Friday, January 7, 2005

The Daily Battle Against Subjectivity 

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With a new introduction by the author and never before published, UNEDITED sessions and extensive previously unpublished details, at long last, Laura Knight-Jadczyk's vastly popular series The Wave is available as a Deluxe four book set.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 pages.

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© 2005 Pierre-Paul Feyte

The Mail Bag
SOTT Answers the Mail
Yesterday we received several interesting emails that we would like to share with our readers.

Let's start with this one:

sssharp@******* From : US : Washington, D.C. wrote :

It is really too bad that your talent for Flash has to go to waste on politics and conspiracy theories. The Flash animation was really very good and extremely entertaining. However, I don't believe that anything other than a Boeing 757 hit the Pentagon because I have been there many times. HAVE YOU?

The Pentagon is an enormous building. It has 5 "rings" which are, again, very wide. A Boeing 757 can easily fit inside the Pentagon, especially one that has just crashed and partially disintegrated.

Don't waste your time on conspiracy theories. They are not just not there. Put your talent for Flash developing to a good use. September 11th is one of the only times in the last 4 years that the citizens of this country has actually pulled together and supported each other. Now you want to rip that away by spreading more hate and discontent. What you are doing only makes this world more divided.

If you want a good conspiracy, try making an animation that Nixon killed Kennedy (if you are even old enough)

Not only are several of the Signs Staff members "old enough" to remember exactly what we were doing the day John Kennedy was murdered, we have spent years researching that particular subject. The idea that a Boeing 757 struck the Pentagon is about as ludicrous as the "magic bullet" theory of the Kennedy assassination.

The above correspondent tells us that "September 11th is one of the only times in the last 4 years that the citizens of this country has actually pulled together." (sic) I would hope that the memory of the writer goes back further than the last four years and can remember what life was like BEFORE September 11th, and the hope and possibilities for achieving peace and prosperity in the global community in the 21st century that existed then. There was a strong anti-globalist movement that was born in the 90s and waged a concerted struggle against the designs of transnational corporations. Think back to the street demonstrations against the World Bank in Seattle and the defeat of the MAI accord. For more on the dangers such corporate culture represents for people, we urge you to see the documentary The Corporation.

All of those hopes died on September 11th, and not because of a bunch of terrorists. Leaving aside whether or not Osama bin Laden and his gang of terrorists did or did not perpetrate the September 11th attacks, the fact is that the current state of Global Madness - nuclear brinkmanship that most of humanity may not survive - is due entirely to the reactions of the Bush Administration to that event.

Now, let us look at another email we want to share today. This email comes from the U.S., from an employee at Boeing, and we have removed the specific identifiers for the safety of the individual.

Greetings, I have stayed out of this arena for a reason, but can no longer. I am a ********** here in the 747 assembly plant in ********* where we build these great aircraft. 747's-767's and 777's.

Lets do some math for a minute, because for those who believe a 757 hit the pentagon, must also believe in the tooth fairy. The melting temp for brake shoes on a 757 is about 3000 degs. The landing gear struts are solid cast aluminum, the center shafts for the engines, are solid titanium. The flame temp for low grade kerosene, (jet fuel)is around 800 degs.

If the 757 was full of fuel, thats 14 pounds of aircraft per one gallon of fuel.

It's it impossible to "completely incinerate" a 757 at that fuel to material ratio. It would be the first time in history it did, and would defy the laws of physics, period.

No 757 hit the pentagon. Where's the engines, landing gears, APU's, stringers, fuel cell walls, wing joint assemblies? These are impervious to fire, and, all have survived the worst fires ever seen on aricraft, and I've seen them all.

Oh by the way, if the 757 was "completely incinerated" as the gov't would have the lemming masses believe, how did they come up with DNA from the ashes for every passenger on board. DNA from ASHES!!!?? what a crock of shit.

Once you do the math, you'll quickly know, that no 757 hit that building, those who say one did, are liars, or have been told to be liars lest they end up like Vince Foster and a few hundred others like him. Get it ????!!!!

Here is another from which we have removed the identifiers for the safety of our correspondent:

I have personally been scouring the info both of what the government has released and what people have on sites such as the one you have. I am Probably one of the most qualified people that you will meet to judge some of the info that people claim. I have served in the U.S. Army for a number of years now, I've not only dealt with weapons of every type you can imagine, I have also had a great deal of experience with aircraft, not to mention my wife is a ________ analyst for the military who deals with a great many [related] things.

First off, I can guarantee that no missile did this, none of the patterns add up for such a thing to work, damage ratio is wrong, flight path is wrong, style of impact is wrong. Also think of the item it was hitting, a hardened building made of concrete and steel, all reinforced.

Also i can tell you no large aircraft [Boeing 757] did this, as it was pointed out there was no tail, wings or any large Darbee left over.

I would still rule small aircraft out for many of the same reasons!

If this was a flying object then it was of very questionable origins.

Just by what was said by flight controllers, i can tell you it was not a missile nor a large aircraft, none would be that maneuverable, missiles that hit land targets aren't maneuverable by design, they don't need to be, they fly on mostly a straight course till impact, never hitting in the style as we have seen here, but a large aircraft doesn't posses the maneuverability to fly in this way either.

I doubt it was a military aircraft due to the fact that they would not use a multi- illion dollar aircraft nor a pilot that cost millions to train and risk someone being told of such a thing; not to mention when a pilot fails to come home someone notices, when a plane doesn't land someone notices.

To tell you the truth, by the extent of the damage and the way it looks, it was done with an internal explosive, nothing so random as standard high explosives. It would seem more of a cutting charge, but then again someone would notice something like that.

As for the eye witnesses saying they thought they heard a missile, how many people really know what a missile sounds like? I can guarantee you it's not that many. Most ppl imagine it sounding like what they see in the movies, you know that whoosh sound just like what was described. Well anyone who has ever heard a missile in real life can tell you they don't go whoosh at all, they don't squeal either, the sound from them isn't high pitched, its actually closer to a mid to low ranged rumble. They sound a great deal like a rocket used to get items to space. They also make a lot of noise when launched.

The evidence in this case I can tell you is odd.

Even if i knew what type of weapon could do this, chances are I couldn't say it to you. I do however have the ability to gain more inside info on this then most people...

Well I don't feel like going on with this email for much longer, I do however wish you the best of luck in finding out what you can and maybe getting what happened out to all of us.

I may be in the military but I am a realist. I looked at some of the facts and like you I am not buying the story we were told. [...]

Several of our correspondents set up "ghost accounts" so that we could communicate with them and ask specific questions. We did, and received a reply:

hmmm i have given that matter some more thought as to the the question "could a small aircraft do something like this?"

Well my answer is no. Think about it, aircraft are made mostly out of aluminum and other light metals, if something like a lear jet were to hit a building as solid as the pentagon, it would crush the outer wall, maybe the first level, but wouldn't carry the energy to penetrate any farther, It surely wouldn't make a nice hole through many of the layers such at we have [at the Pentagon].

Thinking of the missile aspect that has been suggested by many, the biggest problem with this theory is that most missiles are, by design, made to hit from the top. Even the ones that hit from a side angle would go through the first level or so and then detonate. By doing so, the space in between the levels would channel the blast energy along the walls and up.

At most, after the first layer, only the windows would break and it would scorch some paint.

hmm Just by the damage done it would appear like a hardened device using kinetic energy to penetrate the walls is what hit the pentagon, much like a 155 mm howitzer round. But that would mean that most of what we have seen is wrong, not to mention 155mm round doesn't make an entry hole that big.

If you notice also the building wasn't structurally damaged, it appears that the impact was designed to do as little damage as possible. Based on the angle of impact, most of the energy would have been absorbed by the walls.

If you wanted to bring a building like the pentagon down, you don't hit it like that.

Whoever did this has very little knowledge of how to destroy a building. Also they used a weapon that did relatively little damage compared to many of the weapons available for things such as this.

To tell you the truth its almost as if they didn't want to really hurt the building.

No normal plane did this. If a plane did this, then it had a shell of something very hard and was moving very fast, much faster then any airliner or private jet can go.

Well this is becoming more and more interesting the more I look at it. I'll continue to check around and look through info and stats and maybe come up with an answer of what did this. [...]

Now, shifting gears and moving along to the next email:

Omri - spawnofirmo@**** From : USA: New York wrote :

Excuse me but you must be some sort of anti- jewish people. I delibrately do not say anti-semite because semetic people include the arab peoples and you obviously aren't against them and the jews. However one thing you need to realize is that if the terrorists laid down their weapons, there would be no more fighting. If Israel laid down its weapons, there would be no more Israel. Think about that!

It is not Israel's fault that they have killed innocent people in Arab countries. The pathetic terrorist leaders hide among their public and in war these innocent people must be killed because of that.

9/11 may be put on by the government or whatever you believe but don't drag Israel into it. Where do you come of doing that? Where is there any proof that Israel had anything to do with it? You see a conspiracy and you tack Jew onto it?

I almost didn't write this because I know you will just look it over and pay no attention but don't think ur original. You're not the first to "tack" Jew on. It was done in ancient times when Jews ran financial businesses and were therefore well off and it was done to cause the Holocaust. Which did happen in case you think that was a lie as well. I know because I have people who died in it.

All I ask is that you rethink "tacking" Jew on because it is a more significant statement that you think. Some less fortunate and less educated person will see it and hate the Jews for it. And the Jews will have you to thank.

The above correspondence left us shaking our heads. What a case of "splitting a hair four ways."

We would like to make it clear, for the umpteenth time, that we are neither anti-Jew nor anti-Semitic, but we are most definitely anti-Zionist. If the writer of this message has enough education to understand some of the problems of the origins of ancient anti-Semitism, i.e. that most financial business was relegated to those of the Jewish religion because charging interest was forbidden to Christians by the Catholic Church and that, as a consequence, Jews very often found themselves acting as the middleman between the masses and the ruling classes, then he/she ought to realize that there is absolutely no historically justifiable reason for the land that belonged to the Palestinians (many of whom were Jews, by the way) should be given to a group of invading occupiers who based their claim on a religious belief. The roots of terrorism exist, for the most part, in that arbitrary land theft, and the subsequent occupation by foreigners.

Certainly, some less fortunate and less educated people aren't aware of this, including the above correspondent.

Indeed, if Israel put down their weapons, there would be no more Israel. Shouldn't that tell us all something?

Next email:

melson*@******* From : America: Georgia wrote :

I think you people have guts saying what needs to be said, and having no fear of what others will think. The average Joe would think you guys are nuts. But the average also believes what's shown on television too.

Many things that I have read on your site I have been suspicious about for many years.

Questions: Some of the stuff that we see in SCI-FI movies isn't far from the truth is it? Do we have friends in the universe?

Indeed it seems that truth is stranger than fiction. Do we have "friends in the universe?"

Well, we don't really know. A lot depends on how you define "universe," I think. Let me just quote part of Ark's introduction to High Strangeness on this matter:

The term “Cassiopaeans” appears in many places on this website. The name Cassiopaea was given by a source identifying itself by saying “we are you in the future” which LKJ contacted via an experiment in superluminal communication in 1994.

“We are you in the future”

This is what “they” declare : that “they” - The Cassiopaeans - 6th density Unified Thought Form Beings - are Us in the future. What a bizarre concept. Or is it?

Is that possible? Can such a statement find a place in accepted theories? Or it is in an evident contradiction with everything that we - that is, physicists - know about Nature and its laws?

Putting aside for the moment the issue of whether existence in a pure state of consciousness is possible, is traveling in time possible, even if only in theory? Is sending and receiving information from the future or sending information into the past allowed by our present theories of relativity and quantum mechanics? If information can be sent, does this also imply that physical matter can be “sent”, via some sort of TransDimensional Remolecularization? And if so what are the laws, what are the restrictions? What are the means?

Well, frankly speaking, we do not know, but we may have a clue. Kurt Gödel, after he became famous for his work on foundations of mathematics, went on to study the Einstein general theory of relativity and made an important contribution to physics: he discovered a class of otherwise reasonable cosmological solutions of Einstein equations - except for one point: they contained causal loops!

At first these Causal Loops were dismissed by relativists as being “too crazy”. The arguments against these model universes even became rather personal, commenting upon the state of mind of the inventor! (A not terribly unusual phenomenon in the heated debates within so-called “ivory towers” of academia.)

A “Causal Loop” means the same thing as “Time Loop”. It can be described as going into the future and ending up where you started at the original time and place. It is called “Causal” because, in Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, Time is a relative concept and different observers can experience Time differently, so the term “causal” is used to avoid using the term “time.”

But, little by little, it was realized that causal - or Time - loops can appear in other solutions of Einstein equations as well - usually they correspond to some kind of “rotation” of the universe.

Causal loops make time travel not only possible, but probable. But then, causal loops lead to unacceptable logical paradoxes, and physics does not like such paradoxes at all - they are a serious problem!

But, the subject of communicating with the past or receiving information from the future IS being discussed in physics even in terms of the flat, not- curved-at-all space-time of Lorentz and Minkowski. Hypothetical faster-than- light particles - tachyons - can serve as the communication means. They make an “anti-telephone” - a telephone into the past - possible.

But do tachyons exist? Or can they exist?

Well, that is still a question that has not been answered definitively for some.

And, the truth is that paradoxes must never be ignored. They always indicate that some important lesson is to be learned; that some essential improvement or change is necessary. The same holds true for the paradoxes involved in the idea of receiving information from the future. We cannot simply go back into Saturday and tell ourselves the winning lottery numbers of Sunday. If this were possible, then it should also be possible for some future, future self to tell a future self not to tell! Thus we have a paradox: we, in the future, have intervened into the past making our communication from the future impossible!

A paradox: if we communicated, we have not communicated, and if we do not communicate, then we have communicated! Impossible in a linear, non- branching universe!

Is there a possible escape from the paradox, an escape that leaves a door open, even if only a little - for our anti-telephone?

Indeed, there is, and not just one, but several ways out.

First of all - the evident paradox disappears if we admit the possibility that the communication channels are inherently noisy; that is a normal situation when we deal with quantum phenomena. So, if the communication into the past is a quantum effect - we are saved from evident paradoxes. Quantum Theory can be useful!

Sending a signal into the past, we are never 100% sure if the message will be delivered without distortion. And conversely, receiving info from the future we are never 100% sure if this comes from an authentic broadcast or is a spontaneous and random creation of the receiving end. If this is the case, and if certain quantitative, information - that is, theoretic relations between receiving and transmitting ends are secured to hold - then there are no more paradoxes even with reasonably efficient information channels.

In other words: there can be broadcasts from the future to the past, but there will be few “receivers”, and of those few, even fewer that are properly tuned. And even those that are properly tuned may be subject to “static”. Even if there is no static, those receivers that can receive pure information will experience the static of “non-belief” and distortion after the fact from society.

There is also another aspect of such an information transfer which is that the probabilities involved are connected with a choice event; with the choosing of one among many possible futures.

It may happen that branching of the universe corresponds to each such event. Branching of the universe into an infinite tree of decisions has been discussed within quantum measurement theory - it even has the name of “Many Worlds interpretation of quantum theory”.

Two of the well-known physicists who consider the many worlds interpretation more than just an exercise in theorizing are John Archibald Wheeler and David Deutsch.

The Many Worlds Interpretation has one serious weakness: it has no built in algorithm for providing the timing of the branchings. Thus it is a certain framework rather than a complete theory.

There is, however, a theory that fills in this gap in the Many Worlds Interpretation - and this theory I know quite well, and in fact I know it better than most others for the simple reason that I developed it in collaboration with Philippe Blanchard (University of Bielefeld ) in 1988 as an integral part of the Quantum Future Project. It is called Event Enhanced Quantum Theory (EEQT for short notation). (A complete list of references and much more info on this subject can be found on my “Quantum Future” project page11 on the World Wide Web).

The fact that our generally accepted theories of the present do not prevent us from thinking that time travel is, perhaps, possible, does not necessarily imply that we know how to build the time machine!

On the other hand, it is perhaps possible that the time machine already exists and is in use, even if we do not understand the principle of its work, because it goes much too far beyond our present theoretical and conceptual framework. It is also possible that some of the machines we think are serving a totally different purpose do, in fact, act as time machines. Many things are possible...

Now, back to superluminal communication, or “channeling” in general and the Cassiopaeans in particular: the fact that sending information into the past is possible does not necessarily imply that any information that pretends to be sent from the future is such indeed! But, if we generally accept that extraterrestrial life is possible, and we use all of our knowledge and resources to search for life beyond our Earth, then we also need to include the understanding that receiving information from the future is equally possible. With this perspective, science should search for any traces of such information.

What kind of information channels are to be monitored in search of such broadcasts? What kind of antenna arrays do we need? How must we direct them into a particular “future time”? Say, into the year 3000? Or 30,000? Or 300,001?

My answer is: nothing like that is necessary. All that we need we already have, namely our minds.

And indeed, assuming that the knowledge and technology of the future is (or can be) much more advanced than ours, then it is only natural that any broadcast from the future will be addressed directly into the mind.

Even today there are techniques of acting directly on our minds. They are not always used for our benefit; nevertheless they do exist. But if communications from the future are possible, why don’t we receive these broadcasts on a daily basis? If our minds can serve as receivers, then why aren’t we all aware of the transmissions?

I think that the answer has to do with multiple realities and branching universes, and perhaps any civilization which would receive messages from the future on a daily basis has ceased to exist because communication through time is a very dangerous game. You produce paradoxes, and these paradoxes remove the paradoxical universes from the repository of possible universes; if you create a universe with paradoxes, it destroys itself either completely or partially. Perhaps just intelligence is removed from this universe because it is intelligence that creates paradox. Perhaps we are very fortunate that even if we can receive some of these messages from the future, we still continue to exist.

Suppose our civilization were to advance to the point where everyone can communicate with themselves in the past; they have a computer with a special program and peripheral device that does this. It becomes the latest fad: everyone is communicating with themselves in the past to warn of dangers or upcoming calamities or bad choices, or to give lottery numbers or winning horses. But, what is seen as a “good event” or “benefit” for one, could be seen to be a “bad choice” or “calamity” to someone else!

So, the next step would be that “hackers” would begin to break into the systems and send false communications into the past to deliberately create bad choices and calamities for some in order to produce benefits for themselves or others.

Then, the first individual would see that false information has been sent and would go into their system and go back even earlier to warn themselves that false information was going to be sent back by an “imposter” and how to tell that it was false.

Then the hacker would see this, and go back in time to an even earlier moment and give false information that someone was going to send false information (that was really true) that false information (that was really false) was going to be sent, thereby confusing the issue.

This process could go on endlessly with constant and repeated communications into the past, one contradicting the other, one signal canceling out the other, with the result that it would be exactly the same as if there were no communication into the past!

There is also, the very interesting possibility that the above scenario is exactly what is taking place in our world today.

It is also possible that, whenever a civilization comes to the point that it can manipulate the past and thereby change the present, it would most probably destroy itself, and probably its “branch” of the universe, unless there comes a cataclysmic event before this happens which would act as a kind of “control system” or way of reducing the technological possibilities to zero again, thus obviating the potentials of universal chaos. In this way, cataclysmic events could be a sort of preventive or pre-emptive strike against such manipulations, and may, in fact, be the result of engineered actions of benevolent selves in the future who see the dangers of communicating with ourselves in the past!

So, the probability is this: if there is communication from the future, it may, in fact, be constantly received by each and every one of us as an ongoing barrage of lies mixed with truth. Thus, the problem becomes more than just “tuning” to a narrow band signal, because clearly the hackers can imitate the signal and have become very clever in delivering their lies disguised as “warm and fuzzy” truths; the problem becomes an altogether different proposition of believing nothing and acting as though everything is misleading, gathering data from all quarters, and then making the most informed choice possible with full realization that it may be in error!

Using our computer analogy: we can’t prevent hackers from hacking, but, what we can do is make every effort to prevent them from hacking into our systems by erecting barriers of knowledge and awareness. Hackers are always looking for an “easy hack”, (except for those few who really like a challenge), and will back away as you make your system more and more secure.

How do you make your computer (or yourself) immune to hackers?

It is never 100% secure, but if all preventative measures are taken, and we constantly observe for the signs of hackers - system disruption, loss of “memory”, or energy, damaged files, things that don’t “fit”, that are “out of context”, - we can reduce the possibility of hacking. But, we can only do this if we are aware of hackers; if we know that they will attempt to break into our system in the guise of a “normal” file, or even an operating system or program that promises to “organize” our data for greater efficiency and ease of function or “user friendliness”, while at the same time, acting as a massive drain on our energy and resources - RAM and hard drive.

As a humorous side note: we could think of Windows Operating system as the “ultimate hacker from the future” who, disguised as a sheep, is a wolf devouring our hard disk and RAM, and sending our files to God only knows where every time we connect via the internet!

And of course, there are viruses. Whenever we insert a floppy disk or CD into our computer, we risk infection by virii which can slowly or rapidly, distort or destroy all the information on our computer, prevent any peripheral functions, and even “wipe” the hard disk of all files to replace them with endless replications of the viral nonsense. The human analogy to this is the many religions and “belief” systems that have been “programmed” into our cultures, and our very lives, via endless “Prophet/God” programs, replacing, bit by bit, our own thinking with the “dogma and doctrines of the faith”.

In short, Us in the Future may mean that WE are our "friends in the Universe." And if that is the case, how ought we to consider such a proposition?

[Please note: Arkadiusz Jadczyk is a mathematical physicist who is co-author with Robert Coquereaux of what is considered by many to be the reference text on hyperdimensional physics: RIEMANNIAN GEOMETRY, FIBER BUNDLES, KALUZA-KLEIN THEORIES AND ALL THAT .... For more of Ark's writings on both physics and the mysterious, please see his website.]

Earnest Scott in The People of the Secret states that the ebb and flow of history are subject to purposive direction from a higher level of understanding, the process being manipulated by a hierarchy of intelligences - the lowest level of which makes physical contact with humanity.

Gurdjieff noted that standard scientific teachings tell us that life is "accidental."

Such ideas fail to take into account the idea that there is nothing accidental or unnecessary in nature, that everything has a definite function and serves a definite purpose of Cosmic Consciousness.

Gurdjieff then says:

It has been said before that organic life transmits planetary influences of various kinds to the earth and that it serves to feed the moon and to enable it to grow and strengthen.

But the earth also is growing; not in the sense of size but in the sense of greater consciousness, greater receptivity.

The planetary influences which were sufficient for her at one period of her existence become insufficient, she needs the reception of finer influences.

To receive finer influences a finer, more sensitive receptive apparatus is necessary.

Organic life, therefore, has to evolve, to adapt itself to the needs of the planets and the earth.

Likewise also the moon can be satisfied at one period with the food which is given to her by organic life of a certain quality, but afterwards the time comes when she ceases to be satisfied with this food, cannot grow on it, and begins to get hungry. […] This means that in order to answer its purpose organic life must evolve and stand on the level of the needs of the planets, the earth, and the moon. We must remember that the ray of creation, as we have taken it, from the Absolute to the moon, is like a branch of a tree - a growing branch.

The end of this branch, the end out of which come new shoots, is the moon.

If the moon does not grow, if it neither gives nor promises to give new shoots, it means that either the growth of the whole ray of creation will stop or that it must find another path for its growth, five out some kind of lateral branch. […] If organic life on earth disappears or dies the whole branch will immediately wither.

The same thing must happen, only more slowly, if organic life is arrested in its development, in its evolution, and fails to respond to the demands made upon it.

The branch may wither. […] General growth is possible only on the condition that the 'end of the branch' grows.

Or, speaking more precisely, there are in organic life tissues which are evolving, and there are tissues which serve as food and medium for those which are evolving.

Then there are evolving cells within the evolving tissues, and cells which serve as food and medium for those which are evolving.

In each separate evolving cell there are evolving parts and there are parts which serve as food for those which are evolving.

But always and in everything it must be remembered that evolution is never guaranteed, it is possible only and it can stop at any moment and in any place. The evolving part of organic life is humanity.

Humanity also has its evolving part. […] If humanity does not evolve it means that the evolution of organic life will stop and this in its turn will cause the growth of the ray of creation to stop.

At the same time if humanity ceased to evolve, it becomes useless from the point of view of the aims for which it was created and as such it may be destroyed.

In this way the cessation of evolution may mean the destruction of humanity. […] [E]xamining the life of humanity as we know it historically we are bound to acknowledge that humanity is moving in a circle.

In one century it destroys everything it creates in another and the progress in mechanical things of the past hundred years has proceeded at the cost of losing many other things which perhaps were much more important for it.

Speaking in general there is every reason to think and to assert that humanity is at a standstill and from a standstill there is a straight path to downfall and degeneration. […] [W]e see that a balanced process proceeding in a certain way cannot be changed at any moment it is desired.

It can be changed and set on a new path only a certain 'crossroads.'

In between the 'crossroads' nothing can be done.

At the same time if a process passes by a 'crossroad' and nothing happens, nothing is done, then nothing can be done afterwards and the process will continue and develop according to mechanical laws; and even if people taking part in this process foresee the inevitable destruction of everything, they will be unable to do anything.

I repeat that something can be done only at certain moments which I have just called 'crossroads.' […] Of course there are very many people who consider that the life of humanity is not proceeding in the way in which according to their views it ought to go.

And they invent various theories which in their opinion ought to change the whole life of humanity. […] All these theories are certainly quite fantastic, chiefly because they do not take into account the most important thing, namely, the subordinate part which humanity and organic life play in the world process. Intellectual theories put man in the center of everything; everything exists for him… […] And all the time new theories appear evoking in their turn opposing theories; and all these theories and the struggle between them undoubtedly constitute one of the forces which keep humanity in the state in which it is at present. […] Everything in nature has its aim and its purpose, both the inequality of man and his suffering.

To destroy inequality would mean destroying the possibility of evolution.

To destroy suffering would mean, first, destroying a whole series of perceptions for which man exists, […] and thus it is with all intellectual theories. The process of evolution […] which is possible for humanity as a whole, is completely analogous to the process of evolution possible for the individual man.

And it begins with the same thing, namely, a certain group of cells gradually becomes conscious; then it attracts to itself other cells, subordinates others, and gradually makes the whole organism serve its aims and not merely eat, drink, and sleep.

This is evolution and there can be no other kind of evolution.

In humanity as in individual man everything begins with the formation of a conscious nucleus.

All the mechanical forces of life fight against the formation of this conscious nucleus in humanity, in just the same way as all mechanical habits, tastes and weaknesses fight against conscious self-remembering in man. "Can it be that there is a conscious force which fights against the evolution of humanity?" [Ouspensky] asked. "From a certain point of view it can be said," said G[urdjieff]. "There are two processes which are sometimes called 'involutionary' and 'evolutionary.'

The difference between them is the following: An involutionary process begins consciously in the Absolute but at the next step it already becomes mechanical - and it becomes more and more mechanical as it develops; an evolutionary process begins half-consciously and conscious opposition to the evolutionary process can also appear at certain moments in the involutionary process.

From where does this consciousness come?

From the evolutionary process of course. The evolutionary process must proceed without interruption.

Any stop causes a separation from the fundamental process.

Such separate fragments of consciousnesses which have been stopped in their development can also unite and at any rate for a certain time can live by struggling against the evolutionary process.

After all, it makes the evolutionary process more interesting. Instead of struggling against the mechanical forces there may, at certain moments, be a struggle against the intentional opposition of fairly powerful forces though they are not of course comparable with those which direct the evolutionary process.

These opposing forces may sometimes even conquer.

The reason for this consists in the fact that the forces guiding evolution have a more limited choice of means; in other words, they can only make use of certain means and certain methods.

The opposing forces are not limited in their choice of means and they are able to make use of every means, even those which only give rise to a temporary success, and in the final result they destroy both evolution and involution at the point in question. […] "Are we able to say for instance that life is governed by a group of conscious people?

Where are they?

Who are they?

We see exactly the opposite: that life is governed by those who are the least conscious, by those who are most asleep. "Are we able to say that we observe in life a preponderance of the best, the strongest, and the most courageous elements?

Nothing of the sort.

On the contrary we see a preponderance of vulgarity and stupidity of all kinds. "Are we able to say that aspirations towards unity, towards unification, can be observed in life?

Nothing of the kind of course.

We only see new divisions, new hostility, new misunderstandings. "So that in the actual situation of humanity there is nothing that points to evolution proceeding.

On the contrary when we compare humanity with a man, we quite clearly see a growth of personality at the cost of essence, that is, a growth of the artificial, the unreal, and what is foreign, at the cost of the natural, the real, and what is one's own. "Together with this, we see a growth of automatism. "Contemporary cultures requires automatons.

And people are undoubtedly losing their acquired habits of independence and turning into automatons, into parts of machines.

It is impossible to say where is the end of all this and where the way out - or whether there is an end and a way out.

One thing alone is certain, that man's slavery grows and increases.

Man is becoming a willing slave.

He no longer needs chains.

He begins to grow fond of his slavery, to be proud of it.

And this is the most terrible thing that can happen to a man. "[A]s I pointed out before, the evolution of humanity can proceed only through the evolution of a certain group, which, in its turn, will influence and lead the rest of humanity. "Are we able to say that such a group exists?

Perhaps we can on the basis of certain signs, but in any event we have to acknowledge that it is a very small group, quite insufficient, at any rate, to subjugate the rest of humanity.

Or looking at it from another point of view, we can say that humanity is in such a state that it is unable to accept the guidance of a conscious group." "How many people could there be in this conscious group?" someone asked. "Only they themselves know this," said G[urdjieff]. "Does it mean that they all know each other?" asked the same person again. "How could it be otherwise?" asked G.

"Imagine that there are two or three people who are awake in the midst of a multitude of sleeping people.

They will certainly know each other.

But those who are asleep cannot know them.

How many are they?

We do not know and we cannot know until we become like them.

It has been clearly said before that each man can only see on the level of his own being.

But two hundred conscious people, if they existed and if they found it necessary and legitimate, could change the whole of life on the earth.

But either there are not enough of them, or they do not want to, or perhaps the time has not yet come, or perhaps other people are sleeping too soundly.[Quoted by Ouspensky, In Search of The Miraculous]

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Slimeball nominee lies to get job

Bush attorney general nominee condemns torture

Last Updated Thu, 06 Jan 2005 17:15:49 EST
CBC News

WASHINGTON - The Bush administration's nominee for U.S. attorney general vowed Thursday to abide by international treaties on prisoner abuse if he gets the the job.

Alberto Gonzales told the Senate judiciary committee holding his conformation hearings that he didn't approve of torture and was "sickened and outraged" by the prisoner abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib prison.

Comment: Yeah, right. Here we have the man in charge of finding legal ways for Bush to get around international law saying he was sickened by the prisoner abuse scandal. If these are his words, they indicate that he was sickened and outraged at the scandal, not at the abuse.

Currently President George W. Bush's chief legal adviser, Gonzales has come under fire for recent memos he wrote to the president in which he discussed the limits of torture and called parts of the Geneva Conventions "quaint."

Under questioning from the judiciary committee on Thursday, Gonzales vowed to represent the United States and abide by international law.

"I will no longer represent only the White House. I will represent the United States of America and its people. I understand the difference between the two roles," said Gonzales.

"Torture and abuse will not be tolerated by this administration."

Comment: Here is an interesting distinction. On the one hand we have "the United States and international law", on the other side have "only the White House" -- and Gonzales "understands the difference between the two roles". In his role in the White House, Gonzales had no respect for international law and sought ways to avoid it. So while the US is bound to apply the law, the White House is not.

But if representing the United States implies abiding by international law, then does this imply that the White House does not represent the United States? That it is permissible for it to practice strictly partisan politics that do not represent the US? Does the President of the United States not represent the United States?

His final quote indicates that the Administration will not tolerate torture and abuse? Is the White House not part of the administration? Does it not represent the Administration?

This twisted logic reveals something of the mindset within the White House. They recognise that they do not represent the United States; they represent a small portion, those on the Christian Crusade to impose a Biblical interpretation of events upon not only the country, but the world.

A number of Democrats and civil rights groups have criticized the nomination, and about a dozen retired military leaders recently sent a letter to the committee expressing their concern.

The nomination is expected to be confirmed by the Republican-led Senate. If confirmed, Gonzales will be the first Hispanic-American to hold the cabinet position.

Controversial memos make headlines

The controversy stems from a January 2002 memo in which Gonzales says the newly declared "war on terror" is unlike traditional conflicts that formed the backdrop for the universal rules of war, including the Geneva Conventions.

"In my judgment, this new paradigm renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions requiring that captured enemy be afforded such things as commissary privileges, scrip (i.e., advances of monthly pay), athletic uniforms, and scientific instruments," he wrote.

An August 2002 memo outlined how far interrogation could go before it became torture. Only the most severe types of torture were not permitted under U.S. and international agreements, it said. It defined severe pain as equal in intensity to "pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function or even death."

The memo was behind many of the techniques approved for use on prisoners in Iraq and at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo, Cuba.

Amid public outcry following the release of the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse photos in early 2004, Gonzales and other senior officials withdrew the August memo.

A new memo was written in December 2004, which acknowledged problems with the August 2002 memo and offered a broader definition of torture.

Comment: Funny how they changed memos when it became question of getting Gonzales appointed as Attorney General -- not that this little piece of PR will help any of those prisoners in Iraq, in Guantanamo Bay, or in the various secret installations around the world that officially don't exist.

But as the next article indicates, what Gonzales wishes to do is to negotiate international treaties that allow him to continue on as he has done.

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Gonzales defends record at hearing
Nominee says he will prosecute abusers
The Washington Post
January 07. 2005 8:00AM

WASHINGTON - Attorney general nominee Alberto Gonzales strongly defended his tenure as White House counsel yesterday, including his conclusion that the protections of the Geneva Conventions do not apply to alleged terrorists, and he suggested that the United States should consider renegotiating the international treaties to better wage its war on terrorism.

During a day-long hearing dominated by a debate over the Bush administration's detention and interrogation policies, Gonzales pledged to pursue any allegations of prisoner abuse in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, that fall within the Justice Department's jurisdiction. He said he would honor the obligations of the Geneva Conventions and other international agreements on the treatment of detainees.

"Torture and abuse will not be tolerated by this administration," Gonzales said. "I will ensure the Department of Justice aggressively pursues those responsible for such abhorrent actions."

But under often tough questioning from Democrats and some Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Gonzales said he could not recall key details of his involvement in the production of an August 2002 memo that narrowly defined the tactics that constitute torture. He also declined repeated invitations to repudiate a past administration assertion that the president has the authority to ignore anti-torture statutes on national security grounds.

Gonzales testified that while he disagreed with portions of the Justice Department memo, he does not recall whether he conveyed those objections to other government lawyers at the time. He said he did not quarrel with its general findings.

Gonzales said he could not remember who had requested the legal guidance on permissible interrogation tactics but he acknowledged under questioning that high-pressure interrogation techniques were discussed in White House meetings at which he was present.

The memo - which was used to formulate permissive Defense Department rules on interrogations - was withdrawn by the Justice Department after it was revealed publicly in 2004 and has since been rewritten, reaching starkly different conclusions.

"There was discussion between the White House and the Department of Justice as well as other agencies about what does this statute mean," Gonzales said, referring to a 1994 anti-torture law. "I don't recall today whether I was in agreement with all the analysis, but I don't have a disagreement with the conclusions then reached by the (Justice) department. Ultimately it is the responsibility of the department to tell us what the law means."

Republicans and many Democrats have said that they expect the GOP-controlled Senate to easily approve the appointment of Gonzales, 49, a longtime confidant of President Bush whose rise from poverty to Harvard Law School and the White House was frequently cited by supporters yesterday.

His exchanges with senators touched on a wide variety of issues, from Gonzales's defense of the USA Patriot Act to his acknowledgment that the Roe vs. Wade decision that legalized abortion "is the law of the land." Several Democratic senators, who have had increasingly sour relations with Attorney General John Ashcroft, said they were hopeful that their relationship with Gonzales would be more productive.

But many Democrats and at least one Republican argued that Gonzales had participated in formulating policy that laid the foundation for the abuse scandals in Afghanistan, Iraq and Cuba, which have generated global outrage.

Gonzales declined to answer many questions and said he could not recall details in relation to others, prompting complaints from some Democrats on the committee.

"We're looking for you, when we ask you questions, to give us an answer, which you haven't done yet," Sen. Joe Biden, a Democrat from Delaware, told Gonzales. "I love you, but you're not very candid so far."

Gonzales said "it is appropriate to revisit" the Geneva Conventions, which provide an international standard of conduct for handling detainees during military conflicts. Gonzales disclosed that White House officials, including some lawyers, had held "some very preliminary discussion" about the idea, but he said "it's not been a systematic project or effort."

Gonzales did not say what revisions are under consideration, but he said they would not affect provisions requiring "basic, decent treatment of human beings."

An August report by a panel of experts appointed by the Defense Department endorsed the idea of adapting the 1949 conventions "to the realities of the nature of conflict in the 21st century." It particularly urged the creation of a legal category for detainees from terrorist groups, who presumably would not be afforded the same protections as other detainees. The International Committee of the Red Cross immediately condemned the idea of changing the Geneva Conventions.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, who is a judge advocate in the Air Force Reserve, joined Democrats in criticizing some of the administration's conclusions on detention and interrogation policies. He said policymakers ignored the advice of seasoned military professionals.

"When you start looking at torture statutes and you look at ways around the spirit of the law . . . you're losing the moral high ground," Graham said. "Once you start down this road, it is very hard to come back. So I do believe we have lost our way, and my challenge to you as a leader of this nation is to help us find our way without giving up our obligation and right to fight our enemy."

Other Republicans on the committee strongly defended Gonzales, a counsel to then-Gov. George W. Bush and a former Texas Supreme Court judge, saying he was being unfairly used as a scapegoat by critics of the administration's anti-terrorism policies. Sen. John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, said Gonzales's conclusion that al-Qaida and Taliban fighters are not protected under the Geneva Conventions is supported by other legal opinions. Cornyn characterized the 2002 memo on torture as "a memo he (Gonzales) didn't write, interpreting a law he didn't draft." The memo was written by the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel.

"President Bush and Judge Gonzales have both unequivocally, clearly and repeatedly rejected the use of torture," Cornyn said. "But is there anyone here today who would fail to use every legal means to collect intelligence from terrorists in order to protect American lives? I certainly hope not."

Four different senators tried to pin down Gonzales on the August 2002 memo's controversial assertion that a president had the power to authorize torture in unusual circumstances, but Gonzales deflected that, saying it was a "hypothetical question." A new memo issued by the Justice Department last month also avoided the question of presidential power.

At the same time, Gonzales did not rule out reaching such a conclusion in the future. "I would have to know what ... is the national interest that the president may have to consider," he told Sen. Russell Feingold, a Democrat from Wisconsin.

Gonzales acknowledged under questioning from Sen. Edward Kennedy, a Democrat from Massachusetts, that he took part in discussions about the legality of high-pressure interrogation techniques. But he said it was not his "job to decide which methods of obtaining information from terrorists would be most effective" or whether such methods are prohibited by a 1994 law barring torture.

"That would be a job for the Department of Justice, and I never . . . influenced or pressured the department to bless any of those techniques," he said.

Kennedy responded that, "just as an attorney, as a human being, I would have thought that ... if there were recommendations that were so blatantly and flagrantly over the line in terms of torture, that you would have recognized them."

In response to a question from Sen. Dick Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois, about whether U.S. personnel could legally engage in torture under any circumstances, Gonzales said: "I don't believe so, but I'd want to get back to you on that and make sure I don't provide a misleading answer."

Gonzales expressed skepticism about the reliability of documents obtained in a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union indicating that as many as 26 FBI agents had reported seeing the mistreatment of detainees at the Guantanamo Bay prison. He said that one FBI agent had asserted erroneously that a presidential order authorized aggressive interrogation techniques, and that "if something like that is wrong in these e-mails, there may be other facts that are wrong."

Comment: We see clearly that Gonzales has no moral qualms about torture. If he could find legal grounds, under the appropriate circumstances he would permit it.

As we watch the Bush Administration put into place legislation that deprives US citizens of their rights, and as we see the rising hysteria in certain quarters against Moslems and Liberals -- including TV commentators suggesting people who criticise the president should be arrested, along with their families -- we think Americans should be disturbed by the appointment of Gonzales. That each step is met with little or no organised resistance bodes ill for the future.

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Gonzales Promises Non-Torture Policy
By JESSE J. HOLLAND, Associated Press Writer
January 7, 2005

WASHINGTON - Attorney General nominee Alberto Gonzales plans to promise senators on Thursday that he would abide by treaties prohibiting torture of prisoners, despite deriding the restraints as outdated relics two years ago.

In prepared testimony obtained by The Associated Press on Wednesday, Gonzales tells the Senate Judiciary Committee he will abide by all U.S. treaty obligations if he confirmed.

Gonzales, who would be the first Hispanic attorney general, had a hand in much of the White House's post-Sept. 11 terrorism policies as President Bush's top lawyer. He faces criticism from Democrats at Thursday's confirmation hearing, especially concerning a January 2002 memo he wrote arguing that the war on terrorism "renders obsolete" the Geneva Conventions' strict prohibitions against torture.

A month later, Bush signed an order declaring he had the authority to bypass the accords "in this or future conflicts." Bush's order also said the Geneva treaty's references to prisoners of war did not apply to al-Qaida or "unlawful combatants" from the Taliban.

Some Gonzales critics say that decision and his memo justifying it helped lead to the torture scandal at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison and prisoner abuses in Afghanistanand Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Bush has made clear that the government will defend Americans from terrorists "in a manner consistent with our nation's values and applicable law, including our treaty obligations," Gonzales said in testimony prepared for his confirmation hearing. "I pledge that, if I am confirmed as attorney general, I will abide by those commitments."

Last June, the Justice Department withdrew its 2002 memos arguing that the president's wartime authority supersedes laws and treaties governing treatment of prisoners.

Gonzales has repudiated torture before. "The president has stated that this administration does not condone torture. If anyone engages in such conduct, he or she will be held accountable," Gonzales said in a White House online event on July 7.

Democrats aren't satisfied with just those statements and say they plan to question Gonzales extensively about his paper trail in crafting the government's policies on questioning foreign prisoners.

"It is clear he was in the chain receiving this critical documentation relative to changing American standards on the treatment of prisoners, so he was not a bystander, he was part of it," said Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill.

Scott McClellan, the White House press secretary, said Bush firmly backs Gonzales' nomination.

"Judge Gonzales is a very trusted adviser to the president (and is) doing an outstanding job," McClellan told reporters traveling Wednesday with the president aboard Air Force One.

Even Democrats say they expect Gonzales to be confirmed. Republicans control a Senate split between 55 Republicans, 44 Democrats and one independent.

"I have found him someone I could work with when he wasn't simply pursuing an agenda that was thrust upon him," said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.

Sen. Ken Salazar of Colorado, one of the first Hispanics elected to the Senate in more than 20 years and one of only two newly elected Democrats in November, plans to join Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, in introducing Gonzales at Thursday's hearing. Salazar has said he intends to vote for Gonzales.

Civil rights and humanitarian groups have waged a campaign portraying Gonzales as the person responsible for abuses by Americans against terrorism suspects held as prisoners.

"Mr. Gonzales bears much of the responsibility for creating the legal framework and permissive atmosphere that led to the torture and abuse at Guantanamo and elsewhere," said Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Gonzales' Jan. 25, 2002, memo to Bush argued that the war on terrorism "renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions."

In his prepared Senate testimony, he repeats the argument that terrorists are not soldiers so are not covered by the Geneva treaty. Nonetheless, he says in his written testimony, "we must be committed to preserving civil rights and civil liberties."

Democrats also plan to question Gonzales on other terrorism issues, including the government's detention of Jose Padilla, who has been held for 31 months without being charged as an enemy combatant suspected of plotting to detonate a radioactive "dirty bomb" in the United States.

"The administration took too much liberty in arresting somebody and letting them stay in jail for years without counsel," Schumer said.

Some Republicans say Democrats are just setting up arguments to use against Gonzales in case Bush makes him one of his first Supreme Court nominees.

Bush is expected to have a Supreme Court vacancy or two to fill before the end of his term, and Cornyn has suggested that Democrats are trying to "bloody" Gonzales to ensure that he doesn't get one of those spots.

Comment: Let's put aside all the illusory "Republican vs. Democrat" political bickering for a moment and consider the facts. Rumsfeld wrote a memo supporting torture. Gonzales wrote a memo supporting torture. Bush signed an order giving himself the authority to completely disregard international law in the war on terror. The torture committed by US forces is not limited to Abu Ghraib. Bush and his Neocon buddies have repeatedly lied in the war on terror, so there is no reason to believe that they are telling the truth now when they claim that the US won't use torture again.

On the other hand, hell may have frozen over, and they might actually be telling the truth for once. Yesterday, we ran an article about an Australian man who claims he was tortured in Egypt and Pakistan, while in US custody and in the presence of at least one US soldier and an Australian official. We also recently found the following article, which would tend to explain the sudden "change of heart" of the Bush administration when it comes to torture...

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Flashback: Washington prepares international network of permanent detention camps

By Rick Kelly
5 January 2005

The Bush administration is crafting a series of measures to secure the permanent detention without trial of alleged terrorists and those it designates as enemy combatants, the Washington Post reported Sunday. In gross violation of international law, detainees may soon be held in new US-constructed prisons in Guantanamo Bay, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen, without access to lawyers or family members.

“The Pentagon and the CIA have asked the White House to decide on a more permanent approach for potentially lifetime detentions, including for hundreds of people in military and CIA custody whom the government does not have enough evidence to charge in courts,” the Post reported. “The outcome of the review, which involves the State Department as well, would also affect those expected to be captured in the course of future counterterrorism operations.”

One measure under consideration is the transfer of Afghan, Saudi and Yemeni detainees currently held in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp to prisons built by the US in their home countries.

These prisons may also be used to detain those currently held by the Central Intelligence Agency. Almost nothing is known about how many prisoners are in the hands of the CIA, or the conditions under which they are kept. The CIA reportedly maintains secret detention facilities on ships at sea, and at military bases in Afghanistan and on the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia.

The Post noted that these detainees represent the Bush administration’s “toughest detention problem,” and that the CIA “has been scurrying since Sept. 11, 2001, to find secure locations abroad where it could detain and interrogate captives without risk of discovery, and without having to give them access to legal proceedings.” A proposal of the intelligence agency to operate its own secret prison was rejected as impractical.

Local authorities will run the new prisons, while the State Department will reportedly monitor operations, ensuring compliance with “recognized human rights standards.”

Such assurances are hardly credible. The Bush administration has systematically flouted human rights conventions in the name of the war on terror. The use of torture has been sanctioned at the highest levels of the government, and, as leaked Red Cross reports have demonstrated, US authorities routinely inflict torture upon Guantanamo Bay prisoners.

Claims regarding the protection of human rights are particularly cynical, given that the new measures are deliberately designed to violate long-established legal rights and norms. Anyone the government designates an enemy combatant now faces life imprisonment, without trial, without access to legal advice, and without any hope of appeal or review. Detainees are dropped into a legal black hole, and face totally unchecked interrogation methods.

The international prison system will effectively entrench and systematize the CIA’s illegal practice known as “rendering.” This is where the intelligence agency secretly transfers detainees to various third countries, such as Egypt, Jordan and Syria. Rendering has been used to employ local security forces’ use of extreme torture and brutality, while evading US and international law.

The Bush administration’s proposals again demonstrate the brazen criminality of its “war on terror.” Despite all of the extremely damaging revelations of US abuse of detainees in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay that emerged last year, the government is plunging ahead with a new system that will inevitably lead to further abuse and torture.

The plan has already led to disquiet among those in the political establishment who fear adverse long-term consequences for the US’s international position if the present course is maintained. “It’s a bad idea,” Senator Richard Lugar, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, declared. “So we ought to get over it and we ought to have a very careful, constitutional look at this.”

The Post referred to an unnamed senior administration official who noted that the new detention proposals were necessary because “the current detention system has strained relations between the United States and other countries.” But rather than alter any of the features of the current system that has provoked so much international opposition—contravention of international law, secret detention without trial, abuse, torture, etc.—the government has evidently concluded that the problem lies in excessive public and judicial review of its operations.

The Bush administration’s move to shift detainees from Guantanamo Bay has been provoked, in part, by a Supreme Court ruling earlier this year that allowed prisoners to challenge their detention in federal court.

While this decision did not challenge the government’s right to imprison whomever it deems an enemy combatant, the Bush administration views any measure of judicial oversight over its operations as an unwarranted irritant. It is highly unlikely that the US judiciary could claim any jurisdiction over those detainees transferred to the nominal control of authorities in their home countries.

It is unclear whether the Red Cross would have access to detainees held in the new prisons. Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Afghanistan all have atrocious human rights records. In Yemen, the Red Cross suspended prison visits last year after the government refused access to prisoners held by its Political Security department.

Detainees who remain in Guantanamo Bay will soon be held in a $25 million, 200-bed prison, dubbed “Camp 6,” replacing the existing makeshift detention facilities on the American base. The prison complements the already constructed 100-cell “Camp 5.” The Pentagon is also preparing to replace the mostly reservist force currently guarding the facilities with a 324-member military police battalion.

Unnamed defense officials told the Washington Post that the new facility will be used for those “who are unlikely to ever go through a military tribunal for lack of evidence.” This admission again demonstrates the wholly fraudulent nature of the Bush administration’s attempt to create the appearance of judicial review for detainees through the use of these tribunals.

Comment: Note the comment that the CIA was not allowed to have its own secret prison. Keep in mind that the CIA has long had operatives in major media outlets, including the Washington Post. The idea that the CIA would not be "allowed" to have secret prison camps is laughable at best. See our timeline for the numerous secret operations the CIA has conducted over the years.

The following article is a letter to the editor of the Post in response to the article on the preparation of international detention camps...

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Limits and Liabilities in the 'War on Terror'
Washington Post
Friday, January 7, 2005; Page A18

The Bush administration, the Pentagon and the CIA are making plans for indefinite detention -- a life sentence without due process -- for those inmates at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and elsewhere for whom there is insufficient evidence of guilt to justify a trial but who nevertheless are deemed too dangerous to be set free [front page, Jan. 2].

They argue that under the laws of war, these are "enemy combatants" -- a term that they conflate with, and distinguish from, "prisoners of war" as it suits their purposes -- and therefore can be held until the "global war on terror" is "won."

Two faulty assumptions underlie this argument:

• The so-called global war on terror is comparable to other wars we have waged against enemy nations.

"Terror," however, is not a coherent enemy power, such as Germany and Japan were in World War II. It is a tactic used by the aggrieved and desperate and relatively powerless against the powerful anywhere in the world.

A "war on terror" is at best a metaphor -- not a reality -- and an inaccurate one at that, for the more "war" we wage, the more "terror" we spread. War cannot stop terror; it creates the chaotic conditions for its propagation, as seen in Iraq.

If the "war on terror" is not a real war, then the detainees at Guantanamo are not real POWs, because no government's surrender would bring the "hostilities" to an end.

• Persons for whom we have no evidence of criminal conduct pose a clear and present danger and therefore must be detained indefinitely.

In our legal system, people are presumed innocent until proven guilty, not vice versa. The logic being used to support permanent incarceration is analogous to the infamous and racist logic of Chief Justice Roger B. Taney in the Dred Scott decision -- that Arabs have no rights that Americans are bound to respect.

This government is arrogating to itself the right to imprison people indefinitely without due process on the grounds that they are "enemy combatants" -- a designation the administration alone determines without appeal. What is to stop the administration from applying the same designation not just to foreigners with Arabic names but to domestic dissidents as well?

Hampton, Va.

Our government is discussing what level of torture of suspected terrorists is acceptable for suspected terrorists and how they can be held for life without trial. We are thus discussing not whether any torture is acceptable nor whether imprisonment without trial is permissible in a democracy but how both can be done most efficiently and productively.

Comment: Following Mr. Ellis' very reasonable comments, there is a little paragraph which is either a response from the Washington Post, or another anonymous letter to the editor. In any case, note the comment that the discussion is not about whether or not torture is acceptable or imprisonment without trial is permissible in a democracy, but rather about how torture and imprisonment can be done "most efficiently and productively". This second comment quite accurately points out that there can be no debate on the matter. Forget about rational arguments in defense of silly things like civil liberties - Bush and his gang don't care. They create their own reality - and in their reality, you are thoroughly dispensable unless you are useful to them.

To answer Ellis' question: there is nothing to stop the administration from indefinitely detaining and torturing a US citizen without charge. And there is nothing to indicate that it won't happen eventually...

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Report: Abu Ghraib did not stop abuse
Wednesday 05 January 2005, 2:49 Makka Time, 23:49 GMT  

Sexual and physical abuse of Iraqi prisoners continued at least three months after the Abu Ghraib scandal was revealed, according to accounts by alleged victims in the latest issue of Vanity Fair.

Iraqi inmates were sexually assaulted, beaten, administered electric shocks and kept in cages or crates, the magazine said, based on 60 hours of interviews with 10 former inmates, including a 15-year-old boy.

Writer Donovan Webster quotes an inmate saying he was hung naked from handcuffs in a frigid room while soldiers threw buckets of ice water on him.

Webster added that several of the people he interviewed said their mistreatment took place in July, three months after the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal broke in late April.

The article said the former detainees interviewed are suing two American companies that provided translators and interrogators to forces in Iraq and that their firsthand accounts comprised "hundreds, if not thousands, of separate Geneva Conventions violations".

Sexual abuse

In one example cited in the article, a 15-year-old boy said he had been forced to crouch in a wooden crate for 11 days, wearing handcuffs and blacked-out ski goggles. He was then taken to the bathroom and sexually assaulted.

He said he was again sexually assaulted two days later in the prison north of Baghdad but let go later in the day when a soldier apologised to him for being illegally detained and gave him $50.

The magazine said the accounts of abuses were impossible to independently verify.

It quoted a US military spokesman for detainee operations in Iraq as dismissing the assertions that prisoners were held illegally, kept in wooden boxes, handcuffed and blindfolded and subjected to sexual threats, abuse and assault.

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Dollar Runs Out of Steam
By Justyna Pawlak
January 7, 2005

LONDON (Reuters) - The dollar ran out of steam on Friday after rising broadly throughout the early days of 2005, and fell from a recent four-week high versus the euro as investors waited nervously for U.S. jobs data.

The payrolls numbers are the first major data release since the start of the year and markets are eager for clues on future interest rate policy in the United States which will be heavily influenced by the labor market outlook.

Economists forecast that 175,000 new jobs were created last month, 50 percent more than in November. But markets are concerned about a possible weaker showing after Thursday's unexpectedly high reading in the weekly jobless claims.

Heftier payrolls could boost the dollar again, but many analysts still believe the U.S. currency's latest jump was only an adjustment in its long-term weakening trend. [...]

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Outraged at Nature; Oblivious to Cluster Bombs

Colin Powell's Selective Sense of Horror

January 6, 2005

The outrage and dismay over devastation and human suffering seem to have much more to do with how such horrors were caused than the actual horrors themselves, it would seem.

At least, it seems that way when it comes to our outgoing Secretary of State Colin Powell, whose sense of horror seems to be remarkably selective.

Touring the wreckage of the recent tsunami in Banda Aceh, Indonesia yesterday, an obviously shaken Powell, a former top U.S. Army general, said, "I have been in war and I have been through a number of hurricanes, tornadoes and other relief operations, but I have never seen anything like this. The power of the wave to destroy bridges, to destroy factories, to destroy homes, to destroy crops, to destroy everything in its path is amazing."

You have to wonder what this leading member of the American war machine thought of the power of the U.S. military to destroy bridges, factories, homes, crops, hospitals, dykes, schools, entire towns and cities, rice paddies and indeed "everything in its path" back in Indochina in the years he was there. Especially as he was busy covering up the massacre of women, children and old people at My Lai. What did he think as he toured burned down villages, mile after mile of defoliated jungle, whole barren moonscapes pockmarked with craters from American bombs, millions of dead and maimed men, women and children.

And you have to wonder what he thinks now about the U.S. Shock and Awe destruction of Baghdad, or more recently, of the leveling of the cities of Najaf, Samarah and especially Fallujah.

One would think that the carnage caused by man-indeed the carnage for which Colin Powell himself bears considerable responsibility-would be far more troubling than that caused by nature.

But then we are a selectively outraged people. Where is the mass public campaign to raise money for the hundreds of thousands of wounded and displaced in Iraq? Americans' efforts when it comes to charity and fundraising related to the Iraq War is pretty much limited to providing cookies and body armor for our troops.

As Bruce Jackson wrote in Counterpunch yesterday, our media, quick to display the corpses, and the maimed and orphaned children of the Indian Ocean tsunami, don't bother to show the carnage our army is causing in Iraq. Oh, we get to see the carnage there when it was caused by the Iraqi insurgents, but not when it's our own bombs and bullets that are doing the killing and maiming. And we don't get to see the sheer magnitude of the destruction that our military has wreaked on Iraq and its long-suffering people.

That level of detail, like Secretary Powell's capacity for horror and concern, is reserved for the workings of nature.

Just as Powell was hardened by his Army boot camp training to accept human suffering as a normal consequence of battle, and to bury his humanity when it comes to war, we Americans as a people are being hardened by our compliant pro-government media to put that part of our natural compassion in a lockbox.

Like Pavlov's dogs, we rally to the cause when a storm strikes in Florida or a tsunami hits in Indonesia, but avert our eyes when our own military is the agent of destruction.

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US eyes greater military clout in Asia following tsunami tragedy
05 January 2005 1331 hrs
WASHINGTON : The massive US-led relief operation in tsunami-hit Asia is expected to give the American military greater clout in the region and bolster counterterrorism efforts, analysts say.

Backed by an array of US warships, planes and helicopters, more than 13,000 US military personnel have been dispatched to help Indonesia, Thailand and Sri Lanka, the countries most affected by the December 26 disaster.

Conducting its largest operation in Asia since the Vietnam War, the US military could remain in the region for up to six months, analysts said here Tuesday.

The mammoth humanitarian effort would ease concerns among Asian governments suspicious over American military ambitions and help gain their backing in the US-led "war on terror," they added.

"It's pretty impressive what the Americans are able to do with their military and if handled appropriately and carefully, it could lead to a better, more cooperative military relationship with the region," said Robert Sutter, visiting professor of Asian studies at Georgetown University.

"The message that hopefully is getting across is that Americans are not just out blasting terrorists. They are people with concerns and can help in a military way," he said. [...]

Comment: Nothing like a huge environmental disaster and humanitarian crisis to entice the U.S. military into finding some potential benefit for themselves. Once they've finished cleaning up from the tsunami and have established a permanent presence in the region, are they likely to just pick up and move on?


Knowing the U.S. military, once all the necessary humanitarian work is done in front of the cameras, we can probably expect the good will to end rather quickly, and see them get back to their real job of rounding up and killing suspected "terrorists". What better place to start than the country with the largest population of Muslims in the world?

Indonesians may soon regret the day they allowed the American war machine to set foot upon their soil under the guise of "helping" with the relief effort. For once the eyes of the world are diverted to the next disaster or international incident, there is every reason to suspect that Bush's war on terror will begin in earnest in southeast Asia as well.

Speaking of profiting from other people's misery...

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US claims political benefit of tsunami operation
05 January 2005 1740 hrs

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia : After a slow start and early criticism of its relief efforts in Asia's tsunami disaster, the United States has mobilised its public relations juggernaut to claim political benefit from a now massive operation.

A week ago the administration of George W. Bush was under heavy US media assault for failing to respond sufficiently and quickly enough to the tsunamis that killed at least 145,000 people across the Indian Ocean.

But with 350 million dollars in aid committed and a huge military operation mounted, Washington now hopes to score points in the Muslim world and other countries still miffed by its invasion of Iraq last year.

"I think it does give to the Muslim world and the rest of the world an opportunity to see American generosity, American values in action," Secretary of State Colin Powell said Tuesday after arriving in predominantly-Muslim Indonesia, the worst-hit country.

Comment: One need only to walk through the rubble and devastation of Fallujah, see the torture photos from Abu Ghraib, or count the number of civilian casualties in Iraq to see "American values in action."

"And I hope as a result of our efforts, as a result of our helicopter pilots being seen by the citizens of Indonesia helping them, that value system of ours will be reinforced," Powell told a news conference in Jakarta. [...]

US officials hoped their response to the tsunami would show another side of American power to critics in the world who have focused on the Bush administration's penchant for preemptive military action in its war on terror.

But Powell, who was to be one of the featured participants at an ASEAN-sponsored international conference on the tragedy Thursday in Jakarta, insisted that foreign aid was linked to security.

"It dries up those pools of dissatisfaction which might give rise to terrorist activity," he said. "That supports not only our national security interest but the national security interests of the countries involved."

Comment: From the blog at

Schadenfreude. It's a German word that literally means "joy from damage". It refers to the perverse pleasure we take in observing or hearing about the misfortunes of others. That pleasure seems to be enhanced by talking about it with others -- gossip would be empty without it, and when we hear about a disaster, like the horrendous catastrophe of this week's Asian earthquake and tsunami, we have an almost instinctive need to share the news with others. [...]

There's even a book, When Bad Things Happen to Other People, on the subject, written by John Portmann. Portmann believes Schadenfreude is harmless, a natural and healthy stress-buster. At the other extreme, the sublime ecstasy that psychopaths feel when their lies and bullying and manipulation cause misery to their victims is extremely harmful, and perhaps addictive.  How dangerous and unhealthy is this all-too-human proclivity? And why do we feel this way at all? Is it because others' misfortune, in a world of scarcity and competition, vindicates our own behaviours and decisions, increases our own stock and our self-perceived likelihood of success, or at least survival?

While it's difficult to predict whether Powell, Bush and company actually felt pleasure from seeing the disaster in Asia, the speed in which they sought to capitalize on this tragedy and the ease in which they impose their will and recklessly slaughter innocent people in Iraq and elsewhere, certainly gives one food for thought.

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7 US soldiers killed by roadside bomb in Baghdad 2005-01-07 09:21:54

WASHINGTON, Jan. 6 (Xinhuanet) -- Seven US soldiers were killed Thursday night when a roadside bomb hit their patrol vehicle in northwest Baghdad, the US military said.

Everyone inside the Bradley fighting vehicle was killed when it struck the powerful roadside bomb at about 6 p.m. local time, the US military said. This was the deadliest attack against US forces since a suicide bombing killed 14 US soldiers and three American contractors at a mess tent in northern Iraqi city of Mosul.

A US Marine was also killed in a separate incident Thursday in western Anbar province, the military said.

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Iraq emergency measures extended as 18 workers killed in Mosul trap
07 January 2005 0352 hrs

BAGHDAD : Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi extended an emergency law aimed at thwarting violence ahead of January 30 elections, while the bodies of 18 Iraqis lured to their deaths by promises of work at a US base were uncovered. [...]

In the latest gruesome twist from insurgents, 18 Shiite Muslim workers were found dead in the predominantly Sunni region of Mosul after they were tempted to the northern city by promises of well-paid work at US bases.

The victims, aged between 16 and 42, were driven by poverty in their village of Bayda in the relatively peaceful southern province of Zi Qar to seek work in Baghdad from where a mysterious contractor lured them north.

"The contractor did not accompany the workers but gave them an address in northern Iraq and told them to go there," said Naim Hussein Farhan Khafaji, who lost a brother in the massacre.

Distraught relatives of the men, who were almost all related, were gathering at a Baghdad hospital on Thursday to collect the bodies, which had all been found with a bullet to the head.

A leader of the Iraqi communist party, Hadi Saleh, was found strangled to death in Baghdad, his eyes blindfolded and hands tied with metal twine.

A US soldier was killed during an operation in restive Al-Anbar province, while the head of police in the Baghdad Shiite district of Sadr City, Abdel Karim, was gunned down in a morning ambush.

Four Iraqi soldiers and three civilians were also killed in separate attacks in the north of the country. [...]

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French journalist missing in Iraq
07 January 2005 0235 hrs

PARIS : A journalist for the French daily Liberation has gone missing in Baghdad along with her Iraqi translator, the newspaper said Thursday.

"We have had no news from Florence Aubenas in over 24 hours," nor of her assistant, Hussein Hanoun Al-Saadi, the Paris-based paper said.

She and Saadi left their Baghdad hotel early Wednesday but did not return and have not been seen since, it added.

The development triggered immediate concerns in France for their well-being, with the foreign ministry saying "every effort is being made by our representatives in Baghdad and by the ministry in Paris to find them."

Two French reporters, Georges Malbrunot of Le Figaro newspaper and Christian Chesnot of Radio France Internationale, were released by insurgents in Iraq on December 12 after being held hostage for four months.

Their case generated nationwide anxiety and behind-the-scenes dealings by French diplomats and intelligence services.

The kidnapping and murder of foreigners in Iraq has become a frequent occurrence in Iraq as rebel groups there seek to oust US and other military forces.

Liberation said Aubenas, an experienced reporter who has covered conflicts in Rwanda, Kosovo, Algeria, Afghanistan, arrived in Baghdad on December 16.

The newspaper said it had alerted French, Iraqi and US officials.

The French foreign ministry stressed that it had already warned "all our nationals, including media representatives, to avoid going to Iraq given the current security risks in this country."

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Shin Beth warns of al-Aqsa attack
Wednesday 05 January 2005, 17:11 Makka Time, 14:11 GMT

Israel's domestic security service has warned that Jewish hardliners might attack Islamic sites to derail the planned withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

Shin Beth chief Avi Dichter on Tuesday told the foreign affairs and defence committee of the Israeli parliament that hardliners might also open fire on security forces during the planned evacuation of the Gaza Strip's 8000 settlers.

"Right-wing extremists have not given up on the idea of attacking Jerusalem's Haram al-Sharif - Islam's third holiest site," Dichter said.

Asked by a committee member why the Shin Beth had made no arrests, he said agents did "not have sufficient proof".

Dichter said he did not expect the number of those involved in armed resistance to the enforced pullout to exceed a few dozen. [...]

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Mafia boss assassinated in Naples drug wars
January 6, 2005 - 10:36AM

An Italian Mafia boss was gunned down today at his home in Naples after opening the door to his assassin, police said.

Eduardo Bove, the 28-year-old local boss of the Camorra or Neapolitan Mafia, was hit at point-blank range by three bullets from a lone killer and died as members of his family looked on, investigators said.

Bove had gradually become more influential within the Forcella neighbourhood of the southern Italian city, scene of a bloody vendetta between rival Camorra gangs for months.

This is the latest in a string of killings in the deadly struggle dividing the local gangs, in which a group of "secessionists" was challenging veteran drug lord Paolo Di Lauro.

The rivalry has now claimed the lives of at least 136 people in the last year, with 105 of these killings directly attributed to the battle for control of the drug traffic, along with numerous arson attacks.

Despite government claims it had rounded up dozens of suspects in December in a major crackdown on the Mafia, the killings have continued - this was the second one in two days.

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U.S. train crash kills 8, injures 200
Last Updated Thu, 06 Jan 2005 22:02:13 EST
CBC News

GRANITEVILLE, S.C. - A freight train carrying chlorine gas hit a parked train early Thursday, killing eight people and injuring at least 200 others, authorities said.

About 5,400 people within 1.5 kilometres of the site were forced from their homes.

Most of the injured were treated for respiratory ailments and released, but at least 45 people remain in hospital, including eight in critical condition, officials said.

The crash, which derailed 16 cars of 42 on the Norfolk Southern freight train, occurred at about 2:30 a.m. in Graniteville, a South Carolina textile town near the Georgia line.

Three cars were carrying chlorine gas, which can damage the throat, nose and eyes, and can be fatal. Others carried cresol and sodium hydroxide, which can be corrosive.

State Governor Mark Sanford declared a state of emergency for the county, as health officials warned residents to stay indoors.

More than half a dozen textile plants operated by Avondale Mills were closed because of the wreck, police said.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.

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US scientists detect biggest explosion ever
WASHINGTON (AFP) Jan 07, 2005

US scientists have detected the largest explosion ever in the universe, which saw a mass equivalent to about 300 suns sucked into a black hole, NASA said Thursday.

"The eruption, which has lasted for more than 100 million years, has generated energy equivalent to hundreds of millions of gamma-ray bursts," said the US space agency in a statement.

The discovery was made by NASA's orbiting Chandra X-ray Observatory which is controlled from a base in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The huge eruption was seen in a Chandra image of the hot, X- ray emitting gas of a galaxy cluster called MS 0735.6 7421, the agency said. The galaxy is about 2.6 billion light years away.

Scientists believe that this black hole is a relatively recent phenomena.

This event was caused by gravitational energy release, as enormous amounts of matter fell toward a black hole. Most of the matter was swallowed, but some of it was violently ejected before being captured by the black hole.

"I was stunned to find that a mass of about 300 million suns was swallowed," said Brian McNamara of Ohio University, lead author of a study on the discovery published in the latest issue of Nature.

The energy released shows the black hole in MS 0735 has grown dramatically during this eruption. Previous studies suggest other large black holes have grown very little in the recent past, and that only smaller black holes are still growing quickly.

"This new result is as surprising as it is exciting," said co-author Paul Nulsen of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge. "This black hole is feasting, when it should be fasting."

Gas is being pushed away from the black hole at supersonic speeds over a distance of about a million light-years, said the scientists. The mass of the displaced gas equals about a trillion suns, more than the mass of all the stars in the Milky Way.

"Until now we had no idea this black hole was gorging itself," said Michael Wise of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. "The discovery of this eruption shows X-ray telescopes are necessary to understand some of the most violent events in the universe."

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Over 2,500 aftershocks observed after Indonesian quake 2005-01-07 10:40:24

VIENNA, Jan. 7 (Xinhuanet) -- More than 2,500 aftershocks have been observed after a strong earthquake occurred on Dec. 26 off the west coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) said Thursday.

"1,500 aftershocks were recorded in the 48 hours that followed the quake, and 1,000 since then," said CTBTO spokesman Bernhard Wrabetz.

He added that one of the strongest aftershocks, measuring 5.4 on the Richter scale, was recorded Wednesday off the Sumatra island. CTBTO experts say that the tremors will continue for several months but become more and more sporadic.

The CTBTO has set up a sensor network throughout the world which can be used to detect any nuclear tests that violate the 1996 treaty and monitor natural seismic activity.

The massive earthquake and ensuing tsunamis have claimed the lives of over 145,000 people in Asia and Africa.

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Moderate earthquake shakes northern Japan
Thursday, January 6, 2005

TOKYO -- A moderate earthquake shook northern Japan late Thursday, but no damage or injuries were immediately reported.

The quake, which hit at about 10 p.m., had a preliminary magnitude of 5.2 and was centered off the Pacific coast of Aomori prefecture (state) 44 miles beneath the ocean floor, according to the Meteorological Agency.

There was no threat of a tsunami, the potentially destructive waves triggered by seismic activity or underwater landslides, the agency said.

The tremor was most strongly felt in the area around the Shimokita peninsula about 360 miles northeast of Tokyo, it said.

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Mild earthquake hits southern Philippines 2005-01-06 11:26:29

MANILA, Jan. 6 (Xinhuanet) -- A mild earthquake rocked the southern Philippines Thursday, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) said.

The PHIVOLCS told the ABS-CBN news that the quake, whose epicenter was plotted southeast of Jolo, Sulu, registered 4.3 on the Richter scale.

It originated from the Cotabato Trench, that has a depth of 33 kilometers, the PHIVOLCS said.

So far no injuries or damage to property have been reported, it added.

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Indonesian Waters Hit by Another Earthquake
Published: Thursday 06, 2005

Another earthquake measuring 6.2 on the Richter scale was registered earlier today off the coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra, not far from the epicenter of the deadliest earthquake in decades that hit the region last week.

The latest earthquake had an epicenter located 60 kilometers off Banda Aceh in the sea. There are no reports yet as to losses or injuries.

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Volcano on Alaska Peninsula stirs; ash reported
Wednesday, January 5th, 2005
Mirror Writer

One of the largest and most active volcanoes on the Alaska Peninsula near the settlements of Perryville and Chignik has grown increasingly restless since the turning of the new year, sending up small ash plumes and experiencing increased seismic tremors.

The Alaska Volcano Observatory on Tuesday upgraded Mount Veniaminof Volcano’s level of concern to yellow for activity considered higher than the normal background.

The level of concern is up from green, indicating normal activity, but isn’t yet to the orange level when an eruption is expected to occur or is occurring.

Veniaminof is about 300 miles southwest of the Kodiak city area. A large eruption of the volcano would not have an effect on Kodiak.

Weak seismic tremors were observed starting Jan. 1 and increased slightly over the next few days. Ash emissions were observed in images of Veniaminof taken around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.

At around 10 a.m. Tuesday a pilot flying at 14,000 feet noted small ash emissions from Veniaminof, said Ken Dean, acting coordinating scientist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Later in the day, 19 separate ash bursts were observed from Veniaminof, none of which escalated above 500 meters from the summit, Dean said. [...]

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Planes warned to watch out for volcano
Jan 7, 2005
International aircraft have been warned to steer clear of a volcano which has erupted in the north Pacific, firing an ash plume 4,572 metres into the air.

The volcano on uninhabited Anatahan Island in the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) became active again on Tuesday.

"Although the volcano is not currently dangerous to most aircraft within CNMI airspace, conditions may change rapidly, and aircraft should pass upwind of Anatahan or farther than 30 kilometres downwind," the Emergency Management Office (EMO) said in a statement.

EMO director Rudolfo Pua said the size of the plume was getting higher.

"It may become a major eruption, we don't know yet," Pua said.

"We just want airlines to be on alert again."

It is the fourth eruption of Anatahan since it suddenly burst into life in May 2003, sending smoke and ash 9,000 metres into the air.

EMO seismic technician Juan Camacho said three airlines - Continental Micronesia, Air New Zealand and Japan Airlines - had confirmed the latest eruption was reaching 4,500 metres.

Under an emergency declaration, Anatahan has been declared off limits to all but scientific expeditions until the end of January.

Anatahan is a 33 sq km island, 128km north of here and just over 322km north of Guam. It is around 2,250km south of Tokyo.

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Group says tribe escaped earthquake, tsunami
Associated Press
January 7, 2005

JIRKATANG, India -- Armed with bows and arrows, seven men from the ancient Jarawa tribe came out of the forest Thursday for the first time since India's isolated Anadaman and Nicobar islands were shaken by an earthquake and battered by a tsunami.

In a rare meeting with outsiders, the men said all 250 members of the tribe escaped inland and were surviving on coconuts.

"We are all safe after the earthquake. We are in the forest in Balughat," said one of the men, Ashu.

Even though the Jarawas sometimes meet with local officials to receive government-funded supplies, the tribe is wary of visitors.

"My world is in the forest," Ashu said in broken Hindi through an interpreter in a restricted forest area at the northern end of South Andaman Island. "Your world is outside. We don't like people from outside."

Anthropologists estimate the island's more primitive tribes of Jarawas, Great Andamanese, Onges, Sentinelese and Shompens have dwindled to only 400 to 1,000 people. Most of the territory's 350,000 people are members of the larger Nicobarese tribe and ethnic Indians.

Government officials and anthropologists have speculated ancient knowledge of the movement of wind, sea and birds may have saved the indigenous tribes from the tsunami that killed 901 people and left 5,914 missing on the islands.

Ashu and his companions refused to talk about how they avoided the devastating waves.

The Jarawas didn't have any contact with government authorities until 1996.

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Winter storms cause headaches from coast to coast
Last Updated Thu, 06 Jan 2005 21:40:03 EST
CBC News

TORONTO - Winter storms and below-normal temperatures are causing headaches from coast to coast, forcing the country's busiest airport to cancel dozens of flights and plunging the Prairies into a deep freeze.

Snow and icy rain pelted northeastern United States and southern Ontario on Thursday morning, as Toronto's Pearson International Airport cancelled more than 80 flights.

Environment Canada warned of storms from Windsor to Kingston and Ottawa, predicting up to 20 centimetres of snow in some parts, while Air Canada said travellers could brace for more delays and cancellations at Pearson until Friday.

At least 10 centimetres of snow, freezing rain and ice pellets were also expected to hit areas from Montreal to Atlantic Canada later in the day.

Bitter cold descends on Prairies

The Prairies suffered most on Thursday, as meteorologists warned of severe wind chills while health officials urged people to stay indoors.

The wind chill made it feel like –41 C in Winnipeg, which like many Prairie communities is still digging out from last week's massive storm.
A day earlier, the wind chill dipped to –51 C in Regina.

"I can't remember it being this cold," said one man, "and I've been here a long time. It's pretty nippy."

It wasn't a record for the city, where temperatures plunged to –50 C in 1885, without the wind chill. But the severe cold took its toll.

Flights were delayed at Regina's airport as cargo doors froze and equipment broke down, while hundreds of cars and trucks failed to start or bogged down in snow.

In a move that's rare on the Prairies, many schools closed as their boards feared students might get stranded on broken-down buses.

In Edmonton, fire forced dozens of homeless people from a shelter, leaving the city scrambling to find alternative housing.

Doctors are warning of hypothermia-induced cardiac arrests, exhaustion from shovelling in the extreme cold and exposure.

The freeze was expected to let up a bit later Thursday, but then return with a vengeance on the weekend, when the Prairies will be in for another bout of temperatures in the –20s.

Vancouver temperatures dip to unusual low

Meanwhile, British Columbia is experiencing its own type of deep freeze as the first snowfall of the winter began falling across the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island on Thursday morning.

Flurries were expected to dump up to five centimeters, with more snow expected through Saturday.

Temperatures in the Vancouver area dipped a few degrees below zero overnight Wednesday, which is unusually cold for the city.

Advocates for the homeless worried that some of Vancouver's most vulnerable residents won't be able to cope.

Penny Kerrigan said one young street person she encountered was typical of those her social welfare group has been helping.

"He said it was so cold he felt like his feet were going to fall off, so he had to walk."

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Winter whiteout causes 60 car pileup on Highway Two
Broadcast News
Thursday, January 06, 2005

CARSTAIRS, Alberta - RCMP say several people were taken to various hospitals following a 60-vehicle pileup in central Alberta this afternoon.

The pileup happened on an icy stretch of Highway Two near Carstairs, about 50 kilometres north of Calgary.

Mounties say none of the injuries is life threatening.

They say the accident happened in a low-lying area and oncoming drivers didn't have time to stop.

The road around the accident scene is closed while emergency officials clearing the area. [...]

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Icebergs in New Zealand waters for first time in 57 years
06 January 2005 1015 hrs
WELLINGTON : New Zealanders complaining about unseasonal summer rain in recent weeks have received proof of changing climatic conditions after icebergs were sighted in local waters for the first time since 1948.

The icebergs were see in the Southern Ocean, about 700 kilometres (420 miles) southeast of the South Island, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) said Thursday.

They were a hazard to all shipping, including yachts participating in the Vendeeglobe solo round-the-world race, officials said.

The Vendeeglobe website has issued a warning to competitors after one sailor sustained minor damage to his boat when he hit an iceberg just before Christmas.

NIWA scientist Lionel Carter said 15 icebergs, some up to three kilometres wide, have been recorded.

"In 30 years of working for NIWA, this is the first time I have recorded sightings of icebergs in New Zealand waters," Carter said.

Previous reportings were in the 1890s, early 1920s, 1930s and in 1948.

In 1931 icebergs were seen as far north as near Dunedin in the South Island.

He said it was too soon to blame this flotilla of ice on global warming, although the coincidence of large collapses of the Antarctic ice shelves with a rapidly changing climate could not be dismissed.

The icebergs are expected to drift towards South America.

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Tropical cyclone passes over Vanuatu
Last Updated 07/01/2005, 11:24:44

A tropical cyclone, codenamed Kerry, which threatened to hit northern Vanuatu has weakened overnight.

However, there are warnings it could intensify.

At last report, the category one cyclone was 230 kilometres north of the capital Port Villa and moving south-west at 10 knots.

Fiji's National Weather Forecasting Centre says the cyclone is expected to pass across Vanuatu with maximum wind gusts to 40 knots, but may gain strength once it reaches open sea.

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