Translations from other sites
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
Read The News, Just look Into My (beady) Eyes And repeat After Me:
'Arabs Evil, Zionists Good!'"
World leaders and Holocaust survivors
today gather to mark the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.
Twenty nine world leaders will gather at the site of the Auschwitz-Birkenau
camp in Poland - where up to 1.5 million people died - to pay their
Soviet troops reached the camp on January 27, 1945, finding 7,000
survivors, many barely alive. The retreating Nazis had driven most
of the prisoners who still had strength to walk out into the snow
on a "death march" toward camps further west.
Today Jack Straw, Vladimir Putin and Dick Cheney will join the
Israeli and Polish presidents and survivors at the infamous rail
siding at Birkenau camp, where Nazi doctors carried out the selection
of new arrivals.
That meant choosing those deemed able to be worked to death from
the majority that were immediately to the gas chambers.
Six million Jews died in the Nazi camps, along with several million
others, including Soviet prisoners of war, Roma gypsies, homosexuals,
beggars, alcoholics, mentally ill and disabled people and political
opponents of the Nazis.
In Auschwitz and Birkenau - the most notorious of the death camps
- up to 1.5 million people died in the gas chambers or of disease,
starvation, abuse and exhaustion.
The German president, Horst Köhler, will attend but is not
scheduled to speak.
In Britain, the Queen, Tony Blair and religious leaders will join
more than 600 victims from the concentration camps and ghettos in
a ceremony marking the atrocities.
Grandchildren of the survivors will read a list of 3,000 of their
relatives who perished at the hands of the Nazis. As part of the
programme, the Queen will lead survivors by lighting the first of
60 candles in Westminster Hall.
Former soldier Charles Salt, 87, who entered the Belsen camp in
Germany shortly after it was liberated by the British in 1945, will
escort the Duke of Edinburgh to his place.
Prince Harry, who sparked outrage with his Nazi soldier fancy dress
uniform, is not attending an official event.
Survivors who returned to Poland for the commemoration stressed
that each new generation needs to be educated about the Holocaust.
"It's very important. You are the last generation that can
talk to the survivors; we are every day less," Trudy Spira,
who was deported to Auschwitz in 1944 with her family as an 11-year-old
from Slovakia, told reporters in Krakow.
"We can give living testimony ... to let the world know, to
try to get them to learn even though they don't, so that it doesn't
The German foreign minister, Joschka Fischer, will attend memorial
events this evening In the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki,
which was once a vibrant hub of Jewish culture.
More than 65,000 Greek Jews - nearly 90% of the country's prewar
population - were killed during the second world war, many of them
at Auschwitz. There are now around 5,000 Jews in Greece.
David Saltiel, head of Thessaloniki's 1,100-strong Jewish community,
said the memorials did not concern Jews alone. "It is an event
to mark acts of barbarism, and it concerns anyone who believes in
the value of freedom."
The Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, yesterday said that the
Holocaust had taught Jews that they could rely on no one but themselves
for their survival.
"The allies knew of the annihilation of the Jews. They knew
and did nothing," he told the Israeli parliament.
"When, in the summer of 1944, the mass deportations in Hungary
were carried out, the allies did not bomb the train tracks which
led to Auschwitz from Hungary, nor the murder facilities in Birkenau,
and this was despite the fact that they had the ability to do so."
The home secretary, Charles Clarke, said the Holocaust had taught
the responsibility" of ensuring a democratic and tolerant society,
free of the evils of prejudice, racism and other forms of bigotry,
lies on us all".
A thought-provoking new anthology
edited by English historian Vivian Bird casts stark new light on
what really happened at Auschwitz during World War II. As the evidence
shows, the official "facts" just don’t add up.
In the summer of 1997 I was invited to speak at a California college
seminar about my book, Final Judgment, which contends that Israel’s
intelligence agency, the Mossad, played a front-line role in the
JFK assassination conspiracy alongside the CIA. Almost instantaneously
I was hit by a media barrage orchestrated by the Anti-Defamation
League (ADL) of B’nai B’rith, a lobby for Israel.
The ADL told the press I was "a Holocaust denier" and,
for that reason alone, I should not be allowed to discuss my book
(which, incidentally, never once mentions the Holocaust). Evidently
the ADL was determined to shift the focus away from what my book
really does address, so they determined the best way to discredit
me was to smear me as "a Holocaust denier" (which I am
The ADL’s tactic succeeded, setting off a firestorm of opposition—a
"holocaust," so to speak—and the seminar was canceled,
illustrating one point most clearly: The Holocaust has become a
powerful propaganda tool for the state of Israel.
And what is important to remember is this: What did—or did
not—happen at the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland is,
in fact, integral to the foundation of the basic story of the Holocaust.
Auschwitz is central to the Holocaust legend. If it can be proved
that the official stories we have been told about Auschwitz are
not true, the entire fabric of the Holocaust ultimately has to unravel.
What, then, did happen at Auschwitz?
On April 18, 1945, in the immediate aftermath of World War II,
The New York Times reported that 4 million people died at Auschwitz.
This "fact" was reported over and over again during the
next half-century, without being questioned.
However, on January 26, 1995, commemorating the 50th anniversary
of the Auschwitz liberation, both The Washington Post and The New
York Times itself reported that the Polish authorities had determined
that, at most, 1.5 million people (of all races and religions)—not
"4 million"—died at Auschwitz of all causes, including
Yet this was not the first time this drastically reduced figure
appeared in the major media. Almost five years previously, on July
17, 1990, The Washington Times reprinted a brief article from The
London Daily Telegraph. That article stated:
Poland has cut its estimate of the number of people killed by the
Nazis in the Auschwitz death camp from 4 million to just over 1
million . . . The new study could rekindle the controversy over
the scale of Hitler’s "final solution" . . .
Franciszek Piper, director of the historical committee of the Auschwitz-Birkenau
Museum, said yesterday that, according to recent research, at least
1.3 million people were deported to the camp, of whom about 223,000
The 1.1 million victims included 960,000 Jews, between 70,000 and
75,000 Poles, nearly all of the 23,000 Gypsies sent to the camp
and 15,000 Soviet prisoners of war.
Shmuel Krakowsky, head of research at Israel’s Yad Vashem
memorial for Jewish victims of the Holocaust, said the new Polish
figures were correct: "The 4 million figure was let slip by
Capt. Rudolf Hoess, the death camp’s Nazi commander. Some
have bought it, but it was exaggerated." . . . [P]laques commemorating
the deaths of 4 million victims were removed from the Auschwitz
museum earlier this month.
This detail of history was intriguing, since, after all, history
books had said for a generation that of the 6 million Jews who died
during the Holocaust, 4 million died at Auschwitz alone. Thus, if
the new facts were correct, the actual overall number of Jewish
Holocaust victims had to be considerably less than the much-talked-about
figure of 6 million. Put simply: subtract the former 4 million Jews
dead at Auschwitz from the popular 6 million, and that leaves 2
million Jews dead. Simple math—and a controversial conclusion
More recently, Walter Reich, former director of the U.S. Holocaust
Memorial Museum in Washington, jumped into the debate over Auschwitz.
On September 8, 1998, The Washington Post published an article by
Reich in which he addressed Jewish outrage over a group of elderly
Polish nuns who wanted to place crosses in memory of Christians
who died at Auschwitz. Reich was responding to what he described
as a "well-meaning" August 31, 1998 editorial in The Post
about the affair.
Reich commented that the editorial "illustrates how old fictions
about Auschwitz have been accepted as facts—fictions that
have been used repeatedly to distort the camp’s history."
Evidently, the Post had forgotten its own report on the Auschwitz
numbers that it had published three years previously and chose,
instead, to repeat "old fictions . . . accepted as facts."
What, then, were those "old fictions . . . accepted as facts"?
Here’s what Reich had to say:
The Post identified Auschwitz-Birkenau as the death camp "where
3 million Jews and millions of others were murdered by the Nazis."
Recent scholarship by a Polish historian has put the number of deaths
there conservatively at about 1.1 million, with other estimates
ranging to about 1.5 million. Approximately 90 percent of the dead
The Post’s numbers may have been derived in part from the
inflated estimate—originally of Soviet origin and endorsed
by Polish authorities after the war—of about 4 million dead.
This number, and other numbers of similar magnitude, were repeated
so often that they came to be accepted by many as true, even though
historians in Poland and elsewhere have revised this number down
Honest people find no problem with Reich’s call (in the essay)
for "only words of accurate history" in reportage about
Auschwitz. Today, a major first step toward "only words of
accurate history" is the release of a new anthology on Auschwitz,
assembled by English writer Vivian Bird.
Auschwitz: The Final Count examines the "new" reports
in the mainstream media (outlined above) and provides essential
additional facts that must be considered in order for the full story
of Auschwitz to finally be told. Bird’s 109-page book is a
compendium (supplemented with commentary by Bird) of four complete,
previously published works relating to Auschwitz and the Holocaust.
The book features a fascinating introduction by Bird exploring
the little-known but thoroughly documented phenomenon in which the
numbers of the official Auschwitz "death toll" have plummeted
from a "high" of 9,000,000 dead to a rock bottom of 73,137
(of whom 38,031 were Jews). And readers will note that of the 26
widely varying figures cited by Bird, all come from a variety of
"responsible" and mainstream sources. No figure Bird cites
comes from any source accused of "denying the Holocaust,"
whatever that means.
Clearly, the number of people who died at Auschwitz is central
to understanding what did happen there. But the figures keep changing.
If Bird’s book proves anything, it proves that.
However, there’s much more to Auschwitz than the changing
numbers. The essays in Bird’s volume each provide a uniquely
different facet to the overall problem:
• The Auschwitz Lie by Thies Christophersen is an insider’s
view of Auschwitz. The German author, an agrarian, was sent to Auschwitz,
not as an inmate, but as a scientist researching the development
of synthetic rubber. Working side by side with inmate staff, Christophersen
saw, firsthand, day-to-day life at Auschwitz and, in postwar years,
was astounded to hear the stories of "gassings" and all
the tall tales that we today associate with Auschwitz.
His essay, The Auschwitz Lie, first published in German in 1973,
caused great consternation. However, Christophersen would not back
down, and, as a consequence, he was variously fined or imprisoned
for daring to tell his eyewitness account. Those accustomed to "docu-drama"
renditions of Auschwitz will find a new perspective in Christophersen’s
• Zyklon B, Auschwitz, and the Trial of Dr. Bruno Tesch is
the second feature in Bird’s anthology. Written by a veteran
chemist, the late Dr. William Lindsey, this is a carefully documented
demolition of the war crimes trial of Dr. Tesch, who was ultimately
convicted and hanged. The unfortunate Tesch was co-owner of a company
which bought in bulk (from the manufacturers) and then supplied
(as the middleman) to the German concentration camp authorities
the now-infamous Zyklon B pesticide.
Although we have been told Zyklon B was used to gas millions of
Jews to death, Lindsey shows that the compound was used as an insecticide
and disinfectant to delouse not only the Auschwitz inmates but also
SS members running the camp and to fumigate their clothes, bunkhouses
etc. Zyklon B, in short, was used to maintain and sustain human
life—not to end it. Lindsey’s essay examines the fraudulent
evidence and testimony in the Tesch trial and eviscerates another
critical element of not only the Auschwitz legend, but of the Holocaust
story as a whole.
• Inside the Auschwitz "Gas Chambers" is by Fred
A. Leuchter, a spunky American engineer once known as perhaps the
foremost U.S. authority on the mechanics of judicial execution.
Leuchter describes how he conducted scientific experiments on the
structures at Auschwitz that court historians say were used to exterminate
vast numbers of people—the infamous gas chambers. Leuchter
concluded no such gassings could have ever taken place as the official
story describes. For daring to present his findings—the only
known such study carried out at the gas chambers—Leuchter
was relentlessly harassed. But his point was made. His findings
cut right to the core of the matter of Auschwitz.
• The final essay is Why Is "The Holocaust" Important?
written by TBR publisher Willis A. Carto, who points out that the
Holocaust has become a lucrative industry unto itself, used as a
highly effective political tool to not only extort billions of German
and American taxpayer dollars to Israel but also to force the United
States to conduct its foreign policy in a fashion beneficial to
Tel Aviv (and contrary to U.S. national interests). Carto’s
essay puts the Holocaust in perspective.
Thus, there’s clearly much more to the story of Auschwitz
and the Holocaust than meets the eye. The facts assembled paint
a perhaps much more interesting story about what really did happen.
Bird’s book will, in many ways, very much serve as the final
judgment on Auschwitz. Auschwitz: The Final Count will outrage many—but
as Bird puts it: "For those who care to investigate the facts—not
the myths—about the events of World War II, this volume should
put at least some of the major legends of the Holocaust to rest."
Subjecting an ethnic group or
nation to torture under any pretext is quite unacceptable, but it
is worse when the suffering is abused, and it is the worst when
a group tries to exaggerate the event for political purposes.
By exaggerating the suffering of the Jews during World War II,
Zionist groups and the Israeli regime are taking advantage of the
situation by raising the issue at international organizations in
order to neutralize any opposition to their diabolical plots.
No one is trying to ignore the suffering of the Jews at the hands
of the Nazis, but the suffering of a religious/ethnic group should
not cause the world to forget the suffering of another nation or
allow those who suffered persecution to do the same injustice to
Every year on January 27 the media give wide coverage to the so-called
Holocaust and Tel Aviv rebukes the world for the historic suffering
that they claim they experienced in the past.
Today the Holocaust has very complicated connotations. The exaggeration
of this phenomenon can be interpreted as the Europeans’ attempt
to salve their guilty consciences by handing over the lands of the
Palestinian nation to a people to whom the Europeans believe they
have done an injustice.
After the end of the war in 1945, the Allies along with Zionist
leaders began formulating strange conceptions about the killing
of Jews at Nazi camps which a modern man can hardly accept. By conjuring
up images of gas chambers, they are attempting to convey the idea
that the Jews have undergone indescribable torture and that the
world’s conscience should be awakened to this issue so that
the Jews are not subjected to injustice again.
In pursuit of this goal, the West, spearheaded by Britain and the
United States, began sowing seeds for the seizure of Palestine and
condemned the Palestinians to pay for a crime that the Westerners
themselves had committed. Thus, this nation, which claims to have
been the perennial victim of violence and torture over the course
of history, is now doing the same thing to the Palestinians.
It was not long before a group of revisionist historians in the
West began to question the claim that six million Jews were butchered
by the Nazis and even asked whether the slaughter of six million
Jews during World War Two was possible or not.
The revisionist historians have proven in two decades of study
that if Hitler had carried out a systematic program to eradicate
the Jews, it would have taken more time than the six years that
the war lasted. They have also proven that such an act of ethnic
cleansing through the use of the poison gas Zyklon-B, as the Zionists
claim, was not possible at the time.
Norman J. Finkelstein, a Jewish professor at New
York University critical of Zionist policies, has called the claim
the “Holocaust Industry”, which is only meant to boost
support for the government of Israel.
Over the past several decades and since the event was questioned,
Zionist propagandists have tried to substantiate this claim through
The Zionists are trying to revitalize an issue which has become
discredited in the eyes of world public opinion by using the press,
radio, television, the Internet, and, most importantly of all, cinema
and the great filmmaking industry in Hollywood, since most of the
significant players of this influential industry are Jews.
It can be said that any war, and particularly one that affects
the world, will always lead to many problems and disasters, and
World War II is no exception.
Undoubtedly, the Nazi concentration camps were not holiday resorts
and imposed various difficulties on the prisoners, just like any
other detention camps in other wars.
Many people in these camps, including innocent men, women and children,
died of hunger, illness, and other causes.
The victims were from different nations and ethnic groups, including
the Jews, who also lost many people, but the Jews were not the only
victims of the war and a greater number of innocent people from
other ethnic groups also lost their lives.
The issue of the Holocaust and the anniversaries held for the event
are only meant to promote the repressive policies of the Zionists.
The Jews suffered as a result of Hitler’s expansionism, just
like other innocent victims but should not be granted special privileges
over the others.
The declaration that six million Jews were killed in World War
II is an exaggeration of the truth. Furthermore, the suffering and
pains of a nation cannot justify their crimes against other nations.
The issue of the Holocaust is only being highlighted to cover up
Israel’s crimes in Palestine.
JERUSALEM (AP) - In a speech
marking the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, Israeli
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Wednesday that the world "didn't
lift a finger" to stop the Holocaust.
Sharon said Jews learned a lesson from the genocide that they can
only rely on themselves.
In unusually harsh remarks to parliament,
Sharon noted that when the Nazis began deporting Jews from Hungary
to Auschwitz in large numbers in 1944, Allied forces did not bomb
the railroad tracks leading to the death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland.
Sharon said that over a period of several weeks, more than 600,000
Jews from Hungary were killed in Auschwitz.
"The sad and terrible conclusion is that no one cared that
Jews were being killed," Sharon said.
"At the time of the most terrible test, friends and benefactors
didn't lift a finger," he said. "This is the Jewish lesson
of the Holocaust."
"The state of Israel has learned this lesson, and since its
founding, it has defended itself and its residents, and provides
safety to Jews everywhere. We know that we can only rely on ourselves,"
For this reason, Israel as the Jewish state must always remain
strong, Sharon said.
"We must always remember that this is the only place in the
world in which we, the Jews, have the right and the power to defend
ourselves with our own strength," Sharon said. "This we
will never surrender."
Even 60 years after Auschwitz was liberated, anti-Semitism still
exists throughout the world, Sharon said.
According to a report in the
Israeli newspaper, "Haaretz" (reproduced
below) a lengthy, well-researched letter was published this week
in the influential Russian newspaper,"Rus-pravoslavnaya,"
signed by 500 Russian newspaper editors, academics and intellectuals,
connecting the Talmud to the expulsion of the Palestinians. The
document is so sophisticated it extensively quotes from the Shulchan
Aruch and other Talmudic law codes, correctly citing these "sacred"
texts as the genocidal backdrop to Israeli leader Avigdor Lieberman's
plan for the mass deportation ("transfer") of all Palestinians.
(Anyone who can furnish this writer with a complete copy of this
document in Russian or English, please do so).
By specifically citing the Shulchan Aruch, the Russian authors
the standard disinformation ploy used by rabbis and their apologists
when responding to exposes of Talmudic hate. The rabbinate lie to
the inquiring dumb goyim and claim that "the Talmud is only
a series of debates," hoping that the naive goy doesn't know
the difference between responsora and minhag on one hand, and the
Mishneh Torah and Shulchan Aruch on the other. The latter two constituting
the halacha which rigidly regulate every minute and every action
in the life of an observant Judaic.
The Russians, among the world's most accomplished chess players,
have not fallen for that semantic trap, even as many Americans have.
Americans often report to this writer that my book "Judaism's
Gods" can't be true because they have found out from the rabbis
that the Talmud is "just a collection of non-binding debates."
You will also note in the article below that Russian-Israeli Natan
Sharansky, who, according to the US media, is reputed to have assisted
with or at the very least inspired the writing of George W. Bush's
Second Inaugural Address on "freedom," has called on Vladimir
Putin to "treat the authors of the document harshly."
In other words, Sharansky wants Putin to fine or imprison the authors
for criticizing the Talmud. Here is the "freedom" exemplified
by the American-Israeli empire, the freedom to suppress the intellectual
expression of the enemies of the Pharisees. Meanwhile, every conceivable
incitement against Christ and true Christians and against Muslims
and Mohammed is allowed to flourish in the U.S. under the shibboleth
of "democracy" and "fighting terror."
Russia harbors the largest and most astute analysts and critics
Freemasonry, Judaism and Zionism in the world. No wonder that
Russophobes like the John Birchers are encouraged by the occult
secret society known as the OTO (as documented by Craig Heimbichner),
while certain segments of Catholic "Fatima apparition"
believers are backed and promoted by Rabbi Meyer Schiller. Both
of these groups are used to agitate against Russia as the supreme
font of evil in the world, by
Israelis and Freemasons who fear that Russia, alone among the nations
of the West, has the potential to produce a government that will
one day wield the might of the state to officially oppose Freemasonry
Blood libel makes comeback in Russia
By Lily Galili
Haaretz | Jan. 25, 2005
A blood libel accusing Jews of murdering Christians for ritual
- a concept that disappeared for years from Russia's anti-Semitic
lexicon - made a comeback this week as an important crux in a remarkably
fierce anti-Semitic diatribe that was published Sunday in the Russian
The fundamentalist Pravoslavic paper, which defines itself as
"patriotic," ran a letter asking the Prosecutor General
of the Russian
Federation, Vladimir Ustinov, to open an investigation against all
Jewish organizations throughout the country on suspicion of spreading
incitement and provoking ethnic strife.
The letter calls for an end to government subsidies for these groups.
The lengthy document was signed by 500 people, including newspaper
editors, academics and intellectuals. These signatories were joined
by 19 nationalist members of the lower parliament, the State Duma,
from the nationalist Rodina (homeland) party, Vladimir Zhirinovsky's
Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), and the Russian Communist
Even though the story was picked up by radio stations and leading
Internet sites in Russian, there has been no official condemnation.
The libelous document is divided into chapters with such titles
Morality of Jewish Fascism," "Provocateurs and People
"Jewish Aggression as an Expression of Deviltry."
"I'm not a psychiatrist, and I can't help them if they're
Russia's co-chief rabbi, Berel Lazar, in response. "The worst
possibility is that they're sane and are making a cynical move for
The blood libel, described here as a ritual murder of Christian
that has already been proved in the courts, is only one thrust of
letter, which is thousands of words long and weaves a convoluted
web between classic religious anti-Semitism and current anti-Israeli
The writers see a direct line between the Shulhan Aruch (Code of
Jewish Law) and other halakhic sources they quote profusely, and
the transfer program espoused by Yisrael Beitenu chairman Avigdor
The letter also indirectly criticizes President Putin and the state
courts for their policy of trying anyone charged with anti-Semitism
incitement without verifying the claims' veracity. Those charged
the truth, the letter maintains, and those accused of anti-Semitism
were nothing but patriots.
The writers make use of quotations from traditional Jewish sources
and current Israeli and Jewish publications. In the chapter on the
Jewish oligarchs' devastating control of Russia's economy and politics,
the letter quotes Jewish writers from Israel and the United States,
along with excerpts from interviews with the oligarchs themselves.
Israeli Minister of Diaspora Affairs Natan Sharansky expressed
yesterday at the fierceness of the anti-Semitic letter, saying that
although the signatories represent a slim segment of Russian society,
latent anti-Semitism is clearly a major danger there.
Sharansky quoted Putin saying that anti-Semitism is not only a
danger to his country's Jewish population, but a threat to the stability
of his regime.
According to Sharansky, even though popular anti-Semitism is entrenched
in Russian culture, Putin viewed the Jews as a bridge in new relations
with the West, and granted freedom to Jewish communities there.
"However, Putin, for reasons of his own, precisely now needs
to bolster Russia's national pride," Sharansky said. "The
problem is that the moment you start playing with nationalist slogans,
they immediately link up with the most primitive prejudice."
Sharansky called on Putin and the Russian parliament to treat the
letter and its authors harshly.
The disengagement plan will cause
a humanitarian disaster if Israel and the donor countries fail to
make preparations for rehabilitating the Palestinians health system
in the Gaza Strip, Physicians for Human Rights said in a report
The organization warns that Israel must continue after the pullout
to allow Palestinians to leave Gaza for life-saving treatments either
in Israel or abroad. At the same time, the organization says, Israel
is obliged to plan and implement the rehabilitation of the Palestinian
health system, which has been in dire straits in recent years.
The report notes, for example, that the beds per
capita ratio in Palestinian hospitals is 614:1, as opposed to 145:1
In light of the state of the Palestinian health system, thousands
of patients from the Gaza Strip are required every year to seek
treatment at hospitals in Israel, East Jerusalem, the West Bank
or overseas. Hospitals in Gaza, for example, don't perform catheterizations
or cardiac surgery, and don't have the facilities to treat burn
victims, administer radiotherapy, carry out MRI scans and more.
The report states that thus far Israel has done nothing to continue
allowing patients who require medical services unavailable in Gaza
to seek such services outside the Strip following the pullout.
Physicians for Human Rights estimates that some $250 million a
year will be needed to bring the medical services in Gaza up to
the level available in Jordan.
army is set to activate a special psychological warfare unit (PWU)
whose main role is to "disseminate disinformation" and
"carefully manipulated information" about Iran and other
countries in the Middle East deemed to be "hostile".
According to Israeli media sources, the unit, which was disbanded
some five years ago, is staffed with dozens of mostly Arabic-speaking
intelligence officers including Shin Beth operatives. Shin Beth
is Israel's domestic intelligence service.
The PWU is to be headed by a veteran intelligence officer and will
be mainly involved in "the battle for
Only last year the Israeli Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon spoke of
the need to "sear into the consciousness
of the Palestinians" that resistance to Israeli occupation
The Israeli army did attempt to put to effect Ya'alons recommendations
through military incursions and the destruction of property belonging
to Palestinians. The Jenin massacre in 2002 and the destruction
of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip in 2003 were apparently part
of Ya'alon's insistence of "searing into the consciousness
of the Palestinians".
With the military incursions failing to have an 'effect' on the
Palestinians, the PWU is being re-activated in order to conduct
"awareness operations" that would influence Palestinian
public opinion. These "awareness operations" would be
conducted though propaganda and disinformation.
The unit is reportedly already being activated
in the Gaza Strip where 'messages' are being spread that ordinary
Palestinians are suffering because of the resistance and not because
of the occupation and illegal Jewish settlements in the area.
Another step being conducted by the PWU is at the Mintar (Karni)
Crossing between Gaza and Israel where posters saying "Closed
because of Hamas" have been put up.
The objective behind the 'poster campaign' is so that Palestinians
target their bitterness and anger at resistance groups such as Hamas
and Islamic Jihad rather than at Israel or the Talmudic Jewish settlers.
The Palestinian political analyst Hani al Masri believes that Israel's
psychological war has a very limited effect on the Palestinians.
"I think most Palestinians, including myself, don't believe
and even don't listen to the Israeli media. We know they are first-class
liars. The continuation of the resistance and the strong public
support it enjoys testifies to the mendacity of Israeli claims.
Israeli propaganda won't succeed. Israeli criminal actions on the
ground have a greater effect than any PR efforts."
Instead al Masri believes that what is actually happening is that
it's the Israeli public who is being effected by the plight of the
"On the contrary, we have been able to sear into their consciousness
that the occupation is futile and will have to come to an end and
that there can be no peace and security for Israel as long as the
occupation is not dismantled."
The PWU is said to have a definite "working
relationship" with Israeli journalists and the media as a whole.
According to Amos Harel, the author of the PWU report, Israeli
media did publish and circulate reports originating from the Israeli
army propaganda department.
"Psychological warfare officers were in touch with Israeli
journalists covering the Arab world, gave them translated articles
from Arab paper (which were planted by the Israeli army) and pressed
the Israeli reporters to publish the same news here," he says.
He points out that purpose of the disinformation was to strengthen
the perception of an Iranian threat in Israeli public opinion.
occupation killed nearly 650 Palestinian children since the outbreak
of the intifada
Israeli occupation forces shot dead on Wednesday a three-year-old
girl inside in her house in Gaza, witnesses and medical sources
Witnesses said that Rahma Ibrahim Abu Shamas
was inside her house in Deir al Balah in Gaza when the Israeli gunfire
struck her in the head, killing her instantly.
The Israeli military admitted the killing, saying it was investigating
A spokesman for the Israeli military justified the girl’s
killing, saying that soldiers thought that Palestinian resistance
fighters were somewhere in the neighborhood.
However, the Israeli-state run radio, Cal Yisrael, asserted that
no Palestinians fighters were present in the area at the time of
PA security officials in the Gaza Strip strongly denounced the
killing, a "another hideous crime."
"Imagine that a Jewish child was killed…and
how Israel would react…they are killing our children in cold
blood as they are vociferously reminding the world of the so-called
holocaust," said Abu Muammar, a Palestinian security official
in Deir al Balah.
Sine the Palestinian uprising, intifada broke out more than four
years ago, the Israeli occupation killed more than 650 Palestinian
children and minors. And hundreds more were also injured or maimed
by Israeli gunfire and shells.
During the past week, the Israeli occupation forces killed at least
five Palestinians, three of them children.
The latest killing came as the Palestinian resistance groups agreed
with the newly elected Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on a
draft ceasefire deal .
Under this agreement, Resistance gorups should stop anti-Israel
attacks, and Israel too should stop all forms of assassinations
or so-called targeted killings, home-demolitions, incursions into
According to a report published by the Israeli newspaper ha'aretz,
the Israeli army ordered a suspension of assassinations of leaders
of the Palestinian political groups and resistance fighters, but
the killing of the girl on Wednesday raises questions about the
credibility of the report.
Ten-year-old child wounded
Also Wednesday a ten-year-old child was hit with the Israeli gunfire
in his leg in village of Seelat Al-Harthiya to the west of Jenin
Correspondent said that the shooting was heard all over the town
as occupation soldiers continue to storm civilians houses, claiming
they're searching for Hamas members.
On Tuesday, Israeli soldiers raided and ransacked the house of
Sheikh Yehya Ziyud, whom their arrested earlier in the day together
with his brother and ten others.
Jewish settlers attacked a car carrying a
Palestinian security delegation which had just met with their Israeli
counterparts at the Tufah crossing on Wednesday.
Aljazeera's Gaza correspondent said the Palestinian officials
were forced to return from the talks in military vehicles and others
returned on foot as their vehicle had been damaged during the meeting.
Windows were smashed and tyres slashed, he said.
The meeting held between Israeli and Palestinian field leaders on
Wednesday discussed the deployment of Palestinian security forces,
identifying their positions, numbers and type of weapons allowed.
The Israeli delegation agreed to offer safety measures at Abu
Huli military crossing and Rafah crossing.
This so-called ill treatment
and torture in detention centers, stories of which were spread everywhere
among the people, and later by the prisoners who were freed…
were not, as some assumed, inflicted methodically, but were excesses
committed by individual prison guards, their deputies, and men who
laid violent hands on the detainees.
Can anyone tell me who said that? Was it:
A) George W. Bush
B) John Ashcroft
C) Donald Rumsfeld
D) Someone else
If you answered “someone else", you’d be right.
It was Rudolf Hoess, SS Kommandant of the infamous Auschwitz death
camp where over 2.5 million people were murdered.
Conservatives, who love to call Liberals whiny, get whiny as hell
when the Bush administration is compared to Nazi Germany, or to
fascism in general. Guess what, though? The comparisons are beginning
to come through more and more.
Scott Horton wrote in the LA Times:
Consider the memorandum written by Alberto Gonzales – then
the president’s attorney, now his nominee for attorney general.
He wrote that the Geneva Convention was “obsolete” when
it came to the war on terror. Gonzales reasoned that our adversaries
were not parties to the convention and that the Geneva concept was
ill suited to anti-terrorist warfare.
In 1941, General-Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel, the head of Hitler’s
Wehrmacht, mustered identical arguments against recognizing the
Geneva rights of Soviet soldiers fighting on the Eastern Front.
Keitel even called Geneva “obsolete,” a remark noted
by U.S. prosecutors at Nuremberg, who cited it as an aggravating
circumstance in seeking, and obtaining, the death penalty. Keitel
was executed in 1946.
Hitler was installed, then re-elected. Bush was installed, then
re-elected. Hitler had Reichstag, Bush had 9/11. (I am not implying
government collusion in 9/11, FYI) Both used their respective catastrophes
to assume more power (Hitler with the Enabling Act, Bush with the
USA PATRIOT Act), and to assume dictatorial powers.
Hitler used Christianity to give his words absolute authority and
decried any who dissented as unpatriotic. Bush uses Christianity
to give his words absolute authority and decries any who dissent
“The German people are not a warlike nation. It is a soldierly
one, which means it does not want a war, but does not fear it. It
loves peace but also loves its honor and freedom”
We’re pursuing a strategy of freedom around the world, because
I understand free nations will reject terror. Free nations will
answer the hopes and aspirations of their people. Free nations will
help us achieve the peace we all want.
I have rejected this type of comparison of Bush to Hitler for months,
because Hitler was a genocidal maniac bent on ruling the world with
his ideology. I submit this comparison now because I believe the
same to be true of George W. Bush.
George W. Bush will have his empire, and he will kill any person,
group, or country that stands in his way. I challenge any of you
to tell me why that is not so, as he has already proved it.
I've just had an email from a friend in the
Green Zone. He has not set foot outside the compound since he's
been there, and probably never will. Helicopter to and from the
airport only. Welcome to free Iraq, and especially to liberated
The New York Times reported that "Residents
trickling back to Falluja . . . enter a desolate world of skeletal
buildings, tank-blasted homes, weeping power lines and severed palm
trees. Sullen and anxious, tens of thousands of residents have passed
through stringent checkpoints to find out . . . whether their homes
and shops were reduced to rubble or merely ransacked . . . people
have to file through huge coils of razor wire and a gantlet of armed
marines to pick up their supplies. On the road . . . Lt.
Col Patrick Malay . . . watched the scene with satisfaction. "This
is how I like it, just like Disneyland," he said. "Orderly
lines and people leave with a smile on their face"."
They are not happy, you unfeeling, ignorant trog. They are utterly
miserable and they hate you for destroying and looting their city
and especially their family homes. They loathe
the US and the Western world - and it is you and your ilk who are
responsible for their hatred. It
will take centuries before Fallujans come to terms with the fact
that Christian barbarians smashed and obliterated their dwellings
and shops. Iraq and the entire Middle East will never recover from
your president's illegal war and his chaotic military occupation
of a country that presented not the remotest threat to America.
The Director of Falluja hospital told the BBC that "about
60% to 70% of the homes and buildings are completely crushed and
damaged . . . Of the 30% still left standing, I don't think there
is a single one that has not been exposed to some damage."
Maybe Disneyland should create a Falluja
display to include real dogs eating real human corpses and happy
Iraqis wandering round the rubble with Goofy to fill dirty cans
with even filthier water. Perhaps LtCol Malay could act as
technical advisor to Disney on how to present slaughter and destruction
attractively. He could be joined by the carefree LtCol Tim Ryan
who (blogger Billmon points out) had a piece in the Tacoma News
Tribune on January 18 describing his happy life : "From where
I sit in Iraq, things are not all bad right now. In fact, they are
going quite well . . . In the distance, I can hear the repeated
impacts of heavy artillery and five-hundred-pound bombs hitting
their targets. The occasional tank main gun report and the staccato
rhythm of a Marine Corps LAV or Army Bradley Fighting Vehicle's
25-millimeter cannon provide the bass line for a symphony of destruction."
How poetic. How liberating. How psychotic.
[...] The evil that has been wrought on Iraq by Bush and his demented
coterie is in no fashion better exemplified than by the death of
the city of Falluja. Its annihilation was said to be essential -
or so we were told by one of these peculiarly robotic military officers
who seem to be churned out mercilessly by US training institutions,
like talking sausages, programmed to utter fatuous comments at the
drop of a salute.
One particular robot sausage proclaimed that his mission of mass
destruction had been wonderfully successful. In November Marine
LtGen John Sattler said his troops had "taken away this safe
haven" of Falluja, which he stated was the base for the entire
Iraqi uprising (he called it "rebellion") against US occupation
troops. The Marine offensive, he said two months ago, has "broken
the back of the insurgency" across Iraq. "We have",
he announced proudly, "liberated the city of Falluja . . .
the enemy is broken."
Following General Sattler's declaration that his enemy was broken
there was a massive increase in ferocious anti-US attacks throughout
the country. In the weeks after he mouthed his idiot words, over
150 US soldiers have been killed and scores more maimed. A few hundred
Iraqi fighters against occupation have died. And hundreds, perhaps
thousands, of Iraqi civilians have been slaughtered - but who the
hell cares about them?
As for "liberating" Falluja, it would be interesting
to know what General Sattler's definition of "liberation"
might be. Does it include total destruction of cities and creating
hatred of his country for evermore?
Where do they get these generals from?
ARBIL, Northern Iraq, - Arbil is normally a
quiet place. Capital of the Kurdish autonomous area in Northern
Iraq, the city of 800,000 has largely avoided the bloodshed of 22
months of war and occupation.
Kurdish fighters here fought alongside the United States in the
initial invasion. Since the fall of Saddam, the area has been governed
by Kurdish leaders, whose followers provide security. There are
no American soldiers on the streets, and no humvee patrols. The
area had not seen a single American attack since the invasion.
Until this month, that is.
Just past midnight Wednesday Jan. 5, three U.S. helicopters arrived
over Arbil from a base in Baghdad, and began circling over a college
dormitory near the centre of town. Many in the boys dorm, who attended
nearby Salahudin University, were still awake cramming for midterm
exams scheduled for the next day.
”Suddenly, American soldiers began
to jump out of one of the helicopters and started shooting at the
building,” says Salam, an English department student. Local
police tried to intervene to stop the attack, but were pushed back
by the Americans, students and Kurdish officials say.
Then the helicopters opened fire. First they fired
bullets at the dormitory, and then they launched four rockets. One
of the rockets hit the electricity generator on top of the dorm,
which exploded in a giant fireball. ”The whole building was
in flames,” Salam said. ”It's a miracle nobody died.”
The helicopter attack sent a wave of dismay throughout the Kurdish
autonomous region, where nearly everyone supports the U.S. presence.
After strong condemnation by the Kurdish government, and unrest
in the streets, the U.S. commander in charge of Northern Iraq issued
an apology. ”I ask the President, the Kurdistan Regional Government,
and the people of Arbil to accept our sincere apologies,”
Gen. Carter F. Ham told Kurdish television.
But Gen. Ham provided no reason for the
attack. He told Kurdish leaders the attack was ordered from Baghdad
and carried out by U.S. forces based there. [...]
Seven people were killed in a car bomb attack
yesterday on a police station in the city of Kirkuk, as insurgents
aimed to make good on threats to escalate violence ahead of Iraq's
Elsewhere, a US marine helicopter crashed in western Iraq and
four American soldiers were wounded in a car bomb attack targeting
a military convoy on the Baghdad airport road.
Pentagon officials, meanwhile, estimated the monthly cost of the
war in Iraq at more than $US4 billion ($A5.2 billion).
A string of other attacks rocked Iraq yesterday, including several
against polling centres, as rebels stepped up their campaign of
intimidation ahead of Sunday's polls, the first in the post-Saddam
Major General Turhan Yusef, police chief in the ethnically-divided
northern city of Kirkuk, said three policemen, two soldiers and
two civilians were killed in the blast.
Another car bomb exploded in a market area in Kirkuk, he said,
but could not give immediate details.
A car bomb attack wounded four US soldiers on the perilous airport
road in Baghdad, while another four American troops were wounded
when a booby-trapped vehicle exploded in the town of Tikrit, north
of the capital.
Local officials reported one civilian killed in the blast in Saddam's
Rebels pounded eight polling stations with rockets, mortar shells
and bombs within a few hours in the same restive regions, Iraqi
police and local officials said.
Three were hit in Baqouba and two others outside the troubled
town. A voting centre came under rocket fire in the town of Dhuluiyah,
and another was hit by a bomb blast near Samarra.
A bomb also went off near a school in Baghdad that like many other
schools is being turned into a polling station for the elections.
Most Americans hold these truths to be self-evident:
Torture is wrong; attacking another country that hasn't attacked
you is wrong; occupying another country with your army and imposing
your will on its people is wrong. These policies are not only immoral.
They are illegal.
Most Americans believe that even the highest government officials
are bound by law. They reject Attorney General-designate Alberto
Gonzales' view that the law is whatever the President says it is
- that if the President says something isn't torture, then it's
O.K. to order it.
Most Americans don't agree that their president can unilaterally
annul treaties like the Geneva conventions. They don't accept, as
Gonzales put it in a 2002 legal memo, that if the President simply
declares there's a "new paradigm" he can thereby "render
obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners."
Aggression, military occupation, and torture were the war crimes,
crimes against peace, and crimes against humanity for which the
Axis leaders were prosecuted at the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials after
World War II. The U.S. has supported similar charges against Slobodan
Milosevic and Saddam Hussein.
But what about the U.S. attack on Iraq,
which Kofi Annan has bluntly called "illegal"? What about
the leveling of Fallujah and the targeting of hospitals and urban
neighborhoods? What about torture at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo?
If a single standard is applied, these too are crimes of war. And
as the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal stated, "Anyone with knowledge
of illegal activity and an opportunity to do something is a potential
criminal under international law unless the person takes affirmative
measures to prevent the commission of the crimes." How many
Americans can honestly claim to know nothing about this "illegal
activity"? It's reported in detail in the daily newspapers
and shown in full color on the nightly news, from the phony reports
of Iraq's "yellowcake" uranium to the shooting of ambulances
to the horrors of Abu Ghraib.
In 1967, faced with evidence of the napalming of villages and
massacring of civilians in Vietnam, a distinguished group of Americans
signed a "Call to Resist Illegitimate Authority." They
declared the Vietnam War illegal under U.S. and international law
and pledged to support young people who were resisting the draft.
When the Johnson administration charged world famous pediatrician
Dr. Benjamin Spock, Yale Chaplain William Sloan Coffin, and others
with conspiracy to "aid, counsel, and abet" resistance
to the draft, it identified the "Call" as their first
There's no draft yet, but there's plenty of resistance. The Pentagon
acknowledges 5,500 desertions since the Iraq war began. Army Reserve
and National Guard recruitment is plummeting. Many in the military
are deciding not to reenlist.
"60 Minutes" recently interviewed U.S. resisters in
Canada and reported that "conscience, not cowardice, made them
American deserters." One of them, Specialist Jeremy Hinzman
of Rapid City, South Dakota joined the 82nd Airborne as a paratrooper
in 2001 and served in Afghanistan. But when he was ordered to Iraq,
he went to Canada instead. He explained to "60 Minutes,"
"I was told in basic training that, if I'm given an illegal
or immoral order, it is my duty to disobey it. And I feel that invading
and occupying Iraq is an illegal and immoral thing to do."
Senior officials like Alberto Gonzales
set the policies that led to Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib. Nearly 140
low-level military service members have been disciplined or face
courts-martial for abusing detainees. Instead
of being punished, Gonzales is being rewarded with the job of U.S.
It's time for all Americans to face our responsibility to halt
Bush administration war crimes. It's time to give our support to
those who are refusing to participate in those crimes. It's time
for a new "Call to Resist Illegitimate Authority."
I for one will say right now that I support those who refuse illegal
orders to participate in this illegal war. I know there are many
who will join me.
To Alberto Gonzales, I would like to say
that I encourage all Americans, military and civilian, to disobey
orders based on your memos justifying torture. I say it's their
legal right, indeed their legal and moral duty, to disobey such
Gonzales may disagree. In the era of the misleadingly named PATRIOT
Act, he may follow the example of the Johnson administration and
bring charges against those who encourage resistance to military
authority. If he does, he will test whether a jury of American citizens
will agree that the law is whatever the President says it is --
even if that includes torture and an illegal war.
One of the four
men who returned to Britain yesterday after three years in Guantánamo
Bay allegedly suffered a series of mental breakdowns and was repeatedly
injected with an unknown substance by his US captors.
A lawyer for Feroz Abbasi made the allegations as he and three
other Muslim men arrived in Britain aboard an RAF plane, only to
be arrested by anti-terrorism officers who took them to a top security
police station for questioning.
Mr Abbasi is alleged to have been kept in isolation for 18 months
and was left so traumatised that he suffered hallucinations and
Yesterday the four Britons touched down on British soil at 5.02pm,
after a battle by their families to secure their release. They had
been picked up from Guantánamo Bay, land controlled by the
US on Cuba's south-east tip, and flown directly to RAF Northolt,
Mr Abbasi, 24, is the only one allegedly detained on the battlefield,
in Afghanistan in December 2001. Richard Belmar, 25, and Moazzam
Begg, 37, reportedly were arrested in Pakistan, while Martin Mubanga,
32, was detained in Zambia.
The fresh allegations of abuse of British detainees and their suffering
came from Gitanjali Gutierrez, the US lawyer for Mr Abbasi. Ms Gutierrez
saw Mr Abbasi, who comes from Croydon, south London, in Guantánamo
last week where he alleged:
· He was kept in isolation for 18 months in a windowless
· He could not go outside to exercise
· Guards were removed to deny him any human contact and
he was monitored by a remote camera.
Ms Gutierrez, whose comments are subject to US military censorship,
told the Guardian her client was showing clear signs of the debilitating
post-traumatic stress disorder and suffering from panic attacks.
She said: "The time in isolation led to mental breakdowns,
he was talking to himself, hallucinating, sitting in the corner.
"We talked about the difficulties of reintegrating into regular
life after being subjected to the abuses and isolation he suffered.
He had periods of psychosis that corresponded with the injections."
Three British detainees released last year also said they had been
given mystery injections.
After touching down on British soil the four Britons were arrested
under Section 41 of the Terrorism Act 2000, suspected of involvement
in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.
Sir John Stevens, the Metropolitan police commissioner who made
the decision to arrest, said: "The intelligence and the information
was put to me over the weekend," he said. "I have no other
option but to arrest them. If their answers are satisfactory, then
they will be released as soon as we can arrange it."
Police said they would be medically examined before interrogation
and that because of the "unique circumstances" a family
member would be allowed to see them, probably today. Muslim groups
and the men's families condemned the arrests.
Intelligence officials suggested yesterday there was no evidence
to suggest any of the four presented a security threat. They expected
all four to be released quickly, but insisted that the length of
detention was up to the police.
Muslim leaders who attended a meeting with Britain's top anti-terrorism
officer, assistant commissioner David Veness, claimed he said the
men would only be charged if they admitted criminal acts.
The four have been questioned at Guantánamo Bay up to nine
times by MI5 officers. Any intelligence relevant to the war on terror
would have been acted on already by Britain or the US, anti terrorism
The four flew back to Britain on an RAF-C-17 military aircraft,
accompanied by Scotland Yard anti-terrorist officers and two independent
observers, one a Muslim. Police videoed the flight to guard against
claims of ill treatment.
Up to 550 Muslim men remain in Guantánamo, including at
least six British residents who the government has declined to represent.
The four Britons who returned yesterday are expected to receive
treatment for the physical and mental effects of their ordeal from
the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture. One of
five Britons released from Guantánamo in March 2004 is still
receiving treatment from the charity.
Following the bloody helicopter
crash in Iraq, in which 31 U.S. Marines lost their lives, President
George W. Bush pleaded for American people’s patience on that
"very discouraging day" of death and violence for U.S.
troops in Iraq.
Hours following reports from Baghdad that indicated that more 31
U.S. Marines were killed in the Helicopter crash, Bush held a White
House news conference.
Bush acknowledged that heavy U.S. heavy losses in Iraq were depressing
The latest deaths brought to 1,400, the number of U.S. troops who
died in Iraq since the war started in 20 March 2003.
Undeterred after the massive U.S. losses in Iraq war, the U.S.
President said during the conference: "We'll have the troop
levels necessary to complete the mission. And that mission is to
enable Iraq to defend herself from terrorists — homegrown
or terrorists that come in from outside of the country," hinting
that Iraq is still not ready to handle its own security, apparently
preparing people for U.S. involvement in the Iraq the next year.
"In the long term, our children and grandchildren will benefit
from a free Iraq," he said.
Almost two years after invading Iraq, Bush, is still defending
his decision to go on war, is facing mounting criticism about the
war's heavy price in both money and lives. In money alone, Iraq
is costing taxpayers in the U.S. more than $1 billion a week.
Trying to calm his people, Bush said the Americans are not alone
in their qualms. Iraqis are "losing a lot of people" in
bombings and assassinations, he said, and "some are feeling
intimidated" about threats against voters. He also said: "The
Iraqi people are wondering whether or not this nation has the will
necessary to stand with them as a democracy evolves.
"The enemy would like nothing more than the United States
to precipitously pull out and withdraw before the Iraqis are prepared
to defend themselves."
“Mission must be completed”
Despite the U.S. military casualties in Iraq war, Bush argued that
the U.S. could not run away from its long-term aim of “spreading
"But it is the long-term objective that is vital, and that
is to spread freedom," Bush stressed.
If not with the sacrifices the American troops
are giving, he said, "the Middle East will continue to be a
caldron of resentment, hate, (a) recruiting ground for those who
have this vision of the world that is the exact opposite of ours."
In an interview with Al-Arabiya satellite news channel, Bush noted
that the U.S. troops will stay in Iraq till security is restored
to the war-torn country. "But that mission must be completed.
... I've heard talk that we are occupiers," he said.
"No, the United States and our troops and our coalition are
there to help the Iraqi citizens." He said U.S. forces will
do the job as quickly as possible and then come home.
Lacking details about Wednesday helicopter crash, Bush said: "The
story today is going to be very discouraging to the American people.
I understand that. We value life. We weep and mourn when soldiers
lose their life," " But it is the long-term objective
that is vital, and that is to spread freedom."
Iraqi’s elections, to be held on Sunday, is seen by analysts
as a major test for Bush, who had always boasted about his goal
of spreading democracy in the Middle East. "I
anticipate a grand moment in Iraqi history," he said.
"We anticipate a lot of Iraqis will vote," the president
said. "Clearly there are some who are intimidated."
Bush, moreover, said the elections will be successful even before
"The fact that they're voting, in itself,
is successful," he said. "Again, this is a long process."
The U.S. President said that he is leading his country toward an
honorable goal — in Iraq and across the world. "I
firmly planted the flag of liberty," he said.
The U.S. military said it was now studying plans to increase the
number of U.S. military advisers to Iraqi soldiers by the thousands
to accelerate the training of local troops; identified as America's
best exit strategy from Iraq.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A syndicated columnist,
who has repeatedly supported the Bush administration's push for
a $300 million initiative to encourage marriage, also had a $21,500
federal contract to help promote the proposal, the Washington Post
Maggie Gallagher had a $21,500 contract with the Department of
Health and Human Services. It ran from January through October 2002
and included drafting a magazine article for the department official
overseeing the initiative, the Post reported.
"Did I violate journalistic ethics by not
disclosing it?" Gallagher was quoted as saying Tuesday. "I
don't know. You tell me."
Later in the day, Gallagher filed a column in which she said:
"I should have disclosed a government contract when I later
wrote about the Bush marriage initiative. I would have, if I had
remembered it. My apologies to my readers."
The author of three books on marriage, Gallagher is president
of the Washington-based Institute for Marriage and Public Policy,
a frequent television guest and has written on the subject for such
publications as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Weekly
MOSCOW: Russia hit out on Tuesday
against US threats towards Syria over its alleged ties to terrorists
and cross-border help for insurgents in neighboring Iraq, saying
they only worsened the situation in the region.
“We are concerned about the situation surrounding Syria.
It is important not to provoke further tension in a region already
overflowing with crises,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei
Lavrov said in a statement. “If there are some remaining concerns,
they should be backed up by concrete proof and resolved through
negotiations. The language of threats can only worsen the situation,”
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad arrived Monday on a four-day official
visit to Russia and was to hold talks Tuesday with his Russian counterpart
The visit comes as Washington continues to accuse Syria of sponsoring
international terrorism and turning a blind eye to anti-American
insurgents crossing the border into neighboring Iraq. US President
George W Bush warned Syria last month against “meddling”
in Iraq and said Washington had a variety of diplomatic and economic
measures it could take. afp
MOSCOW (AFP) - Russia and Syria
pledged to restore Soviet-era ties, striking an accord on Damascus'
debts to Moscow and future military cooperation despite Israel's
apparent success in torpedoing Russian weapons sales to its arch-enemy.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose visit to Moscow provoked
a row between Israel and Russia over reported plans to sell advanced
Russian missiles to Syria, signed a declaration with Russian counterpart
Vladimir Putin on defence ties.
In the statement, inked after Kremlin talks, Moscow and Damascus
agreed to "pursue traditional cooperation in the military-technical
sphere in keeping with their mutual interests and international
obligations," ITAR-TASS reported.
Earlier, the Syrian president, whose country has been branded by
the United States as a sponsor of international terrorism, said
it had the right to acquire weapons to protect itself against Israeli
"These are defensive weapons, air defence, to prevent aircraft
from entering our airspace," Assad said, asked to comment on
the reported contract for portable Igla anti-aircraft missiles,
now seen in doubt because of Israeli and US pressure.
"If Israel is against us acquiring them, it's as if it was
saying 'We want to attack Syria but we don't want them to protect
themselves,'" he told students at the Moscow State Institute
of Foreign Relations (MGIMO).
Putin vowed to reinvigorate lapsed ties between Moscow and Damascus,
a former Soviet client state which has traditionally been a major
purchaser of Russian weapons.
"Syria is a country with which the Soviet Union and today's
Russia have always had particularly warm relations," Putin
told Assad as the two men met in the gilded splendour of the Kremlin.
The Russian president regretted that there had been "a long
pause" since the last visit of a Syrian leader to Moscow but
expressed the hope that they could revive "a tradition of friendship
and cooperation that is decades-old."
In a breakthrough, the two sides reached a deal on writing off
more than 70 percent of the 13 billion dollars (10 billion euros)
of Syria's debts mainly incurred from arms purchases during the
The Syrian leader arrived in Moscow Monday on a four-day state
visit overshadowed by furious Israeli protests over the reported
contracts for Russian missiles that would erode the Jewish state's
military edge over its arch-foe Damascus.
Despite official denials, Russian commentators Tuesday said that
the sale of Igla missiles and Iskanker-E next-generation missiles
capable of striking Israel had been in the pipeline but had been
shelved after Israeli and US protests.
However, the Russian weapons industry continues to regard Syria
as an important export market.
Assad, 39, who became president in 2000 after the death of his
father who had ruled Syria for 30 years, discussed a range of major
issues with Putin including the situation in the Middle East and
Iraq and bilateral economic ties.
His visit to Russia, the first by a Syrian head of state since
1999, is seen as an opportunity to put relations on a better footing
after years of decline since the break-up of the Soviet Union in
Traditionally close to Arab states, Moscow in recent years has
built warm ties with Israel because of the sizeable Russian Jewish
immigrant population there and cooperation in anti-terrorism.
Russia, one of the four international sponsors of the Middle East
peace process, is hoping to use renewed influence with Syria to
boost its role in the region while Damascus wants Russian help in
securing the return of the Golan Heights from Israel captured in
the 1967 war, analysts said.
| WASHINGTON, Jan. 26 (Xinhuanet)
-- Douglas Feith, the US defense department's undersecretary for policy,
announced Wednesday that he would resign this summer for personal
Feith, an architect in the Bush administration's strategy for
the anti-terror war and the war on Iraq, said in an interview that
he had informed Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld of his plan to
leave sometime this summer, without giving a specific date.
Feith, 51, would be the highest-ranking Pentagon official to leave
Rumsfeld said on Capitol Hill that he had wanted Feith to stay
longer and hoped he would "stay until we are able to find an
Feith "is creative, well organized and energetic, and he
has earned the respect of civilian and military leaders across the
government," Rumsfeld said in a statement.
Feith oversaw the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans, which was
accused of selectively using uncorroborated intelligence reports
on Iraq's alleged stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction to help
build the case for the war against Iraq.
|BEIJING, Jan. 27 -- China has lost
faith in the stability of the US dollar and its first priority is
to broaden the exchange rate for its currency from the dollar to a
more flexible basket of currencies, a top Chinese economist said Wednesday
at the World Economic Forum.
At a standing-room only session focusing on the world's fastest-growing
economy, Fan Gang, director of the National Economic Research Institute
at the China Reform Foundation, said the issue for China isn't whether
to devalue the yuan but "to limit it from the U.S. dollar."
But he stressed that the Chinese government is under no pressure
to revalue its currency.
China's exchange rate policies restrict the value of the yuan
to a narrow band around 8.28 yuan, pegged to $1.
"The U.S. dollar is no longer — in our opinion is no
longer — (seen) as a stable currency, and is devaluating all
the time, and that's putting troubles all the time," Fan said,
speaking in English.
"So the real issue is how to change the regime from a U.S.
dollar pegging ... to a more manageable ... reference ... say Euros,
yen, dollars — those kind of more diversified systems,"
"If you do this, in the beginning you have some kind of initial
shock," Fan said. "You have to deal with some devaluation
The dollar hit a new low in December against the euro and has
been falling against other major currencies on concerns about the
ever-growing U.S. trade and budget deficits.
Fan said last year China lost a good opportunity to do revalue
its currency, in July and October.
"High pressure, we don't do it. When the pressure's gone,
we forgot," Fan said, to laughter from the audience. "But
this time, I think Chinese authorities will not forget it. Now people
understand the U.S. dollar will not stop devaluating."
Asked how speculation about revaluation could be curbed, he noted
that China imposed a 3 percent tariff on Chinese exports.
Some Chinese experts say that perhaps inflation can be reduced
this year, "but I'm not that optimistic," Fan said, noting
that fuel prices keep rising.
"So maybe China (will) have 4-5 percent inflation in 2005,"
Fan, whose nonprofit institute specializes in analyzing the Chinese
economy, stressed that the country's development is a long-term
process that will take decades, maybe a century.
According to the Associated Press, new members of
the Haitian National Police took an oath during the graduation ceremony
of 393 new members at the Police Academy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti
on Friday, Jan. 21, 2005.
The police are using the hitler salute.
Joint operations are being conducted in Haiti by the United Nations
Stabilization Mission in Haiti and the Haitian National Police.
|West Palm Beach Fire/Rescue is investigating a
leak of radiological material at 321 South Dixie Highway. The fire
department recieved an initital report of smoke in the area with a
high radiantion level at the Corodino Environmental Management Group.
The fire department has evacuated a four block area between Quadrille,
Olive, Dixie, and Fern. The evacuation has proceeded calmly and the
fire department has not issued any type of advisory that would affected
breathing or other health concerns. There have been no reported injuries.
CHICAGO (Reuters) - A U.S. Army infantryman
whose unit was about to be sent to Iraq for a second time was taken
into custody after making bomb threats aimed at disrupting the deployment,
officials at Fort Campbell in Kentucky said on Wednesday.
Specialist Rodney Whitacre, 26, of Decatur, Illinois, was detained
on Sunday while "he was on the phone making the alleged threats
to an Army-wide counseling service," the post said in a news
The threats, it said, were "in reference to his unit's deployment
to Iraq." No other details were divulged.
No explosives were found during a search of his room and the aircraft
being used in the deployment, the announcement said. The Third Infantry
Division of which he was a member continued the move to Iraq.
A spokesman said Whitacre had served a tour of duty in Iraq last
year. He described the threat and arrest as an "isolated incident."
Whitacre was being held at the post pending an investigation,
the announcement said.
Watch this story...Department of Homeland Security
officials forced a small plane carrying four apparently illegal
Chinese immigrants and a pilot identified as a Mexican national
to land at an airport in San Antonio Monday night, officials said
today. The immigrants were being held at Stinson Airfield shortly
after federal agents forced their plane down.
Update: Four Chinese Nationals Not Linked to TerrorismAuthorities
are trying to determine if the four pasengers on board the Cessna
172-P, two men and two women, are linked to a report that several
Chinese nationals were attempting to set off a 'dirty bomb' in the
Online records of the Federal Aviation Administration show the
20-year-old plane is co-owned by Afzal Hameed of Dover, Del. The
other co-owner is listed as Alyce S. Taylor, but no address is given
for her. The FAA records state that the plane's last three-year
registration was filed in 1999, and that the agency received no
response in 2002 after mailing new registration forms to Hameed.
San Antonio Police surrounded the airport close to 9 p.m. Monday
after receiving a call for help from the Department of Homeland
Security, officials said. The single-engine plane was intercepted
after officials said it was flying in American airspace illegally.
MIAMI, Florida (CNN) -- Passengers aboard
a Southwest Airlines flight helped wrestle a fellow passenger to
the floor Tuesday night after he tried to force his way into the
cockpit, law enforcement officials said.
The incident happened aboard Flight 2161, which was traveling
from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to West Palm Beach, Florida.
Christopher Egyed, 37, made "threatening comments about the
government" and tried to make his way into the cockpit, Palm
Beach County Sheriff's Office spokesman Paul Miller said.
"He had been acting in an obnoxious way throughout the flight,"
Egyed exchanged punches with a flight attendant before passengers
joined the scuffle and subdued him, authorities said.
"They used duct tape to tie him up," FBI spokeswoman
Judy Orijuela said.
Egyed was charged with interfering with a flight crew, she said.
plans barrier system
| Airport officials hope to curb security
By Jon Hilkevitch
Tribune transportation reporter
Published January 26, 2005
A lockdown system of sliding doors is being
designed for Midway Airport to prevent mass evacuations of the concourses
during security breaches and other emergencies, Chicago aviation
officials said Tuesday.
The half-million-dollar physical-barrier system is designed to
end airport-clearing breaches that inconvenience passengers, delay
flights and cost the city thousands of dollars in extra police expenses,
A bomb scare at Midway's passenger security checkpoint on Nov.
15, later blamed on a screener erroneously interpreting an X-ray
image, prompted the evacuation of about 500 passengers and delayed
41 flights for hours when the passenger involved innocently picked
up his bag and got on a flight before he could be detained for a
A subsequent investigation determined that the screener failed
to realize there was never a real bomb in a bag. The image of a
hand grenade on the X-ray scanner was part of a computer-generated
exercise used to test screener performance.
The incident was at least the third major
breach at Midway since the terrorist attacks of September 2001,
Passengers at Midway are funneled through a single security checkpoint
area to three concourses.
The new security apparatus will consist
of sliding doors electronically activated
to contain passengers in the area
around the security checkpoint and the airport food court,
minimizing the likelihood of having to clear out the concourses
and re-screen passengers who have already cleared security, according
to the Transportation Security Administration. [...]
GLENDALE, Calif. -- A suicidal man parked his
SUV on the railroad tracks and set off a crash of two commuter trains
Wednesday that hurled passengers down the aisles and turned rail
cars into smoking, twisted heaps of steel, authorities said. At
least 10 people were killed and more than 180 injured.
The collision took place just before daybreak on the outskirts
of Los Angeles, creating a scene of carnage: Employees at a Costco
store rushed to the scene and pulled riders from the tipped-over
double-deck cars before the flames reached them. Dazed passengers
staggered from the wreckage, some limping. One elderly man on the
train was covered in blood and soot, his legs and arms apparently
"I heard a noise. It got louder and louder," said passenger
Diane Brady, 56. "And next thing I knew the train tilted, everyone
was screaming and I held onto a pole for dear life. I held on for
what seemed like a week and a half it seemed. It was a complete
Dozens of the injured were in critical condition, and more than
120 people were sent to hospitals. [...]
BROOKSVILLE, Florida (AP) -- Two school buses
flipped over Wednesday morning in Florida and West Virginia, injuring
13 children and both drivers.
The elementary school bus north of Tampa overturned completely
with 24 children aboard, sending eight to the hospital. One was
taken by helicopter to a Tampa hospital, but none of the injuries
was believed to be life-threatening, Florida Highway Patrol spokesman
Larry Coggins said.
The other seven injured children and the driver were taken to
The bus left the road and overturned at about 8:20 a.m., Coggins
said. It was unclear why the bus left the road, he said. The investigation
In Logan, West Virginia, at around the same time, a school bus
hit a patch of black ice near a railroad crossing and turned on
its side, causing minor injuries to the bus driver and five children,
four of them elementary school pupils.
The children suffered bumps, bruises and cuts that were treated
at a hospital. The bus driver was having X-rays to determine the
extent of his injuries.
BRAINTREE, Mass. (AP) - A piece of the giant
metal frame that once held shipbuilding cranes collapsed onto a
building at a former shipyard Wednesday, killing two workers and
sending rescuers rushing to save others trapped under the twisted
At least four people were injured, two of them seriously. [...]
DENVER -- Some people are angry
when they see Shasta Bates' derogatory bumper sticker about President
George W. Bush -- but she didn't think she'd be threatened with
arrest because of it.
The Denver Police Department is investigating a sergeant who allegedly
threatened to arrest the 26-year-old for displaying the bumper sticker.
Bates said she was told by the sergeant Tuesday that her bumper
sticker was illegal because it was profane. She said he told her
he'd arrest her if she didn't remove it.
But City Attorney Cole Finegan said he doesn't believe there's
any city ordinance against displaying a profane bumper sticker.
Colorado ACLU Legal Director Mark Silverstein said the alleged
threat of arrest clearly violates First Amendment protection.
A woman tempted by an apple while
driving set off a Kafkaesque chain of events, a court heard yesterday,
including aerial photography by a police helicopter, nine preliminary
court hearings, and a trial lasting more than 2 hours.
Unlike Eve, nursery nurse Sarah McCaffery, 23, had not taken a
bite out of the forbidden fruit when she was stopped by PC Lee Butler
on December 4 last year, but she was holding it in her right hand
whilst swinging her Ford Ka into a left turn.
Apple or not, the manoeuvre at a junction in Hebburn, South Tyneside,
free of pedestrians and other traffic, was carried out "perfectly"
said her solicitor, Geoffrey Forrester, but it was spotted by a
patrol car parked nearby.
PC Butler pounced, initially because he thought that Ms McCaffery's
apple was a mobile phone. He then issued the nurse with a £30
fixed penalty notice as part of a Northumbria police drive against
food or drink at the wheel.
Ms McCaffery was found not to have been in proper control of her
car by South Tyneside magistrates yesterday, but Mr Forrester said
that her real offence had been to fight the case.
"This is all about trying to crush her because she is the
one who stood up and said 'This is silly'," he told the court.
"The police service and the Crown Prosecution Service do not
like to be told they are silly.
"Nothing illustrates the nonsense of this case more than the
resources that have been thrown at it." The magistrates heard
that after Ms McCaffery had the "temerity" to challenge
the fixed penalty, police used a helicopter to film the junction.
A sergeant and constable in a patrol car made a video.
Mr Forrester claimed that offences such as drug-dealing, burglary
or assault on children would not have been lavished with such attention.
He added that Ms McCaffery was of "impeccable character".
Prosecutor Chris Kay, whose evidence included a second video taken
from the helicopter as well as aerial photographs, said that the
proceedings had cost £425, excluding the aerial work. The
court heard that the helicopter had not been sent specifically to
film the junction, after Ms McCaffery's decision to go to court,
but had taken the video and photographs in the course of another
job in the area.
Ms McCaffery, of Hebburn, was fined £60 plus £100 costs
at the 10th court hearing in the case. The chairman of the bench,
Ken Buck, said: "We accept that there are times when you can
drive with one hand, but, in holding an apple while negotiating
a left hand turn, we consider you not to have been in full control."
A spokesman for Northumbria police said costs did not have any
bearing on decisions to prosecute. "The defendant chose for
the matter to go to a court trial rather than accept a fixed penalty
notice, so we were obliged to gather all appropriate evidence to
present our case."
January 18, 2005 — A Houston
man says he now knows better than to wear his cowboy hat in the
Ken Lanum was in court for a traffic ticket. When a judge ordered
him to remove his hat, Lanum says he told her he would as soon as
he sat down. But that may not have been soon enough. Lanum was found
in contempt of court and jailed for six days.
Court papers show the judge jailed him not for his hat but for
chewing gum and reportedly mouthing off when asked to remove it.
Lanum denies that's what happened and an investigation is underway.
JACKSONVILLE, FL -- While all of her friends
are at school, Crystal Gonzalez sits at home on suspension.
Gonzalez was suspended from Interlachen High School after she
allegedly hit two school resource officers.
"Yeah it hurt," says the 14 year
old. Crystal has two marks on her stomach from a taser gun.
The Putnam County Sheriff's Office says its officers had to use
the taser to get the student under control.
"They are wrong. There was no need to use a taser. This is
a 14 year old girl and two police officers. I'm sure they could
have handled the situation a lot different, " says Rosalie
Gonzalez, Crystal's mom.
Police say the student was in class last Friday when she was called
to the main office for breaking school rules.
According to the police report, the 14 year old was out of control.
The officer reports Gonzalez hit two school resource officers and
The officer goes on to say, Gonzalez was handcuffed and that's
when she started kicking the police. Police then used the taser
Police say it was on a one to two second stun gun hit and was
not a full force taser hit.
Captain Gary Bowling, with the Putnam County
Sheriff's Office says it would have felt like a bee sting.
"We found that the officers were properly trained. They acted
according to their training. We think the use was justified. Had
the student not been violent we wouldn't know her name today,"
says Captain Bowling.
The School's principal backs the investigation.
"We will not tolerate an assault on an employee or school
resource officer," says Suzanne Mathe, principal of Interlachen
The Sheriff's office says its record proves taser guns are only
used when necessary.
Since 1999, when tasers arrived in Putnam County, 1,400 students
have been arrested, only six of them had a taser gun used on them.
Two boys, aged 9 and 10, were taken from a
US school in handcuffs for stick figure drawings of a classmate
being stabbed and hanged, say police.
The children were charged with a felony
in Ocala, Florida.
The boys were arrested yesterday and charged with making a written
threat to kill or harm another person. They were also suspended
One drawing showed the two boys standing on either side of the
other boy and "holding knives pointed through" his body,
according to a police report. The figures were identified by written
names or initials.
Another drawing showed a stick figure hanging, tears falling from
his eyes, with two other stick figures standing below him. Other
pieces of scrap paper listed misspelled profanities and the initials
of the boy who was allegedly threatened.
The boys' parents said they thought the children should be punished
by the school and families, not the legal system.
UC may soon have to provide the
federal government with detailed personal information about students
if a new proposal to overhaul the way education statistics are gathered
is approved within the next year.
The National Center for Education Statistics, a nonpartisan organization
that collects data for the U.S. Department of Education, is searching
for ways to more accurately gather educational data to keep higher
education institutions accountable for student retention and graduation
“The way we collect data now is inefficient and a lot of
students sort of fall through the cracks, particularly those who
transfer from one state to another, or who drop out and come back
to school,” said Mike Bowler, the communications and outreach
director for the Institute of Education Sciences, which oversees
the statistics center.
The proposal would overhaul the Integrated Postsecondary Education
Data System, which currently collects aggregate data about institutions
as a whole, including fall enrollment, graduation rates and financial
The redesign would eschew institutional data in favor of data about
individual students—such as names, social security numbers,
tuition and fees paid and financial aid received—to more accurately
track students throughout higher education institutions.
“The data we get can be used to help make public policy and
to improve federal education programs,” Bowler said. “(The
center) would keep the data and submit it in yearly reports or something
like that, and policy makers could go from there.”
Proponents of the proposal argue that the result of existing data
collection techniques is misleading: Transfer students, for example,
are now considered drop-outs when in fact they have only switched
However, some wonder if the benefits of more detailed data outweigh
student privacy concerns.
“We do not believe that the price for enrolling in college
should be permanent entry into a federal registry,” said Tony
Pals, director of public information for the National Association
of Independent Colleges and Universities. “We fear that the
existence of such a massive registry will prove irresistible to
future demands for access and additions to the data for noneducational
Still, some higher education officials say the data could prove
useful for more effective public policy.
“There are some good aspects of this proposal because when
we try to look at information about students, we are stymied because
different universities use different types of databases,”
said George Blumenthal, chair of the UC-wide Academic Senate. “If
we have this information, we in the education system and in the
government can better formulate public policy regarding education.”
The new system would hold all of the information regarding the
United States’ 16.5 million post-secondary students in a centralized
database, replacing the multitude of smaller databases in use today.
Despite the apparent benefits for higher education, Blumenthal
recognizes that students’ privacy rights may be at risk with
the new system.
“There are legitimate concerns about privacy, especially
in a world where we are increasingly worried about protecting privacy,”
he said. “In an ideal world, the change would have no negative
effect on any individual students. In the long run, any effects
on students will probably be positive, but in the short run there
may be some breaches of privacy.”
The federal government also recognizes the possible privacy infringements,
and Bowler said Congress may have to amend the Family Educational
Rights and Privacy Act, which protects the privacy of student education
records, to sidestep the privacy risks.
But that may not be good enough for some critics.
“The privacy issue is about a student's right to privacy.
The idea that students would enter a federal registry by enrolling
in college, and could be tracked for the rest of their lives, is
chilling,” Pals said. “The proposal begins to take us
down the slippery slope toward Big Brother oversight of college
students, and of those same citizens beyond their college years.”
The proposal is currently undergoing a feasibility study to ascertain
whether it can or should be implemented. If the study recommends
the proposal move forward, it would then require approval from Congress
as part of the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act next
The law is vague, however, in
defining what shape the new standards should take. It only specifies
a digital photo "or other unique identifier" and means
to make the card resistant to "tampering, alteration, or counterfeiting."
It's already used as the ID of choice throughout most of the United
States. To write a check, open a video-store account, or board a
plane, you must flash your driver's license.
And now that small card tucked in your wallet is about to get more
sophisticated. A piece of the new National Intelligence Reform Act
signed into law last week requires national standards for state
It's another ripple from 9/11, when seven of the hijackers used
fake driver's licenses to board the planes.
The standards, to be hammered out over the next 18 months by state
and federal officials along with technology specialists and "interested
parties," are raising concerns among privacy experts who see
the move as the first step down the road to a national ID or centralized
information on individuals.
It's a development - described by one congresswoman as "radioactive
" - that has long been opposed by privacy advocates in the
public and government alike.
What several analysts question is why this standardizing IDs makes
us more secure?
"How does identification really relate to security?"
asks Daniel Solove, a law professor at George Washington University
and author of "The Digital Person: Technology and Privacy in
the Information Age." "People just assume it [improves
security] as if it was a fundamental truth."
The new law focuses heavily on how a license is obtained, systematizing
the list of documents needed to apply and how to verify them. In
some states, like New York, it's a long list.
"In other states, it's a fuzzy copy of a birth certificate,"
says Pam Dixon, executive director of the World Privacy Forum, who
testified in Washington last week on new ID standards for federal
Some predict the new standards will simplify the application process
and thus reduce the likelihood of fraud.
"There are hundreds of immigration forms that can be used
in many states to get licenses," says Melissa Savage, a transportation
analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver.
"That's a lot to expect of DMV employees - to be familiar with
all those different documents."
The law is vague, however, in defining what shape the new standards
should take. It only specifies a digital photo "or other unique
identifier" and means to make the card resistant to "tampering,
alteration, or counterfeiting."
Stories about electronic chips, and biometrics, and centralized
databases are swirling on the web. But Jason King, spokesman for
the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA),
says they are a lot of red herrings. "There is no call for
biometrics in this legislation; there is no call for smart chips;
there is no call for a central database."
In fact, his organization won't be recommending a biometric, even
though a handful of states already use them. After conducting a
study of the latest technologies through the International Biometric
Group, Mr. King says AAMVA wants to see the technology become more
But the trend in security in general is toward biometrics, says
Professor Solove. "I would be surprised if they don't discuss
and push in that direction."
And paradoxically, the new standards "could amplify the problems
of losing a driver's license," Solove says. "When you
go with a biometric identifier, as opposed to a number, the difficulty
is if someone gets hold of that identifier. You can't get new fingerprints.
You can't get a new eye replacement."
Biometric systems can be fooled, he explains. People can make fake
fingerprints or hold up a high-resolution picture of an eye to an
eye-scanner and breech the security.
"The same people who are forging state-issued driver's licenses
today will be forging federalized driver's licenses after this provision
goes into effect," says Gregory Nojeim, of the ACLU's Washington
Legislative office. "The price will go up, but the incentive
to make the forgery will go up as well."
Nor is the lack of a centralized database any comfort, Mr. Nojeim
says. "The privacy-invasive effect of a centralized database
can be accomplished by standardization of the identity document,
because it becomes interoperable."
It's that bigger picture that alarms Solove and others - what he
calls the first step in a "your papers, please" society.
Information tends to spread beyond its original purpose, Solove
says. "It's a rule that works as well as gravity ... whenever
the government gets information, it invariably uses it for new purposes
in the future."
He gives the example of the government's requirement to fingerprint
everyone in the armed services. The stated purpose was to help identify
remains. "Then at some point the FBI asked to have all those
fingerprints added into their fingerprint database" - where
the criminals are, he says.
World Privacy Forum's Ms. Dixon adds, "I always get very nervous
when someone builds a technology and then decides how to use it
ATLANTA (AP) - When two men walked into a
popular country store outside Atlanta, announced a holdup and fired
a shot, owners Bobby and Gloria Doster never hesitated. The pair
pulled out their own pistols and opened fire.
The armed suspect and his partner were killed. The Dosters won't
be charged, according to local officials, because they were acting
"I just started shooting," said Gloria Doster, 56. "I
was trying to blow his brains out is what I was trying to do."
ROME (AP) - A plastic candy container exploded
Wednesday in northeastern Italy as a group of middle school students
walked by, raising fears that the "Italian Unabomber"
had struck again, police said. There were no injuries.
The explosive device was packed into the
plastic container of one of Italyís most popular candy treats,
a chocolate egg whose hollowed inside contains a surprise trinket
for children, according to police in Treviso, where the incident
The candy container exploded after a boy kicked it to start a
game with his friends as they walked to a theater on a field trip,
said Marco Mantengoli, principal of Morgano Middle School.
A robot-like device was being sent to the explosion site to examine
another candy container similar to the one that exploded, the Italian
news agency ANSA reported. [...]
Three powerful bursts of energy
from different regions of space could presage spectacular explosions
of huge stars, astronomers just announced.
The eruptions are likely imminent.
Scientists around the world are scrambling to track the blasts,
NASA officials said last night. There is no danger to Earth from
the expected stellar explosions, called supernovas.
Yet never before have astronomers had such advance warning of the
faraway explosions. In fact, they don't even know if their forecasts
What is clear is that as the flashes develop into explosions --
or not -- knowledge of how stars die is likely to grow.
A blast of X-rays was spotted Sept. 12, and another on Sept. 16.
Each came from a different location in the sky and from galaxies
far beyond our own. A more powerful eruption was detected Sept.
24 from yet another spot in the sky. This third flash, importantly,
was on the verge between an X-ray eruption and a more energetic
gamma-ray burst, which involves a more powerful form of radiation.
X-rays and gamma rays are types of light, just like less powerful
visible light and lowly radio waves. All are part of the electromagnetic
The three high-energy flashes were each discovered by NASA's orbiting
High-Energy Transient Explorer (HETE- 2) observatory. There is no
reason to suspect there's any connection between the three blasts.
"We think it's just a strange coincidence," George Ricker,
of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said in a telephone
Telescopes around the world have since raced to track each event.
"Each burst has been beautiful," Ricker said. "Depending
on how these evolve, they could support important theories about
supernova[s] and gamma-ray bursts."
Ricker told SPACE.com the stars will likely go supernova 10 to
20 days after the initial bursts that were spotted.
The initial events have faded beyond the visibility of small professional
telescopes and are now being monitored by some of the world's largest
ground-based observatories. Backyard astronomers likely could not
find the bursts, Ricker said.
Gamma-ray bursts are the most energetic events in the universe
other than the Big Bang. They briefly outshine entire galaxies.
Astronomers think each burst is related to the explosion of a very
massive star that has used up its main fuel. Much material is blasted
into space, and some falls back rapidly and collapses into a tiny
sphere more dense than most folks can imagine, resulting in the
formation of a black hole.
In some cases, however, the energy might be unleashed when two
black holes collide.
But experts are not sure why some supernovas are accompanied by
gamma-ray bursts and others seem to shoot out only X-rays (the latter
assumption has not even been convincingly determined). The leading
theory is that when a star collapses after exploding, it sends out
two incredibly swift jets of material, one along each of its poles.
If a jet is pointed toward Earth, the thinking goes, we see a gamma-ray
burst. Otherwise we note only the X rays.
Other theorists argue that gamma-ray bursts and X-ray flashes are
different animals altogether.
All this could become much clearer in coming days as the three
new eruptions are monitored by a global telescope network designed
to detect each of the different wavelengths of energy involved.
Nature on a rampage
The eruptions are all probably a billion or so light-year away,
Ricker said. That's relatively close in comparison to most gamma-ray
bursts, which may explain why the X-ray flashes have been seen at
"These past two weeks have been like 'cock, fire, reload,'"
Ricker said. "Nature keeps on delivering."
Until recently, the events leading up to gamma-ray bursts and black
hole formation had not been seen.
The bursts are known to come routinely from every direction in
the sky. But they last just seconds, sometimes less than a second,
so in most cases only the aftermath is witnessed. Astronomers hope
this time they've seen the prelude and can witness the entire process.
Observations of other events in recent years linked gamma-ray bursts
to supernovas. Now, follow-up observations of the Sept. 24 blast,
named GRB040924, suggests X-rays and gamma rays do indeed emanate
from the same event.
The recent bursts "may be the first
time we see an X-ray flash lead to a supernova," said
theorist Stanford Woosley of the University of California at Santa
Scientists will comb data sent
back from Titan by the Huygens probe for the chemical signature
of life in a bid to identify the moon's source of methane.
Methane is constantly destroyed by UV light so there must be a
source within Titan to replenish the atmosphere.
Life is a possible - though some think unlikely - source of this
hydrocarbon along with geological processes.
The surface is too cold for biology, but microbes could survive
in an ocean within Titan, a senior scientist says.
Methane can also be released from a trapped form called clathrate
and produced by a geological process called "serpentinisation".
Neither of these involve biology.
Dominated by nitrogen, methane and other organic (carbon-based)
molecules, Titan is thought to resemble a deep-frozen version of
Earth 4.6 billion years ago.
Liquid methane rains down on Titan into river channels carved between
hills of water ice. Reservoirs of this hydrocarbon probably lie
on or just below the surface.
But UV light would destroy all the methane on Titan within 10 million
years if it were not being constantly renewed.
"We cannot say there is absolutely no chance for life,"
Dr Francois Raulin, one of three interdisciplinary scientists on
the Huygens mission told the BBC News website.
"There is no chance for life on the surface because it is
too cold and there is no liquid water.
"However, models of Titan's interior show there should be
an ocean about 100km deep at around 300km below the surface."
If the models are correct, this ocean would be composed mostly
of liquid water with about 15% ammonia at a temperature of about
-80C, said Dr Raulin.
"We have liquid water, organics not so far away; we have everything
on Titan to make life," he explained.
Work in progress
If methane-producing microbes had colonised this habitable zone,
scientists might detect its chemical signature by looking at the
relationship of two forms (or isotopes) of the element carbon -
C12 and C13.
Living cells preferentially incorporate C12. So compounds produced
by living things should be depleted of "heavier" isotopes
such as C13; they are said to have a high C12/C13 ratio.
Scientists should be able to measure this ratio in data sent back
by the Gas Chromatograph Mass Spectrometer (GCMS) instrument on
"The GCMS can directly detect the C12/C13 carbon ratio. We
haven't done that yet, but we're working on it," said Sushil
Atreya, a professor of planetary science at the University of Michigan,
US, and a GCMS team member.
"It's one factor we can take into account to figure out how
methane is getting replenished."
However, Professor Atreya favours the geological process of serpentinisation
as a more likely source of the Saturnian moon's methane.
In serpentinisation, geothermal activity generates methane through
the oxidation of metals such as iron, chromium and magnesium which
could be contained in crustal rocks below Titan's surface.
Another possibility is that methane molecules are trapped in a
water-ice matrix called clathrate (or methane hydrate).
Dr Raulin also considers these geological processes as viable sources
of methane on Titan.
On 14 January, the spacecraft plunged through the moon's atmosphere,
sending scientific data - including stunning images - back to ground
It landed on Titan at around 1138 GMT at a leisurely speed of around
5m/s and transmitted a signal until at least 1555 GMT.
Officials prepare for worst-case
Ministers are preparing for a flu pandemic that they believe poses
a far greater risk to Britons than a terrorist threat.
Government statisticians have warned that a worldwide outbreak
of flu is overdue, leading ministers to consider contingency plans
for inflatable mortuaries, quarantine facilities, and the evacuation
of big cities.
The arrangements follow the outbreak of a bird flu virus in south-east
Asia, which has killed 32 of the 45 humans it has infected. Test
results last week confirmed that two Vietnamese brothers, one of
whom has died, were infected, prompting concerns that the virus
can spread between humans. The World Health Organisation has warned
of a potential pandemic that could cause seven million deaths. Ministers
have been told there is a greater probability of this spreading
to Britain than a September 11-style attack.
One senior government source said: "People think terrorist
attacks are the most serious threat to us but influenza is currently
regarded as the most likely. Our statisticians say an epidemic is
overdue. Some of the details are graphic. They're the things that
keep me awake at night."
The strain of avian flu circulating in south-east Asia is a particular
concern to health officials. Their biggest worry is that it might
infect someone who is also suffering from the human form of flu.
Because the virus is so good at swapping genes, it could easily
pick up characteristics of human flu, making it far more infectious
- conditions that health officials say could lead to a pandemic.
The government would aim to prevent a pandemic reaching Britain
through screening centres at south-east Asian airports. The idea
was discussed in China during the Sars outbreak, two years ago,
which infected over 8,500 people in at least 29 countries. "We
started this with Sars in 2003," the government source said.
"The real plan is to prevent this getting into the country
through border controls. That's absolutely critical."
If infected passengers manage to get through screening, the government
would want to quarantine them in secure accommodation with residential
In the worst-case scenario, ministers are preparing for mass evacuations
of healthy people from cities. "This is absolutely the last
resort," the source said.
Any centre with a large Chinese population - such as Liverpool,
Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow and Newcastle - is believed
to be particularly vulnerable to a flu outbreak: "It could
be any big city with a significant population of people from China
if someone were to arrive who had the disease or came into contact
with it and went to live with friends or family in one of these
The evacuation plan is understood to mirror a blueprint to evacuate
affected parts of London in the event of a terrorist attack. Working
on the assumption that roads would be gridlocked by panicking people,
the government would coordinate a mass evacuation by rail. Officials
are also procuring an inflatable mortuary which can house several
Meanwhile, the Department of Health is assessing how many antivirals
it should stockpile. The new class of drug works by blocking the
action of a key flu protein and stops sufferers passing the virus
Research from the Harvard School of Public Health indicates that
giving antivirals to between 50% and 75% of the population would
check a virus along the lines of the 1918-19 outbreak, when 280,000
died in the UK and 40 million worldwide.
But, while the NHS is understood to have enough doses for groups
vulnerable to flu - the elderly and infirm - it has nowhere near
the 30m doses for a pandemic.
Statisticians believe a flu pandemic is long overdue. They normally
occur at fairly regular cycles, but there has not been one since
The most serious outbreak was the 1918-19 Spanish flu pandemic,
which started in China. In 1957, an Asian flu pandemic, thought
to have originated in Russia, affected 10-35% of the world's population
though mortality was much lower than in 1918. The 1968 outbreak,
first detected in Hong Kong, killed around 700,000 people worldwide.
All the elements are in place
for the start of a global flu pandemic, except one, scientists report
this week. The missing piece: the ability for the avian flu to spread
from person to person with ease.
"The warning signal has been clearer than ever since 1968,
when the last pandemic occurred," the World Health Organization's
Klaus Stöhr says in an editorial in The New England Journal
of Medicine There is now an "unprecedented opportunity to intensify
worldwide preparedness," he says.
Some potential red flags:
• In most cases, people who became infected caught the virus
from sick birds. But there are a few exceptions. Scientists at the
Thai Ministry of Public Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention, in another article in the journal, conclude
that it spread last September from a Thai girl, 11, to her mother
and aunt. Both women provided bedside care for the girl. WHO reported
Friday that a man who died of the flu Jan. 9 in Vietnam may have
passed the virus to his brother, who was infected but survived.
The investigators say it is also possible the brother contracted
the virus by eating a meal of raw duck blood and organs.
• The virus is growing progressively deadlier in poultry,
Stöhr says, and has crossed the species barrier, infecting
pigs, cats and other mammals. It also has been found in wild birds
and ducks, which could have helped spread it.
• In people, the disease has two "striking" features,
Stöhr says: It is concentrated in previously healthy children
and young adults, and it has a high mortality rate.
Vietnam has reported eight human cases, including seven deaths,
since mid-December in what appears to be a "third wave"
of human avian flu cases, says virologist Malik Peiris of the University
of Hong Kong and Queen Mary Hospital. Peiris, who spoke Monday at
a University of Michigan conference on pandemic flu, says clusters
of cases in Vietnam occurred last year from January to March and
August to October.
In Vietnam and Thailand, where human deaths have been caused by
the avian flu, families commonly keep backyard flocks of chickens,
ducks and pigs, and the risk of exposure to the virus is high. "Outbreaks
under such conditions may escape detection," Stöhr says,
and be tough to control.
Peiris echoed that, saying under such circumstances, it is surprising
there have not been more human cases. That there have not suggests
the possibility of "other factors that predispose people who
are exposed to develop disease," he says, including unknown
Another unknown is whether avian flu will change into a form that
is contagious among people, says Arnold Monto, professor of epidemiology
at the University of Michigan. So far, that has not happened, he
says, but it's the last step before a flu pandemic can occur.
Monto, in a commentary in The New England Journal of Medicine,
which released all three flu articles early to coincide with the
conference, says that if an outbreak of avian flu in humans were
detected early in a limited region, it might be possible to head
off a pandemic. Monto said this could be done by using stockpiled
supplies of antiviral drugs such as Tamiflu, which has been shown
to be effective against the avian flu strain.
Monto disclosed to the journal that he had received consulting
fees and grants from Tamiflu's maker, Roche.
MELAKA, Malaysia: The cause of death of over
100 pigs in Kampung Paya Mengkuang in Alor Gajah was due to acute
swine fever and suspected poisoning, early reports said.
State Chairman for Human Resources, Health and Consumer Affairs
Seah Kwi Tong urged the people not to panic as the deaths had nothing
to do with the Japanese Encephalitis (JE) virus.
"The deaths occurred in a single shed and did not spread
to surrounding sheds or to humans," he told reporters on Wednesday.
He was commenting on reports by several newspapers on the deaths
of 120 pigs in a farm in the village over the last five days.
He said the initial reports were based on post-mortem conducted
on two carcasses by a private doctor from Shah Alam, Selangor.
As a precautionary measure, the movement of the pigs in the farm
had been restricted since last Sunday.
Seah said samples of the pigs' organs, urine and consumed food
had also been taken by the Veterinary Research Institute in Ipoh
Paya Mengkuang, which is the biggest pig farming district in Melaka,
was hit by an outbreak of JE several years ago.
REGINA - Almost 400 passengers returning from
the Dominican Republic were detained on board their planes in Regina
and Ottawa late Tuesday following concerns over the highly contagious
Health Canada decided to keep 200 passengers on board the Regina
plane for three hours after one woman became sick and eight others
showed similar symptoms.
A doctor on board, who had been consulting with health officials,
told passengers the most likely cause of the illness was the Norwalk
The stomach virus, which causes vomiting and diarrhea, is often
spread through the vomit or feces of an infected person. The symptoms
usually last for 24 to 72 hours.
Emergency vehicles were dispatched and the sick woman was taken
"At first, we weren't really worried, and then we started
to hear through the grapevine that people were sick," said
passenger Lindsay Strass. "Eventually we heard it might be
Norwalk, and then we really started to worry."
Passengers were warned to watch for any signs of the virus over
the next few days.
Ottawa flight held
Another plane landing in Ottawa from the Dominican Republic Tuesday
night was held up for two hours because of similar concerns.
The 177 passengers on the charter flight were allowed to continue
on their way after consultations with Health Canada determined that
four sick passengers' symptoms were likely caused by flu, not the
Officials with Canada's Public Health Agency say the flights were
"We do need to hold the plane while the assessment is being
carried out. That is the standard procedure post-SARS," said
Dr. Jean-Pierre Legault.
Earlier in the month, the Public Health Agency said it was monitoring
reports of an outbreak of a gastrointestinal illness in the Dominican
More than 20 years after the AIDS epidemic
arrived in the United States, 15 percent of African-Americans embrace
the theory that government scientists created the disease to control
or wipe out their communities, according to a study by Rand Corp.
and Oregon State University.
That belief hurts efforts to prevent the disease among black Americans,
the study's authors and activists said.
African-Americans represent 13 percent of the U.S. population,
according to Census Bureau figures, yet they account for 50 percent
of new HIV infections in the nation in 2002, according to the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention.
Nearly half of 500 African-Americans surveyed said HIV, the virus
that causes AIDS, is man-made. The study, supported by the National
Institute of Child Health and Human Development, appears in the
Feb. 1 Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes.
More than one-quarter said they believed AIDS was produced in
a government lab, and 12 percent believed it was created and spread
by the CIA.
A slight majority said they believe a cure is being withheld from
the poor. Forty-four percent said people who take new medicines
for HIV are government guinea pigs, and 15 percent said AIDS is
a form of genocide against black people. [...]
Scientists have begun blurring
the line between human and animal by producing chimeras—a
hybrid creature that's part human, part animal.
Chinese scientists at the Shanghai Second Medical University in
2003 successfully fused human cells with rabbit eggs. The embryos
were reportedly the first human-animal chimeras successfully created.
They were allowed to develop for several days in a laboratory dish
before the scientists destroyed the embryos to harvest their stem
In Minnesota last year researchers at the Mayo Clinic created pigs
with human blood flowing through their bodies.
And at Stanford University in California an experiment might be
done later this year to create mice with human brains.
Scientists feel that, the more humanlike the animal, the better
research model it makes for testing drugs or possibly growing "spare
parts," such as livers, to transplant into humans.
Watching how human cells mature and interact in a living creature
may also lead to the discoveries of new medical treatments.
But creating human-animal chimeras—named after a monster
in Greek mythology that had a lion's head, goat's body, and serpent's
tail—has raised troubling questions: What new subhuman combination
should be produced and for what purpose? At what point would it
be considered human? And what rights, if any, should it have?
There are currently no U.S. federal laws that address these issues.
The National Academy of Sciences, which advises the U.S. government,
has been studying the issue. In March it plans to present voluntary
ethical guidelines for researchers.
A chimera is a mixture of two or more species in one body. Not
all are considered troubling, though.
For example, faulty human heart valves are routinely replaced with
ones taken from cows and pigs. The surgery—which makes the
recipient a human-animal chimera—is widely accepted. And for
years scientists have added human genes to bacteria and farm animals.
What's caused the uproar is the mixing of human stem cells with
embryonic animals to create new species.
Biotechnology activist Jeremy Rifkin is opposed to crossing species
boundaries, because he believes animals have the right to exist
without being tampered with or crossed with another species.
He concedes that these studies would lead to some medical breakthroughs.
Still, they should not be done.
"There are other ways to advance medicine and human health
besides going out into the strange, brave new world of chimeric
animals," Rifkin said, adding that sophisticated computer models
can substitute for experimentation on live animals.
"One doesn't have to be religious or into animal rights to
think this doesn't make sense," he continued. "It's the
scientists who want to do this. They've now gone over the edge into
the pathological domain."
David Magnus, director of the Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics
at Stanford University, believes the real worry is whether or not
chimeras will be put to uses that are problematic, risky, or dangerous.
Human Born to Mice Parents?
For example, an experiment that would raise concerns,
he said, is genetically engineering mice to produce human sperm
and eggs, then doing in vitro fertilization to produce a child whose
parents are a pair of mice.
"Most people would find that problematic," Magnus said,
"but those uses are bizarre and not, to the best of my knowledge,
anything that anybody is remotely contemplating. Most uses of chimeras
are actually much more relevant to practical concerns."
Last year Canada passed the Assisted Human Reproduction Act, which
bans chimeras. Specifically, it prohibits transferring a nonhuman
cell into a human embryo and putting human cells into a nonhuman
Cynthia Cohen is a member of Canada's Stem Cell Oversight Committee,
which oversees research protocols to ensure they are in accordance
with the new guidelines.
She believes a ban should also be put into place in the U.S.
Creating chimeras, she said, by mixing human and animal gametes
(sperms and eggs) or transferring reproductive cells, diminishes
"It would deny that there is something distinctive and valuable
about human beings that ought to be honored and protected,"
said Cohen, who is also the senior research fellow at Georgetown
University's Kennedy Institute of Ethics in Washington, D.C.
But, she noted, the wording on such a ban needs to be developed
carefully. It shouldn't outlaw ethical and legitimate experiments—such
as transferring a limited number of adult human stem cells into
animal embryos in order to learn how they proliferate and grow during
the prenatal period.
Irv Weissman, director of Stanford University's Institute of Cancer/Stem
Cell Biology and Medicine in California, is against a ban in the
"Anybody who puts their own moral guidance in the way of this
biomedical science, where they want to impose their will—not
just be part of an argument—if that leads to a ban or moratorium.
… they are stopping research that would save human lives,"
Mice With Human Brains
Weissman has already created mice with brains that are about one
Later this year he may conduct another experiment where the mice
have 100 percent human brains. This would be done, he said, by injecting
human neurons into the brains of embryonic mice.
Before being born, the mice would be killed and dissected to see
if the architecture of a human brain had formed. If it did, he'd
look for traces of human cognitive behavior.
Weissman said he's not a mad scientist trying to create a human
in an animal body. He hopes the experiment leads to a better understanding
of how the brain works, which would be useful in treating diseases
like Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease.
The test has not yet begun. Weissman is waiting to read the National
Academy's report, due out in March.
William Cheshire, associate professor of neurology at the Mayo
Clinic's Jacksonville, Florida, branch, feels that combining human
and animal neurons is problematic.
"This is unexplored biologic territory," he said. "Whatever
moral threshold of human neural development we might choose to set
as the limit for such an experiment, there would be a considerable
risk of exceeding that limit before it could be recognized."
Cheshire supports research that combines human and animal cells
to study cellular function. As an undergraduate he participated
in research that fused human and mouse cells.
But where he draws the ethical line is on research that would destroy
a human embryo to obtain cells, or research that would create an
organism that is partly human and partly animal.
"We must be cautious not to violate the integrity of humanity
or of animal life over which we have a stewardship responsibility,"
said Cheshire, a member of Christian Medical and Dental Associations.
"Research projects that create human-animal chimeras risk disturbing
fragile ecosystems, endanger health, and affront species integrity."
CARROLLTON, Ky. (AP) - A pipeline broke and
spilled an estimated 63,000 gallons of crude oil into the Kentucky
River early Wednesday, creating a 12-mile-long slick that crews
were racing to contain to keep it from contaminating drinking water.
By afternoon the oil spill had crept within five miles of the
Ohio River, which several communities in northern Kentucky rely
on for their water supplies, said Environmental Protection Agency
onsite coordinator Art Smith. The Kentucky River is not used for
drinking water in the area.
It was not immediately clear what caused the rupture of the pipeline,
which carries about 180,000 barrels of crude daily from the Gulf
Coast to refineries in northwest Ohio. [...]
Vancouver — More than three centuries
after a series of massive waves crashed onto the west coast of Vancouver
Island, destroying villages and sweeping people out to sea, 14 native
communities are asking to be moved to higher ground.
"I think after Asia we do feel threatened," Robert Dennis,
Chief of the Huu-ay-aht First Nation, said yesterday.
Today is the 305th anniversary of the Jan. 26, 1700, tsunami.
Chief Dennis and other native leaders in the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal
Council, representing about 3,000 people along the southwest coast
of Vancouver Island, are putting together a detailed proposal that
will ask for federal and provincial government assistance in relocating
houses at risk and developing emergency plans.
Costs are unknown at this point, but some communities aren't waiting
for the government to respond.
Chief Dennis said that when the Huu-ay-aht, who number about 500
in a village near Bamfield, built a new community centre a few years
ago, they abandoned the original building site near the ocean and
moved it higher up the slope after an elder reminded them of the
tsunami threat outlined in old stories.
Chief Dennis said native leaders shouldn't have needed a reminder
because the tsunami of 1700 has been talked about within their communities
The tsunami was triggered by an earthquake that ruptured the sea
floor from California all the way north to mid-Vancouver Island.
The devastation it caused had such an impact on native cultures
that the story was largely mythologized, becoming a giant thunderbird
battling a whale the size of a mountain. That became a motif of
Pacific Northwest art, reflected in fearsome totem poles, longhouse
paintings and haunting ceremonial masks.
Many historians ascribed the story to fanciful legend, but the
Huu-ay-aht and other bands along the coast never doubted the authenticity
of the tales. In recent years scientists
have unearthed geological proof of the tsunami, reviving fears that
another one is overdue.
As a small boy, Chief Dennis heard stories about the tsunami from
his great-grandfather. But he never really knew what to make of
it until he saw the television images of the Boxing Day tsunamis
in Asia, with people running for their lives and the sea wiping
"I was thinking of my people when I saw that," Chief
Dennis said. "That changed how I feel dramatically because
now I can visualize what really happened to my people. That's exactly
what was going through my mind when I watched that. This is a replay
for my benefit."
Chief Dennis said some communities had been trying to get government
help to move to higher ground for years, but after the Boxing Day
tsunamis, demand for action started to grow.
"The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council has agreed to develop
a comprehensive plan to deal with the tidal wave that will hit our
coast sooner or later. We will present it to the federal and provincial
governments, and we will ask their assistance. They just can't ignore
it," he said.
Chief Judith Sayers, of the Hupacasath First Nation, said her
community, located on river flats near Port Alberni, is particularly
vulnerable because they are at the head of a long inlet.
"As the wave comes up the inlet it will get higher. We really
need to move the  residential homes . . . because we would be
wiped out," she said.
Like Chief Dennis, Chief Sayers said the Boxing Day tsunamis brought
alive the stories she'd heard as a child.
"The elders tell the stories of when people floated up the
mountain and tied themselves to trees with cedar bark so that they
wouldn't be dragged out to sea," she said.
Chief Keith Atleo, of the Ahousat, or "people facing the
open ocean," said there are about 130 homes at risk in his
village, near Tofino.
"We are concerned about the safety of our community and we
are searching for funding to come up with a disaster plan,"
Ruth Ludwin, an earthquake scientist at the University of Washington,
has been researching native legends of earthquakes and tsunamis.
She said the ancient stories are eerily similar to those told by
the survivors of the Boxing Day catastrophe. One of the stories
she found was told in 1933 by Annie Miner Peterson, who was then
"My grandfather saw one of the old women who had been left
alive," she said. "She had been hung up on a tree and
the limbs of that tree were too high up."
The girl tried to let herself down with a pack line, but fell,
broke her back and lived her life as a hunchback in the village.
"It's only a matter of time before
there's another megathrust earthquake off the West Coast,"
WASHINGTON, DC, - The number of people known
to be dead or missing one month after the December 26 earthquake
and tsunami neared 300,000 Tuesday after Indonesia revised its casualty
figures. The countryís health ministry said 228,164 people
are now believed dead or missing, an increase of more than 50,000
over earlier figures.
The total death toll includes fatalities in 10 other Indian Ocean
More than 40 Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, mobilizing
at least 9,000 volunteers and nearly 300 international staff, from
donor nations as well as from affected countries, are delivering
food, clean water, health care, psychological support, shelter materials
as well as household and hygiene articles to the survivors of the
worst natural catastrophe in living memory.
Dozens of other aid agencies are doing their utmost to help the
nearly two million displaced people in difficult conditions, including
heavy rains, and a runaway fire Monday in Banda Aceh started by
residents burning garbage.
The United Nations said warnings about the threat of infectious
diseases after the tsunami have helped prevent a major outbreak
of cholera or dysentery in the region.
On the Indonesian island of Sumatra, some areas of the west coast
still are cut off except for helicopter access, due to the destruction
of more than 50 bridges along that coast. But the surviving population
in these hardest hit areas is low, according to Dr. Tony Stewart,
a medical epidemiologist with Australia's Centre for International
Health and the Burnet Institute for Medical Research and Public
Health who is in Aceh working to strengthen disease surveillance
after the tsunami.
"In some areas the mortality due to the tsunami was greater
than 90 percent," he said Tuesday. [...]
YUZHNO-SAKHALINSK, - An earthquake measuring
5.9 points on the Richter scale jolted Northern Kurile Islands in
the Russian Far East, Northern Kurile seismology service told Itar-Tass
The earthquake took place at 4:54 a.m. local time (21:54 p. m.
Moscow time, January 25).
The epicentre was located 220 kilometers off the Paramushir Island
at a depth of 158 kilometres under the Pacific Ocean floor. This
is the second earthquake during the recent 48 hours. The previous
on occured on January 24.
There were no immediate reports about casualties or damage. The
service said there was no threat of a tsunami.
KHABAROVSK, January 27 (Itar-Tass)
- An earthquake measuring 6-6.5 points on the Richter scale jolted
Yakutia republic on Wednesday.
The Far Eastern regional centre of the Russian Emergency Situations
Ministry told Itar-Tass on Thursday its epicentre was located at
a depth of 10 kilometres 86 kilometres northeast of the Deputatsky
settlement of the Ust-Yansk district.
The force of earth tremors in the Deputatsky settlement did not
exceed three points. Nobody was hurt, there was no destruction,
the centre said.
| A strong earthquake struck off the
tsunami-ravaged west coast of Sumatra in northern Indonesia, Hong
Kong seismologists said today.
There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties.
The 6.1-magnitude quake hit the coast at 5:06 a.m. local time today
(0336 IST), the Hong Kong Observatory said.
The seismologists said the quake was centered about 300 km southwest
of Banda Aceh, the capital of the Indonesian province hit hard by
a massive quake on December 26 and the tsunami it spawned.
BANDA ACEH, Indonesia (AP) - A 5.6-magnitude
earthquake jolted tsunami-ravaged Aceh province late Tuesday afternoon,
one of the many aftershocks that have hit the region since last
The tremor, which struck about 4:50 pm, lasted about 10 seconds.
The quake was centred 70 kilometres (43 miles) southwest of Banda
Aceh under the floor of the Indian Ocean, said Syahnan Sobri, head
of the Banda Aceh Geophysics Centre.
A quake must be above magnitude 6.5 to cause a tsunami, he said.
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 centered
under land and not strong enough to create a tsunami.
New Delhi, January 26: A slight intensity quake
rocked Bhuj town in the Rann of Kutch region of Gujarat in the early
hours on Wednesday, the Indian Meteorological Department said.
The quake, measuring 4.5 on the richter scale, was felt at 00:35
hrs, IST, it said.
The quake was epicentred at 23.3 degree North latitude and 70.2
degree East longitude, The IMD said.
It was not immediately known whether the quake caused any damage.
Bhuj was the epicentre of a massive earthquake that occurred on
Republic Day four years ago. As many as 12,000 people lost their
lives in the devastating quake.
KUNMING, Jan. 26 (Xinhuanet) -- An earthquake
measuring 5.0 on the Richter scale jolted Simao, a city in southwest
China's Yunnan Province, at 0:30 Wednesday, leaving three people
The epicenter of the quake is at 22.7 degrees north latitude and
100.8 degrees east longitude, according to China Seismological Network.
Three people were injured but no one was yet found dead. A batch
of houses were damaged at different level.
The local government has quickly organized the disaster relief
TAVURVUR volcano in Papua New Guinea's is emitting
ash plumes as high as 3km, ending 11 months of calm.
The volcano near Rabaul on the eastern end of the island of New
Britain, began erupting on Monday night, the Rabaul Volcanological
It had been quiet since February 17 last year.
Rabaul was evacuated in September 1994 before it was devastated
by twin eruptions from Mt Tavurvur and nearby Mt Vulcan.
Residents and businesses have since restored the shattered and
ash-covered town and are worried about the latest activity.
The town's Chamber of Commerce President Bruce Alexander said
today the ash plumes were being taken out to sea by the prevailing
But if the eruptions continued, Rabaul would be under threat of
ash falls when the seasonal wind shift to the south-west came in
April, he said. [...]
KAMLOOPS, B.C. (CP) - Some 500 people packed
bags and nervously watched the Barriere River swirl threateningly
outside their windows Tuesday night.
They have been put on an evacuation alert and were told to be
ready to flee should the river spill over the banks toward the communities
of Little Fort and Barriere, north of Kamloops. The Barriere River
is jammed with ice and the currents are barely able to flow through,
said Barb Jackson, a spokeswoman with the Thompson-Nicola Regional
District. "Search and Rescue teams are monitoring the icepack.
Should it move, an evacuation order will be called," she said.
Meanwhile, 100 people remained out of their homes because of ice-caused
flooding in the tiny community of Birch Island near Clearwater.
Five Suspended After Man Left In Body Bag
For Two Hours
LOUISBURG, N.C. -- Four paramedics and a volunteer EMS are suspended
with pay after a medical examiner studying a body in a morgue discovered
the person was still alive.
Larry Donnell Green, 29, was removed from the morgue at the Franklin
County Sheriff's Department and taken to Duke University Medical
Center in Durham, where he is listed in critical condition.
Medical examiner J.B. Perdue was documenting Green's injuries
to certify a cause of death when he noticed Green breathing. Green
had been declared dead by paramedics at the accident scene Monday
after being hit by a car driven by 36-year-old Tamuel Jackson almost
two hours earlier at the U.S. 401-N.C. 39 split.
"We were making funeral arrangements, family came by, everybody
thought he had passed away," said Green's brother, Steve.
Emergency medical technicians declared Green dead Monday night
and put him in a body bag for transport to the morgue. At the morgue,
Perdue detected an irregular breath and called the same paramedics
who attended to Green to take him to the hospital. [...]
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