Wednesday, December 1, 2004
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Picture of the Day



Remember back in 2000, and all the hue and cry about a stolen election and thousands of deliberately disenfranchised voters? That really was something eh? Without doubt many Americans were not aware of just how serious the matter was. After all, the Democrats all but accused the Republicans of rigging the election and demanded a recount, and in the greatest democracy on earth to boot!

Now that really was headline news.

Strangely however, it didn't make the headlines in the way and to the extent that one might have expected in the "land of the free".

Strange indeed.

But no matter, what's done is done, and even though an American President was appointed by a few Florida judges who were friends of the Bush family, rather than elected by the people, we can just put it down to a quirk in the system. After all, we have the US media to rely on to keep us all abreast of any issues and to hold politicians to account.

Rather disturbing however, was the news that, in the recent 2004 elections, the very same issue raised its ugly head again, and even more unsettling was the fact there was is little or no mention of it in the US press.

Now what could have caused that?

Even so, the final line of defence in any democracy is the people right? And if there is enough evidence and enough ordinary people who are motivated, democracy can be put back on track. In fact, that seems to be exactly what is happening right now...

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Voters to challenge US election

Julian Borger in Washington
Wednesday December 1, 2004
The Guardian

George Bush's victory in the US presidential election will be challenged in Ohio's supreme court today, when a group of Democratic voters will allege widespread fraud.

President Bush clinched re-election by winning the state of Ohio on November 2 by a margin of 136,000 votes over the Democratic candidate, John Kerry. Despite claims of fraud and technical glitches, Senator Kerry decided that they were not big enough to affect the result and conceded the election on November 3.

However, Cliff Arnebeck, a lawyer representing a group of voters challenging the Ohio result, claimed new analysis of various anomalies suggested it was rigged.

"We'll be calling for a reversal of the result based on evidence developed in the course of litigation," Mr Arnebeck told The Guardian yesterday. "Exit polling and substantial irregularities excluded votes that should have been counted. There is evidence that votes cast for one candidate were moved to the column of the other candidate."

Mr Arnebeck, a legal adviser to a liberal group, Alliance for Democracy, said the "contest of election" lawsuit will be presented to a judge from the Ohio supreme court today on behalf of at least 25 disgruntled voters. He said he expected other voters and organisations to join the case.

Ohio's secretary of state, Kenneth Blackwell, has until Monday to certify the result. His office did not return calls seeking comment yesterday but his spokesman, Carlo LoParo, told the Associated Press news agency: "There are no signs of widespread irregularities."

Mr Arnebeck said that hearings held in Ohio cities have brought to light new evidence of malpractice. He said one voter of a pro-Republican group caught destroying Democratic registration documents in Nevada before the election, had also been operating in Ohio.

Critics of the Ohio count have also pointed to the case of an electronic voting machine found to have credited President Bush with 3,893 extra votes in a suburb of Columbus where only 638 people voted. State officials have said those votes will not be included in the final certified totals.

There have also been complaints focused on punch card ballots, of the type which caused chaos in Florida in 2000. Voting involves making a hole in the ballot against the chosen candidate by punching out a small piece of card, a chad, with a stylus.

In the 68 Ohio counties where the ballots were used this year, according to some groups protesting at this year's election, vote counters were unable to determine a vote for the president, but did register votes for other offices.

The veteran civil rights leader, Reverend Jesse Jackson, is spearheading the call for an Ohio recount. "We can live with winning and losing. We cannot live with fraud and stealing," he said earlier this week.

The election challenge will be reviewed by a single judge out of the seven members of Ohio's supreme court, who may let the election stand, declare another winner, or throw out the result, forcing a recount or even a new vote. The ruling can be appealed to the full court.

Exit polls on election day suggested that the election could be heading towards a Kerry victory, deepening the despair in Democratic ranks at the Bush win. The anomaly was blamed on the exit polls, but Mr Arnebeck argued that it was evidence of malpractice.

Comment: So what can we expect to result from this? Well, at the very least it should, via the media, serve to broaden the awareness among ordinary Americans that, yet again, all is not well with the democratic process in the US, right?

Think again.

Go to and search for any incidence of this story being reported in the US mainstream press.

There is none.

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Voting Machines Count Backwards in Oklahoma

by Bob Nichols Saturday, Nov 27 2004, 3:13am

57 Rural Counties Affected - Vote Fraud Suspected

Rural Oklahoma Voting machines know how to count backwards.

(Oklahoma City) November 18, 2004 - Rural Oklahoma Voting machines know how to count backwards.

That looks like what the secretly programmed machines did for Sen. Kerry in President Bush's easily won Presidential Election victory in Oklahoma.

All 77 counties use the Optech Eagle voting machines and Tabulator's made by ES&S, Sen Hagel's republican company.

The respectable, conservative "Tulsa World" newspaper reported Nov 3rd that Kerry was winning in 57 of the states's rural counties., with 70% of the vote counted. Turns out that the famous November 3rd report was probably not supposed to be printed.

It represented the counting when the tabulating was about 70% "complete," as they used to say in the old Soviet Unon.

The "official" State of Oklahoma Election Board vote totals released later show Kerry not winning; but, losing in all the state's 77 counties, including the 57 rural counties. Yea, somebody really messed up, big time, and published a partially completed and, I guess you would haver to call it, "fixed" vote.

A simple comparison of total votes for Kerry between the staid establishment mouthpiece, the "Tulsa World" newspaper and the so-called "official" final vote totals at the State Election Board show fewer votes for Kerry in 57 counties than the "Tulsa World" does.

Fifty-seven of the 57 counties clearly demonstrate that Sen Kerry lost 37,982 votes to the ES&S Optech Machines. During the same time period President Bush gained a whooping 393,825 votes.

Nice, slick, easy way to win an election. As a man once said "He stole it fair and square!"

In other words, Kerry lost votes already cast by voters. The voting machines counted backwards. What could be simpler than that?

Who programs these things, eh? Why, ES&S Corp., of course.

It turns out the every vote in the state, all 1.4 Million of them cast, were counted on the same type of flawed machine, programmed originally by the Hagel's ES&S company.

Whether they knew the difference or not is not known; but, spokesmen for the State Election Board would only say the Machines and Tabulators were fron Optech. They breathed not a word anout ES&S.

Who really won? Well, nobody really knows! Most people in Oklahoma still think President Bush won his Presidential election. Wrong! Time for a re-count, this time by hand!

Not that Oklahoma's very few Electoral Votes make much difference in the grand scheme of things. Except, of course, fraud is suspected in Ohio, too. A recount is already guaranteed in Ohio. What will Oklahoma officials do?

"Film at 11." Fat chance!

People in the Great Flyover State of Oklahoma all know that the Professional Hairdo Anchors in the Oklahoma TV stations and the Radio Celebrities will not touch this with a 30 Foot Pole since their right wing owners keep them on a real short leash.

But, the money is good and the living is easy in Oklahoma, where "The Oklahoma Observer" says 20% of the people can't even read. This makes TV and radio even more important.

If these small state celebrities are reading this, and you know they are, then these parasites know the truth. I dare you, Kelley! Go for it! Get a life, dude! (Kelly Ogle is a local TV personality in Oklahoma City who specializes in "happy talk" transitions.)

Watch for more election 2004 reports here as I get to them. Please circulate and distribute IMC this report widely. You know that none of us can depend on the so-called dominant press to do so in the great state of Oklahoma or the USA anymore.

Meantime, I reminded of the Salsa ad for some company. When informed that somebody had bought Salsa from a company in New York City, an ole boy hollers off screen "Get a rope!"

By the way, what are YOU going to do about this situation?

Comment: But then again, perhaps all of this is some crazy story concocted by crazy conspiracy theorists. Well, it could be. In fact, in essence, it could be very similar to that other "crazy conspiracy theory" that you are all surely aware of: that Martin Luther King was killed on the orders of US government agencies. That one was a real doozy, eh?

It was all the more surprising then when, just a few years ago, the US justice system declared that MLK has indeed been the victim of a conspiracy that involved none other than the US government.

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Flashback: Civil suit finding backs conspiracy theory in King death

December 8, 1999

MEMPHIS, Tennessee (CNN) -- The 1968 assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was the result of a conspiracy and not the act of a lone killer, a jury in a civil suit found Wednesday.

In a civil suit -- brought by an individual plaintiff or group of plaintiffs instead of the state -- the plaintiffs must merely show "a preponderance of evidence" against the defendant, rather than prove "beyond a resonable doubt" that a crime was committed, as in a criminal trial.

The family of the slain civil rights leader sued Loyd Jowers, a retired businessman who claimed six years ago that he paid someone other than convicted assassin James Earl Ray to kill King in Memphis.

Prior to Wednesday's verdict, several investigations of the slaying had found that Ray acted alone -- or that he may have had only limited assistance.

But the King family's lawyer, William Pepper, claimed that King was the victim of a vast conspiracy and that the FBI, CIA, the Mafia and the military were involved.

The Kings had sought unspecified damages and were awarded a token $100. They wanted the verdict to lend support to their call for a fresh investigation of the killing.

Ray confessed to killing

Jowers' attorney, Lewis Garrison, agrees that there was a conspiracy to murder King. He named as participants the U.S. government, the Memphis police, the state of Tennessee and James Earl Ray.

Ray confessed to killing King and was sentenced to 99 years in prison. He spent the rest of his life claiming to be innocent and trying to get a trial. He died from liver disease in 1998.

Ray's guilty plea was upheld eight times by state and federal courts. A congressional committee concluded in 1978 that Ray was the killer but he may have had help before or after the assassination. The committee did not find any government involvement in the murder.

Pepper said King was killed because of his opposition to the Vietnam War and plans for a huge march on Washington.

At the trial, Pepper said the order to kill King was issued by the head of organized crime in New Orleans to a Memphis produce dealer who got Jowers to handle the payoff and murder weapon. An Army sniper squad was in place to shoot King if the Mafia hit failed, Pepper claimed.

The FBI, CIA, the media, Army intelligence and state and city officials helped cover up the assassination, said Pepper, who also represented Ray in his efforts to get a trial.

Pepper called witnesses who claimed that King's police protection was pulled back moments before the shooting, that Army agents had him under surveillance and that a police officer who was at King's side after he was shot later went to work for the CIA.

Juror David Morphy said he believed the assassination was too complex to be carried out by one person.

"We all thought it was kind of a cut-and-dried case, with the evidence that Pepper brought forth that there were a lot of people involved, everyone from the CIA, military involvement in it -- Jowers was involved in it, we felt," he said.

Jowers did not testify

The six black and six white jurors in Shelby County Circuit Court took three hours to reach their conclusion.

Lewis Garrison, Jowers' lawyer, told the jury that while they could reasonably conclude King was the victim of a conspiracy, his client's role was minor at best.

In 1993, Jowers told ABC that he hired King's killer as a favor to an underworld figure who was a friend. He did not identify the purported killer, but said it wasn't Ray.

The 73-year-old Jowers, who has never repeated the claim but has not recanted it either, was sick for much of the trial and did not testify.

In 1968, Jowers owned a small restaurant, Jim's Grill, across the street from The Lorraine Motel, where King was killed. On the day of the assassination, Ray, a prison escapee from Missouri, used an assumed name to rent a room in a rooming house above Jim's Grill.

Justice Department probe continues

Shelby County prosecutor John Campbell, who has investigated the assassination, said Jowers' claims have no merit, saying several of Jowers' friends and associates said he was hoping to get a movie or book deal.

"We looked at this off and on for five years ... and I've still seen nothing that would change my opinion," Campbell said.

Last year, Attorney General Janet Reno ordered a limited probe by the Justice Department into two allegations of a conspiracy in the King murder. One was Jowers' claim; the other was a statement by former FBI agent Donald Wilson that he found papers in Ray's car that might support a conspiracy.

"Our review is still ongoing," Justice Department spokeswoman Carol Florman said. She would not comment on the Memphis case.

Comment: How many members of the American or world public are aware of this fact? Were you? If not, why not?

Perhaps we can answer the question for you.

Around the same time as this trial was taking place, the news headlines were coincidentally dominated by another murder case involving a certain "O.J. Simpson". We are sure you ALL remember that one. Interesting is it not?

But life goes on, as they say, and the American people stumble blindly on, oblivious to the truth that conspiracy is in fact the inherent nature of government.

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"Luther" Movie - An Inspiration In Our Trouble

By: Henry Makow

A movie about Martin Luther to be released this week on DVD speaks to us in our current peril.

It describes how one man had the courage to defy the Power Elite of his day and actually succeeded.

Starring Joseph Fiennes, "Luther" was a box office hit in Germany in 2003. It had a limited release in the US where it went largely unnoticed, thanks to our ever vigilant mass media.

Intelligent, tasteful and truthful, "Luther" is a reminder of what movies can be when Hollywood is not involved.

"Thrivent," a German-based non-profit Lutheran financial services corporation financed the lavish $25 million production. It is directed by Eric Till and also stars Alfred Molina and Sir Peter Ustinov.

The movie vividly recreates the story of how Martin Luther (1483-1546) spearheaded long overdue reform that led to the Protestant Reformation and the growth of national independence.

Specifically Luther challenged the Catholic practice of selling "indulgences" or forgiveness for sins. This included onerous payments so that deceased loved ones would not go to hell. The money was used to finance wars.

The parallels with our own times are striking. A satanic criminal NWO cabal controls the government which, thanks to the mass media, masquerades as the arbiter of reality and defender of God.

To protect us from "hell" i.e. the "terrorists," we have to forfeit our civil rights and money to this new world state religion. Our sons and daughters are shipped off to Iraq to slaughter people who are opposed to NWO occupation. Thousands of them are killed and maimed. We are all implicated morally because we pay taxes.

The head of Turkey's parliamentary human rights group recently accused Washington of genocide in Iraq and behaving worse than Adolph Hitler.

"The occupation has turned into barbarism," Reuters quoted Mehmet Elkatmis, head of parliament's human rights commission, as saying in Friday's Yeni Safak newspaper.

"The U.S. administration is committing Iraq. Never in human history have such genocide and cruelty been witnessed...This occupation has entirely imperialist aims," he told the human rights commission on Thursday.

We are in the position of Germans during the Hitler era. One day we could be asked, "What did you do to prevent this?"

We are taught that we have entered an enlightened era, that the world no longer needs principled acts of defiance and self-sacrifice.

Our minds are trivialized we can't even conceive issues of this magnitude. Morally we are being prepared for our own destruction because morally we are complicit in cultural and physical genocide.

At the very least, we are facing enslavement. But like sheep grazing in the shade of a rising abattoir, we remain in denial.

How can we declare that we are vehemently against the Iraq War and the NWO?

Our first impulse is to keep out heads down. To remain silent. To hide. To find individual solutions. To play along.

Why are we so cowardly?

Marin Luther was summoned before the Diet of Worms in 1521. He was told to renounce his writings on pain of heresy and death. He did not flinch.

"Is it not manifest that the Popes...entangle, vex and distress the consciences of the faithful? The endless extortions of Rome engulf the property and wealth of Christendom..."

If he were to recant, he would "strengthen this tyranny and open a wider door to so many and flagrant impieties."

Luckily Luther had powerful friends among the German Princes who wished to rebel against the Roman yoke.

Powerful friends or not, we must take a principled stand. We must speak out publicly, organize and act.

At the very least, we must do what is within our power to oppose the NWO.

For example I found out this week that my bank the CIBC here in Canada funds the homosexual lobby group "Egale." It is a bother but I must change banks and let them know why. We must demand to know the political activities of all the companies we deal with.

The Canadian Broadcasting Commission, the publicly funded propaganda outlet of the New World Order has been championing the pro-NATO elements in Ukraine. It is a bother but I must let the CBC know I am disgusted by their bias.

Ultimately the New World Order is a cosmic conspiracy against God. Satan and God have a wager. Satan believes that man is not made in the image of God but is a selfish perverse animal.

Cattle are bred or slaughtered.

On a moral level, we need to act to prove we are men. This is not only about saving our butts. It's about saving our souls.

"Luther" is available from Nov. 30 2004 at, Blockbuster, Hollywood and Best Buy.

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Ukraine Parliament Votes to Sack Government

Wed Dec 1, 2004
By Natalya Zinets

KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine's opposition scored a key win Wednesday in its drive to overturn what it says was a rigged election, when parliament sacked the government of Prime Minister and president-designate Viktor Yanukovich.

Several hurdles remain before opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko can claim outright victory in a crisis that has threatened to tear apart the ex-Soviet state that sits between former master Russia and an expanded European Union.

The vote passed at the second attempt through secret ballot at an unruly sitting of the assembly, with Yushchenko's backers sporting orange scarves and ties -- his campaign color.

Outside, tens of thousands of his supporters followed the debate through loudspeakers, cheering wildly at every procedural measure and embracing as the outcome was announced.

"It is an important and serious victory for us but there is still a lot to be done," parliamentary deputy Mykola Tomenko told the crowd in nearby Independence Square, taken over by opposition supporters since the disputed Nov. 21 presidential election.

The opposition has vowed to use "People Power" to win demands for a new election soon.

Approval came just before the start of efforts by international mediators to help settle the crisis. Deputies had also voted to create an interim "government of national trust."

Outgoing President Leonid Kuchma made clear he would not easily give up his battle with the opposition, rejecting its key demand the presidential run-off his protege won be held again.

"Any rerun would simply be a farce. I cannot see it in any other way and I will never support it as it would be unconstitutional," he told a meeting of economic officials.


The Supreme Court was sitting for a third day to decide whether the election was fraudulent.

If it rules in favor of the opposition, the Central Election Commission will have to revoke the victory it handed to Yanukovich and can then either set a repeat vote or a completely new election which would take up to three months to complete.

Yanukovich himself becomes acting prime minister, a position he can hold under the constitution for two months. But, crucially for the opposition, it means he has effectively lost his administrative power base to help in a new election.

But there is widespread speculation that Kuchma will drop him and look for a new protege to challenge Yushchenko.

President Bush called for a peaceful resolution.

Bush said he had spoken by telephone to Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski, one of the international mediators trying to broker a way out of a standoff that has paralyzed government and is beginning to hit Ukraine's economy.

The sides have been deadlocked, neither quite able to deliver the final blow and aware that one false step could trigger mass violence in a country which has voted largely along linguistic and cultural lines.

So bitter has the political debate become that the losing side faces being completely shut out of power.

"It's very important that violence not break out there, and it's important that the will of the people be heard," Bush said.

Kuchma, whose 10-year rule is tarnished by scandal and poor economic management, has suggested he might agree to the longer process of a new election from scratch.

Analysts say he may hope that by dragging out the crisis, opposition supporters will tire of spending day after day on the streets and night after night in tents in wintry weather.


The world view of the two rivals differs widely, with Yushchenko looking to the European Union that has expanded up to Ukraine's borders as crucial to hopes of raising the economy.

Yanukovich looks to achieve that goal with traditional partners in the former Soviet Union, especially Russia which has dominated Ukraine for centuries and is its main source of energy. More exports, however, go to the European Union.

The divide inevitably colors the attitudes of the mediators.

The EU views Ukraine, with its industrial and agricultural might still to be exploited, as a future member.

For Russia, it is part of the family. Its loss to the embrace of the West would underline the Kremlin's dwindling influence in a region it once ruled.

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, who arrived in Kiev Tuesday and met Kuchma, said any solution "had to lie in Ukraine's legal framework, ruling out any use of force."

Kwasniewski, Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus and Boris Gryzlov, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, were arriving Wednesday to attend talks.

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Lines form outside Ukraine banks amid bitter election crisis
AFP: 11/30/2004

DONETSK, Ukraine - Angry pensioners in eastern Ukraine jostled for a place in line to a bank Tuesday as a crisis over a bitterly disputed presidential election spilled into the financial sector.

"If only they would let me withdraw at least 1,000 hryvnas (190 dollars)," said 76-year-old Yulia Kopran, one of thousands of Ukrainians who have rushed to convert their hryvnas into foreign currency over the past few days.

The run on bank deposits was sparked by a crisis that followed a November 21 runoff presidential vote, including mass opposition demonstrations and threats of separatism by southeastern regions.

"This is an artificially created problem, it's the political instability that is making people do this," said Irina Panaseyko, chief accountant of the Ukrainsky Biznes Bank in Donetsk.

The rush to buy up dollars and euros prompted the central bank Tuesday to impose limits on purchases of foreign currency, barring individuals from buying more than 1,000 dollars at a single location.

"If individuals want to buy more than 1,000 dollars (755 euros) they have to wait until the next day," a spokeswoman said, but added that people could visit several exchange booths and change 1,000 dollars each time.

Meanwhile currency exchange booths throughout the city of Donetsk had stopped selling foreign currency and many of the city's bank machines had "out of order" signs taped to their windows.

The crisis also spilled into other sectors, as the southern Crimea republic instituted price controls on bread and the region of Dniepropetrovsk advised its cities to monitor prices on food and fuel daily.

The central bank has resorted to massive intervention to keep the hryvna stable, spending up to 400 million dollars out of reserves of some 10 billion dollars in the past week, analysts say.

"There are enough central bank reserves for the moment but it all depends on how long it goes on for," said Andriy Blinov, head of International Centre for Policy Studies.

"The situation is such today that the economy is hostage to the political situation," added Blinov, also warning of a spurt in inflation.

The central bank also ordered banks not to process non-cash exchange transactions in excess of 50,000 dollars and the early payment of fixed-term deposits, the Russian news agency ITAR-TASS reported.

Businesses are to be limited to withdrawing 80,000 hryvna (15,038 dollars) in cash per month, and individuals limited to daily withdrawals of 1,500 hryvna per day from their bank accounts.

Ukraine's average monthly wage in October was 630 hryvna.

Donetsk is a bastion of support for pro-Russia Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich, and is one of more than a dozen regions which have threatened to grab more autonomy from Kiev if Western-leaning opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko becomes president.

Although ballot results handed victory to Yanukovich, Yushchenko claims that the government helped rig the vote to steal the election and is demanding that he either be declared the winner or that a new vote be held.

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Germany Says U.S. Won’t Allow Secret Documents at 9/11 Suspect Retrial

AP 2004/11/30

Hamburg - German authorities have secret documents that could be important to the retrial of a man accused of helping the Hamburg-based Sept. 11 pilots, but U.S. authorities will not allow them to be submitted as evidence, the government told a court Tuesday.

A federal appeals court in March ordered the retrial of Mounir el Motassadeq on charges of more than 3,000 counts of accessory to murder and membership in a terrorist organization after ruling he had been unfairly denied testimony from Al Qaeda captives in U.S. custody when originally convicted in 2003.

When Motassadeq's retrial opened in August, Washington appeared to be backing down slightly, permitting the German court to introduce summaries of U.S. interrogations of Ramzi Binalshibh and Khalid Shaikh Mohamad.

Mohammed is thought to be the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks and Binalshibh is believed to have acted as the liaison to Al Qaeda for the Hamburg cell, which included suicide hijackers Mohamad Atta, Marwan Al Shehhi and Ziad Jarrah.

But in a letter read to the court Tuesday, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's office said that, though German intelligence has some of the full interrogation transcripts, it has not been able to get permission from the United States to have them introduced at trial.

To turn them over without U.S. permission would damage German intelligence services' ability to work with its American counterparts and thus "endanger the interests of the state," said the letter, written by Schroeder's intelligence coordinator Ernst Uhrlau.

The United States refused to allow the transcripts or summaries to be introduced at Motassadeq's first trial.

The 30-year-old Moroccan is accused of helping pay tuition and other bills for members of the Hamburg cell, allowing them to live as students as they plotted the attacks.

He acknowledges being a friend of the suicide hijackers but maintains he knew nothing of their plans to attack the United States.

In the summaries read to the court as the retrial opened, Binalshibh backed that up, saying only he and the three Hamburg-based suicide pilots -- but not Motassadeq -- knew of the Sept. 11 plot.

The U.S. Justice Department warned that it doubted the credibility of the statements, however, and Uhrlau in his letter again warned that they should be "treated with caution."

In testimony last week, German federal agent Juergen Maurer said Binalshibh's and Mohamad's statements were self-contradictory, and that their evidence also contained contradictions of known facts and of reports from other suspects.

He would not elaborate, saying that the material is classified.

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Flashback: Convicted Sept. 11 terrorist freed pending retrial

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung Weekly [Frankfurt, Germany]
April 9, 2004

German politicians and police are blaming U.S. officials for this week's release of Mounir el-Motassadeq, the only man convicted in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks in the United States, pending a retrial.

Klaus Buss, the interior minister in the state of Schleswig-Holstein, said Thursday in a radio interview that U.S. officials had refused to allow terror suspect Ramzi Binalshibh to appear before the court in Germany and thus had “provided the essential cause“ for the Moroccan's release.

Comment: Now isn't that just amazing! Repeatedly the US government has refused to assist the German courts in prosecuting the ONLY person EVER prosecuted for the 9/11 attacks. The Germans have repeatedly asked for access to testimonies from "terrorists" that the US is holding at Guantanamo Bay torture camp, and the US government has repeatedly refused, thus scuppering any chance for the truth about 9/11 to come out. Now, we wonder, why would they do such a thing? They have claimed, bizarrely, that they cannot allow access to the people in G'tmo or allow their testimonies to be presented to the German court because:

" [US authorities] had to protect the sources and methods of the security services."


"interactive access" to such prisoners could hamper their interrogation and lead to secret information, including about terrorist threats, being divulged. It did offer, though, to provide declassified transcripts of interrogations."

Now doesn't that just beat all? The US cannot help in the prosecution of so-called "terrorists" because it might lead to secret information about terrorists and terrorists threats being divulged. Well, duuuh! That's the whole point! Hey, it might even lead to information about PAST "terrorist threats coming to light" - like 9/11 and who was really behind it!

So at least now we can understand the reluctance on the part of the US government, clearly they themselves have far more to lose from any REAL investigation into "terrorists" and "terrorism" than the "terrorists" themselves.

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Kean Threatens More Terror if no 9/11 Police State Bill

November 29 2004

Chairman of the 9/11 cover-up Commission (and bin Laden business associate) Thomas Kean made some veiled threats on NBC's Meet the Press Nov. 28, 2004:

MR. RUSSERT: Governor Kean, you said Americans are not going to be as safe. Do you believe if we don't pass this bill now, you, in effect, are risking lives?

MR. KEAN: I think you could put it just that way, yeah, because we know there's another attack coming. You and I can't say if it's next week or six months from now. But it's coming. And unless we take steps now--and 80 percent of the American people want this bill passed. Unless we take these steps now, it's going to be the new Congress going to come in; there are inefficiencies in the way the new Congress organizes, always. It's going to take at least six months. So six months where none of these things will happen: not better security at the borders, not more help for local people, nothing. Nothing. And I don't think we can wait that long, and I think it does, in essence, risk lives.

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PR Meets Psy-Ops in War on Terror
By Mark Mazzetti Times Staff Writer
December 1, 2004

WASHINGTON — On the evening of Oct. 14, a young Marine spokesman near Fallouja appeared on CNN and made a dramatic announcement.

"Troops crossed the line of departure," 1st Lt. Lyle Gilbert declared, using a common military expression signaling the start of a major campaign. "It's going to be a long night." CNN, which had been alerted to expect a major news development, reported that the long-awaited offensive to retake the Iraqi city of Fallouja had begun.

In fact, the Fallouja offensive would not kick off for another three weeks. Gilbert's carefully worded announcement was an elaborate psychological operation — or "psy-op" — intended to dupe insurgents in Fallouja and allow U.S. commanders to see how guerrillas would react if they believed U.S. troops were entering the city, according to several Pentagon officials.

In the hours after the initial report, CNN's Pentagon reporters were able to determine that the Fallouja operation had not, in fact, begun.

"As the story developed, we quickly made it clear to our viewers exactly what was going on in and around Fallouja," CNN spokesman Matthew Furman said.

Officials at the Pentagon and other U.S. national security agencies said the CNN incident was not an isolated feint — the type used throughout history by armies to deceive their enemies — but part of a broad effort underway within the Bush administration to use information to its advantage in the war on terrorism.

The Pentagon in 2002 was forced to shutter its controversial Office of Strategic Influence (OSI), which was opened shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks, after reports that the office intended to plant false news stories in the international media. But officials say that much of OSI's mission — using information as a tool of war — has been assumed by other offices throughout the U.S. government.

Although most of the work remains classified, officials say that some of the ongoing efforts include having U.S. military spokesmen play a greater role in psychological operations in Iraq, as well as planting information with sources used by Arabic TV channels such as Al Jazeera to help influence the portrayal of the United States.

Other specific examples were not known, although U.S. national security officials said an emphasis had been placed on influencing how foreign media depict the United States.

These efforts have set off a fight inside the Pentagon over the proper use of information in wartime. Several top officials see a danger of blurring what are supposed to be well-defined lines between the stated mission of military public affairs — disseminating truthful, accurate information to the media and the American public — and psychological and information operations, the use of often-misleading information and propaganda to influence the outcome of a campaign or battle.

Several of those officials who oppose the use of misleading information spoke out against the practice on the condition of anonymity.

"The movement of information has gone from the public affairs world to the psychological operations world," one senior defense official said. "What's at stake is the credibility of people in uniform." [...]

One recent development critics point to is the decision by commanders in Iraq in mid-September to combine public affairs, psychological operations and information operations into a "strategic communications" office. An organizational chart of the newly created office was obtained by The Times. The strategic communications office, which began operations Sept. 15, is run by Air Force Brig. Gen. Erv Lessel, who answers directly to Gen. George W. Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq.

Partly out of concern about this new office, Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, distributed a letter Sept. 27 to the Joint Chiefs and U.S. combat commanders in the field warning of the dangers of having military public affairs (PA) too closely aligned with information operations (IO). [...]

Pentagon officials say Myers is worried that U.S. efforts in Iraq and in the broader campaign against terrorism could suffer if world audiences begin to question the honesty of statements from U.S. commanders and spokespeople.

"While organizations may be inclined to create physically integrated PA/IO offices, such organizational constructs have the potential to compromise the commander's credibility with the media and the public," Myers wrote.

Myers' letter is not being heeded in Iraq, officials say, in part because many top civilians at the Pentagon and National Security Council support an effort that blends public affairs with psy-ops to win Iraqi support — and Arab support in general — for the U.S. fight against the insurgency. [...]

Advocates of these programs said that the advent of a 24-hour news cycle and the powerful influence of Arabic satellite television made it essential that U.S. military commanders and civilian officials made the control of information a key part of their battle plans.

"Information is part of the battlefield in a way that it's never been before," one senior Bush administration official said. "We'd be foolish not to try to use it to our advantage."

And, supporters argue, it is necessary to fill a vacuum left when the budgets for the State Department's public diplomacy programs were slashed and the U.S. Information Agency — a bulwark of the nation's anticommunist efforts during the Cold War — was gutted in the 1990s.

"The worst outcome would be to lose this war by default. If the smart folks in the psy-op and civil affairs tents can cast a truthful, persuasive message that resonates with the average Iraqi, why not use the public affairs vehicles to transmit it?" asked Charles A. Krohn, a professor at the University of Michigan and former deputy chief of public affairs for the Army. [...]

Advocates also cite a September report by the Defense Science Board, a panel of outside experts that advises Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, which concluded that a "crisis" in U.S. "strategic communications" had undermined American efforts to fight Islamic extremism worldwide.

The study cited polling in the Arab world that revealed widespread hatred of the United States throughout the Middle East. A poll taken in June by Zogby International revealed that 94% of Saudi Arabians had an "unfavorable" view of the United States, compared with 87% in April 2002. In Egypt, the second largest recipient of U.S. aid, 98% of respondents held an unfavorable view of the United States. [...]

Yet some in the military argue that the efforts at better "strategic communication" sometimes cross the line into propaganda, citing some recent media briefings held in Iraq. During a Nov. 10 briefing by Marine Lt. Gen. John F. Sattler, reporters were shown a video of Iraqi troops saluting their flag and singing the Iraqi national anthem.

"Pretty soon, we're going to have the 5 o'clock follies all over again, and it will take us another 30 years to restore our credibility," said a second senior Defense official, referring to the much-ridiculed daily media briefings in Saigon during the Vietnam War.

According to several Pentagon officials, the strategic communications programs at the Defense Department are being coordinated by the office of the undersecretary of Defense for policy, Douglas J. Feith.

Comment: The reader may recall that Douglas Feith is a hard-core Neocon. The Neocons are convinced that they can "create their own reality", and therefore the truth is not important. What is so shocking about this article is that it is obvious that if the actions of US forces were truly benefiting the Iraqi people, there would be no need to lie and create propaganda to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people. It is clear that US actions since 9/11 have done nothing but increase anger towards the United States. No one except the United Statesians appear to actually believe the propaganda created by the Neocons and their lackeys. With a world full of countries who don't seem to want to even dare to question the actions of US leaders - much less do anything about them - the only people who need to be duped are US citizens themselves. Articles such as this only serve to preserve the illusion that the US is not a fascist state - that debate is alive and well. In reality, it's all over but the crying...

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A Dwarf Known as Al Qaeda

The threat posed by the group is hugely overblown.

By Dirk Laabs, Dirk Laabs is a journalist based in Germany.
LA Times
November 30, 2004

The German federal police, the BKA, was once famous for its relentless, coolly efficient pursuit of terrorists. Hundreds of BKA agents eliminated the first three generations of the Red Army Faction, a terror organization that killed scores of politicians and civilians in the 1970s and 1980s. Then the hunt was on for the fourth generation. Hundreds of millions of dollars were invested; again, legions of agents were dispatched.

But finally, in 1997, BKA experts admitted there may never have been a fourth-generation Red Army Faction. The experts had been hunting a phantom. Lone-wolf terrorists or isolated veterans had committed the few, random attacks that occurred.

It was a striking example of how a police force — and a whole nation — fell for propaganda from the terrorists, which was pumped up by almost obsessive media hype. Looking at the current reporting on Al Qaeda, the question is: Is history repeating itself?

Comment: Perhaps, but at least in the case of the US War on Terror, the propaganda is being invented by the Neocons in control of the government, not the alleged "terrorists".

This month, at the BKA's annual conference, Germany's top investigators and international experts discussed what they had discovered since Sept. 11 about Al Qaeda and the international Islamist terror network. The main thing they have learned is that there is less than meets the eye.

Yes, Al Qaeda was once centralized, structured and powerful, but that was before the U.S. pulverized its camps and leadership in Afghanistan.

Comment: Well now, that's an interesting conclusion, especially since we have shown that Al-Qaeda, a CIA/Mossad creation, was most likely never as centralized, structured, or powerful as the US government claims...

In other words, this battle in the war on terror might already be over. It's as an ex-CIA agent once said: "I quit the agency at the end of the Cold War because I was tired of politicians making me describe the Soviet Union as a 20-foot giant — when it was really only a dwarf."

Comment: Note the word "politicians"...

For more than three years, Al Qaeda has been described by investigators, academics and self-styled experts as an almost uncontrollable menace. It was said to work closely with organized crime, to have access to unlimited funds, to have hidden those funds in gold and diamonds, to be capable of moving its money with a sophisticated finance system to whatever country Osama bin Laden chose to attack next.

The media tended to believe the worst and amplify it. The general idea was that a perfect crime such as 9/11 needed a perfect organization behind it. Most of the descriptions of Al Qaeda proved more legend than fact.

Al Qaeda never had a "macro-financing" structure, said Judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere, the dean of Europe's anti-terrorism investigators. In fact, analyzing the clusters of activists, he found that there were never large flows of external money financing any attack. In nearly a decade of searching, all Bruguiere was able to find was "micro-financing" activists raising the little money they needed to survive and commit their crimes through credit card or debit card fraud. They turned out to be petty thieves, not grand gangsters.

The terrorists did not need a lot of money to finance the attacks in Madrid, Bali and Tunisia. "They could carry around the money they needed in cash," said Nikos Passas of Northeastern University in Boston.

There is, according to Passas, no evidence that Al Qaeda ever invested in the gold market or in African diamonds. It never moved money around the world through the traditional and untraceable informal money transfer systems known as hawalas. It used Western Union.

That didn't stop the United Nations and the United States from harnessing the hawalas with rigid controls, which hurt the hundreds of small businesses in the United States, the Middle East and Pakistan that rely on them.

Meanwhile, authorities pay little or no attention to much simpler ways to transfer money globally. PayPal, for example, which has become the de facto international bank of the Internet, is open to anyone with a credit card.

All too often, investigators have fallen for myths — many times fed by the terrorists themselves. The BKA has constructed profiles of 60 radical Islamists. "There was no pattern, no model … every activist had individual motives to become radical," a German investigator said.

But being less structured doesn't mean the terrorists are less dangerous or easier to stop. Quite the contrary. The smaller the fish, the tighter the net needed to catch it. "We take every case seriously now precisely because there is no pattern," one German investigator said.

Comment: Here we discover the whole point of this opinion piece: "Sure, the government lied, but that's exactly why we need even more restrictions on civil liberties!" The fact that German investigators have made this statement would tend to indicate that either they really don't know the truth, or they don't want to reveal the truth of the matter - perhaps because they can't reveal it...

Investigators admit that 3 1/2 years after 9/11, they know next to nothing about the motives of Islamic terrorists. Knowing so little means they have few means to predict — or prevent — future acts.

Comment: Here's a wild and crazy idea: Investigators still know next to nothing about the motives of Islamic terrorists because it wasn't "Islamic terrorists" who have been carrying out recent acts of terrorism - it is some other group entirely. Now, who has benefited the most from the War on Terror? Don't rush, take your time...

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Iran boasts 'great victory' over US

Middle East Online
By Siavosh Ghazi – TEHRAN

Tehran warns nuclear freeze is temporary, European trio to reward Iran.

Iran boasted Tuesday it had humiliated the United States at a board meeting of the UN atomic watchdog by agreeing to what it reiterated was only a temporary freeze of its suspect nuclear programme.

"The Islamic republic has not renounced the nuclear fuel cycle, will never renounce it and will use it," top national security official and nuclear negotiator Hassan Rowhani told a news conference.

"We have proved that, in an international institution, we are capable of isolating the United States. And that is a great victory," he added.

On Monday the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) spared Iran the fate of being referred to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions after Tehran agreed in a deal with Britain, France and Germany to suspend its uranium enrichment programme.

The United States accuses Iran of seeking nuclear weapons, a charge vehemently denied by Tehran. It had been pressuring the IAEA's 35-nation board of governors to send the case straight to New York.

Rowhani, who smiled and joked with reporters during a nearly two-hour-long press conference, claimed that the US envoy to the IAEA "was enraged and in tears, and everybody said that the Americans had failed and we had won".

He also asserted that Iran had only agreed to the suspension for the duration of negotiations with the European trio that should yield lucrative incentives for the Islamic republic.

Iran and the European trio are to begin talks in December on a package of rewards to Iran for suspending enrichment, the key process using centrifuges to make fuel for nuclear reactors -- or the explosive core of atomic bombs.

"The suspension will only last as long as the negotiations. It should be a question of months and not years. We should not feel during the negotiations that they are trying to gain time," he said.

Europe is ready to negotiate on trade, transfers of peaceful nuclear technology and help on security issues. But the talks will also be aimed at producing "objective guarantees" that Iran will not divert its nuclear programme towards making an atomic bomb.

Both sides admit this will be a tough task in the light of Iran's determination to produce its own nuclear fuel. [...]

Comment: While all of this is happening, the UN is setting the scence for unfettered approval for pre-emptive strikes...Coincidence?

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UN to back pre-emptive strikes in first major overhaul

By Anne Penketh, Diplomatic Editor
01 December 2004

The United Nations secretary general is poised to recommend the first major overhaul of the UN in its 60-year history which will back the use of pre-emptive military strikes with the approval of a more proactive Security Council.

Kofi Annan is due to present a report tomorrow by a team of 16 high-level experts after he formed the panel a year ago in the midst of the Iraq crisis and asked it to come up with solutions for dealing with the challenges to global security in the 21st century.

The 93-page report considers the fierce polarisation of positions in the run-up to the Iraq war, that pitted the US and UK against France and Russia, and says that the council "needs to work better than it has".

Although implicitly criticising the US "war on terror", the report recognises the international community needs to be concerned about the "nightmare scenarios combining terrorists, weapons of mass destruction and irresponsible states and much more besides, which may conceivably justify the use of force, not just reactively, but preventively and before a latent threat becomes imminent". [...]


Dear Mr. Annan,

There are no "terrorists", there is however a phony war on terrorism and lots and lots of false flag operations.


The Signs Team

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Red Cross Accuses Bush of Torture
01 December 2004

The Red Cross has accused President George Bush's administration of overseeing the intentional physical and psychological torture of prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay.

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Bush 'Talks Smack' On Iraq
By Patrick Cockburn in Baghdad
30 November 2004

Disintegrating security in Baghdad was underlined in a sombre warning yesterday from the British embassy against using the airport road or taking a plane out of Iraq.

The embassy says a bomb was discovered on a flight inside Iraq on 22 November. It shows that insurgents have been able to penetrate the stringent security at Baghdad airport. The embassy says its own staff have been advised against taking commercial planes.

The warning is in sharp contrast to more optimistic statements from US military commanders after the capture of Fallujah in which they have spoken of "breaking the back of the insurgency".

The embassy says that the road between Baghdad and the international airport, perhaps the most important highway in the country, is now too dangerous to use. The advice says starkly: "With effect from 28 November, the British embassy ceased all movements on the Baghdad International airport road."

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Rumsfeld sued for war crimes over Abu Ghraib

By Tony Paterson in Berlin
01 December 2004

American human rights lawyers began an attempt in Germany to prosecute Donald Rumsfeld for war crimes yesterday. A case against the US Defence Secretary could embarrass Gerhard Schröder's coalition government.

Peter Weiss and Michael Ratner of the Centre for Constitutional Rights said they had submitted evidence to Germany's federal state prosecutor in connection with torture at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison.

He said: "Torture at Abu Ghraib has not been properly addressed by the US courts. The point is to make sure that people who torture have nowhere to hide." His action aims to use a 2002 law which lets prosecutors bring charges against those suspected of war crimes irrespective of nationality or where the crimes were committed.


Yesterday we received the following from a US reader:

For a year and a half, the team at Cassiopaea has been describing exactly what is now happening, and I've been watching it unfold in horror. I try not to focus on fear or the pain I feel at the suffering my country is causing, but I am not that strong. I resist my impulse to run screaming into the streets demanding a stop, an impeachment, prosecution for war crimes, because Iknow that screaming will land me in jail - or worse.

I have begun to envy the dead in their peace, since more of each day is taken up with the pain and with convincing myself to stay alive just in case my energy matters here in some small way. The thought of making things worse with my leaving keeps me here, because the pain I feel will never approach the pain and suffering my people are causing, and even the thought of making that worse glues me to this place. So, I stay, futile, and guard against a day I might not cry for those we hurt and kill; a day I lose my soul to what my country has become.

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Israel's Battle in Fallujah

Rashid Khashana Al-Hayat 2004/11/22

It has become clear that Israel played a major role in the battle for Fallujah, despite the American concern to conceal this fact.

What news leaked of officers, soldiers, and even rabbis of dual citizenships that took part in the battles, some of which were killed by the resistance's bullets, is only the tip of the iceberg. The killing of an Israeli officer in Fallujah exposed the existence of a large number officers, snipers, and paratroopers in Iraq. Based on Israeli press statistics, Israel currently has no fewer than 1,000 officers and soldiers scattered around the American units working in Iraq. In addition, 37 rabbis are operating within the American troops, which leads to believe that the real number is greater; since Ha'aretz admitted that others are concealing their Jewish identities, which makes them self-driven Israeli citizens.

Currently, there is a recruitment campaign coinciding with the escalation of the operations in Iraq, which seeks to send further assistance there. Amongst these campaigns is the incitement of Rabbi Irving Elson in his latest speech given in New York to allocate further "Fighting Rabbis" and encourage them to enlist in the American forces, in addition to another rabbi's advisory stating that those killed in Fallujah are "martyrs."

America needs the Israelis' experience in gang wars in order to manage the battles in the Iraqi cities; given that two generations of its armed forces lack this experience since the end of the Vietnam War. However, the Israeli role is neither technical nor complementary to the American plan. Rather, it is part of the vision established by its military and political leadership prior to the launching of the war, which aims at annulling any regional role for Iraq and eliminating any threat it might cause to its future. The Israeli plan became clear due to various headlines, most prominent of which is dispatching Mossad operatives to establish offices and networks in the north, south, eliminate the Iraqi scientists and intensify the real estate purchase of property and land in the north; specifically in Arbil, Kirkuk and Mosul. This comes as a completion of the previous project, launched ten years prior to the fall of Baghdad, through Jewish Turks.

Israel encourages the Kurdish leaderships to decentralize from Baghdad in administering their regions but at the same time, it aims at having the Kurdish parties play a pivotal role in the post-war Iraq due to the historical relations that it had established with the Kurds. More likely, Israel has advanced in developing the plan announced previously by the minister of infrastructure Joseph Paritzky that aims at laying oil pipelines from Iraq to Israel passing through Jordan; since a Turkish security report recently published by Jumhuriyet confirmed Israel's attempts to activate the line towards Haifa as soon as possible. Based on this vision, the Israelis believe that the American forces are incapable of imposing security and stability in Iraq. This obliged the Israelis to develop their own channels with the local powers beginning at the fulcrum point in the north and advancing in the implementation plan, which they had prepared prior to the fall of the former regime. However, they are now avoiding a confrontation with Turkey, which is worried from their expansion in the north.

In this course, Israel incites the Iraqi Jews to the forefront in order to head the bridge of organizing the relations with the new government and specifically intensify the trade initiatives with Iraq through Jordan. It also wants it to have a word in Iraq's destiny through the indirect influence at the Sharm El-Sheikh summit, which infuriated both Syria and Turkey.

The vast and unexpected expansion of the Israeli role in various fields in Iraq, confirms that Israel is the major beneficiary in the continuity of the war, same as it is the first beneficiary from the American escalation with Iran regarding its nuclear file. Iraq is not Russia, and Iran is not China, hence they cause no threat to the U.S., nevertheless, they both represent a threat to the Hebrew state.

In conclusion, it is possible to say that the Likudniks, who control decision-making posts in America, are using Bush's campaign against terrorism as a cover-up to accomplish Israel's objectives in Iraq. Hence, the purpose of the Fallujah battle is to break the backbone of the resistance and pave the way for the completion of the Israeli plan.

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Middle East Realities

"Sharon was a killer obsessed with hatred of Palestinians.
I had promised Arafat that his people would not get any harm.
Sharon, however, ignored this commitment entirely.
Sharon's word is worth nil."
Ambassador Philip Habib -
Ronald Reagan's Special Middle East Envoy*

MER - MiddleEast.Org - Washington - 11/3/1998: History takes strange turns indeed. The very man who has been at the heart of Israel's campaign to massacre, disenfranchise, and push under the Palestinians is now Israel's Foreign Minister, in charge of negotiating the "final settlement". The very man who has championed Israel's settlements and masterminded the "by-pass roads" and apartheid-style "autonomy" is now mandated to "negotiate" with the Palestinians. The very man who set up his personal settlement in the Muslim Quarter of the old city of Jerusalem, flying the Israeli flag and a Jewish Menorah on top of his building for all to see, this is the man the Israelis now thrust forward to finish off the Palestinians.

What a disgrace. What an abomination. What a disaster.

Sharon led the invasion of Lebanon in 1982 as Defense Minister. He bludgeoned, bombed, and lied his way, killing tens of thousands of civilians as he went, creating an Israeli as well as an international crisis as his forces laid siege to Beirut.

The youngest tank commander in Israel's history, Eli Geva, finally refused Sharon's orders and was allowed to resign from the army rather than face imprisonment. Desperate, though of course working in coordination with the Israelis, the Americans orchestrated the PLO's departure from Lebanon, Arafat and his men fleeing to Tunis.

A short time later, totally contrary to all assurances, Sharon personally orchestrated Israel's ally, the right-wing Lebanese Phalange, to slaughter thousands of defenseless Palestinians in the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatilla. Israeli searchlights illuminated the camps, while Israeli army personnel watched through binoculars, as the death squads spread unchallenged through the camps.

Much of the world -- including many prominent Jews -- branded Sharon a genocidal war criminal. Even the Israelis themselves, after a partial white-wash investigative commission, publicly declared that Sharon has been "indirectly" responsible for the massacres and forced his removal as Defense Minister.

That was the overall context for Ambassador Philip Habib, Special Envoy of President Ronald Regain, calling Sharon an obsessed "killer".

The following commentary about Sharon's becoming Foreign Minister and his role at the Wye negotiations is from a recent column by Professor Edward Said published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 9/28/1982:

The latest outrage concerns a report published in the US press on Saturday 10 October. In reports of General Ariel Sharon's appointment as foreign minister of Israel, a leading Palestinian figure -- a minister, negotiator, and long-time spokesperson for Arafat -- was quoted as registering a quite remarkable reaction to Sharon: we are prepared, he said, "to forget history".

Remember that this Israeli military man was responsible (the Israeli court at the time said "indirectly") for the massacres of Sabra and Shatila, but for our leaders this is perhaps too long ago to count as an obstacle to dealing with the man. Sharon's record of crimes against Palestinian civilians in any case is a very long one. He was directly responsible for the "pacification" of Gaza in 1971, when numerous citizens were killed or unjustly imprisoned, their houses demolished and the whole area transformed into an Israeli jail. As the head of Force 101, as it was proudly called, he inherited (after having participated in creating it) the tradition of attacking Arab civilians, the massacre at Qibya being only one example. Sharon used to boast that Israel could invade and destroy any Arab country at will. His whole career was compiled out of regular assertions of Israeli arrogance, all of which ended up in exorbitant losses of Arab civilian life.

Appointing him as foreign minister -- an act which seems to have shocked many Israelis for whom Sharon was a source of national shame as well as the author of a 1981 "peace plan" whose principal points seem to have been annexation and the creation of Bantustans: exactly the "peace" situation of today -- was Netanyahu's way of humiliating the Palestinians still further, forcing them to deal with a man first of all whose hands were literally dripping with Palestinian blood, second, whose intentions are known everywhere as radically hostile to Palestinians, and third, who persisted in regarding Arafat as a war criminal. He wouldn't shake Arafat's hand, he boasted.

By way of response, and forgetfulness, Arafat announced that he would in fact shake Sharon's hand. And then, as I said above, one of his closest aides went on record as being prepared "to forget history" and deal honestly and in good faith with Sharon.

Forget history: the phrase has a certain stink about it that emanates directly from the sty of corruption and dishonesty in which the Palestinian leadership from top to bottom now swims. Why this unholy zeal to forget the butcher of Sabra and Shatila? Of Gaza? Of Sinai? A man who directly supports' the settlers and who has planted himself and his gigantic belly in the middle of Arab Jerusalem, "his" house surrounded by a small brigade of guards, an Israeli flag waving disdainfully from its roof. A man whose hatred and contempt for Palestinians is unparalleled in Israel today. A man who not only wishes us no good at all, but who has in fact done us harm for three decades. Forget history, says the distinguished Palestinian minister. I realize that all I can do is to write these lines in disgust and protest, to record what is being forgotten and to mark what should not be erased from collective memory. But that we are driven to have not just correct but cordial relations with a proven war criminal simply outrages one's conscience beyond credibility.

Were this the only instance of Arab lack of dignity, it would be bad enough. But it isn't. Last winter, when I was in Palestine..., Sharon was sent to Jordan to meet with its leaders.

Our Israeli soundman, whose politics were liberal, told me that he was mystified as to why Arabs seem to respect this dreadful man. To many of us Israelis, he said to me, he's a war criminal. Why do the Arabs like him so much?

I must confess to having been tongue-tied, as I am again now. But merely forgetting about it can go too far, obviously. So it is our duty to remind these forgetful rulers of ours that there is no way that Sharon's crimes against humanity will be forgotten, despite the Palestinian Authority's forgiving spirit. The danger is, however, that, having already forgotten their own people, and certainly its right of return, as well as its rights of residence on its own land, the great keepers of the Palestinian revolution, as Fatah still refers to itself, will forget themselves too. Do you suppose it is impossible that they may apologize to Sharon for Palestinian existence, ask his continued indulgence and beg him to let us live on a little longer?

As it is, the deal that they have accepted of nine per cent withdrawal plus three per cent to be left as a nature reserve is misleadingly referred to as a gain, even though our leaders never point out that the 10 per cent contains only one or at most two per cent that will transfer land from the Israeli area C to Palestinian area A, plus some land from C to the jointly controlled area B. All in all, then, forgetfulness is a disastrous method of procedure, whose ultimate benefit is to the Authority's own survival under Israeli and US patronage.

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Airport searches are way out of line

Harlan G. Weinberger
Elm Grove, Wisc.
Posted November 29 2004

Passengers should vehemently protest these ridiculous Transportation Security Administration bully airport screeners' pat-down searches and write to their congressmen. Furthermore, more should complain by asking for the TSA screener's name and badge number.

It's gone way too far. The TSA is more based on people who have watched way too much TV and fantasized about cop shows. I can tell you that in most other places in the world, like western Europe for instance, they do not embarrass you or treat you so poorly as here. Does it tell you something when they have a curtained booth if they desire to wand you further (i.e. Switzerland)? [...]

Of course that would be beyond the 10 minute maximum wait Mr. Norman Mineta had wanted when this TSA was formed. Forget that logic of interviews. And, the newer U.S.-visit program? I wonder how many of our western European friends we've run off from visiting or conducting business on our soil? Fingerprinting, photographing and treating them like criminals, too.

Ridiculous for such lower risk persons. I wouldn't come here if I didn't have to. Three years past 9-11 and we still haven't learned squat on handling people at the country's airports. I think we're becoming a police state.

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Bush's security chief resigns
Tuesday, 30 November, 2004, 20:28 GMT
US Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge has announced his resignation from President George Bush's cabinet.

He said he was stepping down to pay "more attention to personal matters".

Mr Ridge was appointed by President Bush to be the first White House homeland security adviser within weeks of the 11 September hijacks.

He said he would remain at the head of the 180,000-strong department until 1 February next year, unless the Senate confirms his successor earlier.

He was charged by Mr Bush with rethinking security arrangements and preventing further attacks on US territory.

"I will always be grateful for his call to service," Mr Ridge said on Tuesday.

"There will always be more to do, but today, America is significantly stronger and safer than ever before," he said.

Mr Ridge was responsible for raising the national security level to "orange alert" on six occasions because of fears of an imminent terrorist attack.

He has always fiercely denied accusations that some alerts were timed to boost support for Mr Bush. [...]

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Shopping protesters arrested for 'nothing'

The News Journal | November 28 2004

For the past four years on Black Friday, three Newark sisters have been trekking to the Christiana Mall to celebrate a global anticonsumerism movement called "Buy Nothing Day."

This year, they got arrested after police asked the women to leave.

Anna White, 30, said she and her sisters Laura, 28, and Rachel, 25, and their friend Terri Carter went to the mall about 11:30 a.m. Friday on their annual junket to not shop.

They were dressed in Santa hats and white T-shirts printed with the words "NOTHING - What you've been looking for." The back of the shirts read: "Ask me about NOTHING."

Buy Nothing Day began 13 years ago a way for people to engage in symbolic protest against the "frantic consumer binge" by refusing to shop for 24 hours, according to Adbusters Media Foundation, a Vancouver, British Columbia-based organization that sponsors the event.

The foundation is "a global network of artists, activists, writers, pranksters, students, educators and entrepreneurs who want to advance the new social activist movement of the information age," according to the group's Web site.

White said she doesn't work for Adbusters.

"I like doing quirky things like this," she said. "It seemed like a fun way to get people to think about alternative ideas."

The activists had fliers to hand out. But White said they would only do so if someone came up to them to ask what NOTHING is all about.

"We didn't want to violate the mall's soliciting rules," White said.

But one of the women was armed with a video camera, which violates mall policy.

A security guard told the women they would have to leave because they were, in effect, soliciting - a reaction.

White said she and her sisters then left the mall through the Lord & Taylor exit and headed to their car parked near J.C. Penney.

Outside, a state trooper told them that they were on private property and would have to leave.

En route to their car, White said they were surrounded by four or five state troopers who took them into custody and charged them with criminal trespassing, a misdemeanor.

"They handcuffed us and took us to the [state police] satellite office," White said. "I guess they thought if we let three people dress up in Santa Claus hats, then what's next."

But state police spokesman Lt. Joseph Aviola's version of the story differed.

"These people were in the mall and were observed talking to patrons and also had a camera in their possession," Aviola said. "They were asked by management to leave the mall and they refused twice. They were told if they didn't leave that they would be arrested."

Aviola said a trooper walked the women to their vehicle.

White said that never happened. She maintains that they were walking to their car when troopers arrested them.

"We don't understand because we were following directions to leave," she said. "I don't know how you can get to your car if you can't walk to it through the mall parking lot."

Aviola said mall security told police 20 minutes after the women were told to leave that they were still milling around in the parking lot. He said they were congregating around cars "with a tripod set up with a cord running from it and appeared to be videotaping in the parking lot."

White denied that.

"They showed up last year and were told not to come back, and they came back this year," Aviola said. "It's private property, and they were told if they don't abide by the rules they would be arrested."

Now, it's up to a magistrate to decide their fate Jan. 15. If convicted, the women could be fined $25 plus court costs.

"I definitely am up for it again next year, but I don't want to get arrested," White said. "That was not our intention this year, either."

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Magnitude 5.5 Earthquake - SOUTH SANDWICH ISLANDS REGION
2004 November 30 18:25:30 UTC

A moderate earthquake occurred at 18:25:30 (UTC) on Tuesday, November 30, 2004. The magnitude 5.5 event has been located in the SOUTH SANDWICH ISLANDS REGION. (This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.)

Philippine survivors flee new typhoon, 600 dead or missing
Wed Dec 1, 7:06 AM ET

REAL, Philippines - Terrified survivors were fleeing the northeastern Philippines as a new storm bore down on the area where floods and landslides have killed more than 400 people and left nearly 200 missing.

Typhoon Nanmadol was early Friday expected to slam into the east coast of the main island of Luzon. Entire villages were washed away by a storm earlier this week and three towns were cut off and suffered heavy damage.

The new typhoon is packing winds of 175 kilometers (108.5 miles) per hour over the Pacific Ocean and is already bringing driving rain and strong winds to the devastated region, the government weather center said.

The worst-hit coastal towns of Real, Infanta and General Nakar suffered 364 dead and 139 missing, said the civil defense office in Manila. At least 48 people were killed and 38 missing elsewhere on Luzon. [...]

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Blockbuster Atlantic Hurricane Season Closes...Sort of
By Jim Loney, Reuters
Nov 30, 4:37 PM (ET)

MIAMI - Everything about the Atlantic hurricane season was big -- lots of powerful storms that spawned hundreds of deadly tornadoes, many deaths, an unprecedented onslaught on Florida, a huge damage toll and millions evacuated.

As the six-month season drew to a close on Tuesday, it was just getting bigger. Tropical Storm Otto was born in the Atlantic Ocean and forecasters said they reclassified August's Tropical Storm Gaston to Hurricane Gaston.

By the numbers, the 2004 season has produced 15 storms, nine of them hurricanes. Six were "major" hurricanes with sustained winds of more than 110 mph.

"The amazing thing was only three of the storms did not have an impact on land," said U.S. National Hurricane Center director Max Mayfield. Officials said 9.4 million people along the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts came under evacuation orders this season.

Florida took the brunt of the damage in the United States, with hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne walloping the state within a six-week span, the first time a single state was hit by four hurricanes in one season since 1886, NHC officials said.

Damage from the four storms may exceed the $25 billion-plus toll of Hurricane Andrew, the killer 1992 storm against which all others in Florida are measured. "Future hurricanes will continue to bring higher and higher damages as long as we continue to develop the coastlines," Mayfield said.


In the Caribbean, Grenada, Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, the Dominican Republic and Haiti sustained serious losses. Ivan damaged 90 percent of Grenada's housing stock, and Jeanne, as a tropical storm, spawned floods that killed about 3,000 people in Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas.

Hurricane Ivan was a nightmare for the oil industry, thrashing through the Gulf of Mexico's most productive oil and gas fields and wrecking platforms and undersea pipelines.

Damage from the storm, which helped push oil prices to over $55 a barrel this fall, has so far cut more than 32 million barrels from an already tightly supplied market.

That is more than twice the impact on U.S. oil production caused by powerful hurricanes Isidore and Lili in 2002.

Producers have still not fully recovered their output, with about 10 percent of their normal production still shut.

Even as the official season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, waned, hurricane forecasters named the 15th storm. Otto was born on Tuesday about 810 miles east of Bermuda with 45 mph winds. It poses no threat to any land.

Study of Tropical Storm Gaston, which hit South Carolina three months ago, convinced experts that it had achieved the sustained 74 mph winds needed to be classified a hurricane, giving the 2004 season nine hurricanes.

The last decade brought more Atlantic tropical storms and hurricanes than any 10-year period in history. That trend could continue for another two or three decades, officials said.

But for Florida, where thousands of residents are still struggling with cleanup, roof repairs and temporary housing from four hurricane strikes, a rerun of 2004 is highly unlikely.

"It's a very, very rare event," Mayfield said. "I wouldn't expect it again."

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Major anti-tobacco treaty to come into force in three months: WHO
December 1, 2004

GENEVA - A ground-breaking treaty aimed at curbing tobacco sales and advertising will come into force in three months' time after Peru became the 40th country to sign up, a WHO spokesman said.

"This is a major public health treaty, which will give people protection from tobacco for the first time," said Iain Simpson of the Geneva-based World Health Organisation (WHO).

The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the first ever international public health treaty, was agreed by the WHO's 192 member states in 2003 after four years of negotiations and a tussle between tobacco multinationals and anti-smoking campaigners.

Forty countries needed to ratify the treaty for it to enter into force and the signatures were collected relatively quickly, said Simpson.

"This reflects the fact that it is hugely important," he told AFP.

"There are 40 countries at the moment but we hope there will be many more."

Countries who sign up will be obliged to ban adverts and sponsorship promoting tobacco products, forbid sales to minors, force companies to print larger health warnings on cigarette packs, use taxation to reduce consumption and clamp down on smuggling.

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And Finally...

Optimists Club Calls It Quits

Nov 29, 7:35 AM (ET)

QUAKERTOWN, Pa. - It's a glum day for optimists. After 24 years of community service, the Quakertown Optimists Club is calling it quits. They're holding their last meeting on Thursday, citing declining interest.

"I feel sad," club president Bernard Kensky said.

Kensky said that fewer club members were taking part in sporting and scholastic activities for children, and fewer kids were getting involved in club events.

The group worked with schools to hold essay, spelling and public speaking contests for students, sponsored a youth bowling league and organized golf tournaments and football and basketball events.

A bicycle derby sponsored by the club and the Quakertown police department drew only 12 children last year, down from previous attendance of 50 to 70 children, Kensky said.

The Optimist Club is an international organization that formed in 1920. The Quakertown chapter started in 1980 with 35 members, but dropped to 15 members this year.

"Four or five people would come to meetings and only two or three people would help out with the activities," Kensky said. "I don't know why people stopped getting involved."

Quakertown is about 35 miles north of Philadelphia.

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