Translations from other sites
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and extensive previously unpublished details, at long last, Laura Knight-Jadczyk's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!
of the Day
Bellies full of turkey and stuffing,
heads turning under the bright, flashing lights, families gathered
together with their attention turned to petty feuds and intrigues,
Christmas is a great time to slip another one by a drugged and satiated
public. And, boy, what a few days it has been! The massive earthquakes
and tsunamis that killed tens of thousands in South-East Asia, another
"spontaneous revolution" organised and financed by the
US in the former Soviet bloc, the appearance of a comet that has
gone from a 1 in 300 chance of hitting the earth in 2029 to a 1
in 37 chance. Of course, none of these events are related to one
another, right? They are random happenings, unconnected, isolated
incidents of local importance.
But that was not all.
On Christmas Day, we received a message from a reader pointing
us to a remark made by Donald Rumsfeld during his surprise visit
to Iraq to show the troops that he wasn't such a bad guy after all.
Rummy had been coming up for criticism for his remarks to US soldiers
on their lack of armour, his famous "you go to war with the
army you have", and Bill Kristol, an important propagandist
for the neocons, had been demanding Rummy's removal, though for
other reasons. So off the US Secretary of Defence went to Baghdad
on a PR tour to save his job.
According to the following CCN
transcript, while he was addressing the troops, Rummy made the
DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: And to change
that way of living, would strike at the very essence of our country.
And I think all of us have a sense if we imagine the kind of
world we would face if the people who bombed the mess hall in
Mosul, or the people who did the bombing in Spain, or the people
who attacked the United States in New York, shot
down the plane over Pennsylvania and attacked the Pentagon,
the people who cut off peoples' heads on television to intimidate,
to frighten -- indeed the word "terrorized" is just
that. Its purpose is to terrorize, to alter behavior, to make
people be something other than that which they want to be.
Rummy's statement is rich because for once he is telling us the
truth. He tells us that Flight 93, erected in myth as the flight
where the passengers struck back to prevent another "attack",
was shot down. This version of events does not mesh with the official
story, enshrined in The 9/11 Commission Report. Rummy's
new take on events is the version recounted by those so-called "conspiracy
theorists" who do not buy the official version, who have seen
the holes, inconsistencies, and lies woven together to justify America's
Imperial plunder, and who want something better -- the truth.
But Rummy's admission is not all.
Rumsfeld is telling us that all the events he mentions were done
by the same forces, those who "shot down the plane over Pennsylvania".
There is only one authority who could have shot down Flight 93 over
Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001 -- members of the US military.
And if elements in the US military were responsible for shooting
down Flight 93.... Well, someone doesn't want us going there. However,
we agree with Rumsfeld that the purpose of the people behind these
events is to "intimidate, to frighten...to alter behavior,
to make people be something than that which they want to be".
It sums up the Bush Administration to a "t".
Such a slip could not be left to stand. Too many people who had
seen the holes in the official story were waiting to fall upon Rumsfeld's
words and use them to buttress their campaign to know the truth.
You know, the "conspiracy theorists".
But Rummy's words were "out there". How to do damage
control? Call upon your friends at CNN. CNN would have to do because
the good folks at Fox News had not reported this particular remark
by Rummy. No need to disturb the great Fox-washed.
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A
comment Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld made during a
Christmas Eve address to U.S. troops in Baghdad has sparked
new conspiracy theories about the terrorist attacks of September
In the speech, Rumsfeld made a passing reference to United
Airlines Flight 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania after
passengers attempted to stop al Qaeda hijackers.
But in his remarks, Rumsfeld referred to the "the
people who attacked the United States in New York, shot
down the plane over Pennsylvania."
A Pentagon spokesman insisted that
Rumsfeld simply misspoke, but Internet conspiracy
theorists seized on the reference to the plane having been
"Was it a slip of the tongue? Was it an error? Or
was it the truth, finally being dropped on the public more
than three years after the tragedy" asked a posting
on the Web site WorldNetDaily.com.
Some people remain skeptical of U.S. government statements
that, despite a presidential authorization, no planes were
shot down September 11, and rumors still circulate that
a U.S. military plane shot the airliner down over Shanksville,
A Pentagon spokesman insists Rumsfeld has not changed his
opinion that the plane crashed as the result of an onboard
struggle between passengers and terrorists.
The independent panel charged with investigating the terrorist
attacks concluded that the hijackers intentionally crashed
Flight 93, apparently because they feared the passengers
would overwhelm them.
And the answer is?! "Rumsfeld simply misspoke." Really.
He "has not changed his opinion". Honest. He knows how
important the image of "Let's roll" is to the whole 9/11,
"let's make America safer", mythology. The war against
terrorism started on that flight; you can't change the story now,
no matter the truth.
Poor Don. He was probably confused, suffering from jet lag. It
is so hard to keep the official story straight when the body is
reacting to a change of so many time zones. Maybe he forgot to take
What is curious is that this is not the first time that Donald
Rumsfeld has "misspoken" on the subject of 9/11, that
is, in the sense of telling the truth, of recounting details that
go against the official version. The official story tells us that
it was AA Flight 77 that hit the Pentagon and disappeared leaving
no traces after passing through three rings of reinforced steel
and concrete, disappeared leaving nothing but the bodies of the
victims on the plane. Somehow the heat, fireball, and explosion
that made the vaporized the plane didn't have the same effect upon
the bodies of the victims. Readers of this page will have seen our
Strike flash presentation on the subject, as well as Laura Knight-Jadczyk's
the Pentagon Strike.
On the DoD's
own website, we find an interview with the Secretary of Defence
where he explains what happened on that day. The interview with
Parade Magazine was conducted on October 12, 2001.
Therein we find the following comment from Rumsfeld:
It is a truth that a terrorist can attack any time, any place,
using any technique and it's physically impossible to defend at
every time and every place against every conceivable technique.
Here we're talking about plastic knives and using an American
Airlines flight filed with our citizens,
and the missile to damage this building and similar (inaudible)
that damaged the World Trade Center.
Oops. "A missile"? That isn't in the Commission's report.
Did Rumsfeld "misspeak"?
Then again, there is this statement from the questioning of Rumsfeld
by 9/11 Commissioner Jamie S. Gorelick during the commission
GORELICK: Well, I expect that you would. So now I would like
to talk about the aspects that were in your control. I had a conversation
with Secretary Wolfowitz's -- one of his predecessors, when the
1996 Olympics were being planned about what do we do when an aircraft
is being hijacked and is flying into a stadium at the Olympics?
What is the military's response? What is it's role? And it has
always been my assumption that even though, yes, you were looking
out, that you have a responsibility to protect our airspace. So
my question is: In this summer of threat, what did you do to protect,
let's just say the Pentagon, from attack? Where
were our aircraft when a missile is heading toward the Pentagon?
Surely that is within the Pentagon's responsibility to protect
-- force protection, to protect our facilities, to protect something
-- our headquarters, the Pentagon. Is there anything that we did
at the Pentagon to prevent that harm in the spring and summer
Oops. Was the good commissioner also "misspeaking"? It
does get difficult to maintain a cover story if high-ranking officials
charged with spreading disinformation go around telling the truth!
So what is "misspeak" -- if you permit us to make a noun
out of this overused verb. A quick Google search on "Rumsfeld"
& "misspoke" comes up with 5,210 items. Do the same
for Bush, and it goes to 20,900!
As one blogger,
Dusty Rhoades, wrote on the subject of "misspeaking" (the
entire article is below):
Rummy is just one of a number of Administration officials who
are having to "revise" some of their former statements
on Iraq. Back on March 16th, Vice President Dick Cheney had this
to offer on NBC’s "Meet the Press": "We believe
he [Saddam] has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons."
A few Sundays ago, Cheney was back on "Meet the Press".
Good ol’ Tim Russert, with the kid-gloves, please-don’t-call-us-traitors-and-cost-us-ad-revenues
handling that the entire press corps has inexplicably adopted,
offered Cheney an out: "You misspoke?" Russert asked.
And a grateful Cheney seized the chance: "Yeah, I did misspeak.
We never had any evidence that he had acquired a nuclear weapon."
Ah. I get it. We believed it, but there was no evidence.
Rhoades sums up his point saying:
Now, "I misspoke" and "I should have been more
precise" are not bad ways to cover up, shall we say, a departure
from the truth. (No one seems to want to use the word "lie"
anymore.) It’s a particularly effective tactic to do what
Wolfowitz did: make an inflammatory statement on a nationally
watched news show then "correct" your "inaccuracy"
off the air where a lot fewer people hear it.
But "sometimes I overstate for emphasis"? Man, that
is brilliant. It makes lying (oops, there’s that word again,
sorry) look like some sort of roguishly endearing personal quirk.
"Gosh darn it, am I overstating for emphasis again?"
The word no one dares speak -- or is that "misspeak"?
So we come to the real issue. In our 1984 world of newspeak, words
take on new meanings. Politicians no longer "lie"; they
"misspeak". Civilians are no longer killed in war; they
are "collateral damage". There is a whole raft of terms
that contain hidden meanings for Bush's fundamentalist Christian
base that mean something else entirely to other Americans. These
terms come forward to join the ranks of the famous "terrorist/freedom
fighter" distinction that was so prevalent under the Reagan
You all remember the "freedom fighters", don't you? Those
were the Islamic fundamentalists who were fighting for democracy
and freedom in Afghanistan. One small group was led by a Saudi by
the name of...what was his name again...the guy with the beard...oh,
right: Osama bin Laden, from a family with close business ties to
the US Vice President at the time...what was his name...George something
And you remember the Reagan Administration. That was the one that
was friendly to a Middle Eastern leader by the name of Saddam Hussein,
selling him chemical weapons through salesman Donald Rumsfeld.
Rumsfeld. Weren't we talking about Rumsfeld?
Let's return to September 11, 2001 and look at Rumsfeld's actions
on that day.
"another event" to Christopher Cox who was in
his office to talk about anti-missile defence and the risk
"If we remain vulnerable to missile attack, a terrorist
group or rogue state that demonstrates the capacity to
strike the U.S. or its allies from long range could have
the power to hold our entire country hostage to nuclear
or other blackmail,'' he said. "And let me tell you,
I've been around the block a few times. There will be
another event. " He repeated it for emphasis : "There
will be another event. " Within minutes of that utterance,
Rumsfeld's words proved tragically prophetic.
8:46 Attack on the North Tower of the World Trade
9:02 Attack on the South Tower of the WTC.
8:46-9:02 ?: Donald Rumsfeld "wanted to make
a few phone calls".
His assistant, Victoria
Clarke, remembers: "Well, the terrible moment
was actually earlier at about 8:40, 8:45 when we realized
a plane and then a second plane had hit the World Trade
Center. And immediately the crisis management process
started up. A couple of us had gone into the secretary's
office, Secretary Rumsfeld's office, to alert him to that,
tell him that the crisis management process was starting
up. He wanted to make a few phone calls."
9:02-9:37 ?: Donald Rumsfeld, who "watched
the TV coverage from New York", declared: "Believe
me, this isn't over yet. There's going to be another attack,
and it could be us."
Donald Rumsfeld, the Secretary of Defence, was in his
office on the eastern side of the building, in a meeting
with Christopher Cox, the defence policy committee chairman
of the House of Representatives. Mr Rumsfeld, recalls
Mr Cox, watched the TV coverage from New York and said
: "Believe me, this isn't over yet. There's going
to be another attack, and it could be us."
Revealed : What
really went on during Bush's 'missing hours', by William
Langleyere, The Daily Telegraph, 16 décembre 2001.
9:37: Attack on the Pentagon
9:37-10:07 ?: Rumsfeld goes outside to "investigate
and offer help".
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld was in the Pentagon
at the time of the crash, and he walked outside the building
to investigate and offer help.
Official Provides Briefing After Pentagon Attack,
par Gerry J. Gilmore, American Forces Press Service, 11
Around 10:07: Donald Rumsfeld announces that "it
was most likely a plane."
When he came back in the building about half an hour
later, he was the first one that told us he was quite
sure it was a plane. Based on the wreckage and based on
the thousands and thousands of pieces of metal. He was
the one that told us, the staff that was in the room.
So he was really the first one who
told us that it was most likely a plane.
Official transcript of interview with Victoria Clarke
to WBZ Boston Saturday, 15 September 2001 : News
Transcript, US Department of Defense.
This Rumsfeld is certainly a very well informed
guy for having to deal with such inept US intelligence agencies.
First he predicts there will be "another event", and
then, when his words prove prophetic a mere two minutes later,
he tells his guests that "it isn't over yet" and that
the next target "could be us".
One wonders what sort of crystal ball Rumsfeld had
on his desk that morning.
Notice, too, that it was Rummy who decided that
the attack had been done by a plane. Perhaps he knew it was a
plane because his crystal ball informed him the attacks were "Ariel"
For more detailed info on Madame Rummy, super clairvoyant,
let's return to his Parade interview of the following month, the
one where the plane has been transformed into a missile.
| Q: Let
me start by asking you, most of us are programmed to leave
a building with smoke. What made you go towards the fire here
a little over a month ago, and what was going through your
Rumsfeld: Well, I was sitting here and
the building was struck, and you could feel the impact of
it very clearly, and I don't know
what made me do anything I did, to be honest with you. I
just do it instinctive. I looked out the window,
saw nothing here, and then went down the hall until the
smoke was too bad, then to a stairwell down and went outside
and saw what had happened. Asked
a person who'd seen it, and he told me that a plane had
flown into it.
I had been aware of a plane going into the World Trade
Center, and I saw people on the grass, and we just, we tried
to put them in stretchers and then move them out across
the grass towards the road and lifted them over a jersey
wall so the people on that side could stick them into the
I was out there for awhile, and then people started gathering,
and we were able to get other people to do that, to hold
IVs for people. There were people lying on the grass with
clothes blown off and burns all over them.
Then at some moment I decided I
should be in here figuring out what to do, because your
brain begins to connect things, and there were enough
people there to worry about that. I came back in here, came
into this office. There was smoke in here by then.
We made a judgment about where people should be. The chairman
was out of town, so he was separate. The vice chairman was
with me. We had my deputy go out to another site. At a certain
point it got too bad and we went into a room about 30 yards
away here in this building, in the same general area but
back that way that is sealable. But as it turns out it wasn't
sealable for smoke and so forth. We worked in there, and
we kept being told the building had to be evacuated completely
except for the people that were in that group that were
assisting me, and they kept saying you should get out of
here because these people have to stay if you're here, as
I recall. I said fine, we'll do that at the appropriate
They were able to get enough of the fire out and then move
some air out that the increasing smoke stopped. It did not
disappear, but it stopped. We were in there throughout the
day, and never did go to (inaudible).
The advantage for me was I could be here near where the
problems were and I had full communications from the area
-- to the president and the vice president,
the secretary of state. I guess he was out of the country,
wasn't he? It was the deputy.
As a side note to this interview, Lyric Wallwork Winik has written
for Parade about 9/11 "Conspiracy theories". In a
box on that page, it states:
The Internet, too, is a potent tool for spreading conspiracy
theories. PARADE found this out after Lyric Wallwork Winik interviewed
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in Oct. 2001. In a transcript
of Winik's interview with Rumsfeld, which was published on the
Department of Defense's Web site, Rumsfeld seemed to indicate
that the Pentagon was hit by a missile on 9/11 instead of a plane.
It turns out that a transcription error led to the confusion,
but conspiracy theorists latched onto Rumsfeld's supposed admission
and spread it over the Internet.
There they go again, those pesky "conspiracy theorists".
Taking poorly transcribed interviews out of context!
So here it isn't a question of "misspeaking", but of
a "transcription error". Good to have friends covering
your backside. The close relations between Winik and Rumsfeld are
to be seen in this final exchange in the interview:
Q: Mr. Secretary, thank you very much. It was fascinating.
I have something quickly for you from my husband who I think
you know. The president loved the book as (inaudible) and Secretary
Cheney (inaudible) on Saturday night for dinner, and we wanted
you to have a copy. I don't know when you'll get the time, but
Q: Am I allowed to accept this?
Unfortunately, more garbled transcriptions do not allow us to piece
together the precise nature of the connections between Winik, the
President, and Cheney, but you get the picture.
The other interesting bit of data here is the reference to Colin
Powell's being out of the country. While we have no love for Powell,
the man whose career lust permits him to stand up before the UN
and declare that he has proof of Saddam's WMDs, it is well-known
that he had differences with Rumsfeld. And he was out of the country
on September 11. Imagine that!
Must just be another of those strange coincidences. You know the
ones: the plane hitting the one area of the Pentagon that had been
reinforced rather than hitting the roof where the damage would have
been greater. Perhaps Hani Hanjour, the incompetent pilot accused
of being in the cockpit of Flight 77, was aiming for the roof and
missed! Or the fact that a military jet was seen near the site of
the crash of Flight 93, the one that Rumsfeld said was shot out
of the sky and whose pieces were strewn over an area of many miles
-- typical of dozens, er, several, er, the occasional plane, er,
Let us continue our look at Rumsfeld's actions on that morning.
He is in his office, not only aware that they were being attacked,
but with precognitive abilities that allowed him to foresee the
attack. When the Pentagon is attacked, he runs outside where everyone
can see him at the same time that Cheney is being sequestered in
the White House bunker and the President is being hopped around
the country in Air Force One and told not to return to Washington
because it wasn't safe.
Did someone forget to tell Rumsfeld that he was in danger? Given
that two planes had hit the WTC, and that a fourth plane, Flight
93 was still in the air, supposedly heading for Washington, how
could Rumsfeld be so certain it wouldn't come down on the Pentagon?
How did Rumsfeld know that there would be no more attacks on the
building? Must have been the same intuition that told him "we
could be next".
Just prior to 10:00, the Pentagon sent out a press
IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 11, 2001
EMERGENCY RESPONSE AT THE PENTAGON
The Department of Defense is continuing to respond to the attack
that occurred this morning at 9:38 a.m. EDT. There are no casualty
figures currently available. Injured personnel were taken to several
area hospitals. Secretary of Defense Donald S. Rumsfeld has expressed
his concern for the families of those killed and injured during
this shameless attack and is directing operations from his command
center in the Pentagon.
All personnel were evacuated from the building as emergency response
personnel from the Department of Defense and surrounding communities
responded to fire and medical emergencies. Initial estimates of
the damage are significant; however, the Pentagon is expected
to be reopened tomorrow morning. Alternate worksites for those
affected parts of the building are currently being identified.
In this first announcement, no mention is made of the nature of
the attack, no mention of a plane hitting the building. Curious,
no? Also curious is the fact that this release has been removed
from the DoD server and is now only available at the site indicated
The early reports from the Pentagon spoke of a "helicopter
explosion" or the explosion of a truck. It was only many hours
later that the announcement was made that it had been Flight 77.
So during the period when there were still mixed reports on the
nature of the attack, Rumsfeld was out and about as if there was
no danger of another attempt.
After helping to give aid to some of the victims, he comes back
in and says that he has been told by "someone who'd seen it"
that it was a plane that struck the building. Still, no one was
talking about AA Flight 77. That only came later in the day.
Questions. So many questions.
It is clear to us that 9/11 was carried off with the foreknowledge
of highly placed officials in Washington. In trying to piece the
clues together, even small things can be important. Was Rumsfeld's
behavior on that morning significant? Does it imply Rumsfeld had
We'll end this round-up with a transcript of a press conference
held by Donald Rumsfeld with leaders, both Republican and Democratic,
of the Senate Armed Forces Commission. In front of the international
addressed Senator Carl Levin (D - Michigan):
Senator Levin, you and other Democrats in Congress have voiced
fear that you simply don't have enough money for the large increase
in defense that the Pentagon is seeking, especially for missile
defense, and you fear that you'll have to dip into the Social
Security funds to pay for it. Does this
sort of thing convince you that an emergency exists in this country
to increase defense spending, to dip into Social Security, if
necessary, to pay for defense spending -- increase defense spending
Think of this in the light of the current attack on the Social
Security program in the US Congress, led by the Bush Administration.
| WASHINGTON – Ever since Sept.
11, 2001, there have been questions about Flight 93, the ill-fated
plane that crashed in the rural fields of Pennsylvania.
The official story has been that passengers on the United Airlines
flight rushed the hijackers in an effort to prevent them from crashing
the plane into a strategic target – possibly the U.S. Capitol.
During his surprise Christmas Eve trip to Iraq, Defense Secretary
Donald Rumsfeld referred to the flight being shot down – long
a suspicion because of the danger the flight posed to Washington
landmarks and population centers.
Was it a slip of the tongue? Was it an error? Or was it the truth,
finally being dropped on the public more than three years after
the tragedy of the terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000?
Here's what Rumsfeld said Friday: "I think all of us have
a sense if we imagine the kind of world we would face if the people
who bombed the mess hall in Mosul, or the people who did the bombing
in Spain, or the people who attacked the United States in New York,
shot down the plane over Pennsylvania and attacked the Pentagon,
the people who cut off peoples' heads on television to intimidate,
to frighten – indeed the word 'terrorized' is just that. Its
purpose is to terrorize, to alter behavior, to make people be something
other than that which they want to be."
Several eyewitnesses to the crash claim they saw a "military-type"
plane flying around United Airlines Flight 93 when the hijacked
passenger jet crashed – prompting the once-unthinkable question
of whether the U.S. military shot down the plane.
Although the onboard struggle between hijackers and passengers
– immortalized by the courageous "Let's roll" call
to action by Todd Beamer – became one of the enduring memories
of that disastrous day, the actual cause of Flight 93's crash, of
the four hijacked airliners, remains the most unclear.
Several residents in and around Shanksville, Pa., describing the
crash as they saw it, claim to have seen a second plane –
an unmarked military-style jet.
Well-founded uncertainty as to just what happened to Flight 93
is nothing new. Just three days after the worst terrorist attack
in American history, on Sept. 14, 2001, The (Bergen County, N.J.)
Record newspaper reported that five eyewitnesses reported seeing
a second plane at the Flight 93 crash site.
That same day, reported the Record, FBI Special Agent William Crowley
said investigators could not rule out that a second plane was nearby
during the crash. He later said he had misspoken, dismissing rumors
that a U.S. military jet had intercepted the plane before it could
strike a target in Washington, D.C.
Although government officials insist there was never any pursuit
of Flight 93, they were informed the flight was suspected of having
been hijacked at 9:16 am, fully 50 minutes before the plane came
On the Sept. 16, 2001, edition of NBC's "Meet the Press,"
Vice President Dick Cheney, while not addressing Flight 93 specifically,
spoke clearly to the administration's clear policy regarding shooting
down hijacked jets.
Vice President Cheney: "Well, the – I suppose the toughest
decision was this question of whether or not we would intercept
incoming commercial aircraft."
NBC's Tim Russert: "And you decided?"
Cheney: "We decided to do it. We'd, in effect, put a flying
combat air patrol up over the city; F-16s with an AWACS, which is
an airborne radar system, and tanker support so they could stay
up a long time ...
"It doesn't do any good to put up a combat air patrol if you
don't give them instructions to act, if, in fact, they feel it's
Russert: "So if the United States government became aware
that a hijacked commercial airline[r] was destined for the White
House or the Capitol, we would take the plane down?"
Cheney: "Yes. The president made the decision ... that if
the plane would not divert ... as a last resort, our pilots were
authorized to take them out. Now, people say, you know, that's a
horrendous decision to make. Well, it is. You've got an airplane
full of American citizens, civilians, captured by ... terrorists,
headed and are you going to, in fact, shoot it down, obviously,
and kill all those Americans on board?
"... It's a presidential-level decision, and the president
made, I think, exactly the right call in this case, to say, I wished
we'd had combat air patrol up over New York.'"
Okay, I have to admit it. Donald
Rumsfeld is a genius.
At a recent appearance as the luncheon speaker for the National
Press Club, Rummy (as he’s endearingly known to his friends)
was quizzed about his March 30th pronouncement regarding Saddam
Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction. In case you’ve
forgotten, what he said was "We know where they are. They are
in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad." So, naturally, when
our military overran those areas, a lot of people were curious.
Where, we asked, were 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent
we were told about? Where were the stockpiles of weapons which the
President himself told us had been greenlighted by Saddam himself
for use against our troops? Where were the weapons the President
was talking about when he said, "We have sources that tell
us that Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field commanders
to use chemical weapons -- the very weapons the dictator tells us
he does not have"? Don’t get us wrong, we’re extremely
relieved they weren’t used. But if we knew where they were,
why haven’t they been found?
Simple, said Rummy: "Iin that instance, we had been in the
country for about 15 seconds. Sometimes I overstate for emphasis."
He went on to say, "I should have said, ‘I believe we're
in that area. Our intelligence tells us they're in that area,’
and that was our best judgment."
Rummy is just one of a number of Administration officials who are
having to "revise" some of their former statements on
Iraq. Back on March 16th, Vice President Dick Cheney had this to
offer on NBC’s "Meet the Press": "We believe
he [Saddam] has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons." A
few Sundays ago, Cheney was back on "Meet the Press".
Good ol’ Tim Russert, with the kid-gloves, please-don’t-call-us-traitors-and-cost-us-ad-revenues
handling that the entire press corps has inexplicably adopted, offered
Cheney an out: "You misspoke?" Russert asked. And a grateful
Cheney seized the chance: "Yeah, I did misspeak. We never had
any evidence that he had acquired a nuclear weapon." Ah. I
get it. We believed it, but there was no evidence.
Ah, you say, but we’ve moved on from that. It’s not
about weapons anymore. President Bush has told us now that it’s
about terrorism. Even there, however, the Bushistas are finding
themselves having to backpedal furiously. Deputy Defense Secretary
Paul Wolfowitz went on "Good Morning America" recently
to state that "a great many of Osama bin Ladin’s key
lieutenants are trying to organize in cooperation with loyalists
from the Saddam regime to attack in Iraq." When pressed the
next day on the issue, however, Wolfowitz "clarified"
his statement. Turns out he was referring to a guy named Abu Musab
al-Zarqawi. Now, Zarqawi’s a terrorist, little doubt about
that. But according to U.S. Intelligence sources, his link with
al-Quaeda has never been confirmed. He may be a totally independent
nutcase. So Wolfowitz said: "Zarqawi is actually the guy I
was referring to – should have been more precise. It's not
a great many – it's one of bin Laden's key associates –
probably better referred to that way than a key lieutenant."
In other words, Wolfowitz was using "a great many of Osama’s
top lieutenants" in its lesser known sense of "one guy
who may or may not have been associated with Al-Quaeda."
Now, "I misspoke" and "I should have been more precise"
are not bad ways to cover up, shall we say, a departure from the
truth. (No one seems to want to use the word "lie" anymore.)
It’s a particularly effective tactic to do what Wolfowitz
did: make an inflammatory statement on a nationally watched news
show then "correct" your "inaccuracy" off the
air where a lot fewer people hear it.
But "sometimes I overstate for emphasis"? Man, that is
brilliant. It makes lying (oops, there’s that word again,
sorry) look like some sort of roguishly endearing personal quirk.
"Gosh darn it, am I overstating for emphasis again?"
If Bill Clinton had known how easy it was to use that, the nation
might have been spared a bruising impeachment battle. "I know
I said, ‘I did not have sexual relations with that woman’
but sometimes I overstate for emphasis. What I should have said
was ‘I kinda did."
I might even start using that one my ownself. If I come stumbling
home at 6:00 AM, reeking of booze and stale cigar smoke, I can always
just say "Honeybunch, I know I said I’d be working all
night. But hey, sometimes I overstate for emphasis. What I should
have said was that I’d be knocking off right after lunch so
me and the boys could hit a few strip clubs."
Someday, they’ll undoubtedly be building a memorial in Washington
DC for those killed, maimed and wounded in Gulf War 2. Of course,
before that happens, Americans have to quit dying over there. When
that happens, maybe we can engrave Rummy’s words on whatever
wall or obelisk or arch we choose for that memorial to the men and
women who fell: "Sometimes we overstate for emphasis."
Dusty Rhoades lives in Carthage, practices law in Aberdeen, and
if he "overstates for emphasis" people don’t usually
The new Intelligence reform bill
is a more stunning attack on the Bill of Rights than the Patriot
Act. Most people have no idea how dramatically their "inalienable"
rights have been savaged, or to what extent the Congress has sold
them out. It's no exaggeration to say that the foundation of personal
liberty, guaranteed in the law, is cracking at the base. It'll be
a miracle if we can put it back together in time to pass it on to
As usual, the role of the media has been pivotal in obfuscating
the details of the bill. They've fed the hysteria over the establishment
of a NID; (National Intelligence Director) a glamour position that
has been represented as vital to stopping another 9-11. What rubbish.
Teaching Condi Rice how to read a simple e-mail from bin Laden would
be twice as effective.
The media has done little to expose the real nature of the conflict
between the Pentagon and the 9-11 panel. That battle was a straightforward
"turf war" that threatened to take a chunk of money away
from Rumsfeld, who presently gets 80% of the Intelligence budget.
Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) defended Rumsfeld by claiming that "battlefield
operations" would be endangered if the bill passed. It was
nonsensical argument reflective of Hunter's indebtedness to the
Defense industry (Dig around the internet and you'll find that Hunter
is even more of a corporate streetwalker than most of his peers)
As for Rumsfeld, he just wants his $32 billion, so that he can persist
in bankrolling his clandestine detention centers, death squads and
propaganda facilities (now called strategic intelligence). In reality,
Rumsfeld is conducting his own secret government, and has been for
some time. That takes money, and lots of it.
The creation of the NID is an appalling idea. It puts all 14 intelligence
agencies UNDER A POLITICAL APPOINTEE, which is an invitation for
disaster. We all know how corrupted information was before the Iraq
war; imagine what it will look like after it travels through the
executive sausage-making unit. It's unlikely that anything remotely
resembling the truth will ever emerge from the Bush White House.
The new bill creates a new national ID card ("Let me see your
papers") by federalizing driver's licenses. The plan is to
establish federal guidelines in the design of licenses that can
be used as a means for tracking people. These standards are unnecessary
unless the government is developing a social strategy that is so
heinous that it's bound to generate more enemies. The increased
repression and the greater disparity in personal wealth suggest
that this is the case.
Democracy Now elaborates on the new national ID: "There's
all sorts of new technologies that could be incorporated into the
driver's license to link it to all sorts of public and private-sector
databases. And you could also imagine putting an RFID chip in the
license that would allow it to be tracked remotely. So, this is
something the 9/11 commission had actually recommended be done,
that the driver's license should be something like an internal passport
of the sort that we've seen in the Soviet Union in the past, and
although the Congress wasn't willing to explicitly go that far,
they have laid the groundwork for that kind of checkpoint society
in the future."
Did you hear any complaints from Congress over this hallmark of
The Intel bill also creates a "Civil Liberties Board"
charged with investigating whether the new legislation adversely
affects civil rights.
Regrettably, the board is a complete sham. It has no subpoena power
and is subordinate to the NID, the President and the Attorney General.
In other words, it's merely a public relations ploy intended to
conceal the bill's harsher measures (Undoubtedly, this "Board"
will be used by Bush to defend his steadfast concern for civil liberties)
The powers of the FISA court have also been seriously expanded.
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act basically allows the secret
court to overturn the "probable cause" provision of the
4th Amendment in the investigation of terror suspects. John Ashcroft
gravely abused the statute by extending it to the surveillance of
identity-theft suspects and drug traffickers (Ashcroft actually
boasted to Congress about the success of using the Patriot Act to
apprehend criminals who were entirely unrelated to terrorism. He
obviously considered the 4th Amendment nothing more than an unnecessary
nuisance) Now the law has been expanded to include a "lone
wolf" provision; supposedly aimed at an individual terrorist
acting without the support of a foreign government. In fact, the
purpose of the new provision is to allow unlimited surveillance
of any American without the hassle of having to prove even the "remotest"
connection to organized terror or a foreign government. It is a
"blank check" for law enforcement to eschew all privacy
laws without fear of reprimand. It is the end of the 4th amendment.
More importantly, if someone is arrested (as was the case with
1200 Muslims after 9-11) as a terrorist suspect, he can be refused
bail and IMPRISONED INDEFINITLY WITHOUT CHARGES. The moniker of
"terrorist" trumps the underlying principle of American
jurisprudence, that is, the "presumption of innocence"
Now, prisoners will have to prove that they aren't guilty; a difficult
prospect when there is no process in place to challenge the terms
of their detention. Consider the comments of Judge Antonin Scalia
in this regard: "The very core of liberty secured by our Anglo-Saxon
system of separated powers has been freedom from indefinite imprisonment
at the will of the Executive."
This sounds like empty rhetoric coming from Scalia, but his point
is a valid one. Where arbitrary imprisonment begins, the rule of
law ends. American citizens are no longer protected by "inalienable
rights"; their safety depends on the discretion of the President.
This brief summary doesn't cover all the repressive elements of
the new bill. It does, however, show how personal liberty is being
sacrificed to enhance the power of the state. The Intelligence Reform
legislation is 615 pages long. Not one was written by either a Senator
or a Congressman. This entire campaign to strip Americans of their
civil liberties is being orchestrated by private interests; the
"silent partners" who wrote this legislation in its entirety.
Think about that.
The document that will be signed into law next week is a frontal
assault on the fundamental rights of man. Even Habeas Corpus, which
goes back 600 years in English law, is struck down.
The enemies of freedom are among us, and they're moving quickly.
But, don't take my word for it. Consider the meaning of these attacks
on basic rights and make your own judgment.
KEY WEST, Fla. — A 132-passenger Delta
Air Lines flight from Colombia to Atlanta was abruptly diverted
to a military airfield near Key West on Sunday after the name of
a passenger was found to be the same as that of someone on a federal
security "watch list."
About five hours later, federal agents determined that the Colombian
man was a victim of "identity theft" by another person
on a list that several sources said was issued by an intelligence
The man — whose name authorities declined to reveal —
was released late Sunday.
The Boeing 757 jet, en route from Bogota, landed about 2 p.m.
at the U.S. Naval Air Station Key West's Boca Chica airfield just
north of the city. There, the unidentified man and his baggage were
removed from the plane by federal agents.
The plane sat on the runway for about two hours before taking
off for Atlanta without the man — a Colombian citizen who
lives in New York and has resident alien status in the United States,
according to several federal sources.
"It was somebody on a no-fly list," Judy Orihuela, a
spokeswoman for the FBI in Miami, said Sunday afternoon before the
matter was resolved. "They won't really know until they get
the person and ID them and make sure it's the person on the list."
That identification would take several more hours,
as FBI and immigration agents tried to determine the man's identity
using multiple methods.
"It was through fingerprinting and other sources of information"
that officials finally determined that the man was not the man on
the watch list, Orihuela said.
"It was a case of mistaken identity and identity theft,"
she said. "There is a person we are looking for who stole his
identity, and so that's how he got on the no-fly list. They cleared
The plane was likely diverted to Boca Chica instead of Key West
International Airport because of its large size, which the Key West
airport would have had difficulty accommodating.
A Delta spokeswoman said Sunday night that the incident was fairly
"I can't say that we have this happen a
lot," spokeswoman Tracey Bowen said.
In September, an international flight bound for
Washington, D.C., was diverted to Bangor, Maine. On board was former
pop singer Yusuf Islam, previously known as Cat Stevens, who is
He had been placed on the no-fly list over the summer and was
eventually deported. Islam vigorously disputes the U.S. government's
contention that he might have ties to terrorists.
Baghdad — A suicide bomber detonated
his car Monday at the gate of the home of the leader of Iraq's biggest
political party, killing 15 people and injuring dozens, police said.
The cleric was unharmed.
Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, head of the Supreme Council for the Islamic
Revolution in Iraq - the country's most powerful Shiite political
group - was in his residence in Baghdad's Jadiriyah district when
the attack occurred, said his spokesman, Haitham al-Husseini.
The blast, which shook the district and
sent a cloud of smoke high above the area, killed 15 people and
injured at least 50, said police Capt. Ahmed Ismail. Thirty-two
cars on the street and near the gates were destroyed or damaged.
"It was a suicide attack near the gate leading to the office,"
Mr. al-Husseini said. "Several of the guards were killed and
Mr. Hakim also heads the candidate list of the 228-member United
Iraqi Alliance coalition, which is expected to dominate Iraq's new
constitutional assembly following the first free elections on Jan.
30. The coalition is supported by Iraq's top Shiite cleric, Grand
Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.
Mr. al-Hakim's son, Ammar, accused Saddam Hussein's followers
of being behind the suicide attack.
"They are the remains of the dead regime and their allies
who carried out similar criminal acts in the past," he said,
adding that many of the blast victims were
innocent civilians who happened to be on the street when the explosion
The residence, where Hakim has his home and offices, was previously
the house of Tariq Aziz, a jailed former senior aide to Saddam Hussein
who has been in prison since April last year.
Political and religious leaders of the Shiite community, who strongly
back the holding of next month's vote, have been repeatedly targeted
by the mainly Sunni Muslim insurgents since Saddam's ouster.
The Shiites, who make up about 60 percent of Iraq's 26 million
people, have traditionally been dominated by the Sunni minority,
which accounts for about a fifth of the population. Their leaders
are eager to translate that numerical superiority into political
power after next month's ballot - the first free elections since
the overthrow of the monarchy 45 years ago.
In another blow to Washington's plans for the upcoming elections,
the largest Sunni Muslim political party that had planned to take
part in the Jan. 30 ballot announced Monday it was pulling out of
the race because of the rapidly deteriorating security situation
and the lack of public awareness about the vote.
"The security situation keeps going
from bad to worse and has to be dealt with," said Mohsen
Abdel-Hamid, the Iraqi Islamic Party's leader.
In August 2003, a suicide bomber killed Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir
al-Hakim, elder brother of Abdul Aziz and former leader of the Supreme
Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq.
Like his late brother, Abdul Aziz Al-Hakim is a Shiite cleric
who opposed Saddam Hussein from exile in Iran before returning to
Iraq after last year's U.S.-led invasion.
Meanwhile, a U.S. soldier died of wounds Monday and another was
injured in a roadside bomb explosion in Samarra, 60 miles north
of Baghdad, the U.S. military said in a statement.
The latest casualty brings to at least
1,324 the number of U.S. troops who have died in Iraq since the
beginning of the war in March 2003. [...]
The day after Christmas is a good time to ponder
the slaughter of innocents. Naja Salman, a girl, age 2, killed by
gunfire. Razzaq Salman, a boy, age 11, also gunfire. Rafid Georgis,
a boy, 10, dead from a car bomb.
It's hard to come by a good estimate of the total number of Iraqi
civilians killed in the current war. But it's easy to find descriptions
of individual Iraqi dead, thanks in part to Iraqbodycount.net. Name,
age, gender, place and cause of death -- it's all there, a memorial
to as many victims as the IBC organization can identify.
Like Nada, 6, and her sister Estabraket, 9, killed by gunfire.
And Rami Qais, 4, who died with Sami Qais, 6, both boys, in a mortar
In a war against insurgents, you cannot always tell a combatant
from a noncombatant, which is one reason for the confusion about
the number of civilian victims in Iraq. Most guesses range between
10,000 and 20,000, though other estimates run much higher. The British
medical journal Lancet recently suggested the total may be close
Remember, though, that almost half the population of Iraq is 18
years old or younger. Whatever the overall number of civilian casualties
turns out to be, it will include an awful lot of children.
Shilan Rashid, 3, a girl, killed by a car bomb. Ali Abbas, 13,
a boy, also by a car bomb.
It's true enough that these kids would have faced an uncertain
future under Saddam Hussein. Who knows? They might have suffered
and died in some other act of violence. Instead, though, they are
dying in a war the United States started, by choice, and that makes
"War is waged by adults, but it's the children who suffer
the most," said UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy in
a statement last month. She was talking not about deaths, but about
health; severe malnutrition has almost doubled since the U.S.-led
invasion in March 2003.
That's saying something. Prior to the war, one in eight Iraqi
children died before the age of 5. Acute malnutrition was reported
at 4 percent. Now that figure stands at 7.7 percent, and the Washington
Post reports that an estimated 400,000 children are afflicted by
"wasting," with chronic diarrhea and other symptoms. Experts
blame dirty water.
At a pediatrics teaching hospital in Baghdad, an administrator
told the Post that health officials had expected big improvements
under American occupation. Instead, health care is worsening. Many
international aid agencies have packed up and left.
"Oh God, help us build Iraq again," said the hospital
administrator. "For our children, not for us. For our kids."
A UNICEF report points out that Iraqi 18-year-olds are living
through their third war. Some of them, anyway.
But not Rabha Rekaad, 16, a girl, "gunfire or bombing."
Nor the other Rekaad children who died that day: Zahra, 15, girl;
Ali, 12, boy; Hamza, 6, boy, and Fatima, 4, girl. Nor Arnood Talib,
2, a girl; nor her sister (or was she a cousin?), Kholood, age 6
months on the day last May when she was killed by "gunfire
or bombing," never having lived a day of peacetime, in a country
we promised to liberate.
Palestinian election workers
say they are being obstructed and harassed in east Jerusalem by
the Israeli security forces.
Campaigners for the seven candidates to succeed the late Yasser
Arafat as president of the Palestinian Authority have been summoned
for questioning by the Israeli security agency, the Shin Bet, and
warned not to put up posters or canvass in Jerusalem.
East Jerusalem was annexed by Israel in 1967. It has said it will
allow east Jerusalemites to vote in the January 9 election, but
is disturbed by anything that it sees as manifestations of Palestinian
On Sunday the Israeli cabinet approved measures to ensure a smooth
election including a gradual withdrawal of Israel defence force
soldiers from West Bank cities, granting Palestinians freedom of
movement, and allowing candidates to canvass in east Jerusalem.
But campaigners say they are being obstructed by the Israeli security
Nasser Dajani, the director of Ad Image, an advertising firm which
was putting up bill boards for the candidacy of Mustafa Barghouti,
was told to remove them and summoned for questioning by the Shin
Bet. "I was told I would be held responsible
for any posters that were put up. After one hour they let me go,"
Mr Barghouti was himself arrested by Israeli police
as he campaigned in Jerusalem's Old City yesterday. He was told
his presence was illegal.
It is the second time he has been arrested, and
other candidates have been detained as they have attempted to move
around the West Bank.
Gil Kleiman, a spokesman for the Israeli police, said deciding
what electioneering was permissible in Jerusalem was a delicate
"Normally electioneering without prior approval is not permitted
and [neither is] anything that shows evidence of sovereignty."
He said police had closed voter registration
centres in November because their presence was a challenge to Israeli
In east Jerusalem there are some posters for Mahmoud Abbas, the
Fatah frontrunner to succeed Mr Arafat, but few for the other six
candidates. The slogan reads: "Following the path of Yasser
Arafat towards freedom, indepen dence, the rule of law and prosperity."
Zakaria Halaf, selling records at the Old City's Damascus Gate,
had seen no election activity since the campaign started on Saturday.
"There should be more happening. How
can we have proper elections if nobody knows who the candidates
Nasser Qous, Fatah's campaign manager, said he
had been told by Israeli police that they were not allowed to put
up posters: "They are afraid
of these elections. They are an expression of Palestinian identity."
Adel Abu Zneid, a Fatah campaigner, said: "The main problem
in campaigning is checkpoints. They were easier to get through a
week ago before the campaign started. I get delayed for up to 1
hours every day.
"This election is a challenge to Israeli
authority and they will fight it in every way they can. The reality
on the ground is very different from the statements they are making
to the media.
"They tell the world they will make
it easy for the Palestinians to have elections but in reality they
are making it difficult."
JERSUALEM: Two Israeli grandmothers, one 78
the other 60, were arrested after scrapping with a grocer and his
elderly mother in a bungled robbery attempt, the Maariv newspaper
said on Sunday.
The grannies were spotted on closed-circuit television cameras
making two sweeps around the area in Lod, near Tel Aviv, before
fighting and trying to rob whisky and vodka from the "Right
on time" grocery, Maariv reported.
Due to their age, the two women escaped prison and were put under
house arrest until going to trial.
MULHOUSE, France : At least 15 people were
killed in an explosion in an apartment block in Mulhouse, eastern
France, that was believed caused by a gas leak, fire services said.
The blast on Sunday, which brought down part of the four-storey
building and left several people missing, was the deadliest in France
in 30 years.
The head of the firemen working at the site, Lieutenant-Colonel
Phillipe Schultz, said five people living at the address were missing.
One hundred firemen combing the ruins with sniffer dogs pulled out
12 bodies overnight and early Monday.
"It is very unlikely survivors will be found given the scale
of the damage, but we can always hope and believe there might be
because in this sort of accident there is always a survival zone,"
one fire officer said.
Some 30 people were believed to have been living in the block's
10 apartments, which housed poor families paying rent subsidised
by the state.
The city's mayor, Jean-Marie Bockel, said it appeared the explosion
resulted from a gas leak on the ground floor or first floor of the
building, which was built in 1964 and had been recently renovated.
CUDDALORE, INDIA -- The buzz of grim conversation
in the darkened morgue was broken by a man's shriek as the small
body was lowered on a bed. "My son, my king!" Venkatesh
Thousands of miles away in Indonesia, farmer Yusya Yusman aimlessly
searched the beaches for his two children lost in Sunday's tsunami.
"My life is over," he said emotionlessly.
In country after country, children
have emerged as the biggest victims of Sunday's quake-born tidal
waves -- thousands and thousands drowned, battered and washed
away by huge walls of water that have decimated an entire generation
"The power of this earthquake, and its huge geographical
reach, are just staggering," UNICEF Executive Director Carol
Bellamy said. Thousands of children who managed
to survive in the affected areas now "may be in serious jeopardy,"
The U.N. organization estimates at least
one-third of the tens of thousands who died were children, and the
proportion could be up to half, said UNICEF spokesman Alfred
Ironside in New York. He said communities are suffering a double
loss: dead children and orphaned boys and girls. "Our
major concern is that the kids who survived the tsunami now survive
the aftermath. Because children are the most vulnerable to disease
and lack of proper nutrition and water."
Children make up at least half of the population in Asia. Many
of them work alongside poverty-stricken parents in the fishing or
related industries in coastal areas, so they were in harm's way
when the tidal waves came. Many children from the more affluent
families would also have been on the beaches for a stroll or for
In Sri Lanka, which suffered the biggest loss of life in the tsunami,
crowds had come to the beaches to watch the sea after word spread
that it was producing larger-than-normal waves.
Thousands of children joined their elders to see the spectacle.
The waves brought in fish. The old and the young collected them.
Many waited for more fun.
Then the 15 foot-to-20 foot waves hit the tropical island of 19
"They got caught and could not run to safety. This is the
reason why we have so many child victims," said Rienzie Perera,
a police spokesman who noted that reports
from affected police stations indicated children made up about half
of the victims in Sri Lanka.
On Monday, parents wept over the bodies of their children in streets
and hospitals across the island, even as some dead children still
dangled unclaimed from barbed wire fences.
The scenes of unimagined grief and mourning were repeated across
"Where are my children?" wept 41-year-old Absah as she
searched for her 11 missing children in Banda Aceh, the Indonesian
city closest to Sunday's epicenter. "Where are they? Why did
this happen to me? I've lost everything."
On the day disaster struck, Malaysian Rosita Wan recalled watching
in horror as her 5-year-old son was gulped by the sea while he swam
near the shore at Penang.
"I could only watch helplessly while I heard my son screaming
for help. Then he was underwater and I never saw him again,"
said a sobbing Rosita, 30.
About half of the nearly 400 people who perished
in Cuddalore in India's Tamil Nadu state were children.
Under Hindu tradition, children are buried instead of being cremated
like adults. For the grim task in Cuddalore, two pits, together
about half the size of a basketball court, were dug near a river
at the edge of this coconut palm-fringed town.
After one couple placed the body of their daughter in the deep
pit, a bulldozer shoveled in sand and the little girl disappeared
from view. They then stepped aside for others to bury their children,
denied any chance for a service or private mourning.
Most of the children, ages 5-12, were buried as they were found
-- in their Sunday clothes -- without the luxury of a shroud.
Local officials wanted to finish the burial quickly, and the cremation
of adult victims, so they could turn their attention to helping
those left alive.
"There will be a time for crying, but that will come later.
Now the priority is to shelter those who survived," said fisherman
Akilan, 28, who lost two nephews when waves struck their house.
Akilan uses only one name.
Bodies of young and old lay unclaimed at the town morgue, awaiting
identification by relatives. Doctors called them in one by one over
a public address system, while vans with wailing sirens brought
in newly discovered bodies.
Many emerged from the morgue shaking their heads in silence after
failing to identify any of the bodies as that of their loved ones.
Venkatesh, who uses only one name, found his 11-year-old son,
Suman, as his body was lowered onto a gurney.
The 37-year-old man had been in Dubai, where he went three months
ago as a construction worker. When his wife called from Cuddalore
to tell him their boy was missing, Venkatesh flew home immediately
and went straight to the morgue.
There, he found his wife and daughter minutes before Suman's body
was brought in.
"I never thought I would only see my son's body," cried
Venkatesh, refusing even a sip of water.
Within moments, an identification tag was tied to the boy's hand
and his body taken inside.
As one of his relatives pulled him away, Venkatesh kept asking:
"How can I go, leaving behind my son?"
The bulletins poured in from Thailand, Sri
Lanka and India on Sunday, each more heartbreaking than the last:
a boy wrenched from his mother's grasp by a surge of seawater, impoverished
fishermen watching their boats shredded by the fury of nature, a
father trying to find dry ground to bury his drowned daughter.
But one of the most tragic thoughts is that much of the day's
loss of life might have been averted had the victims received just
a little more warning.
In 1964, after an epic earthquake in Alaska set off tsunamis across
the Pacific Ocean, scientists began building an international warning
system of ocean buoys and radio signals to track seismic events
on land and undersea. The system became so effective that, when
Sunday's earthquake erupted near Sumatra, scientists thousands of
miles away in Honolulu knew about it within 15 minutes.
The global warning system, however, does not include tracking
buoys in the Indian Ocean, so scientists could not chart the speed
and direction of the catastrophic tsunamis that swept north and
west from Sumatra on Sunday. Thousands of
people hundreds of miles away, people who might have had an hour's
warning or more, instead learned of their fate only when a horrific
wall of water was upon them. The outpouring of medicine,
food, water and other humanitarian aid from Europe and the United
States already is impressive, but eventually it should also include
help in extending the seismic warning system.
That said, Sunday's earthquake is a reminder of the humility of
science before nature. When a 700-mile plate of ocean seabed suddenly
surged like a giant sitting up in bed, millions of gallons of seawater
were displaced and began rolling away with ineluctable force. Around
the rim of the Indian Ocean, where millions of people are packed
into coastal villages scarcely feet above sea level, a great disaster
was inevitable. [...]
LOS ANGELES - An earthquake that unleashed
deadly tidal waves on Asia was so powerful it made the Earth wobble
on its axis and permanently altered the regional map, US geophysicists
The 9.0-magnitude temblor that struck 250 kilometers
(155 miles) southeast of Sumatra island Sunday may have moved small
islands as much as 20 meters (66 feet), according to one expert.
"That earthquake has changed the map," US Geological
Survey expert Ken Hudnut told AFP.
"Based on seismic modeling, some of the smaller islands off
the southwest coast of Sumatra may have moved to the southwest by
about 20 meters. That is a lot of slip."
The northwestern tip of the Indonesian territory
of Sumatra may also have shifted to the southwest by around 36 meters
(120 feet), Hudnut said.
In addition, the energy released as the two sides
of the undersea fault slipped against each other made the Earth
wobble on its axis, Hudnut said.
"We can detect very slight motions of the Earth and I would
expect that the Earth wobbled in its orbit when the earthquake occurred
due the massive amount of energy exerted and the sudden shift in
mass," Hudnut said.
Another USGS research geophysicist agreed that the Earth would
have got a "little jog," and that the islands off Sumatra
would have been moved by the quake.
However, Stuart Sipkin, of the USGS National Earthquake
Information Center in Golden Colorado, said it was more likely that
the islands off Sumatra had risen higher out of the sea than they
had moved laterally.
"In in this case, the Indian plate dived below the Burma plate,
causing uplift, so most of the motion to the islands would have
been vertical, not horizontal." [...]
ONE person is dead, another missing, and 23
injured after a series of earthquakes in southwestern China's Yunnan
province, state media and officials have reported.
A total of 47 tremors, some of them as powerful
as 5.0 on the Richter scale, struck Yunnan over a 17-hour period
on Sunday, the Beijing Times said. Incomplete statistics
from rural Shuangbai county showed that one person had died, a Shuangbai
In Binchuan county, one person was missing while collapsing roofs
and crumbling walls had injured 23, two of them seriously, the Beijing
The paper reported some material damage to buildings in the area,
but gave no details.
Yunnan province in a quake-prone part of China experienced a tremor
in August that left more than 125,000 people homeless, killed four
and injured nearly 600.
A MASSIVE earthquake measuring 8.2
on the Richter scale struck the largely uninhabited area around
Macquarie Island in Antarctica, French seismological officials said.
The quake hit at 1.58am Friday AEDT, the Earth
Sciences Observatory in Strasbourg said in a statement.
The Macquarie archipelago, an Australian territory some 1500km
south-east of Tasmania, is the only island group in the world composed
entirely of oceanic crust and rocks from the mantle - deep below
the earth's surface - according to the website of the Australian
Government's environment ministry.
The island group, with mountains rising to 400m above sea level,
became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997 due in part to its unique
natural beauty and in part to its diversity in fauna.
Its colony of king penguins, numbering around 850,000, is one of
the largest in the world.
Astronomers spotted an asteroid this week after
it had flown past Earth on a course
that took it so close to the planet it was below the orbits of some
The space rock was relatively small, however, and would not have
posed any danger had it plunged into the atmosphere.
The object, named 2004 YD5, was about 16 feet (5 meters) wide,
though that's a rough estimate based on its distance and assumed
reflectivity. Had it entered the atmosphere,
it would have exploded high up, experts figure.
The asteroid passed just under the orbits of geostationary satellites,
which at 22,300 miles (36,000 kilometers) altitude are the highest
manmade objects circling Earth. Most other satellites, along with
the International Space Station, circle the planet at just a few
hundred miles up.
2004 YD5 is the second closest pass of
an asteroid ever observed by telescope, according to the
Asteroid/Comet Connection, a web site that monitors space rock discoveries.
The closest involved a rock that flew by last March and was not
announced until August.
2004 YD5 was discovered Tuesday, Dec. 21 by Stan Pope, who volunteers
his time to examine images provided by the FMO (Fast Moving Object)
project, an online program run by the University of Arizona's Spacewatch
Project. After the initial detection, other observers noted the
object's position during the day and its path was then calculated
back. Closest approach occurred on Dec. 19.
The rock approached Earth from near the
Sun and so would have been nearly impossible to detect prior to
close passage. It soared over Antarctica
-- underneath the planet, Washington State University researcher
Pasquale Tricarico told the Asteroid/Comet Connection. [...]
Could a tsunami like yesterday's hit the Washington
It can and, in fact, it already has.
On Jan. 26, 1700, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake buckled the ocean
floor from Vancouver Island to Northern California — the Cascade
subduction zone — setting off a tsunami that swamped the West
Coast of North America and washed away houses in Japan.
Today, geologists and emergency agencies use the evidence left
behind from that quake to design tsunami-response programs for the
Pacific Coast of North America and Puget Sound.
Yesterday's earthquake off Sumatra bears an eerie similarity to
the one that shook our coastlines nearly 305 years ago. The two
quakes are estimated to have been about the same magnitude, both
occurred on north-south faults along the western edge of an ocean
and both had "rupture lengths" — the length of fault
that slipped in the quake — of about 600 miles.
"The parallels are incredible," said Brian Atwater,
a U.S. Geological Survey geologist based at the University of Washington.
Over the past several thousand years, the Cascade subduction zone
has generated a severe earthquake about once every 500 years. Geologists
put the likelihood of another major quake in the next 30 years at
5 to 10 percent.
The Sumatra quake "is a reminder for people in our region
that the earth can do this here, too," Atwater said. [...]
LONDON: A scientist looking to pinpoint the
next big earthquake has warned the US east coast could be destroyed
by a tsunami unleashed by the collapse of a volcanic island in the
A massive chunk of La Palma, the most volcanically active island
in the Canaries archipelago, is unstable, British geologist Simon
Day warned yesterday.
Dr Day, of the Benfield Grieg Hazard Research Centre at University
College London, said the 500 billion tonne rock could collapse the
next time the volcano, Cumbre Vieja, erupts.
That would send a dome-shaped wall of water up
to 100m tall - 10 times as high as the tsunamis that hit south Asia
- racing across the Atlantic at 800km/h.
Waves would hit the west coast of Africa and the south coast of
England within a few hours, he said.
Eight hours after the collapse, the US
east coast and the Caribbean would bear the brunt. Cities from Miami
to New York would be swamped by waves up to 50m high, capable of
surging 20km inland, according to Dr Day's research.
Tsunamis are commonly caused by earthquakes under the sea. About
three decades ago, scientists determined that such gigantic waves
could also be caused by collapsing islands.
Dr Day first published his findings on Cumbre Vieja in 1999 after
a two-year study into the volcano, which occupies the southern half
of La Palma.
He identified dozens of volcanic vents formed by successive eruptions
over the past 100,000 years and collected samples of lava to build
a detailed geological picture.
He found the volcano's vents were laid out in the shape of a three-pointed
"Mercedes star", the western flank of which - a mass comprising
about 500 billion tonnes of rock - was gradually becoming detached
as volcanic activity forced magma to the surface.
The flank is slowly falling into the sea, but a major eruption
by Cumbre Vieja could cause it to fall with catastrophic effect,
Dr Day said.
"Eruptions of Cumbre Vieja occur at intervals of decades
to a century or so and there may be a number of eruptions before
its collapse," he said.
The island has had seven known eruptions, the last of which was
In August, one of Dr Day's colleagues, Bill McGuire, told a conference
on global geophysical disasters that Cumbre Vieja could blow "any
time" and warned there was insufficient watch on the volcano.
"Eventually, the whole rock will collapse into the water
and the collapse will devastate the Atlantic margin," he said.
"We need to be out there now looking at when an eruption
is likely to happen ... otherwise there will be no time to evacuate
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Snow, sleet and freezing
rain pelted the Carolinas on Sunday, knocking out power to thousands
and causing hundreds of accidents on one of the busiest travel and
shopping days of the year. At least two people were killed.
Portions of eastern North Carolina received more than 20 centimetres
of snow, surprising residents who often go an entire winter without
seeing snow. About 10,000 people were without power. Further south,
freezing rain coated trees and power lines with ice, knocking out
power to more than 25,000 homes and businesses in central and northeastern
State troopers responded to hundreds of calls of accidents on
the icy roads throughout the day. Two people were killed in North
Police said thousands of people were on their way home from the
Christmas holidays when the storm struck. It came after parts of
the Carolinas received several centimetres of snow last week.
"We knew that this would be an unusual event," said
Gail Hartfield, a weather service meteorologist. "It is unusual,
but it's not completely unprecedented." [...]
HALIFAX - Most parts of Atlantic Canada were
hit with an intense blizzard on Monday. Now that same storm is on
its way to Newfoundland.
A low pressure system off Nova Scotia began dumping snow throughout
the region Sunday night . Parts of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and
Prince Edward Island got as much as 50 cm of snow along with winds
gusting to 95 km/h.
Shoppers in Halifax brave white-out conditions Monday.
The storm led to power outages around the Maritimes, as well as
flights being canceled or delayed, road closures and other traffic
Even snowplows had to be pulled off the roads in some regions.
Chuck Bernard, who lives in Bouctouche, on the east coast of New
Brunswick, says people are keeping an eye on rising water levels
because of a possible storm surge.
The rising water has already reached some property lines.
"It's very rough," Bernard said. "The wind is a
little bit down from this morning, at least we can see across the
street. But the ice has moved off the bay, the fishermen's huts
were all on there, the fishermen's fishing nets for the smelt are
all gone. It's very scary, very rough and rugged."
The storm will move off towards Newfoundland overnight, where
the western half of the island can expect blizzard-like conditions.
Environment Canada says the Port-aux-Basques area should expect
winds gusting to 130 km/h, and is warning of heavy snowfalls.
The snow is expected to change over to heavy rain by the time
it reaches eastern Newfoundland.
A strong Pacific storm system is making its
way down the coast, bringing plenty of rain.
The National Weather Service is issuing a flash flood watch from
6 tonight until noon tomorrow. Affected areas include Santa Barbara,
Ventura and Los Angeles counties.
A similar flood watch is being issued for Orange, San Diego, Riverside
and San Bernardino counties for tomorrow through Wednesday night.
Forecasters expect heavy rainfall that could reach up to ten inches
in some areas. They're warning of possible mudslides in and below
LOS ANGELES - A massive storm hammered California
on Monday, causing deadly collisions on slick highways, delaying
flights and flooding low-lying areas.
Snow, rain, lightning, strong wind gusts and waterspouts were
forecast as the storm moved down the California coast and tapped
into a tropical flow, spinning moisture into the region. The roughest
weather was forecast for Tuesday.
San Francisco was hit by 3.08 inches as of 5 p.m., according to
the National Weather Service, leading to some flight delays at San
Francisco International Airport.
Street flooding in San Francisco brought Vince Barr out to direct
traffic in hopes of keeping the water out of his business.
"We're trying to slow the traffic down so the waves don't
come into our business because the water is at the door's edge right
now," Barr told KGO-TV. "You have to do what you have
to do to save the business. This is not the first time this has
Rainfall was even heavier in Kentfield in Marin County receiving
6.01 inches of rain and Santa Rosa getting 3.92. Half Moon Bay,
in Santa Clara County, was hit by 3.95 inches.
The storm pushed its way into Southern California late Monday.
A trucker was killed when his big-rig went over the side of northbound
Interstate 5 in the Tejon Pass near Pyramid Lake.
Treacherous conditions were forecast for travelers.
The National Weather Service posted a winter storm watch for mountains
above 6,500 feet for most of Tuesday and Wednesday. More than a
foot of snow could fall in the San Bernardino Mountains with the
snow level dropping to 5,500 feet in some areas.
High wind warnings Tuesday through Wednesday could bring gusts
to 70 mph and visibilities could be reduced dramatically in the
mountains because of blowing and drifting snow.
Forecasters expect unstable, wet weather through next week - with
rain possible for the Rose Parade on New Year's Day. It hasn't rained
on the Rose Parade since 1955.
28 (RIA Novosti, Oksana Guseva) - Ashes are ejected from the crater
of the Shiveluch volcano in Kamchatka to a height of up to 2,000
As RIA Novosti was told on Tuesday at the Kamchatka experimental-methodological
seismologic expedition, a column of gas and ashes rose to such a
height at 12.39 Moscow time. The height of the ejection above sea
level exceeded 5,000 m.
The seismic stations near the volcano register underground tremors
from a depth of up to 5,000 m and interrupted spasmodic volcanic
For the greater part of the past 24 hours it was impossible to
conduct video observation of Shiveluch because of bad weather but
scientists hold the view that some ejections are accompanied by
Shiveluch (its height is 3,283 m) is now at the stage of active
eruption. Powerful intensification of the eruption was noted on
May 10. The height of the ejections of ashes reached 10,000 m over
the crater, and red-hot fragmentation avalanches went down from
the volcano's slopes. The Emergencies Ministry regional directorate
closed the volcano and nearby territory for visits.
The volcano is not dangerous to the populated areas of the peninsula
now, but the ejections of ashes and trains seriously endanger the
tourists, fishermen and hunters staying in the volcano area, hamper
navigation, and pose a threat to aviation. Particles of the volcanic
ashes can get into the turbines of aircraft and cause major technical
A killer asteroid is on the way.
Or maybe not.
As I write this column, Asteroid 2004 MN is projected to have a
roughly 1-in-37 chance of striking the Earth when it passes this
way in 2029. By the time you read this, the odds number –
which is being continually revised as new data arrives and uncertainties
about the asteroid's precise position and path are resolved –
may have gone up, or may have dropped to zero.
Regardless, this is at least a close call, and should also serve
as a wake-up call. Asteroid impacts aren't just the stuff of science-fiction
novels and Hollywood special-effects extravaganzas. This stuff is
But there's worse news: The asteroids that we see may be less troubling
than the ones that we're missing.
Days before Christmas, astronomers located an asteroid after it
had whizzed by the Earth, coming so close it was below the orbits
of some satellites.
This asteroid wouldn't have been a threat. It was too small. It
serves to demonstrate that there's a lot of stuff out there, and
we don't have a very good handle on it. And, as space journalist
Leonard David noted a couple of years ago, smallish asteroid impacts
pose another sort of risk:
"Military strategists and space scientists that wonder and
worry about a run-in between Earth and a comet or asteroid have
additional worries in these trying times," he wrote. "With
world tensions being the way they are, even a small incoming space
rock, detonating over any number of political hot spots, could trigger
a country's nuclear response, convinced it was attacked by an enemy."
Of course, as I write about the potential dangers posed by asteroids,
a very real event – an earthquake and tsunami that have killed
large numbers of people along the coast of the Indian Ocean –
has just taken place. And that raises some questions: How much effort
should we put into preparing against things like asteroid strikes,
versus preparation for more earthbound disasters? And, if we decide
to do more to prepare against tsunamis and earthquakes, how are
we to go about it?
It may actually be cheaper to prepare against an asteroid strike.
The first step, monitoring the heavens for threats, is relatively
cheap and promises to do some good – certainly it's likely
to produce more warning than we can get before earthquakes and tsunamis.
Later stages, involving the interception of dangerous asteroids,
will cost more, but since as far as we know there's no way at all
to prevent earthquakes or tsunamis, they'd still be comparatively
But this weekend's deaths were as much a result of poverty and
inattention as of earth movement. Poverty, of course, leads people
to live along the waterline in ramshackle housing. With this, as
with much else, it's better to be rich.
Inattention is partly the result of poverty. Rich nations can worry
about threats like asteroid impacts, while poor nations can't even
worry about tsunamis. And, in fact, inattention played a role in
the tsunami deaths.
None of the hardest hit nations had a warning system in place to
detect the oncoming waves. And the extreme rarity of such occurrences
in the Indian Ocean meant that populations had not been taught to
run inland if they felt earthquake tremors. A threat that hadn't
appeared recently was discounted, with tragic results. Let's not
make the same mistake where asteroid impacts are concerned.
Over the longer run, the best protection against catastrophes,
whether foreseen or unforeseen, is a society that is rich enough,
and diverse enough, to be well prepared for all sorts of contingencies.
Which means that economic growth, and the freedom that produces
it, may be the best guarantor of safety for us all.
A rich society can afford to worry about things that a poorer one
wouldn't have the resources to think about. A rich society can take
steps to prevent disasters before they happen. A rich society is
better positioned to survive disasters once they occur, even if
they are completely unforeseen, or unforeseeable.
Where survival is concerned, rich is better. That's something to
keep in mind when people describe economic growth as "anti-human."
It could happen here.
A British researcher insists that it's only a matter of time before
a killer tsunami like the one that swamped south Asia hits New York
and the East Coast.
The stage was set for the mega-disaster in 1971, when an eruption
loosened a 12-mile-wide chunk of the Cumbre Vieja volcano on the
If and when the 500 billion tons of barely hanging rock finally
barrels into the Atlantic, it could make the disaster flick "The
Day After Tomorrow," look like a joke, experts say. Prof. Bill
McGuire, of the Benfield Hazard Research Center at University College
in London, said the largest tidal wave ever would race across the
Atlantic at up to 600 mph and hit New York as well as shorelines
from the Caribbean to Boston.
Towering waves of up to 75 feet would engulf the city, traveling
miles inland, destroying everything in their path, he told the Daily
News in August.
And it's not just McGuire issuing the doomsday warning.
"If you peel off a side of a volcano and let it slide into
the deep ocean, yes, it's going to generate a tidal wave. And from
that location it will travel to the U.S.," John Mutter, a seismologist
at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, agreed.
It would take the wave eight to 10 hours to race across the Atlantic
after the massive volcano hits lands in the ocean.
"It would be extremely difficult to evacuate all those people
in time," McGuire said.
| TOKYO, Dec. 28 (Xinhuanet) -- An
earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 4.9 on the Richter scale
jolted the Chuetsu region in northeast Japan's Niigata Prefecture
Tuesday evening, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.
The quake also measured a lower 5 on the Japanese seismic scale
of 7 in the region, the agency said.
There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage from the
quake, which occurred around 6:30 p.m.
| SINGAPORE (Reuters) - The death
toll from a magnitude 9.0 earthquake near Indonesia and the resulting
tsunami in the Indian Ocean rose to 36,946 people, government officials
and media from affected countries said.
Officials fear the figure could rise to almost 57,000. Indonesia
said its toll could hit 25,000, while Sri Lankan officials warned
up to 25,000 people may have died there. Thailand said its toll
may exceed 2,000.
These figures are preliminary and in some cases rough estimates
by local officials:
Country Deaths Injured Bangladesh 2 India 9,499* Indonesia 7,072
up to 100,000 Kenya 1 Malaysia 59 218 Maldives 52 Myanmar 34 Somalia
38 Sri Lanka 18,706 Tanzania 10 Thailand 1,473 7,000 TOTAL 36,946
* The figure includes an estimated 5,000 feared killed in India's
Andaman and Nicobar islands.
The numbers are based on comments by official sources and local
Numbers of injured were not available for all countries affected,
but are expected to exceed the number of dead.
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The dollar fell to new
lows against the euro on Monday, part of broad losses the U.S. currency
suffered as traders gunned down technical targets amid thin market
Many traders and investors were on extended vacations after the
Christmas holiday keeping volume relatively low and causing small
orders to have exaggerated effects on prices.
"Today traders primarily went after stop-loss orders, taking
advantage of thin market conditions between the Christmas holiday
and the New Year and succeeding in driving the dollar lower,"
said Alex Beuzelin, foreign exchange analyst with Ruesch International.
"It was largely a technical move that was very consistent
with the underlying fundamental concerns on the greenback,"
he added. [...]
Larry Brickman, currency strategist at Bank of America in New York,
said there was no fresh economic reason for the euro's move and
agreed that thin conditions helped magnify the market's deeper trend.
"It's more of the same, more dollar weakness and a continuation
of the same theme going into the new year," Brickman said.
"We don't think the ECB is going to
come in," he said, referring to potential intervention from
the European Central Bank to stem the euro's rise. [...]
The United States is in a league of its own
when it comes to sending junk mail to e-mail users.
Researchers at security software company Sophos found that 42 percent
of all spam sent this year came from the United States, based on
a scan by its researchers of a global network of honey pots--computers
designed to attract spam e-mails and viruses.
Source of spam
Share of spam (percent)
Sophos said this is evidence that America's antispam legislation
simply isn't working.
"When we released the first report back in
February, the U.S. had the excuse that the Can-Spam Act had been
in existence for only three months," said Graham Cluley, senior
technology consultant for Sophos, on Friday.
"Almost a year and millions of spam
messages later, it is quite evident that that the Can-Spam legislation
has made very little headway in damming the flood of spam,"
he said. [...]
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