Travel Log! The
Quantum Future Group Goes to Rennes-le-Chateau
Strike Flash Presentation by a QFS member
Publication! 'The Wave' finally in book form!
Wave: 4 Volume Set
With a new
introduction by the author and never before published, UNEDITED sessions
and extensive previously unpublished details, at long last, Laura Knight-Jadczyk's
vastly popular series The Wave is available as a Deluxe four
book set. Each of the four volumes include all of the original illustrations
and many NEW illustrations with each copy comprising approximately 300
is an exquisitely written first-person account of Laura's initiation at
the hands of the Cassiopaeans and demonstrates the unique nature of the
Volumes 1 and 2 now!
President George W. Bush plays cowboy in Chile
after frustrating APECconference
Brought together in
Santiago, Chile for the 12th Asian-Pacific Summit (APEC), twenty-one
heads of state and government applied themselves to ignoring US
proposals and to forming new commercial relations without Washington.
Vladimir Putin positioned himself as the adversary to US imperialism.
Hu Jintao successfully thwarted the US in Latin America. Meanwhile
George W. Bush, on the verge of a nervous breakdown, got into
a punch-up with Chilean police.
The 12th Summit of the economic leaders of the Asian-Pacific
zone brought together 21 delegations in Santiago, Chile, November
20 and 21, 2004. This big circus, in itself without interest,
was the occasion for numerous chiefs of state and government to
multiply bilateral discussions and justify stopovers in all directions
coming and going from the conference. The conference was preceded
by a surprising and little publicized international trade show
on Homeland Security in Honolulu from November 14 to 17, which
doubled as a symposium for chiefs of Asian-Pacific multinationals
(APEC Business Advisory Council – ABAC). If none of the
meetings were important in themselves, the general mixing up of
heads of state shook up the equilibrium of regional diplomacy.
The second Asian-Pacific Homeland Security trade show offered
Tom Ridge, director of Homeland Security for the US, a rostrum
to present the new US-VISIT program which handles biometric surveillance
of its borders. The Bush Administration had wanted to sell the
initiative to many of the states and to share with them the information
collected. The only taker was the already committed delegation
from Taiwan, headed by the Minister of the Interior Su Jia-chyuan.
The other states were content to acquire the material necessary
to make their passports conform to the new US requirements but
have no plans to similarly equip their borders.
The Santiago Summit was to have “dynamised the liberalization
of world trade” (veritable cliché of any diplomatic
summit), “struggled against nuclear proliferation”
(that is, put North Korea alone on trial) and “reinforce
the war against terrorism” (more precisely, cut off the
arming of the Iraqi resistance). It could have also celebrated
the new four-year mandate of George W. Bush.
The heads of the multinationals spontaneously prepared for the
delegates a motion which had as its aim the creation of an Asian-Pacific
Free Trade Zone. The text was drawn up by Hernán Somerville,
boss of the Chilean bosses and as such, this year’s chairman
of ABAC. It was hardly difficult to see the hand of White House
Economic Counsellor, Robert Zoellick, behind this initiative.
Zoellick has pushed identical motions at all regional conferences,
no matter where they have been held. Washington’s objective
is to renegotiate the liberalisation of trade by splitting up
the partners rather than passing by the WTO where they form blocks.
However, the manipulation was a little too apparent and predictable.
The heads of state politely offered their congratulations for
this contribution in order to better push it aside.
Even prior to the official opening of the summit, President
Bush had declared to the press that the participating states shared
the same preoccupation with the development of nuclear arms by
North Korea and Iran. On November 17, Secretary of State Colin
Powell indicated that he had “seen certain information suggesting
that they [the Iranians] were working actively on delivery systems
[for nuclear warheads]”. But on November 19, the Washington
Post  revealed that these accusations, supposedly supported
by intelligence reports, were without any basis. November 20,
Mr. Powell repeated his accusations in an interview with El Mercurio
. But the next day, Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergeï
Lavrov buried the subject by declaring to the press that Russia
had no information that went in this direction and that Mr. Bush
was careful not to discuss the question during his meeting with
Concerning the struggle against terrorism, George W. Bush didn’t
miss the chance, as with every summit since September 11, 2001,
to condemn the transnational character of this threat and to invite
the international community to support the efforts of the United
States to wage this “war”. Normally, the delegations
that are trying to win favour with Washington pick up the chorus
of this type of speech while the others content themselves with
a word of compassion. This time it was different. Three days earlier
in Quito the Latin-American states had just refused Rumsfeld’s
offer to integrate their armies under the command of the United
States in the war on terrorism.  They were thus little inclined
to read their lines from Bush’s script. Worse, Vladimir
Putin launched into a long tirade against States that support
terrorism by underlining that the attack in Beslan had nothing
to do with the question of Chechnya but was sponsored from outside
of Russia. Far from sympathizing with the difficulties of the
US, he suggested in thinly veiled words that the US was itself
a terrorist state, an allusion all the easier for Latin American
states to understand as the CIA is suspected of having restarted
their program of assassinations and, notably, of having killed
Venezuela’s Procurer General two days earlier. 
Pulling the blanket in another direction, Canadian Prime Minister
Paul Martin pushed for the recognition of the “Responsibility
to Protect” oppressed populations, as well as his project
for a forum of 20 leaders to resolve, among themselves, questions
of sanitary security (SARS, bird flu).
Finally, there was even one of Washington’s allies who
underlined that US leadership in the struggle against terrorism
would be more credible if the State Department first resolved
one of the causes of terrorism that it has long allowed to degenerate:
the Israeli-Palestianian conflict. If this blow was expected,
to general surprise it was delivered by New Zealand Prime Minister
Helen Clark, followed immediately by Indonesian President Susilo
Barnbang Yudhoyono and Malasian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad
To sum up, neo-conservative rhetoric is too worn out to continue
to surprise, and each state is now opposing it with systematic
The Solitude of George W. Bush
Even if monetary questions were not on the agenda, they haunted
the summit. The yuan is still not convertible and its weak value
favours Chinese exports towards the US to such an extent that
US stores now sell more Chinese than US products. Canada has asked
the IMF to calculate whether or not the yuan is undervalued, which
could be considered as a form of disguised export subsidy.
In reality, the yuan has been more or less fixed to the dollar
since 1994. The Chinese delegation turned the problem on its head:
all the while committing itself to making the yuan convertible,
China demanded that the US stop the fall of the dollar (down 35%
vis-à-vis the euro since the arrival of George W. Bush
in the White House). Moreover, the US economy would collapse if
China were not supporting the dollar by buying US Treasury Bonds.
This is where the shoe pinches: the US economy is in full rout,
public accounting is notoriously fixed in such a way that it is
difficult to judge the size of the problem; but everyone knows
that the colossus with feet of clay could crumble at any moment,
taking dependent economies with it, first Japan, then partially
the European Union. Furthermore, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro
Koïzimi was particularly worried coming out from his November
20 meeting with George W. Bush: the President of the US told him
with a straight face that his administration is committed to keeping
the dollar strong. At that moment, the dollar was valued at 102.70
yen, its lowest level since April 2000. 
Definitively, the APEC Summit didn’t accomplish much.
Mr. Bush, who arrived with high hopes, left not only with nothing
positive, but in fact, with much to the contrary. Enraged, he
finally lost his cool. For a dinner at the Mapocho Station Cultural
Centre, Chile’s secret service was only allowing a limited
number of body guards per person to enter. Therefore they turned
away a part of Mr. Bush’s escort. Returning to the entrance,
Bush demanded that all of those accompanying him be permitted
to enter. Words were exchanged. Suddenly, the President of the
United States of America attacked the Chilean police, exchanging
punches with them. Shortly after, it was announced that the gala
supper, offered to 400 guests by Chilean President Ricardo Lagos,
had been cancelled to avoid another scuffle.
Far from calming spirits, Mrs Bush then decided to visit the
house of poet and communist leader Pablo Neruda, who died in 1973,
twelve days after the overthrowing of democracy by the CIA, the
death of his friend Salvador Allende, and the installation of
the junta of Augusto Pinochet. This visit was an infamous provocation
for Chileans at the moment when an independent commission had
just established responsibility for the crimes of the dictatorship.
The World is Larger than the US
Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi profited from the
summit by signing a commercial treaty with Chile. Tokyo wishes
to use Santiago as a springboard into the South American continent.
An agreement for reciprocal economic support was also signed with
Indonesia. However, Mr. Koizumi failed to improve relations with
his main neighbours. Fifty-nine years after Japan’s surrender,
Tokyo has still not made peace with either Russia or China and
continues to have important border differences with them both.
Moreover, Tokyo is competing with Beijing for access to Russian
energy riches. The difficult relations between the two countries
degraded this year when Mr. Koizumi insulted all of the Pacific
peoples by attending a memorial ceremony in honour of Japanese
war criminals from the Second World War. Chinese President Hu
Jintao informally informed Japan during the summit that another
such official participation in the ceremony in 2005 would be very
badly interpreted by the region. As a peace-making gesture, Mr.
Koizumi declared that his country had no intention of going to
war against China.
Upon arriving in Santiago, Russian President Vladimir V. Putin
was welcomed by his Chilean opposite, Ricardo Lagos. Together
they paid homage to the memory of Salvador Allende in front of
Moneda Palace, one way, among others, of recalling the long Russo-Chilean
friendship that contrasts so clearly with US crimes in the country.
After having concluded numerous accords with Chile, Mr. Putin
afforded himself a “frank” conversation with his US
opposite, George W. Bush. If Putin accepted to renounce 80% of
the Iraqi debt, this would only come as an exchange for some progress
in the dossier of Russian membership in the WTO. Nothing else
emerged from this one on one that was shortened after an exchange
of friendly comments about “the return of Russian centralism”
and “foreign interference in the Ukraine”. On his
way back from the conference, Vladimir Putin stopped over in Brazil
and then in La Haye to meet with the European Commission. Just
enough time to verify that the list of contentious issues with
the Commission President, the very Atlanticist Jose Manuel Barroso,
is the same as those with Mr. Bush.
The Russian President presented a determined and systematic
opposition to the United States. As if, persuaded that the world
is facing a Second Cold War, he is presenting himself as the champion
of the “Nyet!”, the natural alternative to the bellicose
South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun multiplied his stopovers
on his way to APEC. He stopped in Los Angeles to give a speech
to the World Affairs Council. To the surprise and indignation
of the United Staters, he explained that the demands of the North
Koreans in nuclear matters were justified by the military threat
that Washington held over Pyongyang. Then, he went to Argentina
and Brazil to negotiate a commercial agreement with Mercosur,
of which these two countries are the leaders.
On his way to APEC, Chinese President Hu Jintao stopped over
briefly in Portugal in order to have the Lusitanian world opened
to him by Prime Minister Pedro Santana Lopez. Equipped with these
recommendations, he went on to Brazil to meet with President Lula
da Silva. The two countries already have important commercial
relations and a common satellite programme. In Argentina, the
Chinese President signed five agreements with his opposite, Nestor
Kirchner, instantly increasing commercial exchanges between the
two countries by 122%. Other than that, during the summit, Hu
Jintao signed several agreements with Ricardo Lagos, agreements
which were also for considerable amounts. Even more spectacular
was the stopover on his return flight to hail his Cuban opposite
Fidel Castro and his brother Raul who will succeed him. The two
countries claim to be socialist, however, during the last few
years, China has invented a hybrid system of national capitalism.
China is, with Russia, the principal partner in aiding Cuba to
overcome the economic embargo of the United States and its allies.
We were thus treated to several bizarre speeches where the word
“socialism” referred mostly to the friendship between
the two peoples rather than to any precise economic ideas.
This Chinese breakthrough in Latin America, coming after its
alliance with Iran, marks a complete change in foreign policy.
Pushed by its need for energy, Beijing is looking for suppliers
of hydrocarbons. But, conscious of the vulnerability of these
relations, Hu Jintao initiated a vast deployment on the international
chessboard that brings China into play in areas heretofore reserved
for the United States and in violation of the “Monroe Doctrine”.
The results of all this commotion can be summed up thusly: as
predicted, the summit itself accomplished nothing. George W. Bush,
who had just been declared the victor in his country’s elections,
did not receive the congratulations he expected, but rather had
to suffer a series of rebuffs: the heads of state and government
that he helped to bring together used this occasion to look for
and to sometimes find new partners that will permit them to escape
from the protection racket run by Washington. In the Asian Pacific,
they don’t believe that the US is the hyper-power that dominates
the world and they’d like to do business without it.
 « Nuclear Disclosures on Iran Unverified
» by Dafan Linzer, The Washington Post, 19 November 2004,
p. A1 and A17.
 Remarks gathered by Katherine Bauerle.
 « Rébellion militaire à Quito ? »
by Jorge Gomez Barata, Voltaire, 7 December 2004.
 « La responsabilité anglo-saxonne à Beslan
» by Marivilia Carrasco, Voltaire, 27 September 2004.
 « Notre ami Danilo Anderson assassiné à
Caracas » and « La CIA derrière l'assassinat
de Danilo Anderson ? » by Marcello Larrea, 19 November and
1 December 2004.
 « Bush affirme l'engagement américain en faveur
du dollar fort », AFP, 20 November 2004, 15:26.
Translated from the original French at www.Reseauvoltaire.net
by Signs of the Times
VIENNA, Austria (AP) - Ukrainian presidential
candidate Viktor Yushchenko was poisoned with dioxin, doctors
said Saturday, adding that the highly toxic chemical could have
been put in the opposition leader's soup, producing the severe
disfigurement and partial paralysis of his face.
Yushchenko was in satisfactory condition and was expected
to be released from Vienna's private Rudolfinerhaus clinic Sunday
or Monday to return to the campaign trail in Ukraine, said hospital
director Dr. Michael Zimpfer.
Yushchenko, who faces Viktor Yanukovych in a rerun of a disputed
presidential runoff on Dec. 26, has claimed that he was poisoned
by Ukrainian authorities. They deny his allegation.
His supporters at home expressed little surprise over the
"Everybody knew he was poisoned so we didn't really need official
tests," said Anatoly Klotchyk, 19, standing in the sleet outside
his tent near Kiev's Independence Square, where supporters have
conducted a blockaded of government buildings since the dispute
flared, grabbing international attention after the runoff last
Campaigners for his opponent, Viktor Yanukovych, meanwhile,
again rejected suggestions that the prime minister was involved
in the poisoning.
There is "no logic in such an accusation," said Taras Chornovyl,
Yanukovych's campaign manager.
Yanukovych was declared the winner of the Nov. 21 presidential
runoff, but the results were annulled by the Ukrainian Supreme
Court, which cited massive fraud and ordered a new vote.
Yushchenko fell ill in early September and had been treated
at the Vienna clinic twice before. But it was the tests run
since he checked in Friday night that provided conclusive evidence
of the poisoning, Zimpfer said.
The 50-year-old politician also has suffered from back pain
and acute pancreatitis.
"There is no doubt about the fact that Mr. Yushchenko's disease
- especially following the results of the blood work - has been
caused by a case of poisoning by dioxin," Zimpfer said.
"We suspect involvement of an external
party, but we cannot answer as to who cooked what or who was
with him while he ate," Zimpfer said, adding that tests
showed the dioxin was taken orally.
Zimpfer said Yushchenko's blood and tissue
registered concentrations of dioxin - one of the most toxic
chemicals - that were 1,000 times above normal levels.
"It would be quite easy to administer this amount in a soup,"
The substance containing the dioxin would most likely have
been consumed the day Yushchenko fell ill, as dioxin is rapidly
absorbed, Zimpfer said.
"This substance led to quite a significant increase in the
(dioxin) level within just a few hours and this intake then
led to the quite devastating effects that we have seen," he
said. "The substance started to wreak havoc in the body."
A parliamentary commission that investigated
Yushchenko's mysterious illness in October said he complained
of pains after meeting with Ihor Smeshko,
the head of Ukraine's Secret Service,
but it lists other places he ate or drank that day. Smeshko
promised the secret service would investigate.
The massive quantities of dioxin in Yushchenko's system caused
chloracne, a type of adult acne produced by exposure to toxic
chemicals that left his once-handsome face badly disfigured,
hospital dermatologist Hubert Pehmberger told The Associated
Chloracne can take up to two to three years to heal, but Dr.
Nikolai Korpan, the physician who oversaw the Ukrainian politician's
treatment, said Yushchenko is "fully capable of working."
Unlike earlier blood tests, the latest were sent to a laboratory
in Amsterdam that uses a new analysis method that could test
it for dioxin, Korpan said.
When first seen by the Austrian doctors Sept. 10, Yushchenko
was in a critical stage but was "not on the verge of dying,"
"If this dose had been higher, it may have caused death,"
Dioxin - a contaminant found in Agent
Orange - is a byproduct of industrial processes such
as waste incineration and chemical and pesticide manufacturing.
RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) - The late Palestinian
president Yasser Arafat's nephew said Saturday his uncle may
have died an "unnatural" death, a statement expected to renew
speculation among Palestinians and in the rest of the Arab world
where many already believe Arafat was poisoned despite Israel's
repeated and vehement denials.
Nasser al-Kidwa, who is also Palestinian envoy to the United
Nations, made the comments after he handed over the 558-page
medical dossier to Palestinian officials in Ramallah. No diagnosis
or reason has been given for Arafat's death Nov. 11 at a French
Al-Kidwa's remarks could cause renewed tension between Israel
and the Palestinians at a time when it appeared relations were
improving. By providing fuel for rumours Arafat was poisoned,
his comments could also make it more difficult for a new Palestinian
leadership to take control after a presidential election Jan.
But a decision Saturday by Israel's Labour party to join Prime
Minister Ariel Sharon's government could pave the way for him
to implement his Gaza withdrawal plan and restart peace talks
with the Palestinians.
After handing the 558-page medical dossier to interim Palestinian
president Rauhi Fattouh , Al-Kidwa said French doctors could
not rule out poisoning but had not found traces in Arafat's
body of "any poison known to them."
"Examinations of X-rays and all imaginable tests...are still
with the same results, the inability of reaching a clear diagnosis,"
Al-Kidwa said in English during a news conference.
"That is precisely the reason why suspicions are there, because
without a reason you cannot escape the other possibility...that
there is unnatural cause for the death," he said.
French officials have said judicial authorities would have
opened an investigation had they suspected foul play.
Arafat, suffering from a mysterious illness, was urgently
airlifted to the Percy Military Training Hospital in the southwestern
Paris suburb Clamart, on Oct. 29. His condition rapidly deteriorated
and he fell into a coma.
A month after Arafat's death at the age of 75, speculation
still swirls about what killed him, with rumours ranging from
cirrhosis of the liver, to AIDS, to poisoning.
Hani Masri, a commentator for the Palestinian newspaper Al-Ayyam,
said many Palestinians already believe their leader was poisoned
and Israel had made clear on many occasions it wanted to rid
the region of Arafat.
"If there was proof he was poisoned it would severely complicate
matters. The new leadership would not be able to renew peace
negotiations with a country that killed its president," Masri
Al-Kidwa and other Palestinian officials have said Israel
contributed to Arafat's death by confining him to his battered
compound for the last three years of his life. [...]
A seven-year-old Palestinian girl was
killed yesterday as she was eating lunch in her home. Israeli
troops had opened fire in response to a mortar attack which
wounded four residents of a nearby Jewish settlement.
Relatives said that a single Israeli
bullet had passed through Rana Sian's head and hit her father
in the leg as the family sat at the table eating rice and meat
in their home in the Khan Yunis refugee camp in the southern
Palestinian medics said the Israelis were retaliating for the
earlier mortar attack on the Gaza settlement of Neveh Dekalim
which seriously injured an 18-year-old man and an eight-year-old
boy. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack, which also
slightly injured two other men.
The fresh bloodshed came as Ariel Sharon, the Israeli Prime
Minister, formally invited the opposition Labour Party to join
a new coalition government to push through his plan to dismantle
the 21 settlements in the Gaza Strip.
The coalition plan won decisive backing from the Likud central
committee on Thursday. This was a serious defeat for Likud dissidents,
who bitterly opposed Mr Sharon's Gaza disengagement plan and
had hoped to block a unity government with Labour in an attempt
to sabotage it.
Tomorrow, Labour's central committee will be urged by its
veteran leader Shimon Peres formally to approve the invitation
to join Mr Sharon's government.
The outbreak of violence in Gaza threatened
to cast a shadow over renewed hopes of a ceasefire as Palestinians
embark on elections to replace Yasser Arafat as their president.
The dead Palestinian girl's sister Amal, 17, said last night
that the bullet had gone through the window frame, entered and
left the head of her sister, the youngest in the family, before
striking her father, Omar, in the right leg as he stood three
metres away from the table. She said her father had got up to
wash his hands in the sink. "Suddenly I noticed that my father
was crying out that he had been shot in the leg. We rushed over
and tried to see what had happened to him.
"But then my younger sister Heba noticed
that Rana was lying on the ground. She told my mother to look
at her. She had fallen on her head and was lying in a pool of
blood. She still had rice and meat in her mouth. We didn't
believe it. My father forgot his wound and went to carry her.
Blood was dripping from her." She said that her father had taken
her to hospital but that she believed she had been killed instantly.
Amal Sian claimed that the house was well
away from the main concentration of Israeli fire after the mortar
attack and that the Israeli response had been to fire "indiscriminately"
and that her sister had been killed as a result.
"I can't believe that I have lost my sister. She was cute,
very sociable and good at school. We were always laughing. I
had been speaking to her only a few moments earlier asking her
how she was because I had been busy with my married sister's
Israeli military sources confirmed last night that gunfire
had been directed at Khan Yunis in the aftermath of the mortar
attack but insisted that it had been aimed at Palestinian mortar
crews. An Israeli Defence Forces spokesman said reports that
the girl had been killed were still being investigated.
In a separate and earlier incident, Palestinian militants
fired a Qassam rocket at the border fence separating Israel
from Gaza but no casualties or damage were reported. [...]
GAZA, Palestine, December 8, 2004-- Since
the outbreak of the Al-Aqsa Intifada in September 29, 2000 until
October 31, 2004, the Israeli occupation troops have killed
3800 Palestinian men, women and children and wounded 43569 others,
including 8435 who received medication on the spot, an exclusive
report by the State Information Service (SIS)-linked Palestinian
National Information Center (PNIC) revealed.
The PNIC's report mentioned that the number of killed children
has reached 699 , female victims are 249, those killed during
Israeli shelling are 732, while victims of the Palestinian national
security forces are 344, as teachers and students are 749.
Those killed extra judicially are 303, those killed due to
blocking of movement on checkpoints are 121, including children
, women and elderly, who have been suffering from chronic diseases,
the PNIC indicated.
Also, the number of those victimized at the hands of the Israeli
armed settlers, are 36, including those of the medical crews
and civil defense brigades, as well as 9 media men and 220 athletics,
the report hinted.
As for the wounded, the PNIC confirmed that 43569 citizens
have been wounded during the said period, including 8435, who
received medication on the spot, while those wounded students
Regarding those jailed by the Israeli forces throughout the
Intifada, they have been numbered 7200, including 5857 registered
by the Palestinian Prisoners Ministry and distributed to 25
Israeli prisons and detention centers, including 1360 students,
300 children, 196 teachers, 900 others suffering from chronic
diseases, plus 128 female prisoners including 62 convicted,
63 on custody and 3 others placed under administrative detention.
In addition, the report outlined statistical figures on Palestinian-owned
houses that have been completely and partially demolished by
the Israeli occupation troops, numbering them to 69120 including
7149 completely distributed as 4414 in the Gaza Strip.
Those partially demolished houses are 61971, including 22007
in the Gaza Strip, while the other buildings and facilities
demolished by the Israeli troops completely and partially are
590, including 316 schools and colleges, while 43 other schools
have been turned to military outposts. As far as the Israeli
violations regarding the agriculture sector are concerned, the
report said that the Palestinian-owned lands razed by the Israeli
bulldozers reached 71914 dunums, 1229210 trees have been uprooted,
649 stores demolished , 659 farms devastated, 27567 dunums of
irrigation networks have been bulldozed, 1234 water tanks devastated,
as well as 207 houses owned by farmers demolished.
The report shed the light as well on the amount of unemployment
amongst the Palestinian people, rating to 2.3, as the poverty
rate is g.6, according to last year's statistics.
The violations against journalists during the Intifada are
apparent in the PNIC's report as 708 cases of attacks against
journalists have been recorded, mainly on military checkpoints
Fresh allegations about a regime of torture
and humiliation inflicted on detainees by their American captors
at Guantanamo Bay have been made by a Briton still held there,
according to British Foreign Office documents seen by The Guardian
The claims by Martin Mubanga, from London, are the latest
to surface from the prison where the United States holds 550
Muslim men it claims are terrorists -- in conditions that have
sparked worldwide condemnation.
Mubanga (31) alleges that only months ago
he was kept shackled for so long that he wet himself, and then
was forced to clean up his own urine. He claims to have been
threatened, that an interrogator stood on his hair, and that
he was subjected to extremes of temperature rising to 36 degrees
Celsius. He was kept chained to the floor by his feet for an
hour during a welfare visit from a British government official.
Mubanga is one of four Britons still in Guantanamo, held without
charge or trial. His allegations follow revelations that FBI
agents recently raised concerns about ill treatment they witnessed
The claim of fresh abuses against Britons came as Lord Falconer,
the lord chancellor, ventured further than any senior government
figure so far in attacking the US policy at Guantanamo Bay.
"At the heart of our culture is a commitment to the rule of
law and human rights," the lord chancellor said in a speech
to the Institute of Public Policy Research, a left-wing think-tank.
"We could never countenance individuals being put beyond the
law as has happened at Guantanamo Bay."
That period of being beyond the rule of law had now ended,
he added, as a result of a Supreme Court decision allowing the
detainees to challenge their incarceration in court.
But Louise Christian, solicitor for two British detainees,
including Mubanga, dismissed Lord Falconer's comments:
"There is no difference between what we are doing here at Belmarsh
and Guantanamo Bay. People at both are becoming mentally ill."
Other allegations of mistreatment at Guantanamo were made
in October in a letter from another of the British detainees,
Moazzam Begg. The five Britons who were released from Guantanamo
in March have also alleged torture.
The allegations about Mubanga's treatment are contained in
a letter from a British Foreign Office official to the prisoner's
family. Mubanga, a former motorcycle courier, made his allegations
in June during a welfare visit.
The letter reads: "Martin told the official ... he had been
interrogated, shackled and not allowed to go to the toilet.
"He said he had wet himself and had been forced to clean up
the mess himself. Martin said that in another incident in June,
he had been put in a room with the temperature at 97 degrees
Fahrenheit ... he knew the temperature because he had seen the
The letter continues: "Martin said that there had been a struggle
and he had had his hair stood on by the interrogator."
Mubanga was arrested in Zambia and has been
held as a terrorist for more than two years without access to
During a visit by a Foreign Office official on October 3,
a record of which The Guardian has seen, Mubanga was kept trussed
up for the entire 60 minutes. The official noted: "Martin's
feet were shackled to the ring in the floor." Mubanga also said
his weight has plunged in captivity from 84kg to 75kg, that
he gets tired and dizzy, and he does not get enough food.
He is allowed 30 minutes of exercise every second day.
Christian said the allegations showed the failure of government
efforts to secure the Britons' release.
"For the British government to sit on
its hands while its closest ally, the US government, is torturing
our citizens is unforgivable," she said.
According to the Foreign Office letter, the US claims Mubanga
attacked his interrogator, despite the fact he almost certainly
would have been shackled: "The US authorities said that their
records show that Martin grabbed the interrogator's hand and
applied a pressure-point hold. The interrogator stated that
he would call the military police and Martin let go without
A Foreign Office spokesperson said: "We have raised with the
US authorities the allegations of maltreatment raised with us
by Mr Mubanga during a welfare visit. The
US authorities have investigated them and their response is
that they are without merit.
WASHINGTON — Former New York Police Commissioner
Bernard Kerik on Friday abruptly withdrew himself from consideration
as the nation's next Homeland Security chief, saying he had
determined that a former household employee might have been
an illegal immigrant.
Kerik's unexpected withdrawal cast a temporary cloud over
President Bush's second-term Cabinet, and appeared likely to
revive the contentious issues raised by the "nannygate" disclosures
that derailed two of former President Clinton's high-level nominees.
The debate could be particularly awkward because Kerik was Bush's
choice to head the department charged with enforcing the nation's
immigration laws, including policing the borders to prevent
foreign nationals from crossing illegally.
"Commissioner Kerik informed the White House this evening
that he is withdrawing his name for personal reasons from consideration
for secretary of the Department of Homeland Security," the White
House said in a statement. "The president respects his decision,
and wishes Commissioner Kerik and his wife, Hala, well."
Kerik said in a statement he had learned of the potential
immigration law violation as he was completing documents required
for the Senate confirmation process.
"I uncovered information that now leads me to question the
immigration status of a person who had been in my employ as
a housekeeper and nanny," Kerik said. "It has also been brought
to my attention that for a period of time during such employment
required tax payments and related filings had not been made."
He said the inevitable controversy over the worker would "only
serve as a significant and unnecessary distraction to the vital
efforts of the Department of Homeland Security."
In addition to the possible immigration
law violation, Kerik in recent days has contended with news
reports focusing on his business dealings since he left the
New York Police Department in 2001, including his ties to a
stun-gun maker that has sold weapons to the Department of Homeland
However, in addition to the problem with his nanny and housekeeper,
a number of other issues from Kerik's colorful past have come
to light that could have prompted questions in a confirmation
Earlier Friday, White House officials had defended Kerik in
response to questions about possible conflicts of interest stemming
from his business dealings since stepping down three years ago
as New York City's police commissioner.
News accounts in recent days have focused
on Kerik's arrangements with companies selling stun guns, prescription
drugs, computer software, personal security products and services,
nuclear power, telephone service and insurance policies.
"We've looked into all these issues, and obviously, he'll
be talking about some of these matters during his confirmation
hearing," McClellan said in his afternoon news briefing.
He added: "We have full confidence in his integrity and we
are confident that he will take the appropriate steps necessary
to make sure that there are no conflicts there."
Kerik was police chief under then-Mayor Giuliani, and has
worked closely with his former boss at Giuliani Partners, a
strategic consulting firm in New York, a
lucrative partnership for the former police commissioner.
Bush encountered Kerik in the days following the Sept. 11
attacks. Kerik was later tapped for duty in Iraq, where his
programs helped increase the Iraqi police force from about 30,000
to more than 80,000 in late 2003.
But his successors cut the force to
about 46,000 this year by weeding out corrupt and ill-trained
officers. After Kerik left, officials concluded that
the short-term training was not working and revamped the program.
Newsweek reported that while Kerik was police commissioner,
the NYPD bought four $50,000 security doors for police headquarters.
They turned out to be too heavy for the floor to support. One
of them was used by the Department of Corrections, and the other
three were put in storage. A police department investigation
found irregularities in the bidding process.
After leaving the NYPD, Newsweek reported,
Kerik became an advisor to a company distributing the doors,
though he renounced his deal after the door-maker's president
was indicted for defrauding the city.
As head of Homeland Security, Kerik would have overseen a
department that does business with several security clients
of Giuliani Partners, notably Taser International of Scottsdale,
Ariz., which makes stun guns.
Kerik was a member of the company's board and received stock
options in the company that were valued at more than $6.2 million
by the time he recently sold them, the New York Times reported
Friday. The newspaper said that Kerik had referred Taser executives
seeking more federal business to officials at Homeland Security.
Trouble often followed Kerik. As a young soldier in South
Korea, he fathered a child out of wedlock. As NYPD commissioner,
he was fined $2,500 for sending two police officers to Ohio
to help research his bestselling 2001 memoir, "The Lost Son:
A Life in Pursuit of Justice."
When the book's publisher, Judith Regan, reported
her cellphone stolen after a visit to a Fox Television studio,
detectives reportedly showed up at the homes of Fox employees
who had been on the set at the time.
A Senate GOP aide speculated about Kerik's withdrawal:
"It was probably a mounting list of potentially embarrassing
issues, and they decided to cut their losses before it got worse.
Good timing too: late on a Friday night.
WASHINGTON — Spc. Robert Loria of Middletown,
N.Y., lost his arm in Iraq, but instead of a farewell paycheck
from the Army he got a bill for nearly $1,800.
On Friday a platoon of New York lawmakers came to his rescue.
Loria found himself stuck at Ft. Hood, Texas, this week when
Army officials said he owed money for travel expenses and for
Rep. Maurice D. Hinchey and Sens. Charles E. Schumer and Hillary
Rodham Clinton, all Democrats, interceded on behalf of the 27-year-old
veteran after his wife, Christine Loria, told the Times-Herald
Record of Middletown about the problem.
"Christmas is coming up, and we are severely overdrawn because
of this," his wife said. "It turned out his getting wounded
wasn't the worst thing this year to happen — this was."
Clinton, Schumer and Hinchey said the Army had dropped the
In ordering a new $877 million anthrax
vaccine last month, the federal government said it was a major
step toward creating a "bioshield" to protect Americans from
germ warfare. But delivering that protection may be difficult:
the vaccine is unproven in humans, the maker has legal and accounting
troubles, and health officials are not prepared to distribute
the vaccine quickly if it is needed.
Bush administration officials, as well as the top executives
at VaxGen, the manufacturer in California, say they are confident
they can fulfill their promise.
"This program needs to be a success for all of us - the federal
government, for the company and for the American public," said
Lance K. Gordon, VaxGen's chief executive.
But some scientists say the effectiveness of the vaccine,
which is to be delivered starting early in 2006, is still in
"When the day comes and we have to give this to 20 million
people, in terms of this new vaccine, what will happen?" said
Jack Melling, former head of Britain's biodefense vaccine program
and now a consultant to the United States Government Accountability
Office. "The jury is still out; it is still an open question."
The vaccine contract, enough to inoculate 25 million Americans,
is part of a $5.6 billion effort called Project BioShield intended
to build a drug stockpile and other defenses against any diseases
terrorists might try to inflict on the population.
VaxGen, which is to produce 75 million syringes of vaccine
with a formula it is still fine-tuning, has had recent setbacks,
including the removal this summer of its stock from the Nasdaq
market because of accounting problems and lawsuits from investors
who say it exaggerated the prospects for its AIDS vaccine, which
has been abandoned.
The federal government has had its own recent embarrassments
with vaccines: the shortage of flu vaccine this year and the
aborted effort in 2003 to vaccinate health care workers against
Some experts question the value of the whole Project BioShield,
as the investment in the bioterrorism stockpile will perhaps
mean less money for research or treatment of other health problems,
like AIDS, cancer or even the flu.
"This anthrax threat is extraordinarily
exaggerated," said Victor Sidel, a professor at the Albert
Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx and past president
of the New York City Public Health Association. "All
of this is simply playing to the politics of fear." [...]
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) - A grenade exploded
at a concert featuring Indian movie stars and entertainers in
Sri Lanka's capital Saturday, killing at least two people and
injuring 15, officials said.
Military spokesman Brig. Daya Ratnayake said the grenade was
thrown at the crowd as the three-hour show was nearing its end.
A man identified as a journalist for a local newspapers and
a woman were killed, he said.
"Two persons were dead," Press Trust of India news agency
reported, adding that "there were another 12 injured admitted
(to hospital). . . . All have shrapnel injuries caused by a
hand grenade or a hand bomb."
The Indian entertainers were unhurt, officials said. The show,
titled Temptation 2004, featured Indian stars Shahrukh Khan,
Preity Zinta, Saif Ali Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Javed Khan and
Earlier, police used tear gas to break up a protest by about
200 Buddhists who tried to prevent the concert, held a day before
the anniversary of the death of a leading Buddhist cleric.
Sunday is the first anniversary of the death of Gangodawila
Soma - a popular preacher who campaigned against conversions
of Buddhists by Christians. Monks are a powerful political force
in Buddhist-majority Sri Lanka.
|Sixteen people have died in a plane crash
this Friday morning in El Junquito, west of Caracas. Emergency
reports came in at 11.11 a.m. that a SkyTruck plane with a crew
of 16 from the National Guard (GN) had crashed near Kilometer
24 in El Junquito. [...]
Caracas Fire Department, National Guard Fire Units and Metropolitan
Police (PM) emergency crews were at the scene within minutes of
the plane crash. Eye-witnesses say
there was "a loud explosion before the plane fell out of the sky"
although there was significant cloud cover at the time
of the tragedy. Rescue crews say the bodies have been recovered
but only with much difficulty because of the terrain and crash
Shillong, December 11: An earthquake of
slight intensity was recorded in Shillong and its surrounding
areas early today.
This was the third tremor recorded in the area this week.
According to the Meterological Department here, the quake
measuring 3.2 on the Richter Scale was felt at 0317 hrs. Its
epicentre was located 20 km away from the Central Seismological
The last tremor, having a magnitude of 4.7 on the Richter
Scale, was recorded at 2.19 pm on December 9. That was preceded
by one measuring 3.6 on December 7.
|(AGI) - Rome, Dec. 11 - A seismic tremor was
adverted by the population in the province in campobasso. The
epicentre was in the cities of Campobasso, Toro, Campodipietra,
Jelzi and S. Giovanni in Galdo. No damage was verified and no
one was injured, according to the exams done at the Operating
room in the Civil Protection unit. And the National Institute
of Geophysics and Vulcanology, the seismic tremor occurred at
00:30 with a magnitude of 3.1
TOKYO: A strong earthquake
shook the southern Japanese island of Kyushu on Sunday but there
were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.
The magnitude 5.1 temblor was centered 10 kilometers (6 miles)
under the earth's surface off the west coast of Kagoshima, about
985 kilometers (620 miles) southwest of Tokyo.
There was no danger of tsunami, or tidal waves caused by seismic
activity, the Meteorological Agency said.
A magnitude 5 earthquake can cause damage to homes if it occurs
in a residential area.
Japan suffered its deadliest quake in a decade two months ago
when a magnitude 6.8 temblor rocked the northern Japanese region
of Niigata, killing 40 people and injuring more than 2,700.
Sunday's quake was in an unrelated area.
Japan, which rests atop several tectonic plates, is among the
world's most earthquake-prone countries.
Not long after nightfall yesterday,
the calls started coming in at police departments across the Washington
Callers, acting out of curiosity or a sense of responsibility,
or both, gave accounts of bright lights flashing across the sky.
"It looked like a ball of fire falling out of the sky,"
said Cpl. Cynthia Brown, a Maryland State Police dispatcher, recounting
what a caller from the Golden Ring area of Baltimore County told
her about 7:30 p.m.
It appeared last night that the callers were witnessing part
of the Geminid meteor shower.
In general, meteors, or shooting stars, are bits of cosmic dust
that burn up as they speed through the atmosphere. The dust usually
comes from the deterioration of comets, but scientists say asteroid
debris may have produced the Geminids, which are visible in the
This manifestation of astronomical pyrotechnics is expected to
reach its peak tomorrow night and Tuesday morning. But the shower,
which began making its presence known about the beginning of last
week, was vivid enough last night for a number of witnesses.
One of them, near Middletown in the western part of Frederick
County, told state police of a "fiery ball coming out of
the sky," according to a communications officer.
The state police barracks in Pikesville, near Baltimore, got
calls about "bright lights shooting through the sky."
And in Fairfax County, residents of the Great Falls area telephoned
authorities with similar accounts.
The Loudoun County Sheriff's Office told of receiving a number
of reports, some of them speculating about the possibility that
an unidentified flying object might have been streaking through
"We sure have" been getting such calls, said a dispatcher
at the Fauquier County Sheriff's Office. He said callers gave
information about "fire in the sky."
At the Maryland State Police barracks in Waterloo in Howard County,
Brown tried to get information from her caller about where the
bright falling object might have landed.
"There was no telling," she said. The caller said it
just fell. There were no reports last night of anything on the
ground being struck.
The flurry of calls was not a total surprise. Les Dorr, a spokesman
for the Federal Aviation Administration, indicated that the shower
was "nothing that was not expected."
The Geminids are so named because they seem to come from the
constellation Gemini. But they appear not to be as well known
as other showers that occur throughout the year. One reason might
be that they occur in December, making outdoor viewing somewhat
ROAD TOWN, British Virgin Islands
-- A magnitude 5.7 earthquake jolted the British Virgin Islands,
the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Saturday, the Puerto
Rico Seismic Network said.
Police and rescue officials in all three Caribbean territories
said there were no reports of injuries or damage.
The epicenter was 27 miles northwest of the main British Virgin
Island of Tortola and 70 miles east of Puerto Rico.
A magnitude 5 quake can cause considerable damage in populated
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina - A Nepalese sherpa
fears his mountain valley will be flooded by melting glacier
runoff high in the Himalayas. A Fiji islander frets about rising
sea levels while Indians cope with the destruction of mangrove
swamps in northeastern India.
As scientists debate whether global warming is affecting Earth,
"climate witnesses" told a U.N. environmental conference Friday
they are already feeling the heat, worried about changing weather
patterns they say are drastically affecting life from the Himalayas
to the South Pacific.
"In the past we just accepted it was the will of God," said
Penina Moce, a housewife from Udu, a fishing village in eastern
Fiji. "But now we believe there could be other reasons."
Moce spoke as delegates from nearly 200 countries sat down
in Buenos Aires for an annual gathering by government officials,
scientists, and environmentalists aimed at trying to cut down
on "greenhouse" emissions believed by many to be causing a rise
in Earth's temperatures.
The 44-year-year-old mother of five said many on her South
Pacific island of some 400 people are alarmed by recent signs
of altering climate: shortened rainy seasons, eroding coastlines
and dwindling fish stocks. Water, already in short supply, has
become even harder to come by, she said.
"When it rains, everyone will leave whatever they're doing and
rush outside to try and save as much water as possible," she
said. "We are lucky if it rains for two days straight."
Environmentalists say her testimony exemplifies what is occurring
in some areas affected by global warming and climate change
_ issues the world has tried to address through the Kyoto Protocol,
a landmark agreement requiring initial cuts in "greenhouse gas"
emissions by 2012 that comes into force in February.
With only a few months remaining before Kyoto takes effect,
the science over global warming remains divided. The United
States _ the largest industrialized country along with Australia
not to join the treaty _ has cited scientific uncertainties
as one of the reasons.
Debate has dragged on for decades over the causes of climate
change and whether it is already being felt.
Many scientists believe carbon dioxide and other greenhouse
gases _ released by factories, vehicles and coal-burning power
plants _ seriously threaten life on Earth by causing a gradual
rise in the planet's temperature. Global
warming has been blamed for more violent storms, rising sea
levels and shrinking animal habitats.
Caspar Ammann, a climate scientist with the National Center
for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, said changes
are apparent all around the world.
"You see the massive changes in the mountain ranges around
the world, where you see the glaciers disappearing very rapidly,
you see changes in vegetation and changes in the whole seasonal
cycles. The sea ice that is going back ... these are indications."
A study by Ammann's colleague Tom Wigley at NCAR and Sarah
Raper of the Climatic Research Unit in Britain found a 90 percent
probability global temperatures will rise by 1.7 to 4.9 degrees
centigrade (3.1 to 8.9 degrees Fahrenheit) between 1990 and
2100 as a result of human influences if greenhouse gas emissions
Other experts, however, disagree,
saying Earth's temperatures have varied greatly over long periods
of time, and little is known about how the atmosphere copes
with temperature change.
"If you look at the long term records of temperatures, you
will see periods warmer than today and periods colder than today,"
said John Cristy, a climatologist at the University of Alabama
"We don't see the same warming in the deep atmosphere," he
continued. "If it were man-made that's where you would see the
But Anil Krishna Mistry, a 37-year-old rice farmer and former
poacher living in tiger-infested mangrove swamps along India's
border with Bangladesh, said he is worried by what he sees as
changing climate patterns.
He said his region of Bali Island is under constant threat
of flooding from heavy rains and that rising sea levels have
washed away huge tracts of land and made other areas too salty
for rice growing.
"There were 64 types of mangrove plants in the region but
now half of those species are now dying out," said Krishna Mistry,
speaking through an interpreter. "The mangrove stands act as
a barrier against high tides from the oceans. But due to rising
sea levels, high tides are entering into the mainlands and making
the land and freshwater areas salty."
He said village subsistence farmers are losing rice paddies
and freshwater drinking supplies to the rising saltwater tides
and that many try to survive by poaching and by overfishing
in the 104 islands in the region.
"We are surrounded by water but don't have a single drop to
drink," said the Indian. "The changes in monsoon patterns are
leading to more unpredictable weather. Many people are living
on the edge with no other place to go."
Norbu Sherpa, an expedition guide in the Himalayas mountains,
also warned of a changing landscape in the Everest region.
"In the years that I have worked a trekking expedition guide,
I have seen snow lines and glaciers go back higher and higher,
he said. "Meanwhile, new lakes are forming, others are growing
larger and larger."
He is most famous for his far-fetched tale
of how dinosaurs could be brought to life with DNA from mosquitoes
trapped in amber. Now the bestselling
author Michael Crichton has written a thriller about ecoterrorism
that the critics say is equally fantastic in its refusal to
accept that global warming is a clear and present danger.
With two million copies of State of Fear hitting bookshops
across the world, Crichton's thesis that the
"interminable yammering of fearmongers" about climate change
is being used to keep ordinary people perpetually anxious will
reach a huge audience.
As diplomats and scientists gathered at the 10th international
convention on climate change in Buenos Aires on Friday to discuss
where to go from Kyoto, the 62-year-old author of Jurassic Park
and Rising Sun arrived in Britain to promote his 600-page "techno
The story of a South Pacific island that launches a multimillion-pound
lawsuit against the United States, and
green terrorists who plot to manufacture a series of earthquakes,
underwater landslides and tsunamis to prove that global warming
is happening, has an unusual denouement: a 14-page bibliography
and a five-page authorial note explaining his extreme scepticism
about global warming.
Crichton fills his latest with graphs and "facts" against
global warming. Rather than warning readers about the dangers
of dinosaurs, nanotechnology or rising Japanese power, he bolsters
his argument by citing the work of prominent climate-change
sceptics, including the political scientist Bjorn Lomberg.
"The current near-hysterical preoccupation
with safety is at best a waste of resources and a crimp on the
human spirit, and at worst an invitation to totalitarianism,"
he concludes. [...]
In an account of a military engagement
sure to leave critics scoffing, a UFO investigator claims more
than a dozen U.S. Air Force jet fighters were destroyed by flying
saucers on a single day in 1952. But not before their guns and
rockets crippled several UFOs that wound up making emergency
landings in rural West Virginia.
"I know how it sounds," says Frank Feschino, the Port Orange
artist whose new book attempts to reconstruct what would be
the biggest dogfight since the Marianas Turkey Shoot in 1944.
"But I think it's going to come out real soon. There's a lot
of guys out there who know what happened but are too scared
Feschino's book -- "The Braxton County Monster: The Cover-Up
of the Flatwoods Monster Revealed" (Quarrier Press, $29.95)
-- revisits a mystery that has been a part of West Virginia
lore for more than half a century.
At its core are a dozen eyewitnesses to a strange, robotic
creature that appeared on a hilltop following the crash of an
alleged meteor on the evening of Sept. 12, 1952. But following
an investigation that took 14 years to research and write, Feschino
claims the beginning of the incident involved a UFO air battle
that began in Florida, shifted to the Eastern seaboard and ended
in an Air Force whitewash.
Thirty five years ago this month, the USAF officially terminated
its UFO study, called Project Blue Book, by concluding there
were no national security aspects to the phenomenon. Arguably
the most hectic phase of Blue Book's 22-year existence was 1952,
when a record 1,501 reports were logged. July was the busiest
month. Warplanes were scrambled to chase nocturnal UFOs that
buzzed Washington, D.C., on consecutive weekends.
Even Patrick Air Force Base got splashed by the wave on July
18 of that year, when seven on-base airmen observed a series
of silent amber-red objects approaching restricted air space
late one evening. One UFO passed directly overhead before pulling
a 180-degree U-turn and disappearing to the west. According
to the Blue Book reports, none of the objects were spotted on
radar and no planes were dispatched to confront them.
Blue Book ruled the avalanche of UFO sightings across the
southeast on Sept. 12, 1952, could be attributed to a meteor.
But no meteor showers were scheduled for that night, and the
Harvard Meteor Project, which tracked 2,500 cosmic fireballs
from 1952 to '54, recorded no activity on that date.
Feschino also quotes Indian Harbour Beach astronomer Hal Povenmire,
author of "Fireballs, Meteors and Meteorites," as dismissing
the meteor explanation. Povenmire declined to comment on Feschino's
book, but he reiterated his stance for FLORIDA TODAY:
"It definitely wasn't a meteor." [...]
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