Travel Log! The
Quantum Future Group Goes to Rennes-le-Chateau
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and extensive previously unpublished details, at long last, Laura Knight-Jadczyk's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
Volumes 1 and 2 now!
and America -The Very Best of Friends
show that Israeli nationals, many in the United States illegally,
dominate Internet moving scams.
Their influence is unmistakable to consumers they exploit and to
prosecutors who try to stop them. The Israeli Embassy in Washington,
D.C., did not respond to recent inquiries, but an Israeli diplomat
last year acknowledged to a Seattle newspaper "a
very disturbing concentration of Israeli kids" in moving scams.
Chris Reed, who in July watched men from East Coast Moving Systems
load his furniture in Prior Lake, said one
of them said he was a former Israeli soldier and showed his military
In another recent case, Israeli nationals who ran a firm called
Budget Movers tried to abandon the possessions of 22 families in
Maryland before a consumer agency intervened. They were hiding household
goods from all over the country, but it's unclear why, said Steve
Hannan, a consumer affairs advocate there.
Many of the people connected with moving
scam companies in south Florida are Israeli nationals who have served
compulsory military enlistments, said James Cobb, a state
prosecutor. When Florida enacted tougher state laws to try to stop
those companies from defrauding local customers, they started operating
nationally, he said.
Federal indictments in Florida that led to recent convictions often
stipulate that deportation to Israel will result once prison time
is served. Dozens of defendants with Israeli connections were charged
with extortion, fraud and other offenses.
Walker, the founder of movingscam.com, said Israelis want to travel
after their military service. They come to the United States to
make money, then find work in the moving industry with disreputable
companies and learn how to scam consumers.
Minnesotan Lee Parmenter, who found his possessions stashed in
Los Angeles, said the FBI told him the owners
of the companies that stole from him had Israeli connections.
Parmenter thinks the rogue movers are more
organized than many victims might realize at first. "This
isn't your run-of-the-mill back-alley criminal outfit," he
The questioning went on for several hours. We went in detail
into the way the Mossad activates maintains and recruits its more
than three thousand Jewish helpers, called Sayanim, in Great Britain,
how it maintains over a hundred safe houses in the Greater London
area and services the recruitment needs of the other smaller stations
"If we wanted to clean up where should we start?"
"First you have to get your politicians to realise that
moving against the Mossad is not a move against the state of Israel,
that the Mossad is a loose cannon, and that it is extremely damaging
to whoever comes into contact with it."
"What we are asking about is the operational information.
What is the flaw in the system? Every system has one, however
hard they try to cover it up".
"What you need to do is watch the safe houses"
"I would tend to agree with you. But how do we find them?"
"You follow the bodel"
What's a bodel?"
"The word bodel comes from the word lehavdil, which means
"to separate". The bodel is the separator, your so-called
flaw in the system. He is the one who takes packages and things
from the Mossad station in the embassy to the safe houses and
back. He is the secret gofer. Usually if not always, fresh
out of an elite military unit, he is a young Israeli who has received
special anti-surveillance training. He makes most of
the trips to the safe houses during the day and most of the pickups
during the night. He rarely uses embassy vehicles and does not
have any specific pattern of work."
"So go and chase the wind, is that what you are telling
us. And you call this a flaw?"
That is what the man is supposed to do; that is not
always what he does. The safe houses are also manned by
Israeli students who make sure the houses are well stocked with
food and other essentials, so that when they are activated, they
are ready. They live in some of the houses and visit the others
to collect the mail, turn the lights on and off, and make phone
calls, so the place is in use and does not raise suspicions when
it is used by case officers. They are usually the same
age as the bodel and will meet with him socially. What I'm telling
you is that several places that he will go to in his free time,
and he will do that from his home, are in fact safe houses. Place
them under your surveillance, and if he comes there during the
day you have your safe house."
"So if we follow the man and uncover the safe houses, what
will we find? I mean, can you imagine the scandal if we uncover
several Pollard style cases? We will be branded anti-semitic on
"That will not happen" I replied. "The station
will not use the safe houses for their sayanim. They meet them
in their own houses and under everyday circumstances. Rarely will
they meet clandestinely, unless of course the sayan is in the
process of bringing in vital information from his place of work.
The safe houses are used purely for debriefing or field planning
sessions with case officers who do not enter the embassy. On rare
occasions, they'll be used to interrogate an agent, but in that
case they will almost always be discarded either after that. The
safe houses I mean."
ALL THE 9-11 AIRPORTS SERVICED
BY ONE ISRAELI OWNED COMPANY
Wednesday September 11, 2002
It's one of those times when an inoccuous comment in an unrelated
news report triggers a revelation.
In the article
at AfroCuba web there is the following paragraph.
"To make the situation worse, a private security company called
ICTS, owned by an Israeli, Ezra Harel, and registered in the Netherlands,
was employed at Charles de Gaulle airport to screen passengers boarding
US planes. Most of its personnel are ex-Shin Bet officers. The company
covers security at Boston’s Logan airport, where the American
Airlines plane came down after flight attendants and passengers
The point of thie article was that ICTS knew Reid was dangerous,
but allowed him on board a flight from Tel Aviv to Paris. The idea
that an Israeli owned company had inside access to the airport used
to launch an abortive terror attack brought to mind the strange
message Odigo Systems, another Israeli owned company with offices
near the World Trade Towers, received that warned of the impending
attacks before the hijacked planes had even left the ground.
So, I went back to another story that had surfaced briefly, reported
Net Daily about how at least one hijacker had smuggled a GUN
aboard one of the hijacked planes. Even prior to 9-11, getting a
gun on board a passenger plane represented a serious lapse of security.
I wondered why this story of a gun was being concealed behind talk
of box cutters and screwdrivers.
Then I went back to the first article and its mention that ICTS
handled security at Logan International Airport, from which two
of the 9-11 hijacked planes had departed.
Sure enough, a visit to ICTS' own web site confirms that ICTS is
in fact an Israeli owned company, and that it sells services to
every airport from which the hijacked planes operated, including
security, sometimes through wholly owned subsidieries like Huntleigh
It has been suggested that the incredible
feat of hijacking four aircraft without a single arrest at the gate
would require the resouces of a nation-state. This is even
more true with the revelation that at least one gun had managed
to be aboard a hijacked plane. One company had automatic inside
access to all of the airports from which hijacked planes departed
on 9-11, and to the airports used by Richard Reid, the shoe bomber.
An Israeli company. One that Mossad agents
could easily find employment with without the management knowing
who they were or what their purpose really was.
But one thing is clear. By virtue of the Odigo warning, someone
knew enough about the planned attacks to warn Odigo before the planes
had even departed the airport gates, yet they did not call the Israeli
security company at the airports which could have stopped the flights
Think about that one for a while.
"Evidence linking these Israelis to 9/11 is classified. I
cannot tell you about evidence that has been gathered. It's classified
-- US official quoted in Carl Cameron's Fox News report on the Israeli
"Investigators within the DEA, INS and FBI have all told Fox
News that to pursue or even suggest Israeli spying ... is considered
-- Carl Cameron, as quoted in The Spies Who Came In From The Art
"While I agree with you, if I say anything about US geopolitical
interests with Israel, I might as well clean off my desk."
-- Unnamed reporter as quoted in American Media Censorship and Israel
Organization: ICTS TECHNOLOGIES
Contact: Name: Ms. Michal Dror
Address: 7 Yad Harutzim St.
WEB site: www.icts-tech.com
Advanced integrative technological solutions for Homeland
security, Immigration system, Border passage and Aviation
ICTS Technologies is widely known for its
with the many facets of airport and airline operations;
continuously updated rules, regulations and procedures that
pertain to aviation security; and with its
cooperation with regulators in the USA and in Europe.
ICTS Tech's initial and most urgent goal was to develop advanced
technological solutions to meet today's increased threats to
aviation security, in the wake of the unprecedented terror
attacks of September 11, 2001. These events necessitated the
introduction of additional pre-departure security measures at
airports, including more thorough security processing of
passengers, which, in turn, resulted in lengthy screening
procedures and delays.
ICTS Technologies' IP@SS (Integrated Passenger Security Solutions)
was designed to enhance the security of the traveling public,
while accelerating passenger processing, thus minimizing passengers'
loss of time and discomfort. IP@SS is the only fully operational
passenger security processing system in the world. The system
has processed approximately 100,000 passengers in major airports
in the USA, Europe and South America within the framework of pilots
conducted for major airlines, with highly successful results.
ICTS Technologies has expanded its activities to include the
development of advanced security systems for other sectors of
the transportation industry, for example, cruise lines and seaports;
as well as for facilities requiring spectator processing and crowd
control, such as sports stadiums.
FOX NEWS SPIKES FOUR PART STORY
ON PHONE TAPPING SCANDAL
What follows is the original article I wrote when the news story
first broke regarding the existence of a system to tap into any
phone in America built into the surveillance system used by law
enforcement authorities. Several cases were cited where investigations
ranging from drug running and money laundering to the events of
9/11 had been compromised by leaks from the company that operated
the phone taps as well as phone data from an associated company
that handles billing services for almost every phone in America.
The focus of the article was a single question. Could Israel be
blackmailing the entire US Government and media.
The answer is now obvious. Fox News, the so-called
"We report, you decide" all news network, has removed
the four part story from their website. No explanation is given
except for the single Orwellian sentence at the end of one of the
links, "This story no longer exists".
Parts 1 of Fox News' Israeli spy ring story
Israel, purportedly our friend, has been spying on us all. And
we're not talking about individual spooks like Jonathan Pollard,
or small-time networks such as the 140 Israelis arrested by the
FBI prior to 9/11, or the 60 arrested since (including 5 arrested
who were cheering and celebrating as the World Trade Towers collapsed).
It turns out that Israel has had a potential wiretap on every phone
in America for years, along with the ability to monitor and record
who any person is calling, anywhere in America; information of great
value even if one does not listen to the calls themselves. Amdocs,
Inc. the company which sub contracts billing and directory services
for phone companies around the world, including 90 percent of American
phone companies, is owned by Israeli interests. Yet another
company, Comverse Infosys, is suspected of having built a "back
door" into the equipment permanently installed into the phone
system that allows instant eavesdropping by law enforcement agencies
on any phone in America. This includes yours.
Concerns about allowing an Israeli company such intimate access
to the infrastructure go back many years. As reported by Fox News,
the Israeli company Amdocs was implicated in the leaking of police
phone data that resulted in the collapse of on investigation into
a massive drug and credit card fraud operation with Israeli connections.
In a telling repeat of the Los Angeles drug case, investigators
looking into the attacks on the World Trade Towers are again reporting
that confidential telephone information is again being leaked in
a manner that is interfering with the investigations. Again, Amdocs
Not content with the phones of ordinary citizens
in the United States, evidence has surfaced that Israel compromised
the telephone systems at the highest levels of the US Government.
Now, I want you all to stop and think for
a minute of the full ramifications of this. Israeli interests have
the ability to listen in on ANY phone in America connected to any
of the systems used by Amdocs or Comverse Infosys. They have
had this ability for several years. They can listen in and track
the phone calls made by anyone's phone, whether police officer,
elected official, media talking head, editor, policy setter, news
mogul, even the President of the United States. The Ken Starr report
on Whitewater describes how Bill Clinton warned Monica Lewinsky
that a foreign government was tapping their phone calls.
Few indeed are the people in America who do not have something
to hide. That insider trade, the brief but torrid affair, the stolen
votes, the deliberate smear, the role one played in an assassination,
the acceptance of money from drug runners to look the other way.
Be honest. Is there a skeleton in your closet you hope will stay
there? Something nobody knows about? Well, if that skeleton involved
a phone call, someone may know about it. Amdocs and Comverse Infosys.
And their Israeli owners.
Just think about it for a moment. Everyone's private phone traffic,
right up to the President, potentially visible to Israeli interests.
And you cannot find the phone taps or bugs
because they are built right into the phone system!
Suddenly, a lot of events which have puzzled observers
start to make sense.
Like the way the US vetoed the UN resolution calling
for peace in Palestine, despite being the only 1 out of 15 voting
nations to have voted against the measure. The USA gained nothing
by this veto. But Israel did.
Over the last few weeks, the people of the United States have seen
a great deal of evidence pointing the finger of blame for 9/11 at
Osama bin Laden and Arabs in general, evidence which is circumstantial,
often self-contradictory, and in some cases faked. Yet as was reported
in the news, evidence also exists linking many of the arrested Israeli
spies (some of whom worked for the Israeli telecom companies above)
with the events of 9/11. Yet this evidence is NOT being broadcast
endlessly on the news. In fact, this evidence is CLASSIFIED. Someone
has persuaded" the US Government and the media that the American
people are ONLY supposed to see the evidence that points a certain
direction, and must never see any evidence that points someplace
else. Likewise, the media has been "persuaded" not to
report evidence that Israel knew of the 9/11 attacks ahead of time.
The foreign press has outright accused the Mossad of taking part
in the 9/11 attacks but the American media have been "persuaded"
not to cover these accusations.
It was well known that there was an Israeli spy inside the Clinton
White House. But Clinton ordered the FBI to cease searching for
the mole, code-named "Mega". It is now known that "Mega"
was not just Mossad spy but top Mossad agent in America. The cancellation
of the hunt for "Mega" occurred at the same time Clinton
warned Monica Lewinsky that their phone conversations were being
recorded. This strongly suggests that Clinton was "persuaded"
to call off the FBI's hunt for "Mega" with the threat
of a recorded phone sex session being made public.
Because of the purported links between Muslims and the attacks
on the World Trade Towers, the US Government has been shutting down
all Muslin linked charities in the USA. But the Chairman of the
Jewish Defense League, a group with a violent history, was arrested
recently in a plot to bomb a US congressman. But the US Government
has been "persuaded" not to take actions against Jewish
charities, while the media has been "persuaded" to allow
the story of hard evidence of JDL terrorism to fade away as quickly
Two Mossad agents were arrested with dynamite inside the Mexican
The Mexican government was persuaded to
release the two men without trial. Meanwhile,
the American media has been "persuaded" not to report
on the Mexican arrests.
Israel receives a hugely disproportionate share of foreign aid
from the United States, about $5 billion a year. A large segment
of the US population questions the sending so much money to such
a small population while so many people remain homeless on our own
streets. But somehow, Congress is "persuaded" to keep
sending more cash each and every year. Sharon faces war crimes trial.
The American media is "persuaded" not to make a big deal
of the story.
Israel is in violation of the Geneva Accords. The American media
is "persuaded" not to make a big deal of this story.
The United Nations accuses Israel of using torture on children.
The American media is "persuaded" not to make a big deal
of this story, either.
How is such persuasion possible?
The revelation of an Israeli-linked system for monitoring and potentially
listening in to the phone calls of every single person in the nation
at will opens up the possibility that a massive blackmail operation,
unprecedented in scale, is the real force shaping media bias and
United States policy.
The reality is that this nation's politicians
and media leaders all have secrets to hide. Mistresses, drug habits,
links to that airfield in Mena, Arkansas, BCCI cash sitting in that
bank in Barbados, loot from ADFA in the Cayman's; in a corrupted
society only the corrupt can reach the heights of power, and they
all have secrets to hide.
They are all vulnerable to blackmail.
And being the kind of people who were willing to, and usually did,
anything to get power, they are also the people willing to do anything
to keep it. Look the other way when the drugs come in, spike an
embarrassing news story or plant a fake one that embarrasses your
enemy, alter the books, destroy a report, falsify data, destroy
evidence, maybe even allow the military might of the United States
and the blood of her children to be tricked into fighting someone
History has shown that if a crime is possible, it is also inevitable.
The cold hard reality is that Amdocs and Comverse Infosys are the
most powerful tools a blackmailer could ever hope for, opening up
the private lives of everyone in the nation, including the secrets
of targets able to control the media and US policy.
Dare we ignore this potential threat?
Or will the media be "persuaded" that all this fuss about
Israeli-owned companies with wires into the phone system is just
a lot of nonsense?
There is one more aspect to this issue that needs to be looked
at. If indeed Israel is blackmailing our officials and media icons,
it is because those who are being blackmailed ARE blackmailable.
If we elect a government of criminals, we elect a government subject
to blackmail. Finally, given the fact that blackmail may be assumed
to be as widespread as the collection system itself is, those who
persist in trying to defend Israel may no longer be assumed to be
operating from the purest of motives. After
all, who will defend a blackmailer more staunchly than those who
are the blackmailer's victims?
WASHINGTON -- U.S. veterans from the war in
Iraq are beginning to show up at homeless shelters around the country,
and advocates fear they are the leading edge of a new generation
of homeless vets not seen since the Vietnam era.
"When we already have people from Iraq on the streets, my
God," said Linda Boone, executive director of the National
Coalition for Homeless Veterans. "I
have talked to enough (shelters) to know we are getting them. It
is happening and this nation is not prepared for that."
"I drove off in my truck. I packed my stuff. I lived out of
my truck for a while," Seabees Petty Officer Luis Arellano,
34, said in a telephone interview from a homeless shelter near March
Air Force Base in California run by U.S.VETS, the largest organization
in the country dedicated to helping homeless veterans.
Arellano said he lived out of his truck on and off for three months
after returning from Iraq in September 2003. "One day you have
a home and the next day you are on the streets," he said.
In Iraq, shrapnel nearly severed his left thumb. He still has trouble
moving it and shrapnel "still comes out once in a while,"
Arellano said. He is left handed.
Arellano said he felt pushed out of the military too quickly after
getting back from Iraq without medical attention he needed for his
hand -- and as he would later learn, his mind.
"It was more of a rush. They put us in a
warehouse for a while. They treated us like cattle," Arellano
said about how the military treated him on his return to the United
"It is all about numbers. Instead of getting quality care,
they were trying to get everybody demobilized during a certain time
frame. If you had a problem, they said, 'Let the (Department of
Veterans Affairs) take care of it.'"
The Pentagon has acknowledged some early problems and delays in
treating soldiers returning from Iraq but says the situation has
A gunner's mate for 16 years, Arellano said he adjusted after serving
in the first Gulf War. But after returning from Iraq, depression
drove him to leave his job at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission. He got divorced.
He said that after being quickly pushed out of the military, he
could not get help from the VA because of long delays.
"I felt, as well as others (that the military said) 'We can't
take care of you on active duty.' We had to sign an agreement that
we would follow up with the VA," said Arellano.
"When we got there, the VA was totally full. They said, 'We'll
call you.' But I developed depression."
He left his job and wandered for three months, sometimes living
in his truck.
Nearly 300,000 veterans are homeless on any
given night, and almost half served during the Vietnam era, according
to the Homeless Veterans coalition, a consortium of community-based
homeless-veteran service providers. While some experts have
questioned the degree to which mental trauma from combat causes
homelessness, a large number of veterans live with the long-term
effects of post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse, according
to the coalition.
Some homeless-veteran advocates fear that similar
combat experiences in Vietnam and Iraq mean that these first few
homeless veterans from Iraq are the crest of a wave.
"This is what happened with the Vietnam vets. I went to Vietnam,"
said John Keaveney, chief operating officer of New Directions, a
shelter and drug-and-alcohol treatment program for veterans in Los
Angeles. That city has an estimated 27,000 homeless veterans, the
largest such population in the nation. "It
is like watching history being repeated," Keaveney said.
Data from the Department of Veterans Affairs shows that as of last
July, nearly 28,000 veterans from Iraq sought health care from the
VA. One out of every five was diagnosed with a mental disorder,
according to the VA. An Army study in the
New England Journal of Medicine in July showed that 17 percent of
service members returning from Iraq met screening criteria for major
depression, generalized anxiety disorder or PTSD.
Asked whether he might have PTSD, Arrellano, the Seabees petty
officer who lived out of his truck, said: "I think I do, because
I get nightmares. I still remember one of the guys who was killed."
He said he gets $100 a month from the government for the wound to
Lance Cpl. James Claybon Brown Jr., 23, is staying at a shelter
run by U.S.VETS in Los Angeles. He fought in Iraq for 6 months with
Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines and later in Afghanistan
with another unit. He said the fighting in Iraq was sometimes intense.
"We were pretty much all over the place," Brown said.
"It was really heavy gunfire, supported by mortar and tanks,
the whole nine (yards)."
Brown acknowledged the mental stress of war, particularly after
Marines inadvertently killed civilians at road blocks. He thinks
his belief in God helped him come home with a sound mind.
"We had a few situations where, I guess, people
were trying to get out of the country. They would come right at
us and they would not stop," Brown said. "We had to open
fire on them. It was really tough. A lot of soldiers, like me, had
trouble with that."
"That was the hardest part," Brown said.
"Not only were there men, but there were women and children
-- really little children. There would be babies with arms blown
off. It was something hard to live with."
Brown said he got an honorable discharge with a good conduct medal
from the Marines in July and went home to Dayton, Ohio. But he soon
drifted west to California "pretty much to start over,"
Brown said his experience with the VA was positive, but he has
struggled to find work and is staying with U.S.VETS to save money.
He said he might go back to school.
Advocates said seeing homeless veterans
from Iraq should cause alarm. Around
one-fourth of all homeless Americans are veterans, and more than
75 percent of them have some sort of mental or substance abuse problem,
often PTSD, according to the Homeless Veterans coalition.
More troubling, experts said, is that mental problems are emerging
as a major casualty cluster, particularly from the war in Iraq where
the enemy is basically everywhere and blends in with the civilian
population, and death can come from any direction at any time. [...]
Roslyn Hannibal-Booker, director of development at the Maryland
veterans center in Baltimore, said her organization has begun to
get inquiries from veterans from Iraq and their worried families.
"We are preparing for Iraq," Hannibal-Booker said.
WASHINGTON - "Little old ladies"
beware. Government lawyers say even you may not be immune in the
hunt for those who aid terrorists.
Deputy Associate Attorney General Brian Boyle made the comment during
a court hearing on whether Guantanamo terror detainees should be
allowed access to U-S civilian courts.
Federal judge Joyce Hens Green asked Boyle whether
a "little old lady in Switzerland" who sent a check to
an orphanage in Afghanistan could be taken into custody if -- without
her knowlege -- some of the money went to al-Qaida terrorists.
Boyle said, "She could." He added, "Someone's
intention is clearly not a factor that would disable detention."
A lawyer representing 12 Kuwaiti detainees in the case says the
government's position "is very scary." He says there are
"no clear standards" on who gets picked up and detained.
Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This
material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
When the devil comes knocking on your front
door, looking for a way to spread his evil inside, he won't be sporting
horns and a tail. He's going to come dressed as your sweetest dream,
clean as a whistle, pious, sincere. He's going to speak your lingo,
ape your ways -- and when he opens up his little box of poison,
it's going to look like the heaven your mama sang about when she
rocked you to sleep in your cradle.
Then one day, when the mind-fog lifts, you see him sitting at the
head of the table, the walls of the room smeared with filth, dead
bodies swelling on the blood-mucked floor, the still-living victims
hog-tied and naked, screaming for mercy as the whipcords strike.
He beckons you forward with a welcoming smile. You pause for a moment.
It seems so strange: All this horror -- it would have once made
you sick, but now it just feels like ... home. You shrug, you grin,
you take your place beside him at the feast.
In just this way, while Americans were finishing their Thanksgiving
dinners and preparing to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, a
series of stories exposed -- once again -- the torture chamber at
the heart of their feast: a government gone insane, embracing terror,
atrocity and tyranny. Yet there was no public
outcry against these desecrations. Few even noticed; fewer still
Last week, the minions of George W. Bush
announced, in open court, that he has the power to seize anyone
on earth -- even "little old ladies in Switzerland" --
and imprison them forever if he so chooses, The New York Times reports.
The minions said that anyone Bush declared
"an enemy combatant" -- even if they never took up arms
against America, even if they didn't know their actions were related
to terrorism in any way -- could be abducted from any nation, friend
or foe, or in the Homeland itself, and held indefinitely, "at
the president's discretion," stripped of all rights under the
U.S. Constitution or the Geneva Conventions.
Assistant Attorney General Brian Boyle said Bush's captives were
entitled only to a single hearing, alone before a military tribunal,
without legal counsel or access to the evidence against them --
evidence which Boyle cheerfully admitted
could be obtained by torture in foreign countries, The Associated
Press reports. Overturning centuries of Anglo-American jurisprudence,
Boyle said there were no restrictions whatsoever on using torture
evidence, as long as the president or his military agents arbitrarily
decide it is "credible."
Days earlier, The Sunday Times tracked down
the "private" planes of CIA front companies that Bush
uses to carry victims of his lawless abductions to torture chambers
in Jordan, Egypt, Libya and Uzbekistan, where "credible"
evidence can be obtained with fists, cattle prods, rape, drugs and
starvation. For example, witnesses
told of hooded American agents grabbing captives in Sweden, stripping
them, jamming drugs up their rectums, putting them in diapers and
chains, and bundling them off to Egypt's hellhole prisons -- whose
tortures have already produced generations of violent extremists.
But outsourcing is only one aspect of Bush's Torture, Incorporated;
he has plenty of domestic production as well. Last week, the Pentagon
released a report -- completed long before the election -- confessing
that the "aberrations" of Abu Ghraib were in fact part
of a broad system of state terror spread throughout Iraq, the Washington
Post reports. Elite squads of "Special
Operations" officers and CIA agents beat and abused prisoners
across the country, the Pentagon said, while regular troops committed
"technically illegal acts" by rounding up thousands of
innocent people at random and holding them for months in
crowded prisons, where they were often turned over to those same
"elite" squads for "special handling." Some
of this blood-soaked "intelligence" was "sent directly
to the White House," interrogators noted. The
report also admitted that American forces had taken innocent people
hostage -- especially "female family members" -- in an
effort to pressure wanted men to surrender: a clear war crime, as
if such things mattered anymore.
To Our Readers
Has something you've read here startled you? Are you angry, excited,
puzzled or pleased? Do you have ideas to improve our coverage?
Then please write to us.
All we ask is that you include your full name, the name of the
city from which you are writing and a contact telephone number in
case we need to get in touch.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Meanwhile, the International Red Cross revealed
that Bush has even perverted the healing professions at his concentration
camp in Guantanamo Bay, using doctors and nurses to help "set
the conditions for interrogation" by withholding medical treatment
and using their diagnostic skills to determine captives' "vulnerabilities"
to various physical and psychological torments -- "a flagrant
violation of medical ethics," said the Red Cross. Its
investigators also found that the Guantanamo regime -- "an
intentional system of cruel, unusual and degrading treatment, and
a form of torture" -- was growing worse over time, Salon.com
In such a moral sink, it was hardly even news that more photos
of prisoner abuse -- taken months before the Abu Ghraib atrocities
-- were uncovered last weekend, Reuters reports. This time it was
"elite" teams of Navy SEALs mugging for the cameras with
bloodied captives -- some with guns to their heads. Nor
did anyone blink when Bush military brass announced plans last week
to create forced labor camps for all male citizens in "liberated"
Fallujah, the Boston Globe reports.
This Satan's Rout of blood and abandon comes directly from the
White House, where Bush's legal counsel, Al
Gonzales, engineered memos "justifying" torture and exalting
unrestricted presidential power, beyond the reach of any
law, foreign or domestic. As a reward for this violent outrage of
American honor, Gonzales -- sweet-talking, pious and sincere, just
like his boss -- will soon become the chief law officer of the land.
And the American people, what do they do
about all the horror being wrought in their name? They
shrug. They grin. They sit down to the feast.
WASHINGTON - People indicted on terror charges
will have a much harder time getting free on bail under a provision
in the new intelligence bill. The provision also broadens the government's
authority to spy on terror suspects.
Critics say the enforcement powers, attached to the bill with little
debate in Congress, weaken civil liberties and privacy rights that
already were undermined by the Patriot Act that was approved shortly
after the Sept. 11 attacks.
The new legislation broadens prohibitions against providing material
support to terror groups, makes it a crime to visit a terror camp
that provides military-style training and allows the FBI to obtain
secret surveillance warrants against "lone wolf" extremists
not known to be tied to a specific terrorist group. It also makes
terrorism hoaxes a federal crime and toughens penalties against
people who possess weapons of mass destruction.
The Bush administration pushed to include the
law enforcement package in the intelligence measure to augment the
Patriot Act, which expanded the government's surveillance and prosecutorial
powers against suspected terrorists, their associates and financiers.
"We are pleased that Congress agreed that we still needed
to improve our defenses," Justice Department spokesman Mark
Critics say the provisions escaped close scrutiny
because they were tucked into the massive bill creating a new national
"Overall, it's another threat to civil liberties in this country,"
said Charlie Mitchell, legislative counsel for the American Civil
Liberties Union. "It's just a continuation of what the administration's
Under the bill, a legal presumption would
be established denying bail for anyone indicted by a grand jury
on terrorism charges. Although the
suspect could appeal to a judge, the burden of proof would be on
the defendant to show release would be prudent.
That stipulation has long been in place for suspects in many violent
and drug crimes but not for terrorism.
Skeptics say the provision has the potential to be abused, possibly
resulting in long detentions for people ultimately found innocent.
"Unfortunately, this Justice Department has
a record of abusing its detention powers post-9/11 and of making
terrorism allegations that turn out to have no merit," said
Sen. Russell Feingold, D-Wis.
The bill also allows federal prosecutors to share secret information
obtained in grand jury proceedings with state, local or foreign
law enforcement officers if it might help prevent a terrorist attack.
Another provision would adjust parts of the law that make it a
crime to provide "material support" to terrorist organizations.
Two federal courts in California have ruled the statute unconstitutionally
The bill provides more detailed definitions of what constitutes
illegal "expert advice and assistance" and broadens the
law to prohibit "any tangible or intangible property or any
service" to terror groups.
Most of the Justice Department's major terrorism prosecutions since
Sept. 11 have used the material support law.
The legislation also plugs a gap in the FBI's
ability to obtain eavesdropping warrants under the Foreign Intelligence
Surveillance Act, or FISA. Under current law, these secret warrants
are reserved for non-U.S. citizens the government can show are affiliated
with a foreign power or international terrorist group, such as al-Qaida.
Shortly before the Sept. 11 attacks, the FBI attempted to get a
FISA warrant for surveillance on Zacarias Moussaoui, who had aroused
suspicion by taking flight training in Minnesota. FBI agents sought
help from the CIA to tie Moussaoui to such a group but ultimately
failed — missing a potential tip-off prior to the attacks,
according to the commission that investigated the attacks.
Moussaoui now is awaiting trial in Alexandria,
Va., as the only person charged in the United States in connection
with the attacks.
Under the intelligence bill, FISA warrants could be obtained for
surveillance against people the government believes are involved
in terrorism but are "lone wolves," with no known affiliation
to a foreign nation or group. The change
does not apply to U.S. citizens, but the ACLU still has concerns.
"This is really going to make it easier to get wiretaps on
non-citizens," Mitchell said. "This is really separating
it from its constitutional moorings."
BEIJING - The United States manipulated intelligence
on North Korea's nuclear program in a similar fashion to its use
of weapons of mass destruction to justify the war on Iraq, a US
foreign policy expert said in an article.
"Relying on sketchy data, the Bush administration
presented a worst-case scenario as an incontrovertible truth and
distorted its intelligence on North Korea (much as it did in Iraq),
seriously exaggerating the danger that Pyongyang is secretly making
uranium-based nuclear weapons," Selig Harrison said in Foreign
Harrison, from the Washington-based Center for International Policy,
chairs the Task Force on Korean Policy, a
grouping of former senior US military officials, diplomats and Korean
The Task Force, which includes a former joint chiefs of staff head
and ex-US ambassadors, on Friday issued a report calling on the
US immediately to back down on its insistence that North Korea come
clean on its alleged uranium program.
Instead, they should first negotiate the dismantling of Pyongyang's
plutonium facilities, it said.
Harrison said his claims were based on South Korean
and Japanese intelligence sources who participated with the Central
Intelligence Agency on the issue.
He blames the US insistence on a uranium program for the stalling
of six-party talks while Pyongyang moves closer to producing an
atomic bomb with its plutonium program.
The intelligence was manipulated for "political purposes,"
he said in the magazine's December 17 issue.
This was largely to waylay South Korean and Japanese
efforts at reconciliation with the North and ostensibly to keep
open the option of "regime change" as in the case of Iraq,
In late 2002 the Bush administration cited North Korea's alleged
uranium program to pull out of the Agreed Framework. That deal had
frozen Pyongyang's nuclear program since 1994 in exchange for energy
aid and the construction of two billion dollar semi-proliferation-proof
light water nuclear reactors.
No concrete evidence of a uranium program has
been presented publicly.
In retaliation, Pyongyang kicked out international nuclear inspectors
and resumed plutonium reprocessing at its Yongbyon facility.
It is now believed to have reprocessed enough plutonium for four
to six nuclear bombs, experts say.
"The danger posed by North Korea's extant plutonium program
has grown since the United States announced it was no longer bound
by the Agreed Framework, and it is much greater than the hypothetical
threat posed by a suspected uranium enrichment program about which
little is known," said Harrison.
Harrison said the claim of a uranium capability
was largely based on several failed
attempts by Pyongyang to buy enrichment technology, including electrical-frequency
converters and aluminum tubing to make centrifuges.
The US also cites a 2002 conversation in Pyongyang between US Assistant
Secretary of State James Kelly and North Korean Vice Foreign Minister
Paek Nam Sun, in which Washington maintains Paek admitted his country
had a uranium enrichment program.
Pyongyang, however, insists Paek only said North Korea was "entitled"
to have such a program, possibly referring to the processing of
low-enriched uranium for nuclear energy. [...]
LONDON (Reuters) - Security services have
thwarted a planned attack on London similar to the March 11 train
bombings in Madrid by Islamic extremists, the British capital's
police chief said on Thursday.
"Thank God to date, and we have had to work extremely hard,
we've thwarted attacks," Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir
John Stevens told the BBC.
Asked if his force had stopped a strike on the scale of the Spanish
attack, he added: "Yes, I can't discuss
it because of court proceedings -- but yes we have stopped a Madrid."
The morning rush-hour bombings on commuter trains killed 191 people
in the most devastating attack in modern Spanish history, just three
days before a general election.
The attackers claimed to represent al Qaeda in Europe.
Stevens said "a number" of attacks had
been thwarted in London and "hundreds" of terrorist suspects
were being processed in British courts, according to extracts on
the BBC Web site.
He would not give any details.
Like other senior public figures here, he reiterated that Britain
was a prime target for radicals: "The risk of an attack to
London has not changed. An attack is still inevitable."
Only last month, the head of Britain's security service MI5, Eliza
Manningham-Buller, also warned: "There might be major attacks
like Madrid earlier this year."
Britain is considered a target for Islamic radicals due to its
support of President Bush, particularly in Iraq.
Although there has been no attack on UK soil,
the threat was illustrated a year ago with a suicide bombing at
a consulate in Turkey that killed 17 people including the consul
Critics, however, accuse both UK and U.S. authorities of scaremongering,
in part to bolster their power.
Britain has arrested more than 600 terrorism suspects
since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States -- but has
charged fewer than 100 and convicted only 15.
Also on Thursday, Britain and the United
States announced a new agreement to develop counter-terrorism technology
together. The accord, signed by Britain's Home Secretary David Blunkett
and U.S. Homeland Security Deputy Secretary James Loy, will allow
greater information exchange on security issues.
An Australian man whose wireless access point
triggered a bomb scare has spoken of his shock at been treated like
a potential terrorist.
Student Bobby T, 20, set up a Dlink 2100AP wireless access point
outside his home in the suburbs of Sydney to act as a node in a
community wireless network. But the kit ("a Dlink 2100AP wireless
AP, removed of its casing and with the PCB siliconed onto a black
weatherproof electronics box") was only up and running for
10 hours before he was visited by two NSW state police and two local
police acting on a tip-off from worried neighbours this Monday (25
Police dug up cables in his garden and quizzed him on other users
of the wireless LAN, while denying him the opportunity to make a
phone call, Bobby T told The Register. "I
was never formally arrested or taken away. Everything happened in
my home. Apparently the case is now closed. They thought it was
a bomb, but found it was not," he said. Police
later told Bobby T's friend that they were "about to evacuate
half the suburb and call in the bomb squad".
The police handling of the alert has left Bobby T fuming. "Everyone
that I've told about this story laughed their head off but I've
never managed to find it funny - only scary, threatening, and intimidating.
I had a very good impression of the police until that incident.
Now I feel violated, insulted, and with my rights trampled upon,"
Bobby T harbours no ill feeling towards his neighbours over the
incident. "Community ignorance is very understandable especially
considering all the fear that's been instilled upon them. I didn't
mind the cops reacting to calls but I'm just not happy with the
attitude with which they handled the matter," he added.
Ukraine's embattled government is ready to
stage faked terrorist attacks to destabilise
the country and discredit the opposition ahead of a rerun of the
presidential vote, a senior government source has told The Independent.
The official, who works for the government of the Moscow-backed
candidate and current Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, said: "One
of the plans is to blow up a pipeline and blame it on opposition
supporters. Ukraine is the key transit country for Russian gas supplies
to the West."
Mr Yanukovych's backers fear the prospect of their candidate losing
to Viktor Yushchenko and are ready to plunge the country into economic
chaos, the source revealed. "They are planning to use criminals
- plain bandits - that they have a hold over." The
source said that a senior member of the government had been tasked
with overseeing terrorist acts. [...]
The government source told The Independent that Mr Putin said,
at a meeting with Mr Kuchma in Moscow last Thursday, that Russia
will back the Ukrainian government whatever measures it takes, including
force, in order to stop Mr Yushchenko winning.
Many sections of the Ukrainian armed forces
and police have either said they will not take action against Ukrainian
demonstrators or will defend the opposition if necessary. [...]
Jerusalem, Dec. 7 - Israel's military must
hold itself to the highest moral standards even under the most trying
circumstances, Israel's army chief said Tuesday, after an elite
unit was suspended on suspicion it killed a wounded Palestinian
militant in custody.
The chief, Lt. Gen. Moshe Yaalon, spoke a day after a senior officer
told a parliamentary committee that he
20 percent of soldiers had racist attitudes toward Palestinians
and that the behavior of troops at roadblocks in the West Bank and
Gaza Strip was at times problematic.
The comments were the latest in a series of admissions in recent
weeks by high-level officers that they were concerned about their
soldiers' conduct during more than four years of Israeli-Palestinian
fighting, much of it in densely populated urban areas.
In the past, the military has generally brushed
off reports that soldiers violated Palestinian human rights as isolated
The Israeli human rights group B'tselem says that
of the more than 3,000 Palestinians killed by army fire, more than
1,600 were civilians.
However, the army has opened only 92 investigations, some of them
ongoing, into soldiers' actions, according to the army. Twenty-seven
soldiers have been indicted and four convicted of wrongful shootings.
The debate over an erosion of the army's values was fueled by several
recent incidents involving wrongful shootings of Palestinians.
Army critics said the top brass has been sending
mixed messages to soldiers on what is permitted and what is not.
Yaalon said Tuesday that he has spoken with the army's top officers
in recent weeks to re-emphasize battlefield ethics, and he has toured
army bases to hear how commanders and soldiers understand and carry
"If we lose the moral high ground,
it will undermine our military strength," Yaalon told
reporters. "We will not give up our
moral standard in the name of combat."
During the past four years of fighting, soldiers have often had
to act in complex situations, including searches for militants in
urban areas and roadblock duty. At roadblocks, they have to decide
who is a civilian and who is a potential suicide bomber trying to
sneak into Israel.
Yaalon said he was troubled by signs that senior
officers lied during recent investigations into their soldiers'
Maj. Gen. Elazar Stern, commander of the army's human resources
branch, told a parliamentary committee Monday that he was concerned
about racist attitudes among some soldiers.
"In every generation, an Israeli army officer must see himself
as though he was released from Auschwitz in two ways: not to do
what was done to us - and to ensure that what was done to us never
happens again," Stern said, referring to the Nazi death camp.
In Friday's incident, a naval commando unit shot and killed Islamic
Jihad militant Mahmoud Kamil Dobie, 25. On Monday, the army suspended
the activities of the unit in the West Bank until it completes an
One of Dobie's relatives, Tayel Bzour, who had given refuge to
the fugitive, said Tuesday he witnessed the incident. He said Dobie
was trying to flee when he realized the soldiers had surrounded
his hiding place, and was wounded by army fire.
Bzour said he was ordered by the soldiers to carry the wounded
man toward them, and that he did so with the help of a neighbor.
Bzour said he spoke to Dobie who was bleeding from his side. Bzour
said he handed Dobie's pistol to the soldiers.
He said soldiers then asked the Bzour and his neighbor to leave
"I got about 30 meters away when I
heard the first shot," Bzour said. "Then I turned and
saw a soldier standing, face painted black, firing at Mahmoud.
Then the same soldier fired five more bullets."
Danny Yatom, a former head of Israel's Mossad spy agency and former
general in the army, said he is "very troubled" by what
has happened to the military since 2000.
"This (Dobie's killing) is not an
isolated incident. It joins a long list of episodes in which soldiers
have violated orders and rules," Yatom said.
"It's very possible that the soldiers are being asked to
deal with impossible situations. As a consequence of the burden,
they become exhausted, their senses are numbed," he added.
JERUSALEM : Prime Minister Ariel Sharon bolstered
mounting peace hopes by saying Israel would hold off offensive operations
against the Palestinians in the absence of attacks by militant organisations.
Sharon ruled out a formal truce with radical groups such as Hamas
but said Israel would only pursue what he called "ticking bombs",
referring to militants who are about to carry out attacks.
"The question of a truce would involve an agreement among
the Palestinians and is not linked to us. But if calm reigns on
the Palestinian side, we will maintain it on our side," Sharon
An Israeli aircraft fired a missile today at
a car carrying Palestinian militants in the southern Gaza Strip,
wounding three men, Palestinian security sources said.
The attack was the first Israeli air-strike against
militants in weeks.
Israel has said it would refrain from carrying out offensive operations
– unless it was attacked or had information
of an imminent attack – in an effort to ensure calm
in the run-up to January 9 Palestinian elections.
The Israeli military had no immediate comment.
The attack wounded Jamal Abu Samahdna, one of the two Gaza commanders
of the Popular Resistance Committees, an umbrella group of militant
factions, according to the group. Two of his bodyguards were also
wounded, but in good condition, according to the group.
Palestinian security sources said an unmanned Israeli drone plane
launched one missile at Abu Samahdna’s car as it travelled
between Rafah and Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.
"It was a cowardly assassination attempt
... but they have survived," said Abu Abeer, a spokesman
for the Popular Resistance Committees.
Abu Samahdna, 42, has survived three previous
A car bomb exploded in a crowded market in
the northern Iraqi city of Mosul today causing Iraqi casualties,
police and US military said.
Iraqi policeman Hassan Ahmed said preliminary
reports suggested the blast caused scores of casualties in an eastern
Mosul fruit and vegetable market.
US military spokesman Lt. Col. Paul Hastings confirmed a car bomb
exploded, injuring Iraqi civilians.
Mosul, 225 miles north-west of Baghdad, has been the scene of
regular attacks against US and Iraqi forces by insurgents aimed
at derailing the country’s reconstruction.
BAGHDAD—Two months after U.S. forces
declared they had pacified Samarra, the restive city again erupted
in violence with a string of attacks yesterday that killed at least
four Iraqis, damaged a U.S. military convoy and caused the local
police chief to announce his resignation.
The strikes followed a month of car bombs, ambushes and bloodshed
in the Iraqi city that shook residents, shuttered businesses and
disrupted voter registration efforts.
In announcing his resignation over a mosque loudspeaker, Maj.
Gen. Talib Shamil Samarriee said insurgents had attacked his home
and attempted to kidnap his son at school, where teachers hid the
boy to save him. Earlier, gunmen attacked the chief's car.
"I came according to the wish of the sons of the city in
order to serve this city and to present any assistance I can,"
the police commander said. "But (after) what has happened to
me within these three days, especially today, when my house and
family were attacked and terrified, I decided to quit everything.
I have no relationship with any governmental office."
U.S. military officials said last night they'd contacted the police
chief and he was still on the job. It was not immediately clear
whether Samarriee had changed his mind.
The confusion followed a difficult day for Iraqi security forces
in Samarra, some 110 kilometres north of Baghdad. Insurgents armed
with guns and rocket-propelled grenades stormed two police stations.
At one, they killed an Iraqi police officer
and a child at a nearby school, witnesses said. At the second,
militants chased officers away and set off explosives. U.S. and
Iraqi forces eventually secured both stations.
Meanwhile, a suicide car bomber attacked two U.S. Bradley fighting
vehicles driving just outside the city and gunmen fired at a U.S.
checkpoint. No troops were hurt, but two
Iraqi civilians were killed by U.S. forces in the crossfire,
military officials said. [...]
We've been puzzled by President Bush's choice
of Bernard Kerik, who was the police commissioner under Mayor Rudolph
Giuliani, as the homeland security secretary. Before the Senate
signs off on his nomination, there are a lot of questions to ask
about Mr. Kerik's readiness for this job, and about some troubling
parts of his record. If he is confirmed, Congress will want to keep
a close eye on him and his department.
Mr. Kerik has some strengths. He has an impressive personal story:
he overcame a troubled family background to lead the nation's largest
police force. He has considerable experience in law enforcement
and antiterrorism activity. It is also welcome that he is a New
Yorker, given the city's unique history with terrorism and the unfairness
of the formula used to allocate homeland security money, which favors
Wyoming over New York.
But other parts of his record are less reassuring. A homeland
security secretary should be above politics and respectful of civil
liberties. But when he stumped for President Bush this year, Mr.
Kerik engaged in fearmongering. He told The New York Daily News
that he was worried about another terrorist attack and that "if
you put Senator Kerry in the White House, I think you are going
to see that happen." And he was quoted in Newsday as saying
this about opponents of the Iraq war: "Political criticism
is our enemies' best friend."
There are chapters of Mr. Kerik's career that are worthy of particular
scrutiny. In the summer of 2003, he spent several months in Iraq
training police officers. But his time there appears to have been
cut short, right around the time of some serious terrorist attacks,
and the state of the force since his departure has been bleak. Given
the relevance of that work to his new duties, it would be instructive
to know what, if anything, went wrong.
The public is also entitled to know more about his work for Giuliani-Kerik
L.L.C., a consulting business he operates with Mr. Giuliani, who
reportedly had a large hand in getting him his new position. Mr.
Kerik should offer assurances that former clients and colleagues
will not get preferential treatment. He has had difficulty with
ethical lines in the past. In 2002, he paid a fine for using a police
sergeant and two detectives to research his autobiography.
Then there is Mr. Kerik's enormously profitable membership on
the board of Taser International, the stun-gun maker. Tasers are
marketed as nonlethal, but Amnesty International says more than
70 people have died in the United States and Canada since 2001 after
being shocked with them.
One of the most glaring weaknesses in Mr. Kerik's résumé
is his limited experience working with Congress and official Washington.
The Senate may want to encourage him to bring in experienced top
staff members for the heated battles sure to come.
WASN'T it something how we all rushed to the
edge of the boulevard last week to wave our hats and applaud at
the news that former New York City police commissioner Bernard Kerik
has been selected by President Bush to become the nation's new Homeland
Certainly it was a moment to remember for Kerik, an up-from-the-streets
type of fellow who began life as the son of a New Jersey prostitute,
maneuvered his way into becoming a limo driver and bodyguard for
the Mayor, and has now wound up ready to take on the role of a lifetime
as a kind of cabinet-level Bo Dietel for the whole of America.
And to do so, Kerik is not going to wind up living with his wife
and kids in some high-rise warehouse across the Potomac, or show
up for Situation Room briefings in a suit from Syms. We'll turn
to why in a minute, but for now all one needs
to know is that a timely recent sale of stock in a company called
Taser International, Inc., where he has been serving as an outside
member of the board, has made the nation's soon-to-be-confirmed
new Secretary of Homeland Security nearly $6 million richer than
he was just three weeks ago.
Now Kerik is a fine fellow, I am sure, and he'll doubtless do
a bang-up job of securing the homeland and all that. Yet over his
career, he has more than once turned up in situations that encourage
the curious to want to know more (and more after that) about what
really happened — though in post-9/11 America the hero machine
is already at work on his resume, sanding down the rough spots to
a smooth and blemish-free luster.
It is, for example, by no means clear that Kerik did an especially
commendable job during the three months of 2003 when he worked in
Baghdad heading up the rebuilding and training of Iraq's post-Saddam
In prepared remarks praising the new nominee last week, President
Bush ranged across the whole of Kerik's career, from his days as
a beat cop in Times Square, to his hands-on work at Ground Zero
on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.
Yet the President was oddly — and
utterly — silent on Kerik's work in Baghdad, and perhaps for
good reason. Though Kerik presided
over the hiring of thousands of recruits for the reconstituted Iraqi
police force, most were hired without background checks, and many
turned out to be hardened criminals. As a result, some 30,000
of them, or roughly 25 percent of the entire force, are now reportedly
being let go, with the U.S. footing the bill for $60 million in
There's also Kerik's never-fully explained role in the 1990s as
head of a New York City Corrections Department foundation that was
secretly funded with roughly $1 million of tobacco company rebates
from departmental purchases of cigarettes using city funds.
Kerik's hand-picked treasurer for the foundation, Frederick Patrick,
is now serving a one-year prison sentence after admitting in court
that he pilfered nearly $140,000 of the foundation's money to pay
for collect-call phone sex from inmates.
So, mindful as we all apparently must now be to praise our Caesars
at every turn, perhaps Kerik's recent involvement, via Taser International,
in the worlds of Wall Street and big business will nonetheless be
worth watching as he heads to Washington and back to the world of
When it comes to companies about which a curious mind would want
to know more, Taser International is at the top of the list.
This NASDAQ-listed company produces a pistol-like device that fires
a dart-type projectile attached to several yards of filament-fine
electrical wire connected to a battery. Once the dart is embedded
in the skin of a victim, the battery sends a disabling jolt of high
voltage electricity down the wire and into the victim, knocking
him instantly to the ground in a brief but intense fit of twitching
and convulsing that is suggestive of an epileptic seizure.
In the wake of the 9/11 attacks and the furor that erupted over
whether airline pilots should be armed, the Taser folks began hawking
their stun gun as a "non-lethal" alternative to conventional
firearms and thus just the thing to make air travel safe again.
Tasers failed to make much headway with the airlines. But
police departments were another story, and as they began placing
orders the company's stock price exploded, soaring 4,800 percent
Yet the success story of Taser International has a dark side,
for although the company has insisted from the outset that its weapons
are non-lethal, evidence to the contrary has been piling up.
The company's problems began to multiply
last June when the New York Times reported that Taser's safety claims
have been based on a 1996 series of tests involving a pig, and a
1999 study involving five dogs. Both
studies were commissioned and paid for by Taser.
To bolster its claims for the safety of Taser stun guns, the company
issued a press release on October 18th asserting that a recently
concluded but as yet unpublished U.S. military study had found the
Taser stun gun to be safe as a non-lethal alternative to conventional
firearms. Then on November 26, the Times reported that the U.S.
Air Force laboratory that had conducted the study had not found
Tasers to be safe at all.
Last week, Amnesty International weighed in with its own report,
citing research showing that 76 people in the U.S. and Canada have
died following jolts from Tasers since the weapons were first introduced
into those markets in 2001.
Then, over this last weekend, the company tried what amounted
to pre-emptive damage control regarding a story by the Miami Herald
newspaper that had not even been published. The misguided effort,
which simply drew national attention to a story that the company
obviously did not want anyone to read, claimed that Tasers are indeed
safe and that assertions to the contrary by the Herald would be
All this strenuous huffing and puffing puts one in mind of the
third act of Hamlet, during which the indecisive young prince's
mom turns to her son and delivers Shakespeare's immortal comment
about folks who protest too much — a lot of which seems to
be going on in these press releases.
For the moment, Kerik seems comfortably in the clear, for whatever
his reasons may have been for selling his shares, they are now changing
hands for almost exactly what they were selling for when he unloaded
them on Nov. 11th — meaning that until now at least, his nomination
as security biggie for the homeland has been pretty much a non-event.
But I doubt that this is the end stories about Kerik and Taser
International, and for what little it may be worth, I at least will
be watching to see whether, in the fullness of time, the Department
of Homeland Security (or maybe even the Iraqi national police force)
becomes a major new buyer of Taser's non-lethal stun guns. At which
point you will hear from me again on this matter.
Several Islamic fundraisers with alleged links
to the militant Palestinian group Hamas were ordered Wednesday to
pay $156 million in damages to the parents of a teenager killed
in a 1996 terrorist attack in Israel in what both sides agreed was
a precedent-setting decision in U.S. District Court in Chicago.
The U.S. previously froze the assets of all but one of the defendants,
raising questions about how much Stanley and Joyce Boim will ultimately
But the Boims, who are U.S. citizens living in Israel, and their
lawyers still hailed the verdict as an important precedent for U.S.
victims of terrorism.
The decision is the first by a jury holding U.S. citizens or organizations
liable under a federal anti-terrorism law that allows victims of
terrorism to sue for civil damages.
"What we did was to put a spotlight on organizations that
under the guise of charitable activities have supported terrorism,"
said Stanley Boim, whose son David, 17, was gunned down by Hamas
terrorists outside his high school near Jerusalem.
A federal jury deliberated about six hours before awarding the
Boims $52 million in damages, far more than their lawyers had even
sought in closing arguments on Tuesday.
Moments later, U.S. Magistrate Judge Arlander Keys trebled the
damages to $156 million, as required under the U.S. anti-terrorism
SINGAPORE : One of Singapore's Army camps -
Nee Soon in the North - was attacked by a simulated deadly release
of both sarin and ricin on Thursday afternoon.
But Singapore's Armed Forces swung into action to detect and contain
the toxic agents in time.
The demonstration was the army's first coordinated
effort with their US counterparts in bio-chemical defence.
A home-made bomb exploded just as guests at an outdoor event escaped
in time to safety.
But the danger still lurked.
So teams from the Army's Chemical, Biological, Radiological and
Explosives Defence Group, and the US 4th
Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team were called in.
Almost immediately, traces of ricin were detected and sarin was
also identified on site.
To make matters worse, the teams found a package containing Cobalt-60,
a radioactive substance.
Experts say that it is unlikely that a triple
attack of bio-chem and radiation substances could happen at the
But this army wanted to be fully prepared.
Colonel Ho Kong Wai, Head, Chemical, Biological, Radioactive and
Explosives Defence Group, said, "We are always looking for
ways to break new ground, and to fight this threat of CBRE, we need
to have bilateral and joint training, and this has provided us an
excellent opportunity to benchmark our capabilities, drills and
procedures. We have benefited greatly from this experience. "
Major General David Poythress, Commander, Georgia National Guard,
said, "One of the things I have been extremely impressed by
here is your research and development...a number of items you have
under development here that we can learn quite a bit from.
"As you can see, the teams train on essentially the same
equipment, and are trained to the same standard, and what we saw
here today was how easily inter-operable they are in dealing with
a weapon of mass destruction incident."
This is the first time the SAF has worked with their US counterpart
on a joint bio-chem defence demonstration.
It was also an opportunity for more than 200
bio-chem defence scientists from around the world to have a first
hand look at the SAF's CBRE Defence Group capabilities.
The experts are in Singapore for the seven-day International Symposium
on Protection Against Toxic Substances.
Jeddah - A specialist team of United States
Marines arrived in Saudi Arabia to defend the American Consulate
in Jeddah after it was stormed by militants this week, a US embassy
spokesperson said on Thursday.
"A FAST team arrived yesterday in Jeddah to reinforce security
at the consulate," Carol Kalin said. "Their job is to
reinforce US diplomatic missions in a time of crisis."
Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Teams (FAST) usually have around
50 members, while regular Marine forces which defend diplomatic
missions are much smaller, Kalin said without giving details.
The Jeddah consulate has been closed since Monday's attack in
which five gunmen stormed a side gate, set fire to the US flag and
a Marine housing unit and killed five non-American staff.
NEW DELHI - At least two Indian policemen have
been killed and five wounded in a Muslim rebel attack on their camp
Two of the wounded are in critical condition, according to police.
The attack coincided with the visit to India by U.S. Defence
Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
Heavily-armed rebels attacked policemen with assault rifles and
grenades as the security personnel were entering a newly-built camp,
about 50 kilometres southwest of Srinagar. According to police,
the rebels came to the camp's main gates, opened fire and hurled
grenades before fleeing.
No rebel group has claimed responsibility for the attack. [...]
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- It looked like something
out of a macabre heavy-metal video: The lights dimmed in the smoke-filled
nightclub, the rock band Damageplan launched into its first thunderous
riffs, and then a man in a hooded sweatshirt
ran the length of the stage and opened fire, shooting
the lead guitarist at least five times in the head.
In just minutes, the gunman had killed three others before being
shot to death by a police officer.
The rampage Wednesday night stunned the heavy metal world and
left police searching for answers about what set the gunman off.
The slain guitarist, "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott, 38, was
a driving force behind the rock band Pantera, and police
are looking into reports from witnesses that the gunman was a fan
irate that the hugely influential group broke up.
Some of the 500 people packed into the club to see Abbott's new
band initially thought that the gunman was an excited fan or that
the shootings were part of the show.
"I figured it was another fan wanting to jump off the stage
and crowd surf," said Brian Kozicki, the club's lighting designer.
"I think he knew he wasn't going to get out and he was going
to take down as many people as he could."
Police identified the gunman as Nathan Gale, 25, who listened
to Pantera music to psyche himself up before football games and
would often hang out at a tattoo parlor and make a pest of himself
by talking to customers about music.
"We may never know a motive for this, unless he left a note,"
Sgt. Brent Mull said. [...]
As the lights dimmed, club security was trying to catch up to
a man in a Columbus Blue Jackets hockey jersey over his sweatshirt,
who was seen jumping the 8-foot wooden fence to enter the club.
The guards could not reach the tall, heavyset man in the crowd.
He climbed onstage, as many Alrosa headbangers do.
"At first we thought it was a hoax, and then when he fired
again we knew it was real," said Jeremy Spencer, 16.
Kozicki, the lighting director, brought up the house lights and
ducked under his control table, where he called 911 on his cell
phone. Several calls followed, with one male caller saying: "He's
on stage right now. He's got a gun. ... He just shot again."
Fans surged toward the doors in fear.
Kozicki peeked from his table to see the gunman holding a man
in a headlock. Police said the gunman appeared
ready to shoot the hostage, who managed to duck just enough for
Officer James D. Niggemeyer to take aim and kill Gale.
Gale has a minor police record in Marysville, near Columbus, including
driving with a suspended license last month, said Police Chief Floyd
Golden. At the Bears Den Tattoo Studio in Marysville, Gale made
people feel uncomfortable by staring at them and forcing them into
a conversation, manager Lucas Bender said.
"He comes in here and likes to hang out when he's not wanted,"
Bender said. "The most pointless conversations."
The shootings came on the 24th anniversary of perhaps the most
well-known assassination of a rock star -- that of former Beatle
John Lennon outside his New York City apartment in 1980.
Bangkok - A South African World Bank official
has been found dead in a five-star hotel in Bangkok, sources said
A spokesperson for the bank, Cristina Mejia, confirmed that a
staff member had died at a Bangkok hotel and that an investigation
was continuing but declined to give further details.
Thai police investigators also declined to comment but police
at the department's forensic division said the body of Laura Walker
arrived from the Shangri-La Hotel on Wednesday afternoon. The police
officials, who declined to be named, said an autopsy was being carried
An email from one of Walker's friends said: "Our friend Laura
Walker died on Wednesday in Bangkok while in training. Details are
still sketchy. All we know at this time is
that she was robbed in her hotel and that's where she died."
"The authorities are looking into the circumstances surrounding
this tragedy and our own security team is working closely with them,"
Earlier this week, an elderly Swiss tourist was found dead in
a hotel room on the resort island of Phuket. According to police
accounts, she was robbed and beaten to death, possibly by a hotel
LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE, Calif. (AP) - A commuter
van from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory tumbled 200 feet off a
twisting mountain road Wednesday, killing three people and injuring
seven, two critically, authorities said.
The van was carrying 10 people to the laboratory when it plunged
off the Angeles Crest Highway in the Angeles National Forest about
6:30 a.m. and rolled down a mountainside about 15 miles north of
downtown Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Fire Department inspector
Ron Haralson said.
Notified by a driver who saw the crash, two California Highway
Patrol officers at a nearby movie shoot scrambled down to the vehicle
and called for rescue workers who ripped the van apart to get to
the injured passengers.
One person was hurled from the van and died at the scene. Two others
died inside the van, where other victims were left hanging from
windows or trapped under a collapsed roof for as long as an hour,
"It's one of the most gruesome scenes I've ever seen,"
said Mike Leum, chief of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department
search and rescue team. "There was a complete collapse of the
roof onto the passenger area."
The van was carrying six employees of the lab in Pasadena, two
contractors and two NASA employees, said Blaine Baggett, a spokesman
at JPL, which is the control center for several NASA projects, including
the Mars rovers.
Beijing - A ship and an oil tanker collided
in southern China near the Pearl River, causing
the worst oil spill in five years, state television said
There were no reported injuries or deaths.
The accident occurred near the mouth of the Pearl River on Tuesday
night. A Panama-registered container ship and a German-registered
oil tanker collided, China Central Television said.
It did not say how much oil was spilled, which companies owned
the ships, or what caused the accident.
Clean-up operations have begun and officials expect to clear the
oil within three days, Xu Guoyi, the deputy director of the Ministry
of Communications' Maritime Bureau was quoted as saying.
Rescue and cleanup crews are racing to an isolated
island in Alaska's Aleutian chain to hunt for six missing seamen
and begin assessing environmental damage
from a grounded freighter that broke apart last night on rocky,
wildlife-rich shores and started leaking at least some of its half-million
gallons of oil.
A C-130 plane and three helicopters are involved in the search
today for the six crew from the Malaysian-flagged cargo carrier
who plunged into the frigid Bering Sea after a Coast Guard chopper
crashed yesterday evening while trying to rescue them from the drifting
vessel Selendang Ayu, enroute from Seattle to Asia loaded with soybeans.
Coast Guard officials, however, have said survival time in the
43-degree water was typically limited to about three hours, and
the men have been missing more than 15 hours.
Isolated Unalaska Island was blanketed in darkness until sometime
after 10:15 a.m., today and rescuers faced battling 30-knot winds
and 25-foot swells, the Coast Guard officials said this morning.
State and federal biologists were scheduled to fly over the accident
site on the west side of Unalaska Island to assess how much of the
thick, viscous bunker fuel had escaped into the seabird-rich Alaska
Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, where the vessel cracked in two
late last night.
"We know there is oil in the water," said Gary Folley,
on-scene coordinator for the Alaska Department of Environmental
Folley said that a rescue swimmer -- the wetsuit-clad divers who
drop into water and load victims into retrieval baskets or hold
them above water -- reeked of oil when he was pulled out of the
"This afternoon we'll have a better idea of the extent of
the slick," Folley said.
Even though the carrier's heavy bunker oil had been transferred
to inboard tanks and the fuel heaters were turned off to thicken
the fuel, wildlife experts were fearful that
it could create an environmental catastrophe.
Greg Siekaniec, head of the Alaska Maritime Refuge, said the region
was a "high value area" for seabirds, from wintering eiders
to kittiwakes, and was home to Steller's sea lions, sea otters and
harbor seals. [...]
More than two dozen people already had been transported to safety
when another helicopter carrying three Coast Guard crew and seven
shipmates crashed about 6:20 p.m. yesterday, spilling every one
aboard into 43-degree waters. With the help of Coast Guard swimmers
another helicopter and a Coast Guard cutter were able to pluck all
three Coast Guard members and one shipman from the icy seas.
The other six disappeared in the darkness, and the ship later
broke apart near the craggy wildlife-rich shore.
"The survival time is right around three hours in those conditions,"
Rear Adm. James Olson, commander of the Coast Guard in Alaska, said
A British military helicopter with four people
aboard crashed into the sea off the coast of Cornwall while they
were investigating reports of a man overboard, the Royal Air Force
The Ministry of Defence said rescue operations were underway off
Lizard Point, in the south-west of England, but did not say whether
the crew of the Lynx helicopter died in the crash.
Contact with the Lynx was lost when it was 24 km south-east off
the Lizard. [...]
Traditionally the first land sighting for ships bound for the
English Channel, The Lizard has been famous
for centuries for the number of shipwrecks in its area.
Investigators think an explosion that ripped
through a gas pipeline in the southern Russian region of Dagestan
was caused by sabotage and have opened a criminal case on charges
of terrorism, the regional Interior Ministry said today.
Two firefighters were injured as they responded to the blaze that
broke out on the region’s main gas pipeline at about 10pm
(8pm Irish time) yesterday, just west of the capital Makhachkala,
said Murtazali Gadzhiyev, Dagestan’s regional emergency situations
Nineteen bystanders sustained burns and were taken to hospital,
said Dagestani Deputy Interior Minister Magomed Omarov.
A second explosion occurred about 25 minutes after the fire broke
out, said Sergei Kozhemyak, a spokesman for the Emergency Situations
Ministry’s southern branch.
Investigators initially attributed the explosion to a technical
accident, but Omarov said it was now attributed to terrorism, according
to preliminary information. [...]
BEIJING - A Chinese government news agency
says 33 people have been killed in a gas explosion at a Chinese
Twenty-eight miners were killed in the initial blast and five others
died during a rescue attempt.
About 34 others escaped when the explosion ripped through the
mine in the northern province of Shanxi.
The accident comes less than two weeks after a blast at a coal
mine in Shanxi province killed 166 people, the country's worst mining
accident in recent years.
Thursday's explosion happened at Nanlou township, in Yuxian county
near the city of Yangquan. Rescue efforts are underway.
GENEVA - Typhoons, earthquakes and war made
2004 one of the toughest years for aid workers, but 2005 will start
more positively with a huge conference in Japan on how to reduce
disasters, officials said.
This year began with the aftermath of a powerful earthquake in
Iran that killed more than 26,000 people, and is ending with a string
of storms in the Philippines that have left more than 1,500 people
dead, said the United Nations emergency relief coordinator Jan Egeland.
"It has been one of the most challenging
years ever for the humanitarian community in part because we have
had tremendous natural disasters," the UN deputy secretary
general for humanitarian affairs told a news conference.
In a bid to save tens of thousands of lives that might be lost
to natural hazards, officials from some 120 countries will gather
January 18-22 in the Japanese city of Kobe -- wrecked by an earthquake
in 1995 -- for the United Nations' once-a-decade World Conference
on Disaster Reduction, officials said. [...]
More resources should be allocated to environmental
and urban management as well as teaching the public to adapt to
climate change, he told reporters, adding that such issues would
be discussed at the Kobe conference. [...]
Natural hazards, however, are not the only cause of disaster, said
An announcement at the start of the year that the war-torn region
of Darfur in western Sudan was the world's worst humanitarian crisis
remained true 12 months later, despite mammoth relief projects,
Some 1.5 million people have fled fierce fighting that flared between
government and rebel forces in the province in February 2003.
A bloody conflict between rebels and government forces in northern
Uganda has also triggered a humanitarian crisis, but hopes were
rising for peace as both sides have opened discussions through mediators,
"We have the best chance now in 18 years to get an end to
the senseless slaughtering of civilians in northern Uganda at the
hands of the (rebel) Lord's Resistance Army in that area,"
he told reporters.
In addition, the UN relief coordinator lamented
the bloodshed in Iraq where an insurgency against the US-backed
government claims lives daily.
"We are very concerned for the situation
of the civilian population and the continuous killings of civilians
in Iraq," Egeland said.
A comet discovered earlier this year has
now moved close enough to be visible without binoculars or telescopes
by experienced observers under dark skies. It is expected to put
on a modest show this month and into January.
Comet Machholz will be at its closest to Earth Jan. 5-6, 2005,
when it will be 32 million miles (51 million kilometers) away.
People with dark rural skies and a good map should be able to find
it on Moon-free nights now into January.
Backyard astronomers have been watching Machholz for months through
telescopes. It was spotted by naked-eye observers for the first
time about three weeks ago from the Southern Hemisphere, said Donald
Machholz, who discovered the frozen chunk
of rock and ice in August.
"I saw it last night for the first time with the naked eye,"
Machholz told SPACE.com Friday. [...]
Astronomers cannot say exactly how bright
Machholz will get, because it is notoriously difficult to predict
the behavior of comets making their first observed close trip around
the Sun. Scientists don't fully understand the composition
of comets, nor their variety, so they don't know how much stuff
will sublimate nor how fast.
Machholz is expected to reach magnitude 4.0, based on an early
estimate. On this astronomers' scale, smaller numbers represent
brighter objects. The dimmest things visible under perfectly dark
skies are around magnitude 6.5. The brightest star, Sirius, is magnitude
minus 1.42. [...]
The Andromeda Galaxy is the furthest object visible to the unaided
human eye under dark skies. It is a magnitude 3.4 object.
If the comet were to become roughly magnitude 3.0, it would still
appear common among the sea of stars available to dark-sky observers.
City and suburban dwellers would likely not find it without optical
aid. In either case, binoculars or a small telescope might reveal
the comet as more of a fuzzy patch, and if it develops a significant
tail, that could be visible too.
Machholz, who has found nine other comets, suggests looking for
his latest discovery when the Moon is out of the picture, such as
around Dec. 11 when it will be at its New phase.
"The comet can still be seen when the Moon is out, but it
will be difficult," he said by email. "Use binoculars
or a wide-field (low power) telescope, and/or get to a dark site."
The comet is low on the horizon now, where the atmosphere makes
for poor viewing. By early January, the comet will be much higher
in the sky, improving viewing conditions.
A moderate earthquake jolted Fukushima Prefecture
and the northern Kanto region in the predawn hours of Thursday,
the Meteorological Agency said.
There was no immediate report of casualties or damage to properties,
police said. Nor did the agency issue a tsunami warning following
The temblor that struck at 2:15 a.m. registered 3 on the 7-point
Japanese intensity scale in the Fukushima Prefecture village of
Nakajima. It also measured 2 in Sukagawa, Yamatsuri and other areas
of the prefecture and in Mito, Hitachi, Takahagi and other areas
of Ibaraki Prefecture as well as the Tochigi Prefecture town of
The focus of the earthquake, which is estimated to have registered
4.4 on the open-ended Richter scale, was located about 50 kilometers
below the seabed off Ibaraki Prefecture, the agency said.
.JAKARTA, Indonesia -- An earthquake measuring
5.8 on the Richter scale rocked the western part Indonesia's densely
populated Java Island early Thursday but there were no reports of
casualties or damage, officials said.
The quake jolted Ciamis district at 1:14 a.m. (1814 GMT Wednesday)
and was strongly felt in neighboring Tasikmalaya in West Java province,
said Suharjono of the national seismology center.
The epicenter was in the Indian Ocean, he said. [...]
Te Anau has been hit by another earthquake
overnight, less than three weeks since the southern region was shaken
by a quake measuring 7.2 on the Richter scale.
This morning's magnitude 4.4 quake struck 40km north-west of Te
Anau at 12.21am, at a depth of 90km, and was only likely to have
been felt in the Te Anau area, according to Geological and Nuclear
|A mild tremor jolted parts of Sylhet, Chittagong
and other places of the country Thursday but no casualties or damages
were reported immediately. An official release of the Bangladesh Meteorological
Department said the tremor occurred at 2:49:57pm (BST) and lasted
for 24 seconds. The epicentre of the earthquake was 225 kms from Chittagong
seismic observatory and its magnitude was 4.85 in the Richter scale.
REAL, Philippines (AP) - At least four survivors
were pulled Thursday from a building that collapsed in mudslides
10 days ago, while the death toll from devastating storms in the
Philippines' northeast rose to at least 842. More than 750 people
The four survived by drinking "any kind of liquid that dripped"
from the rubble that entrapped them, said Maria Tamares, 49, who
was rescued along with her three-year-old granddaughter and two
teenage boys in Real, about 65 kilometres east of Manila. Covered
with blankets and lying on makeshift stretchers, they were flown
in a military helicopter to a hospital in nearby Lucena city.
As rescue crews continued to pick their way through debris, the
Office of Civil Defence raised the number of confirmed deaths from
the storms by 102 to 842. It said 751 people were still missing.
Tamares and the others apparently had been trapped in the kitchen
of the two-storey resort building, which was buried under piles
of mud on Nov. 29, when the worst of two back-to-back storms that
battered the region hit, witnesses said.
About 40 miners volunteering in the search heard voices in the
rubble of the building and used sledgehammers, torches, hacksaws
and bolt cutters to punch a hole through the thick concrete roof
to reach the survivors. [...]
|HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — Storms dumped more
than 2 inches of rain on parts of north Alabama on Thursday, worsening
flooding problems in a region where lowlands and some rural areas
already were inundated with water. [...]
The water set creeks and streams higher throughout the Tennessee
Valley region, where some areas had more than 7 inches of rain on
Monday and Tuesday.
"It doesn't take a whole lot to make it worse because the
ground was so saturated," said Dave Wilfing, a meteorologist
with the weather service in Birmingham.
Walker County schools delayed opening as a strong band of storms
move through, and Fayette County officials said they would dismiss
classes early because of the threat of rising floodwaters covering
The weather service issued tornado watches and warnings as the
system moved across the state, but no serious damage was reported.
The new dump of snow in the Cascade highlands
that brought hope to the hearts of skiers could turn into a headache
for people living near flood-prone rivers late this week.
Unseasonably warm weather and rain are expected to arrive today,
dousing more than 2 feet of snow that fell on parts of the Cascade
Mountains on Tuesday and yesterday. That sets up prime conditions
for high rivers fueled by melting snow, said Cliff Mass, a University
of Washington professor of atmospheric sciences.
The National Weather Service yesterday issued a flood watch through
Saturday for eight Western Washington counties: King, Snohomish,
Skagit, Whatcom, Clallam, Grays Harbor, Jefferson and Mason. That
means flooding is possible but not imminent.
Emergency-management officials in several counties said they were
taking a wait-and-see attitude but were prepared in case things
took a turn for the worse. In Skagit County, emergency-management
director Tom Sheahan said the county is prepared to open the emergency-operations
center tonight if the Skagit River reaches its flood stage in the
town of Concrete.
"This could be an unusual storm," Sheahan said. [...]
European participants at a UN global climate
conference in Argentina are leading discussions on ways to cut greenhouse
emissions after 2012, looking beyond the time frame laid out to
curb global warming set by the Kyoto Protocol.
Yvo de Boer, the chief EU negotiator, said Russia’s recent
ratification of the Kyoto Protocol had inpired the nearly 200 nations
at the conference to consider a post-Kyoto framework to curtail
the gases blamed for Earth’s warming. [...]
The US and Australia are the biggest industrialised country to
have rejected the Kyoto Protocol, a landmark agreement that takes
effect in February and requires 30 of the world’s developed
nations to reduce their output of heat-trapping gases produced by
industry, automobiles and power plants.
Developing countries, facing possible emissions controls for the
first time after 2012, have resisted opening talks about the "post-Kyoto"
future. Under Kyoto, governments pledged new limits on emissions
by industrial nations.
Russia last month ratified the accord in a major
political boost that further highlighted the US opposition as one
the biggest greenhouse gas polluters.
But the US stance, which has rankled European allies, hung over
the annual UN gathering even as governments began discussing what
comes after Kyoto.
"The main thing Russian ratification brought about is confirmation
that the Kyoto Protocol is a global institution, and the US really
is the odd one out," said Frederiks.
A US climate negotiator, Harlan Watson, said Tuesday that the
United States should not be considered an environmental villain
by supporters of the Kyoto Protocol, arguing the Bush administration
plans to spend $5bn (€3.75bn) annually on research and technological
development related to global warming.
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