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and extensive previously unpublished details, at long last, Laura Knight-Jadczyk's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!
Pot Dictator and Puppet-in-Chief
As we begin the new year, our
prayers go out to the people who have lost so much to the recent
series of disasters in the Indian Ocean region. The past few days
have brought loss and grief to the world that is beyond our comprehension.
America will continue to stand with the affected governments to
bring aid to those in need. Together the world will cope with the
loss and prevail over this destruction.
In the United States, we go forward in the new year with confidence
and faith in the future.
Over the past year, Americans have shown resolve and patience in
the war on terror.
Our military men and women have brought justice to the enemy and
honor to our country. Because of their bravery, over 50 million
people in Iraq and Afghanistan are now free.
At home, Americans have restored the vigor of our economy and answered
the call to serve neighbors in need.
In the year ahead, we will persevere in the ongoing war on terror
to make our nation safer and stronger.
We will continue to confront disease, hunger and poverty at home
and abroad. We will build on our economic progress and strengthen
Social Security for the next generation so that all our citizens
can realize the promise of America.
And we will continue to improve our public schools and uphold
our deepest values of faith, family and service.
We are grateful to the men and women of our armed forces who serve
and sacrifice to defend our liberty. These heroes and their families
have the thanks and respect of our entire nation. We pray for their
safety and for peace and understanding throughout the world.
Laura joins me in sending our best wishes for a happy New Year.
May God bless you, and may God continue to bless America.
| Based on his study of other countries,
Lawrence Britt's 14 characteristics typical of Fascism can be used
at the governmental level as a checklist to assess the extent to which
any nation, ours or others, has descended into the morass:
- Powerful and Continuing Nationalism;
- Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights;
- Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause;
- Supremacy of the Military;
- Rampant Sexism;
- Controlled Mass Media;
- Obsession with National Security;
- Intertwining of Religion and Government;
- Protection of Corporate Power;
- Supression of Labor's Power;
- Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts;
- Obsession with Crime and Punishment;
- Rampant Cronyism and Corruption;
- Fraudulent Elections.
Useful as these criteria may be for assessing national status,
they fail to account for how a nation's citizenry comes to allow
its country to adopt such an 'ethic'. Nationally, Fascism embodies
the supremacy of the state over the wants or needs of its individual
citizens. In the ideal of Fascist leaders, the citizenry voluntarily
subjugates its well-being to the welfare of the state and its ruling
class in a gesture that objectively would seem almost altruistic:
surrendering their individuality for the good of the whole. How
are the governmental characteristics cited above consistent, or
at odds, with typical behaviors of ordinary citizens at the individual,
At risk of sounding like old fogeys, some
my age-cohort sense changes over the last decade or two in the behavior
of many of our countrymen, changes that reflect not voluntary subjugation
of individuals to the general good, but rather an appropriation
and defense of personal perogative and entitlement regardless of
their effect on others. At first these expropriations of
personal privilege seem trivial:
from little rudenesses, incivilities and discourtesies like entering
a lecture or performance late, disrupting the field of view of
little cheats presumed to harm no one such as detecting but not
correcting a favorable arithmetic error in a bill;
to more problematic activities such as obstructing a narrow sidewalk,
walking two or more abreast, bowling oncomers into the shrubbery
or off the curb; or
running red lights or stop signs, when no one is coming.
Gentle readers are invited to compile their own lists limited only
by their experience or imagination: doing for your own benefit whatever
you think you can get away with, regardless of its impact, potential
or actual, on others.
I suspect most of us were brought up to think ill of such behaviors,
to avoid them ourselves or at least to feel guilty when we realize
we've engaged in them. So if they are becoming more prevalent, why?
What's happened that more and more of our compatriots' upbringing
is either lacking or fails to inhibit their problematic behaviors?
Where are the inhibitors in our culture that once circumscribed
our propensity for our most egregious behaviors within limits not
One contributor is easily perceived in commercials viewed daily,
if not hourly, on much of commercial TV. Try this experiment: watch
a advertisement NOT from the point of view of a potential consumer
but as a critic of the social behavior of its participants. Keep
track of the fraction of commercials viewed, four to eight per break,
that display duplicity, deceit, deception, dishonesty, gulling the
innocent or ignorant, up to outright stupidity and unwarranted violence.
Quite apart from the question why any thoughtful person would wish
to purchase goods or services represented by such reprehensible
behaviors, what do merchants imagine is the draw of such vignettes?
I suppose some are deemed humorous but I recall, after viewing violent
cowboy films as a child, my acting out the tough and ruthless, violent
and vengeful behavior of the characters on my chums. Is the constant
barrage of unseemly, unethical, insensitive behavior in commercials
in effect condoning, if not actively encouraging, the same in impressionable
youth of whatever chronological age?
In his film "Fanny and Alexander", Bergman has the latter
utter what has to be for a youth one of the most unbelievable flashes
of insight in all literature; in response to his stern father's
demand, "Why do you lie?": "To gain advantage."
Consider the little cheats, the little lies, the little deceits
and betrayals above. Aren't they each and all the product of a will
to co-opt some personal advantage at the expense of others: The
supreme importance of self over and above all consideration of the
rights or welfare of others?
Although Britt's characteristics of Fascism are
easily found in numerous international venues, I think they are
merely symptoms of an underlying pathology, present in both personal
and national behaviors: narcissism, a fundamental attribute of sociopathic,
psychopathic behavior from the interpersonal to the international.
At the personal level socio- and psycho-paths behave as though their
personal interests were the prime, if not the only, consideration
governing their behavior. At the international level, most "failed
states", our own included, justify any level of treachery toward,
or atrocity against, other nations or peoples, even their own, in
terms of the overarching importance of the "national interests".
But truly whose are these "national interests"? What
is the connection between states' and personal behavior? No state
is ever a discrete, integral entity unto itself. Each is directed,
ultimately, by individuals, or collections of individuals, who deem
themselves the state or its representative: L'Etat c'est moi! Aren't
'national interests' in fact those of the individual or individuals,
or their clients, deemed to represent the nation?
Narcissistic behavior by nations results from
uncontrolled narcissistic impulses on behalf of, or by, nations'
leaders or representatives. A nation that breeds, trains, rewards
or sustains narcissism, that selects or elects narcissists as its
representatives or leadership, will inevitably display international
behaviors consistent with the primacy of self-interest, whether
personal or national, over the welfare of others, of the community
of nations as a whole. The general weal is not well served by a
million, or a billion, points of greed.
What can we individuals do to minimize the predominance and effect
of narcissism? Nationally, little, it might seem on the basis of
the most recent election. Individually, a
first step might be to interdict and counteract one's own personal
narcissistic impulses; when you catch yourself taking advantage
of others for personal gain, stop and reconsider. A second, potentially
more problematic, step might be actively to resist, refuse to cooperate
with, perhaps even interdict other's narcissisms. For one
example boycott products associated with repellant behavior, corporate
or commercial. Let others know that rampant self-service, putting
others' welfare and well-being at risk for their own benefit, is
personally, socially and fiscally unacceptable. Beyond these measures,
continue to encourage and support those moral and ethical leaders,
clerical or secular, who put the welfare of the truly needy before
the grimy ambitions of nationalistic politicians and lobbyists for
A bumperstick seen in some areas of the country - Partnership for
an Idiot-Free America - might well be adapted to read: Partnership
for a Narcissism-Free America.
© Copyright 2004 by AxisofLogic.com
The US government
has begun to plan for the possible lifetime imprisonment of detainees
it does not have enough evidence to charge in court, according to
The Washington Post.
Citing intelligence, defence and diplomatic officials, the newspaper
said on Sunday that the Pentagon and the CIA had asked the White
House to decide on a more permanent approach for those it would
not set free or turn over to courts at home or abroad.
The Defence Department - which holds at least 500 prisoners in Guantanamo
Bay - plans to ask the US Congress for $25 million to build a 200-bed
prison to hold detainees who are unlikely to ever go through a military
tribunal for lack of evidence, defence officials told the newspaper.
The new prison, dubbed Camp 6, would be designed for prisoners the
government believes have no more intelligence to share, the newspaper
"Since global war on terror is a long-term
effort, it makes sense for us to be looking at solutions for long-term
problems," Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman, was quoted
"This has been evolutionary, but we
are at a point in time where we have to say: 'How do you deal with
them in the long term?'"
The paper said the outcome of a review under way would also affect
those expected to be captured in the course of future counterterrorism
One proposal would transfer large numbers of Afghan, Saudi and Yemeni
detainees from the US military's Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention
centre into new US-built prisons in their home countries, it said.
- The 109th Congress convenes on Tuesday with
Republicans flexing more political muscle. Yet it is unclear
how far they can, or in some cases want to, push President Bush's
ambitious second-term agenda.
The record federal deficit, the rising cost of the Iraq war, plus
competing positions of rival Democrats and even within the Republican
Party, all pose risks to such White House goals as overhaul of the
federal tax code and the Social Security retirement program.
Still, Bush has high hopes. He sees his re-election, coupled with
bigger Republican majorities in the Senate and House of Representatives,
as a mandate for his stewardship.
Yet as Rep. Deborah Pryce of Ohio, a member of the House Republican
leadership says: "Everything is going to be hard."
"There are no slam dunks," Pryce said in discussing Bush's
legislative agenda, which also seeks to revamp immigration laws
and obtain a sweeping energy plan. [...]
In the Nov. 2 elections, Republicans expanded their majority in
the 100-member Senate by four to 55 -- five short of the 60 needed
to end a Democratic procedural roadblock known as a filibuster.
Republicans boosted their majority in the 435-member House by three
to 232. [...]
"I don't expect a highly productive year
(in Congress)," said Norm Ornstein, a congressional scholar
at The American Enterprise Institute,
a Washington think thank.
"Even though Republicans have more numbers -- and maybe because
they have more numbers -- they're going to have real difficulty
coming to agreement among themselves," Ornstein said.
"Increased numbers in the Senate will make them more pugnacious,
but they still don't have enough to jam things through," Ornstein
Larry Sabato of University of Virginia's Center for Politics, offers
a different view. He predicts a "fairly productive" Congress
-- for at least half of 2005.
"Historically, a president who is re-elected
and adds congressional seats tends to get to get a good six months
window of opportunity," Sabato said. [...]
COLORADO SPRINGS - James C. Dobson, the nation's
most influential evangelical leader, is threatening
to put six potentially vulnerable Democratic senators "in the
'bull's-eye' " if they block conservative appointments to the
In a letter his aides say is being sent to more than one million
of his supporters, Dr. Dobson, the child psychologist and founder
of the evangelical organization Focus on the Family, promises "a
battle of enormous proportions from sea to shining sea" if
President Bush fails to appoint "strict constructionist"
jurists or if Democrats filibuster to block conservative nominees.
Dr. Dobson recalled the conservative efforts that helped in the
November defeat of Senator Tom Daschle of South Dakota, the Senate
minority leader who led Democrats in using the filibuster to block
10 of Mr. Bush's judicial nominees.
"Let his colleagues beware," Dr. Dobson
warned, "especially those representing 'red' states. Many of
them will be in the 'bull's-eye' the next time they seek re-election."
He singled out Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Mark Dayton of Minnesota,
Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia, Kent Conrad of North Dakota, Jeff
Bingaman of New Mexico and Bill Nelson of Florida. All six are up
for re-election in 2006.
James Manley, a spokesman for Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the
new Democratic leader, said Democrats had allowed 204 judicial appointments
to move forward in Mr. Bush's first term.
"James Dobson needs to take a moment to focus on the facts,"
Mr. Manley said. He called Dr. Dobson a "front for the White
WASHINGTON — Ailing Chief Justice William
H. Rehnquist said today that judges must be protected from political
threats, including from conservative Republicans who maintain that
"judicial activists" should be impeached and removed from
"The Constitution protects judicial independence not to benefit
judges, but to promote the rule of law: Judges are expected to administer
the law fairly, without regard to public reaction," the chief
justice, whose future on the court is subject to wide speculation,
said in his traditional year-end report on the federal courts.
The public, the press and politicians are certainly free to criticize
judges, Rehnquist said, but politicians cross the line when they
try to punish or impeach judges for decisions they do not agree
His comments come as the new Congress faces what many predict will
be a contentious battle over President Bush's nominees to the federal
bench. And if Rehnquist's health forces him to announce his retirement,
there would be more partisan wrangling over his successor.
The 80-year-old chief justice has been absent from the Supreme
Court since he disclosed in late October that he was being treated
for thyroid cancer.
Since 2000, when Republicans took control of the
White House and Congress, many conservative critics have focused
their ire on "judicial activists" on the bench.
In his report, the chief justice did not name names, but instead
spoke of his concern for the "mounting criticism of judges
for engaging in what is often referred to as 'judicial activism.'
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas), for
example, has repeatedly threatened to impeach liberal-leaning judges
for their rulings, such as the ban on school-sponsored prayers.
"A judge's judicial acts may not serve as a basis for impeachment.
Any other rule would destroy judicial independence," Rehnquist
said. "Instead of trying to apply the law fairly, regardless
of public opinion, judges would be concerned about inflaming any
group that might be able to muster the votes in Congress to impeach
and convict them."
As the chief justice of the United States, Rehnquist leads the
federal judicial system as well as the Supreme Court. Since taking
office in 1986, he often has used his year-end report to set forth
his views on controversies affecting the judicial system. The controversy
over political leanings of judges and their rulings is one of them.
And despite Rehnquist's reputation for conservatism,
he has been just as willing to fault Republicans as Democrats when
their actions and ideas threaten the courts.
In the late 1990s, for example, he faulted Senate Republicans for
blocking votes on the judicial nominees of President Clinton. More
recently, he faulted Senate Democrats for blocking votes on Bush's
In both instances, he said the nominees deserved a hearing and
an up-or-down vote.
DeLay has often criticized judges when he thinks they have overstepped
"Many of these judges begin to grow drunk on their own power.
Why shouldn't the people have a right to impeach these out-of-control
judges?" DeLay said in one 1997 statement.
Last year, DeLay called for Congress to enact legislation that
would remove certain issues, such as the Pledge of Allegiance, from
the jurisdiction of the federal courts.
DeLay was reacting to the ruling by the 9th
U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that held that Congress' inclusion
of the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance used
daily in the nation's schools amounted to an unconstitutional official
endorsement of religion. The Supreme Court, though divided on its
reasons, later set aside that ruling. [...]
Court officials said [Rehnquist] has continued to work at home.
And to the surprise of some, he also has announced that he plans
to give the oath of office to Bush at his second inauguration on
what the media's talking heads have told you about these three Supreme
Court decisions that tested the power of George W. Bush. The President
won far more than he lost, so administration "officials"
who pronounce themselves victors are more on target than the press
who tell you that the decisions represent a defeat for the Administration,
or rein in its power. Taken together, the decisions are more important
for what they did not do. Their significance for the future, particularly
if Bush is reelected, cannot be underestimated.
Rumsfeld v. Padilla
To begin with, the Court dodged the most important case - the case
of Jose Padilla. Padilla, recently vilified by a highly-placed Department
of Justice attorney, is the American citizen arrested on a material
witness warrant in Chicago two years ago.
The government's story then was that he was planning to detonate
a dirty bomb. Attorney General John Ashcroft held a press conference
and announced the incarceration of Padilla and told us what a dangerous
man he was. Of course, if they had evidence that he was planning
to detonate a dirty bomb, they would have charged him with a host
of crimes, and tried him. But they never charged him with anything.
What does that tell you?
A couple of weeks ago, Ashcroft sent out one of his top deputies
to change the story on Padilla. That story may have influenced the
Court's decision, though we will never know this. Though the official
denied that the press conference- at which he announced that Padilla
had "confessed" to plotting to blow up high- rise apartment
buildings-may have been held when it was to punctuate the government's
belief that Padilla was a very, very dangerous man.
So if he is so dangerous, why is
he not being charged?
Oh, you have to love this reason:
because the government denied him his rights and repeatedly interrogated
him without an attorney (and, maybe even tortured him, for all we
know) his confession is no good! Can't be used in court. So since
we denied him his rights, we cannot try him, but we can hold him
without charging him forever. Because we say he is dangerous.
And what did the Supreme Court have to say about that?
In a 5-4 decision, it said...nothing.
It ruled that Padilla's court' appointed attorney, Donna Newman,
filed the petition for writ of habeas corpus (challenging the detention
of her client without charge, without access to her) in the wrong
federal court. She sued Rumsfeld, on whose order Padilla was named
an "enemy combatant" in the Southern District of New York,
where he was brought and incarcerated and where she was appointed.
But after she got into the case, and without notice to her, the
government moved him to a brig in South Carolina.
So the government argued that the warden of the brig is the party
to be sued, not Rumsfeld. As if that warden does not answer to Rumsfeld,
at least if she is holding an enemy combatant-so-called.
So with Rehnquist writing for the majority, the
court threw out his petition. Altogether. Padilla has to start all
over again, suing the warden wherever he or she is.
Ah, but keep in mind, that once his
attorneys file a another petition, the government just has to move
him again. And again. And again. To avoid answering for his detention.
So the most important of the three cases was not decided. In not
deciding, the Court fully sanctioned the continued detention of
Padilla, without a charge, without a lawyer (Newman is now out of
the case, since the suit was dismissed), for years to come.
George Bush 1, Civil Liberties, 0.
Hamdi v. Rumsfeld
On first glance, which is all the nightly news gave you, the Hamdi
case looks like a win for lovers of freedom. Even Hamdi's public
defender, Frank Dunham, said that they "won big."
I disagree. And amazingly to this writer, so did Scalia, who was
joined in his dissent by Justice Stevens. The majority opinion was
written by Justice O'Connor, and we all know what that means - a
tortured crafting of facts cobbled to law that tries to give everybody
something. A little here, a little there.
Here is what we got: The Congress gave the President the authority
to detain anyone involved with fighting with al Qaeda or the Taliban
when it voted for war in Afghanistan. Hamdi was supposedly captured
in Afghanistan. As long as the U.S. is fighting in Afghanistan (I
guess that will be forever, don't you think?), Hamdi can be held
WITHOUT BEING CHARGED WITH A CRIME. But, he gets a lawyer (a lawyer
subject so special instructions by Ashcroft and Rumsfeld, a lawyer
whose conversation with his client will be monitored and limited
as Rumsfeld and Ashcroft see fit) and he can file a petition for
writ of habeas corpus, challenging his detention.
Ah, but the government gets the benefit of the doubt in such a
hearing. It puts forth its conclusory affidavit, like the one cranky
Judge Doumar in Richmond did not like one bit, and Hamdi gets to
try - just try, if he can-to prove them wrong.
Yes, the burden will be on Hamdi
to prove the government's allegations against him to be wrong. Now
that will be kind of difficult, won't it, since Hamdi has been incarcerated
for going on three years, has no contact with anyone in the outside
world, and will have a hell of a time coming up with the witnesses
to refute the conclusion of the government that he was indeed fighting
with the Taliban or al Qaeda against the U.S.
Let's see, even if he knew people
to subpoena to support an alibi-if he has one- federal marshals
don't serve subpoenas in Afghanistan.
Scalia and Stevens joined in the call to either charge him with
a crime - Scalia suggested treason - or have Congress suspend the
writ of habeas corpus (Scalia contends that only Congress, not the
President, can properly do this). But don't create some mechanism
that allows the President to weasel out the result that the majority
wanted - that is, to give Hamdi a lawyer, let him file his papers,
but give him the burden of proving his "innocence." An
insurmountable burden of proof.
George Bush 2, Civil Liberties, 0.
On this one, a 6-3 majority ruled that those poor bastards in Guantanamo,
those men that have been there for going on three years and, we
now presume, subject to all kinds of physical torture and mental
and sexual abuse, can file a petition for writ of habeas corpus
challenging their detention, but, so what?
The court was silent on what trial courts will do with the petitions.
Presumably, let them file their papers
then promptly toss them out. This was an expected outcome.
No way the Court was going to accept the Administration's "tortured"
(pun intended) view of jurisdiction to think that the government
that rules over Guantanamo Naval Station does not have jurisdiction
over the prisoners that he holds there. That would just be too stupid,
even for a court eager to please. It found that the detainor is
the key to jurisdiction, not the detainee. So where the detaining
party is, is where there is jurisdiction. That would be Rumsfeld.
Of course, what court that would be in, what venue, is open to question.
Since venue was such a big deal in the Padilla case, I wonder why
the court did not toss out Guantanamo cases brought in the District
of Columbia? (I have a clue-the Guantanamo cases were far easier
to answer, and less an affront to presidential power than is Padilla's
case). Rumsfeld's seat of power is in the Pentagon, Arlington, Virginia,
so venue ought to be in the Eastern District of Virginia, not the
District of Columbia.
I believe the Guantanamo prisoners will meet the same fate of most
illegal immigrants who challenge their deportation with a writ of
habeas corpus. They get a summary proceeding that sounds more than
what it is because of the value attached to the term "habeas
corpus." After a cursory reading of the petition, and a brief
hearing to satisfy the bare requirements of the law, the gavel slams,
and the immigrant is escorted to an airport and sent to whatever
country can be found to receive them -- after they serve their time
for any crimes they can be charged with.
Though nothing was said of this in the opinion, I imagine that
the prisoners will be under the same disability as Hamdi-proving
their "innocence," just as persons facing deportation.
But, you might ask, their innocence
of what? They have been charged with no crime, neither has Hamdi.
They, too, will have to prove that they were not fighting against
the U.S. or preparing to do so.
Again, where will they get their alibi witnesses and, if they have
any, how can they be subpoenaed into court? You think the government
is going to give visas to their witnesses? Or pay their expenses?
George Bush 3, Civil Liberties, 0.
The Contrarian View
Reading the cases and placing them in the context of the "war
on terror" supports a view that is admittedly contrary to what
mainstream media are saying. But if you have been listening to them
since September 11, you don't know much about what has happened
to the legal system in this country, all in the name of preserving
In these three cases, the Supreme Court did not want to totally
abrogate its responsibility (except for one Justice, Thomas, who,
as a reluctant justice on a court he often expresses contempt for,
not surprisingly wants to be left out of any judicial interference
with the almighty President) or the Constitution so it threw a vote
or two in the direction of the Constitution.
But it left plenty of room for this despotic President, and all
who follow him (you think Kerry cares
about civil liberties? You think he would not want the same power
Bush is wielding?) to incarcerate Americans at whim,
concoct a story about "fighting" against American, and
dare you, just dare you, to try your luck at proving your innocence.
Oh, about that?
Finally, we have the Supreme Court, in the
Hamdi case, putting the lie to that myth. There is no presumption
of innocence - not if you are Hamdi. There is no mercy - not if
the government moves you around so you never know whom to sue. There
is a cruel hint at mercy for the Guantanamo Bay prisoners - file
your papers, but tell your family to abandon hope. You aren't going
anywhere anytime soon.
Game, set, match to George Bush.
Elaine Cassel practices law in Virginia and the District of
Columbia, teachers law and psychology, and follows the Bush regime's
dismantling of the Constitution at Civil Liberties Watch. Her book,
The War on Civil Liberties: How Bush and Ashcroft Have Dismantled
the Bill of Rights, will be published by Lawrence Hill this summer.
She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Husband is abuser and not the father, she
argues in vain
SPOKANE -- A Spokane woman trying to divorce her estranged husband
two years after he was jailed for beating her has been told by a
judge she can't get out of the marriage while she is pregnant.
The case pits a first-year lawyer, who argues that state law allows
any couple to divorce if neither spouse challenges it, against a
longtime family law judge, who asserts that the rights of the unborn
child in this type of case trump a woman's right to divorce.
"There's a lot of case law that says it is important in this
state that children not be illegitimized," Superior Court Judge
Paul Basting in Spokane County told The Spokesman-Review.
Further complicating things, Shawn Hughes said her husband is
not the child's father.
The bottom line, said Hughes' attorney, Terri Slayer, is that
there is nothing in state law that says a mother can't get a divorce
if she is pregnant.
"We don't live in 15th-century England,"
Slayer said. "I am absolutely dumbfounded by it."
The American empire goes for broke - and
it could be heading that way
WASHINGTON, D.C. Running below the surface of the year-end self-congratulatory
assertions of American supremacy (as in Monday's Washington Times:
"The world really is becoming more 'American' ") are warnings,
often ignored, of our decline. The steady loss of the dollar against
the euro is one. The spiraling trade deficit is another.
And in the past weeks, there were two serious economic signs signaling
momentous change, if not outright decline.
The first concerns China's invasion of Canadian oil fields, heretofore
a U.S. energy fiefdom. The second came in the form of an all-but-hidden
report from the Department of Agriculture that
America, the breadbasket of the world, is now a net importer of
If the half-dozen planned projects worth $2 billion go through,
Canada, our No. 1 energy supplier, could
end up sending as much as one-third of its total oil exports to
China. One project would give the Chinese a 49 percent interest
in a 720-mile-long pipeline running from Alberta to British Columbia.
The Chinese are also eyeing an expansion of a second Canadian pipeline
system, and they're discussing gaining an interest in companies
with oil leases.
Much of this interest centers on extracting oil from oil sands.
In the U.S., prospects for synthetic fuels based on oil shale during
the energy crisis of the early 1970s never got off the ground. It
was discussed along with coal gasification as a possible alternative
to what the industry at the time insisted were declining reserves.
But when prices were deregulated and rose, along with profitability,
all the talk about coal gas and oil from shale died down. For the
big international oil companies, synthetics based on oil sands or
oil shale historically have been dicey because of the high development
cost, and hence reduced profitability. However, as Kang Wu of the
East-West Center in Honolulu told The New York Times last week,
"For China, it is foremost about securing supply and secondly
about profits." And that is one reason China is willing to
go so far abroad.
China's energy consumption is up some 40 percent in the past year,
making it the second-biggest energy consumer in the world, ahead
of Japan. Its booming economy depends on fossil fuels, especially
By 2020 China is expected to be importing two-thirds of its oil,
some 80 percent of it from the Middle East. It currently imports
oil from Oman and Yemen, and China has explored deals with Saudi
Arabia. Its imports of natural gas come from the Middle East as
well as from Australia, and there is a possibility of China importing
Caspian Sea gas through an extensive pipeline that would run all
the way from Shanghai across the country into the rich Caspian finds
of Central Asia.
As China's energy needs grow, emphasis shifts to protecting supply
lines running through South Asia, some of them close to the always
contentious straits between Taiwan and China.
For the U.S. military, protecting energy supply lines always has
been a prime consideration of national security. And these economic
shifts in Asia can only mean a further strain on U.S. military operations
in that part of the world.
More immediately, a diversion of Canadian petroleum resources
to China is about the worst thing that could happen to the U.S.
Since the '70s energy crisis, we have been seeking to diversify
supplies, trying to shed our dependence on the Middle East, and
as a result the U.S. now relies increasingly on Canada and Mexico.
We have always viewed Canadian energy resources as a backup - to
be used when we are in need. To say they are taken for granted is
an understatement. We view them as our own. Free trade makes that
condition even more explicit. If Canada actually
begins to commit resources to the Chinese, that will lead to more
direct U.S. manipulation of Canadian politics and economics;
right-wing Republicans will use the China-Canada deals as one more
argument for stepped-up drilling in Alaska, the eastern front of
the Rockies, and on the outer continental shelf, all of them areas
where remaining U.S. petroleum stocks are located. [...]
An ominous alignment of the planets leads
Arch Crawford, publisher of the financial newsletter Crawford Perspectives,
to predict the U.S. stock market will crash before March 23. "It
could be any time between now and then."
Mr. Crawford, based in Tucson, Ariz., advises readers of his newsletter
how to pick stocks, in part based on the alignment of the stars.
Mr. Crawford is a market timer who consults more conventional
technical analysis measures -- including advance-decline lines,
moving averages and trading volume -- but for a longer-term view,
he analyzes the market's star charts.
At the moment, Mars is opposing Uranus, which is bad news, Mr.
Crawford says. But it's a phenomenon that happens every couple of
years and the market does not crash every time, he points out.
Another ill harbinger this time is the buoyant mood in markets
in recent weeks.
"Sentiment indicators are rather extreme." [...]
TRENTON, N.J. - A laser beam was aimed at a police helicopter
Friday - one of several incidents involving aircraft across the
country in the past week - and federal authorities were questioning
someone who had been at a house where they said the light had originated.
Officials said no one was hurt when the laser hit the Port Authority
of New York and New Jersey police helicopter as it flew over an
area where a similar incident occurred Wednesday.
Soon after, Port Authority officials and the FBI went to a Parsippany
home where they had tracked the laser beam and were questioning
a person there in connection with both incidents, said Steve Coleman,
an authority spokesman.
No charges had been filed as of late Friday night, Coleman said.
Police in the helicopter were trying to pinpoint the spot where
three green lasers were pointed at a pilot preparing to land a plane
at Teterboro Airport on Wednesday night. The force's superintendent
and some detectives were in the helicopter at the time, Coleman
The plane involved in Wednesday's incident, a corporate-owned Cessna
Citation with 13 people aboard, was about 11 miles from the airport
when the incident occurred, authorities said. It landed safely and
no injuries were reported. [...]
PARSIPPANY -- The attorney of a Lake Parsippany
resident questioned by authorities about his suspected use of a
laser light said Saturday her client was in the "wrong place
at the wrong time."
David Banach was showing his daughter a common laser pointer that
he had purchased on the Internet, said attorney Gina Mendola Longarzo.
Longarzo said she met with Banach on Saturday.
"At one moment he was in the backyard playing with his daughter,"
said Longarzo, "and 10 minutes later 12 police cars descended
and he was whisked away by authorities and interrogated until 4
Banach was taken from his Pitman Road home Friday by state, local
and federal authorities investigating the shining of green lasers
onto aircraft flying over the region.
Longarzo said once authorities fully investigate the incident,
her client will be exonerated. He has not been charged, she said.
Jay Patel, who lives across the street from Banach, said Banach
often buys many toys for his two young children. Patel said Banach
was not doing anything sinister.
"I don't think he was doing it purposely," Patel said.
No one was home at the Banach residence later Saturday.
On Friday FBI agents, police from the Port Authority of New York
and New Jersey and a federal terrorism task force were seeking the
source of green lasers that were aimed at separate aircraft flying
over Morris County in the last several days. The
local incidents were among several being investigated nationwide.
DUBAI: A top female scientist from Saddam
Hussein's deposed regime should be freed from detention in Iraq
as she is terminally ill with cancer, a lawyer said on Saturday.
Huda Salih Mahdi Ammash, accused of being a leader of Saddam's
alleged biological warfare programme and dubbed "Dr Anthrax"
by the tabloid press, was captured by US forces in May 2003.
Lawyer Badiaa Aref Ezzat, who is acting for former Iraqi deputy
prime minister Tareq Aziz, called on Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi,
US President George W. Bush and aid groups to "assume their
responsibility and free her".
"I urge immediate action because her state of health has
deteriorated and she will certainly die," said Aref Ezzat,
who last met with Aziz on December 23 at a detention centre outside
The lawyer said that the plea for the release of Ammash had been
made at on the request of Aziz himself.
"He asked me to do all I can in the case of Mrs Ammash owing
to the deterioration in her health as a consequence of the cancer
she is suffering from."
Ammash was appointed to Iraq's ruling Baath Party's regional command
in 2001 and is believed to have worked with another female biologist,
Rihab Taha, known as "Dr Germ," who is also held in a
US-controlled jail in Iraq.
The pair are believed to be the only two women still held by US
forces in the country.
| In an apparent effort to forestall
gains by Hamas in Palestinian elections, the Israeli army has arrested
a large number of potential candidates in the southern part of the
The arrests began shortly after midnight on Saturday in the town
of Dura, nearly 50km south of Jerusalem, where the Israeli occupation
army arrested an undisclosed number of Islamist leaders.
A GUARD assigned to protect the home of Britain’s
military attaché in Athens was shot dead yesterday, prompting
fears of a resurgence of terrorism in Greece.
The assassination, bearing all the hallmarks
of a well-organised terrorist attack, took place outside
Brigadier Mark Blatherwick’s home in the exclusive suburb
of Kifissia. The brigadier and his family were inside the house
at the time but escaped injury.
The shooting brought to mind the assassination of Brigadier Blatherwick’s
predecessor, Brigadier Stephen Saunders, in June 2000 by a terrorist
group that has since seen many of its members arrested.
Police said ballistic tests showed the guard was shot at close
range with nine 9mm bullets.
Vasilis Dumas, the president of the Greek government’s VIP
Special Guards Association, said the guard was shot by assassins
in a passing car. He died instantly, despite wearing a bullet-proof
The killers, believed to be two men, then stole the dead guard’s
George Voulgarakis, Greece’s public order minister, said:
"Initial indications point to a terrorist attack, but we cannot
be sure yet."
OTTAWA - China's intelligence services have
systematically targeted Canada's science and technology sectors
and use Chinese students and visiting scientists to steal technology
for military use and to enhance the country's global economic competitiveness,
a senior intelligence source says.
In its annual report to Parliament, the Canadian Security Intelligence
Service warns foreign spies are seeking to acquire ''Canada's scientific
and technological developments, critical economic and information
infrastructure, military and other classified information, putting
at risk Canada's national security.''
CSIS does not cite a specific country, but a
high-level intelligence source identifies China as the ''most aggressive''
in seeking to illegally acquire Canadian technology.
The official said CSIS was mainly referring to China in its 2003-04
report when the spy service discussed how ''certain foreign governments
direct their departments, state-owned corporations and intelligence
services to engage in economic espionage against Canada.''
China uses visiting students, scientists, business people and
delegations to obtain industrial secrets and high-technology that
will benefit Chinese companies and its military-industrial complex,
said the source, who asked not to be identified for national security
Russian intelligence services have also sought to obtain Canadian
technology, which led to the 1996 arrest of two of their agents.
However, the official said China has been the most enterprising
in using clandestine or coercive activity to gain access to economic
and military intelligence. China has targeted Canada's nuclear,
aerospace, biotechnology, mining and metallurgy, environmental and
oil and gas sectors. [...]
The Prime Minister [Paul Martin], whose family's shipping company
has built ships at low-wage Chinese shipyards, is under pressure
from the opposition and some Liberal backbench MPs to reject China's
takeover of Noranda, one of Canada's biggest mining firms.
Noranda is in talks to be acquired by China Minmetals Corp, a
metals producer controlled by the Chinese government, which wants
to buy 100% of the $6.7-billion mining giant. [...]
| The huge earthquake off Indonesia
and the tidal waves it spawned, killing more than 120,000 people and
leaving millions homeless, capped a year of natural disasters and
extreme weather that had already claimed thousands of lives and left
a trail of destruction costing tens of billions of dollars across
Asia in 2004. [...]
Ironically, several of the countries hit by the waves had escaped
the more extreme natural phenomena that pummeled their neighbours
earlier in the year.
Incessant monsoon rains, the heaviest in years, had lashed Bangladesh,
northeast India and parts of Nepal in July and August, killing at
least 1,240 people.
Large swathes of Bangladesh, one of the world's poorest and most
densely populated nations, were submerged for weeks. At least 700
people died and many were left homeless.
Powerful storms in the Philippines in early December spawned flash
floods and landslides that swept away whole villages, leaving 1,600
dead or missing.
In both cases human activity -- building development in Bangladesh
and illegal logging in the Phipippines -- were blamed for worsening
the effects of the downpours.
The World Bank estimated the cost to Bangladesh at 2.2 billion
dollars this year.
"Farmers have had huge losses and siltation of much land means
that many areas will be barren for around 10 years," said Dilruba
Haider, assistant representative at the United Nations Development
Months after the floodwater subsided, aid agencies have described
the increased hardship endured by millions already living on less
than a dollar a day as a "quiet disaster".
An unusual high pressure system in the Pacific was the main reason
for a record 10 typhoons that hit Japan and the heaviest rain in
29 years, the country's Meteorological Agency said.
About 216 people died and damage reached one trillion yen (9.7
billion dollars), government agencies said.
Tokyo is now racing to develop new measures to better warn senior
citizens, who accounted for most of the victims, and to improve
Many elderly were swept away in floods or buried alive in landslides.
Of the 93 killed by Typhoon Tokage, the deadliest in 25 years, which
struck in October, two-thirds were aged over 60.
Also in October Japan suffered its worst earthquake in a decade,
measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale, which killed 40 people.
China suffered too, from floods, typhoons, and the worst drought
in more than 50 years which still gripped large parts of the south
and east at the end of the year.
More than 1,000 people died in weather-related incidents but the
toll was lower than the previous year's figure of 1,900 because
of better emergency planning, officials said.
Total economic losses for the year were put at 10 billion dollars.
In Taiwan, massive floods brought by storm Mindulle killed 29 and
caused 4.07 billion Taiwan dollars (126 million US) in losses to
agriculture and fisheries.
Mudslides triggered by Typhoon Aere in August claimed 15 lives
and 767 million dollars in losses, prompting government officals
and experts to restrict farming and land use in some conservation
and landslide prone areas.
Andaman's active volcanos Barren-1
and Narcondam have started erupting. The chain of islands in ndaman
and Nicobar are facing tremor, aftershocks and volcano. Severe seismic
activities are seen in these islands. Some of Indian Army personnel
who have reached these remote areas are facing shattering earth
vibrations and high waves.
Some scientists are predicting severe aerthquake again in the North
of Andaman Nicobar Islands. The effect can be severe on Mayanmar,
Andaman, Indi's east coast, Bangladesg and Sumatra.
Andaman's tribals strangely are uneffected as most of them somehow
went higher ground before the Tsunami. So did the anumals.
According to some Indian Air Force choper pilots, some people among
the tribes sensed the devastation way before. They even moved their
belonging and make shift home in grounds where waves could not effect.
HONG KONG : A fresh earthquake
with a magnitude of 5.9 on the Ricter scale hit India's Nicobar
Islands on Sunday morning, seismologists in Hong Kong said.
Nicobar and neighbouring Andaman Islands have been struck by tremors
repeatedly since the magnitude 9.0 quake that occurred off Indonesia's
coast on December 26.
The quake sparked tsunamis, sweeping Asia's southern coastlines
and Africa's eastern coast and killing more than 120,000.
It was not immediately clear if there are any casualties. - CNA
THE national capital was shaken
but not stirred by a small earthquake this afternoon.
The tremor measuring 3.0 on the Richter scale hit at about 2pm
AEDT with its epicentre 20 kilometres west of Canberra in the Namadgi
Director of the Australian Seismological Centre Kevin McCue said
the quake would not have caused any damage, and would only have
been noticed by bushwalkers in the area.
"It's not a big one, but it's big in terms of the quakes that
we get in the Canberra area and big enough to be felt," Mr
McCue told AAP.
No reports had been received from the public by the seismological
centre about the earthquake.
BEIJING (China): An earthquake
measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale struck under the sea off Indonesia's
Sumatra Islands on Saturday afternoon, the State Seismological Bureau
of China said.
The tremor took place at 08:25 GMT, about 410 kilometers (240 miles)
from the epicenter of last Sunday's earthquake, which measured 9.0
on the Richter scale and unleashed tsunamis which killed at least
125,000 people around Asia.
The tremor happened at 5.2 degrees north latitude and 92.3 degrees
east longitude, Xinhua news agency, citing the bureau, reported.
The Hong Kong Observatory reported a "severe earthquake"
at 08:22 GMT, with an estimated magnitude of 6.5 on the Richter
Scale, with its epicentre 350 kilometres west of Banda Aceh.
| GENEVA, Jan. 1 (Xinhuanet) -- The
World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Saturday that first signs
of potentially deadly diseases are threatening survivors in tsunami-hit
areas in Asia.
There are increasing reports of diarrhea disease outbreaks in
displaced persons' settlements in Sri Lanka and India, said David
Nabarro, a top official of the Geneva-based WHO.
Speaking to reporters, Nabarro called for continued preventive
measures and treatments. "What we need to do is to make sure
that we continue to distribute all rehydration salts and treatment
for diarrhea and we continue to do our work in sanitation and water
supplies," he said.
Noting the international operation is "incredibly strong"
and relief distribution has started and gone on pretty well in Sri
Lanka, Nabarro cautioned that it needs a few more days before the
WHO can say there is no danger of major outbreaks of disease.
By Saturday the death toll from the deadly quake and tsunami was
reportedly edging toward 126,000 but the United Nations has warned
that it could rise to 150,000.
WHO says it has circulated an emergency health action program
for the region, identifying the immediate needs for the next three
months. The program says it needs about 40 million US dollars.
The organization also urged countries in the region to prepare
for possible outbreaks of malaria and dengue fever which are endemic
in South East Asia.
New Delhi: An earthquake of slight intensity
shook border areas of West Bengal and Orissa on Saturday evening,
the Meteorological department said.
Measuring 4.4 on the Richter scale, the quake was felt at 18:06
The quake was epicentred at 21.7 degree North latitude and 87.3
degree East longitude on the West Bengal-Orissa border, it said.
It was not yet known whether any damage had been caused by the
temblor and whether it was related to over 80 aftershocks that have
rocked Andaman and Nicobar Islands and its surroundings since last
Sundayís giant quake off the coast of Indonesia triggered
Dozens of families were clearing up storm debris
tonight after a “mini-tornado” damaged around 100 houses
in the Irish Republic.
The sudden squall ripped slates from roofs, smashed windows and
overturned sheds and cars at around 1pm.
The worst affected area covered three housing estates in Clonee
in Co Meath on the Dublin border.
Gardai and fire officers said it was amazing nobody was injured.
A main road between the Hansfield, Castaheaney and Hunters Run estates
was closed off and residents were urged to stay indoors.
“There is still a danger of falling branches and slates,”
said one fire officer.
Earlier, residents fled into their homes as the freak storm swept
through their estates.
One resident said: “It got very dark and blustery. I saw
a flash of lightning and then the house started to shake. It was
the most frightening thing I have ever gone through.
“It felt like an earthquake or a mini tornado.”
AKKARAIPATTU—Flying emergency aid 14,000
kilometres from Canada to Colombo's international airport is the
easy part. Hauling it the next 200 kilometres overland into the
hands of desperate refugees from Sri Lanka's battered eastern coastal
communities is proving far more difficult — and dangerous.
Foreign aid workers struggled with a day-long torrential downpour
yesterday that paralyzed relief efforts across Sri Lanka's isolated
northeast, just days after tsunami waves wiped out entire coastal
The relentless monsoon rains washed away roads
and flooded highways, forcing hundreds of relief trucks and other
supply vehicles to turn back to the capital and preventing aid flights
Refugees waiting for help here in the Ampara district —
the worst-affected areas that account for roughly half of Sri Lanka's
nearly 30,000 dead — were forced to huddle on the floors of
crowded schools and temples braced for possible flooding and leaks.
Aid workers had to set aside some of their most urgent efforts
to burn bodies and chlorinate drinking water wells that were contaminated
by salt water when the tidal waves engulfed local fishing villages.
"The water level is rising because of the flooding, but also
because the drainage system has now completely collapsed,"
said Canadian aid worker Raga Alphonsus, who arrived here this week
to help ZOA, a Dutch aid agency for displaced people.
He predicted major difficulties after the first wave of food distributions
has been completed, because water and sanitation problems will become
more pressing with the swelling tide of refugees.
"If it's not solved we're heading to a different type of
calamity," Alphonsus warned, adding, "The real issue now
is co-ordination of aid."
Relief groups said the continuing rains have not only slowed aid
shipments, but seriously hampered the recovery of bodies in the
Ampara and Batticaloa districts that bore the brunt of the tsunami.
Friends and relatives desperately seeking news
of loved ones after the Asian tsunami have been plagued by hoax
e-mails saying they are dead, police said.
Messages purportedly from Government officials have been sent
to people who placed appeals for information on the Sky News website.
Police said they were treating the matter as a "very serious
crime" and have launched a full investigation.
A spokesman said: "The Metropolitan Police Service would
like to reassure the public that these messages are hoaxes.
"The British Government would not use e-mail to convey news
of the death of a loved one."
The hoax e-mails have all been sent from the same bogus e-mail
They claim to come from the "Foreign Office Bureau"
in Thailand and state that the missing person has been confirmed
Anyone receiving such an e-mail has been advised to treat it with
the "utmost caution".
If caught the hoaxers could face charges of malicious communication
or causing a public nuisance.
Hong Kong - Hong Kong on Saturday had its coldest
New Year's Day for more than 40 years as temperatures in the normally
balmy territory plunged to as low as three degrees Celsius.
Urban temperatures fell to 6.4 degrees Celsius while in the rural
New Territories, temperatures of three degrees Celsius - the lowest
on record for this time of year - were recorded on Saturday morning.
Cold shelters have opened across the territory of 6.8 million
people, which is ill-equipped to deal with low temperatures, and
welfare workers were distributing blankets to elderly people.
The cold snap is being caused by a winter monsoon that has been
blown down from northern China, where seasonal temperatures usually
plunge below zero at the end of December and beginning of January.
The coldest temperature recorded in Hong Kong on a New Year's
Day before this year was six degrees Celsius in 1988. Overall, meteorologists
said it is the coldest New Year's Day for more than 40 years.
Jonao, a sea lion, uses a brush to write a Chinese character which
is translated as 'rooster,' at the Hakkeijima-Sea Paradise amusement
park in Yokohama, January 1, 2005. (REUTERS/Toshiyuki Aizawa)
President Bush today warned that psychic powers are the work of
the devil, and that many animals who avoided the disaster in Asia
could be members of Al-Qaeda, according to unnamed intelligence
When asked for clarification about whether he thought the animals
were responsable for the massive Asian quake, the President mumbled
something about hating our freedoms and pretzels.
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