBand, but the students decided against it after discussing with Vacca whether the name would be offensive to some people, she said.

Promoting a 'Leftist View?'

Vacca praised a group of 70 students after they camped out overnight in the school library last week to protest the results of the presidential election and to announce their worries about the direction of the country. The students wanted to meet with Colorado's political leaders to get assurances that they were being heard.

The students said they worried about war, a return of the draft and the future of the environment after the election in which they could not participate.

"In an age where narcissistic college students riot in an inarticulate drunken stupor, you have students here at Boulder High School, principled, thoughtful and yet scared of four more years of pre-emptive war, the Patriot Act and an increase in militarism at school through the No Child Left Behind Act," Vacca had said. But other people said they are upset students and teachers are allowed to put on such a performance, and some say the high school students are being manipulated by the adults.

"These kids are being used to promote an extreme leftist point of view on the taxpayers' dime," Boulder resident James Lemons told KMGH.

He said other students who saw the tryouts and were upset by the presentation discussed it with their parents but are afraid of speaking up because of the political environment within the school and in Boulder, considered the most liberal city in Colorado.

The principal said Lemons' accusations and allegations are untrue and unfounded.

"I feel that the school and these students have been accused without being able to confront their accusers," Cabrera said, adding that no student or parent had talked to him about the allegations. "Why would someone do that?"

Comment: Oh, those damn liberals, again. Opening their mouths and expressing dissenting opinions. That makes reactionaries uncomfortable, and, heaven forbid, that the reactionaries feel uncomfortable! When that happens, the police get called in.

As Bush said, he's going to reach out to everyone who shares his goals!

For the record, here are the lyrics to Dylan's song.

Master of War, Bob Dylan

Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build the big bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks

You that never done nothin'
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it's your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly

Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain

You fasten the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you set back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion
As young people's blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud

You've thrown the worst fear
That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring children
Into the world
For threatening my baby
Unborn and unnamed
You ain't worth the blood
That runs in your veins

How much do I know
To talk out of turn
You might say that I'm young
You might say I'm unlearned
But there's one thing I know
Though I'm younger than you
Even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do

Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul

And I hope that you die
And your death'll come soon
I will follow your casket
In the pale afternoon
And I'll watch while you're lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I'll stand o'er your grave
'Til I'm sure that you're dead

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The Accidental Terrorist

By Phillip Carter
Tuesday Oct. 19, 2004

The burgeoning new legal category of "enemy combatant lite."

Last Monday, the U.S. Defense Department spit out Yaser Esam Hamdi like a piece of bad meatloaf—deporting him to Saudi Arabia with the agreement that he renounce his U.S. citizenship and never visit or harass the United States again. Now back in Saudi Arabia, Hamdi says he was innocent all along. Following a serious smackdown from the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2004—which ruled that he could not be held without some measure of due process—neither the Defense Department nor the Justice Department could digest the hard, chewy lump that was Hamdi any longer. After nearly three years of detention and interrogation in the Tower of Charleston, err...the Charleston, S.C., naval brig, Hamdi was sent packing.

One of the chief arguments advanced by Hamdi's supporters was that if the administration could do this to American citizen Hamdi, it could do the same to you. Yet, despite the Draconian implications of Hamdi's case, most Americans have little reason to fear this kind of treatment. After all, Hamdi was captured on an Afghan battlefield by U.S. forces and their allies engaged in active combat. Despite the best efforts of the U.S. Agency for International Development and others, Afghanistan has not yet developed a booming tourist business (although the jihad business remains quite brisk), so few Americans actually risk a fate like Hamdi's. However, lots of Americans face another fate, perhaps best dubbed "enemy combatant lite"—a status that involves more punishment and less process than the regular criminal justice system—via other Justice Department initiatives that affect the activities of millions of Americans.

This dragnet has affected significant numbers of recent immigrants and foreign visitors to this country, all of whom face a substantially tougher immigration-enforcement regime since Sept. 11, regardless of whether they are connected to terrorism or from a country that sponsors terrorism. It may also affect the millions of Americans who give money to charity or support any number of political causes, because of the aggressive way the government has enforced the law outlawing material support to foreign terrorist organizations.

Despite the popular myth about how the United States has welcomed the world's huddled masses to its shores, U.S. immigration law has long given foreigners a cold shoulder. Our immigration policies have long reflected American ambivalence about its role in the world, its responsibilities to refugees, and its recognition of hardship in other countries. Perhaps the most notable instance of this was during the Holocaust of World War II, when the United States refused entry to thousands of mostly Jewish refugees from Europe seeking to escape Nazi tyranny.

One would think we would have gotten smarter about the use of such laws since then. [...] In fact, if policymakers had consciously tried to invent a system more capable of alienating immigrants and citizens of Middle Eastern descent, it's hard to imagine they could have done so.

Only two U.S. citizens—Hamdi and alleged "dirty bomber" Jose Padilla—have received the full "enemy combatant" treatment wherein they are locked up indefinitely without access to courts, lawyers, or charges. But thousands more have been detained as something just short of enemy combatants, on technical violations of immigration regulations once enforced with the laxity of traffic rules. There are now 11.4 million legal permanent residents in the United States living in perpetual fear that their status may be in jeopardy next. The government may not be shackling these folks and shipping them off to Gitmo, but it is threatening their liberty nonetheless.

The second category of "enemy combatant lite" comes in the form of criminal prosecutions by the Justice Department for providing material support to terrorists or foreign terrorist organizations. One of the more important parts of the 2001 USA Patriot Act enlarged the definition of "material support" to include additional forms of activity such as "expert advice and assistance." Here, there have been only a handful of charges brought thus far, both because it appears there aren't that many active terrorist supporters in the United States and because the government has used other means (like immigration regulations) to target people who might otherwise qualify for prosecution under these criminal laws. Unfortunately, the problem doesn't stop there. The Justice Department has signaled in the material-support cases it has brought that it intends to interpret this law quite broadly and in such a way that could threaten millions of Americans' otherwise lawful political and social activities.

[...] But prosecutions for material support can go too far, too—to the point where they infringe on speech and political activism that would otherwise be constitutionally protected. The definition of material support—which uses terms like "expert advice and assistance" and "training" to describe activities that are verboten—is itself too vague, at least according to one appellate court that looked at the law recently. [...]

If the Justice Department continues down this road, it may not be long before even more tangential forms of support qualify for prosecution. Certain forms of speech may well facilitate crime—as Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote in his Gitlow v. New York dissent many years ago, "every idea is an incitement"—and those forms of speech may eventually become ripe for prosecution. The material-support law is new enough, and relatively untested before appellate courts, that we really don't know where this slippery slope of enforcement will lead to. [...]

Thanks to Hamdi and his lawyers, Americans probably don't have to worry about being locked up indefinitely in brigs as enemies of the state. But if you run a Web site or raise money for any of the causes the Justice Department finds questionable, you may want to give Mr. al-Hussayen in Idaho a phone call: He'd warn you that folks like you really might be next.

Phillip Carter is a former U.S. Army officer who now writes on legal and military affairs in Los Angeles.

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Gov't Orders Air Passenger Data for Test
Fri, Nov. 12, 2004
LESLIE MILLER
Associated Press

WASHINGTON - The government ordered U.S. airlines Friday to turn over personal information about passengers so it can test a system for identifying potential terrorists. The move was expected but nonetheless brought protests from civil libertarians worried about invasions of privacy.

Under the system, called "Secure Flight," the Transportation Security Administration will compare passenger data with names on two government watch lists: a "no-fly" list comprises known or suspected terrorists, and a "watch" list names people who should face tighter scrutiny before boarding planes.

"Secure Flight represents a significant step in securing domestic air travel and safeguarding national security information, namely, the watchlists," the TSA said in a notice announcing the order.

The TSA order gives 72 airlines until Nov. 23 to turn over computerized data for passengers who traveled on domestic flights during June.

The data - known as passenger name records, or PNR - can include credit card numbers, travel itineraries, addresses, telephone numbers and meal requests. The latter can indicate a passenger's religion or ethnicity.

Barry Steinhardt, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer, said a major problem is the lists include the names of many people who are not security risks.

Among those subjected to extra scrutiny in recent months was Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass. The singer formerly known as Cat Stevens, now Yusuf Islam, is trying to get off the no-fly list after he was removed from a London-to-Washington flight because the list said he had links to terrorists.

The lists are "a hodgepodge of information, accurate and inaccurate," Steinhardt said. "They're the basement of the program, and the floor is rotten." [...]

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Taser use on boy, 6, brings outcry
BY SUSANNAH A. NESMITH
Fri, Nov. 12, 2004

Miami-Dade police shocked a 6-year-old boy with a 50,000-volt stun gun to keep him from hurting himself with a piece of glass he was waving around in a school office, officials confirmed Thursday.

Police say they followed their Taser guidelines, the child wasn't injured by the shock and he might have hurt himself seriously if they hadn't shocked him.

But the incident, which occurred Oct. 20 at Kelsey Pharr Elementary in Brownsville, has child advocates and experts shaking their heads in disbelief.

''It just sounds excessive to me to Taser gun a 6-year-old when everyone else around there were adults,'' said retired Broward County Juvenile Judge Frank Orlando, who runs a youth-law clinic at Nova Southeastern University. "They couldn't subdue a 6-year-old? Must have been a pretty big kid.''

Police Director Bobby Parker said his department is reviewing the incident, but he defended the officer's decision to use the stun gun.

''We know the child was not harmed other than the little tiny probe pricks you get with the Taser,'' Parker said. 'What we do not know is if the child would or would not have subsequently cut his vein. Had the child cut his vein and the officer had not Tasered the child, somebody would be saying, `Well, you had the Taser. Why didn't you Taser the child?' '' [...]

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Probe of police sought in stun gun use on teen
Posted on Fri, Nov. 12, 2004
By Lisa Fernandez
Mercury News

Twin brothers, one of whom was shot in the back by Fremont police with a Taser X26, have requested an internal investigation to determine whether excessive force was used during a melee at a community park last Friday.

The twins, Farzan and Kayhan Sharifzada, both 17 and seniors at Mission San Jose High School, want an apology.

"Police, not all of them, but some of them, are getting out of hand in this country,'' said their mother, Ateefa Sharifzada. "They are using the Tasers, not as a tool, but as a toy.'' [...]

At issue in Fremont is whether the twins were complying with an officer's request last Friday to leave the scene of a large fight at Old Mission Park. The twins contend they were not part of the melee, showing up only by coincidence.

Fremont police spokesman Bill Veteran outlined the course of events as described to him by fellow officers. He did not identify the twins by name because they are minors. However, the Sharifzada family agreed to let the Mercury News print their names. The following is an account of their versions of what happened on the night in question. Officer Adam Carpenter asked Farzan three times to turn off the car engine before the teen finally did. But Carpenter said Farzan wouldn't turn off his engine.

Carpenter said he went for Farzan's throat only after the teen grabbed Carpenter's hands as the officer reached inside the car to turn the ignition off.

Farzan countered that his hands brushed against the officer's just as he was attempting to turn off his Honda's engine, and that's when Carpenter punched him in the mouth. He admits he spit and swore at the officer after this encounter.

Two other officers shot Farzan with a Taser -- three darts landing in his back. They say he was resisting being handcuffed. Farzan contends that he has a bad back and was jerking away in pain as an officer aggressively twisted his arm behind his back.

Sharifzada said her boys are good sons who don't drink or do drugs, and have cared for her since she fell and broke her neck last year. Their extended family emigrated from Afghanistan in the 1980s and live in an apartment complex they own together.

The Mercury News reviewed on Thursday handwritten statements from 13 students who witnessed the fight and corroborate the twins' story. Sharifzada plans to present the statements in juvenile court, where her sons will appear to face misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest. [...]

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More than the usual summit rhetoric?
By Andrew Marr
BBC News political editor
In the end, there was probably only one word that really mattered at the rain-swept Blair-Bush Washington summit: that word was "capital".

The immensely powerful, unconstrained re-elected US President promised over the next four years to "spend the capital of the United States" trying to create a free and democratic Palestinian state.

If he means it, that is a formidable promise.

But it depends on the Palestinian elections producing a new leadership that is committed to the "road map" solution of two states, Israel and Palestine, and is not dominated by the more extreme groups now jockeying for position in the post-Arafat Palestine; and is utterly committed to extirpating terrorism.

Blair and Bush have agreed to push all the help they can to securing successful Palestinian elections, with the Israelis standing back, and international assistance with monitoring and peacekeeping.

Then, the two men agreed, the limited Israeli pull-out from Gaza and from some West Bank settlements had to be made fully effective. It was essential not to leave behind anarchy or chaos.

President Bush told Tony Blair privately he believed Israel's Ariel Sharon would go far further if that happened, creating the tantalising possibility of a final settlement to one of the world's most dangerous conflicts.

Just words?

But was this mere summit rhetoric? Is there any, faint, reason for hope this time, after so many dashed hopes, bloody failures and broken deals over past decades?

Mr Blair and his officials hope the coincidence of Yasser Arafat's death and President Bush's re-election, making him look forward to his eventual legacy, gives momentum and movement at last.

Mr Bush's "capital", after all, is immense.

But just as striking was the way both leaders emphasised their central mission - nothing less than the spreading of democracy around the trouble spots and most dangerous regions of the world.

Whether or not this is a doctrine which has been created retrospectively to account for the Iraq war, both seemed to be using near-identical language.

What appears to be emerging from this unusually private summit - the two men were together without anyone else for two hours, and spent several more with just a small team of close advisers - could be called the doctrine of the "new interventionism".

No longer is it acceptable to deal with dictators or hardline regimes, so long as they don't directly threaten the West: in future they have to be confronted and democracy has to be spread by any means possible.

It is a strange marriage between the old internationalist instincts of part of the liberal left and the so-called neo-conservatives of George Bush's America.

This is, quite clearly, a restless, hugely ambitious and no doubt at times perilous world view.

But listening to the self-certain words and observing the body language it was quite clear - both men mean this.

Comment: Watch out. The inmates have gained control of the asylum.

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The Dollar Sinks Across the Board
By Gertrude Chavez
Reuters
Fri Nov 12, 6:41 PM ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The dollar sank across the board on Friday as dealers shrugged off robust U.S. economic data and kept their focus on the currency's shaky fundamentals.

Given a burgeoning U.S. current account deficit -- broadly a measure of the country's global trade, analysts say it is difficult not to bet against the greenback.

"The current account deficit is the mantra being chanted by dollar bears who are finding inner peace shorting the buck," said Andrew Busch, global FX strategist, at BMO Nesbitt Burns in Chicago.

"However, six days of the same wide ranges is providing plenty of negative karma and doubt. It doesn't end today," he added.

The dollar fell further after minutes of the Federal Reserve's policy-setting committee meeting on Sept. 21 expressed concern about the massive U.S. trade gap. [...]

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U.S. Airborne Laser Advances to 'First Light'
By Jim Wolf
Fri Nov 12, 4:30 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Boeing Co.-led team has successfully fired for the first time a powerful laser meant to fly aboard a modified 747 as part of a U.S. ballistic missile defense shield, officials said on Friday.

The test, dubbed "First Light" by insiders, lasted only a fraction of a second but gave the project an important boost at a time it was deemed at risk of cuts or cancellation.

The Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency described the event -- carried out on Wednesday in a 747 fuselage on the ground at Edwards Air Force Base in California -- as a "landmark achievement" for the so-called Airborne Laser system.

"It showed they work," said Kenneth Englade, an agency spokesman, of the laser's six identical, pickup-truck-sized, modules linked to fire as a single unit. "The rest is fine-tuning."

The Chemical Oxygen Iodine laser is built by Northrop Grumman Corp. . It includes breakthrough optics designed to focus a basketball-sized spot of heat on a missile's skin to rupture it up to hundreds of miles away.

Pentagon officials envision several such aircraft flying by turns near North Korea or another potential foe's territory. The goal is to detect, track and destroy a missile when that would be easiest, before it releases a warhead that could be tipped with chemical, nuclear or germ weapons.

Demonstrated progress, particularly in achieving "First Light," would be critical to continuation of the project, negotiators from the House of Representatives and Senate armed services committees said in a report last month accompanying the 2005 Defense Authorization Act.

Congress authorized President Bush's request for $474.3 million for the program in fiscal 2005, which began Oct. 1, as part of the $10 billion budgeted for missile defense development and deployment.

Philip Coyle, the Pentagon's chief weapons tester under former President Bill Clinton and a critic of early missile defense deployment plans, described the test on Wednesday as very important to people working on the program.

"They deserve a lot of credit for having gotten this far," he said in a telephone interview. "But they've still got a long way to go" to demonstrate shoot-down capability.

Among other technical challenges, Coyle said, engineers must figure out ways to fire the laser for the longer time needed to zap a missile without damaging the optics through which the beam passes -- a kind of technical Catch-22.

In coming months, Englade said, engineers hope to boost the duration and power of the laser's beam. It will then be installed on a 747-400F aircraft for a test that includes shooting down a dummy ballistic missile over the Pacific. No date has been set for that test. [...]

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Blair appears to cringe at 'poodle' query
Friday, November 12, 2004
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON -- It was the last question Prime Minister Tony Blair wanted asked, and he seemed to cringe as President Bush answered it.

"The prime minister is sometimes, perhaps unfairly, characterized in Britain as your poodle," began the questioner at a joint appearance by the two leaders Friday at the White House. "I was wondering if that's the way you may see your relationship? And perhaps, more seriously, do you feel for the -"

Blair broke in: "Don't answer 'yes' to that question," he mockingly admonished Bush, prompting laughter.

Joking aside, Bush offered a serious answer.

"Plenty capable of making his own mind. He's a strong, capable man," the president said. "When times get tough he doesn't wilt. You know, when the criticism starts to come his way - I suspect that might be happening on occasion - he stands for what he believes in." An endorsement of his leadership qualities from the American president, no matter how hearty, is of little help to Blair.

A wide section of the British public deeply dislikes Bush, viewing him as a unilateralist. The detention of four Britons without trial at Guantanamo Bay, his refusal to sign the Kyoto global warming protocol, his rejection of an international criminal court, and his invasion of Iraq without a specific green light from the United Nations add to his unpopularity.

Blair's critics are unlikely to be swayed from their conviction that the prime minister doggedly follows U.S. foreign policy without exerting any real influence.

No wonder Blair appeared a bit uncomfortable. Still, he couldn't resist offering a little self-defense.

"As long as I remain prime minister of our country it will carry on being strong - not because that's in the interests of America simply or in the interests of the international community, but because I believe passionately it is in the interest of Britain," Blair said.

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Man Opens Fire at Eiffel Tower; 3 Wounded
AP
Fri Nov 12, 2:18 PM ET

PARIS - A Venezuelan man swiped a policeman's gun while handcuffed and opened fire Friday at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, injuring a police officer and two security guards, officials said.

The man, who is in his 30s, was taken into custody after the incident, which occurred as he was being questioned for attempting to enter a restricted area of the Paris monument, police officials said.

The suspect grabbed the policeman's pistol while his hands were cuffed behind his back, the officials said.

The officer was shot in the arm, and a security guard suffered a bullet wound to the shoulder. A second security guard was grazed by a bullet.

The man was not further identified, and an investigation was underway.

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Noon turns to night as cloud blacks out sun
(China Daily)
Updated: 2004-11-12 08:57

Day turned to night across Shenyang when a freak cloud formation 8,000 metres deep blanketed the northeastern city.

For over half-an-hour noon was as black as midnight. Cars, buses and lorries went someway to breaking up the darkness.

Tremendous lightening flashes accompanied the phenomena, reports the website www.sina.com.cn.

Convergence of two cloud fronts formed the 8,000-metre-thick connective cloud cluster.

With sky and sun effectively blocked out, visibility was reduced to near zero, according to an expert from the provincial capital's meteorological bureau.

The marvellous spectacle was also reported in many other areas of Liaoning Province and lasted for half an hour in some places, he said.

The meteorologist warned that temperatures are likely to plummet in the coming days.

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Imminent heavy snowfall threatens quake-torn Niigata
The Asahi Shimbun
NIIGATA--The specter of a hard winter fast approaching, and with it deep snow drifts, is adding to the anxieties of Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake victims forced to abandon their homes.

The series of quakes Oct. 23 largely ruined the area's vast network of snow-removal devices--including pipes installed under roads to melt snow, which piles up to several meters in places in the heart of winter. These pipes, as well as wide snow gutters, were put in place long ago to combat some of the heaviest snowfall in Japan.

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