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Travel Log! The
Quantum Future Group Goes to Rennes-le-Chateau
Control, Thought Control, World Control
Strike Flash Presentation by a QFS member
of the Day
©2005 Pierre-Paul Feyte
|Yesterday, January 20, 2005, George Walker Bush
was sworn in for his second term as President of the United States. He
read a speech written for him by paid wordsmiths at the
$68 million extravaganza celebrating commencement of his second
term. It was funded largely by the corporations who have
put and kept him in office. [...]
All sound apologia (defense) contains 3 basic standards.
- It begins with an admission of the presuppositions (set of
assumptions) - the foundation on which the argument rests.
- The argument stands or falls on whether it can be logically
deduced from these presuppositions.
- Of paramount importance are the requirements for a definition
of terms, internal consistency and supporting,
These three requirements comprise an Axis of Logic.
Below, we examine Mr. Bush's inaugural speech based upon these
rules of argumentation.
Definition of Terms
Bush used the term "liberty" 45 terms in this crafted
speech and "freedom", 27 times. How did he define
"liberty"? He spoke of the "survival of liberty";
the "success of liberty"; "the appeal of liberty"
and the "promise of liberty. He said "Liberty
will come to those who love it". He stated, "When
you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you".
He spoke of "soldiers [who] died in wave upon wave
for a union based on liberty"
Bush stated his belief that the "world [is] moving
But just what is George W. Bush's definition of "liberty"?
He stated what liberty does not mean:
"Liberty for all does not mean independence
from one another."
Bush's speech defined liberty this
"In America's ideal of freedom, citizens find the dignity
and security of economic independence, instead of laboring on
the edge of subsistence. This is the broader definition of liberty
that motivated the Homestead Act, the Social Security Act, and
the G.I. Bill of Rights."
this definition of freedom include the dignity of those U.S. citizens
who were put into cages yesterday while they protested his first-term
wars on the people of Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine?
Harwood described the scene at the inauguration
yesterday in The Mirror (UK):
were fenced off, anti-aircraft missiles deployed, combat jets
patrolled overhead, snipers scanned the vast crowd from rooftops
and hundreds of police stood along the route of the parade.
were hi-tech chemical, nuclear and biological weapons sensors,
bomb sniffing dogs and boat patrols on the Potomac River."
this description fit with Mr. Bush's definition of freedom
and dignity as he delivered the craft of his hired speechwriters
from this virtual bunker in Washington yesterday? Did
he deliver this speech with dignity or while cowering behind his
new Police State?
Bush speaks of dignity, is he speaking of the dignity of
thousands of U.S. citizens who have been harrassed and imprisoned
during his first term in office for exercising their first amendment
right to free speech? Does he refer to the dignity
of those U.S. citizens whose names appear on Homeland Security
computer lists because they have spoken out in protests against the
wars of the Bush regime? Does he refer to the
dignity of those who are routinely taken out of line at U.S.
airports for extensive searches for the only reason that they
have protested the foreign war policies of this regime?
Does he refer to the many who have been deported because of their
dissent with his policies from 2000-2004?
Bush defined "Freedom" this
"At this second gathering, our duties are defined not
by the words I use, but by the history we have seen together.
For a half century, America defended our own freedom by standing
watch on distant borders."
Based on this definition of Freedom, Bush argues that
to defend the freedom of the United States it has "stood watch"
in other foreign countries, thereby attempting to justify violation
of the national sovereignty of those nations. An average
of all U.S. troops have been stationed in 214 countries
from 1950-2000. On average, there have been 118.8 million
U.S. military troops (one year each) stationed in foreign
countries during this period. Now the number is higher. In
his January, 2004 report, America's
Empire of Bases, Chalmers Johnson finds:
"It's not easy to assess the size or exact value of our empire
of bases. Official records on these subjects are misleading,
although instructive. According to the Defense Department's
Structure Report" for fiscal year 2003, which itemizes foreign
and domestic U.S. military real estate, the Pentagon currently
owns or rents 702 overseas bases in about 130 countries and
HAS another 6,000 bases in the United States and its territories."
Is this what George W. Bush means by "defending our
own freedom by standing watch on distant borders"?
Is expansion of U.S. hegemony what he means when
"The best hope
for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the
Is the expansion of
U.S. military personnel and bases throughout the world synonymous
with "expansion of freedom in all the world"?
Or is it U.S. hegemony, violation of national sovereignty and
support and installation of regimes by the U.S. of military
dictators like Saddam Hussein, Perez Musharaff, Osama bin Laden,
General Augusto Pinochet and many others?
In his inaugural speech,
Bush spoke of his foreign policies as a:
effort of free nations to promote democracy is a prelude to
our enemies' defeat ...
Is he speaking of
the current U.S. installed "interim government" of Iraq, headed
by Allawi who executed
men by shooting them in the backs of their heads with his
own hand in an Iraqi prison in 2003?
Mr. Bush stated:
"America will not impose our own style of government on
When he spoke of "promoting
democracy", was he speaking of U.S. support for the 2002
coup of democratically-elected President Hugo Chavez Frias in
Venezuela and ongoing attempts to bring down the Chavez government
in the interests of robbing the Venezuelan people of their oil?
It is well documented that the U.S. government is currently
attempting to impose its "own style of government" on the "unwilling"
Venezuelan people who have elected their president 9 times through
national elections and referenda in the last 6 years. How
does Mr. Bush reconcile his lofty words with his actual policies
of interference, coup attempts and funding the opposition party
in Venezuela through the National Endowment for Democracy and
other U.S. instititutions? The reader may cringe at the
term, but I can find no more accurate term for his words
The foreign policy violations of the Bush regime can
be summed up succinctly and simply: They routinely violate national
sovereignty and the right to self-determination among foreign
nations and the last thing they want to see bud and thrive in
foreign countries is real democracy.
Love, Value of Life
and Human Worth
In his speech, Mr.
"Our nation relies on men and
women who look after a neighbor and surround the lost with love.
Americans, at our best, value the life we see in one another,
and must always remember that even the unwanted have worth."
Has Mr. Bush been "surrounding the lost
with love" among the people of Iraq? How about the people in Afghanistan
or the people in Palestine where he continues supporting the Zionist killer,
Ariel Sharon? Does he "value the life" he sees in the fallen
U.S. soldiers and 100,000 dead citizens of Iraq? Does he
see "worth" in the "unwanted" whom he has had deported through
the machinery of "Homeland Security" because they spoke out against
his policies? Does he value the lives and find worth in
the "unwanted" who languish in homelessness, poverty right here
in the United States? Does he find "worth" in the 3,471
men and women on America's death row in 2004 led in number by
his home state of Texas?
The Underlying Assumptions
of this Speech
two points of interest for us in the premises laid down by
George Bush in his inaugural address:
- One premise
upon which his speech is based is a curious one. George
"In the long run, there
is no justice without freedom, and there can be no human rights
without human liberty."
On the surface, it's a grand statement,
one with most people would initially find themselves
in agreement. However, this statement is deeply
flawed in our opinion. With these words, he
(his speech writers) predicates "human rights" on "human
liberty". We ask, does this mean that human rights violations
can be excused on the path to achieving what Bush
thinks of as "human liberty". Do human rights take second
place to his notion of "human liberty"? Are the
two concepts as universally accepted not one and the
- Another premise
of his speech assumes that some question the human desire
for liberty and that the world has experienced an unprecedented
advance of freedom in recent decades:
I know, have questioned the global appeal of liberty - though
this time in history, four decades defined by the swiftest advance
of freedom ever seen, is an odd time for doubt."
are at best "straw-man" arguments to serve
as a springboard for more unsupported rhetoric. We ask, just
who is it that questions the "global appeal of liberty"?
Just who are these people who "doubt" that people universally
want liberty? Where have we observed "the swiftest advance
of freedom ever seen" in the last 4 decades? Was it
in Chile under the Nixon regime? Nicaragua under Reagan?
Iran under the the U.S. supported Shah after Mosaddeq was
deposed by the U.S.? Is it in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine
or Palestine under the Bush regime, where people are languishing
and dying under the steel boot of the U.S. military?
In the United States where the civil rights of Americans have
been routinely attacked by the government under Bush? This
straw-man argument rests on a false premise that attempts
to justify war as a means to bring about "human liberty".
In his article titled,
Mr. Uncredible Bush Goes on the Warpath, in today's
issue of The Mirror (UK), Anthony Harwood writes:
"The re-elected president
ignored the disaster in Iraq to use his inaugural address to
proclaim that America was on the march for freedom.
"He did not mention Iraq by
name - where 1,360 personnel have been killed and 10,500 injured,
helping to earn him the lowest approval rating in 50 years for
any president starting a second term."
In his speech, Bush
"And all the
allies of the United States can know: we honor your friendship,
we rely on your counsel, and we depend on your help."
Is this the same George
W. Bush who launched unprovoked, unilateral war on the people
of Iraq over the objections of the international community
and the United Nations? Is this the same Mr. Bush who
arrogantly declared his "go it alone" policy on the false
pretext of weapons of mass destruction?
Preconceptions and Perceptions
All people listen
and read the words of George W. Bush through the paradigm through
which they view the world around them. We too absorb his
words with preconcepts and through our perceptual filters.
To these conditions we freely admit. Through them, we see
a lack of well-defined terms, manifold internal consistencies
and factual inaccuracies. Those who wish to ignore the contradictions
and deceptions in Mr. Bush's speech do so based upon their
own preconceptions and perceptual filters. They will float
emotionally along with the lofty, meaningless adulations he made
of himself and his warmongering, capitalist regime because
they want to do so. They will do so under the influence
of another weapon of the U.S. government - the corporate
media. Today, the Boston Globe grandly headlined:
resolves to spread cause of liberty worldwide
Many will ignore the deceptions
in Mr. Bush's speech even as they lose their homes to
foreclosure in the impending burst of the real estate bubble,
their loss of their social security benefits, jobs, the
devaluation of their dollar against the Euro, their unprecedented
national debt and quite possibly a crash of the U.S. economy like
none seen since the Great Depression.
Many will ignore these well-crafted
deceptions while the killing machine of the U.S. military
they fund continues to wreak havoc and death on brown
people in foreign lands. But at least half of the U.S. population
sees them for what they are: Lies, gilded in the
golden wraps of terms like "Liberty", "Freedom", "God", "Love" and
Act Now Against
War, Injustice and Tyranny
We ask the reader
to consider seriously what your part may be in the international
movement against war. This international movement has many
faces and the participants many roles and duties. Those
who lead the movement are currently found in the resistance
to occupation in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Venezuela and
many other places on the planet.
We are among the multitudes
who will continue to battle this regime with heart, mind, body
and soul. Be sure that we will not stand by while the global
tyrant in Washington and his entourage continue their doctrine
of military dominance, global warfare, racism and their invasions,
occupations and colonisations of foreign nations. We will
not stand idly by while they continue their corporate empire's
attacks on the common worker, their usury and economic violence
and their attacks on civil liberties in our country. We
will continue to help build the growing international movement
against the Bush Regime by protesting in the streets, reporting
the truth and educating our neighbors about the real plans for
U.S. expansion. We will do so for as long as we breathe
- for as long as it takes to bring down this gang of
international thieves and killers now holding power in Washington,
I find it an absolute mystery how any American
can support George W. Bush. The man is
walking personified evil. An endless deceit, upright and on two
legs. Bush is without moral restraint and without conscience.
He neither listens to wise counsel nor does he allow himself to
be influenced by consequences.
Bush’s claim to be “guided by God” is without the fruits of
that claim. Jesus Himself stated, “by their fruits you shall know
them.” It means that the proof of a man’s convictions is in the
actions and work that man performs. In the vernacular that means,
Bush talks the talk but he does not walk the walk.
The Bush family is classically dysfunctional in the American
sense. Deception and covert practice are
the root for the Bush/Machiavellian family coat of arms and therefore
the coat of arms reads, “a profitable end justifies whatever means
are necessary.” Prescott Bush (George’s grandfather) was
the financial architect and banker for the Third Reich and Adolph
Hitler. Therefore the Bush family fortune was made on the backs
of the Jewish Holocaust. Sounds harsh, I admit.
The Bush family is a proud member in good standing of the ‘east
coast ruling elite’. The original “good old boy network” and what
they (the Bush family) cannot achieve on personal merit, they
simply purchase using their ample family fortune. This is not
an indictment of personal wealth. It is merely an illustration
of the Bush family motto at work and deceit. The
Bush family may not have been born to the life of privilege, but
they bought their way into American aristocracy compliments of
millions of dead Jews at the hands of the Third Reich. The
collective guilt that is associated with the family’s procurement
of their vast fortunes, goes a very long way to explain the obsession
of George W. Bush and the State of Israel.
With some apologies to Kevin Bacon, you have Germany pre-World
War II and the German economy is reeling under inflation and a
pending global depression. The German economy is in desperate
straits and with the rise of the Third Reich and Adolph Hitler’s
plan for world domination, Germany is in need to ramp up it’s
economy and its war machine. Enters Prescott Bush and a conspiracy
of American corporate aristocrats that will facilitate Germany’s
revitalization and budding war machine, for a profit. Prescott
Bush is father to George H. W. Bush who is father to George W.
Bush. You have three degrees of war necessity
and three degrees of paternal connection -- Adolph Hitler to George
W. Bush. In the very least, that is one eerie synchronicity.
George H. W. Bush has an aide-de-camp that wears the face of
James Baker. George W. Bush has his Rasputin that wears the face
of Karl Rove. James Baker was instrumental in procuring the presidency
for George W. Bush. Baker called in some markers that were in
the possession of members of the United States Supreme Court and
the rest is relevant twisted American history. Whether it was
fate or simple criminal collusion on the part of Baker, the Supreme
Court, the Republican Party, and America is chained to George
W. Bush until someone is able to break that intolerable chain.
Karl Rove is the grandson of Karl Heinz Roverer, the Gauleiter
of Oldenburg. Roverer was Reich-Stat halter or Nazi State Party
chairman for the region of Germany that the Rove or Roverer family
is from. Heir Roverer was also the senior engineer in the Roverer
Sud-Deutche Ingenieurburo A. G. Engineering -- the firm built
the Birkenau death camp.
The holocaust survivors know full well about Birkenau but, I
would venture that not many of those survivors know about Karl
Rove and his infamous grandfather’s construction prowess. So,
you have three degrees of Nazi Party chairman/engineers of death
camps and you have three degrees of distancing from a black past
and viola, Bush and Rove are conjoined at the soul by grandfathers
and fathers and Machiavellian intrigues. In American politics,
it just doesn’t get any better than this.
Rove is an interesting study in behind-the-scenes manipulation
and cut-throat politics and win-at-any-cost discipline. If there
is anyone in the Bush administration that has internalized and
put into practice Machiavellian principles, it is Karl Rove.
Considering his family history, it is no small wonder that Rove
prefers the shadows. Rove grew up in Utah, is Mormon, and is influenced
by Mormons. The Republican assault on the National Democratic
Party has its roots in Utah, where Democrats have been castrated
and silenced, and it is to Rove’s credit and skill as a political
hit-man and cold political killer/theoretician that Utah Democrats
are non-existent. Rove has put his extinction plan into action
on the national scene, and the National Democratic Party’s days
are numbered. Utah is the home of the original one-party state/religion
and the demise of Democrats in Utah was fait accompli about twenty
years ago. Add in three degrees of Rasputin like political intrigue,
three degrees of seditious assault on America’s two party political
system, and it adds up to Ayatollah Republicans and the beginning
of the one-party state and religion in America. Rove is merely
carrying on a family tradition of fascist subversion of standing
political systems, and Rove does his work with a zeal that borders
on the fanatical.
The idea that America would or could support George W. Bush
is as mysterious as it is suspect. National polls show that at
best, polls are misleading, ambiguous, and ridiculous in their
conclusions. The mainstream media polls are suspicious by simple
association with the corporate media concerns. The polls are geared
to produce skewed results that are then broadcast to the American
public as news. The mainstream media concerns are owned by a very
few companies and the heads of these concerns are all friends
with George W. Bush and his administration.
The subversion of American government is a
fascist pogrom devised and implemented by a cult of greed. The
cult of corporate American greed. The members of this cult of
greed are the members of the Republican National Committee and
the insiders that run Wall Street.
Fascism by its very definition is a profitable
enhancing of the symbiosis between corporate interests and government
interests. Corporate America is very interested in keeping George
W. Bush in power, at the expense of American democracy and the
American people. The government that is “of the people,
by the people, and for the people” is not in the interests of
corporations, and that is an unacceptable diorama. Therefore corporate
America is in collusion with media concerns to keep the American
people stupid, in dire financial need, and in support of the very
people that are un-democratizing America. It is as convoluted
as it is brilliant and sinister. Tease, tantalize, and subvert.
Three degrees of dummying down America, conjoined with three degrees
of heinous corporate sedition, and that equals George W. Bush
and the death of democratic America.
The idea that Americans in general could
support torture, preemptive war, presidential deceit, fraudulent
elections, congressional deceit, and corporate collusion with
fascism is not only suspect, it is an outright boldfaced lie.
Therefore you have three degrees of corporate monopoly
on media and you have three degrees of Americans in the dark.
Their right to know has been severely hampered by dumb-assed players
in a game of the prophetic six degrees of George W. Bush.
The prophetic part is the karma that will fall on those that
would subvert the American democratic process. The consequences
of sedition are coming, and once the great sleepy giant that is
the American people wake up, there is going to be hell to pay.
Six degrees of separation will not be enough to save the criminals
that have attempted to play America as the stooge.
American Airlines Flight 77,
a Boeing 757 loaded with enough fuel for a transcontinental journey,
cleared the crest of a small ridge in Arlington, Va., by a few hundred
feet with its engines wailing. It slightly lowered its nose, clipped
trees and parking lot light poles, and then hit the Pentagon like
a torpedo--at ground level and almost perpendicular to the outside
The large aircraft struck the outermost corridor (E-ring) of the
five-ring building at ground level (the second floor) at 9:43 a.m.
EDT and continued smashing its way through the D and C rings. Navy
survivors on the B-ring looked out their interior windows and saw
flames and falling debris. They credit newly installed shatterproof
windows in the just-renovated area with preventing hundreds of additional
casualties from flying glass. Blast damage was also limited by new
Kevlar panels, but they didn't protect those nearby from fires from
exploding fuel tanks, estimated to have produced the equivalent
of 200-400 tons of TNT.
Thomas D. Trapasso, a political appointee in the Clinton Administration
who is now looking for work, was making telephone calls from his
deck in Arlington Village, about 1 mi. south of the Pentagon and
just west of the Interstate 395 (I-395) highway. He was startled
by the large American Airlines aircraft flying about 300 ft. overhead.
"The engines were just screaming, and the wheels were up,"
Trapasso said. "It disappeared over the trees, and I heard
a boom. I knew something awful had happened--that an airplane had
crashed somewhere in Washington, D.C. Then the cell phone went dead.
I was scared."
Vice Adm. Darb Ryan, chief of naval personnel, was in his office
at the Navy Annex about halfway between Trapasso's home and the
Pentagon. Having learned that New York had been attacked, he was
on the telephone recommending the evacuation of the Pentagon "when
out of the corner of my eye I saw the airplane" a split second
before it struck.
Ryan was overheard reporting some of the
initial damage assessment, which included spaces belonging to the
chief of naval operations (CNO), the Navy's tactical command center
on the D-ring, an operations cell and a Navy intelligence command
center. These included up to four special, highly classified, electronically
secure areas. Many of the enlisted sailors involved were communications
technicians with cryptology training who are key personnel in intelligence
gathering and analysis. Some personnel were known to be trapped
alive in the wreckage.
OTHER NAVY PERSONNEL confirmed the admiral's initial assessment
and said the dead numbered around 190, 64 on the aircraft. Among
them was Lt. Gen. Timothy Maude, who was in the Army support and
logistics section. Many others were Navy
captains, commanders and lieutenant commanders with offices between
the fourth and fifth corridors (the western wedge of the
Pentagon). The Navy's special operations office, which oversees
classified programs, had moved out of the spaces only a few days
before. All but one of the senior Navy flag officers were out of
the building. Vice Adm. Dennis McGinn, deputy CNO for warfare requirements
and programs, was near the impact area but escaped without injury.
One of the aircraft's engines somehow ricocheted out of the building
and arched into the Pentagon's mall parking area between the main
building and the new loading dock facility, said Charles H. Krohn,
the Army's deputy chief of public affairs. Those fleeing the building
heard a loud secondary explosion about 10 min. after the initial
The E-ring floors above the tunnel dug by the aircraft collapsed,
leaving a gap in the Pentagon's outer wall perhaps 150 ft. wide.
Fuel triggered an intense fire that caused the roof of the damaged
E-ring section to give way at 10:10 a.m. It was still burning 18
hr. later. Fire fighting was hampered by
reports that twice sent personnel fleeing the area. First, at around
11:28 a.m., a warning that "an aircraft is in the air"
sent police, FBI and other security personnel to passages under
I-395 that lead away from the Pentagon. They quickly returned, but
at 11:34, shouted and radioed warnings of another possible explosion
sent people running again. However, by 11:40 FBI teams had
returned with brown paper bags and gloves to scour the Pentagon
grounds for debris in an area bordered by Pentagon City, Arlington
Cemetery and the Potomac River.
F-16s from the District of Columbia Air National Guard periodically
circled the Pentagon at altitudes low enough to frighten grade school
teachers and students in nearby Alexandria. Later, the patrols were
shifted to a higher altitude and continued through the night.
Confusion about what had happened, among the 20,000-24,000 employees
leaving the Pentagon on foot in long lines, largely reflected where
they were in the building when the aircraft struck. The
Navy and Army spaces absorbed the damage. Navy officers not
in the aircraft's direct path reported heavy safes being flung across
rooms and people thrown from their chairs. They variously identified
major damage between the fourth and fifth or third and fourth corridors.
No one knew the full extent of the damage. Air Force officers on
the opposite side of the building heard or felt nothing until alarms
went off. Even then, they thought it was a false fire alarm until
orders were passed to evacuate the building.
Everyone was told to go to their rally points in the parking lots.
Those involved said the evacuation was well-organized and orderly
and far less emotional than at the nearby Capitol. There, a number
of evacuees were said to have become emotionally distraught. Once
outside, Pentagon employees were told to go home. This complicated
the casualty assessment for the Navy and Army because no one knew
precisely who had gone home and who was still in the building.
Petty Officer first class Jason Lhuillier, 27, was on duty at
the intelligence plot inside the naval command centre - "a
vault within a vault" - when he heard that a plane had flown
into the twin towers in New York. When a second aircraft hit,
he said there was an "almost instantaneous recognition"
that terrorists had struck.
He and his colleagues were soon building the intelligence picture
and liaising with the CIA, Defence Intelligence Agency, National
Security and the US Navy's sister services.
Then he answered a telephone call from the National Military
Joint Intelligence Centre, also in the Pentagon. "I'll never
forget what he said: 'Hey Jason, this is Bill. We've got indications
of another aircraft that's been hijacked. It's heading out to
PO Lhuillier interrupted a meeting next door between Cdr Dan
Shanower, in charge of the intelligence plot, and six others,
to tell them about the third plane. Cdr Radi, an aide to the vice-chief
of naval operations, had been Cdr Shanower's predecessor.
He telephoned the intelligence plot to ask about the third plane
so the information could be fed to the naval command. "We're
working on it," Lt-Cdr Vince Tolbert told him.
Looking out across the Potomac river, Cdr Radi wondered where
the plane might be heading. "I'm thinking to myself, 'Well,
the Pentagon, the White House or the Capitol. And if it's the
Pentagon, it's the side I'm in here or the one right next to me."
Two minutes after PO Lhuillier left the meeting room, at 9.38am,
American Airlines Flight 77, which had been en route from Washington
Dulles to Los Angeles, plunged into the Pentagon - workplace for
23,000 people - at 500 mph. The naval intelligence plot meeting
room was right in its path.
The death of retired research
Professor Jeong Im has all the makings of a spy novel, and some
say that idea isn’t far off base.
Someone stabbed the 72-year-old scientist multiple times in the
Maryland Avenue parking garage at the University of Missouri-Columbia,
put him in the trunk of his Honda and set the car on fire. Adding
to the mystery, police say a hooded, masked man was seen carrying
a gas can away from the scene.
University police on Friday announced a $10,000 reward for information
leading to an arrest in the Jan. 7 killing. Police have received
more than 185 leads, including some that appear far-fetched.
A few days after firefighters found Im’s
body, a national radio talk-show guest theorized the killing was
part of a plot to kill off key microbiologists in the world before
unleashing "the ultimate epidemic."
Steve Quayle, a self-published author and newsletter writer from
Bozeman, Mont., told listeners of "Coast to Coast AM"
that Im was the 40th microbiologist to die under suspicious circumstances
in four years and was perhaps among those specializing in vaccines
and bio-weapons research.
MU officials have described Im as a protein chemist whose specialty
was synthesizing peptides.
The Korean immigrant came to MU in 1987 from the University of
North Carolina-Chapel Hill. After retiring four or five years ago,
he returned to MU, working about 10 hours a week on lab work for
other professors in the departments of microbiology and immunology
There is nothing in Im’s published history to suggest he’d
worked in bio-weapons research. Quayle said that’s not proof
the scientist wasn’t a target.
While acknowledging he doesn’t know whether Im’s death
was part of a plot, Quayle said the circumstances concerned him.
"I’m no conspiracy nut," he said. "What you’re
seeing is some of the most famous men in the world, at least in
their fields, are dying mysteriously."
The deaths include stabbings, drownings, plane crashes and hit-and-run
crashes. Some were ruled suicides. "There’s only been
several who’ve died of ‘natural’ causes,"
The Mid-Missouri Major Case Squad investigated Im’s death,
disbanding after 11 days. The case returned to MU police, who have
seven officers and detectives working on it, Capt. Brian Weimer
Some radio listeners have contacted police, and Weimer said their
suggestions were not ignored. Police called the producers of the
show to find out what was broadcast.
"It goes in like a lead like everything else," Weimer
said. "We’ve not ruled out absolutely anything. We’re
looking at any answer to try to solve this."
Quayle said he has followed bio-weapons issues for 30 years but
said he started chronicling the deaths of microbiologists on www.stevequayle.com
after a missile in October 2001 downed a passenger jet carrying
five Israeli scientists over the Black Sea. Over the next several
months, 11 microbiologists around the world died in various circumstances.
After last week’s "Coast to Coast" show, the Tribune
received numerous e-mails and phone calls from people around the
country who accept Quayle’s idea. "The pattern that’s
emerging would be disturbing to any statistician," said Bill
Stockglausner of Columbia. "The list is factual, and it appears
strange that this is happening to these people who were in a certain
Stockglausner likes Quayle’s reasoning. "He’s
one of the few people of whom I can say I trust his comments,"
he said. "Am I convinced? No, not totally. But the percentage
of being convinced gets closer each time one of these guys ends
MU history Professor Jeff Passley, who teaches a course about conspiracy
theories and conspiracies, said mysteries invite speculation. "It’s
always more interesting to think of something weird than the more
obvious," he said, because there are loose standards for what
is apparently unexplainable. "It’s do-it-yourself investigative
work. It’s investigative science done by some guy in his basement
who doesn’t have any training."
Passley designed his course to show students how conspiracy theories
shift and evolve with the values of the times. For example, he said,
some people in the communist-fearing 1950s thought extraterrestrial
beings wanted to enslave the planet. In the ’60s, people started
viewing aliens as peace-loving "space brothers." And in
the ’70s, aliens were suspected of performing sexual experiments
to breed with humans.
"It’s true that almost every sort of religion or belief
system purports to explain the unexplainable and to give you a sense
of control," Passley said. "These conspiracy theories
are just a version of that. They try to impose rationality upon
DUBAI — Supporters of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi,
Iraq’s most wanted man, executed an Egyptian and two Iraqi drivers
on a street in broad daylight, according to videos shown on a
A first video showed a man, identified as Ibrahim
Md Ismail, on his knees, handcuffed and blindfolded on a street
before a masked man shot him in the head.
Ismail was earlier shown saying that he worked for a Kuwaiti
company identified as Al-Shallahi, which provides US forces with
drinking water, and urging his compatriots not to come to Iraq
or work for the Americans. “Despite all the warnings from the
mujahideen... these apostates continue to help the occupier shed
the blood of those who refuse to submit,” the militants, identifying
themselves as members of Zarqawi’s Al-Qaida outfit in Iraq, said
in a statement after the executions.
A second video showed two Iraqis, one identified as Ali Hussein
Jassim Md al-Zubeidi, a resident of Sadr City who worked for a
Lebanese company which supplies American troops in Ramadi. The
second Iraqi was named as Ahmad Alwan Hussein al-Mahmudawi, a
colleague with the same company.
WASHINGTON - The Bush administration plans
to announce Tuesday it will request about $80 billion more for this
year's costs of fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, congressional
aides said Monday.
The request would push the total provided so far for those wars
and for U.S. efforts against terrorism elsewhere in the world to
more than $280 billion since the first money was provided shortly
after the Sept. 11, 2001, airliner attacks on New York's World Trade
Center and the Pentagon.
That would be nearly half the $613 billion the
United States spent for World War I or the $623 billion it expended
for the Vietnam War, when the costs of those conflicts are translated
into 2005 dollars.
White House officials refused to comment on the war spending package,
which will be presented as the United States confronts a new string
of violence in Iraq as that country's Jan. 30 elections approach.
The forthcoming request underscored how the war spending has clearly
exceeded initial White House estimates. Early
on, then-presidential economic adviser Lawrence Lindsey placed Iraq
costs of $100 billion to $200 billion, only to see his comments
derided by administration colleagues.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Monday it was
Congress' "highest responsibility" to provide the money
that American troops need. But in a written statement, she said
Democrats would ask questions about Bush's policies there.
"What are the goals in Iraq, and how much more money will
it cost to achieve them? Why hasn't the president
and the Pentagon provided members of Congress a full accounting
of previous expenditures?," Pelosi added. [...]
Adding additional pressure, the Congressional Budget Office planned
to release a semi-annual report on the budget Tuesday that was expected
to include a projection of war costs. Last
September, the nonpartisan budget office projected the 10-year costs
of the wars at $1.4 trillion at current levels of operations,
and $1 trillion if the wars were gradually phased down.
Aides said about three-fourths of the $80 billion was expected
to be for the Army, which is bearing the brunt of the fighting in
Iraq. It also was expected to include money
for building a U.S. embassy in Baghdad, which has been estimated
to cost $1.5 billion.
WASHINGTON - The Pentagon yesterday confirmed plans to field
new military spy teams to assist battlefield commanders with tasks
traditionally carried out by the CIA but denied the move would encroach
onto the intelligence agency's turf.
Two senior Pentagon officials said the military already has forces
in Iraq and Afghanistan doing similar work - citing a defense linguist's
efforts in the capture of Saddam Hussein in December 2003 - but
now wants to formalize what has been a largely ad-hoc operation.
"We were fighting a long-term war with basically a pickup
team," said one of the Defense officials, who briefed reporters
on condition of anonymity. None of the teams, formally authorized
in this year's budget, have been deployed yet.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon sent its top intelligence
official, Stephen Cambone, to Capitol Hill yesterday to explain
the new teams which some lawmakers suggested may have skirted congressional
oversight and not been fully coordinated with the CIA. Republicans,
however, showed little appetite for congressional hearings on the
At the Pentagon, the officials said the roughly
10-person teams would include linguists, interrogators and case
officers focused on gathering "human intelligence."
That is information gathered by spies and other human sources, not
through electronic eavesdropping or other technical means.
Such foreign spying traditionally has been
under CIA purview, but the officials insisted that the military
efforts were designed to augment, not replace, CIA efforts.
One official noted that the teams' funding is controlled by the
CIA chief in the foreign intelligence budget.
Still, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has moved aggressively
to expand the Pentagon's own intelligence-gathering activities since
the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks - moves some in the intelligence
community view as an effort to wrest greater control of the effort
from the CIA.
Rumsfeld, for instance, had expressed strong reservations about
the idea of the national intelligence director overseeing all CIA
and Defense Department initiatives, as recommended by the 9/11 commission.
And in late 2003, Rumsfeld created a new position of undersecretary
of defense for intelligence and named one of his top deputies, Cambone.
But the Defense officials yesterday insisted that the "Strategic
Support Teams" would merely provide senior commanders with
exactly the kind of on-the-ground information they need to fight
the war on terror.
Exactly how these teams will operate remained
unclear yesterday, as the senior officials declined to say, for
instance, even how many would exist. They will operate in a "clandestine"
manner - meaning that their efforts are meant to go undetected -
but not as "covert" operators, which would mean that the
U.S. government would disavow responsibility for their operation.
The units were first reported Sunday by the Washington Post, but
the Pentagon denied a contention in the article that Rumsfeld had
sought to reinterpret or "bend" the law to cover these
new units. The officials yesterday said the activities of the units
can be carried under existing authorities.
WASHINGTON - The strain of fighting a longer,
bloodier war in Iraq than U.S. commanders originally foresaw brings
forth a question that most would have dismissed only a year ago:
Is the military in danger of running out of reserve troops?
At first glance the answer would appear to be a clear no. There
are nearly 1.2 million men and women on the reserve rolls, and only
about 70,000 are now in Iraq to supplement the regulars.
But a deeper look inside the Army National Guard, Army Reserve
and Marine Corps Reserve suggests a grimmer picture: At the current
pace and size of American troop deployments to Iraq, the availability
of suitable reserve combat troops could become a problem as early
as next year.
The National Guard says it has about 86,000
citizen soldiers available for future deployments to Iraq, fewer
than it has sent there over the past two years. And
it has used up virtually all of its most readily deployable combat
In an indication of the concern about a thinning
of its ranks, last month the National Guard tripled the re-enlistment
bonuses offered to soldiers in Iraq who can fill critical skill
Similarly, the Army Reserve has about 37,500 deployable
soldiers left — about 18 percent of its total troop strength.
The Marine Corps Reserve appears to be in
a comparable position, because most of its 40,000 troops have been
mobilized at least once already. Officials said they have
no figures available on how many are available for future deployments
Both the Army and the Marines are soliciting reservists to volunteer
for duty in Iraq.
"The reserves are pretty well shot"
after the Pentagon makes the next troop rotation, starting this
summer, said Robert Goldich, a defense analyst at the Congressional
Among the evidence:
- Of the National Guard's 15 best-trained, best-equipped and most
ready-to-deploy combat brigades, all but one are either in Iraq
now, have demobilized after returning from a one-year tour there
or have been alerted for duty in 2005-2006.
The exception is the South Carolina National Guard's 218th Infantry
Brigade, which has had not been deployed to Iraq as a full brigade
because smaller groups of its soldiers have been mobilized periodically
for homeland defense and numerous missions abroad, including Iraq.
- The Army Reserve, with about 205,000 citizen soldiers on its
rolls for support rather than combat duty, has been so heavily used
since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks that, for practical purposes, it
has only about 37,500 troops available to perform the kinds of missions
required in Iraq, according to an internal briefing chart entitled,
"What's Left in the Army Reserve?"
- The chief of the Army Reserve, Lt. Gen. James R. Helmly, recently
advised other Army leaders that his citizen militia is in "grave
danger" of being unable to meet all its operational responsibilities.
He said the Reserve is "rapidly degenerating into a 'broken'
The mix of troops in the U.S. force rotation now under way in Iraq
is about 50 percent active duty and 50 percent reserves. But that
is set to change to 70 percent active and 30 percent reserve for
the rotation after that, beginning this summer, because combat-ready
Guard units have been tapped out.
Thus, two active-duty Army divisions that have already served one-year
tours in Iraq — the 101st Airborne and the 4th Infantry —
have been selected to return in the coming rotation. The 1st Marine
Expeditionary Force already is on its second tour in Iraq. [...]
It's not the absolute number of reservists that poses a problem.
It's the number who have the right skills for what is required in
Iraq and who have not already served lengthy tours on active duty
since President Bush authorized the Pentagon three days after the
Sept. 11 attacks to mobilize as many as 1 million reservists for
up to 24 months.
A portion of the best-trained reservists are approaching
the 24-month limit, and some senior officials inside the Army are
considering whether the limit should be redefined so that mobilizations
over the past three years would, in effect, not count against the
The Guard and Reserve are hurting in other ways, too. Their casualties
in Iraq have been mounting (16 deaths in October, 28 in November,
20 in December and at least 15 in the first 13 days of January),
and the National Guard and Army Reserve have been missing their
An al-Qaida suicide driver detonated a car
bomb at a guard post outside the Iraqi prime minister’s party
headquarters in Baghdad today, injuring at least 10 people.
Terror mastermind Osama bin Laden’s affiliate group in Iraq
claimed responsibility a day after its leader declared all-out
war on democracy.
Later, mortar rounds slammed into an Iraqi National Guard camp
near Baghdad International Airport and the rumble of distant explosions
reverberated through the capital. There was no report of casualties
in the mortar attack.
The suicide bomber struck at a police checkpoint on the road
leading to Ayad Allawi’s Iraqi National Accord offices in central
Baghdad, shaking the city centre with a thunderous explosion.
Among the wounded were eight policemen and two civilians, said
Dr Mudhar Abdul-Hussein of Yarmouk Hospital.
Al-Qaida’s wing in Iraq said in an internet posting that "one
of the young lions in the suicide regiment" carried out the attack
against the party office of Allawi, "the agent of the Jews and
The attacks occurred six days before Iraq’s crucial national
elections, the first since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003.
Insurgents have condemned the elections and vowed to disrupt them.
The suicide attack rattled buildings along the Tigris River
in the centre of the city and sent black smoke rising above the
skyline. US military helicopters cut through overcast skies above
Iraqi police fired on the car as it sped toward them, killing
the driver as the blast ripped the vehicle apart, said an Interior
Splintered police vehicles were engulfed in flames, and gunfire
rattled after the explosion. [...]
In an audiotape posted on the web yesterday, a
to be Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, head of al-Qaida in Iraq, declared
"fierce war" on democracy and said anyone who takes part in next
weekend’s Iraqi elections would be considered "an infidel".
"We have declared a fierce war on this evil principle of democracy
and those who follow this wrong ideology," the speaker said. "Anyone
who tries to help set up this system is part of it."
The speaker warned Iraqis to be careful of "the enemy’s plan
to implement so-called democracy in your country". He said the
Americans have engineered the election to install Shiite Muslims
in power. Al-Zarqawi, who is a Sunni Arab like most of the insurgents
here, has in the past branded Shiites as heretics.
The United States has offered a €18.7m reward for al-Zarqawi’s
capture or death – the same amount as for al-Qaida leader in Laden.
I found this Haaretz article
too complicated too follow. So the Israeli Army has a psy-ops unit
that used to be very active but has been less so recently, and is
now being revived. This psy-ops unit plants articles in the Arab
press about groups like Lebanon's Hizbullah, painting them as vicious
terrorists. Then it comes to Israeli newspaper like Haaretz with
translations, and urges that the pieces be written up for Israeli
and Western audiences. But of course the pieces are reported as
originating in the Arab press:
' The unit's activities have been controversial for years. In
October 1999, Aluf Benn revealed in Haaretz that members of the
unit used the Israeli media to emphasize reports initiated by
the unit that it managed to place in the Arab press. He reported
that the news reports focused on Iranian and Hezbollah involvement
in terror activity. '
So is MEMRI, which translates articles from the Arabic press into
English for thousands of US subscribers, in any way involved in
all this? Its director formerly served in . . . Israeli military
intelligence. How much of what we "know" from "Arab
sources" about "Hizbullah terrorism" was simply made
up by this fantasy factory in Tel Aviv?
As someone who reads the Arabic press quite a lot, this sort of
revelation is extremely disturbing.
I also saw an allegation that British military intelligence had
planted stories in the US press about Saddam's Iraq.
You begin to wonder how much of what you think you know is just
propaganda manufactured by some bored colonel. No wonder post-Baath
Iraq looks nothing like what we were led to to expect by the press,
including the Arab press!
| I hear Mahmoud Abbas and Khaled
Mishaal's opposite stances, and I find myself agreeing with both,
and thank God for not being some kind of an official who is required
to choose among them.
The Palestinian President says that all arms must be under the
control of the Palestinian Authority (PA), and that violence must
stop; I think he is right.
Whereas the Islamic resistance says that resistance is a kind of
defense against the occupation, and that Sharon's government would
still assassinate and destroy even without the existence of resistance,
as it did during the truce of summer 2003; and if the Palestinian
resister would have to face death inside his house and around his
children, then it would be more decent for him to be killed while
resisting the occupation. I also agree with this stance.
If things were up to me, there would be no violence or war in any
country, as I am personally against all wars, against suicide/martyrdom
operations, and against the use of arms, even for self-defense.
However, this is my stance, and it is the stance of the minority,
as violence in the Palestinian territories is due to the crimes
of Ariel Sharon's government, which insists on killing and destruction,
and insists that the Palestinians have to accept its crimes without
responding to them.
If the cycle of violence is to be over, it must be over from both
sides; as Ariel Sharon is the responsible for the Al-Qassam rockets
more than its launchers, and for the suicide operations more than
their perpetrators. Below are some examples on the crimes of his
government, based on western and Israeli sources only:
1. The World Bank report that was issued last October, in association
with the Palestinian central office for statistics, revealed that
the income of the Palestinians inside the occupied territories
deteriorated by one third since 1999, unemployment increased from
10% to 26%, and between 61% and 72% of Palestinian families live
below the poverty line. The University of Geneva estimated during
a study on the living standards in the occupied territories, that
58% of the Palestinians are 'poor,' and that while 68% of the
needy Palestinians receive aids, 32% of them are left without
2. The Palestinian issue is not about aids, but about a country.
The conference that Prime Minister Tony Blair asked for in London
was political in essence; however, the Israeli Prime Minister
declared his objection and boycott, and the conference suddenly
turned into a charity party. The Palestinians would not be bribed
with $1,000 or $2,000 million. In fact, out of every $1,000 million
that the PA receives in the form of aids, 80% come from the Arab
states, and the largest part is provided by Saudi Arabia and the
Saudi people; whereas the rest is given by Europe and Japan, while
the United States adds an Israeli demand to every aid.
3. Since the start of the Second Intifada in September 2000, Israel
has assassinated 238 Palestinians, which it claims they are 'terrorists,'
and without evidence. During these assassinations, it killed 186
civilians, among which 26 women and 39 children. All this is based
on last October's estimations, and must be more by now.
4. Among the killed were Sanaa Al Maghir, 16, and her brother
Ahmad, 13, who were standing on the roof of their house in Rafah.
In addition to Iman Al Hams, 13, who was riddled with over 20
bullets, while she was in her school uniform, and then an Israeli
soldier shot her twice in the head, as she was wounded but still
alive. Also, there was the child Rana Siyam, 7, from Khan Younis.
5. Nine days only after the October operation, which included
the north of the Gaza Strip, Jabalia, Beit Lahia, Beit Hanoun,
and Rafah, Israel killed 98 Palestinians, among which 20 children
under the age of 18, and more that 350 wounded. Also, a single
bomb killed 10 people near the Jabalia Camp on September 30, among
which 8 children. The killing of children continued with the beginning
of the New Year, as on January 4, an Israeli bomb killed seven
children from Al Ghabn family, aged between 11 and 18, and injured
another 11 children in Beit Lahia.
6. The killing was accompanied by wide destruction; and the human
rights association declared in an official statement that Israel
had illegally destroyed thousands of Palestinian houses, and expelled
16,000 people. The association said that Israel was transgressing
the international law that protects civilians in times of war.
7. In two days only, 17 and 18 December 2004, Israel destroyed
40 houses in the Khan Younis Camp, and the Israeli army issued
a statement allowing its residents to go back to their 'homes.'
11 Palestinians were killed, and 47 other wounded during the operation.
8. Four former Israeli security commanders: Avraham Shalom, Yaacov
Peri, Karmi Gilon, and Ami Ayalon, accused Sharon of leading Israel
towards 'disaster,' and started a peace movement. Lieutenant General
Moshe Yaalon, Israel's army chief, said that the government's
policy in suppressing the Palestinians compromised Israel's security
rather than strengthening it. Earlier, Lieutenant Colonel Eitan
Ronal (retd) returned his military insignia, and accompanied it
with a letter filled with bitterness in which he said that human
life has lost its value, and the honor of arms was lost.
9. Two Jewish American activists: Kelly Minio-Paluello and Kate
Rafael Bender filed a case in order to prevent their expulsion
from Israel. Bender, who is running a personal campaign against
the security wall, said that Israel's occupation of the Palestinian
territories in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip is illegal according
to Resolution 242; nevertheless, the U.S. supports this occupation
with $13 million every day. On another hand, each demonstration
or meeting that the Israeli peace movements have organized against
the discrimination wall, has attracted far more people than its
organizers have expected.
Finally, although I am noting the crimes of Sharon's government,
which is an extremist Nazi government, I appreciate the fact that
much of my information comes from Jewish and Israeli peace activists'
sources, and that these people are the best to defend the Palestinians;
it is imperative to thank them for their efforts.
The new Palestinian president's
visit to the Gaza Strip was not as welcome as he hoped, Serene Assir
reports from Gaza
On Tuesday, President Mahmoud Abbas (known by his nom-de-guerre
Abu Mazen) arrived in Gaza to hold talks with the armed Palestinian
militias, seeking to limit the armed resistance against the Israeli
occupation forces (IOF) and the illegal settlements. Hamas, Islamic
Jihad and Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades spokesmen, however, told Al-Ahram
Weekly prior to the president's arrival that they have no intention
of letting up until the Israeli occupation ends.
On Tuesday evening, as though to emphasise the point to the new
leadership, Hamas staged a suicide operation near the Khan Younis
refugee camp, in which one Israeli soldier was killed. And throughout
the week, following the joint Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades-Hamas suicide
operation at an Israeli checkpoint and the severing of communications
by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon with Abu Mazen, there have
been a series of violent Israeli incursions across the Gaza Strip
accompanied by the closure of checkpoints, forbidding the entry
or exit of persons, food and goods. Sharon gave free rein to the
IOF in Gaza, and so far, many local citizens believe the only reason
why a total military incursion has not taken place seems to be pressure
exerted by the United States on the Israeli leadership to give the
new PA leader a chance.
However, Abu Mazen faces problems from both the militant Palestinian
militias and the Israelis. Although his electoral victory was sweeping,
the real factor by which his success as leader will be assessed
over the coming months is whether he can guarantee the security
of the Palestinian people.
So far, although he has only been in power for a matter of days,
many Gazans are already losing hope that he will make things any
better for them, given the reality on the ground. "How can
we hope for any improvement in our situation, with or without Abu
Mazen? How will he succeed where Abu Ammar [Yasser Arafat] failed?"
Soha, a student from Gaza City, told the Weekly. "No, I don't
think things will get any better. I don't think a man like him can
stop Israeli incursions, or make our economy -- which is dependent
on the checkpoints being open -- improve. Not if his predecessor
The reasons for such pessimism are varied. On one hand, many feel
resentful that Abu Mazen aims to limit the activities of the militias.
"I don't like him, I didn't vote for him, he wants to stop
the muqawama," said Amr, a market stall owner in his 20s.
Others understand that Abu Mazen was, internationally, the favoured
candidate, "but now look at what is happening. We all thought
things would get better, because Israel, the US and the European
Union all wanted him in. In fact, that's why many of us voted for
him in the first place, because we thought that he would bring us
peace," Amjad, an Islamic youth leader, told the Weekly. "But
the Israelis haven't relented after all on their attacks, and what
I know for certain is that Abu Mazen is not strong enough to withstand
their pressure and make true the demands of the Palestinian people.
He has no bargaining power, and he has no personal power. He is
in no position to help us now."
"One shouldn't be too quick to judge him," said Ahmed,
a clothes shop owner. "He's only been in power for a few days."
"But in fact, if you notice, rather than get better as the
political situation seemed to hint, things are getting even worse!"
contested Amjad. "The incursions have been constant and scattered
throughout Gaza, and now Abu Mazen is here to ask the militias to
stop attacking the settlements? It's an impossible situation for
him diplomatically, and for us practically."
"Things have been terrible over the past few days," agreed
Hanan, mother of six. "He's arrived in Gaza, hasn't he? Well,
inshaallah things will get better for us, but I don't see how he'll
be the one to bring peace to our land and to give us justice."
Following a few moments of silence in our interview, she began to
speak of the terror of living in the Gaza camps. "My mother,
who lives in Khan Younis, is scared to death of leaving her house,
especially at night."
"Only God can save us," said Hamdi, a Bedouin woman in
her 60s living in a tent in the Zeitoun neighbourhood, which suffered
from a heavy incursion killing five. "My son was shot in the
leg, I saw two women die right before my eyes." The area in
which five families of Palestinian Bedouins live lay open to the
fire shot by the IOF. "Who can help us? No man, only God, we
can only pray. But while we live, we are terrified," Mohamed,
aged 10, told the Weekly.
"After all those years," said Gazan reporter Mohamed
in the city centre, "after all that insistence by the US and
Israel that there was no Palestinian partner for peace, we've finally
got one. Now, however, it seems there is no Israeli partner."
And after all, in Middle Eastern politics, as Amjad said, "it's
Israel, not any Palestinian leader, that calls the shots."
Iran could build a nuclear bomb in less than
three years, the head of Israel's Mossad intelligence agency has
Speaking to MPs in Israel's parliament, the Knesset, Meir Dagan
said Iran's nuclear programme was nearing the "point of no return".
If Iran successfully enriched uranium in 2005 it could have
a nuclear weapon two years later, Mr Dagan said.
Iran says that it is developing a civilian
nuclear energy programme, but the US and Israel reject this.
They maintain the Islamic state is using the energy programme
as a front for a covert weapons programme. [...]
| In a darkened hall, candidates for
Iraq's main Shia party sit listening to a turbaned cleric speaking
into a microphone. They are being told how to campaign for the election
without getting killed.
The instructions are simple - avoid public places and do not reveal
your identity, the cleric advised. Most candidates should stay at
home as much as possible, he added.
French journalist George Malbrunot
spent 124 days as a hostage of Islamic fundamentalists in Iraq.
The experience nearly broke him, but it also offered him stunning
insights into the way jihadist groups operate. He returned convinced
of one thing: America's policy is doomed. [...]
The two were imprisoned in a cramped cell, and Malbrunot admits
that his vision was somewhat limited. Still, he says, his abduction
brought him closer to the extremist underbelly of Iraq, closer to
"these people who are extremely cruel" and for whom violence
is an integral part of daily life. Free since Dec. 21, he still
has trouble sleeping.
"They have weapons and money"
"These people will not surrender," he said, referring
not only to the what he estimated to be the 15,000-17,000 member
strong Islamic Army in Iraq which kidnapped him and Chesnot, but
also to the dozens of other Islamic fundamentalist groups fighting
in the country. "They have time, they have weapons, they have
money. And, they are fighting at home. I am afraid it will only
get worse, that they will get more and more power. It frightens
me." What's worse, he said, is that in US President George
W. Bush, "they have a great partner." Neither side is
willing to budge.
Twenty-three terror suspects tried to hang
or strangle themselves at the US military base in Guantanamo Bay
during a mass protest in 2003, the military confirmed today.
The incidents came during the same year the
camp suffered a rash of suicide attempts after
Major General Geoffrey Miller took command of the prison with
a mandate to get more information from prisoners accused
of links to al-Qaeda or the ousted Afghan Taliban regime that
Between August 18 and August 26, the 23 detainees tried to hang
or strangle themselves with pieces of clothing and other items
in their cells, demonstrating "self-injurious behaviour", the
US Southern Command in Miami said in a statement.
Ten detainees made a mass attempt on August
US Southern Command described it as "a coordinated effort to
disrupt camp operations and challenge a new group of security
guards from the just-completed unit rotation".
Guantanamo officials classified two of the incidents as attempted
suicides and informed reporters. But they but did not previously
release information about the mass hangings and stranglings during
Those incidents were mentioned casually during
a visit earlier this month by three journalists, but officials
then immediately denied there had been a mass suicide attempt.
Further attempts to get details brought a statement on Friday
night, with some clarifications provided today by military officials
at Guantanamo Bay and the US Southern Command.
Alistair Hodgett, a spokesman for Amnesty International's office
in Washington, was critical today of the delay in reporting the
"When you have suicide attempts or so-called self-harm incidents,
it shows the type of impact indefinite detention can have, but
it also points to the extreme measures the Pentagon is taking
to cover up things that have happened in Guantanamo," he
"What we've seen is that it wasn't simply a rotation of forces
but an attempt to toughen up the interrogation techniques and
Officials said today they differentiated between a suicide attempt
in which a detainee could have died without intervention and a
"gesture" they considered aimed only at getting attention.
Army General Jay Hood, who succeeded Miller as the detention
mission's commander last year, has said the number of incidents
has decreased since 2003, when the military set up a psychiatric
In 2003, there were 350 "self-harm" incidents, including 120
"hanging gestures," according to Lieutenant-Colonel Leon Sumpter,
a spokesman for the detention mission.
Last year, there were 110 self-harm incidents, he said.
"The Joint Detention Operations Group continually assesses the
camp's population for whom the informal leaders are, the mood
of the detainees, and their ability to communicate with each other,"
Southern Command said in a statement.
"That assessment has enabled the leadership to take numerous
measures to reduce the opportunity for detainees to communicate
a coordinated self-harm incident, or strike out at another detainee
or the guard force."
The military has reported 34 suicide attempts since the camp
opened in 2002, including one prisoner going into a coma and sustaining
memory loss from brain damage.
Of the 23 men who tried to hang or strangle themselves during
the 2003 protest, two required hospital treatment and then were
transferred to the psychiatric ward, the military statement said.
Sixteen remain at Guantanamo Bay, while seven were transferred
to other countries, the statement said without giving details.
Some transferred detainees have been released while others continue
to be detained in their native or other countries.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has promised
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon that he will not sign
a contract to sell SA-18 surface-to-air missiles to Syria, according to
an Israeli daily.
The reported promise, said to have been made in a phone call
by Putin on Thursday, came on the day that Syrian President Bashar
al-Asad begins a four-day official visit to Russia.
The Haaretz newspaper said Sharon had explained to the Russian
leader that the weapons, also called Igla missiles, risked falling
into the hands of Hizb Allah, which is opposed to Israeli
occupation. Hizb Allah was successful in driving Israeli forces
out of occupied southern Lebanon in May 2000.
Sharon's office had said on Thursday that the Putin-Sharon phone
call centred on the situation in the Middle East, the unilateral
Israeli plan of disengagement from the Gaza Strip, relations with
Syria and Hizb Allah and their implications, and the recent election
of Mahmud Abbas as Palestinian president.
The Syrian leader arrives in Moscow on Monday amid controversy
over reports that Russia was ready to sell Syria, its long-time
ally in the Middle East, state-of-the-art missiles capable of
hitting any target within a radius that includes Israel.
| MOSCOW, Jan. 25 (Xinhuanet) -- Syrian
President Bashar al-Assad said Tuesday that he would discuss military
cooperation, in particular deliveries of Russian air defense systems,
with Russian leadership during his four-day state visit in Moscow.
"Military-technical cooperation between Russia and Syria
did not stop even during the cold spell in relations in the 1990s,"
Assad told students of Moscow International Relations Institute
on Tuesday, Interfax news agency reported.
Assad arrived here Monday night amid reports that Syria wanted
to acquire weapons from Moscow, including the Igla surface-to-air
missiles and the advanced SS-26 Iskander missiles.
Assad on Tuesday defended his country's right to have Russian
weapons for purpose of air defense, saying that "these are
defensive weapons, air defense, to prevent aircraft from entering
"If Israel is opposed to us buying them, it means it wants
to invade our air space," Interfax cited the president as saying.
"The Israeli stance is illogical. This is not our scandal,
but a scandal for Israel," he said at the university.
However, Assad confirmed that he would not discuss weapons purchases
"Specific issues of weapons sales should not be raised during
meetings at the level of heads of state. We discuss general issues
of military-technical cooperation," Assad was quoted by Itar-Tass
news agency as saying.
Russian president Vladimir Putin
and his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Asad have signed a joint declaration
on further development of friendship and cooperation between the
The declaration signed on Tuesday during Asad’s visit to
Moscow said that “the world order of the 21st century should
be based on the priority of international law, taking into account
the interests of all states and the mechanisms of developing collective
approaches to international problems with the UN playing a central
coordinating part,” Interfax news agency reported. The declaration
stated that both sides “decisively condemn terrorism in all
its forms and manifestations and confirm the strong necessity of
mobilizing the world community’s efforts to actively battle
this dangerous challenge to mankind.”
Asad who is on his first official visit to Russia urged the country
to revive its Soviet-era influence in the Middle East. Speaking
before the students of the Moscow Institute for International Affairs,
he said he would like to support Russia’s political course
and “express a protest against the political course of the
United States,” Reuters reported. “Russia’s role
is huge and Russia is well respected by third-world countries ...
These countries are really hoping that Russia will try to revive
its lost positions in the world,” Asad said.
Russia will write off 73 percent of Syria’s debt, Russian
Finance Minister Aleksei Kudrin was quoted by Interfax as saying.
The whole Syria’s debt is $13.4 billion.
Asad had earlier said he will discuss with Putin the development
of military and technical cooperation between Russia and Syria,
including the supply of Russian missiles to Damascus. Before Asad’s
visit, the head of Syria’s parliament, Mahmoud al-Abrash,
was quoted by Vremya Novostei newspaper as saying Asad will not
discuss new military supplies. Reports on new contracts to supply
Russian missile complexes to Syria appeared earlier in January.
Israel expressed deep concern in connection with those reports.
However, Russian foreign and defense ministries have refuted this
information. Putin assured Israeli PM Ariel Sharon that Russia would
not conclude such a deal with Syria.
On Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov described US
accusations that Syria is supporting extremists in Iraq and other
places as unacceptable and groundless. “We are alarmed by
the situation that has been arising around Syria. It is important
to prevent the appearance of new seats of tension in that crisis-ridden
part of the world,” he said but noted that “the language
of threats can only further worsen the situation.”
| In recent days Washington has been
awash with speculation that the United States is preparing armed action
against Iran or Syria, or possibly both - two countries seen as fundamentally
hostile to American and Israeli strategic aims in the Middle East.
It is not clear, however, whether the reports, leaks and threats
point to preparations for an imminent attack or are merely part
of an elaborate campaign of psychological warfare aimed at isolating
the Iraqi battlefield from Iraq's neighbors.
According to a source at the U.S. National War College, an American
strike against Syria nearly took place a month ago, but was put
on hold because of objections from the US Army. Any future attack
could take the form of an air and naval bombardment, rather than
a ground invasion. Syria is accused of infiltrating money, weapons
and recruits to the insurgency in western and northern Iraq and
of giving support to anti-Israeli guerrilla groups like Hezbollah
and Hamas, while Iran is in America's gun-sights because of what
is described as its 'large-scale interference' in Iraq.
Iran is also being targeted because American and Israeli planners
have no faith in efforts by the Vienna-based International Atomic
Energy Agency, and by Britain, France and Germany, to persuade Iran
to give up its alleged nuclear weapons program. Israeli spokesman,
including Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, have said that Israel
would not tolerate a nuclear-armed Iran.
Another explanation for the recent bout of war fever is that we
are witnessing a replay of a familiar Washington game whereby rival
agencies of government compete for the President's ear. By talking
up the need to make war on Iran and Syria, neo-conservatives inside
and outside the Administration seem anxious to pre-empt any change
of course by the new Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice.
At her confirmation hearing this week before the Senate foreign
relations committee, Dr. Rice echoed the standard rhetoric of President
George W Bush's first term. 'America and the free world,' she declared,
'are once again engaged in a long-term struggle against an ideology
of hatred and tyranny and terror and hopelessness. And we must confront
these challenges…' This will go some way to reassure the pro-Israeli,
But they will be less pleased with her repeated assertion that
'The time for diplomacy is now'. She pledged to involve herself
personally in the Arab-Israeli peace process, which neo-cons see
as a threat to put pressure on Israel to yield territory. She is
also reported to have urged President George W Bush to build bridges
with European leaders during his forthcoming visit to Brussels and
Berlin next month. This again will arouse neo-con anxiety.
The belligerent neo-cons who pressed for war against Iraq are in
still in place, notably in Donald Rumsfeld's Department of Defense
and in Vice-President Dick Cheney's office. In spite of their responsibility
for the mess in Iraq, they have not lost their jobs. Washington's
influential right-wing think-tanks have also been waging a vociferous
propaganda campaign against Iran and Syria and have been urging
the Administration to strike at both countries.
In a report from Washington this week, Britain's Financial Times
said that the neo-cons were backing an Iranian opposition group,
the Alliance for Democracy in Iran, which is hoping for a big injection
of American funds. Several Senators have also urged the Administration
to back 'regime change' in Iran.
Joint U.S.-Israeli planning
Until now, most observers believed that the U.S. was too busy and
overstretched in Iraq to contemplate new wars. But this argument
is being turned on its head. The view one now tends to hear in Washington
is that there can be no victory in Iraq until Iran and Syria are
brought to heel.
No one outside a small circle in Tehran knows whether Iran has
taken a decision to acquire atomic weapons or whether it simply
wants to acquire the technology in order to have the option of making
such weapons at a future date. It seems determined to master the
uranium fuel cycle for the purposes of power generation, but denies
that it intends to build a bomb.
Its policy has all the ambiguity and opacity that Israel deployed
when it, too, was developing its nuclear arsenal in the late 1950s
In the meantime, Iran seems to be preparing for a tough negotiation
with the Europeans over the coming months in which the prize is
a big package of trade and financial benefits in exchange for putting
its nuclear program on ice -- at least for the time being.
Iran is also looking to its defenses. Some observers believe it
is preparing the revolutionary guard corps, the Pasdaran, for asymmetric
warfare in the event of an American attack, as well as its vast
corps of Islamic volunteers, known as the Bassij, several million
strong. In December, Iran carried out a military exercise close
to the Iraqi frontier mobilizing up to 120,000 men. It was billed
as the largest since the 1979 revolution.
No one supposes that the Iranian armed forces, with their antiquated
equipment, would be much of a match for the United States in a conventional
war. But any U.S. strike against Iran, or against Syria for that
matter, would be likely to unleash guerrilla and resistance forces
which could put American and Israeli citizens and interests around
the world gravely at risk.
Douglas Feith, assistant secretary of defense for policy at the
Pentagon, is said to be working closely with Israeli officers in
identifying weapons sites for targeting in Iran, much as he did
in planning the war against Iraq.
Israel has also sought American support in pressuring Russia not
to agree to sell advanced missiles to Syria during President Bashar
Al Assad's forthcoming visit to Moscow.
In this month's New Yorker magazine, the celebrated investigative
journalist Seymour M. Hersh reported that 'The Administration has
been conducting secret reconnaissance missions inside Iran at least
since last summer. Much of the focus is on the accumulation of intelligence
on Iranian nuclear, chemical and missile sites… The goal is
to identify and isolate three dozen, and perhaps more, such targets
that could be destroyed by precision strikes and short-term commando
The Pentagon has dismissed Hersh's report as unfounded, but what
seems beyond doubt is that the Pentagon has won its battle with
the CIA over control of clandestine intelligence operations. Washington
sources confirm that the CIA has been 'gutted', while the Pentagon
remains in control of much of America's vast $40bn a year intelligence
Bush's foreign policy
Judging from President Bush's own remarks, he is clearly not planning
a speedy withdrawal from Iraq following the 30 January elections,
as several American pundits have been urging. He has said that his
own election victory last November was a vote of confidence in his
Iraq war. In outlining his plans for the next four years, he continues
to resort to slogans like the need to pursue the 'global war on
terror' and 'build democracy' in the countries of the Middle East.
These generalities may be dismissed as simplistic, except that
they conceal a hard-nosed agenda, which includes defeating the world-wide
movement of Islamic militancy in order to protect the U.S. from
another 9/11; and ensuring long-term American dominion over Arab
Israel and its American friends in the Administration add two further
goals: securing Israel's monopoly of weapons of mass destruction;
and depriving the Palestinians of any external support, whether
from Syria or from militant groups like Lebanon's Hezbollah, so
as to force them to accept whatever crumbs Israel's Ariel Sharon
might throw them.
The strategic doctrine behind these goals is that the U.S. must
retain global military supremacy and Israel regional military supremacy.
Their enemies must be denied any sort of deterrent capability and
must give up any hope of achieving a balance of power. While the
wisdom of this doctrine might be doubted, the future does not look
DUESSELDORF, Germany - A Boeing 747 cargo
jet rolled off a landing strip at Duesseldorf airport Monday,
causing departure delays of about two hours while runways were
shut down, airport officials said.
Two of four engines caught fire,
but firefighters were able to put the blaze out quickly on the
Atlas Air plane, which was arriving from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
No one was injured during the landing on the south runway, spokesman
Udo Seidler said.
The airport closed runways between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. (0500GMT
and 0600 GMT), causing the flight back-ups, Seidler said. Flight
were later shifted to the north runway.
It was not immediately clear what caused the accident.
MICHIGAN - The Fermi II nuclear plant near
Monroe was shut down Monday afternoon after developing a coolant
No one was evacuated and the public wasn't endangered in the incident,
a Nuclear Regulatory Commission official said.
Workers discovered the source of the leak late Monday night and
promptly shut off the water, stopping the leak, said DTE Energy,
which operates the plant.
It wasn't known when the facility would resume operations.
The plant, in Frenchtown Township in northern Monroe County, was
shut down at 4:20 p.m. without complications, said NRC spokeswoman
"Any time a plant has to shut down it is, of course, a concern,"
she said. "(But) this is the second-lowest classification as
far as emergencies are."
The problem involved nonradioactive water used
in the facility's cooling system, said John Austerberry, a spokesman
That's different from the plant's reactor coolant, which didn't
leak and remains at normal levels.
The leak, which occurred in a steel and concrete structure that
surrounds the steel reactor, was originally 50 gallons a minute
before workers shut off valves to stop it between 9 and 10 p.m.,
A Detroit physicist said the problem, as described by plant officials,
didn't sound like a potentially ominous situation.
"It's not that dangerous," said Al Saperstein, a physics
professor at Wayne State University. "Water leaks in all kinds
of large steam generators." [...]
Peggy Valentine, a 15-year resident who works at a local restaurant,
said several plant workers are customers and have reassured her
about its operations in the past.
"You can't start to get paranoid about it," she said.
"If you start to get paranoid, then you'll
make everyone around you worry, especially the children."
The 1,150-megawatt plant, which opened in 1988,
has experienced several minor stumbles in the past five months.
It briefly operated at 60 percent of its power in October after
a recirculating water pump unexpectedly slowed down. The problem
was solved, and the plant resumed full power in 27 hours.
Neither of the plant's two major pumps, which control the flow
of coolant water, was idled in the incident, and the problem never
posed a threat to the public, NRC officials told the local paper.
The plant also was shut down for unexpected repairs in August when
repairs to one of its four emergency diesel generators couldn't
be completed within seven days.
Before that incident, the plant had operated for 334 days without
incident, the second-longest such stretch in its nearly two-decade
"If you start to get paranoid, then you'll
make everyone around you worry."
NEW YORK - One subway line serving tens of
thousands of New Yorkers a day was knocked out of service and another
severely limited, possibly for years, because of a trash fire that
authorities said may have been set
by a homeless person trying to stay warm.
It will take "several millions of dollars
and several years" to rebuild hundreds of relays, switches
and circuits that track train signals and locations, MTA President
Lawrence Reuter said.
Reuter said it was the most serious damage to the subway's infrastructure
since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, which destroyed tracks
and stations underneath the World Trade Center.
The fire was set in a shopping cart in or near the Chambers Street
station in lower Manhattan, fire officials said. It ignited cables
above the platform and spread to a room full of switching and signal
equipment, the MTA said.
Authorities believe a homeless person trying to keep warm set fire
to the cart full of clothing and wood, but no suspect had been located.
"Customers should be aware that there are no plans for the
restoration of C service in the near future," the MTA said.
Two of the city's subway lines - the A and
the C - have been crippled and may not return
to normal capacity for three to five years after a fire Sunday
afternoon in a Lower Manhattan transit control room that was started
by a homeless person trying to keep warm, officials said yesterday.
The blaze, at the Chambers Street station used by the A and C lines,
was described as doing the worst damage to subway infrastructure
since the terrorist attack of Sept. 11, 2001. It
gutted a locked room that is no larger than a kitchen but that contains
some 600 relays, switches and circuits that transmit vital information
about train locations.
The A line will run roughly one-third the normal number of trains
- meaning that riders who used to wait six minutes for a train might
now have to wait 18 minutes - while the C train will cease to exist
as a separate line, at least for the time being. The C will be replaced
by the V in Brooklyn. Long waits and erratic service are likely
to be the norm on the two lines, which have a combined ridership
of 580,000 each weekday. [...]
"This is a very significant problem, and it's going to go
on for quite a while," said Lawrence G. Reuter, the president
of New York City Transit. He estimated it
would take "several millions of dollars and several years"
to reassemble and test the intricate network of custom-built switch
relays that were destroyed in the blaze, which officials believe
began when the homeless person - who
has not been found - set fire to wood
and refuse in a shopping cart in the tunnel about 50 feet north
of the Chambers Street station.
The flames quickly spread to a series of electrical cables. "Those
cables short-circuited as a result of the fire, causing arcing as
well as fire inside a relay room," said a Fire Department spokesman,
Michael R. Loughran.
The fire underscored the fragility of the antiquated
equipment that keeps the subways moving and of the sensitive nodes
where that equipment is stored. Officials said they believed that
there were only two companies in the world that were able to repair
the signals. One is based in Pittsburgh, and the other in Paris.
The fixed-block signaling system has been in use since the New
York subway's inception in 1904. The transit
agency has invested $288 million on its first computerized signaling
system, scheduled to make its debut on the L line in Brooklyn and
in Manhattan in July. Computer-based train operation has
been a goal for decades, but since 1982 the transit agency has focused
its capital spending on basic maintenance.
Dozens of signal relay rooms like the one
destroyed on Sunday are scattered throughout the 722-mile subway
system, and it is impossible to fireproof them, Mr. Reuter
said. Firefighters had to forcibly remove the bolts when they arrived
at the locked relay room on Chambers Street, but the locks did nothing
to prevent the fire from entering. [...]
An expert on the city's subways expressed amazement
that a single fire in a confined space could have such a long-lasting
impact. "It seems astonishing that a single signal room would
be so central to the operation of the line that it would take five
years to recover from," said Clifton Hood, a transit historian
at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, N.Y.
"That's about as long as it took to build
that entire line of the IND."
| (New York) — There are huge problems tonight
for the New York subway. Several lines are either shut down or re-routed
after a fire at a switching station.
It all happened after a fire was set by
someone who apparently wandered into an unauthorized area.
How did it happen, especially in an age of
heightened security? Is there enough being done to protect restricted
areas on the rails?
The investigator' Jim Hoffer joins us now with more.
How fragile can a subway system be? One
homeless man and a shopping cart filled with debris crippled the
A and C lines. Several transit security experts and sources
behind the scenes say this latest fire underscores the system's
As MTA workers assess the fire damage to its control room, burning
questions about safety and security emerge.
Councilman John Liu, who chairs the transportation committee, says
a homeless man just trying to keep warm has exposed how incredibly
unprotected the city's subway system is.
John Liu - (D), NYC Council Member: "It does
not bode well for the safety of the passengers. It certainly does
not bode well for protecting our system against terrorist attacks."
A key question is - why wasn't this critical control room that
housed vital switching equipment, not completely fireproof. It's
not like this has never happened before. Back
in 1999 a control room fire impacted service on Brooklyn's G line
Doctor Robert Paaswell, the former director of Chicago's Transit
Authority, says this latest fire should force
the city to reexamine whether New York transit should go back to
having its own police force, like it did before merging with the
NYPD in 1995.
Back then the transit authority had close to 5,000 police. But
today, according to an NYPD website, it has less than 3,000 in its
Robert Paaswell, Phd., City College of New York: "You can
have a much quicker response if you control your own security force."
There are hundreds of control rooms and fireproofing all of them
would cost millions and millions. Something else to remember here:
every year for several years now, both the city and the state have
cut funding to the MTA. They're being asked to do more and more
with less and less.
NEW YORK — A fierce fire in a Bronx apartment
building trapped six firefighters Sunday and forced them to jump
from a fourth-floor window, killing two of them and severely injuring
four others. Later, a third firefighter was killed at a Brooklyn
The Bronx fire started in a third-floor apartment, and the six
firefighters were searching for people on the fourth floor, Mayor
Michael Bloomberg said.
"When the fire from the third floor broke through to the fourth,
they were faced with a horrifying choice," he said. "They jumped
out a fourth-floor window, knowing that they would be critically
Witnesses said it looked as though the firefighters were blown
from the building. [...]
MONTREAL - A fire broke out at a Montreal
seniors residence on Monday and injured 11 people, including two
Hydro-Québec workers and a firefighter.
The blaze forced 157 people to leave the building despite light
snow and a wind chill that made it feel like –20.
Emergency workers said a utility worker was in critical condition
in hospital, while eight residents were among those who had minor
injuries. Several people were taken to hospital suffering smoke
"We had an explosion in the boiler room here," said Gilles Ducharme
of the Montreal Fire Department. [...]
MAI MAHIU, Kenya - Terrified villagers in
Kenya's central Rift Valley continued to flee their homes on Monday,
fearing new violence after at least 15 people were killed in weekend
tribal clashes over water rights.
Despite government claims to have arranged and secured a truce
by boosting the police presence in the region, streams of people
-- most of them from the Kikuyu tribe -- were still arriving at
a makeshift camp here in the shadows of the Mount Longonot volcano.
More than 2,000 displaced Kikuyu are now in Mai Mahiu township
while a large but undetermined number of Maasai tribespeople were
reported to have fled their homes for Narok, further west.
The fighting, which started on Friday, pits crudely armed tribal
warriors from the nomadic Maasai against Kikuyu farmers in the
Mai Mahiu region, about 60 kilometers (35 miles) northwest of
the Kenyan capital of Nairobi.
"We have lost everything," said John Kinyanjui, a small-scale
farmer, as despairing Kikuyu tribesmen roamed the dusty, crime-ridden
Mai Mahiu township.
"We are now hoping the government will protect us and help us,"
he told AFP. [...]
YUZHNO-SAKHALINSK. Jan 24 - Underground tremors
measuring four points on the Richter scale were registered at
07:32 a.m. on Monday in Severo-Kurilsk, Paramushir island.
The Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk seismological station told Interfax that
the epicenter was in the Pacific Ocean 80 kilometers south of
The quake did not cause any death or destruction. There was
no threat of a tsunami to the Kuril Islands.
A cold snap gripped much of western Europe
on Monday with temperatures dipping below zero and snow and ice
affecting traffic in many areas.
Traffic around Germany was held up in several regions as snow
blocked roads and ice made driving difficult, police said, with
some 70 weather-related traffic jams across the country.
In the northwestern North Rhine-Westphalia region, Germany's
most populated, police said there more
than 760 accidents from Sunday afternoon thru Monday morning.
Icy conditions in southern Germany near the border with Austria
between Passau and Ratisbonne caused a massive pile-up of at least
15 trucks and 20 cars, injuring 18 people.
At least 25 accidents were reported on the main highway near
Delmenhorst, northern Germany, due to icy roads, leaving one person
seriously injured and many people hurt. The road was temporarily
In Saxony state, in the southeast, the driver of a truck transporting
wooden planks lost control of his vehicle near Chemnitz. It hit
a car and overturned on the road, blocking both lanes for several
hours. The driver, 33, escaped with minor head injuries.
In Britain, motorists were being warned of potentially hazardous
road conditions on Monday, with snowfalls expected to hit eastern
parts of the country.
Up to five centimetres (around two inches) of snow, as well
as hail and sleet, was expected to fall on eastern Scotland and
eastern parts of England, ranging from the far south to Northumberland
in the north.
There was even a small chance of some snow in London, which
in recent years has rarely seen snowfalls.
Temperatures also dipped in France, prompting the government
to declare an alert calling for more space in homeless shelters.
Snow was reported in the northwest of the country, and local
authorities in Normandy called on residents to limit their travel
and to signal any homeless people left out in the cold.
The Meteo France weather service said to expect frigid temperatures
of minus five and minus seven degrees Celsius (23 and 19 Fahrenheit)
in the coming days in the eastern part of the country.
Portugal, Spain and Belgium were also affected by the cold snap.
This week should be the coldest this year in Portugal, the weather
service said, while in Spain, where temperatures were expected
to dip to minus 15 Celsius in the center of the country, the government
urged motorists to try and stay off the roads.
In the Netherlands, a slight snowfall overnight and freezing
temperatures led to what was described Monday morning as "historic"
traffic jams equivalent to 560 kilometers (350 miles), or the
distance between Amsterdam and Paris.
In Turkey heavy snowfall in almost all parts of the country
since Saturday cut off hundreds of villages and disrupted traffic
nationwide on roads which were overcrowded by motorists returning
home after the four-day Eid al-Adha holiday.
In the central city of Kayseri, a 65-year-old man died Monday
after he fell and hit his head on the iced ground while cleaning
snow in his garden.
Heavy snowfall in Italy's central Abbruzi mountains forced the
closure of schools near L'Aquila.
Blizzards in Albania kept most of the roads closed in the north
and the south of the country.
Eight people were killed in a traffic accident near the northern
town of Qafa e Buallit during a heavy blizzard on Sunday, police
But Swedes, who two weeks ago were battered
by strong winds, found themselves enjoying unseasonably warm temperatures
and an unusual lack of snow.
"If this continues into February, this
will be one of the warmest winters in a long time," Hans
Alexandersson, a climate specialist at Sweden's national meteorology
institute, told AFP.
Unseasonably warm temperatures in Finland, around freezing instead
of the usual minus 15 to minus 10 degrees, have allowed high-speed
ferries to continue operating in the Gulf of Finland.
Newfoundlanders were preparing for another
winter wallop as Nova Scotia was battered
yesterday by the third blizzard in a week, part of record-breaking
weather that left most of the East shivering and shovelling while
much of the West was either warm or wet.
Nova Scotia, along with parts of New Brunswick and Prince Edward
Island, was pounded yesterday by a raging nor'easter that cancelled
most flights and brought up to 60 centimetres of snow and wind
gusts of up to 100 kilometres an hour.
"It's almost whiteout conditions right here. The snow's blowing
pretty hard and there's lots of snow on the ground," said David
Leblanc, a cashier at Wilson's Gas Stop in Halifax.
"A lot of people are coming in complaining about it, wishing
it would stop, but there's really not much we can do about it."
The weather, which was so fierce some snowplows were taken off
the road, slowed efforts to tow a fishing vessel that suffered
mechanical failure about 250 kilometres southeast of Cape Breton
on Friday. The ship was expected to reach port last night, said
Ray McFadgen of the coast guard.
The storm is expected to intensify and pummel Newfoundland today,
adding to the effects of a separate weather system that rocked
the province on Saturday, blanketing St. John's with 60.1 cm of
snow, which broke the all-time winter record of 54.9 cm set in
"When it hits the Atlantic Ocean, it's picking up some moisture
and it's getting worse," Environment Canada forecaster Michel
de Grosbois said.
Hearty Newfoundlanders flocked to stores yesterday to replenish
supplies, snapping up all the snow blowers at an "extremely busy"
Canadian Tire in St. John's.
"They're being prepared for the coming storm," harried clerk
Lesley Saunders said.
The fierce storm that thumped Nova Scotia yesterday is the same
one that hit Southern Ontario on Saturday with up to 15 cm of
snow in Toronto and wind chills around —30 and snarled roads and
air travel. The system, which originated in the U.S. Midwest,
also struck the U.S. Northeast yesterday, dumping up to 75 cm
of snow on Boston.
The Ontario Provincial Police received
reports of more than 800 accidents Saturday, most of which
were in the Greater Toronto Area and the Niagara Region. There
were no serious injuries.
"People [drive] too fast and they don't take into consideration
what the weather and road conditions are like, and they just seem
to want to speed, so they wind up in the ditch," Sergeant Joe
At Pearson International Airport in Toronto, the storm affected
nearly every flight Saturday, causing delays and cancellations,
leaving airlines scrambling to catch up yesterday. Their efforts
were slowed by an unrelated glitch in the computerized baggage
system, said Connie Turner, spokeswoman for the Greater Toronto
Toronto Fire Services Captain Michael Strapko said it appears
yesterday's slightly warmer temperatures caused a water main to
flood a hydro electrical station in downtown Toronto, closing
stores and tourist attractions and leaving residents without electricity
and phone service for an estimated 12 hours. Alberta,
on the other hand, was basking in spring-like weather. Calgary
hit 14 yesterday, as residents donned shorts and went jogging
"I'm doing a lesson right now with a guy with his shorts on,
but it's not golfable," said Kent Racz, a golf pro at the Calgary
Golf and Country Club. "It's beautiful, though." It was so balmy
on Saturday evening, Mr. Racz said, he smoked a cigar in his short
sleeves at 10 p.m. on his deck.
On the wet West Coast, British Columbians contended with yet
another day of rain as officials extended an evacuation order
to 10 North Vancouver families whose homes are under threat from
Saturday's 39.4 millimetres of rainfall broke
the previous Jan. 22 record of 35.8 mm in 1959.
"They're tired of it. . . . People are itchy to get gardening,
to get spring happening," said Greg Vaughan, nursery manager at
Garden Works in Vancouver.
"It's depressing. It took me three hours to get home from work
the other night, too, because the road was closed because it was
flooded. It usually takes an hour."
BIRCH ISLAND, B.C. - About 100 people have
been ordered to leave their homes in the community of Birch Island,
B.C., because of the threat of flooding.
The North Thompson River flows through the community, about
100 kilometres north of Kamloops, and is jammed with ice and swelling.
A bridge has already been damaged.
About 20 homes have been evacuated and 11 houses have been flooded.
Emergency officials say the situation could get much worse over
the next 24 hours. [...]
CALGARY - Two Calgary skiers were killed
and a third seriously injured when an avalanche roared down an
Austrian mountainside over the weekend.
The massive slide – about 300 metres wide – claimed the lives
of five people in total, including a third Canadian.
Linda Putnam, 40, and Hugh Hincks, 57, died in the avalanche.
Helen Hincks, 53, is listed in critical condition in hospital.
Putnam's husband Todd Gardiner was briefly knocked out by the
slide, but was able to try to rescue his wife and friends.
The slide hit at a resort in the Alps, near Innsbruck. The area
had been hit with heavy snow, strong winds and mild temperatures
in the days before, prompting an escalation of the avalanche alert
Austrian officials said the skiers and snowboarders caught in
the slide were out of bounds, but a relative of Gardiner's told
the Calgary Herald that he had assured them the two couples were
in-bounds and had hired a guide.
BANDA ACEH, Indonesia (AP) -
An earthquake jolted tsunami-ravaged Aceh province late Tuesday
afternoon, but the magnitude of the quake wasn't immediately known.
The tremor, which hit around 4:50 p.m., lasted about 10 seconds.
Local seismic experts didn't immediately know the quake's epicentre
Areas along the shores of the Indian Ocean have been jolted by
numerous aftershocks since the Dec. 26 tsunami that was spawned
by the world's largest earthquake in 40 years - keeping residents
still recovering from the disaster on edge.
At least 14 aftershocks hit Aceh on Monday, the strongest with
a 6.0 magnitude, according to the local geophysics station.
A strong earthquake Monday on Sulawesi island, far from Aceh, sent
residents fleeing to the hills even though it was centred under
land and not strong enough to create a tsunami.
| BEIJING, Jan. 25 -- The Shangshan
site at Huangzhai township's Qunan Village, located in Pujiang County
and under Zhejiang Province's Jinhua city, is one of the earliest
Neolithic Age ruins that has been discovered in China to date.
Recently, another significant archaeological breakthrough occurred
at the site: the discovery of the remains of cultivated rice dating
back ten thousand years proves that the downstream area of the Changjiang
River, where the Shangshan site is located, is one of the earliest
places in the world where grain cultivation was a way of life. [...]
The Wenbo Academy of Beijing University carried out tests on the
samples. They discovered several traces of cultivated rice on the
surface of the coal pottery as well as in the earth around the pottery.
The observations of the structures of these cultivated rice husks
in the pottery pieces showed that the grains were shorter but wider
than wild grains, and were cultivated rice that had been selected
by human beings from the early civilization.
They contain Britain's very
own X-Files: thousands of classified documents detailing credible
observations of unidentified flying objects reported by RAF personnel,
British Airways pilots and senior police officers.
Now under the Freedom of Information laws, files previously held
by the Ministry of Defence's special UFO department, known as SF4,
are being released to the public.
Among the most credible reports of a possible visit by extraterrestrial
life-forms is one made by an RAF pilot and two NCOs at RAF Boulmer
In July 1977 Flt Lt A M Wood reported "bright objects hanging
over the sea''. The MoD document adds that the RAF officer said
the closest object was "luminous, round and four to five times
larger than a Whirlwind helicopter". The UFOs were reported
to be three miles out to sea at a height of about 5,000ft.
The officer, whose report is supported by Cpl Torrington and Sgt
Graham, said: "The objects separated. Then one went west of
the other, as it manoeuvred it changed shape
to become body-shaped with projections like arms and legs."
The men who were positioned at the picket post at the RAF station
were able to observe the strange objects for an hour and 40 minutes.
At the same time a radar station detected the objects in exactly
the same position as the men had observed them. It registered them
to be between 30 to 35 degrees before they disappeared from the
The report describes Flt Lt Wood as "reliable and sober".
It adds: "Two contacts were noted on radar, both T84 and T85,
at RAF Boulmer. They were also seen on the Staxton Wold radar picture
which is relayed to West Drayton... On seeing the objects on radar
the duty controller checked with the SRO at RAF West Drayton as
to whether he could see the objects on radar supplied from RAF Staxton
This account was deemed so sensitive to the national interest that
the MoD had delayed its release for an extra three years. But under
the Freedom of Information Act, which came into force on 1 January,
the file has been reviewed and declassified.
Some of the other reports are equally compelling. A British Airways
Tri-Star on a return flight from Portugal in July 1976 was involved
in an incident which led to the scrambling of fighter jets.
The MoD report says that the Tri-Star captain reported "four
objects - two round brilliant white, two cigar-shaped" 18 miles
north of Faro. The captain was so alarmed by what he and the passengers
had seen that he reported the sighting to air traffic controllers
at Lisbon and Heathrow. The report says that fighters were immediately
scrambled from Lisbon.
Shortly afterwards another Tri-Star crew on the same flight path
reported a similar unexplained sighting. This time they said there
was a "bright object with two contrails" between Fatima
and Faro. It remained stationary before moving north and then "changing
In another incident in the same month two Tri-Star co-pilots and
five of their cabin crew reported "passing underneath a bright
white circular object".
The files also contain reports compiled by police officers of their
first-hand experiences of observing UFOs. On 8 April 1977, Superintendent
Cooper of West Yorkshire Police described a sighting while on duty
in a patrol car in Laisterdyke. He said: "I looked to my right
and through the side window of the car I saw a bright silver light.
At first I thought this was a bright star. It was low in the sky,
a long distance away... then I thought that this light was moving.
The light was visible just over the rooftops of the houses on Ferrand
Avenue at the junction with Hambledon Avenue."
Superintendent Cooper continued to observe the object as it moved
along the rooftops until the light "suddenly vanished".
He said: "The light went out and I could see nothing whatsoever
in the sky where the light had been. I then contacted Operations
who reported no other sightings recorded."
MoD officers working at the UFO unit have often made reference
to the credibility of the person making the reports. Observations
made by former servicemen appear to be taken more seriously than
others. An MoD report sent from RAF Cosford on 14 July 1976 noted
that the 66-year-old woman from Wolverhampton, who claimed to have
seen a "white, bar-shaped" object in the night sky, was
married to a retired RAF pilot but later the report added dismissively:
"He did not observe anything from his seated position."
But the veracity of the reports is brought into question as soon
as there is any suspicion of alcohol influencing the observations.
Several sightings between 2 and 5 September 1977 are dismissed even
though the informants are adamant they saw a "pulsating bright
light, emitting a vapour trail" near Derby. The file ends:
"Four witnesses had been imbibing at the local hostelry and
their sightings were discounted."
Scepticism creeps into the MoD reports if it emerges that it is
not the first time a person has seen a UFO. Between 7 and 8 August
1976, a Rotherham man reported four sightings to his local radar
station. The comment on the UFO file reads: "He evidently runs
a UFO sightings club and has been logging UFOs for three years."
British UFO hunters will no doubt use these sorts of comments to
help support the theory that the Government has been suppressing
evidence of a visit by extraterrestrial life.
However, some of the sightings strike a rather salutary note. A
white, bright light that caught the attention of a woman in Tenterden
in September 1977 was immediately reported to Ashford police station
and her observations duly noted.
But in the MoD file, the officers find a more mundane explanation
for her experience. The officers says: "She saw a long white
light in the front with a flashing red light at the rear. The informant
states: 'like a jumbo jet'."
orange object is pictured in the sky above Fukuoka on
FUKUOKA -- A vapor trial left by an airplane caused a commotion
in Fukuoka, after residents thought it was a meteor or UFO and
flooded a local meteorological office with calls.
Residents saw the unusual orange object in the sky on Sunday
evening, and began phoning the Fukuoka District Meteorological
Observatory to ask what it was.
As the calls continued, officials checked it and found that
it was actually an aircraft vapor trail that had been lit up by
the late afternoon sun.
Observatory officials said vapor trails
can suddenly be cut off due to the amount of moisture in the air,
creating the appearance of a comet tail.
"It's actually something that happens a lot. There's no need
to worry," a worker at the observatory said.
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