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Are some people just born to be "sheep"? Even some scientists?

©2005 Pierre-Paul Feyte

God (or Not), Physics and, of Course, Love: Scientists Take a Leap
New York Times
January 4, 2005

"What do you believe is true even though you cannot prove it?"
This was the question posed to scientists, futurists and other creative thinkers by John Brockman, a literary agent and publisher of Edge, a Web site devoted to science. The site asks a new question at the end of each year. Here are excerpts from the responses, to be posted Tuesday at www.edge.org.

Roger Schank
Psychologist and computer scientist; author, "Designing World-Class E-Learning"

Irrational choices.

I do not believe that people are capable of rational thought when it comes to making decisions in their own lives. People believe they are behaving rationally and have thought things out, of course, but when major decisions are made - who to marry, where to live, what career to pursue, what college to attend, people's minds simply cannot cope with the complexity. When they try to rationally analyze potential options, their unconscious, emotional thoughts take over and make the choice for them.

Richard Dawkins
Evolutionary biologist, Oxford University; author, "The Ancestor's Tale"

I believe, but I cannot prove, that all life, all intelligence, all creativity and all "design" anywhere in the universe, is the direct or indirect product of Darwinian natural selection. It follows that design comes late in the universe, after a period of Darwinian evolution. Design cannot precede evolution and therefore cannot underlie the universe.

Judith Rich Harris
Writer and developmental psychologist; author, "The Nurture Assumption"

I believe, though I cannot prove it, that three - not two - selection processes were involved in human evolution.

The first two are familiar: natural selection, which selects for fitness, and sexual selection, which selects for sexiness.

The third process selects for beauty, but not sexual beauty - not adult beauty. The ones doing the selecting weren't potential mates: they were parents. Parental selection, I call it.

Kenneth Ford
Physicist; retired director, American Institute of Physics; author, "The Quantum World"

I believe that microbial life exists elsewhere in our galaxy.

I am not even saying "elsewhere in the universe." If the proposition I believe to be true is to be proved true within a generation or two, I had better limit it to our own galaxy. I will bet on its truth there.

I believe in the existence of life elsewhere because chemistry seems to be so life-striving and because life, once created, propagates itself in every possible direction. Earth's history suggests that chemicals get busy and create life given any old mix of substances that includes a bit of water, and given practically any old source of energy; further, that life, once created, spreads into every nook and cranny over a wide range of temperature, acidity, pressure, light level and so on.

Believing in the existence of intelligent life elsewhere in the galaxy is another matter.

Joseph LeDoux
Neuroscientist, New York University; author, "The Synaptic Self"

For me, this is an easy question. I believe that animals have feelings and other states of consciousness, but neither I nor anyone else has been able to prove it. We can't even prove that other people are conscious, much less other animals. In the case of other people, though, we at least can have a little confidence since all people have brains with the same basic configurations. But as soon as we turn to other species and start asking questions about feelings and consciousness in general we are in risky territory because the hardware is different.

Because I have reason to think that their feelings might be different than ours, I prefer to study emotional behavior in rats rather than emotional feelings.

There's lots to learn about emotion through rats that can help people with emotional disorders. And there's lots we can learn about feelings from studying humans, especially now that we have powerful function imaging techniques. I'm not a radical behaviorist. I'm just a practical emotionalist.

Lynn Margulis
Biologist, University of Massachusetts; author, "Symbiosis in Cell Evolution"

I feel that I know something that will turn out to be correct and eventually proved to be true beyond doubt.

What?

That our ability to perceive signals in the environment evolved directly from our bacterial ancestors. That is, we, like all other mammals including our apish brothers detect odors, distinguish tastes, hear bird song and drumbeats and we too feel the vibrations of the drums. With our eyes closed we detect the light of the rising sun. These abilities to sense our surroundings are a heritage that preceded the evolution of all primates, all vertebrate animals, indeed all animals.

David Myers
Psychologist, Hope College; author, "Intuition"

As a Christian monotheist, I start with two unproven axioms:

1. There is a God.

2. It's not me (and it's also not you).

Together, these axioms imply my surest conviction: that some of my beliefs (and yours) contain error. We are, from dust to dust, finite and fallible. We have dignity but not deity.

And that is why I further believe that we should

a) hold all our unproven beliefs with a certain tentativeness (except for this one!),

b) assess others' ideas with open-minded skepticism, and

c) freely pursue truth aided by observation and experiment.

This mix of faith-based humility and skepticism helped fuel the beginnings of modern science, and it has informed my own research and science writing. The whole truth cannot be found merely by searching our own minds, for there is not enough there. So we also put our ideas to the test. If they survive, so much the better for them; if not, so much the worse.

Robert Sapolsky
Neuroscientist, Stanford University, author, "A Primate's Memoir"

Mine would be a fairly simple, straightforward case of an unjustifiable belief, namely that there is no god(s) or such a thing as a soul (whatever the religiously inclined of the right persuasion mean by that word). ...

I'm taken with religious folks who argue that you not only can, but should believe without requiring proof. Mine is to not believe without requiring proof. Mind you, it would be perfectly fine with me if there were a proof that there is no god. Some might view this as a potential public health problem, given the number of people who would then run damagingly amok. But it's obvious that there's no shortage of folks running amok thanks to their belief. So that wouldn't be a problem and, all things considered, such a proof would be a relief - many physicists, especially astrophysicists, seem weirdly willing to go on about their communing with god about the Big Bang, but in my world of biologists, the god concept gets mighty infuriating when you spend your time thinking about, say, untreatably aggressive childhood leukemia.

Donald Hoffman
Cognitive scientist, University of California, Irvine; author, "Visual Intelligence"

I believe that consciousness and its contents are all that exists. Space-time, matter and fields never were the fundamental denizens of the universe but have always been, from their beginning, among the humbler contents of consciousness, dependent on it for their very being.

The world of our daily experience - the world of tables, chairs, stars and people, with their attendant shapes, smells, feels and sounds - is a species-specific user interface to a realm far more complex, a realm whose essential character is conscious. It is unlikely that the contents of our interface in any way resemble that realm.

Indeed the usefulness of an interface requires, in general, that they do not. For the point of an interface, such as the Windows interface on a computer, is simplification and ease of use. We click icons because this is quicker and less prone to error than editing megabytes of software or toggling voltages in circuits.

Evolutionary pressures dictate that our species-specific interface, this world of our daily experience, should itself be a radical simplification, selected not for the exhaustive depiction of truth but for the mutable pragmatics of survival.

If this is right, if consciousness is fundamental, then we should not be surprised that, despite centuries of effort by the most brilliant of minds, there is as yet no physicalist theory of consciousness, no theory that explains how mindless matter or energy or fields could be, or cause, conscious experience.

Nicholas Humphrey
Psychologist, London School of Economics; author,"The Mind Made Flesh"

I believe that human consciousness is a conjuring trick, designed to fool us into thinking we are in the presence of an inexplicable mystery. Who is the conjuror and why is s/he doing it? The conjuror is natural selection, and the purpose has been to bolster human self-confidence and self-importance - so as to increase the value we each place on our own and others' lives.

Philip Zimbardo
Psychologist, emeritus professor, Stanford; author, "Shyness"

I believe that the prison guards at the Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq, who worked the night shift in Tier 1A, where prisoners were physically and psychologically abused, had surrendered their free will and personal responsibility during these episodes of mayhem.

But I could not prove it in a court of law. These eight Army reservists were trapped in a unique situation in which the behavioral context came to dominate individual dispositions, values and morality to such an extent that they were transformed into mindless actors alienated from their normal sense of personal accountability for their actions - at that time and place.

The "group mind" that developed among these soldiers was created by a set of known social psychological conditions, some of which are nicely featured in Golding's "Lord of the Flies." The same processes that I witnessed in my Stanford Prison Experiment were clearly operating in that remote place: deindividuation, dehumanization, boredom, groupthink, role-playing, rule control and more.

Philip W. Anderson
Physicist and Nobel laureate, Princeton

Is string theory a futile exercise as physics, as I believe it to be? It is an interesting mathematical specialty and has produced and will produce mathematics useful in other contexts, but it seems no more vital as mathematics than other areas of very abstract or specialized math, and doesn't on that basis justify the incredible amount of effort expended on it.

My belief is based on the fact that string theory is the first science in hundreds of years to be pursued in pre-Baconian fashion, without any adequate experimental guidance. It proposes that Nature is the way we would like it to be rather than the way we see it to be; and it is improbable that Nature thinks the same way we do.

The sad thing is that, as several young would-be theorists have explained to me, it is so highly developed that it is a full-time job just to keep up with it. That means that other avenues are not being explored by the bright, imaginative young people, and that alternative career paths are blocked.

Alison Gopnik
Psychologist, University of California, Berkeley; co-author, "The Scientist in the Crib"

I believe, but cannot prove, that babies and young children are actually more conscious, more vividly aware of their external world and internal life, than adults are. I believe this because there is strong evidence for a functional trade-off with development. Young children are much better than adults at learning new things and flexibly changing what they think about the world. On the other hand, they are much worse at using their knowledge to act in a swift, efficient and automatic way. They can learn three languages at once but they can't tie their shoelaces.

David Buss
Psychologist, University of Texas; author, "The Evolution of Desire"

True love.

I've spent two decades of my professional life studying human mating. In that time, I've documented phenomena ranging from what men and women desire in a mate to the most diabolical forms of sexual treachery. I've discovered the astonishingly creative ways in which men and women deceive and manipulate each other. I've studied mate poachers, obsessed stalkers, sexual predators and spouse murderers. But throughout this exploration of the dark dimensions of human mating, I've remained unwavering in my belief in true love.

While love is common, true love is rare, and I believe that few people are fortunate enough to experience it. The roads of regular love are well traveled and their markers are well understood by many - the mesmerizing attraction, the ideational obsession, the sexual afterglow, profound self-sacrifice and the desire to combine DNA. But true love takes its own course through uncharted territory. It knows no fences, has no barriers or boundaries. It's difficult to define, eludes modern measurement and seems scientifically woolly. But I know true love exists. I just can't prove it.

Comment: For a long time we found it curious how some people clung onto the belief that consciousness was a collection of simple "agents" working together to create complexity. The posts of Dawkins, Humphrey, and Sapolsky above fall into this category. There are other entries that propose the exact opposite belief: Myers and Hoffman are examples.

For one group, all there is is that which we can perceive through our senses or our technological extensions of those senses. For the second group, there is an inner belief, even an inner "knowing", that there is more to life than our senses can perceive.

How is it possible for humans to come up with two such diametrically opposed points of view on something as fundamental as consciousness?

A possible answer to this mystery surfaced when we discovered the books Gnosis by Boris Mouravieff. In this trilogy which puts into writing many of the teachings of esoteric Christianity as taught in the Eastern Orthodox Church, Mouravieff writes in Volume III:

In the first volume of ‘Gnosis’, we already referred several times to the coexistence of two essentially different races: one of Men, and another of Anthropoids. We must emphasize the fact that from the esoteric point of view the latter term has no derogatory meaning.

…The Scriptures contain more than one reference to the coexistence on our planet of these two humanities – which are now alike in form but unlike in essence. We can even say that the whole dramatic history of humanity, from the fall of Adam until today, not excluding the prospect of the new era, is overshadowed by the coexistence of these two human races whose separation will occur only at the Last Judgement. (p. 107)

…The human tares, the anthropoid race, are the descendants of pre-adamic humanity. The principal difference between contemporary pre-adamic man and adamic man – a difference which is not perceived by the sensesis that the former does not possess the developed higher centres that exist in the latter which, although they have been cut off from his waking consciousness since the Fall, offer him a real possibility of esoteric evolution. Apart from this, the two races are similar: they have the same lower centres, the same structure of the Personality and the same physical body, although more often than not this is stronger in the pre-adamic man than in the adamic; regarding beauty, we must not forget that pre-adamic man and woman were created by God on the sixth day, in His image and after His likeness, and that the daughters of this race were beautiful. (pp. 108-109)

By identifying himself with the ‘I’ of his Personality, Adam lost consciousness of his real ‘I’ and fell from the Eden that was his original condition into the same condition as the pre-adamics… The two humanities, coming from two different creative processes, later mingled on the level of organic life on Earth… From then on, the coexistence of these two human types, and the competition which was the result of this, became the norm…we can see that throughout the centuries, even in our own day, adamics in their post-fall condition, have been are are generally in an inferior position to the pre-adamics.

…For the moment we will restrict ourselves to repeating that contemporary adamic man, having lost contact with his higher centres and therefore with his real ‘I’, appears practically the same as his pre-adamic counterpart. However, unlike the latter, he still has his higher centres, which ensure that he has the possibility of following the way of esoteric evolution. At present, pre-adamic man is deprived of this possibility, but it will be given to him if adamic humanity develops as it should during the era of the Holy Spirit. (p. 129)

Let us look at the main points. Mouravieff tells us that the Tradition holds that:

  • there are two races, the Adamic race and the pre-Adamic or anthropoid race;
  • the Adamic race has the higher centres that permit esoteric work;
  • the two races have been co-mingling for so long that there is no perceivable difference between the two;
  • the Adamic race, having lost contact with his higher centres, is for all practical purposes identical to his pre-Adamic counterpart.

Does not this teaching give us the basis to understand the dichotomy we discussed above? Might not those who reduce consciousness to an epiphenomenon of chemical processes in the brain be describing the reality as they know it, as it is for them? Those who have a certain inner knowing that there is more to existence than what we are able to see, hear, smell, taste, or touch may be of the 'Adamic race', those who have, in potential, the higher centres mentioned by Mouravieff. This "knowing" may be the only thing that distinguishes the two races before those who have these centres in potential choose to develop them consciously through esoteric work.

What is revelatory in this hypothesis is that each of the scientists above is explaining reality as he or she actually experiences it. Each is correct, and, yet, we can see that there is no way that the two sides of the debate can ever come to an agreement because each race lives in a different reality, so to speak. They are each describing different things, things that are real to them. Without the extra data provided by the hypothesis of the 'two races', there is no way of bridging the gap. With the data, one understands the futility of attempting such an undertaking.

For more on this question, please see our article Organic Portals: The "Other" Race. The more we study the problem, the more we are convinced that it is one of the fundamental issues in esoteric work, perhaps even the "secret of secrets". It manifests itself, as we have seen above, in science. It also has many more practical consequences in our daily lives in our relations with people around us for it appears that the esoteric function of the 'organic portal', as we have called them, is to siphon off the energy needed by the 'Adamics' to develop their higher centres. Without an awareness of this energy interaction and the taking of steps to prevent it, esoteric work is impossible.

Subsequent research has brought to light other traditions that hold this belief. It was one of the teachings of the spiritism of Alan Kardec, a nineteenth century Frenchman who compiled several books of transcriptions of séances held by many people throughout France in the mid-nineteenth century. Among those interested in the ideas and practice of spiritisme was a friend and colleague of Fulcanelli, the astronomer Camille Flammarion.

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Worker Bees and Soldier Ants: America's Army of Fascism

Marching Boots of Mass Psychosis

Manuel Valenzuela
01/13/05

It is in times of fascism rising that armies of ignorance are once more resuscitated from the bowels of a society bordering on the edge of mass psychosis. The America at the dawn of the twenty-first century is no exception, for an army of fascism is being born inside its womb, its growing power in numbers and ideology granting freedom of action to immoral despots and juntas of warmongering greed addicts. Contrived through the mass manipulation of fear and hatred, xenophobia and ignorance, searing nationalism and blind theological faith, this army represents the greatest threat to the nation, and the world.

From all walks of life diluted brains and weak-minded individuals are answering the call of the beacon of fascism shining bright, from Atlantic to Pacific, from north to south, embracing its dastardly tentacles with the warm acceptance of comfort and submission. Millions of Americans are presently falling prey to a virulent haze gripping the United States, furthered and pursued by a small cabal of corporatist evildoers perched at the upper echelons of governance and power that seek to transform the nation into a black widow's nest of fascism spiked with the venom of a militarized citizenry acquiescent to imperial hegemony.

Growing daily like a malignant tumor, still entranced by the devastating images of the new Pearl Harbor, which the corporatists in power did nothing to help stop and everything possible for it to succeed, this multitude cannot see in shades of gray nor in the prism of color. Instead, like living inside the television sets of the past, only black and white can they perceive, their antenna only receptive to the microwaves of good and bad, evil and good, friend or foe. Different shades of reality escape them just as much as the reality of what transpires around the world.

This army of fascism is the product of years of methodical ingraining of ignorance and indifference into society by those holding the reigns of power. It is the end result of the re-wired human brain preyed upon and feasted on by television and the corporations that control thought through it. Obedient to the monitor, blind to reality, the army now gathering life takes direct commands from the images, sounds and war cries emanated by television. Acting on instinct, and on the televised propaganda they are conditioned to obey and follow, the army now walking among us neither questions nor searches for answers, preferring to exult the fantasies of fiction over the embarrassments of truth, preferring to dwell in ignorance rather than being liberated by knowledge.

Like the drones they have been bred to be the army of fascism lines up one behind another, marching to the drums of warmongers and trumpets of false prophets exalting hatreds and fears and cries for death and destruction. This monolith lacking the precepts of analytical and logical thinking minds follows the lies and deceptions of governance and the propaganda of corporations, believing every word uttered or image manipulated, absorbing as truth blatant lies and incorporating into their own thought processes the vitriol-filled, hate-induced, xenophobic-spewing, gay-bashing, women-hating, Arab-scapegoating, jingoistic-packed diatribe that litters the airwaves and acts as a conduit for the further recruitment of grunts comprising the army of fascism.

Disguised as national dialogue, this propaganda, disseminated by the minions and lackeys of government and the corporate world, serves the purpose of unleashing inside the ignorant legions of sheep boiling magma of animalistic passion and emotion which, with further manipulation of psychology, erupts like a smoldering volcano, releasing throughout the nation toxic gases of hatred and fiery lava of violent thought.

Thus, the harvesting of ignorance, hate and fear – all molded by the same clay, none mutually exclusive of the others – by those in power produces an army of fascism whose blind thirst for Arab blood and rabid addiction for Muslim destruction fuse to engender in the Establishment the tools necessary to mutate the United States in the direction of fascism and despotic rule, while at the same time increasing their power and control over the same army which blindly follows without knowing and is easily herded to slaughter.

Conditioned War Culture, Dumbed-Down Education

Millions who today march proudly in the army of hate, fear and ignorance have, since birth, been conditioned to violence and indifference through the incessant bombardment by television of those images necessary to transform a once benign citizenry into a violent and militarized war culture, in the process succeeding in shaping apathetic creatures devoid of concern for their fellow man, now desensitized to death, destruction, suffering and ceaseless violence.

From cartoons laced with aggression and conflict to movies saturated with pyrotechnics and bullets to video games blurring the line between reality and fantasy to television shows romanticizing violence the human brain, from cradle to grave, and in a society as addicted to television watching as is America, loses all sense of shock and awe at the very real spectacle of human violence. Glamorized and white-washed, fantasy-riddled violence on television, movies and video games desensitizes the now conditioned human brain to the very real and horrific parameters of our species' self-destructive ways, making violence accepted and indeed sought, for violent overtures to conflict resolution are all we have been trained to see, hear and believe in.

In the realm of fiction bombs explode yet the shrieks and the misery are never seen. Bullets whiz by yet their effects on human flesh are whitewashed. Missiles rain down from above yet severed limbs and decapitated heads do not exist. The destruction of cities, houses and lives is too inconvenient to cover in the plot. The suffering and the wretchedness of human violence upon its own kind never sees the light of day. Special effects form a cornucopia of digital mastery, glossing over death and maiming, blood and guts, becoming the fiction we see and the reality we fail to understand.

Audiences at home or in the theater fail to ever experience the reality of human violence, unable to feel the pain of injury, the concussions reverberating in air, rubble falling everywhere, explosions creating deafness, bullets penetrating flesh, the last moments of life, the entrails exposed or the limbs blown to bits. We never are confronted with the sounds of war, the smells of death, the taste of violence and the very real destruction wrought by America's many instruments of human violence. Comfortably we sit in our couches or stadium seating, under cover of roof and air-conditioning, munching on popcorn and soda, all the while becoming ever more desensitized to death, destruction, violence and the horrors of war.

This makes a culture such as that found in America a purveyor of violent solutions to conflict, a populace indifferent to the violence, destruction and death created by its government and unleashed on the savages and inhuman peoples of lands not known or understood, alien to our reality but familiar to our fictions. With a citizenry completely conditioned to accept violence as a solution for conflict, with a people desensitized to the horrors of human violence inflicted on its fellow beings, with tens of millions brainwashed into seeing violence as rose-petalled fiction and not as a malicious reality, the government, military-industrial complex and the cabal of corruption in control of our lives are free to unearth the most wicked forms of human violence upon innocent human life, killing with abandon in a wanton slaughter applauded by a complicit army of fascism whose minds are completely under the control of warmongers and fascists in power.

When you add in the bogey man of the moment, the chosen Muslim Arab enemy for years implanted into our minds by government and corporate propaganda, seen in television, movies and the realm of fictionalized violence, replacing the Indian and the Soviet and the black and the Vietnamese as the enemy required to hijack the thoughts of the average American, needed to induce fear and enslave fogged minds, the brain begins associating negative feelings of hatred onto this scapegoated ethnic and religious group. Fear commences its powers of erosion, stripping rational and analytical thought from the human brain, replacing hatred and thirst for violence against the latest enemy to grace the collective imagination of Americans. Ignorance, fear of the unknown and conditioned fear of dark-skinned enemies combine to form a deadly cocktail of hatred, manipulated into the American mind by government and those whose interests lie in marginalizing Arabs, that furthers the recruitment of the army of fascism as well as the fictional “war on terror.”

Combined with the creation of a completely dumbed down, ignorant, believe-anything, nationalistic-driven, violence-conditioned, fiction-living, theology-brainwashed, fear-induced, schizophrenically-manipulated, paranoid-delusional segment of the American population, the recipe is ripe for those in power to sound the drums of perpetual war for perpetual profit, using their new and ever-growing army of fascism, blind to the tunes of reality, to unveil the erosion of civil rights, freedoms and democracy at home and the mass murder of untold thousands abroad in an immoral attempt at achieving imperial hegemony.

Using the ignorance of the army of fascism to its advantage, this cabal of corruption is giving birth to corporatism, transforming the nation into a conduit for despotic rule in a police-state environment, where the army of fascism is used against itself, for the attainment of a continued form of corporate feudalism, and as a tool in fighting the other half of the population that refuses to accept the master plans of those in control or to bow down to the dictates of tyranny.

An army dumbed down by an anemic educational system whose only purpose is the systematic transformation of little primates into obedient, non-thinking drones loyal to the government that exploits and the corporations that enslave them has become a reality which today we can see in the tens of millions, perhaps half the population of the United States, that gives a thumbs up to mass murder, torture, gulags and the destruction of an entire society by their vote for warmongers, greed addicts and power hungry corrupters of civilization.

Brainwashed from birth to adore the red, white and blue, trained to never question the authority of government or the decisions of politicians, conditioned in the fine arts of nationalistic propaganda, manipulated into loyalty to the state and deceived to the altruistic fictions of American history, children are subjected to an education designed to eradicate free-thinking minds, transforming questioning entities into subservient soldiers devoid of rebellion or resistance to bad governance. Educated to avoid seeking truth, taught to inhale as fact whatever the government states, children are methodically robbed of their natural desire to question the world around them, failing to seek accountability of authority and their innate desire for truth searching.

After years of dumbed down education, in schools that serve to hinder knowledge and evolving intelligence thanks to rotten curriculums and decrepit resources, children become the molded adult drones of the state, unthinking, unknowing and unquestioning. The mockery that is American education, purposefully instituted by those in power, spits out a populace that fails to grasp the world around them, lacking curiosity, creativity and an ounce of knowledge of history, current events, politics, foreign nations, the arts, science, culture, geography and common sense.

An assembly line of ignorance and indifference is created through years of abandon, both educational and parental, that is transforming American society into a culture lacking the precepts of human understanding. The wisdom of older societies is recklessly disregarded, the sophistication of cultures is frowned upon, the lessons of history are arrogantly trampled on, the convergence of diversity spawns fear and the advice of old friends is discarded. To the army of fascism, America does not need advice or assistance or friends or historical lessons. We are the greatest nation that ever lived, unable to do wrong, unable to condemn billions to misery and virtual enslavement, the chalice of altruism, the seeker of good, the defender of freedom, the protector of democracy and the Almighty's chosen nation. America is an unbeatable superpower, emanating arrogance and cockiness, the most triumphant society that ever existed, free to do with the world and its peoples whatever suits its needs. Unfortunately, after years of brainwashing, the army of fascism believes just about anything, unwilling to even contemplate the minimal idea that all they have ever learned is false, based on propaganda and conditioning of minds, blitzkrieged into their brains for the benefit of the state and the corporate world that owns it.

The army of fascism chooses to live in fantasy, unwilling to discard their tiny bubble protecting them from confronting reality. To them truth is stressful, reality is frightful, ignorance is bliss, and escaping the illusion they watch on Fox News or any other corporate propaganda channel is an exercise they would rather not confront. Their bubble is their paradise, no matter how pathetically delusional it may seem, no matter how obviously false it appears and no matter how much it is eroded by the plethora of truth attacking the fables and fictions sustaining their delicate web of concocted bull manure.

To the tens of millions living inside the rabbit hole, Earth, its lands, nations, cultures and peoples are as alien as the vast expanse of universe, science and nature as hazy as history and knowledge. The reality of what the United States has been since its inception, an Evil Empire laying waste to billions of world citizens and their lives, is never taught to the very citizens now affected by the blowback inherent in perpetuating human malice throughout the globe. Instead, we are told the world hates us for our freedoms and rights, that billions are angered at us because we are such a great nation. The truth, it seems, is always discarded for fiction, and the army of fascism gobbles it up like Thanksgiving turkey, forever wanting to escape knowing painful truths by smearing themselves in euphoric falsity.

Hijacked Fiction, Hypnotized Minds

As if hypnotized by the thunderous sound of its marching boots, the army of fascism, millions of worker bees and soldier ants laboriously furthering the interests of state fascism, surrenders itself to its masters sounding the trumpets of fear and hatred. Ever since 9/11, millions of Americans have experienced a profound shift in their psyche, becoming, over time and thanks to ceaseless corporatist manipulation and propaganda, the mirror image of what they perceive their enemy to be.

They have become, in a sense, what they most fear, the nighttime bogeyman lurking in dark corners and black shadows, emulating the behaviors and psychology of how they are told the enemy behaves, casting a long dry spell of hatred and racism over the lands of America, awakening from horrible nightmares to find themselves afflicted by paranoia and schizophrenia, possessed by hatred and seething anger, unable to listen or see, made deaf and blind to reality and unable to exorcise from their minds the horrible disfigurement to the national character spawned by the ghosts of 9/11. They have, for all intents and purposes, become the enemy they fear most.

It is exactly the manipulation of fear and hatred by those who control, spawned by 9/11 and its post traumatic stresses that has elevated the numbers joining the army of fascism. A plague presently afflicts the United States, born in sin and broken psychology, rendering once capable minds as weak as rotting wood, impregnating in the ignorant among us deep hatreds and angers giving rise to increased levels of xenophobia and a growing search for scapegoats.

The fear prevalent in the army of fascism, tirelessly manipulated and exploited by the Bush administration, birthed by the horrors of 9/11 and the correspondent images no human society has ever had to experience, played live and replayed countless times via multiple camera angels and narrated through various media outlets and personalities, immediately bombarded by anti-Arab propaganda by the corporate media, has given rise to a racist hatred seldom seen in the United States in the latter decades of the twentieth century.

It was 9/11, that sparkplug from which all hatred now derives, that spawned the beginning stages of the army of fascism. It was in the aftermath of the collapse of the twin towers in New York City that the early manifestations of mass change in the minds of vast portions of the populations could be seen. Suddenly, as if hit by a powerful surge of psychosis, millions of Americans became conduits of seething anger, no doubt affected by high doses of post traumatic stress disorder and of feelings of catastrophe, uncertainty and bewilderment.

The world Americans had once known changed in the rapid transgressions of a few horrific hours, popping long-lasting bubbles of invincibility and security that had for years insulated the populace from the carnage, fear and human wickedness that befell the rest of humanity, most of it at the hands of America and its vast legions of mercenaries of imperial control and domination. The new Pearl Harbor had been allowed to come into fruition, for it was the tool needed to mobilize a pacifist populace into war, introducing the fog of mass psychosis onto a suddenly fearful nation, in the greatest psychological warfare operation ever conducted, on the way to neocon and military-industrial complex pre-planned mastery of world hegemony. Along with falling towers, the fall of American rationality and analytical thought was not far behind. [...]

Dangers Real and Perceived

Yet, for about forty percent of the population, the 'war on terror' is as real as night and day, a most important war against the hated Arab heathens who share neither religion nor culture nor skin color with noble America. To the army of fascism, Arabs are evildoers extraordinaire, savages and primitives intent on killing all of what America stands for. They are barbarians, a people worshipping false gods and idols, mere subhuman animals willing to kill themselves, the army of Satan and reincarnations of demons past. They are an enemy that must be defeated and exterminated, whatever the cost, whatever the consequences. This belief by the army of fascism, however, is one based on ignorance, the belief of fantasy and a sheer weak-minded capacity to distinguish fact from fiction. When bombarded by a Zionist-first media and scapegoat-needing government, using a massive and methodical propaganda campaign, though, the Fox News and talk radio addicted army of fascism easily succumbs to such manipulations and lies.

While most Americans have recovered their senses in the years after 9/11, the army of fascism still remains trapped inside the clouds of asbestos and debris and smoke and dust, refusing to take the hand of truth and reality, firmly digging themselves inside the trenches of a horror-filled fantasy. Because they wish for its truth, they make it so, retaining the lies and deceits and manipulations they hear, never questioning for an instant the validity of such claim and never seeking their own education of such matters. Trained to always believe what they hear, they incorporate deceptive propaganda as their own, every day hating and fearing more and more, scapegoating an entire culture, religion and race, justifying their hatred and growing racism through the bull manure they hear and see on a daily basis.

The army of fascism remains deeply distraught by the horrors of 9/11, still possessed by its demons and its stresses, unable to exorcise the memories or ghosts of an operation allowed to succeed by the same heroes the army now religiously follows. Their outward bravado hides a deep inner fear, acting as their protective surrogate, for traumatized they remain and brainwashed they have been made to be. Psychologically fragile and mentally intimidated, they cling to the Dear Leader their monitors and radios command them to adore as a father figure in whom they seek protection and security. These millions are not able discern the falsity of the war on terror, nor the reality of what their 'leader' truly is, nor the true nature of the wars of conquest against Afghanistan and Iraq.

To the army of fascism, lies become truth just as much as reality becomes falsity. In their inescapable bubble, they see not how the world is but how they want the world to be, refusing to accept truth even as it showers them with unending facts and even as it utterly destroys the fictions they cannot let go of. These Americans remain traumatized and haunted by 9/11, clouding the rational and analytical thought processes they might have once possessed. Every hate and racist filled tirade by their favorite talking head vermin only validates in their minds the necessity to wage ceaseless war upon innocent Arabs and Muslims. Every diatribe they hear confirms their belief in the elimination and mass murder of hundreds of thousands of humans, replacing the goodness they once had with the thirst for malice that now runs through their veins.

They have become cold-blooded manifestations of their Dear Leader, the embodiment of all the psychopathic traits he possesses. They are the exact image of the President of the United States, indifferent, uncultured, unwise, callous, complicit, without love for their fellow human beings. Warm hearts have given way to frozen arteries, their desire to do harm to chosen scapegoats running rampant inside their bodies. They hate because they are told to hate, they wish death and destruction because they follow propaganda, never questioning anything but dissent. They fear because they are ignorant, they do not understand alien ways of life because they know nothing beyond their tiny bubbles, wishing instead to remain captives to the producer and consumer lifestyle they have been conditioned to follow.

They desperately cling to the beliefs that Arabs and Muslims are sub-human creatures and evildoers needing the salvation only America can provide. To them, America is bringing democracy and freedom to those it now occupies, and the noble intentions of the Bush administration are all that matters. The army of fascism refuses to see that tyranny was replaced by tyranny, that corruption has now been increased, that democracy is but a sham excuse to enslave and pillage, that an entire civilization lays in ruins and that 25 million people have had their lives shattered, that their tax dollars are being pilfered by corporate greed, that their sons and daughters are dying for nothing but the profit, wealth and power of the elite, that their rights and freedoms are being eliminated not by Arabs but by the leaders they shower with praise and adulation.

Millions of Americans are being transformed into conduits of hate and racism, citizens thirsting for Arab and Muslim blood and for the destruction of millions of lives. More and more we hear them talk about using nuclear bombs and WMDs to destroy Arabs. We hear them talk about curtailing Arab and Muslim civil rights and liberties in America, with cries of sending an entire race of people to internment and detention camps. We hear them validate war crimes and the death of over 100,000 innocent civilians, extolling the virtues of shooting and bombing Iraqis and Afghans to pieces. To these warmongers and violence seekers, the more Arab blood spilled the better.

To them torture under Saddam is horrific but under the red, white and blue, not to mention under the Star of David, it is encouraged and acceptable, no matter how sadistic and malevolent it becomes, no matter how much it contradicts basic foundations of humanity. Two dozen beheadings are condemned as barbaric yet the use of cluster bombs, missiles, napalm, bunker busters and 2,000 pound bombs that kill thousands and maim and decapitate countless more is seen as a civilized and necessary way to bring freedom and democracy to those we invade and occupy. To the army of fascism, an amalgam of Bush gulags is welcomed, and if death, torture and dehumanization results, so much the better. From Guantanamo, Cuba to Abu Ghraib, to prisons in Iraq, Jordan, Israel and Afghanistan, the army of fascism revels in the imprisonment of innocents and the torture of humans, wishing the keys to cages be thrown away for all eternity. The prisoners are Arab and Muslim, after all.

They approve destroying cities such as Fallujah, Najaf, Mosul and Sadr City in order to save them. Under no circumstances can they ever see the quagmire that is Iraq for what it is, nor the mistakes that have led to disaster and inevitable defeat. The army of fascism sees no problem appointing as Attorney General the man responsible for legalizing torture and endangering American soldiers. They feel comfortable keeping as Secretaries CEOs and executives of the corporate world that fleeces their lives. They look forward to a State Department run by a liar, conniver and unscrupulous cobra responsible for the death of over 100,000 innocent civilians. Ignorantly they allow the dangerous Likud-first neocons to remain pestering like flies in the halls of the White House and War and States Departments, hijacking foreign policy to the tunes of Israel's delight. They rush to the polls to cast votes for the worst president in the history of the nation, having accomplished nothing but problems for the electorate since stealing the election of 2000, yet providing a treasure trove of favors to the corporate world.

Our Own Worst Enemies

The parameters of life in America were altered in one giant implosion of two towering monoliths, and the resulting psychosis which has ensued has only progressed further down the slope of the surreal. To America's worker bees and soldier ants, hatred of Muslims and blatant racism of Arabs, combined with searing nationalism and growing ignorance of reality and the world, are fusing together to form a malicious combination of behaviors and psychology that is following a clear pattern of growth that, ever since 9/11, has multiplied in aggression.

Today, America is fast approaching a slippery slope of hatred, with xenophobia and homophobia at the frontlines, threatening to divide the nation and explode the fiery cauldron of diversity, creating a nation on the verge of implosion. Hate now fills the air, racism lingers in the environment, and, with ignorance the sparkplug of this most frightful engine, a new dawn fast approaches, pitting those blinded by hate, fear, ignorance and the clouds of 9/11 against those now free of demons, ghosts and inner turmoil.

Lines are being drawn in the sand, and slowly, yet surely, America is being divided based on the wars of George W. Bush. Hatred, fear, racism, fantasy, blind patriotism and corrosive ignorance stand on one side with the army of fascism. On the other side stands reality, courage, peace, love, diversity, world citizenship and education. The real danger is being played out today, with the army of fascism reporting dissent to the Department of Fatherland Insecurity, thereby placing anti-war voices on “terrorist watch lists,” with protest being confined to “free-speech zones,” with Republican politicians seeking to curtail still more rights, with right-wing Congressmen seeking to define dissent a psychological disease, with the army of fascism acting as national spies, keeping tabs on those not in tune with pro-war, pro-America, pro-Bush dictates.

This army is growing as the mass lunacy that has taken over America continues its reign of terror, invading minds and possessing spirits, catapulting inner turmoil and invasive demons onto the national stage. The army of fascism comprises your neighbors, friends and relatives, your co-workers, elected representatives and teachers. Hijacked by the psychosis of post-9/11, this army knows not what it does, doing the dirty work of the elite and warmongers who are unleashing devastation upon the green lands of Earth. They are captured by the fear exploited every day by those in power, exchanging once held sanity for evolving hatred and brewing racism.

The danger lies in another violent attack upon the nation, whether real or concocted, for the army of fascism will undoubtedly wage war against Arab and Muslim Americans, against those seeking peace, tolerance and justice, and against those not espousing the beliefs of the fascists in government. Another bombing or unconventional attack will result in the complete assault of civil rights, freedoms and habeas corpus, resulting in the complete fascist overhaul of American society, the introduction of a police state and the implementation of repression and subjugation of large segments of the population, no doubt abetted by the growing legions of the army of fascism.

Resurrected from the catacombs of lunacy and human wickedness past, mutating to the dictates of malice and corruption present, becoming the oxygen by which tyrants thrive, the voices by which hate prospers and the muscle by which the worst in the human condition grows, the army of fascism, birthed by brainwashed conditioning and bred in ignorance, unwillingly serves the masters who have created it, becoming its own worst enemy, the force that will self implode upon the evisceration of the freedoms, rights and democracy it took for granted.

Soon, when the forces of corporatism no longer need the army that so blindly follows, the awakening of millions will arrive too late, and from the long slumber of post 9/11 hysteria millions of minds will realize the self-implosion they wrought onto themselves, wishing they had only known, wishing they had been wiser to the propaganda, wishing to wake from the horrible nightmare now confronting their lives. Until then, however, they are helping lead us all directly into the wretched path of despotism of old and fascism of new, pulverizing our relations with the outside world and making extinct the life we once knew to exist.

Worker bees and soldier ants are condemning us all, for their numbers are many, possibly reaching half the citizenry, helping to keep in power the most unscrupulous cabal of human refuse to ever stand perched atop the halls of power. The world entire will have to suffer for the post 9/11 traumatic stress disorder affecting tens of millions of Americans who cannot escape the demons of crashing planes and falling towers, played and replayed countless times on video, in dreams and in the mind, that can now be seen as the sparkplug that launched America into a realm of lunacy, paranoia and incalculable human wickedness.

As the evolution and continued growth of the army of fascism persists, the decline of what America once espoused continues. We are becoming, in the end, our own worst enemies.

Manuel Valenzuela is social critic and commentator, international affairs analyst, Internet columnist and author of Echoes in the Wind, a novel now published by Authorhouse.com. A collection of essays, Beyond the Smoking Mirror: Reflections on America and Humanity, will be published in early 2005. His articles appear regularly in alternative news websites including informationclearinghouse.info . His unique style and powerful writing is read internationally and seeks to expose truths and realities confronting humanity today. Mr. Valenzuela welcomes comments and can be reached at manuel@valenzuelas.net.

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Israel breaks off contact with Abbas

Conal Urquhart in Jerusalem
Saturday January 15, 2005
The Guardian

Israel announced last night that it was suspending all contact with the new Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, and his government, claiming that members of the Palestinian security agencies were involved in an attack in Gaza which killed six Israelis.

Aides to Ariel Sharon, the Israeli prime minister, said relations would be suspended until Mr Abbas took action against the militant groups behind Thursday night's attack.

The assault on the busy Karni crossing point from Gaza into southern Israel was the deadliest attack since Mr Abbas was elected Yasser Arafat's successor on Sunday, and amounted to open defiance of his repeated calls for an end to four years of violence.

Three Palestinian gunmen sprayed automatic fire and grenades at the checkpoint after detonating a truckload of explosives, and were shot by security forces.

Israel refrained from military retaliation yesterday but said the suspension of all contacts was inevitable when it became obvious that "members of the Palestinian security agencies were involved in [the] attack".

"Everything is cancelled until they take steps against terror, so we can see there is not only talk but also action," said Assaf Shariv, a spokesman for Mr Sharon. "Abbas knows who carried out the attack, so he will be the one to stop them. It's very easy."

The suspension of contact is a setback to hopes that the post-Arafat era would herald a revival of the peace process.

Mr Abbas, who declared himself ready for talks soon after his election victory, had already spoken to Mr Sharon by telephone and had been expected to meet him face to face before the end of January. That now appears improbable. [...]

Comment: "Hopes"? The only people foolish enough to have "hopes" about the demise of Arafat were those who feed themselves on the daily diet of disinformation that is parroted by mainstream media. Regular readers of this page will know that we personally never held out any "hope".

The simple truth is that, in all likelihood Israel or its agents murdered Arafat specifically because he was the only remaining real hope for the Palestinian people. Arafat was incorruptible, that was Sharon's biggest problem. Arafat knew very well who and what he was dealing with in Sharon and his American friends and he knew not to deal with them. Now that Arafat has been removed and Abbas installed in his place, Sharon is free to continue laying the remaining pieces to his final solution to the Palestinian problem. Those pieces will naturally involve that all important policy that has served Israel so well over the decades - false flag operations.

In fact, Israeli policy towards Palestine has become so obvious and predictable that we are surprised, and dismayed, that more serious journalists have not picked up on it. The attack a few days ago that lead to this current manufactured "impasse" allowing Sharon to ignore and malign the new Palestinian President bears all the hall marks of the work of Israel's "Shin Bet" (internal security service). Why do we believe so? Simply because it confirms that which we have been saying for many many months: Israel was established because of the real, yet wholly manufactured, fascist threat to the Jewish people. Today the threat is called "terrorism", yet it is no less manufactured than the fascist threat of 70 years ago. Sharon and those that direct his actions REQUIRE the existence of a threat to Israel and the Jewish people in order to implement their plans for the Middle East region. Their plans involve exacerbating the tensions between Israel and it's neighbours, chiefly by the continuation of Israeli brutality towards Palestinians, which in turn requires that Sharon (or any Israeli leader) NEVER be forced to sit down at the negotiating table with a Palestinian leader.

Getting back to the attack in question then. Israel claims that it was carried out in conjunction with Palestinian militants, yet they provide no evidence for this. Most reports cite the Lebanese Hezbollah as the perpetrators, who have always been accused by Israel of being little different from Palestinian "terrorists".

Interestingly however, BBC News reports that:

soon after the attack, the television station of Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon suggested that Palestinian militants were responsible.

Hezbollah outing their Palestinian hermanos? What's up with that? However:

There was no immediate comment from Hezbollah. In Lebanon, Defence Minister Khalil Hrawi denied that the attackers came from his country.

"There is a UN presence in the (border) area and the United Nations must determine the source of gunfire," he said.

Now this is rather strange because, as a general rule, REAL Arab terrorist organisations take credit for the attacks that they carry out. In this case however we have Israel claiming that the attack was carried out by Hezbollah guerillas in league with Palestinians yet the Lebanses deny this and the Hezbollah TV station claimed it was the Palestinians. The BBC report further states:

Lebanese security officials, who declined to be named, told the Associated Press news agency that it appeared the attack had been launched from within Israeli territory.

The above comment would indeed make sense given the location of the attack - the junction of the Gaza "border" with Israel and Lebannon is very heavily guarded by Israeli troops making it very difficult for an attack to be launched at this location.

Another report on the attack tells us:

The closures (of the northern crossing point into and out of the Gaza Strip) mean Gaza is now largely cut off, and the renewed hardships hit Palestinians just a week before a major Muslim holiday, Eid al-Adha, a time for shopping and family visits. Many Palestinians, exhausted after more than four years of fighting, were complaining privately about the militants' targeting crossings.

Indeed. As we have often mentioned these type of attacks do little to benefit the Palestinian people and in fact make their already difficult lives all the more intolerable. The only party to benefit is Sharon and those that, through the promotion and perpetration of terrorist acts, attempt to maintain the justification for Israel's policies, and those of the US, in the Middle East.

It seems that everyone with eyes to see understands that the Palestinians simply continue to suffer as a result of the actions of those who claim to be defending them, even the Israeli soldiers. For example:

Brig. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, commander of Israeli forces in the Gaza division said that the military has been trying to ease restrictions on Palestinian movement, and that the militants "are ruining all of this for their people.'

Even Hamas, the brainchild and asset of Israeli intelligence, has been forced to admit it:

On Thursday, Yousef, the West Bank Hamas leader, said the group, responsible for dozens of bloody suicide bombings, is considering stopping violence in Israel, recognizing that Palestinians are weary after four years of conflict.

"We read the regional and the international reality and the changes that have taken place based on this reality and we take positions according to these changes,'' Yousef said.

Because of the violence and Israeli restrictions aimed at stopping attackers, the Palestinian economy has been shattered, and many people have been reduced to poverty. Peace talks that stalled before the violence erupted in 2000 have not been resumed.

So what might we expect to see as a result of this? The cessation of attacks by Palestinian groups on Israel in order to call Israel's bluff and give them what they say is the only thing forestalling a peaceful settlement? Ideally yes, but there are always those dissenting voices who seem to be more interested in playing into the hands of their alleged enemies than furthering their own stated cause.

However, other Hamas officials have adopted a harder line. On Wednesday, Mahmoud Zahar, a top Hamas leader in Gaza, said Hamas has no plans to disarm, and Abbas has no authority to order an end to attacks on Israel.

And then of course there are all those pesky "little known" and "obscure" terrorist groups who keep popping up to claim responsibility for attacks that are disowned by all of the known "terrorist" groups. How convenient, no?

The main point is that nothing sells like fear, and "Arab terrorism" seems to have been made (literally) for the part of the "evil monster" that devours children and "ways of life" in the horror movie currently showing on Fox news etc. Of course, facts are irrelevant when it comes to inducing fear in the public. As an example, consider the fact that while most other news reports tell us that, in this recent attack where 5 civilians and 1 Isreali soldier were killed, the attackers threw hand grenades at their victims:

Brig. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, commander in the Gaza division told The Associated Press: "They came through the hole shooting and throwing grenades''

The Cleveland Jewish News informs us that:

A massive truck bomb, believed to have weighed nearly 250 pounds, was used to blow a hole in the wall separating the Israeli and Palestinian sides of the Karni Crossing. Two bombers then crossed through the hole and detonated explosives attached to their bodies, killing the Israelis, according to Israeli media

Like we said, manufactured fear has nothing to do with facts and everything to do with inducing an emotional response in the public which is best achieved with simplistic logic along the lines of "they hate us because of [complete with any concept that you strongly identify with].

The evidence would suggest that Israeli intelligence agencies have made it their speciality to infiltrate other countries and organisations in order to commit agressive acts which they then blame on Israel's enemies. It is really is a "no brainer" that they would do so, but so few people seem willingly to accept it as such. For the record and in relation to this most recent attack on Israelis that the Israeli government is blaming on the Lebanese...

Lebanon 'smashes Israel spy ring'

Tuesday, 18 May, 2004

Lebanon has reportedly broken a spy ring that was plotting to murder Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of militant group Hezbollah, on behalf of Israel.

Police have arrested a Palestinian woman who is accused of being recruited in Tunisia, the Safir daily reported.

Quoting "informed sources", the paper said the network had been uncovered by Lebanese security forces and Hezbollah.

The group was also planning to launch operations against Palestinian leaders based in Lebanon, Safir says.

Jamal Zaarura, who holds a Tunisian passport but was born in the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp in northern Lebanon, is named as the ringleader.

Safir newspaper says an Egyptian man living in Beirut has also been arrested, along with a lover of Ms Zaarura's who she had unsuccessfully tried to bring into the ring.

She reportedly confessed that Mr Nasrallah was to be targeted with high explosives and poisonous chemicals installed in a tracksuit that would be slipped to his wardrobe.

So which is it? The simplistic view that Israel is fighting a just war against Arab terrorists, or Israel has, over the course of the past 5 decades, been actively recruiting agents within enemy territory for the purpose of engineering conditions that will best serve its goals?

Before you decide, remember that the people involved are extremely inteilligent individuals, they have spent their entire lives studying the intricacies of how best to "govern" (read manipulate) millions (or billions) of people. Whatever else we might call them, they are certainly not stupid, they understand the complexities of life and are not given to seeing any situation in simplistic 'black and white' terms. "They hate us because of our freedom" is for the gullible masses only.

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Flashback: U.S. Aided Mossad Agents Involved in Hakim's Assassination in Fleeing Iraq

Published in the Tehran Times September 9, 2003

Tehran -- September 9, 2003 -- (Mehr News Agency) -- The U.S. Central Command helped 15 Mossad agents involved in the assassination of Ayatollah Mohammad Baqer al-Hakim to flee Iraq, an Egyptian weekly magazine disclosed on Monday.

Ayatollah Hakim, the leader of the Supreme Assembly for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SAIRI), was killed in a massive car bomb blast in the holy city of Najaf on August 7. The blast left 82 killed and more than 100 wounded.

The U.S. Central Command was sure that the agents of the Zionist intelligence service Mossad had planned and executed the assassination with the help of some elements from the U.S. and Iraqi spies, Al-Osboa weekly said.

The U.S. Centcom acquired conviction about the plot after examining the explosives used in the operation; the explosives -- which were highly advanced -- are used only by Mossad, the weekly added.

As a consequence, the Mehr News Agency now initially breaks the story about the Mossad involvement in the killing of the prominent Iraqi Shiite leader.

An Iraqi political analyst said that evidence of Mossad involvement has been found at the Najaf blast site. The analyst, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Mehr News Agency that Zionist intelligence agents have made great efforts to infiltrate Iraqi groups in order to thwart efforts to create national unity.

After Saddam Hussein was ousted, the Zionist regime took advantage of divisions among the Iraqi Shi'ites and sent a large number of extremist Jews and Mossad agents to Iraq, with the help of the occupying forces, to infiltrate Islamic groups and obtain information, the analyst said.

He added that a few months ago, a Mossad agent who knew Arabic and was quite familiar with Iraqi Muslim groups made a great effort to infiltrate organizations in southern Iraq and even influenced these groups.

He stated that there are reports that the terrorist Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) is helping Zionist operatives in Iraq and is receiving direct help from U.S. troops, adding that there is a written agreement to this effect.

Saddam supported the MKO for years and ordered MKO members to spy on and wage war against the Iraqi Shia.

The main goal of the Zionists is sowing discord among Muslims, especially the Shia, because they are aware of the people's great attachment to clerics such as martyr Ayatollah Baqer al-Hakim, who have been making efforts to unite the people in order to prevent the domination of Iraq and the plunder of its resources.

While not ruling out the possibility of the involvement of extremist groups such as Al-Qaeda in the blast in Najaf, Mehr Agency's source noted, "Of course, I think the massive propaganda by the pro-Western media and the emphasis on blaming Al-Qaeda or remnants of the Baath Party should be considered a conscious effort to conceal the role of Zionist and occupying forces in this abominable atrocity."

He said that increased insecurity and the outbreak of a civil war among Muslims, especially the Shia, could be used as an excuse for continuing the occupation of Iraq, adding that U.S. troops' refusal to maintain security at religious sites is part of this plot.

Comment: We have made reference more than once to the fact that Abbas was "installed" as Palestinian president. Our reasoning is outlined by the following article.

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46 Palestinian election officials resign over alleged irregularities

Associated Press
January 15, 2005

RAMALLAH, West Bank - Forty-six members of the Palestinian election commission, including top managers, resigned Saturday, saying they were pressured by Mahmoud Abbas' campaign and intelligence officials to abruptly change voting procedures during the Jan. 9 presidential poll.

Two senior members of the commission, Ammar Dwaik and Baha al-Bakri, resigned early Saturday, and officials later said 44 more members resigned. Six top election officials were among those who resigned.

The resignations raised questions about Sunday's vote giving Abbas an overwhelming victory with 62.3 percent, though the officials who quit said the alleged irregularities did not fundamentally affect the final vote tally.

"This proves that what happened is very serious and it must not happen again,'' said Dwaik, the commission's deputy chairman. "These pressures and threats lessened the degree of the integrity of the election, even though overall it was free and fair.''

Abbas was sworn in as Palestinian Authority president Saturday.

During the presidential election, polls were to have stayed open for 12 hours until 7 p.m. However, several hours after polls opened, turnout was light, a cause of concern for Abbas, who was the front-runner but needed a decisive victory to win a mandate for peace talks with Israel.

"We were visited by senior officials from Abu Mazen's campaign, and we were pressured to change procedures on election day,'' al-Bakri said. Abbas is widely known as Abu Mazen.

During the meeting, shots were fired at the panel's headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Electoral officials said they recognized at least one gunman as a member of Palestinian intelligence services.

The commission eventually extended voting by two hours and allowed voters to cast their ballots in any location, not just their hometowns.

The change enabled thousands of security force members, most of them Abbas supporters, to cast ballots near their posts rather than travel back to their hometowns, some of them far away.

Dwaik and al-Bakri said Saturday those decisions were made under pressure from Abbas' campaign, Fatah and the intelligence service.

"I was personally threatened and pressured,'' Dwaik said. "I am therefore announcing my resignation publicly, so that everyone knows that in the upcoming legislative election, this could happen again.''

Al-Bakri said voting hours are extended only when there are long lines at the polling stations.

"This was not the case on election day,'' he said. "These (changes in) procedures had two goals: first to increase the turnout and second to increase the percentage of Fatah voters.''

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Europeans, Arabs warn U.S. to alter its strategy

By Arnon Regular
Haaretz
13/01/2005

Arab and European officials have been warning the U.S. that if there was no change in its strategy for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict after the Palestinian elections, Mahmoud Abbas, the new Palestinian president elect, would resign and a deadly civil war would break out in the territories.

According to the messages delivered by moderate Arab states and Europeans, a series of American steps, starting with the appointment of a special presidential envoy to the region, are necessary. That envoy's job would be to press home U.S. interests in seeing a renewal of a genuine negotiating process between the sides.

Former secretary of state James Baker III was mentioned as a preferred candidate for the position, both because of his close ties to President George W. Bush and his familiarity with the issues at stake in the Middle East.

Another name mentioned as a possible candidate is John Davenport, a former U.S. ambassador to the UN. Both men have been discussed in the corridors of power in Washington as possible special presidential envoys, and the Europeans and Arabs who are proposing their candidacies are now asking the president and his new secretary of state, Condolleezza Rice, to decide.

The messages also detail a list of other steps to prevent the collapse of the elected Palestinian leadership. One is a "security hudna," in which moderate Arab countries would provide aid to the Palestinians as a total cease-fire ensues, parallel to an Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian cities occupied since Operation Defensive Shield in April 2002. Another is the lifting of checkpoints between Palestinian cities, and a total cessation of Israeli offensive actions in the territories. American and European guarantees would be provided to both sides to back up such a move.

The Arab and European messages warn the U.S. not to aggressively demand that Abbas declare all-out open war on the terrorist groups, because it would only result in clashes that would escalate into anti-Israeli activity.

The Arab and European demands also include the release of Palestinian security prisoners, including Marwan Barghouti.

They are asking the Americans to press ahead with the road map, making both sides fulfill their commitments in it, and to substantially increase aid to the Palestinians for rehabilitation of the Palestinian civilian and governmental infrastructure. The messages say that there must be linkage between progress on security reforms and progress in the political arena.

"The reforms in the PA won't take place without political progress, and if there is no strategic plan to advance the process, Abu Mazen would be forced to resign since he won't be able to function if there is no progress in the political arena," is the message being passed along.

Comment: The underlying problem is that Israel does not want peace with the Palestinians, and will do whatever is necessary to ensure that peace never 'breaks out'. The tactics available to the amoral Israeli intelligence agencies, as we have outlined elsewhere on the page today, include attacking Israeli and even American interests and blaming the Palestinians.

If the reality of Israel's position on peace is not exposed, there is little that anyone can do to prevent Sharon's inexorable march towards implementing his 'final solution' - war in Palestine and the destruction of all Semitic peoples in the region, which of course includes the Jews.

Did we mention that history has a strange tendency to repeat itself?

It's time to wake up.

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FBI Keeping Records on Pre-9/11 Travelers
By LESLIE MILLER
AP
Jan 14, 7:45 PM (ET)

WASHINGTON - If you're among the millions of Americans who took airline flights in the months before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the FBI probably knows about it - and possibly where you stayed, whom you traveled with, what credit card you used and even whether you ordered a kosher meal.

The bureau is keeping 257.5 million records on people who flew on commercial airlines from June through September 2001 in its permanent investigative database, according to information obtained by a privacy group and made available to The Associated Press.

Privacy advocates say they're troubled by the possibility that the FBI could be analyzing personal information about people without their knowledge or permission.

"The FBI collected a vast amount of information about millions of people with no indication that they had done anything unlawful," said Marcia Hofmann, attorney with the Electronic Privacy Information Center, which learned about the data through a Freedom of Information Act request.

"The fact that they're hanging on to the information is inexcusable," Hofmann said on Friday.

FBI spokesman Bill Carter said the bureau was required to retain its records.

"There are rules that have been set by the National Archives with regard to the retention of records by government agencies," Carter said.

Hofmann, though, said the FBI still had a legal responsibility to tell people that it had obtained information about them and to let them have access to it. [...]

Comment: It's funny how we can read an article like this one today and not be terribly shocked by it. After all, the illegal detention and torture of people who have done nothing wrong in the war on terror is far more terrifying. Talk of forced mental screening of the US population and forced drugging with antidepressants is far more terrifying. Freedom of speech zones are far more terrifying. It all makes us wonder just what we will no longer find so shocking in just a few short years - or even months? If someone told you in early 2001 that in four years, civil liberties would be on the verge of being completely wiped out and the US would have an official policy of torture, would you have believed it?

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US soldier guilty of Iraq jail abuse

Suzanne Goldenberg in Washington
Saturday January 15, 2005
The Guardian

Reservist faces 15-year term for mistreatment of prisoners

The army reservist labelled the "primary torturer" of Abu Ghraib was convicted by a military jury yesterday of abusing Iraqi prisoners after a trial the Pentagon hopes will cleanse the reputation of the US military.

After deliberating for less than five hours, the jury of four officers and six enlisted men found Specialist Charles Graner guilty on nine of ten charges of maltreatment, assault and dereliction of duty - charges with a maximum sentence of 15 years.

For the Pentagon, the verdict from the tribunal at Fort Hood army base in Texas could prove instrumental in its efforts to ease America's conscience and soothe the wrath of the Arab world about the abuses at the Iraqi prison.

The decision also supports the contention of the Bush administration that the photographs of naked and cowering Iraqi detainees that emerged from the prison last spring were the work of a small band of rogue soldiers.

Spc Graner was already linked indelibly in the public mind with the most searing images from Abu Ghraib: the burly figure giving a thumbs up sign over a pyramid of naked Iraqi detainees. He was also associated with another image that came to symbolise the abuse: the photograph of his lover, Private Lynndie England, holding a dog leash around the neck of a naked prisoner.

"What we have here is plain abuse, no doubt about it. There is no justification," prosecutor Captain Chris Graveline told the jury yesterday in the prosecution's final argument. "It is for sport, it is for laughs. He sends it back home by email for laughs."

"Fortunately, he does not have the final word on the abuse at Abu Ghraib. You do, and it will speak volumes."

During the five-day proceedings, the prosecution set out a compelling case that the reservist was the ringleader of the abuse.

Spc Graner was described by fellow soldiers and former detainees as a brutal sadist who whistled as he administered beatings - to the point that he broke chairs or damaged his own hand - and threw prisoners' rations into the toilet.

The court was told Graner forced Iraqi prisoners to masturbate and simulate oral sex, and that he took photographs of a woman prisoner after forcing her to show her breasts.

In the Alpha Tier One cellblock where the abuse captured in the damning photographs took place in November 2003, Spc Graner was described as a mesmerising force. He conducted affairs with at least two women - including Pte England, with whom he fathered a son. Even those soldiers who testified against him regarded him as an attractive personality.

That bravado accompanied Spc Graner throughout the trial. Despite the case being built against him, the burly reservist with the heavily lidded blue eyes remained defiant and outwardly upbeat. Yesterday, he showed no visible reaction as the verdict was read.

His defence pursued two lines of argument: that the reservist was merely following orders, and that the human pyramid and dog leash were reasonable control techniques, learned during Graner's civilian career as a prison guard.

"Cheerleaders all over America make pyramids," Mr Womack told the jury in his opening remarks. "It's not torture."

The defence also spoke of a jail where CIA and military intelligence were assigned "quotas" for interrogation, and guards would be recruited to "soften up" detainees. The specifics were often left vague. Prisoners were stripped naked, dumped under freezing showers and denied sleep and food, the court was told.

However, that line of defence faltered after the judge, James Pohl, narrowed the scope of testimony available to Spc Graner's lawyers. The other element of the defence strategy collapsed after it emerged that Spc Graner had repeatedly flouted orders to wear a regulation army haircut, or cease customising his uniform.

In the end, however, Spc Graner probably did the most damage to his own defence by his belated decision not to testify. "In a case where you are saying that you are acting obedient to orders, you create a problem for yourself when you are unwilling to testify," said Eugene Fidell, a prominent military attorney in Washington.

Comment: While not excusing the actions of this, surely double Y chromosomed, individual, there are three most interesting clues in the above article.

Firstly, we have the reference to CIA and military intelligence involvement. Following on from that we have the fact that, for some unexplained reason, the judge "narrowed the scope of the testimony available to Graner's lawyers. Thirdly we have strange and self-damaging act of Graner himself in refusing to testify. Just what were the judge and Graner unwilling to present as evidence in the case and why? Could it be related to the CIA involvement perhaps? Rumsfeld perhaps?

Whatever the case, in making one man culpable for what were surely US cabinet-sanctioned orders, we can put this one down as another triumph for the American (in)justice system.

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US Intelligence Report Sees Sharp Rise in Asian Influence
By Gary Thomas
Washington
14-January-2005
A new forecast compiled by U.S. intelligence experts foresees China and India spearheading an expansion of Asian political and economic influence throughout the world. It also sees many Arab countries at a crossroads as globalization spreads.

The report, labeled "Mapping the Global Future," lays out a world 15 years from now in which the United States remains the dominant power, but faces increased competition from growing economic power in Asia and challenges from political Islam.

The long-range forecast was issued by the National Intelligence Council, or N.I.C., a kind of research organization for the head of the Central Intelligence Agency. The Council regularly compiles reports reflecting the collective views of U.S. intelligence agencies. Officials say the views of more than one thousand political, economic, and social experts around the world were solicited for the new report.

In an interview, N.I.C. chief Robert Hutchings told VOA the United States world role will not be eroded. But, he says, China and India will become increasingly important players on the world stage. "I wouldn't put it in terms of the erosion of America's role, because we will still be the dominant power. It's really maybe a relative decline," he said. "But what we are really identifying is the likely, the almost certain rise of Asia, led by China and India, but including other countries as well, as a major factor in world affairs, a major new factor in world affairs."

The report says China and India will expand their economic clout and likens their heightened status to the ascension of a united Germany as a power in the 1800s and the later rise of U.S. global power.

Looking to global threats, the report says Iraq could well replace Afghanistan as a training ground for terrorists. Mr. Hutchings says it is by no means certain that terrorism will remain as great a threat 15 years from now. But, he adds, Islam will remain a political as well as religious force in the world. "We simply don't know if global terrorism will be as great a threat in the year 2020 as it is now. It will certainly be a factor in world affairs," he said. "One of the broad trends we do identify, though, is political Islam, and probably radical Islam, as a force that has staying power."

Mr. Hutchings says Arab societies are at a fork in the road. Some may take the democratic path, he says, but others that feel left out by the benefits of globalization may feel resentful.

"On the one hand, the opportunities to join a productive global order are greater and more vivid for Arab states who are able to adapt to it," he said. "On the other hand, those that are not may feel a sense of exclusion and marginalization and humiliation even more acutely as globalization -- and we're not talking about America here, just the forces of globalization broadly -- push up more and more against traditional societies. That's why so much is at stake in Iraq and the broader Middle East."

There is also a danger, the report notes, that relatively new democracies may backslide toward authoritarianism. "There is reason for concern in parts of the former Soviet Union, where democracy has yet to put down solid roots. There are worrying signs in parts of Southeast Asia. So I think one has to assume that at least some of those countries that joined the third wave of democratization may fall off and backslide into authoritarian rule," he said.

The good news, Mr. Hutchings says, is that the report says while the threat of war remains, the likelihood of world conflict has receded to its lowest level in one hundred years.

Comment: Curious document, this. Do the authors believe this themselves, or is it simply a projection compiled for public consumption?

The US economy is going to tank this year. No one can predict the effects, either long-term or short-term, of this crash. How much of the rest of the world's economy will be pulled down with it is unknown.

Iraq has already become the "training ground" for "terrorists" as more and more Moslems are horrified to see a once proud nation reduced to squalor. However, the real terrorists are the invaders, but it is doubtful that the authors were referring to US state terrorism.

China is the question mark. It holds an enormous portion of the US debt and its economy is closely tied to the US market. Should China decouple the yuan from the dollar, imported goods in the US will become more expensive. China recently signed a large contract with Iran for oil and gas, a move some experts felt made a US war against Iran a little less thinkable because it could bring the US into open conflict with Chinese interests.

It also does not deal with possible consequences of natural catastrophes, be they earthquakes, volcanoes, or rocks falling from the sky.

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Earthquake jolts Kumamoto Prefecture
The Mainichi Daily News

A fairly strong earthquake jolted central Kumamoto Prefecture on Saturday afternoon, the Meteorological Agency said.

There was no immediate report of casualties or damage to property, police said. The agency did not issue a tsunami warning following the temblor.

The earthquake that struck at 3:42 p.m. measured 4 on the 7-point Japanese intensity scale in Kosa and 3 in Toyono, Misato and Tomiai.

The focus of the quake, which is estimated to have registered 4.0 on the open-ended Richter scale, was located about 10 kilometers below the ground in Kumamoto Prefecture. (Mainichi Shimbun, Japan, Jan. 15, 2005)

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Waves reached West Coast
Sat, January 15, 2005
By STAFF

Tsunamis can and have struck in Canada before, says an Environment Canada meteorologist. Jay Anderson said yesterday tsunamis -- often referred to in North America as tidal waves -- are monitored from research stations in Hawaii and Alaska.

Canada's West Coast is vulnerable to the killer waves, which are most often caused by underwater earthquakes. A tsunami in 1964 destroyed several homes in Port Alberni, B.C., he said.

"You can see the statistics," Anderson said following a noon-hour public presentation on tsunamis at Union Station. "There's a huge number of small tsunamis every year in the Pacific (Ocean). But damaging ones come once every decade."

Anderson said the effects of last month's tsunami in the Indian Ocean could be felt in Canada. Waves made their way to Canada's West Coast about 36 hours after the earthquake, but by that point the largest was only 22 centimetres high.

"I think somebody would have noticed there would have been an unusual wave at that point," he said.

Eleven countries were hit by last month's earthquake and tsunami, killing more than 157,000 people -- two-thirds of them in Indonesia.

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Deadly quakes help renew the planet
Shifting plates build mountains, enrich soil But earthquakes, eruptions extract
WILLIAM J. BROAD
NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE
Jan. 15, 2005. 01:00 AM
They approach the topic gingerly, wary of sounding callous, aware that the geology they admire has just caused a staggering loss of life. Even so, scientists argue that in the very long view, the global process behind great earthquakes is quite advantageous for life on Earth — especially human life.

Powerful jolts like the one off Sumatra on Dec. 26 that sent massive waves racing across the Indian Ocean are the inevitable side effects of the constant recycling of the planetary crust, which produces a lush, habitable planet. Some experts refer to the regular blows — hundreds a day — as the planet's heartbeat.

The advantages began billions of years ago, when this crustal recycling made the oceans and atmosphere and formed the continents.

Today, it builds mountains, enriches soils, regulates the planet's temperature, concentrates gold and other rare metals, and maintains the sea's chemical balance.

Plate tectonics (after the Greek word tekton, or builder) describes the overall geology. The tragic downside is that waves of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions along plate boundaries can devastate human populations.

"It's hard to find something uplifting about 150,000 lives being lost," says Donald DePaolo, a geochemist at the University of California, Berkeley.

"But the type of geological process that caused the earthquake and the tsunami is an essential characteristic of the Earth. As far as we know, it doesn't occur on any other planetary body and has something very directly to do with the fact that the Earth is a habitable planet."

Many biologists believe that eons ago, the process may have even given birth to life itself.

The main benefits of plate tectonics accumulate slowly and globally over the ages. In contrast, its local upheavals can produce regional catastrophes, as the recent Indian Ocean quake made clear.

Even so, scientists say, the Indian Ocean tsunamis may prove to be an ecological boon over the decades for coastal areas hardest hit by the giant waves.

Jelle Zeilinga de Boer, a geologist at Wesleyan University who grew up in Indonesia and has studied the archipelago, says historical evidence from earlier tsunamis suggests that the huge waves can distribute rich sediments from river systems across coastal plains, making the soil richer.

"It brings fertile soils into the lowlands," he says. "In time, a more fertile jungle will develop."

De Boer, author of recent books on earthquakes and volcanoes in human history, adds that great suffering from tectonic violence was usually followed by great benefits as well.

"Nature is reborn with these kinds of terrible events," he says. "There are a lot of positive aspects even when we don't see them."

Plate tectonics holds that the Earth's surface is made up of a dozen or so big crustal slabs that float on a sea of melted rock. Over ages, this churning sea moves the plates as well as their superimposed continents and ocean basins, tearing them apart and rearranging them like pieces of a giant jigsaw puzzle.

The process starts as volcanic gashes spew hot rock that spreads out across the seabed. Eventually, hundreds or thousands of kilometres away, the cooling slab collides with other plates and sinks beneath them, plunging back into the hot earth.

The colliding plates grind past one another about as fast as fingernails grow, and over time produce mountains and swarms of earthquakes as frictional stresses build and release. Meanwhile, parts of the descending plate melt and rise to form volcanoes on land.

The recent cataclysm began in a similar manner as volcanic gashes in the western depths of the Indian Ocean belched molten rock to form the India plate. Its collision with the Burma plate created the volcanoes of Sumatra, as well as thousands of earthquakes, including the magnitude 9.0 killer.

But despite staggering losses of life, says Robert Detrick Jr., a geophysicist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Hole, Mass., "there's no question that plate tectonics rejuvenates the planet."

Moreover, geologists say, it demonstrates the Earth's uniqueness. In the decades after the discovery of plate tectonics, space probes among the 70 or so planets and moons that make up the solar system found that the process existed only on Earth — as revealed by its unique mountain ranges.

In the book Rare Earth, which explored the likelihood that advanced civilizations dot the cosmos, Peter Ward and Donald Brownlee of the University of Washington argued in a chapter on plate tectonics that the slow recycling of planetary crust was uncommon in the universe yet essential for the evolution of complex life.

"It maintains not just habitability but high habitability," said Ward, a paleontologist. (Brownlee is an astronomer.) Most geologists believe that the process yielded the Earth's primordial ocean and atmosphere, as volcanoes spewed vast amounts of water vapour, nitrogen, carbon dioxide and other gases. Plants eventually added oxygen. Meanwhile, many biologists say, the Earth's first organisms probably arose in the deep sea, along the volcanic gashes.

"On balance, it's possible that life on Earth would not have originated without plate tectonics, or the atmosphere, or the oceans," says Frank Press, the lead author of Understanding Earth and a past president of the National Academy of Sciences.

The volcanoes of the recycling process make rich soil ideal for growing coffee, sugar, rubber, coconuts, palm oil, tobacco, pepper, tea and cocoa. Water streaming through gashes in the seabed concentrates copper, silver, gold and other metals into rich deposits that are often mined after plate tectonics nudges them onto dry land.

Experts say the world's oceans pass through the rocky pores of the tectonic system once every million years or so, increasing nutrients in the biosphere and regulating a host of elements and compounds, including boron and calcium.

William Schlesinger, dean of the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences at Duke University, says one vital cycle keeps adequate amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

"Having plate tectonics complete the cycle is absolutely essential to maintaining stable climate conditions on earth," Schlesinger says.

"Otherwise, all the carbon dioxide would disappear and the planet would turn into a frozen ball."

Comment: That's the rub, isn't it? That sometimes Nature needs things that go against the apparent or accepted needs of humanity, that the cycle of destruction and creation are so intertwined that one cannot exist without the other.

It is curious how, in response to the earthquake and tsunami, there are those who wish to pin the blame on a nuclear blast that was set off to intentionally create the disaster. Or on "scalar weather weapons" or some such. Perhaps it is the consequence of the denial among most scientists of the idea that catastrophes are part and parcel of our world, or that such catastrophes only occur every 100,000 thousand years. They would have us believe that we have nothing to worry about. It will be someone else's problem, to be dealt with by our descendents long after we are gone.

But are we not the descendents of others, long since deceased, who may have had the same point of view? Perhaps our ancestors left for us a 'message in a bottle', warnings for their descendents that such great catastrophes occur that cities and civilisations can be wiped out in a moment.

Of course there are such warnings in myth and legend. Unfortunately, in our rational wisdom we discount them as nothing more than fairy tales or symbolic representations of something entirely benign, anything to avoid considering that they are very likely an account of the dangers that await us.

Take the story of Atlantis, the continent destroyed in a day, to sink forever beneath the waves of the ocean that bears its name. Could it be that such a story was passed down from generation to generation over thousands of years because it contains a truth that our forebears considered so important that its message must not be forgotten? If so, what has happened to turn this gift from our past into the object of ridicule when it appears anywhere but in a children's storybook or a cartoon from Disney?

Those who see conspiracy in the tragedy in Southeast Asia might be better off attempting to answer those questions. Nature is cyclic. From our passage from sunrise to sunset, the cycles of the seasons, the periodic explosions of tectonic fault lines and volcanoes, the ebb and flow of the ice ages, the rise and fall of civilisations, we can see for ourselves that everything develops in cycles. Long ago, our predecessors worshipped these cycles when the Goddess still reigned. The imposition of monotheism brought with it the notion of linear time, the notion that we passed through our existence from A to B to C, and that when we arrive at Z, everything ends, be it as individuals or as a world or universe.

This movement from cycles to linear time was a radical shift.

What if it was wrong?

What if one of its main purposes was to obscure the reality of the cycles of catastrophe, precisely the warning left to us from those survivors of a previous "apocalypse"?

Creation and destruction are manifested all around us, on every level. Why should these forces not appear in human society? Of course, one look at your daily news tells you this is the case. A reading of human history tells the same story. But just how far does it extend? How deep, to use a phrase that has become part of the vernacular since the movie 'The Matrix', does the rabbit hole go? Would it go so far as to include a group of people who were consciously manipulating what we can or should believe? What we can or should accept as true?

The Bush Administration falls into this category. The propaganda campaign of lies about Iraq is a clear example. While all government is founded upon manipulation of the facts, the Bush Administration has taken it to new and brazen heights. One might term their propaganda "brazen oralities".

But can you imagine a manipulation that extends back for thousands of years?

How would such a thing be possible? It is hard to imagine an organisation that could exist over a period of, say, five thousand years. Unless certain of its members had the ability to exist outside of what we know of as space and time. Could such beings exist?

Myth and legend speak to us of such beings, beings with just such a capacity to appear and disappear at will, beings who exist since time immemorial. If the legends of Atlantis may have a basis in fact, might we also consider that there is some truth to these other legends as well? We refer to such creatures as the denizens of hyperspace, creatures from other dimensions, dimensions that exist in mathematics when physicists explain the workings of space-time. Some physicists have even been so bold as to speculate that we might well need to consider these mathematical realities as having physical existence. Such scientists are not of the sheep variety. Of course, there are other scientists who quickly turn heel and run, as if they have discovered something so horrifying and unacceptable to human thought in exploring this hypothesis that they wish to lock the door and never return.

If such ideas do not scare you, and ridicule may well be an expression of such fear, you can find out much more in Laura Knight-Jadczyk's book Ancient Science.

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