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and extensive previously unpublished details, at long last, Laura Knight-Jadczyk's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
MERRILL, Wis. - Authorities in
north central Wisconsin received dozens of reports Tuesday evening
of bright flashes of light in the sky, as from an explosion, and
they said it likely came from meteor activity.
The Lincoln County Sheriff's Department said the first call was
at 6:12 p.m. and told of a large bright flash in the town of Harrison.
More reports soon came from all over the county about lights and
strange noises. In all, the sheriff's department got about 50 calls,
and similar calls were received in Oneida, Taylor, Price and Langlade
The Lincoln County officials said that at 6:34 p.m. people logging
near the Lincoln-Taylor county line reported seeing a glow as from
a fire after they saw a flash of light and heard an explosion, but
deputies went into the woods with the others and couldn't find the
source of the glow.
The Federal Aviation Administration tower at Minneapolis-St. Paul
International Airport advised that the lights and explosions mostly
likely were from a meteor, the sheriff's department said.
| An apparent meteor and accompanying
sonic boom Tuesday evening over northeast Wisconsin prompted scores
of telephone calls to law enforcement authorities, a Shawano County
sheriff's sergeant said.
Sgt. Dennis Kleman said reports of the meteor sighting were made
in Marinette, Menominee, Oconto, Langlade and Shawano counties between
6 and 6:15 p.m.
Kleman himself spotted the meteor while patrolling in the westbound
lane of county Highway A about four miles west of Gresham, he said.
"It had a really bright tail," said Kleman, who noticed
a bright flash in his windshield coming from the northeast.
"It came over the top of my squad. It didn't appear to be
coming down. It went across," Kleman said. "It went toward
the southwest and looked like it extinguished."
There were no reports of the object landing, but it is suspected
of causing the sonic boom Kleman and others heard shortly after
"It was well up in the sky," the deputy said. "It
was just a matter of a second, then it went out."
A loud boom and flash of light
heard by many residents Tuesday evening might have been caused by
The Lincoln County Sheriff's Department took about 50 calls after
its first report at 6:15 p.m. from someone in the Harrison Hills
area who heard what sounded like an explosion and saw a flash of
light. Dispatchers then took calls from residents all over the county.
Other area counties, including Marathon, also received similar reports.
A Federal Aviation Administration spokesman said it could have caused
by a meteor shower.
There was an expected meteor shower on or around Jan. 3, said Theo
Koupelis, an astronomy professor at the University of Wisconsin
Marathon County. The loud noise and light might have been caused
by a meteoroid hitting the ground, he said.
Many people called Action 2 News to let us
know about a strange sight in the sky Tuesday night.
Calls came from all over -- especially Brown, Oconto, and Shawano
Callers described what they saw around 6:15 p.m.
as a large, red- and green-colored glowing ball with a tail, shooting
through the sky.
Lincoln County authorities report it may have crashed into a wooded
area there in northcentral Wisconsin. Witnesses said they heard
a loud explosion then saw a fire in the woods. Deputies were out
there late Tuesday night trying to find where the object might have
The FAA reports the object was likely a meteorite.
USA Today founder Al Neuharth's New Year's
Resolution that we should support the troops in Iraq by bringing
them home has stirred up a hornet's nest, according to Editor &
Publisher Magazine which, after describing Neuharth's Dec. 22 Christmas
column, was inundated with hate mail.
The E&P staff wrote that Neuharth said if he were eligible to
serve in Iraq, "I would do all I could to avoid it." Neuharth
also wrote in his weekly column for the paper that America's New
Year's Resolution should be to bring the troops home "sooner
rather than later."
Neuharth, who is 80, recalled his duty as an infantryman in France,
Germany and the Phillipines during World War II as "highly
moral." But he said that troops floundering around in the bloody
Iraqi mess today were, like those in Vietnam, thrust into an "ill-advised
adventure by an unwise commander-in-chief," and should be brought
The vitriolic response was immediate, and got
the attention of editor Greg Mitchell, who said E&P's little
four-paragraph article "drew more letters than virtually any
story we have ever posted."
Mitchell made the strange conclusion that the vicious
responses to Neuharth's commentary (opinion) were mostly a result
of Americans increasingly hating or distrusting the press.
Although "hate" is a bit strong, it is true that as more
Americans rouse from their stupor and begin to compare what the
mainstream US media says is happening both here and abroad with
what is actually happening -- it's easy to see that they have ample
reason to distrust the entire Fourth Estate.
Mitchell did say, however, "Apparently, it
is now an act of treason to offer an editorial opinion on the Iraq
war that goes against the conventional wisdom."
I agree that this uproar is primarily about stifling any sound
of criticism or dissent. And, it's frightening
that, for some Americans, the "conventional wisdom" is
for the rest of us to just shut the hell up and allow our uniformed
citizens to make the ultimate sacrifice in peace -- and honor.
Our duty is to be there, waving our flags, when they are shuttled
back to the US under cover of darkness, boxed up and ready to be
buried. For those Americans, that seems to be the only definition
To give you an idea of this particular mindset, here are just a
few extracts from some of the letters published in E&P on Dec.
Frank Butash, West Hartford, CT.: “Apparently it's easier
to run with jackals than to stand up for your country when it needs
Kenneth Genest: “They had two of these in World War 2. One
was called Tokyo Rose and the other Axis Sally. Their job was to
discourage the American soldiers. I see they have one now at USA
Jerry Martin, San Francisco, CA.: “Yet another self-defeating
fool with a large bank account shoots himself in the foot. Their
dissent equals treason. The terrorists got him just like
all the other rich liberals who side against our victory. They forget
that wars end, and then the country takes stock of who was where.
I encourage the fool to keep mouthing against our victory over the
Muslim jihad, he'll pay the social price in the end.”
Peter Kessler: “And as for the good war, WW II, the lefties
were four-square for that one. Yes sir, they were saving the USSR,
Stalin and Communism. It's sad we didn't join Hitler until he wiped
out the USSR. Alger Hiss and the Uptown Daily Worker (The New York
Times) be damned. I see you've joined the club. Well, you're probably
a founding member.”
Joe McBride, Fort Dodge, Iowa: “Mr.
Neuharth, thanks to you and your ignorance the terrorists are probably
booking their flights to the U.S. now! If we pull out of
Iraq with the job unfinished the terrorists will be bombing McDonalds,
and blowing up malls and schools here, killing our innocent men,
women and children.”
Craig Wood, Waianae, Hawaii: “Today's press undermines our
troops and supports our enemies. They convince parents that supporting
your President is dangerous. They concentrate their ire on any fight
that involves the United States and ignore all others. Like the
sex scandal in the Congo with United Nations forces…. But,
let some Army private put panties on an Iraqi's head and all hell
brakes (sic) loose.”
Duggan Flanakin, Austin, Texas: “Neuharth
should be tried for treason along with a lot of other blowhards
who should be spending their energies condemning the barbarism of
our enemies, the same people who destroyed the Twin Towers.“
Mel Gibbs: “The Patriot Act will put
both of you (Neuharth and Mitchell) on trial for treason and convict
and execute both of you as traitors for running these stories in
a time of war and it should be done on TV for other communist traitors
like you two to know we mean business. This is war and you
should be put in prison NOW for talking like this. Who the hell
do you people think you are? 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, then be made to leave and move to the Middle East
...This is a great Christian nation and god wants us to lead the
world out of darkness with great leaders like President George W.
Bush and Dick Cheney. Communists like Al and Greg will soon be in
prison and on death row for your ugly papers. We won the election
and now you are mad. We own America and all the rights, you people
are trash, go back to Russia and Africa and take your friends with
before we put you on death row after a fair
Ah, yes. Good ol' Mel Gibbs -- giving Neuharth and Mitchell a choice
of Lone Star punishment for exercising their right of free speech.
For daring to criticize the commander-in-chief, they and their families
can either go to prison and then move on out to the Middle East
-- or they and their friends can walk the long, green mile on death
row -- er, after a fair trial, of course.
One man who knows full well how this could play out is Desmond
Tutu, winner of the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize. Tutu was interviewed
by Arlene Getz for Newsweek's Dec. 30 issue from his home in Johannesburg,
When Getz asked him about Iraq, Tutu said, "Any normal human
being ought to be feeling considerable outrage and deep, deep, deep
hurt for so-called ordinary [Iraqi] people. We hardly ever hear
about what the casualties have been on that side. How I wish that
politicians could have the courage and the humility to admit that
they have made mistakes. President Bush and Prime Minister [Tony]
Blair and whoever supported the invasion ought to at least have
the decency to say [they] went into this war because [they] were
given the wrong reasons for going to war."
Tutu also commented that most Americans didn't seem to worry too
much about the number of American soldiers who have died since Bush
claimed the war had ended.
He recalled that during the recent election campaign
he was teaching in Jacksonville, Fla., and was "shocked, because
I had naively believed all these many years that Americans genuinely
believed in freedom of speech. [But I] discovered there (in Fla)
that when you made an utterance that was remotely contrary to what
the White House was saying, then they attacked you."
Think about that. Those who dare criticize the commander-in-chief
will be attacked. This is, in my opinion, the most important --
the most critical -- reason we must not be silenced. We must stand
shoulder-to-shoulder with Al Neuharth, and proclaim that our 2005
New Year's Resolution is -- Bring Them Home.
Sooner rather than later.
Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma freelance writer and a former
civilian US Army Public Information Officer. She is a columnist/regular
contributor for a variety of Internet sites. Contact her at email@example.com
Since Bush’s “war on terrorism”
will last generations, effectively forever, and the Bushcons have
decided to “indefinitely imprison suspected terrorists”
(that is to say, people not convicted of a crime), the Zionist
fanatic Daniel Pipes’ recent comments in favor of throwing
Muslims in concentration camps becomes, for many Americans, an acceptable
response to non-existent terrorism in America. Such a draconian
idea—reminiscent of the Nazis—was not long ago expected
from the likes of Meir Kahane, not a member of the U.S. Institute
of Peace. How times have changed.
In Bushzarro world, it is entirely normal for a “leading
anti-Muslim hate propagandist” (as Left Turn has characterized
Pipes) to be allowed to spew his hatred on ABC World News Tonight,
CBS Reports, Crossfire, Good Morning America, NewsHour with Jim
Lehrer, Nightline, The O’Reilly Factor, and The Today Show,
viewed by millions, while somebody like Noam Chomsky is almost completely
denied access. As if to confirm that rounding up Muslims and throwing
them in concentration camps is a natural response to terrorism—and
an all-American response to boot—Pipes wrote in the Star Telegram
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.
Emphasis added. I’m not sure what Pipes is referring to
precisely when he mentions the “revisionist interpretation”
of the forced migration of 110,000 people of Japanese descent to
“relocation centers,” in other words internment or concentration
camps. As Rep. John H. Tolan, a California Democrat, heading a House
committee investigating “national defense migration,”
said in 1942 after polling the governors of 15 states west of the
Mississippi River on proposals to send “evacuees” from
Pacific Coast states, “No Japanese wanted—except in
concentration camps.” Pipes and Michelle Malkin, who wrote
a book whitewashing the forced internment of Japanese Americans,
are engaged in a “revisionist interpretation” of events,
not “Leftist and Islamist organizations” that have supposedly
“so successfully influenced public opinion that polite society
shies away from endorsing a focus on Muslims,” that is demonizing
all Americans who take advantage of our so-called “religious
freedom” and follow Islam.
The Israelification of America is almost
complete. “For many years now, American presidents of both
parties have been staunchly committed to Israel and its security,”
writes Mark Weber. “This entrenched policy is an expression
of the Jewish-Zionist grip on America's political and cultural life.
It was fervent support for Israel—shared by President Bush,
high-ranking administration officials and nearly the entire US Congress—that
proved crucial in the decision to invade and subdue one of Israel’s
greatest regional enemies.”
Going after generally peaceful Arabs and
Muslims in America, sending FBI undercover agents into their mosques
and communities, preparing the ground to throw them in concentration
camps, trashing the Constitution and habeas corpus—these are
the results of the Israelification of the United States, formerly
a constitutional republic. Apartheid
has arrived in America as it has existed in Israel for decades.
Fox News and its wannabes have done an effective job of brainwashing
the American public and instilling anti-Arab xenophobia, a precondition
to “total war” as envisioned by criminal fanatics such
as Michael Ledeen, Richard Perle, Norman Podhoretz, Irving Kristol,
Paul Wolfowitz, David Wurmser, and other Strausscons and fellow
travelers of the Republikud alliance.
“Change—above all violent change—is the essence
of human history,” Michael Ledeen proclaims. “Creative
destruction is our middle name. We do it automatically … it
is time once again to export the democratic revolution.” In
America, it would seem, this “democratic revolution”
is in the process of manifesting itself along the lines of Nazism
in Germany—going after internal enemies, as urged by
the likes of Daniel Pipes and the revisionist historian Michelle
Malkin. In Germany, political prisoners were forced to wear inverted
triangle badges—for instance, red for political prisoner,
pink for homosexual. How far are we from forcing Arabs to wear a
high-tech alternative to the inverted triangle here in America?
In Fallujah, Arabs are forced to wear, under penalty of death, ID
badges with DNA and retina scan data. If 44 percent of all Americans,
as noted by Pipes, believe Muslims and Arabs should be “focused”
on, how many of them would approve of chipping Mulsims like household
pets or shipping them off to concentration camps? Millions, no doubt.
A Muslim-American who formerly worked for a
suburban manufacturer filed a federal lawsuit Monday alleging he
was fired after he complained of harassment by co-workers and supervisors
after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
The suit by Syed Abbas, a native of Pakistan, said one
co-worker at AFI Industries Inc. repeatedly called him a terrorist
while a supervisor drew laughter at the factory when he made a crude
drawing of Abbas and labeled it a "wanted" poster.
In a telephone interview, Abbas, a naturalized U.S. citizen who
lives in Carol Stream, said he was so alarmed
when one supervisor told him he was under government surveillance
that he sold his house at a loss and moved his family in with relatives.
The same supervisor had warned Abbas that
someone would break into Abbas' house and shoot him, the
"They took advantage of him because they knew they could
play on his fears," said Kamran Memon, one of Abbas' attorneys.
"They picked a guy who they knew was vulnerable."
A company official was faxed a copy of the lawsuit but had no
comment Monday on the allegations. AFI Industries, based in Carol
Stream, makes screws and other fasteners.
The number of cases alleging workplace discrimination based on
religion has increased significantly since the Sept. 11 attacks,
according to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
In the three years after Sept. 11, the
number of discrimination charges by Muslims or those perceived to
be Muslim nearly doubled to 1,778, compared with 892 in the three
years before the terrorist attacks, the EEOC said.
And that does not include the complaints filed with state anti-discrimination
agencies or individuals who did not file complaints for fear of
retaliation from employers or fear of attracting the attention of
law enforcement, Memon said.
Abbas, 40, married and the father of four, said he worked as a
machine operator for AFI Industries for nearly nine years before
he was fired in March 2003 as the U.S. prepared to invade Iraq.
Before Sept. 11, Abbas said, "Everything
His boss considered him a good employee and team player, Abbas
But after the terrorist attacks, a supervisor
repeatedly told Abbas he was dangerous and that no more Pakistanis
would be hired full time, the suit said.
On one occasion, a co-worker asked Abbas how his cousin was doing.
When Abbas inquired which cousin, the co-worker replied, "Osama
bin Laden," the suit alleged.
"He's your Muslim brother," Abbas quoted the co-worker
as telling him.
The supervisor told Abbas that the CIA and FBI
were watching him and warned that someone would break into his house
and shoot him, the suit charged.
At that point, the supervisor formed his hand into the shape of
a gun and motioned like he was shooting at Abbas, the suit said.
"He genuinely believed his life was
in danger," Memon said.
After he repeatedly complained about the alleged harassment, Abbas
said the factory manager became hostile, yelling at him in front
of other employees and unfairly criticizing his work.
He also was given more difficult assignments and reduced overtime,
the suit said.
The suit does not seek specific damages from AFI Industries, but
Memon said he wants compensation for emotional abuse as well as
economic losses. Abbas has been undergoing counseling since he was
fired, Memon said.
WASHINGTON - A rise in the number of Muslims
in Western Europe, many of them poor and
uneducated, is contributing to an increase in deeply rooted
anti-Semitism there, the State Department said in a report to Congress.
Far-right groups still account for a significant proportion of
attacks on Jews and Jewish property, the report said.
In eastern Europe, skinheads and other members of the radical political
fringe are responsible for most anti-Semitic incidents, according
to the report, obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press.
In Russia, Belarus and elsewhere in the former Soviet Union, anti-Semitism
remained a serious problem, with most incidents carried out by ultra-nationalists
and other far-right elements, according to the report.
"The stereotype of Jews as manipulators of the global economy
continues to provide fertile grounds for anti-Semitic aggression,"
said the report to the Senate and House foreign relations committees.
Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif., who pushed for annual State Department
reports and for close monitoring through a new office in the department,
welcomed the first global report on anti-Semitism.
"It is only a beginning," said Lantos, the senior Democrat
on the House committee. "The department must act quickly to
appoint an advocate of substantial rank and experience to coordinate
our government's response to the current outbreak of anti-Semitic
The report, which covers the period between July 2003 and December
2004, gave no worldwide totals but did include statistics provided
by some countries.
There are dwindling Jewish populations in North Africa and the
Middle East, except for Israel, and there are few incidents involving
Jews who remain in those areas. But Syria
condones and supports "a virulent domestic anti-Semitism"
as government-supported media demonize Israel and its leaders, the
Beyond Europe and the Middle East "there are also worrying
expressions" of anti-Semitism, the report said.
In Pakistan, where there is no Jewish community, anti-Semitic sentiment
fanned by press articles is widespread, the report said. Anti-Semitism
where there are virtually no Jews is a recent phenomenon, the State
Department told Congress.
In Europe, where millions of Jews died in the Holocaust, anti-Semitic
acts have increased both in frequency and severity since 2000, the
The sense of safety and security of Jewish communities has been
disrupted, the report said.
Contributing to the trend, the report said, is a rising Muslim
population with "long-standing antipathy toward both Israel
and Jews" as well as developments in Israel, the occupied territories
In Europe and other regions of the world, many governments have
become increasingly aware of anti-Semitism and have spoken against
it. Countries such as France, Belgium and
Germany have taken effective measures to combat anti-Semitism and
have increased protection for Jewish communities and Jewish properties,
the report said.
Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League,
said the United States should be applauded for its leadership in
recognizing the reality of the problem, which he called the old
anti-Semitism and the newly Muslim extremist-engendered anti-Semitism.
"It is forthright in recognizing the changing nature and threat
of anti-Semitism, its connection, and its virulent demonization
of Israel and Zionists," Foxman said in a statement.
And, he said, the United States is more direct
in linking anti-Semitism to an increase in Muslim extremists in
Europe and not to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Israeli army has mistreated 10 detained
Palestinian community leaders who were arrested in the run
up to Palestinian elections, their lawyer has said.
The leaders were rounded up from their homes in Dura, south
of Jerusalem, on Saturday night and have been in detention
Israel's occupation army says the men were detained because they
posed a threat to the Jewish state. However, Palestinians
believe the real reason is their intention to run in the upcoming
According to an east Jerusalem lawyer who visited the detainees
at the Etzion detention camp, north of Hebron, on Monday morning,
the 10 had been kept in freezing conditions at the Adoraiem military
camp, outside Dura.
"The soldiers kept them for over 16
hours under heavy rain and in harsh, cold weather,"
said the lawyer, Tawhid Shaaban.
At least two of the community leaders Husain Amr, 51, and Fathi
Amr, 53, reportedly fell ill during detention. Amr, a diabetic,
also suffers from heart problems.
Shaaban said the two were transferred to the Ofer internment centre.
It was not clear if the two were given medical care.
Palestinian Authority officials have accused
Israel of carrying out sweeping and unjustified arrests in the West
Bank for the purpose of forestalling further election gains by the
resistance group Hamas.
The bulk of the Dura detainees are associated with Hamas' religious,
cultural and charitable activities, but are not proven to be
connected with resistance against the Israeli occupation army.
Hasan Yusuf, Hamas spokesman in the West Bank, accused
Israel of "seeking to trigger a new wave of violence and bloodshed
for the purpose of thwarting the Palestinian election".
"Now the world should see for itself who is stoking the fire
of violence," he said. "Rounding up innocent people
from their homes and dumping them in concentration camps like this
is the ultimate incitement of violence."
'Threats to Israel'
Israeli army spokesman Eitan Arusi said the detainees constituted
a security threat to the state of Israel.
Arusi said the army was only carrying out instructions from the
Shin Beth, Israel's chief domestic intelligence agency.
A spokeswoman for the Israeli human rights organisation B'tselem
said the mistreatment of detainees - keeping them in cold conditions
for many hours - was a violation of the law and army orders.
"The army may arrest people, but has no right to brutalise
them and treat them with indignity," a B'tselem spokeswoman
The use of forged British passports by Mossad
assassination squads triggered a Foreign Office protest.
But just as diplomats were about to call in the Israeli ambassador,
it was discovered that civil servants elsewhere in Whitehall were
in the process of renewing the UK passport held by a senior Israeli
secret service agent.
"David Kimche is... controller of Israeli intelligence service
operations in western Europe," a secret Foreign Office memo
said in 1974. "He is a member of the diplomatic staff in the
Paris embassy. He was born in the UK and for many years had a British
passport. This has expired."
The murders of a Moroccan in Norway and Arab activists
in Lebanon had infuriated diplomats when it was discovered that
both had been carried out by Mossad agents, several of whom were
using falsified British documents.
The realisation that Kimche was about to get a new passport astonished
officials. "This is really extraordinary," one wrote.
"At the same time as the minister is about to protest to the
Israeli ambassador over the misuse of British passports for Israeli
intelligence operations, we are apparently contemplating issuing
a British passport to a man who may well have been in charge of
the operation complained of."
Kimche was discouraged from applying.
Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi, whom the US occupation
authorities declared to be the "target number one" in
Iraq, has been arrested in the city of Baakuba, the Emirate newspaper
al-Bayane reported on Tuesday referring to Kurdish sources.
Al-Zarqawi, leader of the terrorist group Al-Tawhid Wa'al-Jihad,
was recently appointed the director of the Al-Qaeda organisation
The newspaper's correspondent in Baghdad points out that a report
on the seizure of the terrorist, on whom the US put a bounty of
US$10 million, was also reported by Iraqi Kurdistan radio, which
at one time had been the first to announce the arrest of Saddam
There have been no official reports about the arrest of the terrorist.
Al-Zarqawi, 38, a Jordanian, whose real name is Ahmad al-Khalayleh,
aims to turn Iraq into a "new Afghanistan". [...]
U.S. military and intelligence
sources are denying print and broadcast reports that terrorist Abu-Musab
al-Zarqawi has been arrested in Iraq, MSNBC reported Tuesday.
MSNBC said senior U.S. military and intelligence sources told it
the reports are not true. A newspaper in the United Arab Emirates,
al-Bayane, reported in its Tuesday edition that the Jordanian-born
terrorist had been arrested in Baqouba, Iraq. Iraqi Kurdistan radio
also reported the arrest of al-Zarqawi.
The U.S. military in December said al-Zarqawi likely is in the
Al-Zarqawi reportedly arrested in Iraq
Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi, whom the US occupation authorities declared
to be the "target number one" in Iraq, has been arrested
in the city of Baakuba, the Emirate newspaper al-Bayane reported
on Tuesday referring to Kurdish sources.
Al-Zarqawi, leader of the terrorist group Al-Tawhid Wa'al-Jihad,
was recently appointed the director of the Al-Qaeda organisation
The newspaper's correspondent in Baghdad points
out that a report on the seizure of the terrorist, on whom the US
put a bounty of US$10 million, was also reported
by Iraqi Kurdistan radio, which at one time had been the first to
announce the arrest of Saddam Hussein.
by SEYMOUR M. HERSH
As June 30th approaches, Israel
looks to the Kurds.
Israeli intelligence and military operatives are now quietly at
work in Kurdistan, providing training for Kurdish commando units
and, most important in Israel’s view, running covert operations
inside Kurdish areas of Iran and Syria. Israel feels particularly
threatened by Iran, whose position in the region has been strengthened
by the war. The Israeli operatives include members of the Mossad,
Israel’s clandestine foreign-intelligence service, who work
undercover in Kurdistan as businessmen and, in some cases, do not
carry Israeli passports.
Asked to comment, Mark Regev, the spokesman for the Israeli Embassy
in Washington, said, “The story is simply untrue and the relevant
governments know it’s untrue.” Kurdish officials declined
to comment, as did a spokesman for the State Department.
However, a senior C.I.A. official acknowledged
in an interview last week that the Israelis were indeed operating
in Kurdistan. He told me that the Israelis felt that they
had little choice: “They think they have to be there.”
Asked whether the Israelis had sought approval
from Washington, the official laughed and said, “Do you know
anybody who can tell the Israelis what to do? They’re
always going to do what is in their best interest.” The C.I.A.
official added that the Israeli presence was widely known in the
American intelligence community.
The Israeli decision to seek a bigger foothold in Kurdistan—characterized
by the former Israeli intelligence officer as “Plan B”—has
also raised tensions between Israel and Turkey. It has provoked
bitter statements from Turkish politicians and, in a major regional
shift, a new alliance among Iran, Syria, and Turkey, all of which
have significant Kurdish minorities. In early June, Intel Brief,
a privately circulated intelligence newsletter produced by Vincent
Cannistraro, a retired C.I.A. counterterrorism chief, and Philip
Giraldi, who served as the C.I.A.’s deputy chief of base in
Istanbul in the late nineteen-eighties, said:
Turkish sources confidentially report that the Turks are increasingly
concerned by the expanding Israeli presence in Kurdistan and alleged
encouragement of Kurdish ambitions to create an independent state.
. . . The Turks note that the large Israeli intelligence operations
in Northern Iraq incorporate anti-Syrian and anti-Iranian activity,
including support to Iranian and Syrian Kurds who are in opposition
to their respective governments. [...]
Israeli involvement in Kurdistan is not new. Throughout the nineteen-sixties
and seventies, Israel actively supported a Kurdish rebellion against
Iraq, as part of its strategic policy of seeking alliances with
non-Arabs in the Middle East. In 1975, the Kurds were betrayed by
the United States, when Washington went along with a decision by
the Shah of Iran to stop supporting Kurdish aspirations for autonomy
in Iraq. [...]
The former Israeli intelligence officer
acknowledged that since late last year Israel has been training
Kurdish commando units to operate in the same manner and with the
same effectiveness as Israel’s most secretive commando units,
the Mistaravim. The initial goal of the Israeli assistance
to the Kurds, the former officer said, was to allow them to do what
American commando units had been unable to do—penetrate, gather
intelligence on, and then kill off the leadership of the Shiite
and Sunni insurgencies in Iraq. (I was unable to learn whether any
such mission had yet taken place.) “The feeling was that this
was a more effective way to get at the insurgency,” the former
officer said. “But the growing Kurdish-Israeli relationship
began upsetting the Turks no end. Their issue is that the very same
Kurdish commandos trained for Iraq could infiltrate and attack in
The Kurdish-Israeli collaboration inevitably expanded, the Israeli
said. Some Israeli operatives have crossed the border into Iran,
accompanied by Kurdish commandos, to install sensors and other sensitive
devices that primarily target suspected Iranian nuclear facilities.
The former officer said, “Look, Israel has always supported
the Kurds in a Machiavellian way—as balance against Saddam.
It’s Realpolitik.” He added, “By aligning with
the Kurds, Israel gains eyes and ears in Iran, Iraq, and Syria.”
He went on, “What Israel was doing with the Kurds was not
so unacceptable in the Bush Administration.”
Senior German officials told me, with alarm, that their intelligence
community also has evidence that Israel is using its new leverage
inside Kurdistan, and within the Kurdish communities in Iran and
Syria, for intelligence and operational purposes. Syrian
and Lebanese officials believe that Israeli intelligence played
a role in a series of violent protests in Syria in mid-March in
which Syrian Kurdish dissidents and Syrian troops clashed, leaving
at least thirty people dead. (There are nearly two million
Kurds living in Syria, which has a population of seventeen million.)
Much of the fighting took place in cities along Syria’s borders
with Turkey and Kurdish-controlled Iraq. Michel Samaha, the Lebanese
Minister of Information, told me that while the disturbances amounted
to an uprising by the Kurds against the leadership of Bashir Assad,
the Syrian President, his government had evidence that Israel was
“preparing the Kurds to fight all around Iraq, in Syria, Turkey,
and Iran. They’re being programmed to do commando operations.”
At the moment, the former American senior intelligence official
said, the Israelis’ tie to Kurdistan “would be of greater
value than their growing alliance with Turkey. ‘We love Turkey
but got to keep the pressure on Iran.’” The former Israeli
intelligence officer said, “The Kurds were the last surviving
group close to the United States with any say in Iraq. The only
question was how to square it with Turkey.”
There may be no way to square it with Turkey. Over breakfast in
Ankara, a senior Turkish official explained, “Before the war,
Israel was active in Kurdistan, and now it is active again. This
is very dangerous for us, and for them, too. We do not want to see
Iraq divided, and we will not ignore it.” Then, citing a popular
Turkish proverb—“We will burn a blanket to kill a flea”—he
said, “We have told the Kurds, ‘We are not afraid of
you, but you should be afraid of us.’” (A Turkish diplomat
I spoke to later was more direct: “We tell our Israeli and
Kurdish friends that Turkey’s good will lies in keeping Iraq
together. We will not support alternative solutions.”)
“If you end up with a divided Iraq, it will bring more blood,
tears, and pain to the Middle East, and you will be blamed,”
the senior Turkish official said. “From Mexico to Russia,
everybody will claim that the United States had a secret agenda
in Iraq: you came there to break up Iraq. If
Iraq is divided, America cannot explain this to the world.”
The official compared the situation to the breakup of Yugoslavia,
but added, “In the Balkans, you did not have oil.” He
said, “The lesson of Yugoslavia is that when you give one
country independence everybody will want it.” If that happens,
he said, “Kirkuk will be the Sarajevo of Iraq. If something
happens there, it will be impossible to contain the crisis.”
In Ankara, another senior Turkish official explained that his government
had “openly shared its worries” about the Israeli military
activities inside Kurdistan with the Israeli Foreign Ministry. “They
deny the training and the purchase of property and claim it’s
not official but done by private persons. Obviously, our intelligence
community is aware that it was not so. This policy is not good for
America, Iraq, or Israel and the Jews.”
BAGHDAD - The Islamic Army in
Iraq, one of the main armed groups fighting U.S. forces in the war-torn
country, has threatened to carry out attacks inside the United States,
according to a statement posted on a Web site yesterday.
This year "will bring woes on America. The mujahedeen [holy
warriors] have prepared big surprises for your sons outside America
and a big surprise for you inside America," said the statement,
the authenticity of which could not be confirmed.
The statement appeared to mark a disturbing shift in strategy by
the shadowy Sunni Muslim group that has claimed a number of attacks
and killings of hostages in Iraq, including an Italian journalist
and two Pakistanis.
The mujahedeen "will take the battle from inside our country
[Iraq] to yours," the statement said.
"We address you after you finished celebrating the new year,
hoping that you are no longer drunk.... We will give American civilians
a taste of what civilians in our country go through," said
the statement, presented as a "message to the American people."
The statement, which described Americans as "uncivilized"
and "ignorant," claimed that "the whole world"
hates the United States.
"Are you aware that the number of those who support striking
America on its own turf has greatly increased?" it said.
"Last year was a picnic for your soldiers [in Iraq]. The year
2005 will witness a quantitative and qualitative change in the operations
against your army, which will go down in history," the statement
The Islamic Army was one of three militant groups, along with the
al-Qaeda-linked Ansar al-Sunna and the previously unknown Army of
the Mujahedeen, that warned in an Internet statement last week that
they would strike at anyone taking part in Iraqi elections this
"Those who participate in this dirty farce will not be sheltered
from the blows of the mujahedeen," the statement said.
Militant groups have mounted an increasingly effective insurgency
against U.S.-led troops inside Iraq, particularly on their home
turf in Sunni Arab areas north and west of the capital.
A suicide bomber from Ansar al-Sunna managed to infiltrate a U.S.
base in the northern city of Mosul last month and blow himself up
inside the mess tent, killing 22 people in the deadliest single
strike against the U.S. military since the March, 2003, invasion.
The Iraqi government's intelligence chief said yesterday he believes
the insurgents wreaking havoc across the country outnumber the U.S.
forces stationed there.
General Mohammad Shahwani said there are an estimated 200,000 partisans
in Iraq, although he believed their hard-core fighters number about
Asked whether the insurgents were winning, Gen. Shahwani said:
"They are not losing."
But none of the insurgent groups has claimed an
attack outside Iraq, and their ability to operate outside their
home territory remains unproven.
The American media has descended
on the Asian tsunami with all the fervor of feral animals in a meat
locker. The newspapers and TV’s are plastered with bodies
drifting out to sea, battered carcasses strewn along the beach and
bloated babies lying in rows. Every aspect of the suffering is being
scrutinized with microscopic intensity by the predatory lens of
This is where the western press really excels:
in the celebratory atmosphere of human catastrophe. Their penchant
for misery is only surpassed by their appetite for profits.
Where was this “free press” in Iraq when the death
toll was skyrocketing towards 100,000? So far, we’ve seen
nothing of the devastation in Falluja where more than 6,000 were
killed and where corpses were lined along the city’s streets
for weeks on end. Is death less photogenic in Iraq? Or, are there
political motives behind the coverage?
Wasn’t Ted Koppel commenting just days ago, that the media
was restricting its coverage of Iraq to show sensitivity for the
squeamishness of its audience? He reiterated the mantra that filming
dead Iraqis was “in bad taste” and that his American
audience would be repelled by such images? How many times have we
heard the same rubbish from Brokaw, Jennings and the rest of their
Well, it looks like Koppel and the others have quickly switched
directions. The tsunami has turned into a 24 hour-a-day media frenzy
of carnage and ruin, exploring every facet of human misery in agonizing
The festival of bloodshed is chugging ahead at full-throttle and
it’s bumping up ratings in the process.
Corporate media never fails to astound even the most jaded viewer.
Just when it appears that they’ve hit rock-bottom, they manage
to slip even deeper into the morass of sensationalism. The manipulation
of calamity is particularly disturbing, especially when disaster
is translated into a revenue windfall. Koppel may disparage “bad
taste”, but his boardroom bosses are more focused on the bottom
line. Simply put, tragedy is good for business.
When it comes to Iraq, however, the whole
paradigm shifts to the right. The dead and maimed are faithfully
hidden from view. No station would dare show a dead Marine
or even an Iraqi national mutilated by an errant American bomb.
That might undermine the patriotic objectives of our mission: to
democratize the natives and enter them into the global economic
system. Besides, if Iraq was covered like the tsunami, public support
would erode extremely quickly, and Americans would have to buy their
oil rather than extracting it at gunpoint. What good would that
Looks like the media’s got it right: carnage IS different
in Iraq than Thailand, Indonesia or India. The Iraqi butchery is
part of a much grander scheme: a plan for conquest, subjugation
and the theft of vital resources, the foundation blocks for maintaining
white privilege into the next century.
The Iraq conflict is an illustration of how the media is governed
by the political agenda of ownership. The media cherry-picks the
news according to the requirements of the investor class, dumping
footage (like dead American soldiers) that doesn’t support
their policies. That way, information can be fit into the appropriate
doctrinal package, one that serves corporate interests. It’s
a matter of selectively excluding anything that compromises the
broader, imperial objectives. Alternatively, the coverage of the
Asian tsunami allows the media to whet the public’s appetite
for tragedy and feed the macabre preoccupation with misfortune.
Both tendencies are an affront to honest journalism and to any reasonable
commitment to an informed citizenry.
The uneven coverage (of Iraq and the tsunami) highlights an industry
in meltdown. Today’s privately owned media may bury one story,
and yet, manipulate another to boost ratings. They are just as likely
to exploit the suffering of Asians, while ignoring the pain of Iraqis.
Neither brings us closer to the truth. It’s simply impossible
to derive a coherent worldview from the purveyors of soap suds and
dog food. They’re more devoted to creating a compatible atmosphere
for consumerism than conveying an objective account of events.
We need a media that is dedicated to straightforward standards
of impartiality and excellence, not one that’s rooted in commercialism,
exploitation and hyperbole.
| A young man of 19, Y., was injured
in a car accident and filed a claim with his insurance company. Thousands
of these sorts of claims are submitted each year and receive no publicity.
However, Y.'s affair received wide publicity and struck a chord in
the media in particular, and Israeli society in general. The special
interest had to do with one of the sections of the subsequent court
verdict: Aside from various types of monetary compensation, the court
also ruled in favor of human compensation for Y. The Tel Aviv District
Court ruled that the claimant would be entitled to receive medication
against impotence once a week, and that "in addition, he
will be entitled to visit a brothel once a week."
to stating the sum to be allocated to this compensation category,
the verdict offers a few relevant details: the fact that the plaintiff's
girlfriend left him after a lengthy relationship and that he was
hospitalized in a psychiatric ward due the development of a psychotic
condition that he claimed was brought on by the split; in the post-accident
period he had a few partners, but was able to have sex during this
period "only with call girls." As such, the court essentially
puts its stamp of approval on the plaintiff's contention that he
has only one recourse - to pay for sex services.
This assertion leaves certain things concealed
from the eyes of the court. One, that women are not a form of "compensation"
that may be handed down in a verdict to a person, no matter what
his condition; two, that brothels have been prohibited by the lawmaker,
and only the blatant incompetence of law enforcement authorities
caused this section to become a dead letter; and three, that according
to police testimony presented December 22 to a session of a parliamentary
committee of investigation chaired by MK Zahava Gal-On, 99 percent
of all the women engaged in prostitution in Israel are victims of
In other words, there is a 99 percent chance that
in the weekly visit to a house of prostitution granted to him by
the court, Y. will be having sexual relations with a victim of human
trafficking and contributing the insurance company's money directly
to organized crime, all with the blessing and assent of the district
Israeli society, which has clear patriarchal characteristics, had
over the years provided men nearly unlimited access to women: rape
victims were raped a second time by the enforcement authorities;
women who experienced sexual harassment and complained were systematically
persecuted by colleagues and superiors; rape of women by their husbands
was not considered a crime until the late 1970s; and victims of
trafficking were defined here as prostitutes who came to Israel
of their own volition, and not as women whose human rights were
violated in every possible way. Now the court comes and takes it
a step further - a more extreme step - by legitimizing this access.
Prostitution services are only one section of the court verdict,
along with future loss of livelihood, medications, sports activity
required by the plaintiff, telephone and housing expenses, etc.
One section of the verdict debates the plaintiff's claim that as
a result of the accident he has begun to "smoke like a chimney"
and is seeking the insurance company's funding for his increased
smoking expenses. The court states that smoking is harmful to health,
and that as part of the psychiatric treatment to be given him, "it
would be appropriate for an effort to be made to cure the plaintiff
of this habit."
From this passage we learn that the court is concerned
with the plaintiff's health and feels that smoking is unhealthful,
but prostitution is healthful. Nevertheless, the verdict devotes
not one word to the health, dignity or freedom of the victim of
trafficking that will be compelled to serve as a "consolation
prize" for Y.'s condition of impotence.
The court awarded Y. a sum of NIS 150,000 for the "impotence
treatment" section of the claim. The victim of trafficking,
purchased by a dealer in Israel's meat market, is bought for between
$4,000 and $6,000. A quick calculation demonstrates that through
the amount that Y. will be funneling to organized crime, its minions
will be able to buy between five and eight additional women. One
wonders about the court's moral authority to hear indictments filed
against traffickers in women at a time that deplorable court verdicts
like this essentially promote trafficking and ensure its prosperity.
While the whole world had sent
aid to the tsunami-hit South East Asia, Israel forwarded a team
entrusted with unique task. Not many Israeli tourists were swept
away by the giant waves – official death toll stands at three,
with some twenty missing; not many comparing with hundred thousand
Indonesians or even with three thousand Swedes. Still the Israeli
teams were very active on the ground. The
highly trained experts led by Rabbi Meshi Zahav did not go to save
trapped survivors or alleviate suffering of millions; their job
was to save dead Jews from fate worse than death – that is
to be buried with the goyim in the same grave. The Haaretz
daily[i] reported: “The Israeli rescue teams in Thailand split
up Thursday: one team worked on identifying bodies in Krabi, while
another worked on the same task in Phuket. The Israeli crews - from
the police and Zaka (a non-profit group that specializes in identifying
victims of disasters) - are trying to locate dead Israelis before
they are buried”.
They pressed upon the Thai government to
postpone the mass entombment, though it was necessary to prevent
spread of epidemics; and Bangkok gave in. Every dead Jewish
body should be taken to Israel, or at least buried separately from
impure non-Jews. Witty Gilad Atzmon remarked: “the ‘altruistic’
Jews … are in a state of panic, as we all know, dead Jews
are precious, they deserve a special burial. The fact that 5-10
Jews might be lost forever among some other 125.000 gentiles is
pretty horrifying, I am sure you can see it.”
This is a part and parcel of Jewish faith, the
pinnacle of “The Nation Shall Dwell Alone” commandment
– Jews are not supposed to live or to die with non-Jews. Their
separate burial is necessary to guarantee their bodily resurrection
when Messiah comes. A Jewish body defiled by gentile proximity won’t
be resurrected, according to the Jews. Even irreligious Jews follow
this separation rule without giving it a second thought.
This squeamish attitude is particularly unpleasant: whenever the
Jews discover that a person of doubtful Jewishness is buried among
their lot they remove the body and dump it elsewhere. It happened
to an Israeli citizen Teresa Angelowitz. She was buried in the Jewish
cemetery; later on the religious authorities discovered that she
was a wife of a Jew, but not a Jew. They exhumed her body at the
dark of the night and re-buried on the dumping ground. It happened
to many Russian soldiers who died defending the Jewish character
of Israel and were refused the burial. Now, in face of the huge
tragedy in South East Asia, this insistence of ‘not being
counted among the goyim” is especially offensive, bordering
on denial of our common humanity. What is so bad about Thais, French,
Chinese and other people who found their death in the catastrophe
that you can’t leave your dead lying next to them?
This nasty exclusiveness has to be taken into account while trying
to comprehend the long-running show of Israeli redeployment in Gaza.
Sharon’s government wants to withdraw its troops from within
the strip to its perimeter. Fine and good: this is a reasonable
(from his point of view) decision: it is cheaper to keep Gaza under
lock and key, surrounded by Israeli troops. The redeployment is
not good neither bad for the Palestinians – the Jews will
be able to kill whoever they wish from their bases outside the narrow
strip, but this act is presented as an important step on the way
to creation of a Palestinian state.
Now, instead of redeployment, Israelis discuss the fate of some
(probably two thousand) Jewish settlers in Gaza strip. Sharon wants
to evacuate them and pay them hefty compensation; they object to
evacuation. The whole Israeli society discusses whether they can
be removed; how much force should be applied; whether ‘Jews
may remove Jews’; whether the ruling of the Rabbis forbidding
the evacuation takes precedence over the government decision.
Nobody, but absolutely nobody is ready to consider an obvious (for
a non-Jew) solution: remove the army and leave the settlers where
they are. If they want to stay in Gaza, let them. Do not pay a penny
for their removal: they are free men and women; they knew what they
did when they accepted the lands and houses in Gaza. There are hundreds
of American Jews who want to buy their houses, there are Palestinians
who will be willing to buy – so there is no problem, whoever
wants stays, whoever wants to leave sells his house and leaves.
If they will be nasty to their neighbours, they will flee; if they
will be good neighbours, they will flourish.
Indeed, when the British Empire left Palestine, or India, or Africa,
they did not evacuate their citizens by force. Whoever felt that
he caused too much grief to the natives, left for England; whoever
preferred to stay – stayed.
Kenya is a good case to consider. The country had a sizeable English
settler community; there was also very active Mau-Mau native resistance,
much more violent than the Palestinian; still, when Kenya was granted
independence, the settlers stayed. I have met them in the Highlands
near Lake Rudolf: prosperous farmers, strong and sunburned, similar
to old-style Israelis, they speak local language, are involved in
local life. Many of them have their small airplanes and pop into
Nairobi for an evening drink whenever they get tired from watching
pink flamingos at the lakeside. The settlers try to be good neighbours
to the native people – after all, the political power in hands
of native Kikuyu; and RAF is not likely to defend them.
This is the example for the Israeli settlers to emulate, while
the Israeli government should not tell them what to do and where
to live. Their settlements won’t be ‘for Jews only’.
They will have native neighbours, not only farm hands, but native
officials, native police and native judges – but this consideration
did not stop thousands of Brits and French, Portuguese and Spaniards,
Russians and Germans to remain in the newly independent countries.
The evacuation discourse that brought Israel to the verge of civil
war can’t be comprehended outside of the general nasty picture
of Jewish exclusiveness.
Only people, who can’t bear the thought
of being buried in one grave with a goy, can’t imagine the
possibility of staying as equals without the army and colonial administration
to enforce their superiority. Azmi Bishara, our MP from Nazareth,
was right when he refused to support Sharon’s initiative;
while the Labour party of Peres and Barak added another shameful
deed to its long roll of shame when they joined Sharon’s government
to carry on the ‘disengagement’. The case of the Gaza
settlers may be used to undermine and destroy the “Jewish
character of the state”. There is no reason to play into the
game of Jewish exclusivity, whether in Thailand or in Gaza.
| WASHINGTON, Jan. 5 (Xinhuanet) --
The Bush administration is considering imposing new sanctions on Syria
to prod it to crack down on Iraqis in Syria who are providing financial
and logistical support to insurgents in Iraq, the New York Times said
in a report on Wednesday.
Among the steps being considered is a Treasury Department action
that could essentially isolate the Syrian banking system, the report
said citing senior US officials.
The officials said the Syrian government has not taken action
against the network of Iraqis in Damascus despite months of quiet
protest from the United States. The network includes former officials
of Saddam Hussein's government and recent intelligence suggests
that the network's role in providing support to insurgents in Iraq
is more extensive than previously suspected, the report said.
However, although the Iraqis in Syria are playing a "significant"
role in coordinating flows of money, weapons and combatants inside
Iraq, the anti-American insurgency would continue to thrive even
without help from Syria, US officials admitted.
Syrian officials have sought to rebut American criticism by saying
the United States has yet to provide them with sufficient accurate
information to prompt action against individual Iraqis the Americans
say are in the network.
Syria has long been subject to limited US economic sanctions because
of its designation by the US State Department as a state sponsor
of terrorism. The Bush administration imposed additional sanctions
last spring that prohibit exports to Syria of most goods,excluding
food and medicine, and outlaws commercial flights between the United
States and Syria by Syrian-owned aircraft.
| WASHINGTON, Jan. 5 (Xinhuanet) --
Alberto R. Gonzales, the White House counsel and President George
W. Bush's nominee for attorney general, intervened directly with Justice
Department lawyers in 2002 to obtain a controversial legal ruling
on the extent of the president's authority to permit extreme interrogation
practices, The New York Times reported Wednesday.
Gonzales's role in seeking a legal opinion on the definition of
torture and the legal limits on the force that could be used on
terrorist suspects in captivity is expected to be a central issue
in the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings scheduled
to begin Thursday.
The Justice Department produced the much-debated
memorandum on Aug. 1, 2002, which concluded that interrogators had
great leeway to question detainees using coercive techniques and
said that Bush could circumvent domestic and international prohibitions
against torture in the name of national security.
As the White House's chief lawyer, Gonzales supervised
the production of a number of legal memorandums that shaped the
administration's legal framework for conducting its battle against
Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups. He wrote in a memorandum dated
January 2002 that the Geneva Conventions did not apply to fighters
captured in Afghanistan.
The next month the White House decided that the Geneva Conventions
would be applied to Taliban captives but not to detainees linked
to Al Qaeda.
The Justice Department formally rescinded the Aug. 1, 2002 memorandum
last week and replaced it with a legal opinion saying that "torture
is abhorrent both to American law and values and international norms."
The Times report said, quoting current and former officials, that
Gonzales's request resulting in the original memorandum was somewhat
unusual. He went directly to lawyers at the Office of Legal Counsel,
bypassing the office of the deputy attorney general, which is often
notified of politically delicate requests for legal opinions made
by executive-branch agencies, including the White House, the report
Democrats and human rights groups have complained that the memorandum
created a permissive atmosphere that led to serious abuses of detainees
in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
A senior administration official said the memorandum's conclusions
appeared to closely align with the prevailing White House view of
interrogation practices, according to the Times.
| PARIS, Jan 4 (AFP) - Muhamed al-Jundi,
the Syrian driver of two French journalists taken hostage in Iraq
in August, filed suit at a Paris court Tuesday alleging torture and
mistreatment by the US army.
"The suit is against members of the US armed forces in Iraq
who were guilty of mistreating me, who tortured me, who threatened
to kill me," he said.
Jundi, 47, was captured with reporters Christian Chesnot and Georges
Malbrunot on August 20 south of Baghdad and found in a house in
Fallujah on November 12 when US troops invaded the city.
The two Frenchmen were released on December 21.
The driver is a member of the Baath party of former Iraqi leader
Saddam Hussein. He is represented by
a veteran lawyer, Jacques Verges, who has made a name for taking
on controversial cases.
Verges said that Jundi has the right to present the suit at the
Paris courts because after his release he was flown out of Baghdad
under French protection.
Announcing his intention to file suit last month, Verges said his
client was beaten by the US troops who found him at Fallujah.
He said Jundi was tortured with electric shocks and subjected to
mock executions by the US soldiers.
In press conferences after his release Jundi made no mention of
his alleged mistreatment.
He told AFP that he had put off the decision to file suit in order
not to endanger the lives of Chesnot and Malbrunot while they were
still held hostage.
VIENNA, Austria (AP) - The UN atomic watchdog
agency has found evidence of secret nuclear experiments in Egypt
that could be used in weapons programs, diplomats said Tuesday.
The diplomats told The Associated Press that most of the work
was carried out in the 1980s and 1990s but said the watchdog - the
International Atomic Energy Agency - is also looking at evidence
that suggests some were as recent as a year ago.
Specifically said one of the diplomats, the Egyptians "tried
to produce various components of uranium" without declaring
it to the IAEA, as they were bound to under the Nuclear Non-proliferation
Among the products were several kilograms of uranium metal and
of uranium tetrafluoride - a precursor to uranium hexafluoride gas,
said the diplomat, who demanded anonymity.
Uranium metal can be processed into plutonium, while uranium hexafluoride
can be enriched into weapons grade uranium - both for use in the
core of nuclear warheads.
The diplomat said the Vienna-based agency has not yet drawn a
conclusion on the scope and purpose of the experiments.
But the diplomat - who is well connected to IAEA sources - said
the work appeared to have been sporadic, involved small amounts
of material and to have lacked a particular focus.
That, he said, indicated that the work was laboratory scale and
not directly geared toward creating a full-scale program to make
Egypt has denied in the past that it is trying to develop a nuclear
North Korea said Saturday that the risk of
a nuclear war was mounting on the Korean peninsula as the United
States attempts to "stifle" it by force.
It urged Washington to drop its "hostile" policy toward
the communist state and demanded solidarity among all Koreans in
order to drive out US troops stationed in South Korea, calling them
the "very source of a nuclear war."
The statement was made in a New Year editorial run in North Korean
"The danger of a nuclear war is growing on the Korean peninsula
as the days go by owing to the US moves to stifle the DPRK (North
Korea)," the editorial said, according to Pyongyang's official
Korean Central News Agency.
"All Koreans should stage a powerful struggle for peace against
war in order to drive the US troops out of South Korea, remove the
very source of a nuclear war and defend the peace and security on
the Korean peninsula," it said. [...]
TOKYO - A newspaper report in Japan suggests
North Korea has been selling weapons to Moro Islamic Liberation
Front (MILF), an Islamic extremist group in the Philippines.
Japan's biggest-selling newspaper, Yomiuri Shimbun, quotes Southeast
Asian security sources saying North Korea sold 10,000 rifles and
other weapons to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. The group is
based in the Philippines and allegedly has ties to al-Qaeda.
"Considering the close ties between al-Qaeda and the MILF,
it cannot be ruled out that the money paid to North Korea for the
arms could have been from al-Qaeda," the paper reported.
The report claims that grenades and other weapons also changed
hands, but that plans to sell special underwater infiltration vehicles
The story has not been confirmed, although North Korea does have
a track record of exporting military equipment.
KUALA LUMPUR : Malaysian police said Tuesday
they have seized boxes stashed with fake United States government
bonds with a total face value of 875 billion dollars being smuggled
through a domestic airport.
Three Malaysians, aged 24 to 45, were arrested in two separate
incidents last week as they tried to board flights to Kuala Lumpur
from Kota Kinabalu in Sabah state on Borneo island, city police
chief Azizan Abu Taat told AFP.
He said initial investigations showed the men obtained the counterfeit
US Federal Reserve Bonds, which have a face value of a billion dollars
each, from the Philippines. No other details were available.
"So far, there are no indications that the men are part of
an international smuggling ring but we are still investigating,"
he said, adding that they would likely be charged with possession
of forged currency notes, an offence which carries a jail sentence
of up to 10 years.
US government bonds have usually been issued in dominations of
1,000 to one million dollars.
Area man stirs debate on WTC
South Bend firm's lab director fired after questioning federal probe
SOUTH BEND -- The laboratory director from a South Bend firm has
been fired for attempting to cast doubt on the federal investigation
into what caused the World Trade Center's twin towers to collapse
on Sept. 11, 2001.
Kevin R. Ryan was terminated Tuesday from his job at Environmental
Health Laboratories Inc., a subsidiary of Underwriters Laboratories
Inc., the consumer-product safety testing giant.
On Nov. 11, Ryan wrote a letter to the National
Institute of Standards and Technology -- the agency probing the
collapse -- challenging the common theory that burning jet fuel
weakened the steel supports holding up the 110-story skyscrapers.
Underwriters Laboratories Inc., according to Ryan, "was the
company that certified the steel components used in the construction
of the WTC buildings."
Ryan wrote that last year, while "requesting information,"
UL's chief executive officer and fire protection business manager
disagreed about key issues surrounding the collapse, "except
for one thing -- that the samples we certified met all requirements."
UL vehemently denied last week that it ever certified the materials.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology is conducting
a $16 million, two-year investigation of the collapse of the twin
towers. The agency expects to issue a draft report in January, and
UL has played a limited role in the investigation.
Ryan wrote that the institute's preliminary reports suggest the
WTC's supports were probably exposed to fires no hotter than 500
degrees -- only half the 1,100-degree temperature needed to forge
steel, Ryan said. That's also much cooler, he wrote, than the 3,000
degrees needed to melt bare steel with no fire-proofing.
"This story just does not add up,"
Ryan wrote in his e-mail to Frank Gayle, deputy chief of the institute's
metallurgy division, who is playing a prominent role in the agency
investigation. "If steel from those buildings did soften or
melt, I'm sure we can all agree that this was certainly not due
to jet fuel fires of any kind, let alone the briefly burning fires
in those towers."
He added, "Alternatively, the contention that this steel did
fail at temperatures around (500 degrees) suggests that the majority
of deaths on 9/11 were due to a safety-related failure. That suggestion
should be of great concern to my company."
Ryan declined to comment about his letter Thursday when reached
at his South Bend home.
But his allegations drew a sharp rebuke from UL, which said Ryan
wrote the letter "without UL's knowledge or authorization."
The company told The Tribune "there is no evidence" that
any firm tested the materials used to build the towers.
"UL does not certify structural steel, such as the beams,
columns and trusses used in World Trade Center," said Paul
M. Baker, the company's spokesman.
Ryan was fired, Baker said, because he "expressed his own
opinions as though they were institutional opinions and beliefs
"The contents of the argument itself are spurious at best,
and frankly, they're just wrong," Baker said.
Seeking to head off controversy just months before its report is
released, the National Institute of Standards and Technology issued
its own statement Thursday.
Some steel recovered from the WTC was exposed to fires of only
400 to 600 degrees, the institute said, but computer modeling has
shown higher temperatures of 1,100 to 1,300 degrees or greater were
"likely" experienced by steel in regions directly affected
by the fires.
The institute believes impact from the jets dislodged fireproofing
surrounding some of the steel, and the higher temperatures led to
the buckling of the towers' core columns.
Wrangling on the Web
Ryan's statements have generated interest on many Web sites, including
some advocating sharp scrutiny of the federal government's WTC probe.
Ryan copied his e-mail to David Ray Griffin, author of "The
New Pearl Harbor," and to Catherine Austin Fitts, a board member
of 911Truth.org -- a Web site organized by citizens who believe
the government is covering up the true cause of the Sept. 11 terrorist
One day later, Griffin requested and received permission to distribute
Ryan's letter to other parties.
An official from 911Truth.org called Ryan to confirm his authorship.
They said Ryan made it clear he is speaking for himself only, not
on behalf of his laboratory or the company, but that others at UL
were aware of his action.
The letter was published Nov. 11 on the Web site
septembereleventh.org, site of the 9/11 Visibility Project. On
Tuesday, organizers of the 911Truth.org Web site noted Ryan had
In his letter, Ryan appeared confident in his statements about
the WTC's fire protection levels.
"You may know that there are a number of current and former
government employees that have risked a great deal to help us to
know the truth," he told the institute's Gayle. "Please
do what you can to quickly eliminate the confusion regarding the
ability of jet fuel fires to soften or melt structural steel."
UL moved immediately to discredit Ryan.
The company said Ryan "was not involved in that work and was
not associated in any way with UL's Fire Protection Division, which
conducted testing at NIST's request."
The company said it "fully supports NIST's ongoing efforts
to investigate the WTC tragedy. We regret any confusion that Mr.
Ryan's letter has caused 9/11 survivors, victims' families and their
"We prefer to base our conclusions, and NIST would say the
same, on science rather than speculation," Baker said. "We
anxiously await the outcome of the NIST investigation."
Organizers of 911Truth.org came to Ryan's defense Thursday, although
they couldn't persuade him to speak publicly.
"He just saw too many contradictions, and it set off his sense
of what was the right thing to do," said David Kubiak, 911Truth.org's
executive director. "It's unfortunate for the country, and
it's particularly tragic for him, but inspiring as hell."
"The way things are working in the country right now,"
Kubiak added, "it's only going to be citizens like this who
take their professional knowledge and sense of personal integrity,
and put it ahead of the strange status quo, that we will see truth
and justice out of the system."
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -- Federal authorities
Tuesday used the Patriot Act to charge a man with pointing a laser
beam at an airplane overhead and temporarily blinding the pilot
The FBI acknowledged the incident had no
connection to terrorism but called David Banach's actions
"foolhardy and negligent."
Banach, 38, of Parsippany admitted to federal agents that he pointed
the light beam at a jet and a helicopter over his home near Teterboro
Airport last week, authorities said. Initially, he claimed his daughter
aimed the device at the helicopter, they said.
He is the first person arrested after a recent rash of reports
around the nation of laser beams hitting airplanes.
Banach was charged only in connection with the jet. He was accused
of interfering with the operator of a mass transportation vehicle
and making false statements to the FBI, and was released on $100,000
bail. He could get up to 25 years in prison
and fines of up to $500,000.
Banach's lawyer, Gina Mendola-Longarzo, said her client was simply
using the hand-held device to look at stars with his daughter on
the family's deck. She said Banach bought the device on the Internet
for $100 for his job testing fiber-optic cable.
"He wasn't trying to harm any person, any aircraft or anything
like that," she said.
The jet, a chartered Cessna Citation, was coming in for a landing
last Wednesday with six people aboard when a green light beam struck
the windshield three times at about 3,000 feet, according to court
documents. The flash temporarily blinded both the pilot and co-pilot,
but they were later able to land the plane safely, authorities said.
"Not only was the safety of the pilot and passengers placed
in jeopardy by Banach's actions, so were countless innocent civilians
on the ground in this densely populated area," said Joseph
Billy, agent in charge of the FBI's Newark bureau.
Then, on Friday, a helicopter carrying Port Authority detectives
was hit by a laser beam as its crew surveyed the area to try to
pinpoint the origin of the original beam.
According to the FBI, the Patriot Act does not describe helicopters
as "mass transportation vehicles." As for why Banach was
not charged with some other offense over the helicopter incident,
Michael Drewniak, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office, did
not immediately return calls for comment.
A few hours after the helicopter was hit by the laser, FBI agents
canvassed Banach's neighborhood, trying to find the source of the
beams. Banach told the agents it was his daughter who shined the
laser at the helicopter, according to court papers.
Similar incidents have been reported in Colorado Springs, Colo.,
Cleveland, Washington, Houston and Medford, Ore., raising fears
that the light beams could temporarily blind cockpit crews and lead
Last month, the FBI and the Homeland Security Department sent
a memo to law enforcement agencies saying there is evidence that
terrorists have explored using lasers as weapons. But federal officials
have said there is no evidence any the current incidents represent
a terrorist plot.
PACIFICA -- A 30-year-old man died Sunday night
after getting stunned with a Taser gun wielded by Pacifica police.
Pacifica resident Greg Saulsbury was pronounced dead shortly after
police shocked him with the Taser while attempting to subdue him
at around midnight Sunday, according to the Pacifica Police Department.
Detective Sgt. Pete Newell said Pacifica police encountered Saulsbury
after responding to a medical assistance call at 11:34 p.m. to a
residence on the 400 block of Inverness Drive in Pacifica's Westview
neighborhood. EMS personnel had refused to enter the house without
Saulsbury was allegedly combative and fought with police, who
attempted to stun him with the Taser gun to subdue him, Newell said.
Saulsbury then suffered an unknown medical condition and was transported
to an area hospital where he died shortly after.
Newell did not divulge much information about the nature of the
confrontation, how many times Saulsbury was shocked or why he fought
"Why he was combative, whether he had mental issues or drugs
or anything like that, I don't know," Newell said.
While not sure whether Saulsbury actually lived in the residence
he was found, Newell said there were several relatives in the home
at the time. [...]
"MPSL" -- Social Security “reform”
is at the top of the Bush administration’s agenda. The idea
is for the federal government to divert at least $1 trillion away
from the Social Security Fund and into privately held investment
accounts for workers under 55 years old. Investment bankers and
stockbrokers would invest the money in mutual funds, stocks and
other speculative financial areas.
One trillion dollars is hard to imagine. To use up $1 trillion
would require spending $114 million per hour for an entire year.
Another way to express that would be $57,000 per hour every day
of every year for the past 2004 years.
Proponents argue the accounts will multiply in value, assuring
participating workers a prosperous retirement. Of course, the bankers
and brokers will be paid a percentage of each transaction as a reward
for their “work.” The investment firms would be guaranteed
If the brokers received just a two percent fee on $1 trillion,
it would amount to $20 billion, paid whether the investment fared
well or poorly. Hundreds of billions of dollars would flow through
the banks and other giant financial institutions. Everyone will
come out ahead, they say.
Well, maybe not everyone. The recently exposed decline into near-bankruptcy
of the Teamsters’ Central States Pension Fund should raise
a red flag for all workers regarding Social Security “reform.”
The Central States fund, which covers 460,000 truckers and other
Teamster workers, is famous for its role in building Las Vegas into
the fastest growing city in the U.S.
Now, the pension benefits of these workers are in jeopardy, and
retirees’ benefits are already being reduced.
From the 1950s to the 1970s, the Teamsters’ Fund lent hundreds
of millions of dollars to build many of Las Vegas’ big casinos
and hotels. While there were charges of involvement with organized
crime and corruption, the Central States Fund was repaid its loans
and never had a problem paying benefits to retirees. The Fund’s
assets increased steadily through the 1970s.
Gov’t attacks Teamsters
The federal government, beginning with the 1961-63 Kennedy administration,
and continuing under Democratic and Republican presidents, waged
a campaign to break or curtail the power of the Teamsters union.
The pretext for the anti-Teamsters campaign, aimed especially at
the union’s long-time president, James Hoffa, Sr., was fighting
corruption and mob influence. Teamster leaders, including Hoffa,
were investigated, indicted and imprisoned. After being released
from prison in the early 1970s, Hoffa disappeared without a trace.
It is believed he was murdered.
In the eyes of U.S. corporations and their politicians, Hoffa’s
real crime was not corruption. Hoffa advocated uniting workers in
all transport industries—truck, rail, air and ports—into
a single, powerful federation. Such a union would have the power
to shut down the country.
After decades of persecution and prosecution, Teamsters union leaders
signed a consent decree in 1982 allowing the federal government
to take control of the union. Even though
the Central States Fund was legally independent of the union, the
government turned over control of the Fund to Morgan Stanley.
Morgan Stanley is one of the major investment banking companies
in the U.S.
Morgan Stanley’s duties were to “pick money managers,
to allocate the assets among them, and to advise the new board of
trustees on investment objectives and strategies.” (New York
Times, Nov. 15, 2004) The money managers shifted
Central States’ funds into increasingly high-risk investments.
If successful, such investments usually carry big bonuses for the
broker. When these investments failed, as most did, the brokers
still collected their fees. Only the workers lost out.
J.P. Morgan took over administration of the Fund before the stock
market crash of 2000. The Fund was heavily invested in energy trading,
telecommunications and high tech stocks. The price of many of these
stocks fell by 80 to 90 percent. Some became nothing more than worthless
pieces of paper.
By 2003, the pension fund only had assets of 60
cents for every dollar owed to retirees—present and future.
It cut benefits for the first time. As pensions were being reduced,
a new rule was implemented to punish retirees: their benefits would
be totally cut off if they began working again.
Widespread pension looting
The pension crisis is not limited to the Teamsters or the trucking
industry. According to an October 2002 report
by the Labor Research Association, “private company pensions
were under funded to the tune of $111 billion last year, the highest
level ever reported, up from $26 billion in 2000.”
The list of the top ten “under funded” employer pension
plans in 2002 included many of the biggest corporations: General
Motors, Ford, SBC Communications, IBM, Boeing, Exxon Mobil, DuPont,
Verizon, Lucent and Delphi Automotive. (Merrill Lynch Co. 10k Reports)
Many major corporations, particularly in the airline, steel and
other industries, have completely defaulted on their pension plans.
The practice of diverting money from pension funds to cover lavish
executive salaries and other expenses, and then going bankrupt,
has become commonplace for big business.
“Under funding” should be given
a more accurate label: out-and-out theft. Pensions are really
a deferred part of workers’ wages. In union contracts, workers
agree to postpone receiving a portion of their pay so that it can
be set aside as retirement income.
While millions of poor and oppressed people are jailed in the U.S.,
no one should expect to see corporate bosses marched off to prison
for stealing billions from their employees. That’s not how
the capitalist legal system works.
Workers pay the bills—twice
Three decades ago, the government established the federal Pension
Benefit Guarantee Corporation. It was intended
to be a back-up for employer pension funds that went bankrupt.
Today, the PBGC insures the pensions of 34.6 million people in 29,600
single-employer plans. It is funded by insurance premiums paid by
On Nov. 15, the PBGC—the insurer of last resort—issued
a press release announcing a net loss of $12.1 billion in fiscal
year 2004. The 2004 losses increased the PBGC’s deficit to
$23.3 billion. It now has assets of $39 billion, and liabilities—pension
funds owed to retired workers—of $62 billion.
In other words, the PBGC will go bankrupt unless
it receives massive funding from the government.
Corporations pay very little of the federal tax bill anymore. They
now pay around seven percent as compared to 48 percent a half-century
ago. This means that working people may be forced to pick up the
tab, which would be a kind of double robbery.
Making matters worse, when a company defaults on its pension plan,
and the workers are turned over to the PBGC, their pension benefits
are usually slashed.
An angry worker, identified as “Ivan,” confronted Bradley
Belt, head of the PBGC, on National Public Radio’s “Talk
of the Nation” program on Nov. 18. Ivan described how the
company where he worked for 29 years had found a way to attach his
pension plan to a shaky subsidiary, and then spin-off the subsidiary.
The new entity went bankrupt and Ivan’s disability pension
was transferred to the PBGC forcing his benefits to be cut by $600
When the show’s host asked Belt if this could be true, Belt
replied, “Yes, under the current law.”
The pension disaster is affecting tens of millions of workers.
It threatens millions more. But the majority of U.S. workers have
no pension plan aside from Social Security.
If the bankers, financiers and investors have their way, the entire
Social Security system. The future of hundreds of millions of workers
will be at risk.
The government is preparing to do to Social Security what has already
been done to pension funds.
They must be stopped.
President Bush extended holiday
greetings to military troops this Christmas, but one gift he’ll
never open is the executive order he signed, which keeps sensitive
documents secret about biological and chemical testing at Fort Greely
near Fairbanks, Alaska.
The president, by sealing important documents, obviously feels
military health concerns were of secondary importance to protecting
the Department of Defense (DOD) against potential exposure for injuries
resulting from chemical testing and dumping.
What little is known about chemical and biological testing at Fort
Greely has surfaced from leaked documents, eyewitness accounts and
other general information provided reluctantly by the DOD after
health problems began to surface by those living near the base.
Other information, scratching the surface of what really happened,
has also appeared in Seymour Hersh’s book Chemical and Biological
Testing: America’s Hidden Arsenal, a historical account of
the base by Norman Chase and a March 2003 article entitled “Northern
Exposure” in The Nation magazine by Korey Capozza.
“The real story of what went on is in the classified documents
kept secret by the DOD and President Bush,” said Capozza,
a critic of the recent executive order signed by Bush. “They
have yet to give veterans a clear definition of possible causes
of their health problems. The DOD also refuses to grant any of the
veterans health care based on exposure to agents used in the secret
Records show that Fort Greely, as far back as 1952 and continuing
to at least 1970, was used for the explicit purpose of testing chemical
and biological weapons. The base, located 100 miles southwest of
Fairbanks on 640,000 acres, originally began operating in 1942 as
a staging area for planes ferried to the Soviet Union during World
However, seven years later a nuclear reactor was built to serve
as the military’s power plant. Then in 1966, the Army began
testing biological, chemical and various other weapons. The reactor
was dismantled in 1973, and in 1995 the base was scheduled for closure.
But recently, under the Bush administration, the DOD proposed Fort
Greely be used as a storage site for interceptor missiles in support
of the space-based missile defense program.
However, what transpired on the base during the 1960s and 1970s
is still heavily debated as veterans are now surfacing with what
amounts to “chemical horror” stories.
According to several veterans who spoke to VA officials, between
1962 and 1967, the Army blasted hundreds of rockets and bombs containing
sarin and VX nerve gas into the region which is densely populated
by forests and wildlife.
Veterans recall canisters of VX nerve agents being indiscriminately
buried approximately a mile from the Alaskan highway or tossed in
a nearby frozen lake in the winter of 1966, where the canisters
later sank to the bottom when the ice melted in the spring. Regular
dumping expeditions were reportedly carried out until 1970, when
the testing discontinued.
Now, 30 years later, veterans and civilians are coming forward
with serious health concerns, but since no records are available
due to Fort Greely’s top-secret status, VA officials at first
had a hard time believing the veterans’ credibility.
After heavy pressure was applied by watchdog groups, the DOD has
released some documents revealing the test site may have been operated
with blatant disregard for human and environmental safety.
The documents also suggest that some of the deadly materials used
may still be unaccounted for and buried somewhere beneath the pristine
Critics suggest the executive order signed by Bush was designed
to protect the DOD against conclusive evidence, hiding a massive
cover-up of illegal chemical and biological testing.
The BBC has shelved plans to
screen a £3 million drama showing the devastating effects
of a giant volcanic eruption.
Bosses decided to postpone Supervolcano, due to be broadcast
at the end of the month, out of respect for the victims of the tsunami
A BBC spokeswoman said: “Supervolcano has been postponed.
We decided it is not appropriate to show the programme at this time.”
The BBC1 docu-drama predicts one billion people
would die worldwide if the volcano underneath Yellowstone National
Park in the US were to erupt.
It claims 100,000 Americans would be wiped out
in minutes. The disaster would cause massive climate change, leading
to one billion deaths from famine and arctic blizzards.
The programme is billed as “a true story
– it just hasn’t happened yet”.
The Yellowstone volcano usually erupts every 600,000
years but 640,000 years have passed since the last eruption.
Filmmakers worked with the US Federal Emergency Management Agency,
which handled the September 11 tragedy, the Pentagon and the US
Geological Survey to make the programme.
No decision has been made on when the two-part drama will be broadcast.
BANDA ACEH, Indonesia : A strong
aftershock from the earthquake that triggered the Asian tsunami
disaster struck the devastated Indonesian province of Aceh on Wednesday
but caused no major damage, the government said.
The aftershock, measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale, hit at 01:26am
local time but there have been no reports of damage or tsunamis,
the Indonesian government's Meteorology and Geophysics office said
in a statement.
The aftershock was centred 33 kilometres under the Indian Ocean
floor, 66 kilometres southwest of Banda Aceh, the capital of Aceh
province, the office said.
An AFP reporter in Banda Aceh said the aftershock was felt in the
The government has said at least 94,200 people have been killed
on Sumatra island from the tsunamis that were triggered by a 9.0-magnitude
undersea earthquake just off the coast of Aceh on December 26.
The quake and tsunamis killed more than 146,000 people in 11 Asian
and African countries, including Indonesia.
Dozens of aftershocks have been recorded.
NEW DELHI : An earthquake of moderate intensity,
registering 5.3 on the Richter scale, hit the coast of India's Great
Nicobar island early Tuesday, the meteorological department said.
The Andaman and Nicobar islands have been rattled by dozens of
aftershocks since a huge undersea earthquake off nearby Indonesia
generated tsunamis that crashed into Asian coastlines killing almost
150,000 people on December 26.
At least 820 people died and nearly 5,700 people are missing on
The regular aftershocks unsettle about 16,000 survivors sheltering
in camps on the Andamans.
The official toll across India on Monday reached at least 9,479
people confirmed dead and 5,796 missing, many of them presumed dead.
The region around the Greek capital was hit
by an earthquake overnight but no damage was reported, the Athens
observatory said on Tuesday.
The epicentre of the quake, which measured 4.9 on the Richter
scale, was located 50 kilometres south of Athens in the Saronic
Gulf at a depth of 100 kilometres.
The tremor "of weak intensity" was registered at 11:44
pm local time on Monday.
Greece is the European country most affected by earthquakes, with
more than half of all temblors registered on the continent on record.
-- A 4.8-magnitude earthquake hit Indonesia's
East Java province this morning, state-owned Antara news agency
reported, citing Eddy Waluyo, head of the meteorology and geophysics
office in Surabaya. No casualties have yet been reported, Antara
The earthquake at 10:08 am Jakarta time was centered 16 kilometer
(9.9 miles) east of Bondowoso regency in East Java province at a
depth of 15 kilometers, Antara said, citing Waluyo.
WICHITA, Kan. - The bad news: more tornadoes
were reported in Kansas and the nation last year than at any time
since records have been kept.
The good news: no one died in the Kansas tornadoes, and the national
death toll was far below the annual average.
Kansas recorded 124 tornadoes last year, breaking the mark of 116
set in 1991. The state also set a record for most tornadoes in a
single month: 66 in May.
There were 1,555 tornadoes recorded in the country through September,
according to statistics compiled by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration's Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla. Even without
figures for the final three months, that breaks the record set in
1998 by more than 130.
The higher numbers do not necessarily mean more tornadoes are occurring
than in the past. Better reporting systems
contribute to the record, said Mike Smith, founder and chief executive
of WeatherData, a private forecasting service based in Wichita.
WASHINGTON - Moisture-laden
storms from the north, west and south are likely to converge on
much of America over the next several days in what could be a once-in-a-generation
onslaught, meteorologists forecast Tuesday.
If the gloomy computer models at the U.S. Climate Prediction Center
are right, we'll see this terrible trio:
- The "Pineapple Express," a series of warm wet storms
heading east from Hawaii, drenching Southern California and the
far Southwest, which already are beset with heavy rain and snow.
It could cause flooding, avalanches and mudslides.
- An "Arctic Express," a mass of cold air chugging south
from Alaska and Canada, bringing frigid air and potentially heavy
snow and ice to the usually mild-wintered Pacific Northwest.
- An unnamed warm, moist storm system from the Gulf of Mexico drenching
the already saturated Ohio, Tennessee and Mississippi valleys. Expect
heavy river flooding and springlike tornadoes.
All three are likely to meet somewhere in the nation's midsection
and cause even more problems, sparing only areas east of the Appalachian
"You're talking a two- or three-times-a-century
type of thing," said prediction center senior meteorologist
James Wagner, who's been forecasting storms since 1965. "It's
a pattern that has a little bit of everything."
While the predicted onslaught is nothing compared with the tsunami
that ravaged South Asia last week, the combo storms could damage
property and cause a few deaths.
The exact time and place of the predicted one-two-three punch changes
slightly with every new forecast. But in its weekly "hazards
assessment," the National Weather Service alerted meteorologists
and disaster specialists Tuesday that flooding and frigid weather
could start as early as Friday and stretch into early next week,
if not longer.
"It's a situation that looks pretty potent,"
Ed O'Lenic, the Climate Prediction Center's operations chief, told
Knight Ridder. "A large part of North America looks like it's
going to be affected."
Kelly Redmond, the deputy director of the Western Regional Climate
Center at the Desert Research Institute in Reno, Nev., where an
unusual 18 inches of snow is on the ground already, said the expected
heavy Western rains could cause avalanches. Since Oct. 1, Southern
California and western Arizona have had three to four times the
normal precipitation for the area.
"Somebody is in for something pretty darn interesting,"
The last time a similar situation seemed to be brewing - especially
in the West - was in January 1950, O'Lenic said. That month, 21
inches of snow hit Seattle, killing 13 people in an extended freeze,
and Sunnyvale, Calif., got an unusual tornado.
The same scenario played out in 1937, when there was record flooding
in the Ohio River Valley, said Wagner, of the prediction center.
Meteorologists caution that their predictions are only as good
as their computer models. And forecasts get less accurate the farther
into the future they attempt to predict.
"The models tend to overdo the formation of these really exciting
weather formations for us," said Mike Wallace, a University
of Washington atmospheric scientist.
Yet the more Wallace studied the models the more he became convinced
that something wicked was coming this way.
"It all fits together nicely," Wallace said. "There's
going to be weather in the headlines this weekend, that's for sure."
Wagner was worried about the Ohio and Tennessee River valleys as
the places where the three nasty storm systems could meet, probably
with snow, thunderstorms, severe ice storms and flooding. Some of
those areas already are flooded.
The converging storms are being steered by high-pressure ridges
off Alaska and Florida and are part of a temporary change in world
climate conditions, O'Lenic said.
Over equatorial Indonesia, east of where the tsunami hit, meteorologists
have identified a weather-making phenomenon called the Madden-Julian
Oscillation. It's producing extra-stormy weather to its east. Similar
oscillations in the north Atlantic and north Pacific are changing
global weather patterns. Add to the strange
mix this year's mild El Nino - a warming of the equatorial Pacific
- which is unusually far west, Redmond said.
There's also another, more playful explanation: The nation's weathermen
are about to converge on Southern California, and they bring bad
weather with them.
The American Meteorological Society will meet next week in usually
tranquil San Diego, which should be hit with the predicted storms
and accompanying flooding in time for the group's gathering.
In 1987,when the meteorologists met in San Antonio for their convention,
the city had ice storms. In 1993, when they gathered in Anaheim,
Calif., it rained for 4.5 out of five days and triggered mudslides.
Atlanta got rare snow during the meteorologists' 1996 convention.
And in 2003 in Long Beach, Calif., heavy rain greeted them.
Ron McPherson, the group's recently retired executive director,
said: "It always rains on the weatherman's parade."
A wintry blast closed schools and glazed roads
with ice and snow Tuesday in the Rockies and on the central Plains,
part of a parade of wild weather that had closed a major highway
in California and caused new flooding in Arizona.
Various levels of winter weather advisories and storm warnings
were in effect from Tuesday into Wednesday morning from Arizona
to Connecticut, the National Weather Service said.
"It's nothing that is going to make history, but it's a pretty
good-sized storm," said Pat Slattery, a spokesman for the National
Weather Service office in Kansas City.
Snow and freezing rain swept through Colorado, causing scores
of accidents during the morning rush hour and closing schools. One
crash near Ordway in southeastern Colorado was blamed for a fatality,
but authorities did not have details.
The storm was expected to bring up to a foot of snow to the Denver
area and up to 2 feet to parts of the southern mountains, where
avalanche warnings were posted.
An avalanche blocked U.S. 550 about 40 miles north of Durango
in the state's southwest corner. [...]
Many regions of Portugal, including the southernmost
province of Algarve, the country's main tourism centre, are facing
their worst drought in over a decade, the national meteorology office
Water levels at dams and lakes are at their lowest levels in the
Algarve, the southern province of Alentejo and the northwestern
province of Minho, since the early 1990s, said a meteorologist with
the office, Fatima Espirito Santo.
"We need Janaury to be extremely rainy, something that only
happens in 20 percent of all years, in order to bring water levels
to normal," she told state radio RDP.
The national weather office forecast sees no chance of rain until
at least January 15.
In October Environment Minister Luis Guedes threatened the government
would ration water in the Algarve, which is home to scores of golf
courses, if the province did not receive enough rain by the end
Tragedy turns to comedy as US
It was one of the few moments of light relief in what has otherwise
been a week of heart-rending loss, ghoulish encounters with death,
and heroic self-sacrifice.
The scene was Phuket town hall, which has become the polyglot headquarters
of the huge international operation to recover bodies and support
the survivors of last week's tsunami.
The stage was set by sniffer dogs which checked the building for
explosives, and secret service agents, easily identifiable by the
wires coiling down from their earpieces as they cased every room
several hours before the principal US actors arrived to seize the
The comedy was provided by the visiting governor of Florida, Jeb
Bush, who might reasonably have expected at least a celebrity's
welcome, if not a hero's. But even though he is the brother of the
most powerful man of earth and came bearing news of a $350m (£186m)
US contribution to the $2.5bn international relief effort, nobody
seemed to know who he was.
"Who are you?" asked one slightly bemused Australian
consular official as the large-girthed US stranger pumped his hand.
"I'm Jeb Bush."
"Oh, are you a relative of the president?" said the interlocuter,
"Yes I am. I am his little brother."
"Oh," came the reply. "Good for you."
The confusion was understandable.
The volunteers at the visitors' centre in the town hall have been
working long hours in fraught circumstances for more than a week.
Mr Bush was just one of a long stream of visitors who have come
through the doors on life-and-death missions. This room - where
36 countries have a desk, each marked with its own flag or sign
- is the first port of call for families of the missing, who come
here to find translators, accommodation and advice. It is around
here that they give DNA samples, pin up missing persons notices,
and check through the lists of casualties at the hospitals and the
morgues. This location is also the rallying point for the army of
volunteers who have flown in from around the world to offer their
services as doctors, counsellors, builders and morticians.
Jeb Bush was not the only senior US official who appeared to feel
The US secretary of state, Colin Powell, came
close to damaging his reputation as the Bush administration's leading
diplomat when he walked into the room, strolled to the US desk,
shook the hands of the people working there and then walked straight
back out again. It was only when he was downstairs that an aide
suggested he "might like" to meet the volunteers from
some of the other countries, too. Reminded that he is part of an
international relief mission, Mr Powell promptly turned on his heels
once again and marched back up the stairs to belatedly press some
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