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and extensive previously unpublished details, at long last, Laura Knight-Jadczyk's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!
- Now A Fascist Totalitarian State In All But Name
"Americans Love Tough
Note these actual headlines:
"Powell Gets Tough," "Rumsfeld Gets Tough On North
Korea," "Wolfowitz gets tough on terrorism," "Bush
Gets Tough with the Pope," "Bush Gets Tough With China,"
"Bush gets tough with
North Korea," "Bush gets tough on Castro." And these:
tough on Saddam" "Rumsfeld talks tough on Iraq" "Cheney
talks tough on Iraq, Saddam," "Cheney talks tough and
acts it," "Powell talks tough on North Korea," "Richard
Perle talks tough on Iraq, North Korea," "Americans like
a hard man and Wolfowitz talks tough," "Americans love
So, our leaders are tough guys. Americans love tough guys -- and
tough women, too, of course. We seem to prefer them even to smart
people, learned people, creative people, kind people, tolerant people,
strong people, etc. But, have you thought about what a tough guy
Rather than assume that you know, consider one philosophy about
tough guys: all tough guys are hypocrites. "What?" you
say. Well, isn't it logical, really?
Let's talk about life's basics. What do you want from life? First
and foremost, isn't it safe to say that you want to survive? You
food, you want shelter, you may want companionship, a nice family
and trusted friends. You want a safe and productive place to live,
work, play, be free, and maybe to enjoy the company of others. You
DON'T want to feel threatened or unsafe. Isn't it true that no one
wants to feel threatened, bullied, intimidated, unsafe, restricted,
Everyone wants a life that is free of the feeling that one is in
danger, under threat, or living in fear. Those things add up to
misery. Having felt them at one time or another, we all know intuitively
that such feelings prey upon the mind and body.
What is a tough guy? Quite simply, a tough guy intimidates. That's
what he designs to do. He threatens, and inspires fear. A tough
deliberately cultivates, in whatever his context and environment,
dangerous image. His willful intent is to convey a "don't mess
with me" bearing while implying that he will very well mess
with you if you
cross him. A tough guy purposefully intrudes upon you with an
expression of displeasure if crossed, and he exudes personal
associations with force, physical or otherwise.
Think of some stereotypes for a moment: a mob boss or enforcer,
street-gang member, a school bully. In the environments and contexts
in which they operate, they make themselves known by the way they
dress, the way they walk, the way they speak, the people they associate
with, and the way they look at you. They make certain to convey
that they are tough guys, and that you had better adhere to their
rules or you will pay a price. You will forfeit to them protection
money, you will stay off of their turf, you will get out of their
way, and they will take from you what they want or you will no longer
have a good life, for the tough guy will punish you, your friends,
or your family.
The tough guy's very presence puts restrictions on your expression
and/or behavior and suggests unpleasant consequences should you
cross any of them. He conveys, in ways spoken or not, that retribution
shall strike should you break one of his rules. He embodies threat,
intimidation, swift and certain punishment. A tough guy is a bully.
He bullies first by his very appearance and demeanor, then by his
words and even actions if necessary, for he suggests that he has
means to make you comply.
No one wants the misery that the bully brings. No person wants
anguish, including the person who is the tough guy. He or anyone
would be insane to desire being intimidated and made fearful. As
someone who threatens, intimidates, and inspires terror, the tough
guy, the bully, conveys and delivers precisely the feelings that
human being wants in his life. Thus, being a tough guy is being
hypocrite. It is being precisely what you wish did not exist.
"Respect" is a word tough guys use in their own defense.
respect toughness," they think, "and so being tough is
what I need to
do to earn respect." Well, think, does anyone really respect
intimidator? Do you respect a bully, or do you simply fear him?
Although they may think they are respected, consider the possibility
that tough guys are never respected members of society -- they are
simply feared. They inspire fear, desperation, acts of self-defense,
acts even of insanity. They spread misery and chaos that escalate
consume the innocent. And they do it with the threat of force.
"Better people than camel-riding nomads have shown they respect
force." -- Ann Coulter
Does it really take a "better" sort of person to "respect"
Isn't this statement just a little bit complicated? It doesn't make
sense and is a fine example of mistaking fear for respect. Simply
put, everyone fears force because everyone knows that force will
take away their will, and no one relishes doing anything against
will. To force is to go against free will, thus it is to impose
kind of slavery. Force of some kind -- removal of your will -- is
what the tough guy threatens.
Were you ever bullied in your school days or perhaps in your workplace?
Did you wish the bully would disappear or at least play by
the rules and adhere to the law that is supposed to guarantee your
protection and right to a peaceful life? Did you wish he would stop
making his own self-serving "law" that promised punishment
for you if
you did not comply?
"In the corporeal world, international law is whatever the
States and Great Britain say it is." -- Ann Coulter
If you are looking for a good leader, it would seem unwise to choose
someone among whose foremost character traits is hypocrisy. There
is nothing wrong with acting in favor of your own destiny, but doing
in any way that brings misery to others is purely hypocritical.
Americans love a tough guy -- when he is on their side. But, consider
how that tough guy is making others feel.
What misery is he threatening others with? By supporting him, you
are supporting his tough act and his tough talk, and you are taking
part in his threats, so are you not intimidating others and taking
their right to a peaceful and productive life? Are you not disrespecting
their right to live without fear? Are you not stripping them of
the very things in life you want for yourself? Aren't you a bully
and a hypocrite? And could you be driving those you threaten to
commit desperate acts against you? Would you prefer to be respected,
or feared? It may be worth considering.
The US may claim to be a democracy,
says Samir Amin, but its religious rhetoric betrays totalitarian
Today, the United States is governed by a junta of war criminals
who took power through a kind of coup. That coup may have been preceded
by (dubious) elections: but we should never
forget that Hitler was also an elected politician. In this
analogy, 9/11 fulfils the function of the
"burning of the Reichstag", allowing
the junta to grant its police force powers similar to those of the
Gestapo. They have their own Mein Kampf -- the National Security
Strategy --, their own mass associations -- the patriot organisations
-- and their own preachers. It is vital that we have the courage
to tell these truths, and stop masking them behind phrases such
as "our American friends" that have by now become quite
Political culture is the long-term product of history. As such,
it is obviously specific to each country. American political culture
is clearly different from that which has emerged from the history
of the European continent: it has been shaped by the establishment
of New England by extremist Protestant sects, the genocide of the
continent's indigenous peoples, the enslavement of Africans, and
the emergence of communities segregated by ethnicity as a result
of successive waves of migration throughout the 19th century. [...]
The genocide of Native Americans was implicit in the logic of the
new chosen people's divine mission. Their massacre cannot simply
be blamed on the morals of an archaic and distant past. Right up
until the 1960s, the act of genocide was proclaimed quite openly
and proudly. Hollywood films pitted the "good" cowboy
against the "evil" Native American, and this travesty
of the past was central to the education of successive generations.
lynching in Omaha, Nebraska, 1919
The same holds true for slavery. After independence, close to a
century had to pass before slavery was abolished. And despite the
French Revolution's claims to the contrary, the fact of abolition,
when it came, had nothing to do with morality -- it only happened
because slavery no longer served the cause of capitalist expansion.
Thus, African Americans had to wait another century to be granted
even minimal civil rights. And even then, the deep-rooted racism
of the ruling class was hardly challenged at all. Up until the 1960s,
lynching remained common place, providing a pretext for family picnics.
Indeed, the practice of lynching persists today, more discretely
and indirectly, in the form of a "justice" system that
sends thousands of people to their deaths -- most of them African
Americans, even though it is common knowledge that at least half
of those condemned are innocent. [...]
The avowed objective of America's new hegemonic
strategy is to prevent the emergence of any other power which might
be capable of putting up resistance in the face of Washington's
injunctions. It is therefore necessary to dismantle countries which
have become too "big", so
as to create a maximum number of satellites who are ready and willing
to accept US bases for their "protection". As its
last three presidents (Bush senior, Clinton, and Bush junior) all
agree, only one country has the right to be "big", and
that is the United States.
In this sense, US hegemony ultimately depends on its disproportionate
military power, rather than on any specific "advantages"
of its economic system. Thanks to this power, the US can pose as
the uncontested leader of the global mafia, whose "visible
fist" will impose the new imperialist order on those who might
otherwise be reluctant to fall into line.
Encouraged by their recent successes, the extreme right now has
a tight hold on the reins of power in Washington. The choice on
offer is clear: either accept US hegemony, along with the super-strength
"liberalism" it promotes, and which means little more
than an exclusive obsession with making money -- or reject both.
In the first case, we will be giving Washington a free hand to "redesign"
the world in the image of Texas. Only by choosing the second option
may we be able to do something to help rebuild a world that is essentially
pluralist, democratic and peaceful.
Had they reacted in 1935 or 1937, the Europeans would have been
able to halt the Nazi madness before it did so much harm. By delaying
until 1939, they contributed to its tens of millions of victims.
It is our responsibility to act now, so that Washington's neo-Nazi
challenge may be contained and eliminated.
US adopts National ID: Homeland
Security Now In charge of Regulations for all US States Drivers
Licenses and Birth Certificates
In a chilling act more reminiscent
of the now defunct Soviet Union or the Nazi regime of Adolph Hitler,
the United States Congress passed legislation yesterday that requires
the States to surrender their regulatory rights over driver’s
licenses and birth certificates to The Department of Homeland Security.
The massive US Intelligence Reform Bill
weighed in at over 3,000 pages and though unread
by individual Members of either the House or Senate nevertheless
passed all of the legislative hurdles needed in order to become
Beginning in 2005, the Department of Homeland Security will issue
new uniformity regulations to the States requiring that all Drivers
Licenses and Birth Certificates meet minimal Federal Standards with
regard to US citizen information, including biometric security provisions.
Added to currently existing Federal Laws and Supreme Court rulings
American citizens when born will be issued a Social Security Number
that will be included on their Birth Certificates, along with DNA
biometric markers. All birth certificates will also be registered
in a Federal Government database maintained by the Department of
Homeland Security. No child will be allowed enrollment to schools
or be entitled to either State of Federal Government benefits programs
without first presenting a certified Homeland Security registered
Drivers Licenses will also contain DNA biometric markers and include
the holders Social Security Number and be required for receiving
and applying for all State and Federal benefits programs. Previous
Supreme Court rulings have also upheld State and Federal Law Enforcement
authorities right to request Identification from any American citizen,
for any reason and at any time as not being violations of their,
the citizens, constitutionally protected rights.
Major Banks and credit card companies have applauded the adoption
of a National ID system as being important to counter fraud and
increasing instances of identity theft. National ID cards with biometric
markers will eliminate them from having to issue Credit and Debit
cards, which for the first time in US history have surpassed the
usage of checks and cash. Utilizing The Department of Homeland Securities
centralized federal database, Banks and credit card companies will
only require the presentation of a citizens Driver’s License
to make purchases as all of the persons financial information, including
credit and cash balances, will already be known in ‘real time’.
(The combining of Homeland Security and Banking databases on citizen’s
balances and purchases, along with their past and present purchasing
information, has been allowed under previous Federal Laws including
the Patriot Act.)
Also included in this bill is a law to require
The Department of Homeland Security to establish a separate ID system
for citizens to use prior to boarding airplanes, and which is eerily
reminiscent of the Soviet and Nazi regimes dreaded Internal Passport.
Never before in our history have the words of Benjamin Franklin
been so correct when he stated: "people
willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither
and will lose both".
Today, December 9, 2004 will be one of those moments
in time that future historians will look back on and pin point as
being the day that the United States of American, and as it was
founded by its forefathers, ceased to exist.
The intelligence package that
Congress approved this week includes a series of little-noticed
measures that would broaden the government's power to conduct terrorism
investigations, including provisions to loosen standards for FBI
surveillance warrants and allow the Justice Department to more easily
detain suspects without bail.
Other law-enforcement-related measures in the bill -- expected
to be signed by President Bush next week -- include an expansion
of the criteria that constitute "material support" to
terrorist groups and the ability to share U.S. grand jury information
with foreign governments in urgent terrorism cases.
These and other changes designed to strengthen federal counterterrorism
programs have long been sought by the Bush administration and the
Justice Department but have languished in Congress, in part because
of opposition from civil liberties advocates.
Justice Department spokesman Mark Corallo characterized the measures
as "common-sense reforms aimed at preventing terrorist attacks."
"We are very pleased that the Congress agreed with us that
despite having passed the Patriot Act right after 9/11, we still
had work to do," Corallo said, referring to the anti-terrorism
legislation approved in October 2001. "We have to constantly
look at the laws and look at our vulnerabilities and make sure we
are doing everything we can within the law to protect the American
But civil liberties advocates and some Democrats
said the measures would do little to protect the public while further
eroding constitutional protections for innocent people caught up
Critics also say the proposed changes were overshadowed by the
debate over other aspects of the bill, which puts in place many
intelligence agency reforms proposed by the independent commission
that investigated the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Some Democrats say
they reluctantly approved the package because they favored the broader
'Abusing its detention powers'
Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.) said that
while he voted for the bill because of its intelligence reforms,
he opposed much of the expansion of law enforcement power. Most
of it was not part of the Sept. 11 panel's recommendations.
"I am troubled by some provisions that were added in conference
that have nothing to do with reforming our intelligence network,"
Feingold said. He later added: "This Justice Department has
a record of abusing its detention powers post-9/11 and of making
terrorism allegations that turn out to have no merit."
Charlie Mitchell, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties
Union, said the law enforcement measures are "most troubling
in terms of the trend they represent." He added: "They
keep pushing and pushing without any attempt to review what they've
'Lone wolf' suspects
One key change is a provision in the new
intelligence package that targets "lone wolf" terrorists
not linked with established terrorist groups such as al Qaeda.
In language similar to earlier Senate legislation, the bill would
allow the FBI to obtain secret surveillance and search warrants
of individuals without having to show a connection between the target
of the warrant and a foreign government or terrorist group.
The provision is aimed squarely at avoiding the quandary FBI investigators
faced in the weeks before the Sept. 11 attacks, when government
lawyers haggled over whether they could link Zacarias Moussaoui
to a terrorist group and legally search his belongings. Moussaoui
has since been charged in connection with the attacks.
Officials said other parts of the bill are direct responses to
setbacks in the courts, where prosecutors have lost cases because
of disputes over previous legislative language. For example, the
legislation tightens the definitions of material support to terrorists
in response to California federal court rulings that found the statute
underlying such cases to be unconstitutionally vague.
Other provisions in the bill include:
• Suspects in major terrorism crimes automatically would
be denied bail unless they show they are not a danger or a flight
risk. Advocates say the provision is modeled on similar rules for
certain drug crimes, but Mitchell said it would increase the possibility
of indefinite detention in alleged terrorism cases.
• Penalties would be increased for such crimes as harboring
illegal immigrants, perpetrating a terrorist hoax, and possessing
smallpox, anti-aircraft missile systems and radiological "dirty"
bombs. The measure also is more explicit than current statutes in
making it illegal to attend military-style training camps run by
• Federal prosecutors would be allowed to share secret information
obtained by grand juries with states or foreign governments to protect
against terrorist attacks. German authorities, among others, have
complained about difficulties obtaining information from the FBI
and other U.S. agencies about foreign terrorist suspects.
about a regime of torture and humiliation inflicted on detainees
by their American captors at Guantánamo Bay have been made
by a Briton still held there, according to Foreign Office documents
seen by the Guardian.
The claims by Martin Mubanga, from London, are the latest to surface
from the prison where the US holds 550 Muslim men it claims are
terrorists in conditions that have sparked worldwide condemnation.
Mr 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 36C (97F). He was kept chained to the floor by his feet
for an hour during a welfare visit from a British government official.
Mr Mubanga is one of four Britons still in Guantánamo, 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 Guantánamo 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 leftwing thinktank.
"We could never countenance individuals being put beyond the
law as has happened at Guantánamo Bay." [...]
| Dr. Hudson is assistant professor of Near
Eastern Studies at the University of Arizona. For a printable pdf
version of this article, click here.
Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, the Bush administration
has introduced a panoply of new techniques of government in the
areas of intelligence processing, public relations, data collection
and government secrecy. The blueprint that links many of these innovations
to a unified theory of information and management can be found in
an essay entitled "Military Organization in the Information
Age: Lessons from the World of Business" by Francis Fukuyama
and Abram Shulsky in a 1999 Rand Corporation
volume edited by Zalmay Khalilzad.
While the essay focuses on corporate self-improvement
tips for the U.S. military, over the last three years these techniques
have crept into the civilian functioning of the executive branch.
There they seem to account for some of the most radical, and to
critics, provocative innovations in domestic security policy and
government management by the Bush administration.
Like the policy statements from the Project for the New American
Century, former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's "A
Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm," and most
recently, Richard Perle's and David Frum's manifesto The End of
Evil: How to Win the War on Terror,"Military Organization
in the Information Age" lays out an ambitious and radical agenda
that appears to have influenced the Bush administration. Unlike
these other projects, "Military Organization in the Information
Age" is not specifically about the Middle East region, nor
does it lay out directives for strategy and action in international
relations. Rather it presents a vision for the reformation of the
military that would take advantage of the information revolution
in order to maximize efficiency in corporate style.
Decentralization, specifically the dispersal of authority throughout
the organization, is the predominant principle of the management
style advocated by the authors. They cite management guru Peter
Drucker's credo that "central management needs few if any specialists.
Bottom specialists will direct themselves." The
reliance on "bottom specialists" rather than the traditional
vertical hierarchy and central control is reinforced by the historical
experience of a military that effectively used the new information
technologies of its time and had a culture of autonomous decision
making at the bottom of the officer corps: the German Wehrmacht.
What is striking about the principles articulated
by Fukuyama and Shulsky in the late 1990s is how effectively they
foreshadow a revolution in the post-9/11 world. This is not
a "revolution in military affairs," which might have yielded
dramatic successes rather than embarrassing and dangerous logistical
failures in Afghanistan and Iraq, but rather a revolution in
civilian administration and government. The principles articulated
in a paper that might have been subtitled "What We Learned
from Wal-Mart and the Wehrmacht" seem to predict with remarkable
efficiency the range of the Bush administration's domestic policies
and internal practices in the War on Terror that have mobilized
critics. The implementation of the guidelines
suggested by Shulsky and Fukuyama contributes to the further blurring
of the boundaries between the military and civilian spheres, and
between the realms of public policy and legitimate privacy that
the declaration of the War on Terror initiated.
These practices include the funneling of intelligence
past agencies and layers of scrutiny that might have prevented lies,
forgeries and other misperceptions from speeding the invasion of
Iraq; the collection of information on U.S. citizens, residents
and visitors that has alarmed constitutional scholars and privacy
advocates; and the prevalence of no-bid contracting with corporations
linked to the Bush administration in the reconstruction of Iraq.
The empowering aim of corporate decentralization also appears to
explain the so-called "neoconservative" network inside
and outside the administration, as it suggests a personnel policy
of keeping specialists distributed laterally throughout the organization
with autonomy in decision making, "freedom to fail," and
rotation between high-pressure practical and low-pressure theoretical
positions. The specialists are not forced to compete against
each other for the top job, but are kept comfortable in intermediate
positions. The final component of the decentralization program calls
for the appearance of strong central control and the activation
of rigorous investigative and punitive procedures when something
The authors are themselves associates of the neoconservative
network that undergirds the Bush administration. According to James
Mann's Rise of the Vulcans, all are particular protégés
of the architect of the Iraq War, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul
Wolfowitz, Francis Fukuyama, a member of the Project for the
New American Century and President Bush's Advisory Council on Bioethics,
succeeded Wolfowitz as the dean of the School of Advanced International
Studies at Johns Hopkins University and famously announced "the
end of history" after the fall of the Soviet Union. Fukuyama's
co-author, Abram N. Shulsky, is one of the most influential and
least known members of the Bush administration inner circle. He
is a scholar of China, intelligence and philosopher Leo Strauss,(8)
and heads the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans, a murky but very
important node in the movement of intelligence in the Bush administration.
The editor of the volume in which the article appeared is the Bush
administration's low-profile special adviser on both Afghanistan
and Iraq, a former Unocal executive and the highest ranking Muslim
in the Bush administration, Zalmay Khalilzad. Like Francis Fukuyama,
he signed the 1998 Project for the New American Century letters
to President Clinton and congressional leaders urging the military
ouster of Saddam Hussein. Before they took their positions in
the shadows of the Bush administration, these theorists offered
insights that seem to have structured aspects of military policy
in Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's Pentagon, from battlefield
tactics to military outsourcing and contracting for the land wars
in Asia, but also in the ultimate "military operation other
than war," or MOOTW -- the Bush administration's War on Terror.
"Military Organization in the Information Age" reviews
business literature for ideas on how to structure military organizations.
It employs information-age buzz-words from the business world such
as "flattening," "informating" and "core
competencies" to outline techniques by which a lean and responsive
organization can take advantage of huge quantities of potentially
useful data and skills without drowning in information or becoming
a bureaucratic behemoth. The dispersal of skills and responsibilities
throughout the organization to maximize access to dispersed bodies
of information is key.
The authors advocate practices that structure
the organization to maximize the speed of information transfer and
utility and keep it flexible and quickly adaptable to new circumstances
and experiences. Flattening the organization means shortening
the paths of information movement from sources and other "bottom
specialists" to decision makers throughout the body. "Informating"
means collecting, storing and mining huge quantities of data by
means of advanced non-human data processing systems with minimal
additional labor. Focusing on "core
competencies" like a "virtual corporation" promotes
outsourcing and contracting of functions in which the cost and efficiency
advantage is gained not through competitive bidding but rather through
longer-term -- and not always transparent -- investment in research
and development in the private sector.
Underlying the entire program laid out by
Fukuyama and Shulsky is wariness of a wide distribution of knowledge.
Applying the corporate virtue of efficiency and its information-processing
techniques to the military allows Fukuyama and Shulsky to envision
a military that forgoes institutional tradition in order to minimize
bureaucratic confusion and redundancy. This could create tension
and friction within rigid military structures. But
applied to the realm of civil governance, these principles of information
efficiency also compromise commitments to transparency, free-market
competition, constitutional protections of personal privacy, and
government accountability. [...]
The essay by Shulsky and Fukuyama provides insight into the techniques
that have distinguished the Bush administration: a flattened architecture
of specialists with autonomy and freedom to fail located laterally
throughout the organization, collecting and mining information and
shooting it through stovepipes while other functions are preferentially
outsourced and the appearance of central control is assiduously
maintained. The original model is corporate,
and the only application suggested by the authors is to the military,
but the evidence of these principles in action in the civilian administration
is ominous, as management technique encroaches on the realm of public
accountability. The War on Terror has allowed corporate and
military organizational principles to creep into civilian administration,
but the actual practice has revealed some major problems.
The application of these techniques in the Bush administration
shows some risks and internal contradictions as well. Even as the
organization is vertically compacted so that information can flow
from bottom to top more quickly, it is laterally expanded, and often
the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing. Cutting
out the middle has led to disastrously faulty intelligence, just
as cutting out human data processing has led to confusion on the
battlefield, and the freedom to fail has outstripped the illusion
of central control as scandals multiply in the ranks of the neoconservatives.
Critics of the Bush administration can hope
that the unfolding scandals resulting from poor information management,
too much dispersed autonomy and freedom to fail in the White House,
the vice president's office and the Pentagon will prevent the ultimate
triumph of a homegrown American military corporatism. [...]
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A portrait of President
Bush using monkeys to form his image led to the closure of a New
York art exhibition over the weekend and anguished protests on Monday
over freedom of expression.
"Bush Monkeys," a small acrylic on canvas by Chris Savido,
created the stir at the Chelsea Market public space, leading the
market's managers to close down the 60-piece show that was scheduled
to stay up for the next month.
The show featured art from the upcoming issue of Animal Magazine,
a quarterly publication featuring emerging artists.
"We had tons of people, like more than 2,000 people show up
for the opening on Thursday night," said show organizer Bucky
Turco. "Then this manager saw the piece
and the guy just kind of flipped out. 'The show is over. Get this
work down or I'm gonna arrest you,' he said. It's been kind of wild."
Turco took the show down on Saturday and moved the art work to
his small downtown Animal Gallery. Calls to the management of Chelsea
Market for comment were not returned.
From afar, the painting offers a likeness of Bush,
but when you get closer you see the image is made up of chimpanzees
or monkeys swimming in a marsh.
Savido, 23, said he was surprised by the strong reaction to his
painting, listed in the catalog at $3,500.
"It seems like people got a kick out of it," Savido said.
"When they really see it, they almost do a double-take. I like
to get a reaction from people."
The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-bred artist said
he was happy for all the attention paid to his work but said the
decision to shutter the exhibit was "a blatant act of censorship."
Savido plans to auction the painting and donate proceeds to an
organization dedicated to freedom of expression.
"This is much deeper than art. This is fundamental American
rights, freedom of speech," Savido said. "To
see that something like this can happen, especially in a place like
New York City is mind boggling and scary."
WASHINGTON, Dec. 11 - The Department of Homeland
Security has begun experimenting with a wide-ranging computer database
that allows investigators to match financial transactions against
a list of some 250,000 people and firms with suspected ties to terrorist
financing, drug trafficking, money laundering and other financial
The program, developed by a British company and used in recent
test runs at the Department of Homeland Security,
gives investigators what amounts to an enormous global watch list
to track possible financial crimes at American border crossings,
banks and other financial institutions.
"This is something that's shown promise," said Dean
Boyd, a spokesman for the department's Immigration and Customs Enforcement
agency. While the program is still in its trial stage, Mr. Boyd
said, "it's interesting technology, and it would give us another
tool in the box, but there's been no decision made on whether to
put it into operation or not."
He stressed that the software had not been used as part of any
criminal investigations or other operations.
David Leppan, chief executive of World-Check, the British company
that has provided the database to American officials, said the recent
test runs had produced a number of promising hits on people with
suspected criminal ties overseas who had entered the United States
with more than $10,000 in cash or made other financial transactions
in this country that were reported to the government.
The program provides yet another indication of the wide-ranging
efforts by American officials to look for new technological tools
in fighting terrorism and other international crime.
But it also raises privacy and civil liberties questions because
domestic security officials are relying on a private overseas firm
to provide a voluminous list of people and companies that it considers
to represent a "high risk" of committing financial crimes,
based on an assortment of public records and data.
"There's a real risk in a situation
like this because there's really no accountability," said
Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information
Center, an advocacy group based in Washington devoted to privacy
issues. "People can find themselves on
a watch list incorrectly, and the consequences can be very serious."
Mr. Rotenberg likened the trial program at the department to a
Pentagon operation disclosed last year in which JetBlue airlines
agreed to turn over data on millions of its passengers to a private
contractor doing antiterrorism work for the military.
In both cases, Mr. Rotenberg said, government officials effectively
"outsourced" the job to private firms "in order to
develop profiles on people and circumvent U.S. privacy laws."
With a proliferation of private companies looking to profit from
a surge in national security contracts, he said, "we'll see
more arrangements like this, and we're likely to see more and more
companies in the dot-connecting business."
Officials at the Department of Homeland Security and at World-Check
said they were mindful of privacy concerns. [...]
WASHINGTON, Dec. 12 - The Pentagon is engaged
in bitter, high-level debate over how far it can and should go in
managing or manipulating information to influence opinion abroad,
senior Defense Department civilians and military officers say.
Such missions, if approved, could take the deceptive techniques
endorsed for use on the battlefield to confuse an adversary and
adopt them for covert propaganda campaigns aimed at neutral and
even allied nations.
Critics of the proposals say such deceptive
missions could shatter the Pentagon's credibility, leaving
the American public and a world audience skeptical of anything the
Defense Department and military say - a repeat of the credibility
gap that roiled America during the Vietnam War.
The efforts under consideration risk blurring the traditional
lines between public affairs programs in the Pentagon and military
branches - whose charters call for giving
truthful information to the media and the public - and the
world of combat information campaigns or psychological operations.
The question is whether the Pentagon and military should undertake
an official program that uses disinformation to shape perceptions
abroad. But in a modern world wired by satellite television and
the Internet, any misleading information
and falsehoods could easily be repeated by American news outlets.
The military has faced these tough issues before. Nearly three
years ago, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, under intense criticism,
closed the Pentagon's Office of Strategic Influence, a short-lived
operation to provide news items, possibly including false ones,
to foreign journalists in an effort to influence overseas opinion.
Now, critics say, some of the proposals
of that discredited office are quietly being resurrected elsewhere
in the military and in the Pentagon.
Pentagon and military officials directly involved in the debate
say that such a secret propaganda program, for example, could
include planting news stories in the foreign press or creating false
documents and Web sites translated into Arabic as an effort to discredit
and undermine the influence of mosques and religious schools that
preach anti-American principles.
Some of those are in the Middle Eastern and South Asian countries
like Pakistan, still considered a haven for operatives of Al Qaeda.
But such a campaign could reach even to allied countries like Germany,
for example, where some mosques have become crucibles for Islamic
militancy and anti-Americanism.
Before the invasion of Iraq, the military's vast electronic-warfare
arsenal was used to single out certain members of Saddam Hussein's
inner circle with e-mail messages and cellphone calls in an effort
to sway them to the American cause. Arguments have been made for
similar efforts to be mounted at leadership circles in other nations
where the United States is not at war.
During the cold war, American
intelligence agencies had journalists on their payrolls or operatives
posing as journalists, particularly in Western Europe, with the
aim of producing pro-American articles to influence the populations
of those countries. But officials say
that no one is considering using such tactics now.
Suspicions about disinformation programs also arose in the 1980's
when the White House was accused of using such a campaign to destabilize
Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi of Libya.
In the current debate, it is unclear how
far along the other programs are or to what extent they are being
carried out because of their largely classified nature.
Within the Pentagon, some of the military's most powerful figures
have expressed concerns at some of the steps taken that risk blurring
the traditional lines between public affairs and the world of combat
These tensions were cast into stark relief this summer in Iraq
when Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the top commander in Iraq, approved
the combining of the command's day-to-day public affairs operations
with combat psychological and information operations into a single
"strategic communications office."
In a rare expression of senior-level questions about such decisions,
Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, issued
a memorandum warning the military's regional combat commanders about
the risks of mingling the military public affairs too closely with
"While organizations may be inclined to create physically
integrated P.A./I.O. offices, such organizational constructs have
the potential to compromise the commander's credibility with the
media and the public," it said.
But General Myers's memorandum is not being followed, according
to officers in Iraq, largely because commanders there believe they
are safely separating the two operations and say they need all the
flexibility possible to combat the insurgency.
Indeed, senior military officials in Washington say
public affairs officers in war zones might, by choice or under pressure,
issue statements to world news media that, while having elements
of truth, are clearly devised primarily to provoke a response from
silenced after exposing 9-11 whitewash
A 9-11 rescue worker recently came forward to say he was told by
FBI agents to “keep my mouth shut” about one of the
“black boxes” a fellow firefighter helped locate at
ground zero, contradicting the official story that none of the flight
and cockpit data recorders were ever recovered in the wreckage of
the World Trade Center (WTC) towers.
Honorary firefighter Mike Bellone claims he was approached by unknown
bureau agents a short time after he and his partner, Nicholas DeMasi,
a retired New York firefighter, found three of the four “black
boxes” among the WTC rubble before January 2002.
The pair first claimed in an August 2003 book entitled Behind the
Scene: Ground Zero to have found the data recorders.
DeMasi said the “black boxes” were found while he traversed
“ground zero” in his all-terrain vehicle (ATV) with
three federal agents.
FBI and New York fire officials have denied ever finding the voice
and data recorders.
Now Bellone claims agents were adamant about keeping the discovery
“They confronted me and told me to not to say anything,”
recalled Bellone, referring to one of three reddish-orange boxes
with two white stripes he saw in the back of DeMasi’s ATV.
“I said, ‘Give me a good reason.’ When they couldn’t,
I told them I wouldn’t shut up about it.
“Why should I? I have nothing to hide and nothing to gain.
It’s the truth, and Nick and I are sticking to our story as
we always have.”
Bellone said he and DeMasi were not the only 9-11 rescue workers
to see the “black boxes.” He said there were several
other witnesses and said he knows they have been silenced by federal
“I know two or three others saw what went down, but they
are not talking,” said Bellone. “They got to those guys
after they talked to me. The only reason I can figure they are trying
to hide the truth is that the government knows it screwed up, and
the recorders would prove it.”
Asked to give names of the other witnesses, he said he wouldn’t
break a fellow worker’s confidence by revealing his identity.
“I can tell you this, though, it was all very strange. I
worked on the spaceship Columbia cleanup, and you know when something
important is found and when something is not,” he said.
The day the “black boxes” were secretly carted away,
agents acted like “something big was going down,” he
Bellone said he never learned the FBI agents’ names as this
type of personal contact and information wasn’t exchanged
between the civilian workers and government officials working side-by-side
at ground zero.
“They had on their FBI jackets, but I’m sure I could
pick them out of a lineup or recognize their pictures,” said
The pair’s bombshell accusations blow a big hole in the official
story as well as the findings in the recent 9-11 commission report.”
In Chapter 1, footnote 76, there is the sole but definitive reference
to the airline “black boxes”: “The CVR’s
and the FDR’s [voice and flight data recorders] from American
11 and United 175 were not found.”
Asked if DeMasi and Bellone were questioned or subpoenaed, commission
spokesman Al Felzenberg said: “I can’t tell you now
if he was one of the 1,200 people we interviewed or if the book
was one of the countless ones we researched. We explored every lead,
but I will try to find out if we talked with him and get back to
Bellone said commission members never contacted him or DeMasi and
never asked the two to appear before the group even though the book
was published well before the hearings commenced.
“I have been contacted by only one newspaper reporter, from
The Philadelphia Daily News,” said Bellone, referring to an
October 2004 story by reporter William Bunch, who recapped DeMasi’s
statements as well as the usual official denials.
Those close to the 9-11 investigation said the recovery of the
“black boxes” is important because they may hold vital
clues about what really happened on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.
The cockpit voice recorder uses a pair of microphones to capture
all cockpit sounds for the last 30 minutes of a doomed flight. The
flight data recorder is also significant since it records altitude,
heading and airspeed.
Both recorders are designed to withstand enormous impact and heat.
National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) officials said they
should have withstood the conditions at the WTC.
And finding the boxes after a crash seems to be standard procedure,
according to the NTSB.
“It’s extremely rare that we don’t get the recorders
back,’ said NTSB spokesman Ted Lopatkiewicz. “I can’t
remember another case which we did not recover the recorders.”
Bellone is retired and was made an honorary New York fireman for
his efforts after 9-11. DeMasi has recently retired from Engine
Co. 261, nicknamed the “Flaming Skulls.”
The government's giant printing presses soon
could be cranking out something in addition to the old greenback.
The Treasury Department's Bureau of Engraving and Printing has
received the go-ahead from Congress to print other countries' currencies.
A provision giving the bureau this authority is part of a bill
awaiting President Bush's signature that overhauls the country's
Although the government wouldn't profit from such ventures, bureau
director Thomas Ferguson said, the experience could help it sharpen
its anti-counterfeiting skills.
"It would give us an opportunity to do some interesting things
that we might be able to learn from and possibly use to help us
do U.S. currency better," Mr. Ferguson said.
So far, the bureau hasn't lined up the business of any countries,
he said. It plans a low-key marketing approach.
"We'll certainly let countries know, but we're not a marketing
firm. We're not a private company. We'll be available if they need
us," Mr. Ferguson said.
He sees a potential target in small, developing countries that
lack the technical wherewithal to produce their own currencies.
Under the bill, the bureau would have the
authority to produce paper money, postage stamps and other so-called
"security" documents, such as driver's licenses and passports,
for foreign governments. [...]
After Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was ousted and
Iraq's economy was being rebuilt, a British company, De La Rue,
snagged the contract to print the new Iraqi dinar.
"In 2003, U.S. taxpayers paid a foreign printing company approximately
$80 million to produce the new Iraqi currency," Brian Roseboro,
the Treasury Department's undersecretary for domestic finance, told
a House committee in September. [...]
Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith is
the neocon Likudnik who was tasked with cooking up the false "intelligence"
that President Bush used to deceive the US public into supporting
an illegal invasion of Iraq. With the US military now trapped in
the Iraqi quagmire, Feith wants the US to attack Iran.
President Bush falsely claimed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction,
that Iraq was linked to the terrorist attack on the World Trade
Center, and that Iraq would give weapons of mass destruction to
anti-American terrorists. Senior members of the Bush administration
terrified the US public with prospects of mushroom clouds going
up over US cities.
Having been proved 100% wrong about Iraq,
the Bush administration now claims that the nonexistent WMD are
in Iran, or maybe Syria. During recent weeks the Bush administration
worked overtime to terrify the US public into believing that Iran
is building nuclear weapons and missiles with which to destroy American
To ward off yet another gratuitous and illegal US attack on a Muslim
country, Europe, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and US
experts such as Gordon Prather have exposed the Bush administration's
false claims. But the Bush administration
ignores factual truth. Bush has his own "truth," a delusional
"truth" independent of all evidence.
Israel's rightwing Likud Party regards Feith as one of its own.
The Jerusalem Post described Feith as "a staunch supporter
of Israel" (Dec. 12). In an exclusive
interview Feith told that paper that despite the intercession of
Britain, France, Germany and the IAEA against a US attack on Iran,
the Bush administration has not ruled out taking military action
In other words, the neocon Bush administration
has already decided to attack Iran and Syria. The only question
is what kind of lie can Bush use to get away with it.
But first Bush has to take over the IAEA, which has steadfastly
refused to go along with Bush's propaganda against Iran. According
to the Washington Post (Dec. 12), the Bush administration has been
tapping the telephones of the head of the IAEA, M. ElBaradei, hoping
to find damaging information with which to frame, blackmail, or
taint him as an Iranian ally.
Unable to find or to manufacture any evidence against ElBaradei,
the Bush administration is using an orchestrated campaign of anonymous
accusations in an effort to oust the IAEA director and to replace
him with a US puppet. The problem is that ElBaradei is more highly
regarded than any member of the tainted Bush administration, including
President Bush himself. So far Bush cannot find anyone anywhere
in the world, including our British puppet, who is willing to be
associated with the Bush administration's disgraceful intentions.
The important unanswered question is: why do the
neocons with their proven record of duplicity and delusion still
hold the reigns of power in the Bush administration? Why isn't Feith
in prison? Martha Stewart is in prison for "lying" about
a noncrime. Feith's lies have killed thousands. The Iraq war is
based entirely on neocon lies. The war is costing the US a fortune
it does not have. The war is producing US casualties comparable
to those of the Vietnam war and has killed a minimum of tens of
thousands of Iraqi civilians.
The neocons have destroyed Iraq's infrastructure, alienated the
entire Muslim world and made the US the most hated country on the
What does Douglas Feith think the effect would be on Shi'ite Iraq
of a US attack on Shi'ite Iran? The only reason the US army in Iraq
has not been totally destroyed is the wait-and-see attitude of the
majority Shi'ites, who expect to take control of Iraq once there
is an election. If the US attacks Iran, the
Iraqi Shi'ite clerics will not be able to maintain their neutrality
toward the US occupation of Iraq. [...]
The current Iraqi insurgency is drawn from Sunni ranks. Sunnis
comprise only 20% of Iraq's population. Yet, Sunnis have tied down
8 US divisions while inflicting horrendous casualties on US troops.
If Bush escalates US aggression in the Middle East, he will create
a larger insurgency.
Imagine the US casualty rate if the Iraqi insurgency was drawn
from 80% of the population. The temporary Shi'ite insurgency of
the minor cleric, Al Sadr, caused tremendous US consternation. What
would be the US casualty rate if, instead of sitting on their hands,
all the Shi'ites had joined the insurgency?
Iran covers almost four times the area of Iraq and has more than
2.5 times the population. If Bush attacks Iran, he will create an
insurgency there as well, one that could spill over into Pakistan,
Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt.
Bush's war is achieving a Shi'ite unity that will redraw Middle
Eastern boundaries and eliminate secular Muslim governments. Shi'ite
unity will merge with the anti-American terrorists and drive all
Western expatriates out of the Middle East. Indeed, the departures
are already underway. Israel will be isolated,
exposed to the consequences of its aggression against the Palestinians.
Fox "News" and right-wing talk radio
crazies misinform us that we are kicking terrorist butt, but in
non-delusional reality, we are unifying Islam and ending forever
Western influence in the Middle East.
The campaign organised by the
White House to force Kofi Annan to resign started with a network
of newspapers in Iraq, the United Kingdom, and in the United States.
Then it mobilized the CIA, Republican congressmen and organizations.
Suspected of corruption, the UN's Secretary General was paralysed.
But, once again, the White House managed to unite everyone against
it, involuntarily reinforcing Mr. Annan's authority.
The General Assembly of the United Nations gave Kofi Annan a standing
ovation on December 8, 2004. Only the US delegation remained still
during the thunder of the long applause. Diplomats from 190 delegations
displayed their support for the Secretary General who had been subjected
to a slanderous media campaign demanding his resignation.
It all began on January 25 when the Iraqi daily Al Mada affirmed
that Saddam Hussein had misappropriated money from the "Oil
for Food" programme in order to buy off 270 personalities across
the world, in order to obtain their support on the international
stage, and in order to attempt to obtain the materials necessary
for the construction of Weapons of Mass Destruction. Those who opposed
the war were no more than "clients" of the tyrant of Baghdad.
We have demonstrated the absurdity of these allegations in these
pages . Our investigation was largely taken up by the international
A month later, the neo-conservative journalist Claudia Rosett,
writing in the Wall Street Journal, accused Kofi Annan of complicity.
The Secretary General of the UN supposedly allowed Saddam Hussein
to make off with considerable amounts from the "Oil for Food"
programme, and it was this money that was given to the individuals
identified by Al Mada. Mrs Rosett is, by the way, paid by Richard
Perle's Hudson Institute (while Perle was the chairman of the Pentagon
Defence Commission) and by James Woolsey's Foundation for the Defense
of Democracies. Woolsey is a former director of the CIA.
On February 29, the New York Times published a long investigation,
based upon documents furnished by the Provisional Authority of the
Coalition and the Treasury Department, and corroborated by witnesses
that attested to the misappropriation of funds . On March 3,
Claude Hankes-Drielsma, a friend of Ahmed Chalabi and consultant
for the Council of the Iraqi government, the body that had been
cited as the likely informant for Al Mada, ordered an audit from
KPMG International. A week later, audit leaks, published by Claudia
Rosett in the National Review, revealed that Kojo Annan, the Secretary
General's son, received a salary from Cotecna, a company in the
"Oil for Food" programme . Kofi Annan was therefore
not only an incompetent bureaucrat, he was himself corrupt.
On March 18, the US House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight
and Investigations got involved . Confronted with this campaign,
Mr. Annan ordered an internal investigation. He did so with serenity
because the programme was not under his jurisdiction, but was under
the authority of the Security Council and a Sanctions Committee
named by the former.
The affair came back into the headlines on April 7 with the hearings
organized by Richard G. Lugar before the U.S. Senate Committee on
Foreign Relations. The honourable Senator accused the UN of having,
through either negligence or corruption, increased the suffering
of the Iraqi people, of having financed arms purchases by Iraq,
and finally, of having increased US losses during the "liberation"
of Iraq. The director of the General Accounting Office (GAO) deposited
a report that established that, from 1997 to 2002, Iraq had received
5.7 billion dollars in illegal oil sales and 4.4 billion dollars
in overbilling, for a total of 10.1 billion dollars . The GAO
claimed to have obtained this information its study of contracts
transmitted to the Provisional Authority of the Coalition (represented
at the hearings). The report gave no precise indication on the modalities
of this misappropriation nor on the use that was made of this money.
On April 16, Commentary, the magazine of the American Jewish Committee,
published a long study by Claudia Rosett presenting the neo-conservative
version of the affair . In spite of the obvious errors in its
analysis, this work became the neo-conservative reference. It was
not the object of discussions but rather an object of developments.
The same day, Kofi Annan made public the composition of the independent
inquiry commission. It was chaired by a former boss of the US Federal
Reserve, Paul Volker. Then, on April 21, the US House Government
Reform Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International
Relations organized new hearing, not so much to throw light on the
events but rather to confuse things by trying to prove that foreign
leaders who opposed the invasion had been bought off by Saddam Hussein
. Other than US officials (such as ambassador John Negroponte),
the Congressmen heard from the inevitable Claudia Rosett, as well
as Dr. Raphaeli from MEMRI (a propaganda outlet created by officers
of Tsahal and which had distributed the articles published by Al
Mada), Nile Gariner of the Heritage Foundation, and Dr. Edward C.
Luck of Columbia University's Center for the Study of International
It so happens that some of the Iraqi documents cited during the
hearings had been published by the Daily Telegraph of London, owned
by Hollinger Group on whose Board we find Richard Perle (employer
of Claudia Rosett at the Hudson Institute). They asserted that the
Labour MP George Galloway, leader of the anti-war movement, had
been bought off by Saddam Hussein for at least 375,000 pounds sterling.
Other documents from the same source had been published in the Christian
Science Monitor, also throwing suspicion on George Galloway who
was immediately suspended from the Labour Party. He claimed he was
innocent and that there was a plot to get him .
On July 8, 2004, it was the US House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee
on Energy and Air Quality that opened new hearings, once more with
Claudia Rosett . The GAO used the occasion to depose another
report . The affair was back in the news on September 30 with
the publication by the CIA of Charles Duelfer's report on the hunt
for weapons of mass destruction . There we learned that if the
weapons didn't exist, they could have existed because Saddam Hussein
tried to procure them with money taken from the "Oil for Food"
programme. The cherry on the cake was the CIA's confirmation and
completion of the list originally published in Al Mada. The vice
On November 17 the US House International Relations Committee narrowed
in on the target. It heard representatives from BNPParibas .
In fact, according to Ms. Rosett, the French bank managed the programme
. Then, the dossier was sent to the US House Government Reform
Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International
Relations to be finalized.
During this time, the organization Move America Forward broadcast
ads on US television networks calling for the UN to be kicked out
of the country . December 1, Senator Norm Coleman came right
out and said it: in the Wall Street Journal, he called upon Kofi
Annan to resign . According to Coleman, even if the Secretary
General is innocent of the suspicions, he should resign during the
investigation. Fox News joined in on the campaign. On the air, Bill
O'Reilly spoke of a "criminal enterprise" that brought
in 20 billion dollars to Saddam Hussein (the double of the amount
evaluated by the GAO) . Heritage Foundation analyst Nile Gardiner
pushed it up to 21 billion . President Bush declared he was
"troubled". Other members of Congress added their support
to Coleman's appeal. Others wrote up a proposed law making US payment
of funds to the UN conditional on a clarification of the scandal.
The New York City Senate opposed a project for an extension to the
UN buildings, this now unwelcome guest.
However, this entire campaign is slanderous. The "Oil for
Food" programme was supervised by the Security Council. No
operation could have taken place without the knowledge of the Anglo-Saxons.
The commissions versed out were done with the backing of the United
Kingdom and the United States. These countries themselves designated
the beneficiaries which shows that at least a part of the operations
were legal. The system didn't pass uniquely through a single French
bank, the BNP, but half of the funds went through the Chase Manhattan
Bank. If the integrity of one high-level bureaucrat in the UN, the
Cyprian Benon Sevan, is perhaps in doubt, that of Mr. Annan is not.
The sums paid to his son were part of a non-competition clause signed
when he left the company.
Some of the documents cited are fakes, as the High Court of London
admitted when it convicted the Christian Science Monitor and the
Daily Telegraph for their accusations against George Galloway. However,
it took over a year for the MP to see justice done, and the Anglo-Saxons
don't wish to give this time to Mr. Annan. The campaign has several
In the first place, to rewrite history. The "Oil for Food"
programme was forcibly obtained from the Anglo-Saxons, who didn't
want to lift the embargo, by the international community in order
to stave off famine. It was largely insufficient. Maintaining the
embargo cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.
Secondly, to justify the invasion of Iraq a posteriori. Sure, there
were no weapons of mass destruction, but Saddam Hussein wanted to
buy them by embezzling the money targeted for feeding his people.
However, this money wasn't spent on arms but on goods of primary
Thirdly, the opportunity was too good to pass up to get rid of
a Secretary General who had been elected with the support of Washington
and who nonetheless declared the invasion of Iraq "illegal".
After having tapped his phones  and having vainly attempted
to catch him in a scandal, the scandal had to be manufactured. To
eliminate Kofi Annan is to put into question the UN itself. It is
to affirm that the law of the strongest predominates over international
The international community was not fooled by this mystification.
States, intergovernmental organizations, and personalities all supported
Kofi Annan, leading to the standing ovation at the General Assembly.
Immediately, the White House retreated. Ambassador Danforth assured
the press that Washington never intended to put pressure on Mr.
 « L'Intox des barils irakiens »,
Voltaire, 30 January 2004.
 See for example the article by Abdulmajid Attar, former CEO
of Sonatrach, published in
Dar Al-Hayat and summarised in Voltaire, 6 February 2004 : «
Offrir des barils de
pétrole secrètement ? ! ».
 « The Real World : Fishy Accounting Over Iraq »
by Claudia Rosett, The Wall Street
Journal, 25 February 2004.
 « Hussein's Regime Skimmed Billions From Aid Program »
under the direction of Susan
Sachs, The New York Times, 29 February 2004.
 « Kojo and Kofi » by Claudia Rosett, National Review
Online, 10 March 2004.
 The Hunt for Saddam's Money : U.S. and Foreign Efforts to Recover
Money,US House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and
 A review of the United Nations Oil-for-Food Program, US Senate
Foreign Relations, 7 April 2004.
 Observations on the Oil for Food Program, Statement of Joseph
A. Christoff, Director,
International Affairs and Trade, GAO n° 04-651T, 7 April 2004.
 « The Oil-for-Food Scam : What Did Kofi Annan Know, and
When Did He Know It ? »
by Claudia Rosett, Commentary, 16 April 2004.
 « L'intox des barils, suite et fin ? », Voltaire,
19 April 2004.
 The Iraq Oil-For-Food program : Straving for Accountability,
US House Government
Reform Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International
Relations, 21 April 2004.
 « Qui veut la peau de George Galloway ?, Voltaire, 17
 Unites Nations Oil For Food Program, US House Energy and Commerce
Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality, 8 July 2004.
 Observations on the Oil for Food Program and areas for Further
Statement of Joseph A. Christoff, Director International Affairs
and Trade, GAO, 8 July
 Comprehensive Report of the Special Adviser to the Director
of the Central
Intelligence on Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction, CIA, 30 September
 The Oil For Food Program : Tracking the Funds, US House International
Committee, 17 November 2004.
 « La campagne anti-française de la Chambre des
représentants », Voltaire, 18
 The U.N. Oil for Food Program : Cash Cow Meets Paper Tiger,
US House Government
Reform Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International
Relations, 5 October 2004.
 « Qui veut bouter l'ONU hors des États-Unis ?,
Voltaire, 23 November 2004.
 « Kofi Annan Must Go » by Norm Coleman, The Wall
Street Journal, 1 December
2004. Article summarised in Voltaire 2 December 2004.
 « The O'Reilly Factor » Fox News, 6 December 2004.
 « Kofi Annan Must Go » by Nile Gardiner, Human
Events, 10 December 2004.
 « Washington et Londres placent l'ONU sur écoutes
», Voltaire, 4 March 2003.
Translated by Signs of the Times
PARIS - France's highest administrative body
on Monday ordered the TV station of Lebanon's militant Hezbollah
group off French airwaves within 48 hours for broadcasting hateful
content in some shows and posing risks to public order.
The decision came after a Nov. 23 Al-Manar
program quoted someone described as an expert on Zionist affairs
warning of "Zionist attempts" to transmit dangerous diseases
like AIDS to Arab countries. Another
program the same day glorified attacks against Israel, the administrative
The Council of State ordered Paris-based satellite operator Eutelsat
to stop broadcasting Al-Manar within two days or pay a fine of $6,600
The station broadcast some programs that were "openly contrary"
to a French law banning incitement to hate, a situation that poses
"risks to maintaining public order," the council said
in its 11-page ruling.
However, the council left open the possibility that Al-Manar could
keep operating if the company that airs the station, the Lebanese
Communication Group, shows itself ready to modify its programs to
conform with French law.
In Beirut, Al-Manar TV condemned the French ban
as "a dangerous precedent" against the Arab media and
blamed Israeli pressure for it.
The decision risks a tit-for-tat move against France. Last Friday,
Lebanese media officials warned that any decision to suspend or
cancel Al-Manar could force Lebanese officials to take action against
On Thursday, Lebanese Information Minister Elie Ferzli said his
country "would not remain silent" if French measures are
taken against Al-Manar, which is operated by the Shiite militant
France's High Audiovisual Council, or CSA, has
said that Al-Manar violated a Nov. 19 agreement as well as the French
law banning media from inciting hatred or violence for reasons of
religion or nationality.
Under the agreement, the Lebanese Communication Group committed
itself to diffusing programs that reconcile its editorial line with
the principles governing French and European law, the Council of
"This commitment was not respected," the council ruled.
The controversy erupted a year ago after an umbrella group of French
Jewish organizations complained about the programming. It came to
a boil in recent months as more programs deemed offensive were aired.
DAMASCUS (Reuters) - Syria blamed Israel's
Mossad intelligence service for a bombing in Damascus on Monday
which a Palestinian source in Beirut said was a failed attempt to
kill a member of the militant Hamas group.
Three people were slightly hurt in the explosion which destroyed
the silver sports utility vehicle owned by the unidentified Palestinian,
who escaped unhurt.
The attack was the second one of its kind in the Syrian capital
in less than two months, and it came one day after Hamas and another
armed Palestinian group killed five Israeli soldiers in a carefully
planned attack on their outpost in Gaza.
"The entity behind it is the Mossad;
collaborators with the Mossad or the Mossad in particular,"
Interior Minister Ghazi Kanaan told Syrian Satellite Channel when
asked about who was suspected to be behind the explosion that targeted
what he described as a Palestinian citizen.
A senior Israeli official called the accusation "nonsense."
"Such nonsense does not warrant a comment. Instead of blaming
Israel, the Syrians should be cracking down on the terrorists in
their midst, as required by the international community," the
official, who requested anonymity, said in Jerusalem.
The Palestinian source in Beirut said the bomb, placed under the
driver's seat, blew up shortly after the unnamed Hamas member and
his daughter parked the car and left.
The blast occurred near a hospital and a petrol station which
was not damaged. [...]
POLICE have rejected calls to
re-open the inquiry into the death of Dr David Kelly, the government
weapons expert, after two paramedics who found him at the scene
of his death said he could not have died from self-inflicted knife
Dave Bartlett and Vanessa Hunt, both ambulance workers, yesterday
spoke out for the first time since the Hutton Inquiry, which concluded
that Dr Kelly had committed suicide and died of wounds to the ulnar
artery in his left wrist.
The paramedics disputed the findings of the investigation, claiming
there was not enough blood at the scene to merit the official conclusions.
They had raised the same concerns while giving evidence to the
inquiry last year.
Dr Kelly was found dead in July 2003 shortly after being named
as the source of a BBC story which claimed that the government had
"sexed-up" a dossier on Saddam Hussein’s weapons
of mass destruction.
His body was discovered at Harrowdown Hill woods, Oxfordshire,
prompting the government to appoint Lord Hutton to conduct an inquiry
into the circumstances surrounding the scientist’s death.
In his report, published in January this year, Lord Hutton concluded
that Dr Kelly, 59, had killed himself by cutting his left wrist
after taking co-proxamol painkillers, adding that there was no evidence
whatsoever that any third party had been involved.
But Ms Hunt, a paramedic with more than ten years’ experience,
said yesterday that shortly after arriving at the scene of Dr Kelly’s
death she concluded he had not died by slashing his wrists.
She said: "I just think it is incredibly unlikely that he
died from the wrist wound we saw. There just wasn’t a lot
of blood. When someone cuts an artery, whether accidentally or intentionally,
the blood pumps everywhere."
She added: "When we arrived on the scene there was no gaping
wound, there wasn’t a puddle of blood around. There was a
little bit of blood on the nettles to the left of his left arm.
But there was no real blood on the body of the shirt.
"If you manage to cut a wrist and catch an artery you would
get a spraying of blood, regardless of whether it’s an accident.
Because of the nature of an arterial cut, you get a pumping action.
I would certainly expect a lot more blood on his clothing, on his
"If you choose to cut your wrists, you don’t worry about
getting blood on your clothes. I didn’t see any blood on his
right hand. If he used his right hand to cut his wrist, you would
expect some spray," the paramedic said.
Ms Hunt’s claims were backed yesterday by a number of prominent
experts, including Dr Bill McQuillan, a former consultant at Edinburgh’s
Royal Infirmary, who for 20 years has dealt with hundreds of wrist
"I have never seen one death resulting from cutting an ulnar
artery," Dr McQuillan said. "I can’t see how he
would lose more than a pint of blood by cutting the ulnar."
But despite growing doubts about the case, other forensic experts
remain "satisfied" with Lord Hutton’s verdict.
According to Dr Bob Van Hegan, a consultant pathologist, the paramedics’
assessment of the manner in which Dr Kelly died was purely speculative.
He said: "I don’t see the discrepancies. People will
sometimes set out to kill themselves and die of another cause."
Dr Hagen said there were "three factors operating" which
could have contributed to the scientist’s death, in addition
to the wrist wound.
He pointed out that Dr Kelly’s coronary arteries were in
a poor condition and that he suffered from a vascular disease and
had taken an opiate drug.
In March this year the Oxfordshire coroner, Nicholas Gardiner,
decided not to reconvene the inquest into Dr Kelly’s death
after it was adjourned while Lord Hutton held his inquiry.
But in the wake of Lord Hutton’s verdict, Mr Gardiner, who
himself examined Dr Kelly’s body, said he had received "substantial
correspondence from people believing they had relevant evidence"
regarding the scientist’s death.
Among the points they made was that Lord Hutton was a judge, not
an expert coroner, and that he did not have the power to compel
witnesses to attend.
A spokesman for Thames Valley Police said yesterday that they had
no intention of re-opening the case.
He said: "We are fully satisfied with the outcome of the investigation
into David Kelly’s death. The inquiry and the coroner agreed
with our findings.
A suicide car bomb ripped through a line of
vehicles at a checkpoint outside Baghdad's international Green Zone,
killing 13 people as Iraq marked the first anniversary of Saddam
Elsewhere, seven US marines were killed in a restive western province
and US officials denied claims that Saddam and senior members of
his regime were on hunger strike at a secret detention location.
Police and hospital sources told the Associated Press that at
least 13 died and 15 were wounded in yesterday's bombing near the
The US military said no coalition personnel were among the casualties.
The frequently targeted and tightly guarded area houses foreign
embassies and Iraq's US-backed interim Government in buildings including
one of Saddam's former palaces.
An officer said a car had waited in line to enter the zone at
the western Harthiyah gate and exploded as it reached the checkpoint.
Fifteen other vehicles were damaged or destroyed.
A group led by al-Qaeda ally Abu Musab al-Zarqawi claimed responsibility
for the suicide bombing, according to an internet statement.
"On this blessed day, a lion from the martyrs battalion struck
a group of apostates and Americans in the Green Zone,'' al-Qaeda
Organisation for Holy War in Iraq said in a statement posted on
a website used by Islamists.
In a separate attack, two mortar rounds landed in the Green Zone
and a third hit the grounds of a nearby hotel.
There were no immediate reports of casualties in the strikes.
In the southern city of Basra, the British consulate came under
mortar fire on Sunday night but no damage or injuries were reported.
Earlier, the US military announced that seven marines were killed
in the al-Anbar province, which contains the rebel flashpoint towns
of Ramadi and Fallujah.
Fighting flared there after days of relative calm following last
month's blistering assault on Fallujah.
The soldiers died in two separate combat operations.
Their deaths will do nothing to lift the spirits of the US-led
coalition forces just a year after Saddam was captured.
They also came amid a fierce insurgency just seven weeks ahead
of next month's planned elections. [...]
Twenty-one Iraqis were killed when a bus carrying
petrol exploded in a fireball after colliding with a car north-east
of Baghdad, a hospital official said today.
There were no survivors.
The accident happened late yesterday near Jalula, about 80 miles
north-east of the capital, according to Dr Ahmed Fouad from the
nearby Baqouba hospital where the dead were taken.
Fouad said petrol cans carried on the bus exploded when the collision
occurred, killing the bus driver and 13 passengers plus seven people
in the car.
MOSCOW (AFP) - Fifty-four journalists were
killed in Russia this year, most of them in common criminal attacks,
according to an industry expert who described 2004 as a black year
for Russian media on Saturday.
"Most of them were killed in criminal
attacks that bear no relation to their journalistic work,"
Oleg Panfilov, head of the Russian Centre for Journalism in Extreme
Situations, told Moscow's Echo radio.
On average, Panfilov said, 20 to 22 journalists are murdered each
year in Russia. Fifty-four is the highest number ever recorded.
Overall, 150 to 160 attacks against journalists are reported each
year, half of them linked to their professional activities, he said.
The issue of violence against journalists in Russia was highlighted
by the murder in July of Paul Klebnikov, a US journalist who had
published articles denouncing the Russian mafia.
However, Parvilov said that journalists
faced an even greater threat from increasing legal and official
harassment, which made it even more difficult for them to carry
out their work.
"Since late 2002, we have seen an increase in the number
of legal suits (against media professionals), as the government's
policy towards the media changed," he said.
According to Panfilov, the number of suits
filed for defamation jumped following the election of President
Vladimir Putin, from an average of one per year to 49 for 2002 alone.
BEIJING, Dec. 14 -- The Albanian police, in
collaboration with their counterparts in Serbia and Montenegro,
have successfully hit a group trafficking ground-to-air missiles.
Police sources say four Albanian citizens were arrested in, western
Albania, as they were transporting three "Strela 2M" ground-to-air
The group allegedly obtained the missiles in Montenegro and was
planning to smuggle them to other countries.
The police, in collaboration with the Albanian Prosecution Office
of Serious Crimes, are conducting further investigations to identify
other people involved in the crime.
HAVANA : Cuba's armed forces are gearing up
for their biggest military exercises in almost 20 years, with hundreds
of thousands of troops and millions of civilians expected to take
part, officials here said.
General Leonardo Andollo told reporters on Sunday that MiG-29
jets, anti-aircraft batteries were to be deployed during the
weeklong exercises meant to be a warning to Washington that Cuba
would vigorously defend itself against US aggression.
The mass war games start Monday and are due to run through to
Senior military and Communist government officials here warned
that the administration of US President George W. Bush should take
note of the island's war footing.
"The determination of the US administration to destroy the
(Cuban) revolution however they can, including militarily, determines
the necessity of conducting these exercises," Andollo, the
deputy chief of Cuba's Armed Revolutionary Forces (FAR), said.
His comments come days after President Fidel Castro's brother,
Raul, warned Washington should closely observe Cuba's military prowess
and civil defenses during the manoeuvres. Raul Castro is the head
of the Caribbean island's armed forces.
Operation "Bastion 2004" will involve about 100,000
soldiers, sailors and air force personnel as well as some 400,000
Air force MiG-29s, anti-aircraft units and elite troops will also
support the operation, billed as Cuba's biggest military exercises
Officials said the exercises would also involve
several million civilians who will participate in two days of civil
defense exercises, including a simulated aerial assault.
Raul Castro said last week the exercises had been planned in part
so Washington "does not commit the errors it committed in Vietnam
and that it is now committing in Iraq.
"So that they (Washington) do not underestimate our people,
who are united and more powerful than those in Iraq," he added.
The Communist-run island sits some 90 miles (145 kilometers) off
the coast of Florida.
GENEVA (Reuters) - International airlines
are heading for a near $5 billion loss this year, largely due to
the oil price rise, the chief economist of the industry's global
body IATA said on Tuesday.
But the official, Brian Pearce, said the airline industry could
see a turnaround after four years of losses in 2005 if the fuel
price averaged around $34-36 a barrel.
"We are looking to losses of $4.8 to $5 billion for 2004,"
Pearce told a news briefing held by the International Air Transport
At the end of November, the Geneva-based IATA
had predicted combined losses of only $4 billion for the year.
* 20 million children forced to flee homes
* Sexual violence often used as a weapon of war
* Land mines kill 15,000 to 20,000 annually
ISLAMABAD: Around 1.6 million children have been killed in armed
conflict throughout the world since 1990, said the United Nations
International Children's Emergency Fund's (UNICEF) report called
‘The State of the World's Children, 2005'.
The report said in 1996, there were 22 major armed conflicts worldwide.
In 2003, there were 19 such conflicts, the second-lowest annual
number since 1990.
"For every step forward, there seems to be
a step backwards as a new conflict erupts elsewhere. Far from being
safe, the world at the beginning of the 21st century appears more
driven by conflict and fear than before – and its dominant
political discourse seems to be one of war."
The report observed that children were always among the first affected
by conflict. "Armed conflict affects their lives in many ways,
and even if they are not killed or injured, they can be orphaned,
abducted, raped and left with deep emotional scars from direct exposure
to violence or from dislocation and poverty."
UNICEF said the exact number of children currently caught up in
conflict as combatants was unknown, but it was likely to run into
hundreds of thousands. Children were conscripted, kidnapped or pressured
into joining combat forces.
Not all of them took part in combat, though the
proliferation of lightweight weapons has made it possible even for
children under 10 to become effective killers, the report added.
The report claimed armed groups and, in some cases, government
forces used children because they often prove easier than adults
to condition into unthinking obedience and fearless killing. It
added that Africa and Asia had the highest numbers of children actively
involved in conflict as combatants. It asserted that an estimated
20 million children across the globe had been forced by conflict
or human rights violations to leave their homes. As they fled from
conflict, families sometimes separated. Left alone, children were
more likely to be sexually abused or recruited into combat, the
Of the 20 million children, who had been forced to flee their homes,
around one-third were refugees who had been driven across national
borders. The other two-thirds were internally displaced, a proportion
that has been rising steadily in parallel with the trend towards
civil strife, the report said.
"Sexual violence was often a weapon of war,
consciously deployed. It could include rape, mutilation, exploitation
and abuse. In the conflicts in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and
Rwanda in the early 1990s, it was a deliberate policy to rape teenage
girls and women and force them to bear children," the report
"In addition, the poverty, hunger and insecurity generated
by conflict can force children into prostitution. In Colombia, for
example, girls as young as 12 have been reported to have submitted
sexually to armed forces in order to ensure their families' safety."
The report concluded that all of these factors increased the likelihood
of HIV transmission in conflict zones, while the breakdown of school
and health systems inhibited safeguards that could counter these
risks. It revealed that landmines claim between 15,000 and 20,000
victims each year. Two-thirds of the 65 countries that suffered
mine casualties between 2002 and 2003 had not experienced active
conflict in that period.
It said that there was a growing consensus against the use of children
as soldiers. In 2000, the Optional Protocol to the Convention on
the Rights of Children raised the minimum age for direct participation
in hostilities from 15 to 18 years.
Giving the example of Palestine, it said that more than one generation
of Palestinian children were being denied their right to basic education.
School infrastructure was constantly at risk, at least 269 schools
had been damaged between September 2000 and June 2004, nine schools
had been completely closed, three of them were currently being used
as military outposts and an additional 275 schools were in the line
It claimed that in war-ravaged Afghanistan, a UNICEF-supported
demobilisation programme had assisted 2,203 children in eight provinces
since its launch in February 2004. In Afghanistan during 2002 more
than three million children had been successfully enrolled in schools
after years of warfare and educational neglect.
"If we are to safeguard children from the
brutality of armed conflicts, a number of actions must be pursued,
provided the international community has the political and economic
will to implement them," it emphasised.
A Japanese Government study predicts
that a major earthquake will rock Tokyo sometime in the next 30
Japan is one of the most earthquake-prone countries on earth, and
the Cabinet Office Central Disaster Management Council has been
studying the impact a major quake would have on the capital.
Its latest report suggests there is a 70 per cent chance Tokyo
will be hit by a quake measuring seven or higher on the Richter
scale sometime in the next 30 years.
The panel estimates 13,000 people will be killed and 850,000 buildings
Next month, Japan will commemorate the tenth anniversary of the
Kobe quake that killed more than 6,000 people.
An earthquake measuring 4.9 on the Richter
scale has been felt in southern Japan.
AFP newsagency says the Meteorological Agency has said there were
no immediate reports of casualties or damage.
The focus of the quake was 10 kilometers below sea level off the
coast of Kagoshima, some 1,000 kilometers south of Tokyo.
TOKYO, Dec. 14 (Xinhuanet) --
An earthquake measuring 6.1 on the Richter scale hit parts of northern
and western Hokkaido, Japan's main northern island, on Tuesday afternoon,
injuring a 61-year-old woman and causing minor damage, the Japan
Meteorological Agency said.
The 2:56 p.m. (0556 GMT) quake measured an upper 5 on the Japanese
seismic intensity scale of 7 in the town of Tomamae and lower 5
in the town of Haboro, the agency said. Government seismologists
initially put the preliminary magnitude at M5.8.
The epicenter of the quake was about 9 kilometers below the earth's
surface in the southern part of Rumoi in northwestern Hokkaido,
the agency said.
According to fire officials of the town of Obira, which is located
in the Rumoi area and just south of Tomamae, the injured woman was
rushed to a hospital after being buried under a closet that fell
No tsunami warning was issued following the quake. Three windowpanes
in the lobby of the Haboro town hall were reported shattered, but
no one was injured. There have been no reports of major damage so
An earthquake that is believed to be an aftershock, registering3
on the Japanese seismic scale, struck at around 3:01 p.m. (0601
GMT) in Tomamae and other places in the Rumoi area. Five minutes
later, another aftershock, registering 1, hit Haboro.
In Tokyo, the government set up a liaison office under the crisis
management center at the prime minister's office to collectinformation
about the latest quake.
The agency said aftershocks with an intensity of lower 5 may hit
the Rumoi area.
Monday, December 13, 2004 Posted: 1916 GMT
(0316 HKT) SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) -- A strong earthquake
rattled El Salvador on Monday, knocking out telephone service, but
no injuries were reported.
The national seismological service said that the quake, which
hit at 9:23 a.m. (10:23 a.m. EST), had a magnitude of 6.1 and was
centered near Los Cobanos beach, about 55 miles south of the capital.
The U.S. National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colorado,
calculated the magnitude at 5.9.
Thousands of frightened people fled into the streets and the government
ordered the temporary evacuation of tall buildings.
The earthquake briefly knocked out telephone service in San Salvador,
but the director of the National Emergency system, Mauricio Ferrer,
told a news conference that no damage had been reported.
GOMA, DRCongo (AFP) - A volcano which devastated
Goma in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo three years
ago is showing new signs of activity, adding to local anxiety over
political turmoil in the region, a local scientist said on Sunday.
Celestin Kasereka, who heads the volcano observatory in Goma,
said there was intense activity inside the crater of Mount Nyiragongo.
The summit of the mountain is currently glowing red at night.
However Kasereka said there was little risk of an eruption from
the sides of the mountain, which could send volcanic ash and lava
plunging down towards the city.
An eruption of Mount Nyiragongo covered much of Goma in thick
ash and lava in January 2002.
Kasereka said the heightened volcanic activity on the mountain
had spread fear among the local population, who are already on edge
due to fighting in the region. [...]
BANGKOK, Dec. 13 (Xinhuanet) -- Two provinces
in Thailand's southernmost region has been swept by flood with one
people drowned in deep water, local press said on Monday.
In Than To district of Yala province, floods and mud slide has
claimed the life of a 44-year-old woman. Her body was discovered
by local officials after being washed away in a strong current on
On Sunday, heavy rain also led to flash-floods in 13 district of
Narathiwat province with some 2,000 households affected.
Local official said inter-district roads were submerged under waters
as high as two meters in some areas. Many sections of road were
swept away by the flood.
More than 10 local school, along with 5,000 rai of plantation and
250 other locations including bridges and roads were hit by the
Meanwhile, the weather bureau in Songkhlar province forecasted
heavy downpour in several more southern provinces over the next
one or two days and warned residents to be on alert.
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- High winds on Sunday toppled
a 25-foot Christmas tree in the front yard of the Minnesota governor's
mansion, uprooted other trees and knocked down power lines in that
state and Iowa.
Heavy sustained winds and gusts of up to 65 mph led the National
Weather Service to issue wind warnings or advisories for much of
The Christmas tree fell Sunday morning after one of the cables
holding it up snapped, according to State Patrol Trooper Patrick
Gibbs, who was on duty at the mansion.
Workers initially tried to put the tree back up, but "it's
just too windy," Gibbs said. "They decided it was dangerous,
so they're going to do it tomorrow morning."
Wind also knocked down a 20-foot-high contruction scaffolding
onto five cars in Minneapolis, flattening their front ends.
Xcel Energy said at least 59,000 Twin Cities area customers lost
power, at least temporarily. Xcel spokeswoman Mary Sandok said some
customers might not get electricity back until Monday.
In Ames, Iowa, a huge fabric bubble on the grounds of the National
Animal Disease Center was ripped apart. The air-supported, 12-story-tall
dome was built to shelter a work area for a new high-containment,
large-animal research building; no people or animals were hurt.
CHICAGO -- Wind gusting to 50 m.p.h. combined
with bad weather to cause flight delays and at least two minor injuries
in Wheaton Sunday when a tree fell on a vehicle.
Two people were treated at Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield
and released after they were injured in the afternoon when wind
knocked a tree onto their vehicle at County Farm Road and Williams
Street, said Sue Rummery, a representative for the Wheaton Police
Meanwhile, the wind caused delays of two hours or more at O'Hare
International Airport, the Federal Aviation Administration said.
The FAA reported delays of only 15 minutes or less for arrivals
and departures at Midway International Airport.
The National Weather Service issued a wind advisory that will
stay in effect until 10 a.m. Monday, when meteorologists expect
wind speed to taper off. Forecasters expect northwest winds to blow
into the Chicago area at 25 to 30 m.p.h., with gusts to 50.
The weather service expects hazardous travel conditions on Lake
Michigan near the Chicago shore. Waves closer to shore were forecast
to crest at 10 to 20 feet. It also advised motorists to watch out
LEGASPI : Eight people were killed and another
was missing early Monday after a landslide buried a village in the
eastern Philippines, police said.
The avalanche hit Hubo village near the coastal town of Tinambac
in the Bicol peninsula after days of heavy rain which had loosened
the earth from nearby slopes, Tinambac police chief Inspector Amado
Rescuers pulled eight corpses from the mud, said military spokesman
Lieutenant Colonel Buenaventura Pascual.
One child was also pulled out alive, according to volunteer rescue
workers in the area.
Pascual said an army rescue unit had reached the area and was
searching for one more missing person.
He said the landslide injured six other residents.
Widespread floods and landslides unleashed by two storms left
about 1,600 people dead or missing in the Philippines two weeks
Port Orange man details the day
in 1952 when Air Force took on UFOs
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 to talk."
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."
Retired Air Force Col. William Coleman, chief spokesman for Blue
Book in the 1960s and head of the USAF's Public Information Office
from 1969 to '74, wasn't around for the 1952 investigation, and
could only speculate on the meteor theory. "Occasionally, you'll
get a loner when you're not passing through a belt," he says
from his home in Indian Harbour Beach. "It'll come in on a
flat trajectory, which means it'll be exposed to a longer burn in
the atmosphere and leave a longer trail."
But Coleman is emphatic about one thing: No military aircraft were
ever destroyed during UFO encounters.
"Of all the (12,618) reports we collected, only 105 cases
were what we'd call 'worrisome,' from a military point of view,"
says Coleman, who chased a UFO in a bomber in 1955. "These
might involve pilots seeing things in the air that also showed up
as solid objects on radar. Sometimes they'd pace our planes, sometimes
they'd depart abruptly. But we never lost anything to hostile activity."
Speaking during a book-signing tour in Charleston, W.Va., where
sales are brisk, Feschino says he began looking into the Flatwoods
Monster case in 1990. Ten local kids and an adult, Kathleen May,
were alerted when a flaming, low-flying object apparently went down
early one Friday evening on a hilltop outside rural Flatwoods. After
hiking to investigate, they stumbled upon a "monster,"
reported to be 12 feet tall, lurking in a tree. It glided away upon
an apron of flames, but not before dribbling what appeared to be
an oily fluid onto the ground and their clothing.
Feschino says he grew more intrigued when he read scores of old
newspaper clippings about other UFO activity that night, from Pennsylvania
to Florida. Many reported objects trailing tails of fire, following
three separate westward trajectories from the Atlantic Ocean. Especially
compelling were newspaper reports concerning the loss of an F-94
Sabrejet fighter over the Gulf of Mexico earlier in the day.
Flying out of Tyndall AFB near Panama City with three other jets,
Lt. John Jones, the pilot, and radar operator Lt. John DelCurto
apparently got separated during bad weather, were ordered to land
at Moody AFB in Georgia before losing radio contact, and presumably
crashed after running out of fuel. Their bodies were never recovered.
Feschino doesn't buy that story.
When he attempted to locate official records of the incident through
military archives, Feschino says he got a bureaucratic runaround
and was informed paperwork on those pilots doesn't exist. (Feschino
interviewed DelCurto's brother in Oregon, and took a photo of Jones'
memorial marker in Ocala.) Upon matching additional air defense
activity that day with the numerous UFO reports, Feschino began
assembling time lines, integrating them into maps, and produced
a unified field theory that "as many as 20" American planes
attacked, and were shot down by, UFOs.
"The Braxton County Monster" goes into exhaustive --
not to mention inferential, unsourced and highly speculative --
detail to support Feschino's other premise, that multiple sightings
over the Flatwoods area on Sept. 12 was a "rescue mission"
to salvage a damaged spacecraft.
"Of course you could cover this up," insists the Connecticut
native. "They do it all the time. Look at all the planes that
got shot down during the Cold War on missions that didn't supposedly
exist. They made up cover stories and told the families back home
all sorts of lies."
That's true, says historian William E. Burrows. But the author
of "By Any Means Necessary: America's Secret Air War"
doubts UFOs were in the mix.
The director of New York University's graduate program for science
and environmental reporting says up to 166 U.S. servicemen were
shot down over Russia, China and North Korea in 16 attacks between
1950 and 1969.
"They would always attribute it to navigational errors or
typhoons, because they had to say something to the wives and kids,"
Burrows says. "It always bothered me, because these guys were
brave men who were made to look like nitwits. But I don't believe
in UFOs. And as soon as the Cold War ended, the UFO sightings ended."
Feschino says Flatwoods had nothing to do with the Cold War. He
interviewed retired Army colonel Dale Leavitt who, on Sept. 12,
1952, said he got an order from the Air Force to investigate the
West Virginia crash site. Then with the National Guard, Leavitt
said he led a 30-man detachment to the area, where they found minor
debris and burned vegetation, which they forwarded to the USAF.
Before his death, Leavitt told Feschino he never learned the results.
"I find it very strange that the military would send troops
out to investigate a meteor," Feschino says. "That doesn't
make any sense."
Feschino's efforts notwithstanding, the Flatwoods case will likely
remain the stuff of legend, pending military eyewitness testimony.
But that may not happen soon. Despite Blue Book's assertion that
the military is no longer interested in the phenomenon, UFOs continue
to fall under the cloak of national security, according to John
Frank Feschino's book "The Braxton County Monster: The Cover-Up
of the Flatwoods Monster Revealed." Image by for FLORIDA TODAY
A television producer who posts UFO-related government documents
on his Web site -- www.blackvault.com -- Greenewald showcases Air
Force manuals instructing pilots on how to report unidentified flying
objects. The system is called Communications for Reporting Vital
Intelligence Sightings (CIRVIS), and reports are forwarded to the
North American Aerospace Defense Command, which tracks unidentified
objects entering U.S. and Canadian air space.
"They're hard to get," says Greenewald, "because
NORAD says they're exempt from FOIA (Freedom of Information Act)
On the first day of Christmas,
my Rummy sent to me
a Saddam pigeon in a palm tree.
Not knowing Osama's address,
Rummy hastened to 'Potamia - and a mess,
exhorting his pal Cheney,
"Let's bomb Baghdad again, golly gee!"
On the second day of Christmas,
my Rummy sent to me
two dead-ender turtle doves
(Colin and Kofi),
flowers and chocolates from the ninny Chalabi,
and a billion Arabs mad at me.
On the third day of Christmas,
my Rummy sent to me
three French henpeckers and imaginary W.M.D.
And 300 tons of lost explosives
going BOOM! everywhere.
Rummy tried for a Vin Diesel movie,
when he should have heeded General Shinseki.
On the fourth day of Christmas,
my Rummy sent to me
four cuckoo birds -
Wolfie, Perle, Feith and Condi.
The cost of empire on the cheap will be steep.
How did Rummy get a job guarantee?
On the fifth day of Christmas,
my Rummy sent to me
five Pentagon rings.
Rummy wanted to go down in history
by transforming the military.
But many G.I.'s feel cheated,
that their forces and matériel are depleted.
Stop Loss and Stuff Happens, by Jiminy!
On the sixth day of Christmas,
my Rummy sent to me
six German shepherds teeth a-baring.
A hooded man attached to wires,
Abu Ghraib and Army liars,
Red Cross in the dark
about dogs that liked to bark.
On the seventh day of Christmas,
my Rummy sent to me
regime change that wasn't free,
our troops sitting ducks for I.E.D.
(Improvised Explosive Devices,
Rummy is another sort of I.E.D.
(Instant Excuses for Disaster,
"I'm an old man, don't you see?")
On the eighth day of Christmas,
my Rummy sent to me
eight Osama videotapes.
The Bushie fever with Saddam
left Osama free to scram.
Invading Iraq was an Xmas gift
for bin Laden - a recruiting lift.
On the ninth day of Christmas,
my Rummy sent to me
Iran and North Korea
on a nuclear buildup spree.
Nine mullahs a-proliferating,
as our military's straining.
The Bushies were fixated on Iraq,
but Saddam's weapons were merely the mock.
On the tenth day of Christmas,
my Rummy sent to me
ten Gitmo lawyers a-leaping.
What cares he
about civil liberty?
On the eleventh day of Christmas,
my Rummy sent to me
eleven generals a-hyping that the war is just dandy,
while our spooks are warning
that civil war and theocracy are a-borning
as the Kid in the Oval feels free
to consult a Higher Authority.
Burkas, turbans and beards you'll see
after the puppet Allawi.
On the twelfth day of Christmas,
my Rummy sent to me
a brave grunt from Tennessee
griping about his unarmored Humvee.
No twelve drummers drumming,
but twelve soldiers thrumming,
complaints to Rummy keep coming,
but the septuagenarian's not admitting
that the Iraq resistance isn't quitting.
The Ghost of Christmas Past, Mekong Delta,
is clanking after Rummy in Samarra.
Eleven generals spinning,
Ten Gitmo lawyers not grinning,
Nine Iranian mullahs Iraq annexing,
Eight Osama tapes perplexing,
Seven bombs a-scaring,
Six German geese bewaring,
Five Pentagon rings,
Four cuckoos a-raving,
Three French hens appeasing,
Two dead doves,
And a Saddam pigeon sparking an insurgency.
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