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Is Bush the Antichrist? 

Tim Appelo
Seattle Weekly

The Christian right and the Christian left are engaged in a debate over who 'owns' Jesus—and whether Dubya is a force for good or evil.

When President George W. Bush was appointed by five Supreme Court justices in 2000, right-wing Christians sang hosannas for the triumph of God's will over the electorate's. "President Bush is God's man at this hour," said Tim Goeglein, Bush's liaison to evangelicals. Though the Methodist president dishonestly conceals the whole truth about his apocalyptic religious beliefs, he has acted as an evangelist in office.

As Esther Kaplan demonstrates in With God on Their Side: How Christian Fundamentalists Trampled Science, Policy, and Democracy in George W. Bush's White House, he's doled out millions to far-right Christian groups, systematically crushed secular left and nonright mainstream organizations from Head Start to the Audubon Society, and replaced policy and scientific experts with comically ignorant yet politically cunning fanatic provocateurs.

Out with the American Medical Association, in with the American Family Association.

Before Bush, the Internal Revenue Service hounded the Christian Coalition; now that Bush is, in extremist Gary Bauer's opinion, the de facto leader of the Christian Coalition, the government selectively harasses non-Christian groups, and a rightist apparatchik tried to sneak through Congress a bill legitimizing the kinds of politically targeted IRS abuses that would have made Richard M. Nixon proud.

Televangelist and onetime presidential candidate Pat Robertson once rallied millions to lobby God for the deaths of liberal Supreme Court justices, recommending prayers for coronaries and cancer. "We ask for miracles!" preached Robertson. Today, the judiciary's Clinton-era moderates haven't even a prayer against the Reagan/Bush rightists.

Author Tim LaHaye, whose Left Behind thrillers based on the Bible's "end times" stories are America's best-selling books for adults, once helped destroy the Jack Kemp presidential campaign he co-chaired by demanding 25 percent of government jobs for the Christian right's 25 percent of the population. Today, no way does Bush's "Evangetaliban"—which claims responsibility for winning Bush a second term in 2004—intend to settle for less than 100 percent.

But not every follower of the Prince of Peace is shouting amen to Bush/Robertson/Falwell's Killer Christians.

Granted, the fastest-growing churches are either evangelical—Bible believers out to win your soul—or fundamentalists, out to bend your soul to their bluenose will and so literal when it comes to the Bible that some insist Christ's parables refer to actual people and events. Fundies also incline to the authoritarianism of Oswald Chambers, the 19th-century Christian whose harsh sermonettes against rational analysis and for a gut response to God Bush reads each morning (perhaps on this Web site: www.gospelcom.net/rbc/utmost).

Yet the more love-thy-neighbor-advocating mainstream church is not dead.

 In The American Prospect magazine, Baptist Sunday school teacher Jimmy Carter charges the fundamentalists with "the abandonment of some of the basic principles of Christianity." And in his brilliant 1997 book, Stealing Jesus: How Fundamentalism Betrays Christianity, author Bruce Bawer accuses fundamentalism of replacing Christ's Church of Love with a Church of Law, lamenting "the horrible monster that 20th-century legalistic Christians have made out of their God and Savior and the hateful institution that they have made out of his church." He notes acidly that the movement got its biggest boost in reaction not to the Supreme Court's 1963 school-prayer ban but to the Carter-era IRS crackdown on segregated Christian schools. "The Religious Right didn't grow out of a love of God and one's neighbor—it grew out of racism, pure and simple."

"Kids growing up in Church of Law families nowadays think that the only two sins, or at least the only two really, really important ones, are having an abortion and having gay sex," Bawer told Seattle Weekly. "The notion that love, tolerance, and inclusiveness are moral values has been dropped down the memory hole."

A soldier in the U.S. Army e-mailed Seattle Weekly, "I'm just a citizen who was raised in a Christian community and is tired of having my values hijacked by a conservative movement that only applies them selectively at home and hardly at all overseas." The soldier asks to remain anonymous.

Perversion of Christian Faith?

"Bush is one of the key figures leading the church away from Jesus," says Christian author Don Miller, who wrote the nonbluenose Christian best seller Blue Like Jazz.

Miller is no pantywaist—he had the balls to run a ministry at Reed College in Portland, Ore., which is so godless that its soccer team is said in campus legend to have once staged a halftime crucifixion in a game against a Christian school.

But he couldn't stomach it when, for instance, Texas Gov. Bush not only allowed the execution of his fellow born-again Christian, the penitent ax murderer Karla Faye Tucker, but made vicious fun of her ("Please don't kill me!" Bush said, mocking her prayerful plea for God's mercy).

Miller classifies Bush Christians as modern Pharisees—the allegedly proud, rigid, legalistic hypocrites John the Baptist called "a generation of vipers."

"The worst condemnation that Jesus has for anybody, I mean the worst, is for Pharisees," says Miller. "If you asked Jerry Falwell who the Pharisees are in our society, they can't point anybody out." There are no mirrors in Bush's church.

"People of faith—especially those whose moral values differ from the values exploited this time around—need to figure out a way to be figured into the political landscape," Philadelphia Presbyterian minister Cynthia Jarvis editorialized in The New York Times. "Maybe four years from now, when the number one issue cited by voters in exit polls is again 'moral values,' those values will have something to do with economic justice, racial equality and the peaceable kingdom for which we all were made."

But few have preached harder against the Christian right's wrongs than the Rev. Rich Lang of Seattle's Trinity United Methodist Church in Ballard. "This administration is a culture of death, and so is the religious right," says Lang.

 In his Open Letter to George Bush, published in Real Change, Lang thunders, "You claim Christ but act like Caesar. There is blood all over your hands with the promise of even more blood to come. You sit atop the nations like the Biblical Whore of Babylon openly fornicating with the military men of might."

His sermon "George Bush and the Rise of Christian Fascism" (posted like Luther's theses on the church Web site, www.tumseattle.org) rails that "the power and seduction of this administration emerges from its diabolical manipulation of Christian rhetoric . . .  the mirror opposite of what Jesus embodied. It is, indeed, the materialization of the spirit of Antichrist: a perversion of Christian faith and practice."

Lang is not using "Antichrist" in a tone of bitter sarcasm, as many do. Google "George Bush is the Antichrist," and you'll get a startling list of Web sites that argue the case, but with sardonic intent and whimsical 666-numerological riffs.

Unwhimsical pundit Robert Wright, who attended Calvary Baptist in Bush's Midland, Texas, hometown, uses modern science to puzzle out what may be God's plan in his bold book Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny. When he notes in Slate magazine that he supported John Kerry because "He's a long way from being the Messiah, but at least he's not the anti-Christ," Wright says not to take this as gospel.

"Obviously, I was kidding—Bush isn't literally the Antichrist. But I do think he could conceivably do some pretty cataclysmic damage to the world. . . ."

Even Christian Bush-basher Miller urgently distances himself from the Bush-as- Antichrist meme that's sweeping the Web: "The last thing I want is for someone to say, 'Don Miller thinks Bush is the Antichrist!'"

"He's not the Antichrist, he's just a cynical, callous politician," objects Stealing Jesus author Bawer. "I gather some liberal Christians have gone off the rails." He refers to Lang's identification of Bush with the "spirit of Antichrist" warned against in the Bible's 1 John 4:3. "This kind of inane proof texting is the province of the Church of Law types, the right-wing Darbyites," believers in Left Behind–style apocalyptic prophecy. "It's depressing to see it practiced by liberal Christians, too."

Bawer is appalled by Bush's attempt, "in the name of Christianity, to add to the Constitution what would be far and away its most un-Christian amendment. But I'm also unsettled by the extreme way in which he's been personally characterized by many people."

Granted, Bawer says the right "worships evil," and has "warped Christianity into something ugly and hateful that has little or nothing to do with love and everything to do with suspicion, superstition, and sadism [and] denies the name of Christianity to followers of Jesus who reject its barbaric theology." But "when people start calling somebody the Antichrist, we're in right-wing fundamentalist, Church of Law territory, and I don't like it one bit. . . .  Demonizing (literally) individuals in this way is ugly, scary. . . . "

Lang, though, stands his ground against his famous accuser, and insists that he's missing some crucial distinctions. "This is not about George Bush, this is about this whole administration. It's about Karl Rove, it's about the neocons, some of whom are Christian, some who aren't, but who are using Christian rhetoric. James Dobson [of Focus on the Family] has direct access to the highest echelons of American government. And Robertson and Falwell."

Still, Lang means what he says about Bush. "He has the spirit of the Antichrist. Literally, break the word apart. It is a spirituality that is anti-Christ."

Meet the Beast

So what's an Antichrist, anyhow?

The concept has evolved bewilderingly throughout biblical history. As definitively explained in Bernard McGinn's Antichrist: 2,000 Years of the Human Fascination With Evil and Robert Fuller's Naming the Antichrist: The History of an American Obsession, the character can be traced to Old Testament authors' horrified response to the oppression of ancient colonizers. When Alexander the Great's conquests led to a statue of Zeus in the Temple in Jerusalem, Jews envisioned a final conflict story wherein the Syrian Greek tyrant Antiochus, reimagined as a beast, got burned in God's "fiery stream" on Judgment Day.

Early Christians grafted the Roman Emperor Nero onto the tradition as the Beast from the Abyss in the Apocalypse, known to current Christians as the book of Revelation, the Bible's astonishing finale about the final days. Nero dressed in animal skins to ravage men's and women's genitals, burned Christians in ghastly dramas, demanded to be worshiped as a god, and was rumored to have disappeared to the East, threatening to return one day to rule the world from Rome, or Jerusalem. Actually, he killed himself, but he lives on in beastly legend. To this day, the word for Antichrist in Armenian is "Nero."

Though the story of the Beast and various other biblical verses are associated with the Antichrist, the word itself, "Antichrist," only appears four times in the Bible, in the letters of John.

Christians have eternally argued about the Antichrist.

Revelation was nearly banned from the Bible, and permitted strictly on condition it should never be used as it is by fundies today.

Church father Augustine ordered Christians to quit reading apocalyptic Left Behind–style scenarios into scripture and think of the Antichrist as anyone who denies Christ—and he said the first place to hunt for him is in your own heart.

In my evangelical Lutheran childhood I often feared the Rapture had left me behind, even though my church was liberal with Christ's love. But now I'm with Augustine—and also with Robert Wright, who finds in his book The Moral Animal a biological basis for original sin. For a Darwinist Christian, the Beast is within: the lizard brain fighting the higher mind for control of one's soul. As Darwin cried out to heaven in his notebook: "The Devil under form of Baboon is our grandfather!"

But people crave apocalyptic stories and an easy answer to spiritual struggle.

As the narrator says of a character in Left Behind, "He wanted to believe something that tied everything together and made it make sense."

The most popular story today was concocted by an English law-student-turned-self-taught-theologian named John Nelson Darby in the 1840s, and popularized by a Kansas City lawyer named C.I. Scofield with his best-selling 1909 Scofield Reference Bible. The Scofield Bible cross-referenced Old and New Testament verses to illuminate the hidden figure in the bewildering carpet of scripture, weaving the phantasmagoria of apocalyptic visions into a single system—a magic carpet of narrative to whisk them safely out of time and into heaven. Its systematic beauty was designed as a kind of counterscience to rebuke and refute Darwinism and historical biblical scholarship.

And man, is it a great story. It's not a literal interpretation, but an imaginative deduction as breathtaking as Charles Kinbote's commentary on John Shade in Nabokov's Pale Fire, or Charles Manson's prophetic interpretation of the Beatles' White Album.

The Bible describes Christ's Second Coming and the Rapture of the Saints—the whooshing of Christians bodily into heaven.

Anybody reading it for the first time would think these are supposed to happen at the same time, at the end of time. But Darby hawked the notion that the Rapture happens first. Exeunt Christians. Enter the Beast/Antichrist, who perpetrates a hellish seven-year Great Tribulation. Then Christ returns, kicks Beast butt, and reigns for 1,000 years—the Millennium.

Fifty-one percent of Americans voted for Bush; 59 percent believe Revelation will come true. Without one scrap of scriptural evidence, almost one-quarter of Americans believe Revelation predicted 9/11.

The Independent newspaper called Revelation "that earliest of airport novels." LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins' Left Behind dazzlingly turns it into one. Planes and cars crash, deprived of pilots by the Rapture. Even fetuses get Raptured, deflating their mamas' bellies. The Antichrist becomes Nicolae Carpathia, People magazine's Sexiest Man Alive, seizing control of the U.N. to impose one world government! The faithful get saved! The secular humanists get what they deserve!

Since latter-day Darbyites believe end times scripture predicts and mandates Israel's resurgence to usher in Christ's return and the Antichrist's smackdown, they help drive Bush's rubber-stamp policy for Israel. The real Middle East road map may be the Scofield Reference Bible.

"That's a completely foolish and erroneous interpretation of the scriptures," snaps Jimmy Carter. "But this administration, maybe extremely influenced by ill-advised theologians of the extreme religious right, has pretty well abandoned any real effort that could lead to a resolution of the problems between Israel and the Palestinians."

"It's deeply dismaying that millions of Americans who call themselves Christians are believers in something that has virtually nothing to do with the gospel message," mourns Bawer. "Darby, Scofield, and company have been a disaster for Christianity in America. Millions of people think they are adherents of 'traditional Christianity' when, in fact, they have been roped into a newfangled religion based on bizarre theological propositions that Jesus would never recognize."

"It's so ludicrous!" laments Lang. "Such a twisting of scripture. That history is scripted is something that it seems to me Christians ought to have an instinct to be repulsed against. You follow a code, there's magical meanings in the text."

But Lang knows why people cling to millennial dreams—like Dubya's, his life was saved by a fundamentalist church. "It attracted me because I came out of chaos. Alcohol and drugs; 19 years old and I was dyin'. I needed a strong fence around my life and people who cared for me, and I got both. But after about a year of reading what they taught me, I started to raise questions."

Further study convinced him that Augustine was on the right track, after all, in reading apocalyptic literature as spiritual advice, not a sneak preview of tomorrow's headlines. "Revelation is written to the churches in its time, not to the churches in the 21st century. It's written to seven churches in Turkey." As for the Antichrist warnings in John, he reads them not as a literal prediction of Bush but as a warning against the eternal danger of his hypocritical, Mammon-worshiping, proudly elitist, heartless, narrowly legalistic spirit. "1 John seems to be obsessed with language like this: 'How can you say you love God, who you have not seen, if you do not love your brother and sister, who you have seen?' Who are in need of food, clothing, shelter? The implication of the doctrine of the Antichrist is that there is an economic disparity in the community, and people are using their religion, not practicing it."

Bush policy is based on what he told his Harvard Business School professor— "Poor people are poor because they're lazy." Responds Lang, "Again, anti-Christ. It's just the opposite [of Christ's teaching]. The thrust of right-wing Christianity—their solution to poverty is to discipline the poor. Now, there's a lot to be said for that. I mean, if people would clean up their negative habits. There's some common ground where we can meet. But the right never addresses what Jesus called 'that fox Herod'—the systematic problem that has given rise to homelessness and poverty."

Bringing Back Heresy

Lang argues that followers of Jesus, not Bush, should call an Antichrist an Antichrist—or rather, its spirit. "The progressive church should bring back—and this sounds so crazy—the word 'heresy.' The end times theology and this other thing called Dominionism or Christian Reconstruction—those are heresies."

 Lang says not to believe Christian Coalition leader–turned–Whore of Enron–turned Bush/Cheney campaign lieutenant Ralph Reed when he claims the Christian right has no plans to upend the Constitution and impose its religion on civic life. "He's a liar," says Lang. "Dominionism is the notion that God has given the dominion, the governance of the world, to the church. And so Christians literally are born to rule, by force if necessary, to bring the Kingdom of God on Earth. I believe that the theology that drives the Bush administration affirms this." When Falwell preached, "We must take back what is rightfully ours," his ambitions did not stop at U.S. borders. This is a Church of a Law Unto Itself.

In the Greek, the word "anti" doesn't just mean "against." It also contains the meanings "equivalent to" or "a substitute for." Nero was anti-Christ because he falsely claimed to be God.

The idea of deception is crucial. The Antichrist isn't the devil, the opposite of God. He's an evil human masquerading as a golden god. The Antichrist appears to humanity not as the hideous Beast but as handsome Nicolae Carpathia, who resembles Robert Redford without the facial erosion. "That could be our next Republican president," quips Lang.

In this sense, the Bush church is Antichristlike indeed. It is institutionalized deception, anti-American ugliness with a beguiling face, a neocon job. Only when necessary does it employ the perilous bald-faced lie, the outrageously transparent duplicity—the political equivalent of Robertson arguing that "Do unto others" indicates Christ's support of capitalist selfishness. More often, a smoothly dissembling surface is preferred.

Rove notoriously emulates Machiavelli; the Christian right is a stealth movement, infiltrating school boards and mainstream churches and every institution of democracy like a thief in the night—in order to undermine, overthrow, and replace democracy with theocracy.

Bush is the father of lies.

The Union of Concerned Scientists proclaims Bush's lies about science "unprecedented."

In With God on Their Side, Kaplan concludes, on mountainous evidence, "The goal is not to engage your opponents in the public square, but to kneecap them, or send them into exile."

"It is a conspiracy in the sense that they have not been public and accountable to their ideology," says Lang.

"Follow the money! The same filthy-rich foundations that have funded the rise of neocons are funding the rise of the religious right." He suggests that you check out the exposé Web site www.yuricareport.com for the terrifying particulars. [...]

Ultimately, despite his despair, Lang is a man of faith. "I really do believe that we're in for several decades of a very dark time. But that's not the end of the world."

Comment by Laura Knight-Jadczyk:

The above article states: "Revelation is written to the churches in its time, not to the churches in the 21st century. It's written to seven churches in Turkey." 

I have researched this subject for many years and, while I agree that the Apocalypse of John may have been written at a specific time, for a specific reason, additional historical research shows us that history is cyclical and repeating.  Since this is the case, we may be able to analyze our position on the historical circle by careful study of the past.  This is, of course, problematical since our history has been composed mostly of lies, having been written by the “victors,” most of whom are victorious due to deception and guile. 

I would also suggest that Augustine's Christianity was as much a whitewash of the original teachings of the man around whom the Jesus myth was accreted as the theories of Darby. 

Moreover, there are certain characteristics of the book of Revelation that suggest it IS an "End Time" prophecy that is specific to our time.  One example would be from Revelation 13, where it says:

13:11 And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.

13:12 And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.

13:13 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, 13:14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.

13:15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. 

It is only in our present day that man has the power to make "fire come down from heaven on earth in the sight of men" in the form of modern military weapons.  (Unless, of course, you wish to ascribe a mystical or supernatural explanation for the above comment.)  It could even be said that the attack on the World Trade Center was an exemplar of such activity due to its continued and repeated broadcast via TV around the world for days on end. 

It is certainly true that, as a result of this event, we are seeing what is described in the following verses, an effort to bring the entire world under the military dominance of the US as the Beast.  Keep in mind that "worshipping" does not have to take place in an overt religious context.  For example, valuing money over the lives of other human beings, over peace, amounts to "worshipping the Beast." 

There is another passage in the Bible that interests us in the context of the above article, from 2 Thessalonians, regarding the "Great Apostasy" which certainly seems to describe those Christians following the Bush Reich agenda:

2:1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 2:2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 2:4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

2:5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? 2:6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. 2:7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.

2:8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 2:9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 2:12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 

Note that Paul declared that the "Mystery of Lawlessness", or the antichrist, was present in the early days of the Church, and he makes it clear that thise "Mystery of Lawlessness" related specifically to "believing lies." 

Part of the above passage has been interpreted by Darby and others as referring to "The Rapture."  The idea is that  it is the Holy Spirit that has "hindered the revealing of the Antichrist, and that this Holy Spirit will "leave the planet" with the saved Christians during the rapture.  This event is supposed to leave the rest of the world wide open to oppression and the beginning of the Tribulation.  

However, it is clear from the above passage that what is actually "hindering," what is to be "taken out of the way," is the "strong delusion."

Paul (or pseudo Paul, according to some analysts) says at the beginning:

And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time," followed by the description of exactly what he is talking about: "shall that Wicked be revealed ... whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders ... all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth. ... And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 

This is the foundational idea of Tribulation. The word "Tribulation" comes from the word "tribulare," which means "to thresh". This means that the useful parts of the wheat are separated from the chaff. In the parable of the wheat and the tares, it should be apparent what happens to whom. This parable is given as a description of the end times. The farmer plants wheat and in the night the enemy sows weeds which look like wheat in the field. The workers come and ask the owner of the field what to do. He instructs them to let all grow together and, at the time of the harvest, pull up the weeds and burn them first, then gather the wheat into the barn. 

In other words, this idea contradicts completely the idea that there will be any "Rapture."

Theologians have endlessly distorted the last part of Matthew 24 to support an unfounded myth of being "raptured" into the sky. According to the proponents of this theory, only Christians who meet certain criteria based upon any number variations in doctrine are eligible.

The passage in Matthew reads:

As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For just as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking... until the day when Noah went into the ark, and they did not know or understand until the flood came and swept them all away; so will be the coming of the Son of Man.

At that time two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left...

To get the correct sense we must stop right here and rearrange the sentence for our Western linear minds.

The coming of the Son of Man, like the flood of Noah, will be sudden and unexpected, and will sweep away or take those who are not prepared.

It is obvious, in the context, that those who are "taken" or "swept away", are the very ones who have not watched and kept ready, and that this is not a "Stealing away of the Saints to some Heaven like city of God to wait out the disaster!"

Paul writes in I Thessalonians 5:2-03:

For you yourselves know perfectly well that the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night. When people are saying, All is well and secure, and There is peace and safety, then in a moment unforeseen destruction will come upon them as suddenly as labor pains come upon a woman with child; and they shall by no means escape, for there will be no escape.

This last passage makes it obvious that the "Thief" is unforeseen destruction. Obviously, one who is ready and "guarding his clothes" will not be looted by the thief nor would anyone expect a vigilant householder to go with a thief?!

Paul also writes:

But you are not in darkness... for that day to overtake you by surprise like a thief for God has not appointed us to wrath... therefore let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love and for a helmet the hope of salvation...

...which clearly associates the "thief effect" with wrath, NOT salvation!

The word "thief" was used to emphasize the need to watch and be prepared, not to indicate an absurdity called a "Stealing Away." The idea of being raptured out of tribulation is, naturally, attractive, but this is not supported by the Bible nor does it stand to reason. 

The idea of "enduring to the end," on the other hand, is mentioned not less than 13 times in the New Testament. The doctrine of the rapture is an assumption made by twisting scriptural references and is, in truth, an example of the following:

And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 

There has long been a tradition of the "Secret Teachings" of Jesus, and any astute reader of the Bible can immediately perceive that much is alluded to which was either never recorded or was later expunged. That is not surprising since Paul noted that the spirit of Anti-Christ already existed in the early church. But, what is apparent is that, since these things were hidden, they are the very meat of the matter -- the foundational truths of Christianity!

In at least sixteen passages in the Gospels, Jesus is described as "teaching", but the words he taught were never recorded.

Mark wrote in his Gospel, that Jesus taught the multitudes only in parables and expounded and explained to his disciples only in private. Precious few of these explanations were included in the text.

Some theologians have supposed that these "Deeper" truths are fully covered in the epistles, but a careful reading makes it apparent that this is not the case. Social commentary, mundane advice, allusions to deeper truths revealed in past conversations or promised in future conversations; this is the primary composition of these letters. And, as a result, most Christian denominations concern themselves primarily with such matters, believing that this is sufficient to ensure "salvation". But, we can determine that the fact that deeper teachings exist is supported by the text of the Bible itself, but that they are not contained within the Bible. 

Getting back to the passage from 2 Thessalonians above, as the analyst above noted, many of the "Rapture Christians" firmly believe that Israel must be reconstituted and the Temple in Jerusalem must be rebuilt to prepare the way for the return of Christ.  They base this also on the passage from 2 Thessalonians quoted above, that the Antichrist proclaims himself to be god and takes his seat in the temple in Jerusalem.

One of the keys to this prophecy is the word anthropes translated as "man" of lawlessness. This is the same Greek word Timothy uses in 3:17 "That the man of God may be perfect." It is also used similarly to mean many people in Hebrews 2:6. In I John, 2:18-22, the term "antichrist" is used to describe many people -- not just those who deny Christ, but also those who claim to be Christians but, in fact, deny the true teachings of Christ. 

Paul speaks of the temple of God. Many ignorant preachers and pseudo theologians say that this refers to the Temple in Jerusalem. However, Paul is addressing Christians about falling away from true Christian teachings. If Paul is addressing Christians about Christian concepts, the word "temple" must refer to the body of man. For example:

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? (I Corinthians 6:19);

For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, I will live in them and move among them, and I will be their God and they will be my people. (II Corinthians 6:16);

In whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built into it for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:21-22)

The Greek word used for temple (Naos) in the scriptures cited which refer to man as the temple of God is the same Greek word used in II Thessalonians 2:4 for temple.

However, a completely different word is usually used when referring to the Temple in Jerusalem, (Hieron).

Whether it was Paul or a later writer attempting to imitate Paul's style, he was not speaking of the Temple in Jerusalem in II Thessalonians, he was talking about mankind -- the temple of God's spirit. And, though a man may claim to be following the standards of Christianity, he may, in reality, have set himself up as his own god because he exalts himself -- his own interpretations and preconceived notions -- against every so-called god or object of worship as has George W. Bush.

Lets organize this and look at it in the light of reason. We find the following points: 

1 A great many people are involved, not a single man; "son of doom and Son of Perdition" must be seen as amplifying expletives added to anthropes (plural=MEN) of lawlessness. 

2 They profess to be Christians -- and, in fact, constitute the majority of Christianity. 

3 They are self-righteous in their belief that they possess the only true knowledge -- this is shown by the fact that they place this human judgment before all other evidence, assuming their view to be divinely inspired - taking the seat in the Temple. In this way, they have taken the authority of judgment from God and placed their own will in its place -- thus "opposing and exalting themselves over God ... taking God's seat in the temple (the body of many people - man of lawlessness); in short, proclaiming themselves to be God! 

For although they hold a form of piety they deny and reject and are strangers to the power of it -- their conduct belies the genuineness of their profession." (II Timothy 3:5) 

4 The principle of lawlessness was already active in the early church.

I have often wondered about the total absence of very early Christian documents and manuscripts. It has been explained that the originals were passed around until they were tattered, then copied and the copies passed until they were worn out also. By the time the canon was assembled, all that existed were copies of copies of copies of copies. Considering the reverence and awe the early Christians attached to relics and so forth, it seems far more likely that, say, a manuscript written by Peter himself would have been carefully preserved and copies taken from the original to be passed around. However, if the early church leaders, anxious to strengthen their control over the masses, saw to it that all originals were destroyed and only carefully edited and altered copies remained, this would explain both the activity of the Mystery of Lawlessness as well as the loss of the Secret Teachings -- if they had ever been written at all. 

5 The word "restrain", (hinder in the KJV), is used in such a way that it can only mean "hiding". What is being hidden is the Mystery of Lawlessness, the Hidden Purpose of God, not the identity of a pagan world ruler who craves to be worshipped! This mystery is to remain hidden until just before the time of the end and then the Lord Jesus will slay "the man (anthropes=MEN) of sin" with the breath of His mouth. 

From his mouth goes forth a sharp sword with which He can smite the nations... and the beast was seized... and with him the false prophet... both of the two were hurled into the lake of fire... and the rest were killed with the sword that issues from the mouth of Him Who is mounted on the horse... (Revelation 19) 

Who gets slain by the "Breath" or "Sword" from the mouth? Not the beast nor the false prophet, long identified as "The Antichrist" and his high priest. No, the clarifying sentence states that nations are slain!

Let's hear what Paul (or pseudo Paul) said one more time about the "Mystery of Lawlessness": 

...Now you know what is restraining him; it is so that he may be manifested in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness -- that hidden principle of rebellion against constituted authority -- is already at work in the world, restrained (hidden) only until he who restrains (hides) is taken out of the way ...The coming (of the apostasy) is through the activity and working of Satan... and by unlimited seduction to evil and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing because they did not welcome the Truth but refused to love it that they might be saved. Therefore, God sends upon them a misleading influence, a working of error and strong delusion to make them believe what is false, in order that all may be judged and condemned who did not believe... 

Did you catch that? 

What it clearly says first of all is that "the coming of apostasy" is the work of Satan...UNLIMITED SEDUCTION TO EVIL... and in the very next breath says that GOD SENDS UPON THEM A MISLEADING INFLUENCE, A WORKING OF ERROR AND STRONG DELUSION TO MAKE THEM BELIEVE WHAT IS FALSE... 

Now, let's just take a deep breath here and think about this for a minute. There are a couple of other passages in the Bible that are comparable. The one that comes first to mind is the story of Job, where it says: 

Now there was a day when the sons [the angels] of God came to present themselves before the Lord, so Satan - the adversary and accuser - also came among them. And the Lord said to Satan, From where did you come? Then Satan answered the Lord, From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it. And the Lord said to Satan, Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and abstains from and shuns evil. Then Satan answered the Lord, Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not put a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have conferred prosperity and happiness upon him in the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But put forth Your hand now, and touch all that he has, and he will curse You to Your face. And the Lord said to Satan, Behold all that he has is in your power; only upon himself put not forth your hand. [Job 1:6 - 12] 

Curiously and significantly, Satan is described as one of the "sons of God," and even as an "angel." Remembering also that Paul stated that Satan can "appear as an Angel of LIGHT." 

Then, the next significant thing is that when Satan suggests that God "put forth your hand, and touch all that he has..." God responds by saying: "Behold all that he has is in your power..." which clearly implies that the "hand of God" in terms of destruction and trials IS SATAN! Put it another way: Satan is an ASPECT OF GOD, and therefore, NOT a rebellious angel who will be "destroyed" at the day of judgment.  Satan is simply the force of entropy.

The next interesting comparison is from I Kings and goes as follows: 

And Micaiah said, Hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on His throne, and all the host of Heaven standing by Him on His right hand and on His left. And the Lord said, Who will entice Ahab to go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead? One said this way, another said that way. Then there came forth the spirit and stood before the Lord, and said, I will entice him. The Lord said tohim, By what means? And he said, I will go forth and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. The Lord said, You shall entice him, and succeed also; go forth an do it. So the Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these prophets and the Lord has spoken evil conerning you. [I Kings 22:19-23] 

Again, we have clear statements of the "manipulations" or "testings" of God in a Biblical context. And we also have evidence that "angels and spirits" are NOT necessarily all "goodness and light" in their natures. 

So, we find the "hindering" or "hiding" aspect of the passage from Thessalonians to be, in effect, the "working of God via Satan," or a "lying spirit" in the mouths of teachers and prophets, in order to discover who REALLY loves truth. And it is only when this "lying spirit," or "working of Satan" in terms of deception is "removed" or taken away, that truth is finally revealed. 

According to the texts of the Bible, the removal of the hindrance, or the revealing of the mystery of God is described as the breaking of the "seal" on the prophetic truth -- the pouring out of the Spirit of God -- the Coming of the Spirit of Truth in the last days -- to overcome the "misleading influence sent by God," which was in operation from the early days of the church until just before the Day of the Lord! This misleading influence, the "working of Satan", sent by God, has been the spirit operating in all of the Christian Churches as described by Paul!

The Hindrance is a delusion to error, a concealing of the truth that began long ago. Thus, the traditions, the doctrines and dogma as taught until the present, within the Christian denominations themselves, are scripturally defined as predicated upon lies and deception!

What event brings forth the Spirit of Truth?

Jesus is quoted as saying: Ye shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall set you free.

In Revelation, this bringing forth of the Spirit of Truth is described as the "Breaking of a Seal". We are here reminded of a passage in the book of Daniel:

12:1 And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. 12:2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. 12:3 And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. 12:4 But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.

This suggests that the Truth will only be known at the time of the End, when knowledge has been increased. That suggests that the Bible isn't the whole cheese, for sure.

In any event, the end result of this analysis is this: the "removing of the hindrance" CANNOT be the "Stealing Away of the Saints" as interpreted by many denominations.

As an interesting aside, Nostradamus wrote:

The great force which will pass the mountains.
Saturn in Sagittarius Mars turning from the fish:
Poison hidden under the heads of salmon,
Their war-chief hung with cord. II.48 

This astrological square is very rare. It last occurred in July, 1751 -- that is, until it occurred again on December 16, 1986. Within 25 years of its previous occurrence, the United States was at war with Britain. The French Revolution followed soon after and the 1700's was a period of great change and turmoil due to the repercussions of the industrial revolution and the blossoming of Humanist philosophy. 

Since no human army - or "great force" - of global import passed over any mountain or breached any barrier at or around this time, perhaps this quatrain has a cosmic significance. After all, one might think that the breaking of a seal might include a "Great Force" traveling our way?   It is interesting to note that 25 years from December, 1986, happens to be December, 2011. 

Getting back to our subject: being "antichrist or "lawless" is equated with refusal to love, seek, and accept truth. As noted before, truth is very often defined as that which pleases a given individual or group.

6 The loss of true knowledge within the Christian church is foreordained and planned -- for a purpose!

These clues, when properly understood, make clear that the "Antichrist" is, in large part, the Christian Churches. It is not, as these many fundamentalist churches teach, a world taken over by Satanists, among whom they include everyone who doesn't believe as they do individually and collectively. 

Specifically defined in the very words of the Bible, this Antichrist Society will consist of those who claim to be Christians or those who act in the name of Christ. 

Jesus' diatribe against the Scribes and Pharisees of His own time is a prophetic injunction against the established churches of our time: 

But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, pretenders -- hypocrites! Because you shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces; for you neither enter yourselves, nor do you allow those who are about to go in to do so.

Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, pretenders -- hypocrites! For you travel over sea and land to make a single proselyte and when he becomes you make him doubly as much a child of Hell (Son of Perdition) as you are.

Woe to you blind guides, who say, If anyone swears by the sanctuary of the temple, it is nothing; but if he swears by the gold of the sanctuary, he is a debtor, bound by his oath. You blind fools! For which is greater the gold or the sanctuary?... You say, too, that whoever swears by the altar is not duty bound, but whoever swears by the offering on the altar, his oath is binding. You blind men! Which is greater, the gift or the altar which makes the gift sacred? So, whoever swears by the altar swears by it and everything on it; and whoever swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by Him Who sits upon it!" (Matthew 23:13-22) 

When one considers the elements of the foregoing passage, the deeper truth emerges. Christendom has been rabid in its persecutions and attempts to convert "heathens" who are considered by the Church to be unsaved and on the road to hell.

Jesus, the man, was the gift on the altar, the Christ spirit, representing God on earth. Jesus was the first-fruit of a way of transmutation or "resurrection" and was an exemplar of the pattern that must be striven after in order to achieve this transmutation. The Christ Spirit, the Word, exists as a template, and has existed from the Beginning as the consciousness of the Cosmos, what we may call God.

In today's Christianity, the worship of the man, Jesus, has replaced the worship of God's Logos. Statements to the effect that Jesus is the only name by which a man may be saved, and that acceptance of this view is the key to God's plan of salvation, is the most grossly misrepresented teaching ever to come out of the Christian church. This amounts to worship of the offering while disregarding the altar. For those of you who stumble over "Jesus as the only name by which a man may be saved" I ask you to seriously consider the fruits of this doctrine and the probable impetus for its propagation.

Just consider the Crusades -- in the name of Jesus only. Consider the Inquisition -- in the name of Jesus only. Consider the annihilation of the American Indians -- in the name of Jesus only. Consider of the murder of over 65 million fellow human beings in our own time -- in the name of Jesus only. 

In examining the expression of the various religious beliefs around the world, the Christian faith stands out as claiming to exclude all others on a fundamental point of doctrine. The Christian faith holds that belief in Jesus as the Son of God, a god himself, and Savior of the World and profession of this belief is the key to salvation. Any person, regardless of the conduct of their lives, is doomed to judgment (that is, some sort of after-life punishment) if they do not make this confession. Conversely, anyone who makes this confession, even on their deathbed after a lifetime of "sinfulness," is saved instantaneously. 

(George W. Bush, as the new arbiter of this form of Christianity contradicted his theology when he executed Karla Faye Tucker, by the way.)

The Epistle of James, in discussing faith versus works says: 

You believe that God is one; you do well. So do the demons believe, and shudder... (2:19) 

The Gospel of John states: 

assure you, most solemnly I tell you, the person whose ears are open to My words and believes and trusts in Him Who Sent Me has eternal life. And he does not come into judgment -- but he has already passed over out of death into life." (5:24) 

The latter statement was made by Christ prior to his crucifixion and resurrection and clearly indicates that salvation is not hinged upon a belief in the man Jesus. Jesus referred to himself repeatedly as "The Son of Man," NOT the "son of God." It is only men who have made him thus... swearing by the gold on the altar and disregarding the altar itself. 

On the other hand, there are numerous statements in the New Testament which declare that salvation hinges solely upon believing in the name of Jesus. Contradictory to this is Jesus' statement that 

to every one who says to Me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father." (Matt. 7:21) 

So, we have a fundamental doctrinal confusion and can easily see the working of the Antichrist in the early Church in these conflicting doctrines. 

In describing false prophets, Jesus set up criteria for evaluation: "By their fruits you shall know them." Since he was talking about prophets and teachers who were described as performing miracles and signs and wonders, we may assume that such are not to be considered fruits. 

What are fruits? A given plant or tree bears fruit after a period of time known as the growing season, so we may assume that fruit becomes evident after a period of time. Fruit also has the capability of propagating other fruit after its own kind. Galatians 5:22 says: 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, gladness, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness; gentleness, self-control.

So, it might be said that, by the criteria established by Jesus, himself, an individual who possesses these qualities or "bears these fruits" must be "saved" regardless of his religious affiliation! 

The fact that God can work in and through all kinds of people of all faiths should be evidence that doctrines are creations of men and God - the consciousness from which the Cosmos emerges - is the only truth. 

Yes, Jesus was an exemplar in the flesh -- the way, one of many - yes he "bore our infirmities" in that he also was subjected to the weaknesses of the flesh over which he triumphed; and, yes, by his stripes and His sacrifice we are healed -- but this healing is due to a change in understanding, thought patterns, knowledge of our true inner capabilities, by discovering the TRUTH that will set us free. 

When Jesus said: "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, and no man cometh unto the Father but by me," he spoke as the Christ, and His words are true. The Christ spirit is present in all who manifest the fruits of the Spirit. It doesn't matter who the messenger was, or the specific doctrine followed. If we follow the pattern of the life of Jesus - once we have waded through the lies and cover-up to discover what that was - no matter who taught it to us, we have the possibility for transformation. This inner knowledge, this following of the pattern, is that which can change our lives and make all things new. Through faith, as described in the Parable of the Talents - a willingness to take risks, to exchange what we formerly believed for something new and greater - we can align ourselves with the Word, the Logos, the Christ -- and receive power to perceive, through psychic potentials, truth relating to all those things necessary to pattern our lives after the Master and thereby manifest our true nature as Children of the King. 

Jesus accused the Pharisees of shutting the door of the kingdom of heaven in men's faces, and this is a clue to how the Christian churches have accomplished their perversions of the truth. As noted, some of the teachings of Jesus may well have been withheld from the masses for fear of distortion. Others have, of a certainty, been expunged to make the masses more compliant and dependent upon the Church hierarchy.

The true teachings of Christ have never been fully expounded to "all the nations." This is due, primarily, to the "anti-Christ" elements in the early church which sought to expunge all teachings which would not lead to the masses' dependence upon the church hierarchy. They destroyed those manuscripts they could, banned those they couldn't destroy, and altered what was left. Fortunately the alterations were neither expert nor consistent. In this way. the very contradictions apparent in the Gospels and Epistles can lead us to a fuller understanding of the truth. But only if we love truth sufficiently to read, search, and analyse, the very dynamic described in the Parable of the Talents.

If the kingdom of heaven is within, as Jesus suggested, how can the church leaders prevent one from entering? The only answer is that the Church can do this by inducing seekers to believe lies.

The standard argument against new knowledge and added revelation is based upon the last part of the Book of Revelation which states "If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book," and is further amplified by the standard doctrine that, "If an individual stands in opposition to the entire evangelical Christian doctrine as espoused through Martin Luther, he has to be without truth because the majority must be right." 

Two points: 

1. The Bible, as a book, did not exist at the time of the writing of Revelation. John's curse cannot possibly be construed to extend to the other documents assembled by very human hands some three hundred years after Christ. 

2. The Bible itself prophesies that, "The love of the great body of people will grow cold, because of multiplied lawlessness and iniquity." This can only be reference to those who formerly loved -- the Christian Church -- a majority in error! 

The apostate condition of the established churches is also shown in the parable of the wheat and the tares. The common translations of today have left out a very important key word. The question is asked in the text: "Did you not sow good wheat in your field? Then how does it have darnel shoots in it?" The original Greek translates: "An enemy-man this did," but the Bible reads: "An enemy has done this." and is generally interpreted and taught as referring to Satan, losing the sense that the errors were initiated by men. 

Jesus said "if you abide in my word -- hold fast to my teaching and live in accordance with them -- you are truly my disciples. And you will know the truth and the truth will set you free." (John 8:31) 

But we must consider this statement in light of the fact that there are literally hundreds of Christian sects espousing dozens of variations on different doctrines, some of which are diametrically opposed to each other. Each group believes that their own group has the one true interpretation and are invariably convinced that all others are in error. 

Most sects base their interpretations upon "Revelation through the Spirit" as described in John 16. "But when He, the Spirit of Truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth -- the whole full truth." The question arises: Among all these denominations who claim to possess the truth received by them from the Holy Spirit, who is telling the truth? 

Some theologians admit to these problems explaining that many teachings are just "ideas of men". These ideas however are taught as doctrine and accepted as doctrine, or truth, by the masses of adherents of any given group. If any one of them ever admits error to what was supposed to have been divine inspiration, what must we see in the spirit leading that group? 

I John 2:21 states:

...nothing false--no deception, no lie -- is of the truth." Further, James says: "for wherever there is jealousy, and contention, there will also be confusion and all sorts of evil and vile practices. But the wisdom from above is first of all pure; then it is peace loving, courteous, yields to reason, full of compassion and good fruits. (3:16,17) 

Do the evolved doctrines of Christianity demonstrate absence of confusion? Purity of teaching? Peace? Courtesy? Yielding to reason? Compassion? Good fruits? 

I would like to say that the great confusion of doctrine is an indication of the loss of purity which often leads to acts of discourtesy, absence of peace, and lack of compassion. 

But what about yielding to reason? James said that wisdom yields to reason. Wisdom is defined as: "...the power of judging rightly and following the soundest course of action based on knowledge, experience, and understanding." 

In short, Knowledge is the only possible way out of the dilemma. With greater knowledge, the seeker can read and weed through the Bible, and many other sources, and discover truth. Only in this way, with work and dedication can the individual demonstrate that they are one of those who "Love the Truth." Only in this way, can the "strong delusion to error" be overcome.

A general estimate tells us that  32.9% of the World's population are professed Christians. Christians outnumber any other single religion on earth.  What is the HISTORY of this domination? What are the fruits of this domination? What is the condition of the world TODAY under the influence of the George W. Bush Theology? 

The conclusion of this is that the antichrist is the spirit of perverse Christianity which prevails in most churches in our day and the teachings of most of them are the acts of men deciding what is true and thereby taking the seat in the Temple, and that this misconstruction of the Christian teachings began during the time of Paul and has continued down to this very day.

This returns us to the foreordained and planned purpose of this lawlessness, this delusion to error. The ultimate purpose of the "misleading influence" is described within the pages of the Bible itself: 

God sends upon them a misleading influence, a working of error a strong delusion to make them believe what is false, in order that they may look and look but not perceive, and may hear but not grasp and comprehend; lest they should turn again, and it should be forgiven them; in order that all may be judged and condemned who did not believe -- who refused the truth, according to the revelation of the mystery of the plan of redemption which was kept in silence and secret for long ages,...which God devised and decreed before the ages for our glorification... We shall not all fall asleep in death; but we shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the sound of the last trumpet call. For a trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised imperishable -- free and immune from decay, ...(at) the maturity of the times and the climax of the ages to unify all things in heaven and things on the earth, this mystery, which is Christ within and among you, the hope of Glory. But when the days come that the trumpet call of the seventh angel is about to be sounded, then God's mystery -- His secret design, His hidden purpose -- as He announced the glad tidings to His servants the prophets, should be fulfilled. 

What is this Design? 

Metamorphosis -- The unity of spirit and matter -- the ultimate alchemical event; matter vibrationally altered by atomic interaction between the bodies of the solar system - The WAVE.

The earth and mankind returned to the Garden of Eden, literally. 

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U.S. Soldier Guilty of Killing Iraqi Teen
By PAUL GARWOOD
Associated Press Writer
Published December 10, 2004, 9:33 AM CST

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- A U.S. soldier pleaded guilty at his court-martial Friday to killing a severely wounded 16-year-old Iraqi male during fierce fighting in Baghdad's impoverished Sadr City neighborhood, the military said.

Staff Sgt. Johnny M. Horne Jr., 30, of Winston-Salem, N.C., was among several soldiers who had found the wounded teenager on Aug. 18 in a burning truck with severe abdominal wounds sustained during the clashes. A criminal investigator had said during an earlier hearing that the soldiers decided to kill him to "put him out of his misery."

Sadr City was the scene of wild clashes earlier this year between coalition forces and Shiite rebels allied to firebrand cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, a loud opponent of the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq.

In a plea bargain, Horne, a member of Company C, 1st Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment, from Fort Riley, Kan., pleaded guilty to one count of unpremeditated murder and one count of soliciting another soldier to commit unpremeditated murder. The charges are under Articles 118 and 81 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

"The convictions stemmed from Staff Sgt. Horne's murder of a severely wounded Iraqi civilian in Baghdad's Sadr City district," a military statement said.

Lt. Col. James Hutton, a military spokesman, said Horne had originally been charged with the more serious offenses of premeditated murder, conspiracy to commit premeditated murder and solicitation of another soldier to commit premeditated murder.

"He decided to plead guilty to the lesser charges presented to him," Hutton said.

Hutton said Horne was expected to be sentenced later Friday.

Horne is one of six Fort Riley soldiers charged with killings in recent months -- two for slayings in Kansas and four for deaths in Iraq. Staff Sgt. Cardenas J. Alban, 29, of Inglewood, Calif., was charged along with Horne in the teenager's killing and is awaiting a court-martial hearing.

Previous military court hearings have heard that several troops had fired on a group of Iraqi men placing homemade bombs along a road in Sadr City. Soldiers from the same battalion arrived on the scene to find a burning truck and casualties around it.

According to accounts given by witnesses at previous hearings, the soldiers, including Horne, tried to rescue an Iraqi casualty from inside the vehicle. The victim had severe abdominal wounds and burns and was thought by several of the witnesses to be beyond medical help.

The criminal investigator had said that the U.S. soldiers had decided that "the best course of action was to put (the victim) out of his misery." [...]

Earlier this week in Germany, a U.S. tank company commander accused of killing a critically injured Iraqi driver for al-Sadr was ordered court-martialed.

Capt. Rogelio Maynulet, 29, of Chicago, will be tried on charges of assault with intent to commit murder and dereliction of duty, which carry a maximum combined sentence of 20 1/2 years, said military spokesman Maj. Michael Indovina.

During Maynulet's Article 32 hearing, witnesses testified that the driver had been shot in the head when Maynulet saw him. A fellow officer said Maynulet told him he then shot the man out of compassion.

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Terror cells clone cash machine cards
KEVIN SCHOFIELD

AL-QAEDA is using cashcard fraud to steal thousands of pounds from bank accounts in Britain and the rest of Europe to fund its activities across the world.

Jean-Louis Brugière, France’s top anti-terrorism judge, said radical Islamic cells in Europe were using sophisticated equipment to "clone" the card details of cash machine users.

He said the terrorists were then creating fake cards and using them to withdraw hundreds of thousands of pounds and euros a month.

"These are cards that I call clones," he said. "They are very difficult to catch."

The judge said authorities uncovered the cash machine scheme two years ago when investigators found an Islamic terrorist finance cell operating in France.

Ten suspected Islamic militants were withdrawing more than £50,000 a month from cash machines in other European countries, where they were arrested.

"The [Islamic] European networks finance themselves primarily through microfinancing systems - criminal activity that is very profitable," he said.

The claims come amid warnings that al-Qaeda is preparing for an attack on a key maritime target in the next 12 months on the scale of the atrocities it unleashed in the United States on 11 September, 2001. In March this year, the threat to Europe was made clear when bombs planted by Islamic militants on rush hour trains in Madrid killed 191 people. [...]

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Seaborne al-Qaeda attack possible - expert
December 10 2004 at 02:07AM

London - Al-Qaeda could stage a seaborne attack within the next 12 months, in a tactical strategy to drive maritime shipping costs and travel times to record highs, a British private defence firm said on Friday.

A waterborne attack would be "spectacular - a big bang to get people's attention'" in an ideal al-Qaeda plot, Aegis Defence Systems intelligence director Dominic Armstrong said.

Aegis said there was a greater likelihood of such a strategy now because al-Qaeda had promoted a maritime attack specialist as the head of its operations in Saudi Arabia.

It said Saud bin Hamud al-Utaibi was thought to be behind the 2000 attack on the USS Cole in the Yemeni port city of Aden that killed 17 United States (US) sailors.

Saud bin Hamud al-Utaibi was thought to be behind the 2000 attack on the USS Cole

Armstrong also said the Iraq conflict was training Islamic militants from various countries in warfare, who would return to their home countries trained and battle-hardened.

"Iraq is the equivalent for a new generation - an opportunity for the ambitious Jihadist," he said.

Aegis Defence System, founded in 2003 by former SAS officer Tim Spicer, won a 293-million-dollar US defense contract to coordinate private security contractors in Iraq as well as to provide its own security units.

One of its subsidiaries, Hudson Trident, is a maritime security consultancy.

Comment: For another perspective on who was possibly behind the bombing of the USS Cole, there is this article from Media Monitors Network entitled: The USS Cole bombing against the backdrop of Israeli "Black Propaganda" Operations

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Beaten, drugged, U.S. detainee says
ASSOCIATED PRESS
Dec. 10, 2004. 12:15 AM

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO—Prisoners at the U.S. prison camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have been beaten while blindfolded and handcuffed, terrorized by dogs and forced to take drugs, an Australian detainee said in an affidavit released yesterday.

David Hicks, 29, was one of the first prisoners to arrive at the camp in January, 2002, accused of fighting for the Taliban. He is one of only four terror suspects who have been formally charged among 550 detainees accused of links to Afghanistan's ousted Taliban regime or the Al Qaeda terrorist network.

"At one point, a group of detainees, including myself, were subjected to being randomly hit over an eight-hour session while handcuffed and blindfolded," Hicks said in an affidavit sealed in August. "I have been struck with hands, fists and other objects, including rifle butts. I have also been kicked."

Hicks said he was forcibly injected with sedatives and then struck. He said he watched members of a military squad used to subdue problem detainees enter a man's cell, "brutalizing him with an attack dog."

The U.S. government says prisoners are treated in accordance with the Geneva Conventions. U.S. policy officially condemns and prohibits torture.

Some allegations made by Hicks and others will be investigated, a Pentagon spokesperson said. Hicks is to be tried in a military commission in March.

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Pentagon pursues permanent detention center at Guantanamo Bay
Knight Ridder News
December 9, 2004

MIAMI - Even as federal judges review the Defense Department's power to detain and try suspects in the war on terror, the Pentagon is quietly planning for permanency at the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay.

Pentagon planners are now seeking $25 million to build a state-of-the-art 200-cell concrete building meant to eventually replace the rows of rugged cells fashioned from shipping containers at Camp Delta.

At the same time, the Army is creating a full-time, professional guard force - a 324-member Military Police Internment and Resettlement Battalion that will replace a temporary, mostly reserve force at Guantanamo.

A Department of Army memorandum to Congress obtained by The Miami Herald envisions the new military police force being included in the 2005 and 2006 budgets. "This action is part of a systematic process to enhance Army's capabilities required to defend the Nation's interests at home and abroad,'' says the undated memo from the Army's legislative liaison office.

It gave two key dates: Oct. 16, 2004, to activate the battalion headquarters and its first company, and Oct. 16, 2005, to activate another company.

Not all 20 officers and 304 enlisted soldiers have been activated, said Army Col. David McWilliams of the Southern Command. But an advance team is already at the base preparing to take up guard duties in the spring, he said.

A second Army memo to answer congressional queries about the new unit says it "doctrinally supports a sensitive operational requirement'' and "helps to mitigate the high operational tempo of the military police force.''

Aside from the Marine force that set up the prison nearly three years ago, many of the troops who guarded captives in Guantanamo have been Army reservists mobilized from civilian law enforcement duties in the U.S. Midwest.

The prison today has about 550 captives from 42 nations who have been brought to Cuba from Afghanistan, the first front in the war against terrorism. Only four have been charged with crimes, a trial process now stalled in federal courts.

On Nov. 8, U.S. District Judge James Robertson in Washington, D.C., ruled unconstitutional a Military Commission's war crimes trial for Osama bin Laden driver Salim Ahmed Hamdan, 34, of Yemen. The Pentagon then suspended all war crimes trials while the Justice Department appealed his decision.

Meanwhile, U.S. District Judge Joyce Hens Green is deciding on habeas corpus petitions brought by civilian lawyers for 53 prisoners alleging they are illegally detained.

"They're betting that the courts are going to, in the end, find for the government, that they can keep these enemy combatants, as they label them, indefinitely, as long as they have some kind of an annual review process,'' said retired Army Col. Dan Smith, a West Point graduate and Vietnam veteran who is now a senior military affairs fellow at the Friends Committee on National Legislation, a Quaker lobby.

"So Guantanamo becomes an extra-territorial - I don't want to say gulag - a prison for anyone we want to put down there and label an unlawful enemy combatant,'' Smith said.

Bush administration policy-makers describe any possible judicial proceedings there as secondary to the prison's primary purpose of holding and interrogating suspects for intelligence on how al-Qaida works.

Commanders describe the guards' work at Guantanamo as at times humiliating and testing soldiers' patience because some captives have spewed insults and spit on guards.

That kind of contact would be reduced under the Pentagon plan to replace Camp Delta, which was projected to last five years when it opened in May 2002.

Built by Kellogg Brown & Root, a subsidiary of Pentagon contractor Halliburton, Delta's cells were welded from steel shipping containers by laborers brought in from South Asia.

"Camp Delta is comprised of temporary facilities that are rapidly reaching the end of their design life, and therefore a more permanent facility is needed,'' said Army Lt. Col. Leon Sumpter, a prison spokesman.

The new mortar-and-steel prison, called Camp 6, should cost $25 million. Commanders hope to consolidate most Camp Delta prisoners into "these hardened facilities,'' he said.

Pentagon officials are still crunching the numbers on the prison project's overall cost on a 2-month-old Miami Herald request, but a Senate tally estimated building costs at $104 million until April 2003. Virtually all expenditures have come from post-Sept. 11 emergency funding rather than line-item appropriations by Congress.

But a Pentagon spokesman said it was still unclear how the military would pay for Camp 6. "There's a lot of unknowns about the project,'' said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Alvin Plexico.

Begun as a short-term detention and interrogation solution to relieve overwhelmed troops in Afghanistan, the prison on the Navy base in southeastern Cuba has had a nearly nonstop three-year building boom.

Besides the 1,000-cell Camp Delta, the Pentagon has also built Camp 5, a 100-cell version of the new prison being proposed; a new command center for the one-star general in charge; a trailer park for troops; a laundry, fitness center, movie theater, and extensive dining and recreation facilities - all sprawled across a once empty field, called Radio Range, that overlooks the Caribbean.

Reporters got a glimpse of the future in November during a brief tour of Camp 5, which commanders described as efficient, effective and humane despite repeated allegations that U.S.-approved interrogation techniques are tantamount to torture.

The designs for Camp 5 and 6 copy a medium-security prison in Indiana, the Miami Correctional Facility at Bunker Hill, and have central electronic locking systems, special interrogation rooms and a closed-circuit monitoring system.

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Surgeons in Iraq save lives over limbs
MARILYNN MARCHIONE
ASSOCIATED PRESS

For every American soldier killed in Iraq, nine others have been wounded and survived — the highest rate of any war in U.S. history.

It isn't that their injuries were less serious, a new report says. In fact, many young soldiers have had faces, arms and legs blown off and are now returning home badly maimed. But they have survived thanks to armour-like vests and fast treatment from doctors on the move with surgical kits in backpacks.

"This is unprecedented. People who lose not just one but two or three extremities are people who just have not survived in the past," said Dr. Atul Gawande, a surgeon at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston who researched military medicine and wrote about it in today's New England Journal of Medicine.

The journal also published a five-page spread of 21 photographs graphically depicting the horrific injuries and conditions under which these modern-day MASH surgeons operate.

"We thought a lot about it," said the journal's editor, Dr. Jeffrey Drazen, and ultimately decided the pictures told an important story. "This war is producing unique injuries — less lethal but more traumatic."

Kevlar helmets and vests are one reason.

"The critical core, your chest and your abdomen, are protected," said Dr. George Peoples, a Walter Reed Army Medical Center surgeon who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. "Paradoxically, what we've seen is devastating extremity injuries because people are surviving wounds they otherwise wouldn't have."

A large number of blinding injuries also have occurred.

By mid-November, 10,369 American soldiers had been wounded in battle in Afghanistan or Iraq, and 1,004 had died — a survival rate of roughly 90 per cent. In the Vietnam War, one in four wounded died, virtually all of them before they could reach MASH units some distance from the fighting. [...]

The strategy is damage control, not definitive repair. Field doctors limit surgery to two hours or less, often leaving temporary closures and even plastic bags over wounds, and send soldiers to one of several combat support hospitals in Iraq with services like labs and X-rays.

"We basically work to save life over limb," said navy Capt. Kenneth Kelleher, chief of the surgical company at the chief U.S. Marine base near Falluja. "No frills, nothing complicated.

"What we do is put tags in the vessels if we can find them, put in a shunt for a later definitive vascular surgery. If the injury is not going to be salvageable, we do a rapid amputation. And there have been a fair number of those."

As for the soldiers he took pictures of, Peoples had this to say:
"Every person depicted in those photos survived."

Comment: Here's a story sure to warm the hearts of patriotic Americans back home. Young soldiers are being injured and maimed in record numbers in an illegal war based on lies, but even though they may face a life confined to wheelchair, with disfiguring scars and in horrible pain, thanks to the good folks at Kevlar (TM), they're alive!

God bless America.

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20 Amazing Facts about Voting in the USA
by Angry Girl, Nightweed.com
December 10, 2004

1. 80% of all votes in America are counted by only two companies: Diebold and ES&S.

http://www.onlinejournal.com/evoting/042804Lan...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diebold

2. There is no federal agency with regulatory authority or oversight of the U.S. voting machine industry.

http://www.commondreams.org/views02/0916-04.htm
http://www.onlinejournal.com/evoting/042804La...

3. The vice-president of Diebold and the president of ES&S are brothers.

http://www.americanfreepress.net/html/private_company.html
http://www.onlinejournal.com/evoting/042804Lan...

4. The chairman and CEO of Diebold is a major Bush campaign organizer and donor who wrote in 2003 that he was "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year."

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/07/28/sun...
http://www.wishtv.com/Global/story.asp?S=1647886

5. Republican Senator Chuck Hagel used to be chairman of ES&S. He became Senator based on votes counted by ES&S machines.

http://www.motherjones.com/commentary/colum...
http://www.onlinejournal.com/evoting/031004Fitr...

6. Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, long-connected with the Bush family, was recently caught lying about his ownership of ES&S by the Senate Ethics Committee.

http://www.blackboxvoting.com/modules.p...
http://www.hillnews.com/news/012903/hagel.aspx
http://www.onlisareinsradar.com/archives/000896.php

7. Senator Chuck Hagel was on a short list of George W. Bush's vice-presidential candidates.

http://www.businessweek.com/2000/00_28/b3689130.htm
http://theindependent.com/stories/052700/new_hagel27.html

8. ES&S is the largest voting machine manufacturer in the U.S. and counts almost 60% of all U.S. votes.

http://www.essvote.com/HTML/about/about.html
http://www.onlinejournal.com/evoting/042804Land...

9. Diebold's new touch screen voting machines have no paper trail of any votes. In other words, there is no way to verify that the data coming out of the machine is the same as what was legitimately put in by voters.

http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0225-05.htm
http://www.itworld.com/Tech/2987/041020evote...

10. Diebold also makes ATMs, checkout scanners, and ticket machines, all of which log each transaction and can generate a paper trail.

http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0225-05.htm
http://www.diebold.com/solutions/default.htm

11. Diebold is based in Ohio.

http://www.diebold.com/aboutus/ataglance/default.htm

12. Diebold employed 5 convicted felons as senior managers and developers to help write the central compiler computer code that counted 50% of the votes in 30 states.

http://www.wired.com/news/evote/0,2645,61640,00.html
http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2004/10/301469.shtml

13. Jeff Dean, ">Diebold's Senior Vice-President and senior programmer on Diebold's central compiler code, was convicted of 23 counts of felony theft in the first degree.

http://www.chuckherrin.com/HackthevoteFAQ.htm#how
http://www.blackboxvoting.org/bbv_chapter-8.pdf

14. Diebold Senior Vice-President Jeff Dean was convicted of planting back doors in his software and using a "high degree of sophistication" to evade detection over a period of 2 years.

http://www.chuckherrin.com/HackthevoteFAQ.htm#how
http://www.blackboxvoting.org/bbv_chapter-8.pdf

15. None of the international election observers were allowed in the polls in Ohio.

http://www.globalexchange.org/update/press/2638.html
http://www.enquirer.com/editions/2004/10/26/loc_elexoh.html

16. California banned the use of Diebold machines because the security was so bad. Despite Diebold's claims that the audit logs could not be hacked, a chimpanzee was able to do it! (See the movie here <http://blackboxvoting.org/baxter/baxterVPR.mov> .)

http://wired.com/news/evote/0,2645,63298,00.html
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4874190

17. 30% of all U.S. votes are carried out on unverifiable touch screen voting machines with no paper trail.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/07/28/sund...

18. All -- not some -- but all the voting machine errors detected and reported in Florida went in favor of Bush or Republican candidates.

http://www.wired.com/news/evote/0,2645,65757,00.html
http://www.yuricareport.com/ElectionAftermat...
http://www.rise4news.net/extravotes.html
http://www.ilcaonline.org/modules.php?op=modloa...
http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/HL0411/S00227.htm

19. The governor of the state of Florida, Jeb Bush, is the President's brother.

http://www.tallahassee.com/mld/tallahassee/ne...
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articl...

20. Serious voting anomalies in Florida -- again always favoring Bush -- have been mathematically demonstrated and experts are recommending further investigation.

http://www.yuricareport.com/ElectionAftermath04/ThreeR....
http://www.computerworld.com/governmenttopics/governm....
http://www.americanfreepress.net/html/tens_of_thousands.html
http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/1106-30.htm
http://www.consortiumnews.com/2004/110904.html
http://uscountvotes.org/

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Russia reiterates right to use preventative strikes
irishexaminer

Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov today reiterated Russia may conduct preventive strikes against terrorists abroad, saying it was a common US practice, but he ruled out the use of nuclear weapons.

Ivanov said strikes could be conducted anywhere in the world, and that the only limit would be the use of nuclear weapons.

"All other methods, in my opinion, are good and acceptable here," Ivanov told a group of military attaches from foreign embassies after delivering an annual report on Russia’s defence plans.

"I have already said many times that war has been declared against us. And war is war," he said.

Russia was "by no means the only country that has said it could use preventive strikes. We did not think this up", he said, suggesting the United States, but without mentioning any country by name.

"Secondly, we see in practice that such strikes are conducted – in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in other regions of the world," he said, answering a question submitted at the meeting at the academy of the Russian military’s general staff. "It exists. It’s already a norm of life."

Ivanov said preventive strikes against terrorists – and strikes meant to punish those who have carried out attacks – were legally justified under a UN resolution passed after the hostage raid on a school in Beslan, in southern Russia, which left more than 330 people dead.

Ivanov and other top Russian officials have said recently Russia reserved the right to conduct preventive strikes against terrorists anywhere in the world. The air force commander said last week that cruise missiles and strategic bombers could be used in such strikes.

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Yushchenko in hospital for new tests
-AFP
Saturday, December 11, 2004. 11:13am

Ukrainian opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko has been admitted to an Austrian hospital for tests into a mystery illness that has disfigured his face.

Doctors at Rudolfinerhaus clinic in Vienna will spend the weekend assessing whether his illness was caused by poisoning.

"We will check the size and functioning of all his organs, including his intestines, re-examine his blood and look again for all possible causes of poisoning," Dr Michael Zimpfer, the chief doctor at the Rudolfinerhaus clinic in Vienna told reporters.

"We will also carry out biopsies, including of his skin.

"He (Yushchenko) should leave the clinic the day after tomorrow (Sunday) and the results of these new tests should be known at the beginning of next week."

Upon arrival at the hospital, Mr Yushchenko told reporters he was "feeling better" and expected to stay in Vienna for two days.

"I'm in better health and the prognosis is good," he said, as he handed over to doctors the results of a previous set of blood tests for further analysis.

Mr Yushchenko, who was accompanied by his wife, the youngest of his five children - a baby of a few months - and bodyguards, said it was up to the doctors to comment on whether he had been poisoned or not.

"I will accept their official conclusions and want them to be made public immediately," he added.

Mr Yuschenko, who is seen as the likely winner of a December 26 re-run of a second round presidential election invalidated on grounds of fraud, said he was confident of his success in the polls.

"The recent revolution (in Ukraine) has opened the eyes of many civil servants who were implicated in (fraud) during the earlier rounds," he said.

Mr Yushchenko, 50, fell ill on September 6 and four days later was admitted to the Rudolfinerhaus clinic, where he remained until September 19.

When he finally re-emerged weeks later, voters in Ukraine were shocked to see a man who appeared to have aged by at least a decade.

The cause of his ailment, which has left him disfigured, has never been officially established but his campaign team have repeatedly claimed that he was poisoned in the run-up to the election.

Before leaving for Austria, Mr Yushchenko repeated his charges that the mysterious illness was a murder attempt.

"I believe now more and more that what happened to me was an act of a settling of political scores," he said. "The aim was to kill me."

Earlier in the day Nicolai Korpan, a Ukrainian doctor who treated Mr Yushchenko in September, said that his blood tests were "partly available" in Vienna where they were being analysed.

Ukrainian public prosecutors have opened an investigation and said on October 22 that he was suffering from a fever caused by a virus that affected his liver.

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Japan to fingerprint visitors, put air marshals on flights
10 December 2004 1628 hrs
TOKYO : Japan is to fingerprint all foreign visitors and put air marshals on Japanese carriers' international flights to prevent extremist attacks, taking a cue from the United States.

The government's anti-terrorism task force said foreign visitors would also be photographed on arrival and be required to present identity at hotels. The security measures will be implemented in stages by March 2007.

"We must not make Japan an easy place for terrorists to carry out their activities," said an administrative official for the task force, which is headed by Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda.

"We will introduce the measures in ways that do not put too much burden on those entering Japan," the official said.

Some permanent residents, such as ethnic Koreans born in Japan, will be exempt from the fingerprinting and photographing, the official said.

He said Japan would study the way security measures had been implemented in the United States, where many foreigners have complained of rude treatment by immigration authorities since the September 11, 2001 attacks.

"Many people did not like it when the United States introduced the US-VISIT scheme. I am sure Japan, too, would hear from those who oppose the plan. We will spend a year to formulate good ways to start the measures," he said.

He said some policemen would begin to be posted soon on Japanese airlines' international routes, although details of the program such as whether the air marshals would be armed are yet to be finalized.

Militants purporting to belong to Al-Qaeda have threatened to attack Japan to protest its deployment of troops to Iraq. [...]

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U.S. Says Terrorists Could Use Lasers
By CURT ANDERSON
Associated Press Writer
Published December 10, 2004, 6:14 AM CST

WASHINGTON -- Federal officials are concerned that terrorists could try to down aircraft by blinding pilots with laser beams during landing approaches.

A memo sent to law enforcement agencies recently by the FBI and the Homeland Security Department says there is evidence that terrorists have explored using lasers as weapons.

"Although lasers are not proven methods of attack like improvised explosive devices and hijackings, terrorist groups overseas have expressed interest in using these devices against human sight," the memo said.

"In certain circumstances, if laser weapons adversely affect the eyesight of both pilot and co-pilot during a non-instrument approach, there is a risk of airliner crash," the agencies said.

The federal authorities said there is no specific intelligence indicating al-Qaida or other groups might use lasers in the United States.

In September a pilot for Delta Air Lines reported an eye injury from a laser beam shone into the cockpit during a landing approach in Salt Lake City. The incident occurred about 5 miles from the airport. The plane landed safely.

FBI and other federal officials are investigating. It is not clear if a crime was committed or if the laser was directed into the cockpit by accident.

Steve Luckey, a retired airline pilot who is chairman of the Air Line Pilots Association's national security committee, said pilots are concerned about a recent increase in laser incidents, but do not know what to make of them. He said he has learned of two or three cases in the past 90 days.

"The most recent incidents appear to be aimed at pilots in the vicinity of airports," Luckey said. "A few seem to be intentional, and we're wondering why and what's going on."

Lasers can cause temporary blindness and severely damage the eye by burning the retina. The bulletin notes they are "relatively inexpensive, portable, easy to conceal and readily available on the open market."

Lasers are commonly used in a number of industries and are featured in outdoor light shows. A variety of more powerful military-grade lasers are produced around the world, but there is no evidence that terrorist groups have managed to obtain one, according to federal officials.

The bulletin was sent late last month to law enforcement officials and key government agencies and industries. A copy was obtained Thursday by The Associated Press.

Comment: Notice the comment above, that in order for these lasers to pose any kind of risk, they have to be shone directly into the eyes of both the pilot and co-pilot during a "non-instrument" approach? How often do you figure commercial pilots would attempt to land aircraft without using their instruments? Could this story, admittedly based on no intelligence or evidence, be just another phoney, over-hyped terrorist alert, designed to keep people in a pertual state of fear? Perhaps they will use this new threat as an excuse to ban all outdoor light shows or arrest people as terrorists for carrying a laser pen.

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Fla. convict pleads guilty to anthrax mail
December 10, 2004

PENSACOLA, Fla. -- A prison inmate who mailed a letter laced with white powder pleaded guilty Friday to threatening to send anthrax to President Bush, Gov. Jeb Bush and federal employees.

Tests indicated the substance was a harmless body powder, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Len Register.

Roger V. Evans admitted he mailed the envelope in April from Washington Correctional Institution in Chipley to the U.S. District Court clerk's office.

He pleaded guilty to federal charges of threatening to use a weapon of mass destruction against federal property and mailing threatening communications. He could face up to life in prison at sentencing March 9.

Evans was sentenced in 1982 to 50 years in prison for robbery with a deadly weapon, and would complete that term before serving a federal sentence. He had a previous robbery conviction in Miami-Dade County. 

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'Explosive device' empties Henry school
By KATHY JEFCOATS, STEPHANIE REID
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 12/10/2004

About 150 students and staff members evacuated a private school in McDonough on Thursday morning after a teacher found an "explosive device" in a backpack.

The GBI bomb squad safely detonated the device outside Lake Dow Christian Academy. The backpack also held components to make a second such device, said Henry County Public Safety Director Mike Turner.

Police questioned a juvenile about the backpack and went to the house the youth shares with grandparents in Locust Grove. There, Turner said, they found two more explosive devices.

Turner would not reveal details about the investigation, such as how the juvenile was identified, the youth's age or even whether the youth is a student at the school, northeast of McDonough. The juvenile was in custody Thursday, and authorities will decide soon whether to press charges, Turner said.

The juvenile in custody is "extremely contrite," Turner said Thursday night. "I think he realizes, he has an inkling now, of the level of problems he's caused for himself," Turner said.

Authorities avoided using the word "bomb." They would not characterize what kind of device was detonated or how much damage it could have caused.

"Any explosive device is serious," said Gary Orchowski of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. "An explosive device would be an accurate enough description."

The school will be open for classes today.

A teacher found the backpack containing the device in a classroom about 8:43 a.m., Turner said. The teacher carried the backpack outside, and school administrators called police. Students were evacuated, and the GBI bomb squad detonated the device.

Police later searched the suspect's grandparents' house on Higgins Road in Locust Grove, about 13 miles from the school. According to county property records, the five-bedroom, split-level brick house is owned by Mike D. Cosby, 51. Telephone messages left on an answering machine were not returned Thursday night.

Concerned parents rushed to Heritage Park, a nearby recreation center, to catch a shuttle bus to the nearby campus to retrieve their children.

Erin Dahling, a transplant from Oklahoma, was shocked by the news. Her 5-year-old triplets and 14-year-old niece are students at the school.

"I figured it would be safer," Dahling said. "It's nerve-racking. I've never experienced anything like it."

According to a school Web site, Lake Dow Christian Academy was founded in 1977 to teach a fundamental, Christian-centered program of reading, writing and arithmetic. It has students in kindergarten through grade 12.

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Sonic boom? Perhaps
Friday, December 10, 2004
DEAN BOHN
THE SAGINAW NEWS

Some likened it to noiseless thunder.

Others said they heard a boom, while still others suspected an earthquake.

Whatever it was that shook Saginaw on Thursday afternoon left many residents puzzled.

"I was on the phone with my uncle about 2 p.m. when I felt the house kind of shake," said Beverly J. Nothelfer, 54, who lives along Irving in Saginaw.

"It kind of felt like when thunder shakes the house, but I didn't hear anything. It was like an explosion without the noise."

Employees at Princing & Ewend, a public relationbs and marketing firm along Niagara next to the Holland Street Bridge in Saginaw, also were left shaken.

"I heard a boom, but louder than normal," said Andrea L. Fisher, 28, of Midland, president of the company.

"We're right next to the bridge and big trucks go over it all the time, and the big ones can cause a kind of rattle here. But this was louder than anything in the past. We heard it more than felt it.

"Our creative director, Greg Branch, came over from the other end of the building and asked, 'Did you guys feel
that?' "

"I felt a vibration," Branch said. "Occasionally you get that if a double-trailer truck goes over the bridge and hits a bump. I even looked out the window to see the truck, but there wasn't any.

"I knew it wasn't an earthquake because of the noise."

Some folks old enough to remember sonic booms are wondering if an errant aircraft pushed across the sky too fast.

Branch said he's starting to believe that's what caused the excitement.

"It sounded a lot like it, but then I thought, 'Nah, we don't have (sonic booms) anymore.' "

Sonic booms result when objects move faster than the speed of sound -- about 760 mph, depending on the altitude. Sonic booms were known to break windows in homes and shake plaster loose. Congress outlawed them over land in the 1970s.

Experts are ruling out a temblor.

"Michigan has not had an earthquake," Carolyn C. Bell, spokeswoman for the U.S. Geological Survey headquarters in Reston, Va., said Thursday.

The agency's nearest seismograph, at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, is sensitive enough to detect tremors well into Canada, she said.

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Big 'boom rattles glass, trips alarms
By: JARED DENNISTON
12/10/2004

A fire that gutted a chemical plant in southwest Houston Friday night sent shockwaves throughout the area and sent local fire department units scurrying, trying to locate the explosion that residents called in to report.

Despite being in the 14500 block of Minetta in Houston, the explosion at the Marcus Oil and Chemical plant, which manufactures polyethylene waxes for products such as paints and inks, sent giant plumes of black smoke into the evening sky shortly after the facility caught fire around 6 p.m.

According to Pearland Volunteer Fire Department Chief Paul Jamison, the aftermath of the explosion had many residents on the west side of Pearland wondering what happened.

"A lot of (the blast) was felt throughout the city," said Jamison. "The phone calls kept coming in but nobody was really sure about a location."

After placing a call to the Houston Fire Department, he said, firefighters finally found out that the blast was about 20 miles away.

Residents as far away as Friendswood and Clear Lake reported to various media outlets that they had heard the blast, described by one earwitness as like a sonic boom in the distance.

To others, however, the explosion seemed like it was right on top of them.

Rick Fernandez, who works for the Pearland Police Department, said he was inside a Pearland store, right off of FM 518, when he heard the blast.

"I heard a boom. I didn't know what the heck it was," said Fernandez. "I thought somebody hit the building."

Officials doubt that the fire produced any airborne toxins that could be a threat to the area.

At the time of the fire, Jamison said, the winds were coming out of the east and would have blown any hazardous materials away from the city anyway.

No serious injuries were reported in the fire.

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Quakes hit northeastern India:
--Indo-Asian News Service
Dec 10, 2004

Guwahati, : A series of moderate to heavy earthquakes shook India's northeast this month, triggering panic among people in the region but there have been no reports of casualties, officials Friday said.

An official of the seismological centre in the Meghalaya capital Shillong said a tremor measuring 4.7 on the Richter scale Thursday jolted parts of the region with the epicentre plotted along the Assam-Meghalaya border.

On Tuesday, an earthquake measuring 3.5 on the Richter scale shook Meghalaya.

"Two micro tremors were felt on Dec 1 and 4 in Assam and parts of the northeastern region bordering Bangladesh," A.C. Lyngdoh, a seismologist at the centre, told IANS by telephone from Shillong.

The eight northeastern states, considered by seismologists as the sixth major earthquake prone belt in the world, experienced India's worst jolts, measuring 8.7 on the Richter scale in 1897, killing 1,600 people.

Assam had experienced a massive tremor measuring 8.5 on the Richter scale on August 15, 1950 that claimed some 1,500 lives.

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Possible cyclone for the Marshall Islands
Last Updated 10/12/2004, 17:16:10

The Marshall Islands has been warned of an approaching tropical storm, which threatens to turn into a cyclone.

Sara Prior of the Guam Meteorological office says there is a good chance it will develop by Monday.

"Guam residents are very familiar with the December typhoon and taking the Christmas lights down before Christmas," she said.

"So we're all going to be biting our nails."

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Storms spawned by typhoon wreak havoc
December 10, 2004
By Lewis Taylor 
The Register-Guard

Crews cleared boulders the size of refrigerators from Highway 36 near Triangle Lake on Thursday, allowing the road to reopen a day after heavy rains caused a mudslide carrying an estimated 100 yards of earth and rocks. Blachly schools were to remain closed today because of the slide.

"We're just going to err on the side of safety," said school secretary Linda Richardson. "Children are too valuable to risk."

Winter storms continued throughout Western Oregon on Thursday, bringing high surf and flood warnings to the coast and causing minor flooding, rockslides and other weather-related problems in the Southern Willamette Valley. [...]

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Predawn storm wreaks havoc in T&D Region
TownNews

(South Carolina) - The predawn silence turned violent Friday morning as thunder rumbled and winds tore through an area near the Calhoun-Orangeburg County line along U.S. Highway 601.

Orangeburg County Emergency Services Director John Smith said it is a miracle no one was killed or seriously hurt from what likely will be declared a tornado by the National Weather Service.

The destruction left in the path of the storm was extensive:

- Union Chapel Baptist Church near Jamison was totally destroyed.

- The building at Tri-County Electric Cooperative sustained damage.

- Two mobile homes were completely destroyed, with one family inside while the home was turning over. No one was seriously hurt.

- Nine other homes sustained damage.

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Tornado pummels homes
Jordan Hernandez
December 10, 2004
The Lafayette Daily Advertiser

DUSON, Louisiana - A tornado ripped a 50-foot path of damage across a five-mile area from Ridge to Scott just after 1 a.m. Thursday, leaving the homes of two families in ruins.

For Roland Thibodeaux, if there was any consolation it was that heís been through this before.

"It's not my first time starting over," he said, surveying what was his home before an early morning storm destroyed it. "We lost everything ... everything. It's all gone."

Thibodeaux said the tornado took one wall of his home in the middle of the night Thursday, then threw him from his bed, took the other wall and pushed it on top of him. Thankfully, he said, the wind took that wall off him, or "I'd still be under there."

The high winds took a glass double door from Thibodeauxís home and threw it into the home of Romero Odelon, about two doors down.
" I felt the walls shake a little bit and went to my son's room to wake him up, and the next thing I heard was - bam! - with the door coming through the bedroom," Odelon said.

"It's unbelievable. We had just recovered from the hurricane damage, and now this," he said. [...]

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Three vehicles plunge into N.C. creek after flash flood wipes out bridge; one body recovered
By Paul Nowell, Associated Press, 12/10/2004 19:28

SHELBY, N.C. (AP) Torrential rain and wind pounded parts of North Carolina early Friday, killing at least one person when flash flooding washed out a bridge.

Two other people were rescued clinging to trees after their vehicles plunged into the rain-swollen creek in Cleveland County, west of Charlotte.

The remains of Joey Hoyle, 40, were found about three-quarters of a mile downstream from the Maple Springs Church Road bridge.

All three men apparently drove into the creek separately after floodwaters washed out the bridge, said state trooper Christopher McClelland, one of the first rescuers on the scene.

''This is a fairly unlit portion of the road,'' he said. ''The drivers were unaware the bridge was washed out, and they basically drove one after another into the swollen river.''

A resident who lived near the bridge called authorities around 3:15 a.m. to report the sounds of an apparent car crash, which may have been the bridge collapsing.

The storms caused wind gusts up to 40 mph. Fog was so thick overnight that rescuers had a hard time searching for other victims and had to call off efforts for several hours before resuming early Friday morning.

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Flood clean up continues across eastern states
Saturday, December 11, 2004. 7:14am
Soaked: Flood waters are still rising in New South Wales. (ABC TV)
Emergency services have been cleaning up after heavy rain and severe thunderstorms overnight caused flooding in many areas in the eastern states of Australia.

Floodwaters are still rising in northern New South Wales.

The country town of Wee Waa is bracing itself for rising floodwaters and a disaster recovery centre has been established at Narrabri.

The weather bureau is warning of moderate to major flooding at Narrabri and downstream.

Ken McKenzie from the SES says helicopters are on standby for food drops and evacuations.

Meanwhile the north-west division of the SES says rainfall has eased around the Moree area.

However it is still expecting moderate to major flooding at Moree, Pallamallawa, Yarraman and Gravesend.

In South Australia it took SES crews several hours and 800 sandbags to get things back in order after homes were flooded in Murray Bridge.
Mount Gambier was also badly hit.
The Queensland SES received around 20 calls for help after minor flooding on the Gold Coast.
And severe thunderstorms caused flash flooding in country areas in central and western Victoria.
Senior forecaster Richard Carline says Geelong, the Little Desert and around Horsham in the state's west bore the brunt of the storm activity in Victoria overnight.
Melbourne did not experience forecast storms.

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Climate Change 'Raises London Flood Risk'

By Amanda Brown, PA Environment Correspondent

The risk of flooding in the Thames estuary is now greater because of climate change, the Government warned today.

The forecast, from an MPs’ committee report on the problem, underlines the fact that the Thames Barrier was designed in the 1970s with “conservative allowances” for climate change and other factors.

Allowing for rising sea levels, it was thought that by 2030 there was only a one in 1,000 chance of a flood severe enough to breach these defences.

But the Government has now said that “taking account of current estimates of climate change, this standard is likely to be exceeded.

“In addition, it should be noted that the original design allowed for some adaptation to cope with additional sea level rise, and it is part of a relatively flexible control system, whose effectiveness could be further enhanced by developments such as improved real-time surge and river-flow modelling.”

The Government was responding to a report by the Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee into climate change, water security and flooding. The MPs said that a Foresight report on future flooding has alerted them to the possible magnitude of future flood risk. [...]

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