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and extensive previously unpublished details, at long last, Laura Knight-Jadczyk's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
President Bush finally roused himself yesterday
from his vacation in Crawford, Tex., to telephone his sympathy to
the leaders of India, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Indonesia, and to
speak publicly about the devastation of Sunday's tsunamis in Asia.
He also hurried to put as much distance as possible between himself
and America's initial measly aid offer of $15 million, and he took
issue with an earlier statement by the United Nations' emergency
relief coordinator, Jan Egeland, who had called the overall aid
efforts by rich Western nations "stingy." "The person
who made that statement was very misguided and ill informed,"
the president said.
We beg to differ. Mr. Egeland was right on target. We hope Secretary
of State Colin Powell was privately embarrassed when, two days into
a catastrophic disaster that hit 12 of the world's poorer countries
and will cost billions of dollars to meliorate, he held a press
conference to say that America, the world's richest nation, would
contribute $15 million. That's less than
half of what Republicans plan to spend on the Bush inaugural festivities.
The American aid figure for the current disaster is now $35 million,
and we applaud Mr. Bush's turnaround. But $35 million remains a
miserly drop in the bucket, and is in keeping with the pitiful amount
of the United States budget that we allocate for nonmilitary foreign
aid. According to a poll, most Americans
believe the United States spends 24 percent of its budget on aid
to poor countries; it actually spends
well under a quarter of 1 percent.
Bush administration officials help create that perception gap.
Fuming at the charge of stinginess, Mr. Powell pointed to disaster
relief and said the United States "has given more aid in the
last four years than any other nation or combination of nations
in the world." But for development aid, America gave $16.2
billion in 2003; the European Union gave $37.1 billion. In 2002,
those numbers were $13.2 billion for America, and $29.9 billion
Making things worse, we often pledge more money than we actually
deliver. Victims of the earthquake in Bam,
Iran, a year ago are still living in tents because aid, including
ours, has not materialized in the amounts pledged. And back
in 2002, Mr. Bush announced his Millennium Challenge account to
give African countries development assistance of up to $5 billion
a year, but the account has yet to disburse a single dollar.
Mr. Bush said yesterday that the $35 million we've now pledged
"is only the beginning" of the United States' recovery
effort. Let's hope that is true, and that this time, our actions
will match our promises.
The Bush administration more than doubled its
financial commitment yesterday to provide relief to nations suffering
from the Indian Ocean tsunami, amid complaints that the vacationing
President Bush has been insensitive to a humanitarian catastrophe
of epic proportions.
As the death toll surpassed 50,000 with no sign of abating, the
U.S. Agency for International Development added $20 million to an
earlier pledge of $15 million to provide relief, and the Pentagon
dispatched an aircraft carrier and other military assets to the
region. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, in morning television
appearances, chafed at a top U.N. aid official's comment on Monday
that wealthy countries were being stingy with aid. "The United
States is not stingy," Powell said on CNN.
Although U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland yesterday
withdrew his earlier comment, domestic criticism of Bush continued
to rise. Skeptics said the initial aid sums -- as well as Bush's
decision at first to remain cloistered on his Texas ranch for the
Christmas holiday rather than speak in person about the tragedy
-- showed scant appreciation for the magnitude
of suffering and for the rescue and rebuilding work facing
such nations as Sri Lanka, India, Thailand and Indonesia.
After a day of repeated inquiries from reporters about his public
absence, Bush late yesterday afternoon announced plans to hold a
National Security Council meeting by teleconference to discuss several
issues, including the tsunami, followed by a short public statement.
Bush's deepened public involvement puts him more in line with
other world figures. In Germany, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder cut
short his vacation and returned to work in Berlin because of the
Indian Ocean crisis, which began with a gigantic underwater earthquake.
In Britain, the predominant U.S. voice speaking about the disaster
was not Bush but former president Bill Clinton, who in an interview
with the BBC said the suffering was like something in a "horror
movie," and urged a coordinated international response.
Earlier yesterday, White House spokesman Trent Duffy said the
president was confident he could monitor events effectively without
returning to Washington or making public statements in Crawford,
where he spent part of the day clearing brush and bicycling. Explaining
the about-face, a White House official said: "The president
wanted to be fully briefed on our efforts.
He didn't want to make a symbolic statement about 'We feel your
Many Bush aides believe Clinton was too quick to head for the
cameras to hold forth on tragedies with his trademark empathy. "Actions
speak louder than words," a top Bush aide said, describing
the president's view of his appropriate role.
Some foreign policy specialists said Bush's actions and words
both communicated a lack of urgency about an event that will loom
as large in the collective memories of several countries as the
Sept. 11, 2001, attacks do in the United States.
"When that many human beings die -- at the hands of terrorists
or nature -- you've got to show that this matters to you, that you
care," said Leslie H. Gelb, president emeritus of the
Council on Foreign Relations.
There was an international outpouring of support after the attacks
on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and even
some administration officials familiar with relief efforts said
they were surprised that Bush had not appeared personally to comment
on the tsunami tragedy. "It's kind of freaky," a
senior career official said.
The president of Bread for the World, a leading advocacy group
lobbying for more U.S. assistance to suffering people abroad, did
not criticize the Bush administration, but did urge the United States
to play a central role in the relief effort. "This is a disaster
of biblical proportions and one that calls for a global response,
with the United States playing a key role," David Beckmann
Still, the United Nations' Egeland complained on Monday that each
of the richest nations gives less than 1 percent of its gross national
product for foreign assistance, and many give 0.1 percent. "It
is beyond me why we are so stingy, really," he told reporters.
Among the world's two dozen wealthiest countries, the United States
often is among the lowest in donors per capita for official development
assistance worldwide, even though the totals are larger. According
to the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
of 30 wealthy nations, the United States gives the least --
at 0.14 percent of its gross national product, compared with Norway,
which gives the most at 0.92 percent.
| KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 30 (Bernama) --
The death toll in Acheh, the region worst hit by last Sunday's tsunami,
may exceed 400,000 as many affected areas could still not be reached
for search and rescue operations, Indonesia's Ambassador to Malaysia
Drs H. Rusdihardjo said Thursday.
He said the estimate was based on air surveillance by Indonesian
authorities who found no signs of life in places like Meulaboh,
Pulau Simeulue and Tapak Tuan while several islands off the west
coast of Sumatera had "disappeared".
He said the latest death toll of more than 40,000 in Acheh and
northern Sumatera did not take into account the figures from the
other areas, especially in the west of the region.
"Aerial surveillance found the town of Meulaboh completely
destroyed with only one buiding standing. The building, which belonged
to the military, happens to be on a hill," he told reporters
after receiving RM1 million in aid for Indonesia's Tsunami Disaster
Relief Fund here Thursday.
Rusdihardjo said there were about 150,000 residents in Meulaboh,
which was located 150km from the epicentre of the earthquake while
Pulau Simeuleu had a population of 76,000.
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (Reuters)
-- Wild animals seem to have escaped the Indian Ocean tsunami, adding
weight to notions they possess a "sixth sense" for disasters,
experts said on Thursday.
Sri Lankan wildlife officials have said the giant waves that killed
over 24,000 people along the Indian Ocean island's coast seemingly
missed wild beasts, with no dead animals found.
"No elephants are dead, not even a dead hare or rabbit. I
think animals can sense disaster. They have a sixth sense. They
know when things are happening," H.D. Ratnayake, deputy director
of Sri Lanka's Wildlife Department, said on Wednesday.
| With a death toll rising
above 120,000, and large affected areas still inaccessible to
rescuers, the Asian tsunami disaster has become a truly global crisis.
Millions from all over the world have been affected, whole industries,
villages, even tribes destroyed in an instant. Although the human
casualties alone are so far of the magnitude of about 40 9/11's, the
US government's initial reaction was sluggish at best. It took the
scathing "stingy" comment from UN official Jan Egeland to provoke
the Bush Administration into taking "the lead," as
they are saying now. Perhaps they will. But the question remains,
why was it a full 3 days into the catastrophe before they took the
The US government initially offered $15 million, but after the
Egeland comment increased
it to $35 million. The New York Times quite
rightly pointed out that the latter was still a "miserly drop
in the bucket" from the world's wealthiest nation. The newspaper
put the initial offering in perspective, dismissing $15 million
as less than what the Republicans will shell out for George W. Bush's
inaugural ceremony -a vestigial formality if ever there was one
It is all too obvious that the US's relative disinterest in the
disaster has to do with its cause: a random act of nature. Absent
a human actor who can easily be held up to blame, an act of natural
terror is not interesting for the powers that be, because it does
not allow a reaction of the order of regime change or "shock and
awe" bombardment. Really, who wants to feed the people who are starving
for food, when it's so much more satisfying to feed those who seem
to be starving for democracy? When there's no one to punish, no
perceived political wrong to right, the US tends to ignore the crisis.
Or, as with the devastating Bam earthquake in Iran, which killed
over 20,000 and occurred exactly one year to the day before the
tsunami, the government grudgingly pledged to help out with some
relief - and then immediately started baying for Iranian blood once
again. However, as the Times pointed out, the aid for Iran
"still has not been delivered." We shouldn't hold our breath.
As everyone knows, wars and regime change cost a lot of money.
In other words, well-connected individuals and corporations make
a lot of money from them. Sure, relief agencies have always been
marred by corruption charges, but a similar capacity for profiteering
does not exist here, and the work is hardly as sexy. And, at least
sometimes, such agencies do get the job done - as
Eric Garris points out with Medecins
How much does war cost, and what uses could that money be put to
instead? Costofwar.com answers
both questions, displaying a running counter of the cost of fighting
the war in Iraq, along with a comparative study beneath of such
worthy causes as health, education, college scholarships, immunizations,
AIDS and world hunger. The amount comparisons are astonishing, and
should provoke some serious thought about America's priorities.
The same logic certainly applies to the Tsunami relief, which although
being shared by the UN and numerous foreign countries and bodies
could certainly benefit from the generosity of Uncle Sam. After
all, it could have been us ('us' is anyone who happens to live near
a coastline with similar geographic dynamics in play, not just Americans).
And if the US government is indeed so eager to display its alleged
benevolence, this would be a good opportunity to make the most of
of a horrendous situation.
The government is not entirely insensitive to charges of profligacy
when it comes to wars. But here it tends to revel in its own deceptive
language, as with today's
New York Times story that announces Pentagon "budget
cuts" in "the billions." While officials trumpet a $60 billion cut
(over the next 6 years), part of this amount seems to be represented
by the perceived value of an old aircraft carrier which is set to
be mothballed - hardly an unexpected or sudden decision. The other
parts of the "cuts" just mean not buying in the future -
actually, just putting off the purchase of - some F/A-22 fighters
for the Air Force and a new Navy destroyer.
The Times states that since 9/11 Pentagon spending has gotten
a healthy 41 percent boost, "to about $420 billion this year." In
other words, far from offering $60 billion "cuts," the Pentagon
got a mere $360 billion increase - and that's even ignoring the
fuzzy logic behind the deceptive language.
It is a shame that the US government has chosen to display its
military's flawless technology, logistical depth and manpower through
killing tens of thousands in Iraq and Afghanistan, all for no good
reason and with no logical justification. They talk about winning
"hearts and minds" in the outside world - and even believe that
they can do it through war. But if the US really wanted to "shock
and awe" the rest of the world, it would have immediately directed
its available forces in the region to provide tsunami relief. In
light of the tragedy, it could have even called a halt (if even
a temporary one) to offensive actions in Iraq. As it stands, the
incongruity between the US pledging to save lives in one corner
of the world even as it stamps them out in another can only be seen
By the way, in the 90 minutes it took to write this article, the
cost of the war in Iraq jumped from $147,561,500,303 to $147,571,322,304.
That's a difference of almost 10 million dollars or, in other
terms, the better half of the Bush inaugural.
Yet right now, every passing moment is critical for tsunami survivors
left without homes,
Time is of the essence: the
UN is warning that epidemics may break out soon, and increasing
and violence indicate the poorest and weakest victims may be
trampled underfoot. Nevertheless, it appears that securing Iraq's
show elections and transformation into a Jeffersonian democracy
outweigh these problems.
Q: How prepared is the U.S.
Government to deal with (inaudible)?
A: I think we have to really intensify our efforts. That's the
reason for the Nunn/Lugar II program. That's the reason why it's
a local responsibility, as such, but the Department of Defense is
going to be taking the lead as far as supervising the interagency
working groups, and to make the assessments as to what needs to
be done. So we're going to identify those 120 cities and work with
them very closely to make sure that they can prepare themselves
for what is likely to be a threat well into the future.
Q: Let me ask you specifically about last week's scare here in
Washington, and what we might have learned from how prepared we
are to deal with that (inaudible), at B'nai Brith.
A: Well, it points out the nature of the threat. It turned out
to be a false threat under the circumstances. But as we've learned
in the intelligence community, we had something called -- and we
have James Woolsey here to perhaps even address this question about
phantom moles. The mere fear that there is a mole within an agency
can set off a chain reaction and a hunt for that particular mole
which can paralyze the agency for weeks and months and years even,
in a search. The same thing is true about just the false scare of
a threat of using some kind of a chemical weapon or a biological
one. There are some reports, for example, that some countries have
been trying to construct something like an Ebola Virus, and that
would be a very dangerous phenomenon, to say the least. Alvin Toeffler
has written about this in terms of some scientists
in their laboratories trying to devise certain types of pathogens
that would be ethnic specific so that they could just eliminate
certain ethnic groups and races; and others are designing
some sort of engineering, some sort of insects that can destroy
specific crops. Others are engaging even
in an eco- type of terrorism whereby they
can alter the climate, set off earthquakes, volcanoes
remotely through the use of electromagnetic waves.
So there are plenty of ingenious minds out there that are at work
finding ways in which they can wreak terror upon other nations.
It's real, and that's the reason why we have to intensify our efforts,
and that's why this is so important. [...]
In the immediate aftermath of the 2004 election,
when the topic of conversation turned to religion and a) republican’s
claim to be the party of Christianity; and b) the claim that evangelicals
helped re-elect Bush; one of the callers to my radio show made the
suggestion that we should not try and "out-Jesus" the
right. I agreed, and added that we should also endeavor to demonstrate
that the right is not anywhere near as "Jesus-y" as they
claim to be (along with of course, alerting our fellow citizens
as to who owns the media, not to mention the machines that count
Looking back at this Christmas season and what it’s supposed
to represent, namely, the whole "Christ thing" republicans
always get their edible undies and leather G-strings in a wad over;
I found myself pondering a few remarks attributed to alleged "Christian"
spokespeople. You have Pat Robertson rallying millions to lobby
God for the deaths of liberal Supreme Court justices – recommending
prayers for coronaries and cancer; you have the gluttonous Jerry
Falwell calling for the deaths of our enemies; and you’ve
got the chaste Jimmy Swaggart calling for the deaths of gays.
I then thought about the millions of brainwashed, brain-dead,
Bush boot lickers who continue on their merry quest for a seemingly
utopian, fascist state (where blissful, willful ignorance reigns
supreme) and continue to support the wanton murder of innocent human
beings in Iraq (and anywhere else the Bush administration lies them
into thinking they have go to kill people). And yet, over the holidays,
I would hear these same people - these same self-professed "Christians"
- call conservative talk radio, completely unaware of what colossal
hypocrites and fools there were exposing themselves to be.
On the one hand, they seemed completely
oblivious to the fact of how they have willfully eliminated the
"Thou Shalt Not Kill" Commandment from their subverted,
perverted and immensely watered down republican version of Christianity
(not to mention being their brother’s keeper or loving their
enemy). They seemed equally unconscious
to how they’re completely ignoring the atrocities and war
crimes against humanity that they are sanctioning and allowing to
be committed in their name. Instead, remarkably - the only
thing these perverters and subverters of true Christianity seemed
to be concerned about this holiday season with regards to Christianity
was chastising department store clerks for saying "Happy Holidays",
instead of "Merry Christmas."
Talk about misguided priorities! But we always have to remember
- this is all just part of the conservative republican ideology.
Live in delusion, denial and ignorance - and the most important
element, of course, remains - whine, moan, bitch and complain, and
accuse the other side of that which they are most guilty of themselves.
Author Paul Waldman (Fraud) calls it "Orwellian Misdirection."
And how does that work? Here’s where the lessons of fascist
propagandization come in handy. They whine and accuse so often (because
they’ve been so thoroughly brainwashed into believing they
actually have a legitimate complaint), and they whine and accuse
so loudly - that even those who know they’re full of crap
eventually give up trying to combat their lies out of sheer frustration
and disgust (except you and me, Thom Hartman, Air America and a
few others, of course.) But when that happens - by and large - the
abuser then gets to play the victim instead.
Classic example? The media. Rather than admitting to being the
biggest abusers, subverters and perverters of the media which they
now own - they just keep whining about, and accusing the media of
being the "liberal media", which in the real world is
absolutely ludicrous. But done often enough and loudly enough -
and promulgated by the very media they now own - even rational thinkers
begin to consider the irrational as a possibility. Ultimately, the
very people who abuse the media the most get to play the victim
of the media instead - victims of the republican owned, republican
managed and republican controlled liberal media. Makes sense, doesn’t
it? To a psychotic, delusional, perverted and brainwashed republican
mind - yes it does, sadly. Don’t believe me? Tune in to conservative
radio sometime. This scenario as I just laid it out is replayed
on a daily basis on literally hundreds of radio stations coast to
And it’s the same thing with Christianity. Rather than admitting
to being the biggest abusers, subverters and attackers of Christianity
– they just keep whining about, and accusing the other side
of, trying to remove either Christianity or Christ himself from
their already un-Christian, anti-Christ lives. And done often enough
and loudly enough - and promulgated by the media, which they now
own – again, the irrational becomes rational. Unreality becomes
reality. The un-Christian becomes Christian. And the real attackers
of Christianity get to play the victims of Christian attacks instead.
Nothing has exposed these self professed
Christians’ ignorance, blatant hypocrisy and lack of ownership
of the religion they claim to own - than has George W. Bush’s
murderous, corporate invasion of Iraq (although almost any
other republican policy would suffice.) But here’s where republican’s
adherence and devotion to denial, ignorance and quite frankly, gross
stupidity, comes into play. Just like they ignore who owns the media
they claim to be a victim of; and just like they ignore a) the ownership
of the voting machines that somehow ran counter to the traditionally
reliable exit polls and b) the fact that their boy Bush can only
manage a 48% approval rating the month after the election in a Fox
News Poll – and instead, tell us he was elected overwhelmingly;
they also ignore their own blatant Christ crimes and their transparent
ignorance as to even the basic tenets of Christianity; and accuse
the other side of trying to subvert Christianity instead.
Would sure love to be a fly on the wall when it’s time for
these religious hypocrites to give an accounting of themselves before
their Creator. Tell Him how 9-11 changed everything – including
His Commandments. Tell Him how the oceans He created no longer protected
you. Tell Him how you demonized and deemed every one of His human
creations who dared disagree with your false Bush prophet a "terrorist."
Tell him why you disagreed with Christ’s message of peace
- and why you laughed at Dennis Kucinich when he suggested a Department
of Peace. And tell me how you’re going to respond when He
asks, "Where was your faith?" Just a hunch, but somehow,
I just don’t think playing the victim will absolve you of
your earthly republican crimes before the Almighty.
And this inherent delusion, ignorance and stupidity doesn’t
stop with Christianity, the media or voting machines. Consider the
run up to the election - when it came to the issue of military service.
Rather than admitting it was their boy who had the less than stellar
military record, they accused the other side (who actually did have
a genuine war hero) of having a candidate with a less than a stellar
record. And done often enough and loudly enough - and promulgated
by the media which they now own - once again, the irrational became
rational. And instead of the focus being on draft dodging, drugs,
alcohol, womanizing, bribery, coercion, influence, going AWOL, and
deserting, the focus was shifted to whether or not the other guy
was injured seriously enough to warrant his first military decoration.
Now I’m no psychiatrist, but I would be willing to bet
when an abuser or a victimizer constantly claims to be the abused
or the victimized - over infractions far less egregious than those
they commit themselves - these are truly sick people, and ones that
should have no influence what so ever in government, religion, the
media or elections. To draw an analogy; it’s exactly
the same as a rapist complaining because his victim scratched him
in the face. And why would this rapist do this? If he felt he was
"entitled" to rape his victim. And so it is with republicans.
They feel entitled to rape this country. Of course, they call it
"governing," but for those of us who have found it increasingly
more difficult to sit down the past 4 years, rape is probably a
more accurate terminology. (Haven’t these Neanderthals ever
heard of Vaseline?)
Bottom line? These people should be committed immediately - not
only because they’re a danger to themselves - but also before
they can do any more harm to what was once considered to be the
most intelligent, progressive nation in the world.
It is truly amazing that an ideology this shallow, this despicable
and this disingenuous and downright hypocritical - can be marketed,
sold and bought as one that is married to Christianity and Jesus
Christ himself - when in reality, it is an
ideology that is so entirely and transparently un-Christian and
anti-Christ. But welcome to the insanity that has become George
W. Bush’s republican, neo-theocratic America.
And as I heard a familiar and valuable message throughout this
Holiday season (the one pertaining to drinking and driving and the
roll friends must play at times like these) I paraphrased that message
into one I think has the potential to be even more valuable and
Friends don’t let friends vote republican. For Christ's
The head of the CIA's analysis branch has
become the latest victim of a purge of the intelligence agency following
the appointment of its new director, Porter Goss, it was reported
Jami Miscik has told her department she will leave in February,
calling her exit part of the CIA's "natural evolution"
under new management. But former intelligence officials who know
her say she would have preferred to stay and was being forced out
by Mr Goss, a close ally of President Bush. One former official
told the New York Times: "The decision to depart was not hers."
Half a dozen other senior CIA officials have left in the three
months since Mr Goss took office accompanied by a team of Republican
aides he brought with him from his days as a congressman.
The turmoil comes as the agency is about to lose its primary role
in the espionage world in a revamp which will place all 15 US intelligence
bodies under a new national intelligence director, due to be named
early in the new year.
Ms Miscik's department, the directorate of intelligence, is responsible
for assessing foreign intelligence from all sources and presenting
its conclusions to policy makers.
She is responsible, in particular, for the "president's daily
brief" delivered to the White House every morning.
Ms Miscik took the job in 2002, as the CIA was trying to fix lapses
that allowed al-Qaida to mount the September 11 attacks the previous
Under her leadership, however, CIA analysts consistently misinterpreted
intelligence on Iraq and wrongly concluded that Saddam Hussein was
developing weapons of mass destruction.
An internal agency study last year found that directorate of intelligence
staff had "never been more junior or more inexperienced",
and pointed to "systemic problems".
Ms Miscik's supporters argue that she was among
the first to acknowledge those problems, and attempted to put them
right with more rigorous analysis and a more careful review of intelligence
Critics of the administration have also argued
that Ms Miscik's analysts had expressed considerable caution over
some of the claims about Iraqi WMD and had played down allegations
of links with al-Qaida, but those warnings had been ignored by the
White House and the Pentagon in their determination to oust Saddam.
A commission is investigating intelligence failures over Iraq and
is due to deliver its report in the spring.
and the Crazies
The culling of the US secretary of state is symptomatic of a swing
even further to the right
| Sidney Blumenthal
Thursday November 18, 2004
Colin Powell's final scene was a poignant
but harsh exposure of his self-delusion and humiliation. The former
general held in his head an idea of himself as sacrificing and disciplined.
But the good soldier was dismissed at last by his commander-in-chief
as a bad egg. Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld regarded him either as a
useful tool or a vain obstructionist. They deployed his reputation
as the most popular man and the most credible face in the US for
their own ends, and when he contributed an independent view he was
isolated and undermined.
As secretary of state has been a peripheral figure, even a fig
leaf, ever since his climactic moment before the UN security council
on which he staked his credibility. There he presented the case
that WMD in Iraq required war, a case consisting of 26 falsehoods,
and about which he later claimed to have been "deceived".
When the statue of Saddam was toppled, he offered President Bush
17 volumes of his Future of Iraq project, but it was rejected. Predicting
everything from the looting to the insurgency, and suggesting how
it might be avoided, the project was politically incorrect.
Powell had wanted to stay on for the first six months of Bush's
second term to help shepherd a new Middle East peace process, but
the president insisted on his resignation. Condoleezza Rice was
named in his place. She had failed at every important task as national
security adviser, pointedly neglecting terrorism before September
11, enthusiastically parroting the false claim that Saddam had a
nuclear weapons programme, while suppressing contrary intelligence,
mismanaging her part of postwar policy so completely that she had
to cede it to a deputy, and eviscerating the Middle East road map.
As incompetent as she was at her actual job, she was agile at bureaucratic
positioning. Early on, she figured out how to align with the neo-conservatives
and to damage Powell. Her usurpation is a lesson to him in blind
ambition and loyalty.
Powell's sacking and Rice's promotion are
more than examples of behaviour punished and rewarded. His fall
and her rise signal the purge of the CIA and the state department,
a neocon night of the long knives. Bush's attitude is that
of the intimidating loyalty enforcer that he was in his father's
The CIA has not been forgiven for failing to support Cheney's phantasmagorical
case linking Saddam to al-Qaida. And the release in September of
the outline of the most recent National Intelligence Estimate, laying
out dark scenarios for Iraq, was considered an act of insubordination
intended to help oust Bush in the election. The new CIA director,
Porter Goss, has installed partisan aides at the top, and senior
officials have been fired. He has issued a party line diktat that
the CIA's mission is to "support the administration and its
At the state department, senior career officers, especially those
who were close to Powell, believe they are next on the chopping
block. Indeed, Bush has charged Rice with bringing the department
under control. Its bureau of intelligence
and research, which has provided the most accurate analysis of Iraq,
is a special target for purging. Cheney is heavily involved in the
planning, and he intends to fill key slots with neocons and fellow
travellers. "By the time she takes over, Rice will have
been manoeuvred into a prestructured department staff," one
state department source, who has been close to Powell, told me.
The dictation of a political line has conquered policy-making.
Since the US emerged as a world power, the executive, because of
immense responsibilities and powers, has relied upon impartial information
and analysis from its departments and agencies. But vindictiveness
against the institutions of government based on expertise, evidence
and experience is clearing the way for the intellectual standards
and cooked conclusions of rightwing think- tanks and those appointees
who emerge from them.
A system of bureaucratic fear and one-party
allegiance is being created in this strange soviet Washington. Only
loyalists are rewarded. Rice stands as the model. One can
never be too loyal. And the loyalists compete to outdo each other.
Dissonant information is seen as motivated to injure the president,
disloyalty bordering on treason. Success is defined as support for
the political line; failure perceived as departure from the line.
An atmosphere of personal vendetta and an
incentive system for suppressing realities prevails. This is not
an administration; it does not administer - it is a regime.
On one of Powell's futile diplomatic trips, his informal conversation
with reporters turned to a new book, The Accidental American: Tony
Blair and the Presidency, by James Naughtie. In it, Powell is quoted
as describing the neocons to British foreign minister, Jack Straw,
as "fucking crazies". That, the reporters suggested, might
be an apt title for his next volume of memoirs. Powell laughed uncontrollably.
Sidney Blumenthal, a former senior adviser to President Clinton,
is Washington bureau chief of salon.com
The Night of the Long Knives (German, Nacht
der langen Messer), also known as Reichsmordwoche or "the Blood
Purge", was a purge ordered by Adolf Hitler of potential
political rivals in the Sturmabteilung, or S.A. The Night
of the Long Knives took place during the late night of Saturday
June 30 and the early morning of Sunday July 1 in 1934. Official
records tally the dead at 77, though 400 are believed to have been
By the summer of 1933, the S.A. had grown discontent with the progress
of the Nazi regime. Many had taken seriously the "socialism"
of "National Socialism", and were angry that Hitler and
the other party leaders had not. As a result,
they grew increasingly distant from the Nazi leadership and believed
further steps needed to be taken to achieve substantive social and
economic change. They also wanted to become the core of a
new German army.
By 1934, Hitler dominated Germany's government, but still feared
losing power in a coup d'état. To maintain complete control,
he allowed political infighting to continue among his subordinates.
As a result, a political struggle grew, with Hermann Göring,
Joseph Goebbels, Heinrich Himmler and Reinhard Heydrich on one side
and Ernst Röhm, the leader of the S.A., on the other. The S.A.
was the only remaining viable threat to Hitler's power.
The power of Röhm and his violent organization frightened
his rivals. Goering and Himmler asked Heydrich to assemble a dossier
of manufactured evidence to suggest that Röhm had been paid
12 million marks by France to overthrow Hitler. Himmler presented
the "evidence" to Hitler, fuelling his suspicion that
Röhm intended to use the S.A. to launch a plot against him.
At the time, Himmler was also organizing his own Nazi paramilitary
group, which later came to be known as the SS (Schutzstaffel).
Hitler had always liked Röhm; he was one of the first members
of the Nazi Party, participating in the Beer Hall Putsch. But Hitler
was under increasing pressure to reduce the S.A. influence. German
military leaders were unhappy with Röhm's proposal that the
German army be absorbed into the larger S.A., and the industrialists
that supported Hitler were concerned over the S.A.'s socialist leanings.
The regular army was also alarmed by the size of the S.A. —
in early 1934 it numbered 2.5 million, while the army was limited
by the Treaty of Versailles to 100,000. Members of the Nazi party
also viewed Röhm and some other S.A. leaders with distaste
because they frequently practiced homosexual acts.
With all these groups aligned against Röhm, Hitler decided
to act. He ordered all S.A. leaders to attend a meeting at the Hanselbauer
Hotel in Wiessee near Munich. On June 30 Hitler took personal command
of Röhm's arrest. Alfred Rosenberg's diary provides an account:
With an SS escort detachment the Führer drove to Weissee
and knocked softly on Röhm's door: “Message from Munich,”
he said with disguised voice. “Well come in,” Röhm
called to the supposed messenger, “the door is open.”
Hitler tore open the door, fell on Röhm as he lay in bed, seized
him by the throat and screamed, “You are under arrest, you
swine.” Then he turned the traitor over to the SS. At first
Röhm refused to get dressed. The SS then threw his clothes
in the Chief of Staff's face until he bestirred himself to put them
on. In the room next door, they found young men engaged in homosexual
activity. “And these are the kind who want to be leaders in
Germany,” the Führer said trembling. (Spielvogel, 78)
In the following hours other S.A. leaders were also arrested, and
many were shot out of hand. Apparently Hitler intended to pardon
Röhm, but eventually decided to have him die. It is believed
that Röhm was offered a chance of suicide but was eventually
shot. Hitler also used this purge of the S.A. to settle old scores:
Third-Positionist pioneer Gregor Strasser, former Bavarian Commissar
and Triumvir Gustav von Kahr, General Kurt von Schleicher and Conservative
Revolutionary figure Edgar Jung were all murdered, totaling over
100. Former Chancellor Franz von Papen was put under house arrest.
On July 3, the Reich government decided upon the Law Regarding
Measures of State Self-Defense, consisting of a single article simply
declaring the "measures taken" to be "legal State
Hitler announced the purge on 13 July, claiming
61 had been executed, 13 shot while resisting arrest, and 3 had
committed suicide. In announcing the purge he stated, "If anyone
reproaches me and asks why I did not resort to the regular courts
of justice, then all I can say is this: In this hour I was responsible
for the fate of the German people, and thereby I became the supreme
judge (oberster Gerichtsherr) of the German people". - from
William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, Simon and
Schuster, New York, 1959.
As a result of the purge, Hitler gained
a measure of gratitude and support from the Reichswehr. On
July 26th, the S.S. was made independent of the S.A., with Himmler
as its Reichsführer, answerable only to Hitler. Victor Lutze
became the new leader of the S.A., and it was soon marginalized
in the Nazi power structure.
For years, it has been my position
that the threat of radical Islam implies an imperative to focus
security measures on Muslims. If searching for rapists, one looks
only at the male population. Similarly, if searching for Islamists
(adherents of radical Islam), one looks at the Muslim population.
And so, I was encouraged by a just-released Cornell University
opinion survey that finds nearly half the U.S. population agreeing
with this proposition.
Specifically, 44 percent of Americans believe that government authorities
should direct special attention toward Muslims living in the United
States, either by registering their whereabouts, profiling them,
monitoring their mosques or infiltrating their organizations.
That's the good news; the bad news is the near-universal disapproval
of this realism. Leftist and Islamist organizations have so successfully
influenced public opinion that polite society shies away from endorsing
a focus on Muslims.
In the United States, this intimidation results in large part from
a revisionist interpretation of the evacuation, relocation and internment
of ethnic Japanese during World War II.
Denying that the treatment of ethnic Japanese resulted from legitimate
national security concerns, this lobby has established that it resulted
solely from a combination of "wartime hysteria" and "racial
As radical groups like the American Civil Liberties Union wield
this interpretation, in the words of columnist Michelle Malkin,
"like a bludgeon over the War on Terror debate," they
pre-empt efforts to build an effective defense against today's Islamist
The intrepid Malkin, a specialist on immigration, has re-opened
the internment file.
Her recently published book, bearing the provocative title In Defense
of Internment: The Case for Racial Profiling in World War II and
the War on Terror (Regnery), starts with the unarguable premise
that in time of war, "the survival of the nation comes first."
From there, she draws the corollary that "Civil liberties are
She then reviews the historical record of the early 1940s and finds
• Within hours of the attacks on Pearl Harbor, two U.S. citizens
of Japanese ancestry, with no history of anti-Americanism, shockingly
collaborated with a Japanese soldier against their fellow Hawaiians.
• The Japanese government had established "an extensive
espionage network within the United States" believed to include
hundreds of agents.
• In contrast to loose talk about "American concentration
camps," the relocation camps for Japanese were "Spartan
facilities that were for the most part administered humanely."
As proof, she notes that more than 200 individuals voluntarily chose
to move into the camps.
• The relocation process itself won praise from Carey McWilliams,
a contemporary leftist critic (and future editor of The Nation),
for taking place "without a hitch."
• A federal panel that reviewed these issues in 1981-83,
the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians,
was, Malkin explains, "Stacked with left-leaning lawyers, politicians,
and civil rights activists -- but not a single military officer
or intelligence expert."
• The apology for internment by Ronald Reagan in 1988, plus
the nearly $1.65 billion in reparations paid to former internees,
was premised on faulty scholarship. In particular, it largely ignored
the top-secret decoding of Japanese diplomatic traffic, codenamed
the MAGIC messages, which revealed Tokyo's plans to exploit Japanese-Americans.
Malkin has done the singular service of breaking the academic single-note
scholarship on a critical subject, cutting through a shabby, stultifying
consensus to reveal how, "given what was known and not known
at the time," FDR and his staff did the right thing.
She correctly concludes that, especially in time of war, governments
should take into account nationality, ethnicity, and religious affiliation
in their homeland security policies and engage in what she calls
These steps may entail bothersome or offensive measures but, she
argues, they are preferable to "being incinerated at your office
desk by a flaming hijacked plane."
George W. Bush’s vision
for America’s future is coming into clearer focus following
Election 2004: For the next generation or more, it appears the American
people will be asked to sacrifice their children, their tax dollars
and possibly the remnants of their democracy to what a top U.S.
commander now candidly calls the “Long War.”
While Central Command’s Gen. John Abizaid defines the “Long
War” as the indefinite conflict against Islamic extremism
around the world, Bush and his supporters have already opened a
second front at home, determined to silence or neutralize domestic
dissent that they see as sapping American “will.”
Not only has Bush continued to purge his second-term
administration of even the most soft-spoken skeptics, but his disdain
for criticism has emboldened his supporters to routinely refer to
public dissenters as “traitors.”
Take, for instance, this letter from a Bush supporter
who was infuriated when USA Today’s founder Al Neuharth suggested
in an opinion column that U.S. troops should be brought home from
Iraq “sooner rather than later.”
“This is war and you should be put in prison
NOW for talking like this,” wrote someone by the name of Mel
Gibbs. “You give aid and comfort to our enemies and aid them
in murdering our proud soldiers. You people are a disgrace to America.
Your families should be put in prison with you.”
In case readers think the extreme contents of this letter represent
either parody or an aberration, they should peruse other comments
that Neuharth’s modest suggestion elicited. Editor & Publisher
editor Greg Mitchell has compiled a number of responses in a follow-up
column. [See Editor & Publisher, Dec. 29, 2004]
Similar sentiments, of course, can be heard on right-wing talk
radio or from commentators, such as best-selling author Ann Coulter.
To many Bush backers, extremism in defense of W. is no vice.
An interesting phenomenon is taking place
today in the Iraqi city of Falluja.
For months now, the Bush administration had been building up the
image of a massive network of foreign terrorists using Falluja as
a base for their terror attacks against targets associated with
the interim government of Iyad Allawi and the US military which
One name appeared in western media accounts, over and over again:
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a wanted Jordanian turned alleged "terror"
mastermind. Almost overnight, Zarqawi's terrorist group, al-Qaida
Holy War for Iraq, expanded its operations across the width and
breadth of Iraq.
Al-Zarqawi was everywhere, his bombers
striking in Mosul, Baghdad, Samarra, Najaf, Baquba, Ramadi and Falluja. Islamist
websites published accounts of al-Zarqawi's actions, and the western
media, together with western intelligence services, ran with these
stories, giving them credibility. The al-Zarqawi legend, if one
can call it that, was born.
The problem is, there is simply no substance
to this legend, as US marines are now finding out. Rather
than extremist foreign fighters battling to the death, the marines
are mostly finding local men from Falluja who are fighting to
defend their city from what they view as an illegitimate occupier.
The motivations of these fighters may well be anti-American,
but they are Iraqi, not foreign, in origin.
There is, indeed, evidence of a foreign
presence. But they were not the ones running the show in
Falluja, or elsewhere for that matter. As a result, the US-led assault
on Falluja may go down in history as the tipping point for the defeat
of the US occupation of Iraq. The January 2005 elections are now
very much in doubt, and anti-coalition violence has erupted throughout
Iraq (including from sources claiming to be aligned with - no
surprise - Abu Musab al-Zarqawi).
Reflecting back, one cannot help but wonder if al-Zarqawi was
used as a lure to trap the Americans into taking this action. On
the surface, the al-Zarqawi organisation seems too good to be true.
A single Jordanian male is suddenly running an organisation that
operates in sophisticated cells throughout Iraq. No one man could
logically accomplish this. But there
is an organisation that can - the Mukhabarat (intelligence) of Saddam
According to former Iraqi intelligence personnel I have communicated
with recently, the Mukhabarat, under instructions from Saddam Hussein,
had been preparing for some time before the invasion of Iraq on
how to survive, resist and defeat any US-led occupation of Iraq.
A critical element of this resistance was to generate chaos and
anarchy that would destabilise any US-appointed Iraqi government.
Another factor was to shift the attention
of the US military away from the true heart of the resistance -
Saddam's Baathist loyalists - and on to a fictional target
that could be manipulated in an effort to control the pace, timing
and nature of the US military response.
According to these sources, the selection of al-Zarqawi as a front
for these actions was almost too easy. The Bush administration's
singling out of al-Zarqawi prior to the war, highlighted by Colin
Powell's presentation to the Security Council in February 2003,
made the Jordanian an ideal candidate to head the Mukhabarat's disinformation
The Mukhabarat was desperate for a way to divert attention from
the fact that it was behind the attacks against Iraqi civilians.
Iraqis killing Iraqis would turn the public against the resistance.
It needed a foreign face, and al-Zarqawi provided it. A few planted
CD disks later, and the al-Zarqawi myth was born.
In its attempts to use the al-Zarqawi myth to distract and defeat
the US military and the interim government of Iyad Allawi, the Mukhabarat
is engaged in a dangerous game. In embracing the al-Zarqawi myth,
the Mukhabarat has engaged the forces of Islamist activism to a
degree never before seen in modern-day Iraq.
According to my contacts, the goal in creating a foreign Islamist
face for the violence taking place in Iraq is to get the Iraqi populace
to turn away from Iyad Allawi and the US military as a source of
stability, and endorse the return of the Baathists (under a
new guise, to be sure), who would then deal with the Islamists by
shutting down an operation the Mukhabarat thinks they control.
But engaging these activists may not be without cost. Having created
a fiction, there is a potential danger of it becoming a reality.
Al-Zarqawi may not be the real force behind
the anti-US resistance in Iraq, but many now, in Iraq and throughout
the Muslim world, believe him to be.
Having created this giant the Mukhabarat may not be able to control
it. The real danger in Iraq is not the inevitable defeat of the
United States and the interim government of Iyad Allawi, but the
fact that the longer it takes for the United States to realise that
victory cannot be achieved, the more emboldened the Islamists become.
Right now, the Mukhabarat controllers of the al-Zarqawi network
think themselves clever as they watch the US military play into
their hands through the destruction of Falluja, and the futile search
for a phantom menace.
But the tragedy that is the war in Iraq is far from over, and
it may very well be that it is al-Zarqawi and his followers, and
not the Baathist Mukhabarat, who will have the last laugh. And,
as always, it will be the people of Iraq who will pay the price.
Scott Ritter was a senior UN arms inspector
in Iraq between 1991 and 1998. He is now an independent consultant.
London: British MP George Galloway has refused
to condemn suicide attacks on the country's troops in Iraq in an
interview being broadcast today.
Asked if he would condemn suicide bombers, the anti-war MP said:
"I will not condemn an occupied people
for using their legal rights, their legal rights as well as their
moral rights to resist the illegal occupation of their country".
But Galloway insisted he detested the idea of British soldiers
being killed and that was why he was trying to get them pulled out
He said: "Because I detest the idea of our soldiers being
killed, I'm out here in the streets every day, public meetings every
night, trying to get our troops out of harm's way.
"It's [British Prime Minister Tony] Blair who put them in
the way of the suicide bombers. It's Blair who put them in the way
of the improvised explosive devices. It's Blair who sent them into
this disaster. If they'd listened to me, they'd never have been
in this mess in the first place."
Galloway makes the comments in a program to be shown on British
TV's Channel Four tonight.
He also pointed to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's pronouncement
that the war was illegal.
Galloway said: "It follows that the only
people fighting legally in Iraq, therefore, are the people defending
their country against an illegal invasion".
"But it's precisely because I don't want to see our troops
being killed for what you say is democracy in Iraq, that we say
that the forces should be brought back.
"Because we don't believe our young men should be asked to
kill, or still worse be killed for [US President] George Bush and
Tony Blair because that's really why they are there - nothing to
do with democracy."
Galloway was expelled from the Labour Party over his anti-war stance.
He has announced he is to stand against Labour MP Oona King at the
next general election, labelling her a "New Labour stooge".
The 50-year-old MP launched Respect, the Unity Coalition, in January.
Last week he won STG150,000 ($384,000) in libel
damages from the Daily Telegraph over claims he received money from
ousted Iraqi president Saddam Hussein's regime.
BAGHDAD - A mortar strike set fire to Baghdad's
Dura oil refinery Thursday night, an interior ministry official
Baghdad firemen were struggling to put out the blaze and called
for help at the refinery in the southwestern Baghdad suburb, the
"We cannot stop the fire so we called other fire departments
from outside Baghdad," the official said.
The attack occurred at 10:00 pm (1900 GMT), the official said.
The Dura refinery is also home to Baghdad's main power plant. The
refinery provides fuel for the plant, which provides electricity
for most of Baghdad and outlying areas.
It was not immediately clear if the fire had affected the power
In Baghdad and much of Iraq, electricity is erratic, with households
enjoying power sometimes for as little as three hours per day.
RIYADH : Saudi security forces have killed
10 suspected Al-Qaeda militants in two days of clashes in the capital
which was rocked by twin car bombings that left two people dead
and injured 100 more, reports said.
Wednesday's bomb attacks in the oil-rich kingdom, which has been
battling a wave of Islamic unrest since May last year, prompted
security alerts elsewhere in the Gulf region and sent world oil
The militants struck at the heart of the Saudi regime's security
apparatus, targeting the interior ministry and a special forces
base in Riyadh.
"It is clear now that their aim is
not confined to fighting 'infidels' as they claim, but also... to
destabilise security through killing Muslims and harming peaceful
citizens," Deputy Interior Minister Prince Ahmad bin
Abdul Aziz said during a visit to the site of the ministry blast.
A Pakistani taxi driver and a Saudi security man were killed in
the attack on the ministry building, the Al-Eqtissadiyah newspaper
said, adding that about 90 were wounded in
the two blasts.
The interior ministry said six guards were wounded in the attack
on its offices, along with several bystanders, and that foreigners
were among the wounded in the second explosion at the special forces
base in eastern Riyadh.
Ministry spokesman Mansur al-Turki said both attacks appeared
to have been suicide operations, as human remains were found inside
In the first attack, the bomber rammed the gate of the ministry
compound, triggering a shootout with guards before the vehicle blew
up, witnesses said.
In the second, guards at the special forces base intercepted the
vehicle before it reached the gate, forcing the bomber to detonate
his charge more than 350 metres (yards) away, the ministry said.
Saudi forces killed a total of 10 militants in gunbattles both
Tuesday and Wednesday, state television said Thursday. [...]
Russian authorities detained a South Korean
businessman in the Far East region of Sakhalin on Wednesday for
illegally importing radioactive instruments.
Kim Jong-Hyun, of South Korea’s All Nations Co., was detained
after a foreign ship carrying 13 radioactive instruments that included
non-enriched Uranium-238 arrived in the port of Korsakov, the Itar-Tass
news agency reported.
The equipment, which was giving off radiation
that was measured to be 200 times the normal amount and deadly within
a three-meter range, were intended for a foreign company
that was building a factory to liquefy natural gas.
The documents accompanying the radioactive equipment
were all forged.
A senior Ukrainian security officer has been
found dead in his apartment. The body of 38-year-old Vladimir Pavlenko,
a lieutenant-colonel of the Lviv Security Service Directorate, was
found in his apartment on Dec. 20, an informed source told Ukraine’s
Forum news agency.
Upon examining the site, police established
that the security officer had committed suicide. However, forensic
experts claim that Pavlenko had been beaten to death. Pavlenko
has already been buried. Prosecutors are still investigating his
Earlier this week the body of the transport minister, Mr Heorhiy
Kyrpa, was discovered in his summer house near Kiev with gunshot
wounds in another apparent suicide. Ukrainian prosecutors opened
an investigation into whether the violent death of a government
minister was “assisted suicide”.
Some media speculated that Kyrpa, accused
of playing a key role in the rigged presidential elections last
month, was murdered by the fraud ring-leaders.
Kyrpa’s was the second apparent suicide of a leading government
figure this month, following the death of the financier Yuri
Lyakh, 39, on Dec. 3.
Both Kyrpa and Lyakh were close associates of the outgoing president,
Leonid Kuchma. Lyakh was found with a paper knife embedded in his
throat at his home.
Both men are accused of being involved in an elaborate fraud operation,
apparently committed by the authorities, to rig the Nov. 21 presidential
election, which was rerun last Sunday, with the opposition leader
Viktor Yushchenko confirming his victory.
EDMONTON - A package of war medals and other
memorabilia dumped at an Edmonton bank sparked a bomb threat that
closed the main downtown street.
Police said an elderly woman entered the Canadian Western Bank
on Jasper Avenue on Wednesday, put down a suitcase and a plastic
bag, told a bystander that police would know what to do with it,
Officers ordered a dozen people to leave the building and sealed
off a block along the street.
The bomb squad blasted the packages with a water cannon, then
opened them to find a collection of memorabilia, including four
war medals inside a tin box.
Insp. Dan Jones said the police want to speak with the woman,
whose identity isn't known. He stressed that the incident isn't
considered to be a criminal matter.
Unit to use downtown Toledo
The Marines will take over parts of downtown
Toledo as sounds of gunfire will echo off buildings when
training exercises are conducted next weekend.
A Marine Corps unit based in Perrysburg will stage the exercises
from 9 p.m. Jan. 7 to about noon Jan. 9, Maj. Gregory Cramer said.
Major Cramer said most of the 130-member unit - Weapons Company,
1st Battalion, 24th Marines - will take part in the exercises.
"We're looking for an urban environment to do our training,"
he said. "Urban training is one of the proficiencies we're
required to maintain."
Major Cramer said Marines will be dressed in green and will be
carrying rifles through the streets, but the exercises should have
a minimal impact on the downtown area. He said the Marines will
be firing blanks and conducting operations throughout the area.
"The only request we would have of folks, if they happen to
be near where an exercise is taking place, is to stay away as much
as possible," Major Cramer said. [...]
"We used to do this when we were kids - you know, running
around the woods," Ms. Atkin said. "They're just going
to use the downtown."
NAPLES -- A teenager died after
he was zapped with a Taser gun and doused with a substance similar
to pepper spray during a fight with Collier County sheriff's deputies,
Christopher Hernandez, 19, of Fort Myers, was the third suspect
to die in Florida this month after being subdued with a Taser gun.
Hernandez died Tuesday, several hours after officials say he attacked
deputies, kicking and ripping their uniforms. He ignored orders
Hernandez, who had no local criminal record, was taken for treatment
at Naples Community Hospital for a cut above his eye, but Collier
County sheriff's spokesman Dennis Huff said there had been no indication
that Hernandez' wounds were life-threatening. An autopsy will be
performed to determine the cause of death.
But Hernandez's relatives say he was badly beaten. They said that
when they saw him at the emergency room his head was swollen, his
eyes were "blood red'' and his arms and face had road rash.
Blood from somewhere on his head stained the hospital pillow.
"He was beaten unnecessarily,'' said his uncle, Xavier Hernandez.
Hernandez's father, Jose Hernandez, said he rushed to the hospital
and talked to his son about what happened, but he wouldn't say what
his son said. His son was then taken to the intensive care unit
and died about an hour later.
The incident began about 1 a.m. in a parking lot near a nightclub,
when the driver of a car in which Hernandez was a passenger was
cruising recklessly, police said. When deputies ordered the driver
to stop, he continued instead, and police halted the car in the
parking lot of a nearby convenience store.
Hernandez got out of the back seat, and attacked deputies. They
used CapStun, similar to pepper spray, and a Taser stun gun, which
inflicts a shock, in an attempt to subdue him, but several minutes
passed before he was handcuffed, they said. At least one deputy
suffered knee injuries.
The driver of the car, a 16-year-old from Fort Myers, was arrested
on an outstanding warrant. Front-seat passenger Jasper Johnson,
17, of Fort Myers, was arrested on suspicion of possession of a
concealed firearm, and possession of an altered firearm, after police
found a .25-caliber handgun under his seat.
Taser stun guns zap suspects with 50,000 volts of electricity,
incapacitating them. Arizona-based Taser International says its
weapons are safe to use to subdue violent individuals, and are a
non-lethal alternative to shooting a suspect.
But a 36-year-old man died Dec. 16 after he was zapped with a Taser
by Hollywood police, and a 31-year-old man died Dec. 23 after being
zapped by Delray Beach police. The cause of those death has not
Also, Miami-Dade County police were criticized last month after
it was revealed that its officers used Taser guns to subdue a 6-year-old
boy and a 12-year-old girl. The boy had cut himself twice with a
shard of glass and was threatening to harm himself further, while
the girl was drunk and fleeing officers.
CLEVELAND -- Authorities are investigating
a mysterious laser beam that was directed into the cockpit of a
commercial jet traveling at more than 8,500
The beam appeared Monday when the plane was about 15 miles from
Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, the FBI said.
"It was in there for several seconds like (the plane) was
being tracked," FBI agent Robert Hawk said.
The pilot was able to land the plane, and air
traffic controllers used radar to determine the laser came from
a residential area in suburban Warrensville Heights.
Hawk said the laser had to have been fairly
sophisticated to track a plane traveling at that altitude.
Authorities had no other leads, and are investigating whether the
incident was a prank or if there was a more sinister motive.
In Colorado Springs, Colo., Monday night, two pilots reported
green pulsating laser lights shined into their cockpits. Both the
passenger plane and a cargo plane landed without problems.
Police dispatched patrol cars and a helicopter to a neighborhood
to investigate but found nothing. FBI agents were continuing to
conduct interviews, agency spokeswoman Monique Kelso said.
Federal officials have expressed concern about terrorists using
laser beams, which can distract or temporarily blind a pilot.
A memo sent to law enforcement agencies
recently by the FBI and the Homeland Security Department says there
is evidence that terrorists have explored using lasers as weapons.
Authorities said there is no specific intelligence
indicating al-Qaida or other groups might use lasers in the United
In September a pilot for Delta Air Lines reported an eye injury
from a laser beam shone into the cockpit during a landing approach
in Salt Lake City. The incident occurred about 5 miles from the
airport. The plane landed safely.
Lasers are commonly used in a number of industries and are featured
in outdoor light shows.
The FAA mandates that laser light shows must register their locations
and the lights cannot be directed above 3,000 feet. Lasers are also
often used by construction companies to line up foundations.
Interfering with a commercial flight is a felony punishable by
up to five years in prison.
| WASHINGTON, Dec. 30 (Xinhuanet)
-- The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has started investigation
into seven incidents in which laser beams were directed into plane
cockpits since Christmas, media reports here said Thursday.
The FBI was probing into two incidents in Colorado, and one each
in Ohio, Washington, Texas, New Jersey and Oregon, the reports quoted
law enforcement and transportation officials as saying.
Laser beams can temporarily blind or disorient pilots endangering
a plane, and the FBI was concerned that laser beams could be used
by terrorists as weapons.
There was no evidence of a terrorist plot to use laser beams asweapons
so far, but pilots were troubled by the incidents, the reports said.
Earlier this month, the FBI issued a warning that there was a
possibility terrorists might use laser devices as weapons, although
there was no intelligence indicating they might use them in the
United States, according to the reports.
Washington — The FBI, concerned
that terrorists could use lasers as weapons, is investigating why
laser beams were directed into the cockpits of seven airplanes in
flight since Christmas.
Laser beams can temporarily blind or disorient pilots and possibly
cause a plane to crash.
The FBI is looking into two incidents in Colorado Springs, Colo.,
and one each in Cleveland, Washington, Houston, Teterboro, N.J.,
and Medford, Ore., according to federal and local law enforcement
and transportation officials, some of whom spoke only on condition
A federal law enforcement official, who declined to be identified
by name, said Thursday there is no evidence of a plot or terrorist
activity. But pilots are troubled by the incidents, and the FBI
earlier this month warned of the possibility that terrorists might
use the devices as weapons.
“It's not some kid,” said Paul Rancatore, a pilot who
serves as deputy chairman of the security committee for the Allied
Pilots Association. “It's too organized.”
Loren Thompson, who teaches military technology at Georgetown University,
called it a “rather worrisome development,” though he
said experts would be more puzzled than alarmed.
“What we're talking about is a fairly powerful
visible light laser that has the ability to lock onto a fast-moving
aircraft,” Thompson said. “That's
not the sort of thing you pick up at a military surplus store.”
Thompson said a piece of equipment that could
do the things the FBI suspects would be “fairly expensive
and fairly sophisticated.”
“It sounds like an organized effort to cause airline accidents,”
Law enforcement officials,
though, say they have no evidence of such an effort and that the
lasers in question are readily available. Further, they say
they've had reports of similar incidents since the technology became
But a memo sent to law enforcement agencies recently by the FBI
and the Homeland Security Department says there is evidence that
terrorists have explored using lasers as weapons, though there's
no intelligence that indicates they might use them in the United
Pilots and safety officials have long been concerned about the
dangers of laser light shows, which have caused temporary eye injuries
to several pilots over the last decade.
Most recently, a pilot for Delta Air Lines reported an eye injury
from a laser beamed into the cockpit while approaching the Salt
Lake City airport in September. The plane landed safely.
The Civil Aerospace Medical Institute has a database of several
hundred reports in which civilian or military aircraft were illuminated
by lasers. Though there have been no accidents reported, pilots
in some cases were startled, temporarily blinded and disoriented.
The Food and Drug Administration, which regulates laser light shows,
consults with the FAA when someone proposes operating a laser outdoors
near an airport. The FAA recommends the maximum safe level of laser
light exposure for pilots maneuvering near airports.
LOS ANGELES : A man sparked a security alert
scare at Los Angeles airport when he dashed onto a jet as it prepared
to depart, dropped something, and ran off, officials said.
The man, who was waiting for another flight, left the terminal,
walked onto the tarmac and ran on board an ATA airlines jet packed
with passengers, airport spokeswoman Gaby Pacheco said.
Authorities evacuated the ATA airliner and towed it to a remote
area of the airport where bomb-sniffing dogs were deployed to detect
any explosives that may have been put on the plane.
The man, who had successfully cleared a security checkpoint ahead
of his flight, was arrested by police shortly afterwards as he tried
to board another waiting plane.
"Airport police apprehended the individual within minutes
of the start of the incident and law enforcement determined that
he did not pose a threat," Pacheco said.
Television pictures showed the unidentified
suspect being dragged, kicking and thrashing, out of the back of
a squad car by police officers before being strapped to a waiting
gurney and taken away.
HANOI : A teenage girl in southern Vietnam
has been infected with the lethal strain of bird flu that has killed
at least 20 people in the communist nation since late last year,
officials said Thursday.
The 16-year-old girl from the rural southern province of Tay Ninh
was receiving treatment at the Hospital of Tropical Diseases in
Ho Chi Minh City, a doctor there said, requesting anonymity.
"She is suffering from respiratory failure and is in a critical
condition. We suspect that she contracted the H5N1 virus after killing
and preparing a chicken for cooking," he told AFP. [...]
Scientists have shown that tiny
changes to modern flu viruses could render them as deadly as the
1918 strain which killed millions.
A US team added two genes from a sample of the 1918 virus to a
modern strain known to have no effect on mice.
Animals exposed to this composite were dying within days of symptoms
similar to those found in human victims of the 1918 pandemic.
The research is published in the journal Nature.
The work of the US team, lead by Dr Yoshihiro Kawaoka of the University
of Wisconsin, was carried out under the tightest security. [...]
Writing in Nature, the researchers say: "Once the properties
of the (1918) HA gene that gave rise to its lethal infectivity are
better understood, it should be possible to devise effective control
measures and to improve global surveillance networks for influenza
viruses that pose the greatest threat to humans as well as other
Scientists believe the 1918 virus leapt to humans by mutating from
bird flu, possibly after passing through pigs, which are able to
harbour both human and avian viruses and thus allow them to swap
genes as the viruses reproduce.
For that reason, experts are deeply concerned that the avian flu
that has broken out in poultry flocks in parts of south-east Asia
may acquire genes that will make it highly infectious as well as
lethal for humans.
Professor John Oxford, an expert in virology at Queen Mary College
London, told BBC News Online the latest research underlined just
what a threat all flu viruses potentially posed.
He said: "It is not a big difference at all between a virus
that kills 15m people and one that does not kill anyone at all.
"The lesson is not to be complacent about anything to do with
flu. Every flu virus must be carrying baggage that could potentially
harm us, and we would be well advised not to ignore them."
The 1918 "Spanish" flu pandemic is estimated to have
infected up to one billion people - half the world's population
at the time.
The virus killed more people than any other single
outbreak of disease, surpassing even the Black Death of the Middle
Although it probably originated in the Far East, it was dubbed
"Spanish" flu because the press in Spain - not being involved
in World War I - were the first to report extensively on its impact.
The virus caused three waves of disease. The second of these, between
September and December 1918, resulting in the heaviest loss of life.
It is thought that the virus may have played a
role in ending World War I as soldiers were too sick to fight, and
by that stage more men on both sides died of flu than were killed
Although most people who were infected with the virus recovered
within a week following bed rest, some died within 24 hours of infection.
Ottawa — The Canadian Food Inspection
Agency says it has detected what may be another case of mad cow
disease, a potentially devastating hit to an already struggling
Canadian beef industry.
The disclosure of the suspect case early Thursday came just hours
after the United States announced sweeping plans for the reopening
of its border in March to nearly all Canadian exports of beef and
The border was closed 19 months ago when a cow in northern Alberta
tested positive for mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy
The CFIA released few details on the new suspect case, except
to identify it as a 10-year-old dairy cow.
The preliminary testing results were completed on Wednesday, said
the agency, adding that the testing was conducted after the cow
was identified as a "downer" — unable to walk.
The finding is not definitive, but the CFIA says multiple screening
tests have yielded positive results. No part of the animal entered
the human food or animal feed systems, said the agency. [...]
A Russian scientist has warned that a deadly
tsunami like the one that devastated south-east Asia over the weekend
could strike in places like Ecuador, Peru, and Columbia.
Yevgeny Dolginov, a professor of geological studies at the Russian
University for Peoples’ Friendship, estimated the risk to
areas around the world using a theory based on tectonic plate movements,
the Interfax news agency reported.
“I feel it is necessary to warn the embassies of countries
located around the equator about the possibilities of massive earthquakes
in the near future,” Dolginov was quoted as saying.
“According to my theory, there are lineaments that present
a danger in terms of seismic activity.”
Among other possible danger zones, he named Equatorial New Guinea,
Cameroon, Nigeria and Gabon.
A moderate earthquake shook Turkey’s
capital and caused panic in a nearby town early today. There were
no reports of any damage or injuries.
The quake centred on the town Cubuk, just outside Ankara, at 12.22am
(9.22pm Irish time yesterday) and had a preliminary magnitude of
4.6, the Istanbul-based Kandilli Observatory said. It was followed
by a magnitude 3.4 aftershock.
Anxious Cubuk residents ran into the streets following the quake,
but there were no reports of any damage or injuries, the Anatolia
news agency said.
Jakarta, Dec 30 : An earthquake measuring 4.8
on the Richter scale shook Indonesia's province of Papua Thursday,
but there were no reports of damage and casualties, Xinhua reports.
"The low-scale tremor lasted for about three seconds,"
a meteorology official was quoted by the official Antara news agency
The quake occurred at 11:00 a.m. local time (02:00 GMT) but the
location of its epicentre could not be detected, he said.
TOKYO (AP) - A moderate earthquake shook northern
Japan late Thursday, the quake-prone country's second tremor this
week. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.
The quake, which hit at 10:29 p.m., had a preliminary magnitude
of 5.0 and was centred off the Pacific coast of Miyagi prefecture
at a depth of about 80 kilometres beneath the ocean floor, the Meteorological
There was no threat of a tsunami, the potentially destructive
waves triggered by seismic activity or underwater landslides, the
agency said. [...]
BOGOTA, Colombia - An earthquake of 5.3 on
the Richter scale jolted Colombia's province of Bolivar about 300
miles northwest of the capital Bogota Thursday morning, the Andean
country's National Seismological Network said.
There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage from the
quake, which occurred around 10:02 a.m. (1502 GMT) centered on the
town of Cordoba.
Tremors from the quake were felt in the coastal resort city of
Cartagena, which is filled with holiday vacationers, some 70 miles
LOS ANGELES — A slow-rolling series of
storms that battered the West this week brought snowfall and high
wind Thursday to parts of California, where weather-weary residents
have already endured lashing rain, heavy snowfall and a destructive
Since the wild weather began slogging ashore Monday, five
deaths in California and two in Colorado have been blamed on storms.
Searchers on Thursday recovered what they believed were the
bodies of two missing college students who had vanished after their
canoe capsized in a flooded Arizona creek.
Up to a foot of snow fell on Colorado mountains, and northern
Nevada was expecting as much as 6 feet on top of the 3-4 feet that
already had fallen.
In Arizona, residents of Sedona — a tourist community known
for its stunning red rock formations — began cleaning up after
a heavy storm bloated a creek from a trickling stream to a rushing
river of mud. Residents in an area including three resorts, an RV
and mobile home park, and 40 homes had been urged to evacuate after
the flooding Wednesday.
California has taken brunt of the Pacific barrage, first in Southern
California then in the north.
Heavy rain, wind and blizzard conditions struck Northern California
early Thursday, snarling traffic, cutting power to thousands in
the San Francisco Bay Area, while temporarily closing major routes
across the Sierra Nevada.
Forecasters expect the area to receive several more storms over
the next few days that will continue to make travel difficult.
"They've got blizzard conditions up there right now and there's
no reason to think anything is going to get any better tonight,"
California Highway Patrol spokesman Steve Kohler said of the shutdown
of Highway 80 in the Sierras.
Inland, a winter storm warning was posted around Lake Tahoe on
the Northern California-Nevada line. A combination of heavy snow
and wind gusting to 100 mph pummeled
In Southern California, two days of downpours have brought up
to 12 inches of rain and scores of highway accidents.
As the storm moved east, three Colorado highways were closed,
one from accidents and two by avalanches.
The two storm victims in Colorado died when their pickup truck
hit a jackknifed trailer Wednesday night. The victims, Tom Thorne
and Beth Williams, were a husband-and-wife team of wildlife veterinarians
who were nationally prominent experts on chronic wasting disease
Elsewhere, freezing rain put an icy layer on roads in the northern
Plains early Thursday, sending vehicles into ditches.
"At 7:30 this morning, the entire town was a sheet of ice,"
said Dennis Walaker, public works director in Fargo, N.D.
REGINA - A blizzard is blowing its way across
the southern Prairies, with snow and freezing rain making travel
difficult for drivers in Saskatchewan and Manitoba and delaying
flights at the Regina airport.
Motorists are reporting zero visibility and heavy snow, and police
are advising drivers to stay off the roads.
Driving was so treacherous on southern highways in Manitoba that
provincial transportation officials pulled snowplows off the roads.
Provincial officials also closed several major highways late Thursday
Most of southern Manitoba had already received five to 10 cm of
heavy snow, as well as freezing rain and ice pellets. An additional
10 to 25 cm was expected overnight and early Friday.
Weather conditions prompted the Saskatchewan Highways Department
to advise motorists to stay off highways in a number of regions.
It was predicted the eastward-moving storm system would dump as
much as much as 20 centimetres of snow on some communities. Freezing
rain was also a possibility for some parts.
Wind chill is expected to bring the temperature down to as low
as –34 C in Regina and –29 C in Winnipeg.
DUBAI - Snow has fallen over the United Arab
Emirates for the first time ever, leaving a white blanket over the
mountains of Ras al-Khaimah as the desert country experienced a
cold spell and above-average rainfall.
Dubai airport's meteorology department told AFP that snow fell
over the Al-Jees mountain range in Ras al-Khaimah, which is the
most northerly member of the UAE federation.
The English-language Gulf News reported that the mountain cluster,
5,700 feet (1,737 metres) above sea level, "had heavy night-time
snowfall for the past two days as a result of temperatures dropping
to as low as minus five Celsius (23 Fahrenheit)" and stunning
the emirate's residents.
On Monday, 12.6 millimetres (half an inch) of rain fell on the
desert emirate of Dubai, where it hardly ever rains, as police reported
500 accidents on its roads in 24 hours, including one fatality,
as a result of a three-day downpour.
A cold spell has hit the country this week, with the mercury plunging
to 12 degrees Celsius (53.6 Fahrenheit) in Dubai on Wednesday night.
The meteorology department, however, said the chilly weather in
Dubai, where summer temperatures reach 50 Celcius (122 Fahrenheit),
will probably end by next week.
There is now an active programme
of permafrost monitoring
In parts of Fairbanks, Alaska, houses and buildings lean at odd
Some slump as if sliding downhill. Windows and doors inch closer
and closer to the ground.
It is an architectural landscape that is becoming more familiar
as the world's ice-rich permafrost gives way to thaw.
Water replaces ice and the ground subsides, taking the structures
on top along with it.
Alaska is not the only region in a slump. The permafrost melt is
accelerating throughout the world's cold regions, scientists reported
at the recent Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU)
in San Francisco.
In addition to northern Alaska, the permafrost zone includes most
other Arctic land, such as northern Canada and much of Siberia,
as well as the higher reaches of mountainous regions such as the
Alps and Tibet. All report permafrost thaw. [...]
Sink to source
In steep mountainous regions, permafrost thaw can lead to slope
failure and rock falls.
In these areas, the permafrost ice is in hard rock. Where rocks
are jointed, the ice serves as a kind of cement holding them together.
When it melts, the rock loses its strength and
falls. A dramatic example of this occurred during the European heatwave
of 2003 when a huge block of the Matterhorn broke off suddenly,
leaving Alpine climbers stranded.
Moscow, Dec 29 - Iran and Russia
are to finalize an agreement for the construction of the Zohreh
satellite for Iran.
In a meeting between Iranian Ambassador to Moscow Gholam Reza Shafei
and Russian Federal Space Agency (Rosaviakosmos) Chief General Anatoly
Perminov, the two sides agreed to carry out joint space projects,
including construction of satellites and exchange of experience.
The two sides also reached an agreement on bilateral cooperation
in the scientific study of UFOs (Unidentified Flying Objects).
Shafei and Perminov stressed expansion of bilateral cooperation
particularly in space research and construction of satellites.
Officials of the Russian Federal Space Agency and Iran held discussions
in Tehran last month on implementation of the Iranian Zohreh satellite
THE genteel east coast resort of Filey has
been named as the unlikely UFO hot spot of the British Isles.
The claim is made by an independent research group called the
British UFO Hunters .
They say more sightings of mysterious objects are made there than
anywhere else in Britain - with Selby and Fife as distant runners-up.
The UFO Hunters base their findings on evidence from Filey Ufologist
Russell Kellett who founded the International UFO Network eight
"Yes, this is the UFO capital," he said, "and it
has taken over from Bonnybridge, near Falkirk in Scotland.
"So far we have 48 recorded sightings in Filey this year.
The next nearest is Selby with 20.
"People are coming here from places like Newcastle, Leeds
and Hull because they have heard about its reputation.
"Some people think that because researchers like me are active
in these towns, we attract these mysterious objects in the sky.
We are like conduits for them."
Mr Kellett said the most spectacular sighting in Filey this year
was late at night in June when a couple walking their dog saw a
flying triangle soar out of the sea and up into the sky.
He said: "I have also been in touch with a young woman living
on the outskirts of the town who says she met a tall alien in her
home. She has no memory of how he left."
The UFO Hunters claim that the North Sea is an experimental area
for top-secret US aircraft.
But Mr Kellett dismisses the idea that UFO sightings near the
coast are of man-made craft.
"They would not come so close to the town," he said.
"The US Government does not like people to see its new technology."
Mr Kellett has a large library of UFO video footage, some of which
will be included in a documentary being made for the Cannes Film
He and his fellow researcher, Jody Holden, of Selby will be featured
on the Bravo TV channel next month in Video Vigilantes, a programme
about their work.
Russia and Iran have agreed to a joint program
studying the UFO phenomenon after a series of sightings of unidentified
The two nations are stressing “expansion of bilateral cooperation
particularly in space research and construction of satellites,”
the Islamic Republic News Agency reports.
This comes in the wake of a skywatching mania that struck Iran
amid state-media reports of sightings of flying objects near Iran’s
The Resalat news agency reported “shining objects”
in the sky near Natanz, where Iran’s uranium-enrichment plant
is situated. One of those objects is said
to have exploded, prompting “panic in the region”.
Tehran’s air force was ordered to shoot down any unknown
or suspicious flying objects in its airspace, amid security concerns
for its nuclear plants.
“Flights of unknown objects in the country’s airspace
have increased in recent weeks... [they] have been seen over Bushehr
and Isfahan provinces,” the Resalat daily reported. Nuclear
facilities are located in both provinces.
The WorldNetDaily has reported UFO sightings in Iran in the past.
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