Global Game of Survivor: America's Next Four Years
Strike Flash Presentation by a QFS member
Publication! The Wave finally in book form!
Wave: 4 Volume Set
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and extensive previously unpublished details, at long last, Laura Knight-Jadczyk's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
is an exquisitely written first-person account of Laura's initiation at
the hands of the Cassiopaeans and demonstrates the unique nature of the
Volume 1 now. Available at the end of November!
of the Day
Do you support your country even if what it
does is evil?
So what does that make you?
It is truly a devil of a choice. Support American soldiers murdering
innocent civilians throughout Iraq and win the hollow, uneasy applause
of your neighbors?
Or do you secretly root for Iraqi civilians turned revolutionaries
trying the defend their war-wracked country against the murderous
Western invaders ... and risk being arrested for treason?
You've heard the stories, if you've chosen to listen. Here's today's
roundup: Gunmen in American helicopters shooting a family of five
trying to swim across a river while escaping the carnage in Fallujah.
Or killing doctors and nurses who were trying to help those wounded
by indiscriminate American bombing. Or that story of the American
soldier "finishing off" an injured Iraqi man.
These are only the latest of thousands of heartless atrocities
wreaked on a ravaged country by an overwhelming military force that
can only be described as completely insane. Representing a country
that can only be described with the same phrase. The country in
question is yours. Can you deal with that?
What America is doing to Iraq is a thousand times worse than Saddam
Hussein every dreamed about doing to anyone! What America is doing
to Iraq is worse than any dictator, no matter how vilified, has
ever done to any other country!
You've heard the pornographic tales about Abu Ghraib prison. How
does it sit with you that Americans are regarded as sadistic sex
perverts by the rest of the world? Judging by the behavior of American
soldiers, that is what we are.
And what do you do about it? How do you react,
sitting in your easy chair on Sunday watching football? Turn to
your favorite Internet porn site?
Try to ignore all those stories about the election, a trickle turning
into a tidal wave of evidence that shows Bush got more votes than
there were voters in a number of states? But if your thought process
is that evolved, you realize that overturning this recent smelly
election would not solve the problem, because the guy who lost is
just as much a warmonger as the guy who won.
So you go back to your football game, and maybe turn up the volume
a little, just in case you have a little bit of conscience left
and can hear in your mind the distant screams of women and children
being cut to ribbons by American ordnance in Fallujah. And all for
no good reason.
You know, the thing that really gets me about the
American butchery in Iraq is that it is a well-known fact —
doubted by no one — that the reasons uniformed American men
and women are even in Iraq are lies. Well-established lies, proven
many times. No weapons of mass destruction. And no connection to
al-Qaeda (even though al-Qaeda was invented by the CIA as an excuse
to make wars everywhere).
Yet it apparently has occurred to no one with any degree of power
in this warped society of ours that this means all the lives we
have squandered in our War of Lies in Iraq are an absolutely evil
abomination, completely unnecessary, except to maintain the fiction
that the lies about weapons of mass destruction and al-Qaeda somehow
don't really matter, and that we can kill anybody we want at any
There are two ways you can look at this. If you know a little about
real American history, you know we have butchered people all over
the world and clothed the horrific deeds in noble rhetoric so as
not to offend our bloated sense of self-worth. If you know this,
then you are part of the choir I so often preach to.
But if you think America has any remaining shred of decency and
honesty in the way it barges around the world, killing innocent
people with impunity as it goes, then I have to tell you that in
your profound and deliberate ignorance, you are an accessory to
mass murder. By your silence and inaction, you are assisting in
the daily murders of innocent people.
Are you too stupid to make the connection? Waging war on the basis
of lies is mass murder, and you are supporting it. Could it be any
I strongly urge anyone who supports the murderous and evil American
presence in Iraq to instruct their children to immediately go and
start killing their own neighbors, especially if their skin is not
lily white, because this is exactly what the U.S. invasion of Iraq
is telling us to do. We don't need a reason to kill people, unless
it's because they have something that we want.
Since Iraq has something we want — namely oil — it's
OK to kill them. That's what we are teaching
are children. This is no joke. That's what our children are learning.
Just listen to the soldiers in Iraq describe what they are doing.
How they have unleashed their savage hatred against people who
have never done a thing to hurt them.
Oh, don't argue 9/11 to me. Iraqis had nothing to do with 9/11.
That atrocity wasn't carried out by Arabs, it was carried out by
rich white men who pretend to be pious Christians and Jews hiding
behind their billions of dollars.
For Americans, this is the profound lesson of the Iraq war. We
don't need a reason to rob and kill someone anymore. Our religious
president says it's the right thing to do, and has destroyed our
Constitution, as well as our reputation around the world, to prove
And this is the lesson of 9/11. You stage a terror attack to convince
the world we need to fight terror. This is what the Israelis have
done over the last century to the Palestinians.
But it appears that we as a people — the American people
— will never learn this lesson. Or, we will never learn it
in time, anyway.
We have let our world be radically changed by a few evil, rich,
white and soulless businessmen who control the information we receive
and the appartus that governs us, and now we have let 200-plus years
of relative freedom go down the drain simply because these men wanted
to make even more money and sold us on a story that convinced us
we were in danger from a foreign threat, just like they always do,
just like they have always done.
They have changed the character of the world based
on a big lie that we swallowed because we failed to have the courage
to challenge what they said.
And look what happened. This killing will never stop, you know.
The dogs of war have been unleashed. Those American kids who are
doing all that killing in Iraq will bring all the stuff back home,
and give it to us here.
You've heard about the plans, of course, haven't you? The economic
collapse, the concentration camps for debtors and dissenters. Sure,
watch your football game. It can't possibly happen here. Don't let
your mind wander to the Fallujah scenario being transferred to Oakland,
or Ann Arbor, or Houston.
I know, for most of you, it's already too late to change your mind.
The die is cast (and the cast will soon be dead).
Paste that "Support Our Troops" ribbon on the back of
your car. That way the rest of us will know you are cheering for
mass murder because of reasons that are lies.
And when you look in the mirror, don't look directly into your
own eyes. That's what happened to some of our soldiers who came
back from Iraq, you know.
You know. Some of the ones who went down to the cellar and put
a bullet into their temple.
Should your soul suddenly click on after its long period of dormancy,
it could happen to you, you know.
This little snippet of an old song has been playing in my head
these last few days. It reveals how old I am. Crosby, Stills, Nash
& Young. 1970. "Wooden Ships."
Horror grips us as we watch you die.
All we can do is echo your anguished cries.
Stare as all human feelings die.
We are leaving — you don't need us.
America has become a nation of moral cowards and intellectual liars.
Maybe the good people should get out, while they can. A curdled
country like this doesn't deserve to survive.
John Kaminski is a writer who lives on the Gulf Coast of Florida,
and is acutely ashamed, in this rancid day and age, to be an American.
His essays have appeared on hundreds of websites around the world
and have been collected into two anthologies. The latest, titled
"The Perfect Enemy," is available at http://www.johnkaminski.com/
You'd think the one good thing about merging
church and state would be that politics would be suffused with glistening
Christian sentiments like "love thy neighbor," "turn
the other cheek," "good will toward men," "blessed
be the peacemakers" and "judge not lest you be judged."
Yet somehow I'm not getting a peace, charity, tolerance and forgiveness
vibe from the conservatives and evangelicals who claim to have put
their prodigal son back in office.
I'm getting more the feel of a vengeful mob -
revved up by rectitude - running around with torches and hatchets
after heathens and pagans and infidels.
One fiery Southern senator actually accused a nice Catholic columnist
of having horns coming up out of her head!
Bob Jones III, president of the fundamentalist college of the
same name, has written a letter to the president telling him that
"Christ has allowed you to be his servant"
so he could "leave an imprint for righteousness," by appointing
conservative judges and approving legislation "defined by biblical
"In your re-election, God has graciously
granted America - though she doesn't deserve it - a reprieve from
the agenda of paganism," Mr. Jones wrote. "Put
your agenda on the front burner and let it boil. You owe the liberals
nothing. They despise you because they despise your Christ."
The Christian avengers and inquisitors, hearts hard as marble,
are chasing poor 74-year-old Arlen Specter through the Capitol's
marble halls, determined to flagellate him and deny him his cherished
goal of taking over the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Not only are they irate at his fairly innocuous comment after
the election that anti-Roe v. Wade judges would have a hard time
getting through the Senate. They are also full of bloodthirsty feelings
of revenge against the senator for championing stem cell research
and for voting against Robert Bork - who denounces Mr. Specter as
"a bit shifty" - 17 years ago.
"He is a problem, and he must be derailed,"
Dr. James Dobson, founder and chairman of Focus on the Family, told
Sounding more like the head of a mob family
than a ministry, Dr. Dobson told Mr. Stephanopoulos about a warning
he issued a White House staffer after the election that the president
and Republicans had better deliver on issues like abortion, gay
marriage and conservative judges or "I believe they'll pay
a price in the next election."
Certainly Mr. Specter has done his part for the conservative cause.
He accused Anita Hill of "flat-out perjury" for a minor
inconsistency in her testimony against Clarence Thomas, that good
Christian jurist who once had a taste for porn films.
Some in the White House thought of giving Mr. Specter the post
and then keeping him on a short leash. But the power puritans have
no mercy. They say he's a mealy-mouthed impediment to the crusade
of evangelicals and conservative Catholic bishops - who delivered
their vote with ruthless efficacy - to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Mr. Stephanopoulos asked Dr. Dobson about his comment to The Daily
Oklahoman that "Patrick Leahy is a 'God's
people-hater.' I don't know if he hates God, but he hates God's
people," noting that it was not
a particularly Christian thing to say about the ranking Democrat
on the Judiciary Committee. (Especially after that vulgar
un-Christian thing Dick Cheney spat at Mr. Leahy last summer.)
"George," Dr. Dobson haughtily snapped
back, "do you think you ought to lecture me on what a Christian
is all about?" Why not? The TV host is the son of a Greek Orthodox
Acting as though Mr. Bush's decisions should be taken on faith,
John Ashcroft lashed into judges for not giving Mr. Bush unbridled
power in his war against terror.
Speaking Friday before an adulatory Federalist Society, a group
of conservative lawyers, Mr. Ashcroft echoed remarks he made to
the Senate soon after 9/11 arguing that objecting to the president's
antiterror proposals could give "ammunition to America's enemies."
He asserted that judges who interfere in or second
guess the president's constitutional authority to make decisions
during war can jeopardize the "very security of our nation
in a time of war."
And since the president has no end in sight to his war on terror,
that makes him infallible ad infinitum?
It struck me as I was speaking to people
in Bangor, Maine, that this president sees America as we think about
a 10-year-old child.
— Andrew Card, White House chief of staff, speaking of George
W. Bush on Sept. 1
President Bush does see himself as America's parental guardian.
It's an electorally winsome conceit but sincerely held. For Bush
well knows the value of those protective loyalists who've long watched
As he has failed upward, he has had the good sense to cling to
They include his family, with its rich political and business
The forgiving financiers who backed his failed Texas oil ventures.
The preachers, notably Billy Graham, who helped the born-again
Bush cast off the demon drink and save his marriage.
And the clutch of Texas political hand-holders — campaign
strategist Karl Rove, image polisher Karen Hughes and
legal counsel Alberto Gonzales, most conspicuously — who nurtured
Bush's success in Austin and who were easily coaxed to bring their
Bush fealty to the White House.
Gonzales, nominated by Bush last week for the post of U.S. attorney-general,
busied himself throwing up a Nixonian wall of secrecy around the
first Bush administration.
He stonewalled U.S. senators wanting information about the hard-right
judicial appointees he was selecting for Bush's nomination and took
extraordinary steps to prevent the public from glimpsing what Dick
Cheney's energy-policy conclave was up to.
This was all of a piece with Gonzales' work in Austin, where,
among other things, he was a fixer who protected then-governor Bush
from the political and legal fallout when the press learned of Bush's
1976 arrest, at age 30, for driving under the influence of alcohol.
Of far greater import was Gonzales' role in preparing
last-minute summaries of clemency cases for potential death-row
Relying almost exclusively on those summaries,
Bush allowed all but one execution in the 57 cases in which he was
briefed by Gonzales.
Those briefings chronically omitted crucial
facts tending to favour the condemned, as chronicled by investigative
journalist Alan Berlow in the July/August 2003 edition of The Atlantic
In Bush's six-year tenure as Lone Star governor, 150 men and two
women were executed in Texas — a record
unparalleled among other governors in living memory.
In many of these instances, Berlow reported, "Gonzales
repeatedly failed to apprise the governor of crucial issues in the
cases at hand: ineffective counsel (one clemency seeker's public
defender had slept through an entire hearing), conflict of interest,
mitigating evidence, even actual evidence
As a career corporate lawyer in Houston before signing on with
Bush's office in 1995, Gonzales was unschooled in criminal law.
What qualified him for the task was knowing that his boss sought
political advantage from a hard-line record on law-and-order.
When he followed Bush to the White House as the president's legal
counsel, Gonzales similarly lacked knowledge of national security
law and international jurisprudence relating to war.
But he knew Bush's mind.
In his characteristically zealous determination to protect Bush
from accusations of infamy, it's hardly surprising that Gonzales
penned his notorious Jan. 25, 2002, memo to Bush advising the president
that the United States need not abide by the "obsolete"
Geneva Conventions in prosecuting its war on terror.
Together with a string of subsequent "torture memos"
produced by the justice and defence departments on Gonzales' watch,
the U.S. military and intelligence apparatus was given the green
light to conduct its incarcerations and interrogations in a manner
that inevitably led to the Abu Ghraib prisoner-abuse scandal.
Secretary of State Colin Powell objected to the substance of the
January 2002 memo. But Powell didn't work in the White House. And
Gonzales, who did, had a far better understanding of his client.
Some might argue that there is a sadistic
streak to this president that "Bring 'em on" Bush has
done little to disguise. It begins
with the second-degree burns inflicted on the Yale fraternity pledges
that Bush branded — and for which he was unapologetic when
called to account — and runs through to his mockery of Karla
Faye Tucker, the first woman to be executed in Texas in 100 years.
(Bush imitated Tucker in a Talk magazine interview
published in 1999: "`Please,' he whimpers, pursing his lips,
`don't kill me.'")
And so we come to the sorry pass in which Alberto Gonzales, the
enabler, is poised to become the 80th U.S. attorney-general.
"It is distressing that (Bush's) first nominee post-election
not only doesn't have a record of defending human rights but has
a record of actively opposing their recognition," complained
Jamie Fellner, head of the U.S. branch of Human Rights Watch.
Worse, into Gonzales' untutored hands fall the tasks of pursuing
anti-trust cases, reforming the FBI and overseeing probes into alleged
misconduct by Halliburton Co. and other politically sensitive matters.
But loyalty trumps competence in this White House.
The conservative U.S. historian Richard Brookhiser took Bush's
measure back in 1999.
In a quaint National Review piece that year, Brookhiser despaired
that "George Washington copied out
an etiquette book when he was a teenager, and George W. squints
his eyes and laughs at dead women."
Seeing little distinction between the worldview of 10-year-olds
and their presidential guardians, Brookhiser complained that, to
prove his potency, Bill Clinton romped with Monica Lewinsky and
casually fired cruise missiles into Khartoum and Kosovo.
And what, Brookhiser asked, "will President W. do, when he
runs out of pardons to withhold?"
The past four years have revealed part of the answer. And without
much difficulty we can guess the rest.
US Secretary of State Colin Powell,
known as the odd man out in the Bush cabinet, has resigned, US TV
networks have reported.
The former general, who headed the Joint Chiefs of Staff during
the first Gulf War, was regarded as a dove in a White House full
His resignation was not a great surprise.
Powell told his staff he had handed his resignation to President
Bush on Friday and that he will remain in office until a successor
National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice is regarded as a likely
State Department officials confirmed the resignation.
Powell had long been rumoured to be determined to serve only one
term as Bush’s foreign minister.
The White House was preparing an announcement to confirm Powell’s
According to one official, Powell expects that his departure date
will be sometime in January. It was not immediately clear whether
he will leave before Bush’s second inauguration on January
Most of the speculation on a successor has centred on UN Ambassador
John Danforth, a Republican and former senator from Missouri.
Powell has had a controversial tenure in the chief of state’s
job, reportedly differing on some key issues at various junctures
with Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
Powell, however, has generally had good relations with his counterparts
around the world, although his image standing has been strained
by the U.S.-led war in Iraq.
Powell led the Bush administration argument at the United Nations
for a military attack to oust Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, arguing
a weapons-of-mass-destruction threat that the administration could
The word of his imminent departure kicked off a new week of Cabinet
shuffling for Bush, who is planning his second term.
Education Secretary Rod Paige has also let it be known he wants
Last week, the administration had announced the departures of Commerce
Secretary Donald Evans and Attorney General John Ashcroft.
WASHINGTON, -- The American Civil Liberties
Union said outgoing Attorney General John Ashcroft showed "his
clear disdain for the law" in a speech Friday.
In a speech to the National Lawyers Meeting of the Federalist
Society, Ashcroft warned about "activist" judges who he
said were "encroaching" on the president's constitutional
The attorney general did not mention specific instances, but the
Justice Department is appealing a ruling by a federal judge in Washington
this week that says the administration must follow the Geneva Convention
in handling terror detainees, unless an impartial tribunal shows
that they are not entitled to its protections.
"The nation's top law enforcement officer today expressed
his clear disdain for the rule of law," ACLU executive director
Anthony Romero said in a statement. "The Bush administration
and its attorney general nominee should immediately denounce today's
comments by outgoing Attorney General John Ashcroft."
LAREDO, Texas - Bridges to Mexico in this
traffic-choked city began testing a new immigration security program
Monday that requires some U.S. visitors to be fingerprinted and
photographed as they cross the border.
The screening by the Homeland Security Department was being tested
Monday at Gateways from Mexico in Laredo and Douglas, Ariz., and
the Canadian border city of Port Huron, Mich.
The technology — which also calls for running checks on the
visitors — has been in place at U.S. airports and seaports
since Jan. 5, but officials want to pinpoint
any glitches before the program extends to the nation's 50 busiest
land crossings by year's end.
"We always test first," said Anna Hinken, program outreach
Fabian Gonzales was among the first in line Monday morning. The
34-year-old walked up to row of bank-like teller machines on the
U.S. side of the Lincoln-Juarez International Bridge, answered a
few questions, then inserted his finger into a small fingerprinting
machine. A golfball-sized camera snapped his picture.
Digital fingerscans and photos are matched with databases to determine
if visitors might be wanted for immigration problems and crimes
or are on lists barring them from entering the country because of
suspected terrorist ties.
Gonzales, a restaurateur from Monterrey, Mexico,
who is looking to open up a store in San Antonio, said the process
was simple and only took about 7 minutes.
"It's OK," he said. "I hope this new process improves
the security and also helps the tourists."
Extra security requirements were passed by Congress in response
to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and have been in place
for nearly all non-U.S. citizens since January.
The information gathered at the borders will be
stored indefinitely in a national database, but Homeland Security
officials promised its use would be restricted to ensure privacy.
By the end of 2005, the United States Visitor and Immigrant Status
Indicator Technology program, or US-VISIT, is scheduled to be used
at all 165 land border crossings.
Homeland Security is spending $340 million implementing inkless
fingerprinting machines, digital cameras and computer equipment.
Another $340 million has been allocated for 2005.
Business and political leaders in some border cities fought the
system initially, fearing the program could slow traffic and have
a negative effect on local economies. But, the infusion of federal
money and personnel to the border could actually improve trade.
Laredo each year has 4.6 million pedestrians, 1.4 million trucks,
6.8 million private vehicles and more than 40,000 buses cross its
four international bridges, according to U.S. Customs and Border
"At the very beginning we were led to believe... that this
program was going to be bad for us," Laredo Mayor Betty Flores
said. "From what I witnessed ... the program is going to be
good for us."
Maria Luisa O'Connell, president of the Border Trade Alliance,
"From what I have seen and what I have heard in our conversations
with Homeland Security, what they're looking to do at this first
stage seems to be OK," she said. "We don't believe that
it's going to cause more backups or lines."
Leaders of the other two pilot sites also said they were optimistic.
Douglas, Ariz., Mayor Ray Borane said he had met with Homeland
Security officials and was convinced US-VISIT would not disrupt
the busy crossing to Agua Prieta, Mexico.
Thomas Hutka, city manager of Port Huron,
Mich., said US-VISIT made city officials feel more secure.
"Anything that helps them identify who people are helps us,"
Jim Williams, director of US-VISIT, said Mexican citizens holding
Border Crossing Cards, or laser visas, would not be subject to the
printing and photographing.
The cards allow Mexicans to enter the United States for short visits,
as long as they do not travel more than 25 miles from the border
in Texas, California and New Mexico; and 75 miles in Arizona.
New accounts from al-Qaeda to attack the U.S. with weapons of mass
| By ADAM ZAGORIN
Sunday, Nov. 14, 2004
A key al-Qaeda operative seized in Pakistan
recently offered an alarming account of the group's potential plans
to target the U.S. with weapons of mass destruction, senior U.S.
security officials tell TIME. Sharif al-Masri, an Egyptian who was
captured in late August near Pakistan's border with Iran and Afghanistan,
has told his interrogators of "al-Qaeda's interest in moving
nuclear materials from Europe to either the U.S. or Mexico,"
according to a report circulating among U.S. government officials.
Masri also said al-Qaeda has considered plans to "smuggle
nuclear materials to Mexico, then operatives would carry material
into the U.S.," according to the report, parts of which were
read to TIME. Masri says his family, seeking refuge from al-Qaeda
hunters, is now in Iran.
Masri's account, though unproved,
has added to already heightened U.S. concerns about Mexico. Homeland
Security Secretary Tom Ridge met publicly with top Mexican officials
last week to discuss border security and smuggling rings that could
be used to slip al-Qaeda terrorists into the country. Weeks prior
to Ridge's lightning visit, U.S. and Mexican intelligence conferred
about reports from several al-Qaeda detainees indicating the potential
use of Mexico as a staging area "to acquire end-stage chemical,
biological, radiological and nuclear material." U.S. officials
have begun to keep a closer eye on heavy-truck traffic across the
The Mexicans will also focus on flight schools and aviation facilities
on their side of the frontier. And another episode has some senior
U.S. officials worried: the theft of a crop-duster aircraft south
of San Diego, apparently by three men from southern Mexico who assaulted
a watchman and then flew off in a southerly direction. Though the
theft's connection to terrorism remains unclear, a senior U.S. law-enforcement
official notes that crop dusters can be used to disperse toxic substances.
The plane, stolen at night two weeks ago, has not been recovered.
to deploy hyper-missiles
Anywhere on Earth could be targeted
'within two hours'
| Robin McKie and David Smith
Sunday November 14, 2004
American scientists are developing hypersonic
cruise missiles that will fly 10 times faster than current rockets,
penetrate concrete armouring and could be launched from any site
in the world.
The missiles would have a range of 9,000
miles, more than a third of Earth's circumference and be able to
reach their targets within two hours. First prototypes are
expected to be tested next year, though the missile is not expected
to be deployed until the end of the decade.
'If someone is messing with us - or Britain - from far away, we
could whack them straight away,' said Preston Carter, an aerospace
engineer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, in California.
The new missiles will exploit supersonic combustion ramjet - or
scramjet - technology. Nasa engineers will tomorrow attempt to fly
a robot X-43A scramjet over the Pacific at speeds around 7,200 mph,
10 times the speed of sound.
The flight will be crucial in demonstrating the feasibility of
hypersonic travel. Most media attention has focused on its commercial
exploitation for jets that could travel from London to Sydney in
two hours. The prime aim is to create hypersonic rockets that would
replace current cruise missiles.
'The new missiles could strike pretty much anywhere within a couple
of hours,' said Graham Warwick, Americas editor of Flight International.
'Current cruise missile have to be carried on
a B52 bomber. That involves planning and takes at least 24 hours.
The military want a quick solution, so if they knew bin Laden was
sipping coffee at a cafe they could get a bomb on target in two
Scramjets work on the same principle as all jets, by igniting fuel
in compressed air and using the expanding gases to propel the aircraft.
Standard turbojets use fans to compress the air: scramjets use a
plane's forward motion alone to bring air into the combustion chamber
and require an initial boost from a rocket.
The entire aircraft then becomes an enormous scoop that receives
air which is compressed and injected - and ignited - with a chemical
called silane before hydrogen fuel is added. The feat compares to
'lighting a match in a hurricane', says Nasa.
'We'll see a military application initially as a "bunker buster"
that would hit its target and bore into the ground before exploding,'
'We are talking about the ability to strike more cost-effectively.
If the US has to deploy troops to the other side of the world, it
is expensive. This may keep enemies in check and act as a deterrent.'
The Israeli lobby has launched an all-out
drive to ensure congressional passage of a bill, approved by the
House and now before a Senate committee that would set up a federal
tribunal to investigate and monitor criticism of Israel on American
Ten months ago the New York-based Jewish Week newspaper claimed
that the report by American Free Press that Republican members of
the Senate were planning to crack down on college and university
professors who were critical of Israel was "a dangerous urban
legend at best, deliberate disinformation at worst." They were
claiming that AFP lied.
However, on Sept. 17, 2003, the House Subcommittee on Select Education
unanimously approved H.R. 3077, the International Studies in Higher
Education Act, which was then passed by the full House on Oct. 21.
The chief sponsor of the legislation was Rep. Peter Hoekstra, a
conservative Republican from Michigan.
Critics charge that the bill is dangerous—a direct affront
to the First Amendment and the product of intrigue by a small clique
of individuals and organizations which combines the forces of the
powerful Israeli lobby in official Washington.
Leading the push for Senate approval of the bill are the Anti-Defamation
League (ADL) of B’nai B’rith, run by Abe Foxman, the
American Jewish Congress and the American Jewish Committee.
Also lending its support is Empower America, the neo-conservative
front group established by William Kristol, editor and publisher
of billionaire Rupert Murdoch’s Weekly Standard, which is
said to be the "intellectual" journal that governs the
train of foreign policy thinking in the Bush administration.
One other group has lent its support: the U.S. India Political
Action Committee, an Indian-American group that has been working
closely with the Israeli lobby now that Israel and India are geopolitically
H.R. 3077 is bureaucratic in its tone, decipherable only to those
with the capacity to wade through legislative linguistics. It
would set up a seven-member advisory board that would have the power
to recommend cutting federal funding for colleges and universities
that are viewed as harboring academic critics of Israel.
Two members of the board would be appointed by the Senate, two
by the House, and three by the secretary of education, two of whom
are required to be from U.S. federal security agencies. The various
appointees would be selected from what The Christian Science Monitor
described on March 11 as "politicians, representatives of cultural
and educational organizations, and private citizens."
Gilbert Merk, vice provost for international affairs and development
and director of the Center for International Studies at Duke University,
has echoed the fears of many when he charged that this advisory
board "could easily be hijacked by those
who have a political axe to grind and become a vehicle for an inquisition."
The primary individuals promoting this effort to control intellectual
debate on the college campuses are prominent and outspoken supporters
of Israel and harsh critics of the Arab and Muslim worlds. They
• Martin Kramer, a professor of Arab studies at the Moshe
Dayan Center at Tel Aviv University in Israel;
• Stanley Kurtz, a contributor of ex-CIA man William F. Buckley
Jr.’s bitterly anti-Arab National Review Online and a research
fellow at the staunchly pro-Israel Hoover Institution; and
• Daniel Pipes, founder of the pro-Israel Middle East Forum
and its affiliate, Campus Watch, an ADL-style organization that
keeps tabs on college professors and students who are—or are
suspected of being—critics of Israel.
These three, along with the Israeli lobby, are claiming that they
are fighting "anti-Americanism" as it is being taught
on the college campuses.
Republicans in Congress have joined this chorus,
preferring to allow their constituents to think that this is an
"America First" measure.
Juan Cole of the History News Network responds to this extraordinary
twist on reality saying that the claim of "anti-Americanism"
is intellectually dishonest.
"What they mean . . . if you pin them down is ambivalence
about the Iraq war, or dislike of Israeli colonization of the West
Bank, or recognition that the U.S. government has sometimes in the
past been in bed with present enemies like al Qaeda or Saddam. None
of these positions is 'anti-American,' and any attempt by a congressionally
appointed body to tell university professors they cannot say these
things—or that if they say them they must hire someone else
who will say the opposite—is a contravention of the First
Amendment of the U.S. Constitution." [...]
| US troops are preventing a Red Crescent
convoy of emergency aid from reaching helpless residents inside Falluja,
a spokeswoman says.
Hopes were raised that the military would make an exception to
a no-entry rule when the trucks were allowed as far as the Falluja
general hospital, which was seized before a US-Iraqi assault to
gain control of the city, the spokeswoman said on Saturday.
But wounded residents inside the war zone were
unable to enter the hospital on the western outskirts, and US forces
forbade the aid convoy from reaching them, Red Crescent spokeswoman
Firdus al-Ubadi said.
"They are in the general hospital, but until now the Americans
will not let them distribute medical supplies in the city,"
al-Ubadi said, referring to the team of 50 volunteers and three
doctors that had travelled from Baghdad to Falluja.
Doctor Jamal al-Karbuli, the secretary-general of the Iraqi Red
Crescent, "is negotiating with the Americans to let them distribute
the supplies to the people", she added.
"Jamal is insisting, at least, to have permission to get the
injured people out of Falluja and into the hospital."
Civilians hiding in the city, where US and Iraqi
troops have clashed with the resistance since Monday, are dying
of starvation and thirst and something must be done to help them,
"They need us. It is our duty as a humanitarian agency to
do our job for these people in these circumstances," she said.
The Iraqi government said it was evacuating wounded civilians out
of Falluja and that the main hospital would soon be operational
A US military spokesman said the city was too
risky for the aid workers.
"We have to take into consideration safety
and security," he said.
Refugee town struck
Late on Saturday, Aljazeera reported that
the town of Amiriyat al-Falluja - hosting about 4000 families fleeing
the fighting in Falluja - was struck by a US aerial assault, which
killed five people and injured four others.
Earlier, the Red Crescent society had despatched a convoy of four
relief trucks and an ambulance to Amiriyat al-Falluja and a tourist
village in Habbaniya - where an additional 1500 refugees are camped.
The Red Crescent believes that only 150 families are still in the
heart of Falluja, but it is concerned about the plight of tens of
thousands of people living in refugee camps and villages dotted
"They are dying of starvation and a lack of
the children," al-Ubadi said.
"If there is no solution to this crisis it will expand to
other cities and other parts of Iraq and there will be a great disaster
An AFP correspondent in Falluja said he had seen a number of
families emerge from the devastation.
One group among them complained on Friday of severe thirst and
hunger. Another was on the edge of despair.
Witness contradicts denials
Local journalist in Falluja, Haza al-Afify, told
Aljazeera that there were many civilian casualties, contrary to
what the US military said.
"The humanitarian situation is miserable. The US forces have
cut the electricity power supply.
"Water-pumping operations have now stopped for good. Water
pipes carry polluted water supply. There is a severe shortage of
foodstuff and food supplies," he said.
"The US forces denial is something but the
realities on the ground are another. The US tanks and aircraft keep
bombarding residents' homes day and night.
"The US snipers keep dominating rooftops
and target everything that moves on the ground. This
is mass murder for Falluja residents," the journalist
"There are scores of families buried under
the rubble of destroyed homes. Others have bled to death. There
is a stench from every street due to decaying bodies."
"So how can I believe the US forces' allegations on what I
have witnessed by my own eyes?"
| The 33-year-old Associated Press
photographer [Bilal Hussein] stayed behind to capture insider images
during the siege of the former insurgent stronghold.
In the hours and days that followed, heavy bombing raids and thunderous
artillery shelling turned Hussein's northern Jolan neighborhood
into a zone of rubble and death. The walls of his house were pockmarked
by coalition fire.
"Destruction was everywhere. I saw
people lying dead in the streets, wounded were bleeding and there
was no one to come and help them. Even the civilians who
stayed in Fallujah were too afraid to go out," he said.
"There was no medicine, water, no electricity nor food for
By Tuesday afternoon, as U.S. forces and Iraqi rebels engaged in
fierce clashes in the heart of his neighborhood, Hussein snapped.
"U.S. soldiers began to open fire on the houses, so I decided
that it was very dangerous to stay in my house," he said.
Hussein said he panicked, seizing on a plan to escape across the
Euphrates River, which flows on the western side of the city
"I wasn't really thinking," he said. "Suddenly,
I just had to get out. I didn't think there was any other choice."
In the rush, Hussein left behind his camera lens and a satellite
telephone for transmitting his images. His lens, marked with the
distinctive AP logo, was discovered two days later by U.S. Marines
next to a dead man's body in a house in Jolan.
AP colleagues in the Baghdad bureau, who by then had not heard
from Hussein in 48 hours, became even more worried.
Hussein moved from house to house dodging gunfire and reached the
"I decided to swim ... but I changed my mind after seeing
U.S. helicopters firing on and killing people who tried to cross
He watched horrified as a family of five was shot
dead as they tried to cross. Then, he "helped bury a man by
the river bank, with my own hands."
"I kept walking along the river for two hours and I could
still see some U.S. snipers ready to shoot anyone who might swim.
I quit the idea of crossing the river and walked for about five
hours through orchards."
He met a peasant family, who gave him refuge in their house for
two days. Hussein knew a driver in the region and sent a message
to another AP colleague, Ali Ahmed, in nearby Ramadi.
| Human rights experts said Friday
that American soldiers might have committed a war crime on Thursday
when they sent fleeing Iraqi civilians back into Fallujah.
Citing several articles of the Geneva Conventions, the experts
said recognized laws of war require military forces to protect civilians
as refugees and forbid returning them to a combat zone.
"This is highly problematical conduct in terms of exposing
people to grave danger by returning them to an area where fighting
is going on," said Jordan Paust, a law professor at the University
of Houston and a former Army prosecutor.
James Ross, senior legal adviser to Human Rights Watch, said, "If
that's what happened, it would be a war crime."
A stream of refugees, about 300 men, women and children, were detained
by American soldiers as they left southern Fallujah by car and on
foot. The women and children were allowed to proceed. The men were
tested for any residues left by the handling of explosives. All
tested negative, but they were sent back.
A spokesman for
the Falluja resistance says US forces are at an impasse in the city,
and denies the US offensive against the town has succeeded.
Speaking to Aljazeera by telephone on Saturday, the spokesman said
the US military was suffering increasing numbers of casualties.
"The announcement of the end of the military offensive is
proof that American forces are in an impasse ... the American criminals
and the Iraqi apostates have suffered more than 150 killed and more
than 270 wounded," said Abu Saad al-Dlimi, spokesman of the
Shura (consultative) Council of the Muhajidin in Falluja.
Earlier, US-backed Iraqi government officials pronounced the conclusion
of a massive six-day US offensive on Falluja.
"Today alone, young freedom fighters have been able to torch
more than 12 [American military] vehicles," said the resistance
spokesman, adding that the situation had not changed for the past
"US forces are still outside the [northwestern] Julan neighbourhood.
US forces were not able to gain one metre of this district,"
"US forces are meeting with fierce resistance from inside
Falluja districts ... and are surrounded. They are under missile
and artillery fire," he said.
Only pockets left
A senior Iraqi official said earlier on Saturday that the battle
to retake the city was over, with more than 1000 fighters killed,
but that the country's most wanted man, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, had
"Operation Fajr (Dawn) has been achieved and only the malignant
pockets remain that we are dealing with through a clean-up operation,"
Qasim Dawud, a minister of state, said.
The US military, which spearheaded the six-day assault, said commanders
on the ground had yet to declare the operation over.
But a US officer said on Sunday that fighters were showing much
less resistance than before.
"Two days ago they were coming out and fighting us. Last night
they were running. It looks like we are about to break their will,"
tank company commander Captain Robert Bodisch said.
Dlimi rejected Dawud's assertions.
"The number of martyrs among young fighters does not exceed
100, the others are unarmed civilians who were crushed by American
tanks," said Dlimi.
"If [the Americans] say they have wrapped up operations in
Falluja, we are telling them that if that is true allow all satellite
networks to enter the city this night so the world can see what
is really happening in the streets of Falluja.
"Everything they are announcing is
disinformation. Falluja is the theatre of butchery and destruction.
Today they bombed the only telecommunications centre which provided
links between Falluja and the outside world. Americans are criminals,"
said the spokesman.
So many pockets
Local journalist in Falluja, Haza al-Afify, told Aljazeera: "Fierce
clashes are still under way at the northern and northwestern edges
of Julan neighbourhood. Fighting is also raging in the southern
and southeastern neighbourhoods, particularly at al-Shuhada neighbourhood
and the industrial quarter.
"What we have heard on ending military operations
as stated by the Iraqi State Minister for Defence Qasim Dawud does
not bear credibility in relation to the reality of the situation
on the ground.
"Fierce clashes are still continuing in several neighbourhoods.
If these neighbourhoods are mere pockets, Falluja will be harbouring
so many pockets."
He added that while US tanks and armoured vehicles had the main
roads under control, the narrow alleys were still out of reach to
"I assure you that the reality of the current situation does
not imply a halt to military operations, he said."
WASHINGTON -- Do Americans of good conscience
really believe that we are making the United States more secure
by bombing and killing the people of Fallujah?
That's the justification President Bush and his hawkish circle
have given for their brutal offensive against the Sunni stronghold
as they push ahead for the total military occupation of Iraq.
Why are we killing Iraqis in their own country? And why are our
forces being killed?
Of course it was convenient and the better part
of valor for the president to wait until after the election to start
dropping the 500-pound bombs on Fallujah as well as raking the streets
with artillery and aircraft firepower.
Bush, who has never been in war, flaunted his commander in chief
status during the campaign. But clearly he did not want to put it
to the test at Fallujah before Election Day.
Had he done so, the president would have had to explain why he
took the United States into Iraq and why he was targeting innocent
From day one, the U.S. government has been hard-pressed to find
legal justification for being in Iraq by force. U.S. military moves
were contrary to the U.N. Charter and the laws that came from the
Nuremberg Tribunal after World War II.
Under the U.N. Charter, armed force by a state
against the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence
of another state is a violation of international law.
Does anyone believe that hand-picked interim Iraqi Prime Minister
Ayad Allawi, on the CIA payroll for years, is a free soul? Did we
really make war against Iraq out of the goodness of our hearts to
ensure free elections for Iraqis?
The silence of the Democrats is playing into the president's hands.
As was the case with the original October 2002 congressional resolution
authorizing war, Democrats are unsure of themselves and therefore
unwilling to challenge the president.
Once the offensive was under way, many Americans
were appalled to learn that among our first major targets were the
hospitals in Fallujah.
By now everyone in this country must know that every reason Bush
gave to attack Iraq has turned out to be a false. No weapons of
mass destruction were found after two task forces took months and
spent millions to hunt for them.
There was no imminent threat by Iraq against the United States.
And virtually nothing has been found to connect al-Qaida with deposed
Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
Presidential credibility used to have some meaning in this country.
The president visited the soldiers wounded in Iraq at Walter Reed
Hospital Army Medical Center on Tuesday for the first time since
March. He told reporters that the U.S. soldiers in Fallujah were
doing "the hard work necessary" for a free Iraq to emerge.
And he said the coalition forces were moving into Fallujah "to
bring to justice those who are willing to kill the innocent, those
who are trying to terrorize the Iraqi people and our coalition (and)
those who want to stop democracy."
The Bush administration has no count on civilians
who have lost their lives in the current massive assault on Fallujah,
but some 900 civilians reportedly died in the fighting last April
when the U.S. retreated temporarily from Fallujah.
White House press secretary Scott McClellan told reporters he
knew of "no specific estimate of civilians" who may have
been killed in the recent fighting.
But he added: "I know the military
goes out of its way to minimize the loss of civilian life, and what
we are working to achieve in Iraq is an important cause that will
make America more secure."
Thousands in Fallujah fled their homes and are living in tents,
knowing that the U.S. attack was about to begin.
Meanwhile, U.S. soldiers are going from house to house in urban
street fighting -- something Bush's father, President George H.W.
Bush, wanted to avoid as a way of reducing the human cost of the
first Gulf War. For that reason he resisted going on to Baghdad
after the liberation of Kuwait.
To understand the Iraqi resistance, I suggest reading the Scottish
poet Sir Walter Scott. He wrote: "Breathes there a man with
soul so dead who never to himself has said this is mine own my native
| The body of a blonde woman with her legs and
arms cut off and throat slit was found today lying on a street in
Falluja, a notorious Iraqi enclave for hostage-takers, US marines
"It is definitely a Caucasian woman with long blonde hair,"
said a military official, who cut open a cover that had been placed
over the corpse.
Another unit stumbled across eight Arab men, apparently Iraqis,
who had been shot in the head execution-style, and laid out in two
courtyards, four in each, said an AFP reporter embedded with the
The gruesome discoveries were made as marines moved through the
south of Falluja, hunting out the remaining rebels after a week
of fierce fighting to regain control of the city.
"It is a female ... missing all four
appendages, with a slashed throat and disembowelled; she has been
dead for a while but only in this location for a day or two,"
said Benjamin Finnell, a hospital apprentice with the Navy Corps,
who had inspected the body.
An AFP photographer embedded with the marines noted that the woman
was wearing a blue dress and her face was
Sweeps of rubble-strewn neighbourhoods in Falluja
have uncovered a grisly underworld of hostage slaughterhouses, prisons
and torture chambers as well as the corpses of Iraqis who had been
executed, marines say.
Later in the day, a unit of marines found the eight men, all fairly
burly and aged between about 20 and 45, in central Falluja, said
the AFP reporter.
There were no uniforms or distinguishing features to identify
the bodies, but two were dressed just in their underwear, he said.
| FALLOUJA, Iraq — Even as small
groups of guerrillas continued putting up fierce resistance here Sunday,
U.S. commanders were preparing for the next phase of the operation:
the complete reconstruction of a city that has been devastated in
"It's a monumental task," acknowledged Marine Maj. Timothy
Hanson, one of the first civil affairs officers on the scene to
assess the scope of destruction in the city that had become the
tactical and inspirational capital of the Iraqi insurgency. [...]
The reconstruction effort in Fallouja will
require tens of millions of dollars in U.S. funds to compensate
residents for damaged property and to rebuild large parts of the
city damaged by weeks of U.S. airstrikes and street-by-street fighting.
The project seems likely to dwarf the large-scale
rebuilding scheme in the southern city of Najaf, where damage was
estimated at $500 million after a Marine offensive in August
ousted Shiite Muslim militiamen.
Fallouja once was home to almost 300,000
people, though most fled before U.S.-led forces launched the assault
early last week. The city now lies abandoned and in ruins,
a tableau of the aftermath of urban warfare.
The town's main east-west drag, a key objective of U.S. troops,
is a tangle of rubble-filled lots and shot-up storefronts. Shattered
water and sewage pipes have left pools of sewage-filled water, sometimes
knee-deep. Scorched and potholed streets are filled with debris;
power lines droop in tangles or lie on the ground.
Many mosques, the city's pride and joy, are a
shambles after insurgents used them as shelter and firing positions,
drawing return fire from the Marines.
Houses have been ransacked by insurgents and further damaged as
U.S. troops chased snipers, searched for weapons caches or took
cover in the homes. Marines routinely called
in tanks, artillery and airstrikes to take out gunmen. [...]
But the bombed-out buildings are only the most obvious damage.
There is no running water or electricity. The
water, power and sewage infrastructure will probably need complete
Food distribution systems must be reinstituted.
Shops must be reopened, commerce resumed. Battered hospitals, clinics
and schools must be patched up and reopened. [...]
Despite the clear military gains, the city remains insecure enough
that major civil affairs units that will oversee reconstruction
have yet to arrive. But more than $50 million
in contracts has already been let, and people are standing by, ready
to start work as soon as it is safe enough.
A coordinating team — including officials from the U.S. military
and civilian agencies as well as the
Iraqi government — has been meeting for the last two weeks
to figure out how to spend the roughly $200
million allocated for Fallouja and nearby Ramadi. [...]
In the works is some kind of "Welcome Back to Fallouja"
campaign, directing residents to military civil affairs offices
where people can find reconstruction help.
"It won't be a fruit basket or anything like that," said
Hanson, the Marine major. He had $500,000 in cash for various expenses:
compensating civilians who had suffered property losses or injuries
or lost relatives deemed not to be insurgents.
Money also will be spread around to pay
residents to help clean up the streets [...]
[...] One of the problems with
cluster bombs is that some bomblets do not explode right away. That
is what disfigured Ayad, the boy whose face looks as if it was tattooed.
Ayad said that on April 25, he was tending cows in the village of
Kifil, south of Baghdad, when a bomblet in the grass burst open.
It embedded bits of metal in his face, leaving him blind in one
eye and coating his skin with dark dots that look like pencil stabs.
His mother, Nazar, rushed him to the village doctor. Ayad was in
a coma for weeks. When he emerged, his mother looked down at a face
she barely knew. "He used to be so beautiful," she said.
His father, Ali, went to dozens of Army hospitals and bases. Army
doctors said Ayad's cornea was scarred and that rehabilitation would
Ayad is a smiley boy but sometimes he flies into rage. "He
beats me for no reason," his mother said. "He threatens
to cut my throat. But I don't care. I am his mother."
This week, Ayad and his father took a bus to Baghdad. Ayad wore
sunglasses and a scarf over his face. He does that often, even when
it is boiling hot. "The children tease him," his father
When the two arrived at the center run by Captain Tracy, there
was a crowd pressing against the doors. On Sundays and Thursdays,
Captain Tracy sits in a room on the second floor of the convention
center and doles out stacks of cash to civilian casualty victims.
The Army calls them "sympathy payments."
Captain Tracy also helps process claims under the Foreign Claims
Act, which covers damages and wrongful deaths but only in noncombat
situations. Captain Tracy checks each claim a civilian files against
a database of military incident reports. If they match, the military
pays the civilians, but does not issue a formal apology or claim
of responsibility. Of 540 claims filed, he said he had paid 261.
While occasional payments were made to families wrongly bombed in
Afghanistan, there was nothing this formalized before.
Captain Tracy, 27, said he had absorbed a lot of grief in that
little room. "I'm getting pretty burned out," he said.
He is limited in what he can pay. Guidelines
set the maximum sympathy payments at $1,000 per injury, $2,500 per
life. With the daily patter of bombings, rocket attacks and
inadvertent killings, life in Iraq may seem cheap. But many Iraqis
say it is not that cheap.
"This war of yours cost billions," said Said Abbas Ahmed,
who was given $6,000 after an American missile killed his brother,
his sister, his wife and his six children. [...]
| Compensation is possible only in
cases of wrongdoing or negligence. Fatal errors and combat-related
deaths are excluded.
BAGHDAD — The families of thousands of
Iraqi civilians killed or injured by U.S. forces will not receive
compensation unless they prove clear-cut negligence or wrongdoing
by soldiers, military officials said Sunday.
rules out payments for tragic mistakes, such as the fatal shootings
of civilians at military checkpoints, if soldiers believed it was
reasonable to fire. And incidents after May 1, when President Bush
declared the end of major fighting in Iraq, could still be regarded
as combat-related and therefore ineligible for compensation, the
However, cases involving soldiers who accidentally fire their weapons
or traffic accidents involving supply convoys could warrant payments
to the victims if negligence is proved.
U.S. military officials said they had settled
1,168 compensation claims totaling $262,263. Most were for
property damage, and no payment was more than $15,000. But officials,
who spoke on condition of anonymity, could provide no information
about compensation for deaths.
"How much is an injury worth? How much is a life worth? It
all depends on the value of a life in Iraq. The
value of a life in Iraq is probably a lot less than it would be
in the U.S. or Britain," one official said.
Sunday's briefing highlighted inconsistencies in the handling of
compensation payments: In the city of Fallouja,
where U.S. soldiers killed 18 people and wounded 78 in April,
the American military commander in the area
has been paying $1,500 for each fatality and $500 for each injury,
Associated Press reported.
The commander was apparently using discretionary funds supplied
for his operations.
One official at Sunday's briefing said he would
investigate and, if necessary, tell the commander to stop making
In addition, U.S. military officials offered unspecified payments
in a case in late March, when 10 of 15 women and children in a van
were shot dead at a checkpoint near Karbala in southern Iraq, according
to a Washington Post reporter present at the scene.
"You just killed a family because you didn't
fire a warning shot soon enough!" the newspaper quoted Capt.
Ronny Johnson of the Army's 3rd Infantry Division as shouting immediately
after the shots were fired.
Under the guidelines revealed Sunday, that incident
would not have qualified for compensation because it occurred under
what could be construed as combat conditions and took place before
May 1, while the war was in full swing.
| MADRID : Two bombs exploded in a military mountain
refuge in the Pyrenees in northern Spain where leaflets from the Basque
separatist group ETA were later found, officials said.
Three soldiers were inside the refuge at the time but all escaped
unharmed by the blasts, which occurred at around 7:50 am (0650 GMT)
in Belagua, in northern Navarra province.
Navarre region governor Vincente Rapa said on national radio that
leaflets bearing ETA's logo were found by the shelter.
"It indicates ETA's possible responsibility but we don't
have any confirmation," he said.
Police had earlier said there had been only one blast, which caused
some damage to the building.
The Spanish civil guard and a team of police scientists were sent
to the scene to analyze the explosive device, which had been placed
in the kitchen of the shelter, located near the French border.
No claim of responsibility was made following the blast.
The blasts came as Batasuna, the banned political mouthpiece of
armed Basque separatist group ETA, was expected to appeal on Sunday
for an end to armed conflict in the northern Spanish region.
ETA has killed some 800 people in its campaign for an independent
SINGAPORE : There could soon be one standard
for ID cards to be used throughout Asia -- from Singapore to Japan
and even China -- so you won't need to carry multiple cards in future.
The One Card-One Asia vision is an ambitious expansion of Singapore's
EZ-Link card, a smart contactless card now used not just on Singapore's
public transport system, but also the library and even a fast food
The idea was discussed at the recent Asia ID Card forum.
Participants were issued a card, which contained
their biometric data such as fingerprints, and identity details.
The ultimate aim is to use such a card for travel as an e-passport,
and even for payment.
Said Dr Tan Geok Leng, vice chairman, Asia ID Card Forum 2004,
"With the impetus from the 9-11 US requirements, a lot of countries
will have e-passports. Singapore already has NETS and EZ-Link --
we're talking about one standard -- so people won't need many terminals.
"We can merge the e-passport side with the standard for payments;
together then you have one card capability in Singapore, and through
the Asia ID Card Forum as a vehicle, possibly you can use your same
card when you travel to Korea, Japan."
So experts say there is indeed a real possibility that you may
say good-bye to the EZ-Link card and instead have a smart card,
which could take on multiple applications -- for identification,
payment, and travel not just at home but abroad.
But they say it will take at least three more years and some political
will from regional countries to bring the One Card, One Asia vision
closer to reality.
There are also legal and security concerns that have yet to be
With one card and multiple applications, it also means you will
have more to lose when you lose that all-in-one card.
FRANCES was on its way, barreling across the Caribbean, threatening
a direct hit on Florida's Atlantic coast. Residents made for higher
ground, but far away, in Bentonville, Ark.,
executives at Wal-Mart Stores decided that the situation offered
a great opportunity for one of their newest data-driven weapons,
something that the company calls predictive technology.
A week ahead of the storm's landfall, Linda M. Dillman, Wal-Mart's
chief information officer, pressed her staff to come up with forecasts
based on what had happened when Hurricane Charley struck several
weeks earlier. Backed by the trillions of bytes' worth of shopper
history that is stored in Wal-Mart's computer network, she felt
that the company could "start predicting what's going to happen,
instead of waiting for it to happen," as she put it.
The experts mined the data and found that the stores would indeed
need certain products - and not just the usual flashlights. "We
didn't know in the past that strawberry Pop-Tarts increase in sales,
like seven times their normal sales rate, ahead of a hurricane,"
Ms. Dillman said in a recent interview. "And
the pre-hurricane top-selling item was beer."
Thanks to those insights, trucks filled
with toaster pastries and six-packs were soon speeding down Interstate
95 toward Wal-Marts in the path of Frances. Most of the products
that were stocked for the storm sold quickly, the company said.
Such knowledge, Wal-Mart has learned, is not only power. It is
Plenty of retailers collect data about their stores and their
shoppers, and many use the information to try to improve sales.
Target Stores, for example, introduced a branded Visa card in 2001
and has used it, along with an arsenal of gadgetry, to gather data
ever since. But Wal-Mart amasses more data
about the products it sells and its shoppers' buying habits than
anyone else, so much so that some privacy advocates worry
about potential for abuse.
With 3,600 stores in the United States and roughly 100 million
customers walking through the doors each week, Wal-Mart has access
to information about a broad slice of America -
from individual Social Security and driver's license numbers
to geographic proclivities for Mallomars, or lipsticks, or jugs
of antifreeze. The data are gathered item by item at the checkout
aisle, then recorded, mapped and updated by store, by state, by
By its own count, Wal-Mart has 460 terabytes of data stored on
Teradata mainframes, made by NCR, at its Bentonville headquarters.
To put that in perspective, the Internet has less than half as much
data, according to experts.
Information about products, and often about customers, is most
often obtained at checkout scanners. Wireless hand-held units, operated
by clerks and managers, gather more inventory data. [...]
Wal-Mart is also driving manufacturers to invest in radio frequency
identification. By next October, the company will require its biggest
suppliers to tag shipments to some of its distribution centers with
tiny transmitters that would eventually let Wal-Mart track every
item that it sells.
BOGOTA, Colombia -- A strong
earthquake struck western Colombia early Monday, destroying about
a dozen homes in a port city west of the capital, but no injuries
were reported, officials said.
The 6.7-magnitude quake's epicenter was in the Pacific Ocean off
the coast of Colombia's Choco province and hit around 4 a.m. EST,
said Viviana Agudelo, a spokeswoman for National Seismology Center
The quake caused 12 homes to collapse, most of them near the port
of Buenaventura, 220 miles west of Bogota, she said.
MORE than 20 earthquakes have been recorded
in Dumfriesshire in the past fortnight. The biggest, measuring 2.7
on the Richter scale, was felt in Lockerbie, where locals reported
shaking buildings and loud, booming sounds. They were recorded by
the British Geological Survey's (BGS's) earthquake measuring station
at Eskdalemuir. The epicentre of the quakes was just five miles
One resident said that it felt like a lorry had crashed into the
side of his house. "I felt three last Wednesday — with
the first one the whole house shook," said Denis Male, a Langholm
"It felt just the same as the night the plane came out of
the sky at Lockerbie. I thought something had happened across the
road at the Edinburgh Woollen Mill and I went out to look —
I was relieved to find out it was earthquakes," he added.
The phenomenon, known as a "swarm", is relatively rare
in the UK. The last such swarm was experienced in the Manchester
area in 2002 when more than 100 earthquakes struck the city in two
Tehran, Nov 13, IRNA -- An earthquake measuring
3.1 degrees on the Richter scale shook a town near the sprawling
Iranian capital Saturday evening, but there was no immediate report
on probable damage.
According to seismological bases of Tehran University's Geophysics
Institute, the tremor hit suburbs of Roudhen, a town east of the
capital, at 18:35 hours (1305 GMT).
Earthquakes near Tehran have always rattled the nerves of the
capital's residents, estimated at 14 million, where many buildings
are shoddily built and construction regulations are widely flouted
according to the press.
The city straddles major faultlines in the Alborz chain, which
are actively prone to earthquakes. [...]
FONTANA, Calif. - An earthquake with a magnitude
of 3.0 struck in a remote area of San Bernardino County on Sunday,
but there were no immediate reports of damage or injury.
The quake hit at 7:33 a.m. and was centered about 6 miles northeast
of Fontana and about 3 miles southwest of Devore, according to the
U.S. Geological Survey.
The temblor was the second to strike San Bernardino County in
less than 24 hours.
A magnitude-4.2 earthquake rattled Big Bear Lake on Saturday but
no damage or injuries were reported.
JAKARTA : Two people died on the eastern Indonesian
island of Alor Sunday as aftershocks continued two days after a
powerful earthquake, a relief official said.
The latest deaths bring to 21 the number who have died since Friday
when the pre-dawn quake measuring 6.0 on the Richter scale hit the
island near East Timor.
In the hardest-hit district of Northeast Alor, an eight-month-old
baby died Sunday during an aftershock, said Alberth Ouwboly, of
the government relief centre.
A second person died after suffering a stroke during an aftershock,
"They are continuously being shaken," Ouwboly told AFP
from the island's main town of Kalabahi.
Another 94 people were still being treated at hospital in Kalabahi,
The force of the quake opened up a fissure in a mountain and severed
the road link between Kalabahi and Northeast Alor, where damage
"There isn't one building, private or public, left standing
(in the district)," he said. [...]
(Tokyo): Mount Asama, one of Japan's largest
and most active volcanoes, erupted today, rumbling to life with
loud explosions. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.
The mid-sized burst, at 8:59 pm (1729 IST), was likely to have
sent ash and smoke into the air but it was too cloudy to confirm
that, the Meteorological Agency said.
The agency rated the eruption at 3 on a scale of 5 in terms of
the power of the explosion. [...]
HALIFAX - More than 100,000 Nova Scotians faced
a night without power Sunday, after the season's first snowstorm
knocked out electricity across the province and shut down Halifax
Power may not be restored to some areas until the end of the week,
the province's electricity company warned late Sunday.
The damage to the grid is extensive and getting worse as the storm
continues, said Nova Scotia Power spokeswoman Margaret Murphy.
he called it a "worst-case scenario."
Heavy, wet snow downed power lines across the province and crumpled
four steel transmission towers in Dartmouth, a city of more than
It badly damaged nine towers by late Sunday.
"When you have four transmission towers crumple, just collapse,
under the weight of the wet snow, that shows it's certainly one
of the worst winter storms that we've seen," Murphy said. [...]
ZAGREB - Gale-force winds paralysed air,
road and sea traffic along Croatia's Adriatic coast, causing delays,
cancellations and power failures, while dozens of people were injured
and three were reported missing in the sea, media reports said.
Two Austrians, a man and a woman, fell into the sea early on Sunday
from a yacht some 30 nautic miles southwest of the northern Adriatic
town of Pula, close to the maritime border line between Italy and
Croatia, the national center for search and rescue said.
Due to strong Bora winds rescuers on the Italian and Croatian side
were not immediately able to search for them.
A fisherman from the northern island of Krk was also reported missing.
In the northern Adriatic town of Rijeka winds,
gusting up to 200 kilometers (125 miles) per hour, toppled trees
and ripped off roof-tiles.
Dozens of people were injured and hospitalized in coastal towns
and on the islands, notably some 30 in Rijeka, with 20 of them sustaining
serious injuries, national radio reported.
Railway and road traffic in the Rijeka region was also disrupted,
while parts of the highway linking the capital Zagreb with the southern
town of Split were closed.
Due to strong winds airports at Dubrovnik and Split on the southern
Adriatic canceled flights, airport authorities said.
Ferry connections to most Adriatic islands were also cancelled
and some of the islands had power cuts.
A ferry linking Split with the Italian port of Ancona, which had
140 passangers and some 30 vehicles on board, had trouble to dock
in the Split port due to engine problems. Eventually, with the help
of divers sent from Split the Split 1700 ferry docked safely after
a delay of a few hours.
ROME (AP) - Two Italians were killed in a landslide
this weekend as fierce storms pounded the country, causing floods
that slowed trains, cut off traffic and forced hundreds of people
to evacuate their homes.
Rescue teams near the northern city of Lecco on Sunday found the
bodies of two Italians in their 70s who were killed when a landslide
swept over their house, the ANSA news agency said.
About 100 people were evacuated from their homes in the area,
as were 200 people in the southern Italian town of Termoli, the
agency said. Trains were stalled on the line between Rome and Naples
and on a few smaller routes.
In Florence, several parks were closed, including the famous Boboli
Gardens. Heavy winds shattered a 14th-century stained-glass window
in Santa Croce church, ANSA said. No one was injured.
TWO people are dead and five family members
are critical as a result of a massive landslide which came crashing
down in Delaford, Tobago following six hours of heavy rain which
battered the island non-stop yesterday. [...]
(Australia) - Climate change will stretch fire
and rescue services within decades as parts of NSW face 35 degree-plus
temperatures for 100 days every year.
A CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology report, to be presented to an
international taskforce today, warns of dire consequences in the
next 25 to 65 years, with more hot spells and fewer cold snaps.
"Increases in hot days and hot spells can increase bushfire
risk, human mortality and energy demand for air-conditioning,"
says the report, obtained by the Herald. "Heat stress to animals
and crops is likely to increase. Transport infrastructure is also
likely to be affected, with greater frequency of buckling of railway
lines and melting of road tar."
The Premier, Bob Carr, warned yesterday that the financial cost
of climate change would only increase as the State Emergency Service
and the Rural Bushfire Service faced more severe conditions for
"Recent flash floods and storms damaged houses, roads and
farmlands," he said. "This study is a warning that there
may be more dramatic climatic extremes ahead unless we act."
SAN ANTONIO - A small airplane trying to land
in bad weather crashed near a senior citizens apartment complex,
killing all five on the plane and leaving a wing embedded in the
wall of one apartment.
John Clabes, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration,
said the pilot and a pair of fathers traveling with their sons,
died in the Sunday afternoon crash. All were from San Antonio. Their
names were not immediately released.
Joe Rios, a spokesman for San Antonio police, said all injuries
on the ground were minor. Some people were treated for smoke inhalation.
The woman whose apartment suffered the most damage was not injured.
Rios said part of the 34-foot-long plane was buried in the ground
at the housing complex and pieces of it were scattered around the
area. He said one wing disintegrated on impact, while the other
was embedded in the wall of an apartment. The impact left a 3-foot-by-5-foot
hole in the wall.
"It looks like it clipped a tree, clipped the apartment and
went into the ground," Rios said of the plane. He said there
was a small explosion after the crash.
Clabes said that the Piper Navajo owned by Dash Air Charter Inc.
of San Antonio was on approach to San Antonio International Airport
shortly after 5 p.m. The pilot was off course and was swinging around
to try again when the plane crashed.
"He pulled out of the approach and disappeared off our radar,"
The aircraft was trying to make an instrument
landing in rainy conditions with poor visibility. It had
filed a flight plan in Dodge City, Kan., Clabes said.
Officials with the National Transportation Safety Board were scheduled
to arrive in San Antonio on Monday to investigate the cause of the
David Herrmann, vice president of the company that owns the plane,
told the San Antonio Express-News that the group was returning from
a pheasant hunting trip in Kansas.
The crash site is in a thickly populated residential and commercial
area about six miles northwest of downtown San Antonio. The plane,
which can seat as many as eight people, crashed about three miles
from the airport and just off a busy city street.
American researchers claim to have found convincing
evidence that locates the site of the lost kingdom of Atlantis off
the coast of Cyprus.
The team spent six days scanning the Mediterranean sea bed between
Cyprus and Syria using sonar technology.
They believe they found evidence of massive, manmade structures
beneath the ocean floor, including two straight, 2-km (1.25 mile)
long walls on a hill.
They say their discoveries match accounts of the city written
Team leader Robert Sarmast said the walls appear to be sited on
a flat-topped hill where the temples of Atlantis once stood.
He intends to use the sonar data to make a three-dimensional computer
image of the site, 1.5km below sea level, before returning for further
"The hill, as a whole, basically looks like a walled, hillside
territory and this hillside territory matches Plato's description
of the Acropolis hill with perfect precision," he said.
"Even the dimensions are exactly perfect, so if all these
things are coincidental, I mean, we have the world's greatest coincidence
However, Mr Sarmast and his team are not alone in believing they
have found the lost city of Atlantis.
Other researchers have placed it off the coast of Spain, Cuba
and the south west of England, as well as under the South China
Myth or reality? It is said to be a place of beauty and wealth
The story of Atlantis, a fabled utopia destroyed in ancient times,
has captured the imagination of scholars ever since it was first
described by the philosopher Plato.
Writing more than 2,000 years ago, he depicted a land of fabulous
wealth, advanced civilisation and natural beauty.
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