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Odds Against These Microbiologists Dying In 30 Months? 14 Billion To One

portland.indymedia.org
Feb 5, 2005

Excerpted from Gator Press.com -

"The insurance industry uses scientific tables to accurately predict death rates. Based on the 1997 CSO Mortality Tables, the odds that all of these men could collectively die during a 30 month period is a staggering 14,000,000,000:1

This makes it logically impossible for any reasonable person to deny that the world's leading microbiology researchers are being murdered, beginning with the anthrax attacks thru last month.

The question is why are they being killed, and by whom?"

Dead Scientists And Microbiologists - Master List

Compiled by Mark J. Harper
mjharper712@hotmail.com
2-5-2005

Marconi Scientists Mystery

In the 1980's over two dozen science graduates and experts working for Marconi or Plessey Defence Systems died in mysterious circumstances, most appearing to be suicides., The MOD denied these scientists had been involved in classified Star Wars Projects and that the deaths were in any way connected. Judge for yourself...

March 1982: Professor Keith Bowden, 46

-- Expertise: Computer programmer and scientist at Essex University engaged in work for Marconi, who was hailed as an expert on super computers and computer-controlled aircraft.

--Circumstance of Death: Fatal car crash when his vehicle went out of control across a dual carriageway and plunged onto a disused railway line. Police maintained he had been drinking but family and friends all denied the allegation.

--Coroner's verdict: Accident.

April 1983: Lt-Colonel Anthony Godley, 49

-- Expertise: Head of the Work Study Unit at the Royal College of Military Science.

--Circumstance of Death: Disappeared mysteriously in April 1983 without explanation. Presumed dead.

March 1985: Roger Hill, 49

-- Expertise: Radar designer and draughtsman with Marconi.

--Circumstance of Death: Died by a shotgun blast at home.

--Coroner's verdict: Suicide.

November 19, 1985: Jonathan Wash, 29

--Expertise: Digital communications expert who had worked at GEC and at British Telecom's secret research centre at Martlesham Heath, Suffolk.

--Circumstance of Death: Died as a result of falling from a hotel room in Abidjan, West Africa, while working for British Telecom. He had expressed fears that his life was in danger.

--Coroner's verdict: Open.

August 4, 1986: Vimal Dajibhai, 24

--Expertise: Computer software engineer with Marconi, responsible for testing computer control systems of Tigerfish and Stingray torpedoes at Marconi Underwater Systems at Croxley Green, Hertfordshire.

--Circumstance of Death: Death by 74m (240ft.) fall from Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol. Police report on the body mentioned a needle-sized puncture wound on the left buttock, but this was later dismissed as being a result of the fall. Dajibhai had been looking forward to starting a new job in the City of London and friends had confirmed that there was no reason for him to commit suicide. At the time of his death he was in the last week of his work with Marconi.

--Coroner's verdict: Open.

October 1986: Arshad Sharif, 26

--Expertise: Reported to have been working on systems for the detection of submarines by satellite.

--Circumstance of Death: Died as a result of placing a ligature around his neck, tying the other end to a tree and then driving off in his car with the accelerator pedal jammed down. His unusual death was complicated by several issues: Sharif lived near Vimal Dajibhai in Stanmore, Middlesex, he committed suicide in Bristol and, inexplicably, had spent the last night of his life in a rooming house. He had paid for his accommodation in cash and was seen to have a bundle of high-denomination banknotes in his possession. While the police were told of the banknotes, no mention was made of them at the inquest and they were never found. In addition, most of the other guests at the rooming house worked at British Aerospace prior to working for Marconi, Sharif had also worked at British Aerospace on guided weapons technology.

--Coroner's verdict: Suicide.

January 1987: Richard Pugh, 37

--Expertise: MOD computer consultant and digital communications expert.

--Circumstance of Death: Found dead in his flat in with his feet bound and a plastic bag over his head. Rope was tied around his body, coiling four times around his neck.

--Coroner's verdict: Accident.

January 12, 1987: Dr. John Brittan, 52

--Expertise: Scientist formerly engaged in top secret work at the Royal College of Military Science at Shrivenham, Oxfordshire, and later deployed in a research department at the MOD.

--Circumstance of Death: Death by carbon monoxide poisoning in his own garage, shortly after returning from a trip to the US in connection with his work.

--Coroner's verdict: Accident.

February 1987: David Skeels, 43

--Expertise: Engineer with Marconi.

--Circumstance of Death: Found dead in his car with a hosepipe connected to the exhaust.

--Coroner's verdict: Open.

February 1987: Victor Moore, 46

--Expertise: Design Engineer with Marconi Space and Defence Systems.

--Circumstance of Death: Died from an overdose.

--Coroner's verdict: Suicide.

February 22, 1987: Peter Peapell, 46

--Expertise: Scientist at the Royal College of Military Science. He had been working on testing titanium for it's resistance to explosives and the use of computer analysis of signals from metals.

--Circumstance of Death: Found dead allegedly from carbon monoxide poisoning, in his Oxfordshire garage. The circumstances of his death raised some elements of doubt. His wife had found him on his back with his head parallel to the rear car bumper and his mouth in line with the exhaust pipe, with the car engine running. Police were apparently baffled as to how he could have manoeuvred into the position in which he was found.

--Coroner's verdict: Open.

April 1987: George Kountis age unknown.

--Expertise: Systems Analyst at Bristol Polytechnic.

--Circumstance of Death: Drowned the same day as Shani Warren (see below) - as the result of a car accident, his upturned car being found in the River Mersey, Liverpool.

--Coroner's verdict: Misadventure. (Kountis, sister called for a fresh inquest as she thought 'things didn't add up.')

April 10, 1987: Shani Warren, 26

--Expertise: Personal assistant in a company called Micro Scope, which was taken over by GEC Marconi less than four weeks after her death.

--Circumstance of Death: Found drowned in 45cm. (18in) of water, not far from the site of David Greenhalgh's death fall. Warren died exactly one week after the death of Stuart Gooding and serious injury to Greenhalgh. She was found gagged with a noose around her neck. Her feet were also bound and her hands tied behind her back.

--Coroner's verdict: Open. (It was said that Warren had gagged herself, tied her feet with rope, then tied her hands behind her back and hobbled to the lake on stiletto heels to drown herself.)

April 10, 1987: Stuart Gooding, 23

--Expertise: Postgraduate research student at the Royal College of Military Science.

--Circumstance of Death: Fatal car crash while on holiday in Cyprus. The death occurred at the same time as college personnel were carrying out exercises on Cyprus.

--Coroner's verdict: Accident.

April 24, 1987: Mark Wisner, 24

--Expertise: Software engineer at the MOD.

--Circumstance of Death: Found dead on in a house shared with two colleagues. He was found with a plastic sack around his head and several feet of cling film around his face. The method of death was almost identical to that of Richard Pugh some three months earlier.

--Coroner's verdict: Accident.

March 30, 1987: David Sands, 37

--Expertise: Senior scientist working for Easams of Camberley, Surrey, a sister company to Marconi. Dr. John Brittan had also worked at Camberley.

--Circumstance of Death: Fatal car crash when he allegedly made a sudden U-turn on a dual carriageway while on his way to work, crashing at high speed into a disused cafeteria. He was found still wearing his seat belt and it was discovered that the car had been carrying additional petrol cans. None of the normal, reasons for a possible suicide could be found.

--Coroner's verdict: Open.

May 3, 1987: Michael Baker, 22

--Expertise: Digital communications expert working on a defence project at Plessey; part-time member of Signals Corps SAS.

--Circumstance of Death: Fatal accident owhen his car crashed through a barrier near Poole in Dorset.

--Coroner's verdict: Misadventure.

June 1987: Jennings, Frank, 60.

--Expertise: Electronic Weapons Engineer with Plessey.

--Circumstance of Death: Found dead from a heart attack.

--No inquest.

January 1988: Russell Smith, 23

--Expertise: Laboratory technician with the Atomic Energy Research Establishment at Harwell, Essex.

--Circumstance of Death: Died as a result of a cliff fall at Boscastle in Cornwall.

--Coroner's verdict: Suicide.

March 25, 1988: Trevor Knight, 52

--Expertise: Computer engineer with Marconi Space and Defence Systems in Stanmore, Middlesex.

--Circumstance of Death: Found dead at his home in Harpenden, Hertfordshire at the wheel of his car with a hosepipe connected to the exhaust. A St. Alban's coroner said that Knight's woman friend, Miss Narmada Thanki (who also worked with him at Marconi) had found three suicide notes left by him which made clear his intentions. Miss Thanki had mentioned that Knight disliked his work but she did not detect any depression that would have driven him to suicide.

--Coroner's verdict: Suicide.

August 1988: Alistair Beckham, 50

--Expertise: Software engineer with Plessey Defence Systems.

--Circumstance of Death: Found dead after being electrocuted in his garden shed with wires connected to his body.

--Coroner's verdict: Open.

August 22, 1988: Peter Ferry, 60

--Expertise: Retired Army Brigadier and an Assistant Marketing Director with Marconi.

--Circumstance of Death: Found on 22nd or 23rd August 1988 electrocuted in his company flat with electrical leads in his mouth.

--Coroner's verdict: Open

September 1988: Andrew Hall, 33

--Expertise: Engineering Manager with British Aerospace.

--Circumstance of Death: Carbon monoxide poisoning in a car with a hosepipe connected to the exhaust.

--Coroner's verdict: Suicide.

Above list compiled by Raymond A. Robinson in 'The Alien Intent'
(A Dire Warning)
- (Note: link above is dead)

Date?: Dr. C. Bruton

--Expertise: He had just produced a paper on a new strain of CJD. He was a CJD specialist who was killed before his work was announced to the public.

--Circumstance of Death: died in a car crash.

1994/95?: Dr. Jawad Al Aubaidi

--Expertise: Veterinary mycoplasma and had worked with various mycoplasmas in the 1980s at Plum Island.

--Circumstance of Death: He was killed in his native Iraq while he was changing a flat tire and hit by a truck.

Source: Patricia A. Doyle, PhD

1996: Tsunao Saitoh, 46

--Expertise: A leading Alzheimer's researcher

--Circumstance of Death: He and his 13 year-old daughter were killed in La Jolla, California, in what a Reuters report described as a "very professionally done" shooting. He was dead behind the wheel of the car, the side window had been shot out, and the door was open. His daughter appeared to have tried to run away and she was shot dead, also.

Dec 25, 1997: Sidney Harshman, 67

--Expertise: Professor of microbiology and immunology.

"He was the world's leading expert on staphylococcal alpha toxins," according to Conrad Wagner, professor of biochemistry at Vanderbilt and a close friend of Professor Harshman. "He also deeply cared for other people and was always eager to help his students and colleagues."

--Circumstance of Death: Complications of diabetes

July 10, 1998: Elizabeth A. Rich, M.D., 46

--Expertise: An associate professor with tenure in the pulmonary division of the Department of Medicine at CWRU and University Hospitals of Cleveland. She was also a member of the executive committee for the Center for AIDS Research and directed the biosafety level 3 facility, a specialized laboratory for the handling of HIV, virulent TB bacteria, and other infectious agents.

--Circumstance of Death: Killed in a traffic accident while visiting family in Tennessee

September 1998: Jonathan Mann, 51

--Expertise: Founding director of the World Health Organisation's global Aids programme and founded Project SIDA in Zaire, the most comprehensive Aids research effort in Africa at the time, and in 1986 he joined the WHO to lead the global response against Aids. He became director of WHO's global programme on Aids which later became the UNAids programme. He then became director of the Francois-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights, which was set up at Harvard School of Public Health in 1993. He caused controversy earlier this year in the post when he accused the US National Institutes of Health of violating human rights by failing to act quickly on developing Aids vaccines.

--Circumstance of Death: Died in the Swissair Flight 111 crash in Canada.

April 15, 2000: Walter W. Shervington, M.D., 62

--Expertise: An extensive writer/ lecturer/ researcher about mental health and AIDS in the African American community.

--Circumstance of Death: Died of cancer at Tulane Medical Hospital.

July 16, 2000: Mike Thomas, 35

--Expertise: A microbiologist at the Crestwood Medical Center in Huntsville.

--Circumstance of Death: Died a few days after examining a sample taken from a 12-year-old girl who was diagnosed with meningitis and survived.

December 25, 2000: Linda Reese, 52

--Expertise: Microbiologist working with victims of meningitis.

--Circumstance of Death: Died three days after she studied a sample from Tricia Zailo, 19, a Fairfield, N.J., resident who was a sophomore at Michigan State University. Tricia Zailo died Dec. 18, a few days after she returned home for the holidays.

May 7 2001: Professor Janusz Jeljaszewicz

--Expertise: Expert in Staphylococci and Staphylococcal Infections. His main scientific interests and achievements were in the mechanism of action and biological properties of staphylococcal toxins, and included the immunomodulatory properties and experimental treatment of tumours by Propionibacterium. November 2001: Yaacov Matzner, 54 --Expertise: Dean of the Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School in Jerusalem and chairman of the Israel Society of Hematology and Blood Transfusions, was the son of Holocaust survivors. One of the world's experts on blood diseases including familiar Mediterranean fever (FMF), Matzner conducted research that led to a genetic test for FMF. He was working on cloning the gene connected to FMF and investigating the normal physiological function of amyloid A, a protein often found in high levels in people with blood cancer.

--Circumstance of Death: Professors Yaacov Matzner and Amiram Eldor were on their way back to Israel via Switzerland when their plane came down in dense forest three kilometres short of the landing field.

November 2001: Professor Amiram Eldor, 59

--Expertise: Head of the haematology institute, Tel Aviv's Ichilov Hospital and worked for years at Hadassah-University Hospital's haematology department but left for his native Tel Aviv in 1993 to head the haematology institute at Ichilov Hospital. He was an internationally known expert on blood clotting especially in women who had repeated miscarriages and was a member of a team that identified eight new anti-clotting agents in the saliva of leeches.

--Circumstance of Death: Professors Yaacov Matzner and Amiram Eldor were on their way back to Israel via Switzerland when their plane came down in dense forest three kilometres short of the landing field.

November 6, 2001: Jeffrey Paris Wall, 41

--Expertise: He was a biomedical expert who held a medical degree, and he also specialized in patent and intellectual property.

--Circumstance of Death: Mr. Walls body was found sprawled next to a three-story parking structure near his office. He had studied at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Nov. 16, 2001: Don C. Wiley, 57

--Expertise: One of the foremost microbiologists in the United States. Dr. Wiley, of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Harvard University, was an expert on how the immune system responds to viral attacks such as the classic doomsday plagues of HIV, ebola and influenza.

--Circumstance of Death: Police found his rental car on a bridge outside Memphis, Tenn. His body was found Dec. 20 in the Mississippi River.

Nov. 21, 2001: Vladimir Pasechnik, 64

--Expertise: World-class microbiologist and high-profile Russian defector; defected to the United Kingdom in 1989, played a huge role in Russian biowarfare and helped to figure out how to modify cruise missiles to deliver the agents of mass biological destruction.

--Background: founded Regma Biotechnologies company in Britain, a laboratory at Porton Down, the country¥s chem-bio warfare defense establishment. Regma currently has a contract with the U.S. Navy for "the diagnostic and therapeutic treatment of anthrax".

--Circumstance of Death: The pathologist who did the autopsy, and who also happened to be associated with Britain's spy agency, concluded he died of a stroke. Details of the postmortem were not revealed at an inquest, in which the press was given no prior notice. Colleagues who had worked with Pasechnik said he was in good health.

Dec. 10, 2001: Robert M. Schwartz, 57

--Expertise: Expert in DNA sequencing and pathogenic micro-organisms, founding member of the Virginia Biotechnology Association, and the Executive Director of Research and Development at Virginia¥s Center for Innovative Technology in Herndon.

--Circumstance of Death: stabbed and slashed with what police believe was a sword in his farmhouse in Leesberg, Va. His daughter, who identifies herself as a pagan high priestess, and several of her fellow pagans have been charged.

Dec. 14, 2001: Nguyen Van Set, 44

--Expertise: animal diseases facility of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization had just come to fame for discovering a virulent strain of mousepox, which could be modified to affect smallpox.

--Circumstance of Death: died at work in Geelong, Australia, in a laboratory accident. He entered an airlocked storage lab and died from exposure to nitrogen.

January 2002: Ivan Glebov and Alexi Brushlinski.

--Expertise: Two microbiologists. Both were well known around the world and members of the Russian Academy of Science.

--Circumstance of Death: Glebov died as the result of a bandit attack and Brushlinski was killed in Moscow.

January 28, 2002: David W. Barry, 58

--Expertise: Scientist who codiscovered AZT, the antiviral drug that is considered the first effective treatment for AIDS.

--Circumstance of Death: unknown

Feb. 9, 2002: Victor Korshunov, 56

--Expertise: Expert in intestinal bacteria of children around the world

--Circumstance of Death: bashed over the head near his home in Moscow.

Feb. 14, 2002: Ian Langford, 40

--Expertise: expert in environmental risks and disease.

--Circumstance of Death: found dead in his home near Norwich, England, naked from the waist down and wedged under a chair.

Feb. 28, 2002: Tanya Holzmayer, 46

--Expertise: a Russian who moved to the U.S. in 1989, focused on the part of the human molecular structure that could be affected best by medicine.

--Circumstance of Death: killed by fellow microbiologist Guyang (Matthew) Huang, who shot her seven times when she opened the door to a pizza delivery. Then he shot himself.

Feb. 28, 2002: Guyang Huang, 38

--Expertise: Microbiologist

--Circumstance of Death: Apparently shot himself after shooting fellow microbiologist, Tanya Holzmayer, seven times.

March 24, 2002: David Wynn-Williams, 55

--Expertise: Respected astrobiologist with the British Antarctic Survey, who studied the habits of microbes that might survive in outer space.
--Circumstance of Death: Died in a freak road accident near his home in Cambridge, England. He was hit by a car while he was jogging.

March 25, 2002: Steven Mostow, 63

--Expertise: Known as "Dr. Flu" for his expertise in treating influenza, and a noted expert in bioterrorism of the Colorado Health Sciences Centre.

--Circumstance of Death: died when the airplane he was piloting crashed near Denver.

Nov. 12, 2002: Benito Que, 52

--Expertise: Expert in infectious diseases and cellular biology at the Miami Medical School

--Circumstance of Death: Que left his laboratory after receiving a telephone call. Shortly afterward he was found comatose in the parking lot of the Miami Medical School. He died without regaining consciousness. Police said he had suffered a heart attack. His family insisted he had been in perfect health and claimed four men attacked him. But, later, oddly, the family inquest returned a verdict of death by natural causes.

April 2003: Carlo Urbani, 46

--Expertise: A dedicated and internationally respected Italian epidemiologist, who did work of enduring value combating infectious illness around the world.

--Circumstance of Death: Died in Bangkok from SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) - the new disease that he had helped to identify. Thanks to his prompt action, the epidemic was contained in Vietnam. However, because of close daily contact with SARS patients, he contracted the infection. On March 11, he was admitted to a hospital in Bangkok and isolated. Less than three weeks later he died.

June 24, 2003: Dr. Leland Rickman of UCSD, 47

A resident of Carmel Valley

--Expertise: An expert in infectious disease who helped the county prepare to fight bioterrorism after Sept. 11.

--Circumstance of Death: He was in the African nation of Lesotho with Dr. Chris Mathews of UCSD, the director of the university's Owen Clinic for AIDS patients. Dr. Rickman had complained of a headache and had gone to lie down. When he didn't appear for dinner, Mathews checked on him and found him dead. A cause has not yet been determined.

July 18, 2003: Dr. David Kelly, 59

--Expertise: Biological warfare weapons specialist, senior post at the Ministry of Defense, an expert on DNA sequencing when he was head of microbiology at Porton Down and worked with two American scientists, Benito Que, 52, and Don Wiley, 57.

--Helped Vladimir Pasechnik found Regma Biotechnologies, which has a contract with the U.S. Navy for "the diagnostic and therapeutic treatment of anthrax"

--Circumstance of Death: He was found dead after seemingly slashing his wrist in a wooded area near his home at Southmoor, Oxfordshire.

Oct 11 or 24, 2003: Michael Perich, 46

--Expertise: LSU professor who helped fight the spread of the West Nile virus. Perich worked with the East Baton Rouge Parish Mosquito Control and Rodent Abatement District to determine whether mosquitoes in the area carried West Nile.

--Circumstance of Death: Walker Police Chief Elton Burns said Sunday that Perich of 5227 River Bend Blvd., Baton Rouge, crashed his Ford pickup truck about 4:30 a.m. Saturday, while heading west on Interstate 12 in Livingston Parish. Perich's truck veered right off the highway about 3 miles east of Walker, flipped and landed in rainwater, Burns said. Perich, who was wearing his seat belt, drowned. The cause of the crash is under investigation, Burns said.

"Mike is one of the few entomologists with the experience to go out and save lives today." ~ Robert A. Wirtz, chief of entomology at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

November 22, 2003: Robert Leslie Burghoff, 45

--Expertise: He was studying the virus that was plaguing cruise ships until he was killed by a mysterious white van in November of 2003
--Circumstance of Death: Burghoff was walking on a sidewalk along the 1600 block of South Braeswood when a white van jumped the curb and hit him at 1:35 p.m. Thursday, police said. The van then sped away. Burghoff died an hour later at Memorial Hermann Hospital.

December 18, 2003: Robert Aranosia, 61

--Expertise: Oakland County deputy medical examiner

--Circumstance of Death: He was driving south on I-75 when his pickup truck went off the freeway near a bridge over the Kawkawlin River. The vehicle rolled over several times before landing in the median. Aranosia was thrown from the vehicle and ended up on the shoulder of the northbound lanes.

January 6, 2004: Dr Richard Stevens, 54

--Expertise: A haematologist. (Haematologists analyse the cellular composition of blood and blood producing tissues eg bone marrow)

--Circumstance of Death: Disappeared after arriving for work on 21 July, 2003. A doctor whose disappearance sparked a national manhunt, killed himself because he could not cope with the stress of a secret affair, a coroner has ruled.

January 23 2004: Dr. Robert E. Shope, 74

--Expertise: An expert on viruses who was the principal author of a highly publicized 1992 report by the National Academy of Sciences warning of the possible emergence of new and unsettling infectious illnesses. Dr. Shope had accumulated his own collection of virus samples gathered from all over the world.

--Circumstance of Death: The cause was complications of a lung transplant he received in December, said his daughter Deborah Shope of Galveston. Dr. Shope had pulmonary fibrosis, a disease of unknown origin that scars the lungs.

January 24 2004: Dr. Michael Patrick Kiley, 62

--Expertise: Ebola, Mad Cow Expert, top of the line world class.

--Circumstance of Death: Died of massive heart attack. Coincidently, both Dr. Shope and Dr. Kiley were working on the lab upgrade to BSL 4 at the UTMB Galvaston lab for Homeland Security. The lab would have to be secure to house some of the deadliest pathogens of tropical and emerging infectious disease as well as bioweaponized ones.

March 13, 2004: Vadake Srinivasan

--Expertise: Microbiologist.

--Circumstance of Death: crashed car into guard rail and ruled a stroke.

April 12, 2004: Ilsley Ingram, 84

--Expertise: Director of the Supraregional Haemophilia Reference Centre and the Supraregional Centre for the Diagnosis of Bleeding Disorders at the St. Thomas Hospital in London.

--Circumstance of Death: unknown

May 5, 2004: William T. McGuire, 39

--Expertise: NJ University Professor and Senior programmer analyst and adjunct professor at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark.

--Circumstance of Death: Body found in 3 Suitcases floating in Chesapeake Bay.

May 14, 2004: Dr. Eugene F. Mallove, 56

--Expertise: Mallove was well respected for his knowledge of cold fusion. He had just published an open letter outlining the results of and reasons for his last 15 years in the field of new energy research. Dr. Mallove was convinced it was only a matter of months before the world would actually see a free energy device.

--Circumstance of Death: Died after being beaten to death during an alleged robbery.

May 25, 2004: Antonina Presnyakova

--Expertise: Former Soviet biological weapons laboratory in Siberia

--Circumstance of Death: Died after accidentally sticking herself with a needle laced with Ebola.

July 21, 2004: Dr. John Badwey 54

--Expertise: Scientist and accidental politician when he opposed disposal of sewage waste program of exposing humans to sludge. Biochemist at Harvard Medical School specializing in infectious diseases.

--Circumstance of Death: Suddenly developed pneumonia like symptoms then died in two weeks.

June 22, 2004: Thomas Gold, 84

--Expertise: He was the founder, and for twenty years the director, of the Cornell Center for Radiophysics and Space Research, where he was a close colleague of Planetary Society co-founder Carl Sagan. Gold was famous for his provocative, controversial, and sometimes outrageous theories. Gold's theory of the deep hot biosphere holds important ramifications for the possibility of life on other planets, including seemingly inhospitable planets within our own solar system. Gold sparked controversy in 1955 when he suggested that the Moon's surface is covered with a fine rock powder.

--Circumstance of Death: Died of heart failure.

June 24, 2004: Dr. Assefa Tulu, 45

--Expertise: Dr. Tulu joined the health department in 1997 and served for five years as the county's lone epidemiologist. He was charged with tracking the health of the county, including the spread of diseases, such as syphilis, AIDS and measles. He also designed a system for detecting a bioterrorism attack involving viruses or bacterial agents. Tulu often coordinated efforts to address major health concerns in Dallas County, such as the West Nile virus outbreaks of the past few years, and worked with the media to inform the public.

--Circumstance of Death: Dallas County's chief epidemiologist, was found at his desk, died of a stroke.

June 27, 2004: Dr Paul Norman, Of Salisbury, Wiltshire, 52

--Expertise: He was the chief scientist for chemical and biological defence at the Ministry of Defence's laboratory at Porton Down, Wiltshire. He travelled the world lecturing on the subject of weapons of mass destruction.

--Circumstance of Death: Died when the Cessna 206 crashed shortly after taking off from Dunkeswell Airfield on Sunday. A father and daughter also died at the scene, and 44-year-old parachute instructor and Royal Marine Major Mike Wills later died in the hospital.
 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/wiltshire/3860995.stm

June 29, 2004: John Mullen, 67

--Expertise: A nuclear research scientist with McDonnell Douglas.

--Circumstance of Death: Died from a huge dose of poisonous arsenic.

July 1, 2004: Edward Hoffman, 62

--Expertise: Aside from his role as a professor, Hoffman held leadership positions within the UCLA medical community. Worked to develop the first human PET scanner in 1973 at Washington University in St. Louis.

--Circumstance of Death: unknown

July 2, 2004: Larry Bustard, 53

--Expertise: A Sandia scientist who helped develop a foam spray to clean up congressional buildings and media sites during the anthrax scare in 2001. Worked at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque. His team came up with a new technology used against biological and chemical agents.

--Circumstance of Death: unknown

July 6, 2004: Stephen Tabet, 42

--Expertise: An associate professor and epidemiologist at the University of Washington. A world-renowned HIV doctor and researcher who worked with HIV patients in a vaccine clinical trial for the HIV Vaccine Trials Network.

--Circumstance of Death: Died of an unknown illness

July 21, 2004: Dr Bassem al-Mudares

--Expertise: He was a phD chemist

--Circumstance of Death: His mutilated body was found in the city of Samarra, Iraq and had been tortured before being killed.

August 12, 2004: Professor John Clark

--Expertise: Head of the science lab which created Dolly the sheep. Prof Clark led the Roslin Institute in Midlothian, one of the world's leading animal biotechnology research centres. He played a crucial role in creating the transgenic sheep that earned the institute worldwide fame.

--Circumstance of Death: He was found hanging in his holiday home.

September 5, 2004: Mohammed Toki Hussein al-Talakani

--Expertise: Iraqi nuclear scientist. He was a practising nuclear physicist since 1984.

--Circumstance of Death: He was shot dead in Mahmudiya, south of Baghdad.

October 13, 2004: Matthew Allison, 32

Fatal explosion of a car parked at an Osceola County, Fla., Wal-Mart store was no accident, Local 6 News has learned. Found inside a burned car. Witnesses said the man left the store at about 11 p.m. and entered his Ford Taurus car when it exploded. Investigators said they found a Duraflame log and propane canisters on the front passenger's seat.

November 2, 2004: John R. La Montagne

--Expertise: Head of US Infectious Diseases unit under Tommie Thompson. Was NIAID Deputy Director.

--Circumstance of Death: Died while in Mexico, no cause stated.

December 21, 2004: Taleb Ibrahim al-Daher

--Expertise: Iraqi nuclear scientist

--Circumstance of Death: He was shot dead north of Baghdad by unknown gunmen. He was on his way to work at Diyala University when armed men opened fire on his car as it was crossing a bridge in Baqouba, 57 km northeast of Baghdad. The vehicle swerved off the bridge and fell into the Khrisan river. Al-Daher, who was a professor at the local university, was removed from the submerged car and rushed to Baqouba hospital where he was pronounced dead.

December 29, 2004: Tom Thorne and Beth Williams

--Expertise: Two wild life scientists, Husband-and-wife wildlife veterinarians who were nationally prominent experts on chronic wasting disease and brucellosis

--Circumstance of Death: They were killed in a snowy-weather crash on U.S. 287 in northern Colorado.

January 7, 2005: Jeong H. Im, 72

--Expertise: A retired research assistant professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Primarily a protein chemist.

--Circumstance of Death: He was stabbed several times and his body was found in the trunk of his burning white, 1995 Honda inside the Maryland Avenue parking garage.

Flashback:

MOSSAD (Israels Secret Service) Liquidates 310 Iraqi Scientists

Israeli Secret Agents Liquidate 310 Iraqi Scientists

Mathaba.net
10-31-4

More than 310 Iraqi scientists are thought to have perished at the hands of Israeli secret agents in Iraq since fall of Baghdad to US troops in April 2003, a seminar has found.

The Iraqi ambassador in Cairo, Ahmad al-Iraqi, accused Israel of sending to Iraq immediately after the US invasion 'a commando unit' charged with the killing of Iraqi scientists.

"Israel has played a prominent role in liquidating Iraqi scientists. The campaign is part of a Zionist plan to kill Arab and Muslim scientists working in applied research which Israel sees as threatening its interests," al-Iraqi said.

Thanks to Steve Quayle

Thanks to the HAL TURNER SHOW

Thanks to Patricia Doyle and to those who sent numerous emails to help correct this file and a special thanks to the members of my forum who inspired me to compile it all.

File started on Nov 28 2003
 http://www.puppstheories.com/forum/index.php...

Dead Scientists Summary List
 http://www.puppstheories.com/forum/index.php...

Mark J. Harper
Feb 4, 2005

 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2005/01/309675.shtml

Comment: For further information on why it seems being a scientist may be the riskiest profession of all, the interested reader may want to read our July 6, 2004 Signs page, our flu supplement page, or our associated research into ethnic specific weapons.

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Blair apologises to Conlon, Maguire families

09/02/2005 - 12:52:30

British Prime Minister Tony Blair today publicly apologised to the Conlon and Maguire families for their wrongful imprisonment for the IRA bomb attacks in Guildford and Woolwich in 1974.

The Prime Minister said: "The Guildford and Woolwich bombings killed seven people and injured over 100.

"Their loss, the loss suffered by their families, will never go away. But it serves no one for the wrong people to be convicted for such an awful crime.

"It is a matter of great regret when anyone suffers a miscarriage of justice. There was a miscarriage of justice in the case of Gerard Conlon and all the Guildford Four as well as Giuseppe Conlon and Annie Maguire and all of the Maguire Seven.

"And, as with the others, I recognise the trauma that the conviction caused the Conlon and Maguire families and the stigma which wrongly attaches to them to this day.

"I am very sorry that they were subject to such an ordeal and such an injustice.

"That's why I am making this apology today. They deserve to be completely and publicly exonerated."

Gerry Conlon - along with Paddy Armstrong, Paul Hill and Carole Richardson - were arrested in 1974 and wrongfully jailed for an IRA bomb attack on the Horse and Groom pub in Guildford.

The blast killed five people – four soldiers and a civilian. The prisoners became known as the Guildford Four.

Mr Conlon's father Giuseppe and members of Annie Maguire's family were also later arrested and jailed for the attack and other bombings in Woolwich, south east London, after they were allegedly identified as being involved in the bomb plot in confessions extracted by the police.

Giuseppe Conlon, who had a history of bronchial problems, died in prison while serving his sentence in January 1980. In October 1989 the Court of Appeal quashed the sentences of the Guildford Four after doubts were raised about the police evidence.

In June 1991, the Court of Appeal also overturned the sentences on the Maguires and Giuseppe Conlon.

The Conlon family fought a long campaign for a public apology from the Government for the miscarriage of justice.

Their case was brought to international attention through the Oscar-nominated movie In The Name Of The Father, starring Daniel Day-Lewis as Gerry Conlon and Pete Postlethwaite as Giuseppe

Comment: So we should all feel happy we suppose, now that 'Bliar' has said "sorry" for simply carrying out standard government policy? Does the fact that he has publicly aplogised for a travesty of justice that one of his predecessors sanctioned, now mean that there will be no more miscarriages of justice? Can we hope that 'Bliar' will turn over a new leaf and repent for sanctioning the murder of David Kelly in 2003? Do not doubt that the ONLY reason that 'Bliar' apologised is because it gives the public the erroneous impression that he is an honest man.

A conversation was overheard by a BBC reporter between Tony Blair and his press secretary Alistair Campbell. The conversation was heard folowing the press conference when Blair was asked if he had Dr Kelly's blood on his hands and Blair froze and didn't answer.

Campbell, a notorious ranter was heard to say: "What the fuck was that, you know the line on this, what were you doing, why didn't you answer." Blair's response was inaudible and Campbell was then heard to say: "This is what you wanted, you asked for this so play the game Tony." Since then Blair continually trotted out the line about waiting for the Inquiry before commenting.

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Hunger for Dictatorship
by Scott McConnell
The American Conservative
February 14, 2005 Issue

War to export democracy may wreck our own.

Students of history inevitably think in terms of periods: the New Deal, McCarthyism, "the Sixties" (1964-1973), the NEP, the purge trials—all have their dates. Weimar, whose cultural excesses made effective propaganda for the Nazis, now seems like the antechamber to Nazism, though surely no Weimar figures perceived their time that way as they were living it. We may pretend to know what lies ahead, feigning certainty to score polemical points, but we never do.

Nonetheless, there are foreshadowings well worth noting. The last weeks of 2004 saw several explicit warnings from the antiwar Right about the coming of an American fascism. Paul Craig Roberts in these pages wrote of the "brownshirting" of American conservatism—a word that might not have surprised had it come from Michael Moore or Michael Lerner. But from a Hoover Institution senior fellow, former assistant secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration, and one-time Wall Street Journal editor, it was striking.

Several weeks later, Justin Raimondo, editor of the popular Antiwar.com website, wrote a column headlined, "Today's Conservatives are Fascists." Pointing to the justification of torture by conservative legal theorists, widespread support for a militaristic foreign policy, and a retrospective backing of Japanese internment during World War II, Raimondo raised the prospect of "fascism with a democratic face." His fellow libertarian, Mises Institute president Lew Rockwell, wrote a year-end piece called "The Reality of Red State Fascism," which claimed that "the most significant socio-political shift in our time has gone almost completely unremarked, and even unnoticed. It is the dramatic shift of the red-state bourgeoisie from leave-us-alone libertarianism, manifested in the Congressional elections of 1994, to almost totalitarian statist nationalism. Whereas the conservative middle class once cheered the circumscribing of the federal government, it now celebrates power and adores the central state, particularly its military wing."

I would argue that Rockwell—who makes the most systematic argument of the three—overstates the libertarian component of the 1994 Republican victory, which could just as readily be credited to heartland rejection of the '60s cultural liberalism that came into office with the Clintons. And it is difficult to imagine any scenario, after 9/11, that would not lead to some expansion of federal power. The United States was suddenly at war, mobilizing to strike at a Taliban government on the other side of the world. The emergence of terrorism as the central security issue had to lead, at the very least, to increased domestic surveillance—of Muslim immigrants especially. War is the health of the state, as the libertarians helpfully remind us, but it doesn't mean that war leads to fascism.

But Rockwell (and Roberts and Raimondo) is correct in drawing attention to a mood among some conservatives that is at least latently fascist. Rockwell describes a populist Right website that originally rallied for the impeachment of Bill Clinton as "hate-filled ... advocating nuclear holocaust and mass bloodshed for more than a year now." One of the biggest right-wing talk-radio hosts regularly calls for the mass destruction of Arab cities. Letters that come to this magazine from the pro-war Right leave no doubt that their writers would welcome the jailing of dissidents. And of course it's not just us. When USA Today founder Al Neuharth wrote a column suggesting that American troops be brought home sooner rather than later, he was blown away by letters comparing him to Tokyo Rose and demanding that he be tried as a traitor. That mood, Rockwell notes, dwarfs anything that existed during the Cold War. "It celebrates the shedding of blood, and exhibits a maniacal love of the state. The new ideology of the red-state bourgeoisie seems to actually believe that the US is God marching on earth—not just godlike, but really serving as a proxy for God himself."

The warnings from these three writers would have been significant even if they had not been complemented by what for me was the most striking straw in the wind. Earlier this month the New York Times published a profile of Fritz Stern, the now retired but still very active professor of history at Columbia University and one of my first and most significant mentors. I met Stern as an undergraduate in the spring of 1974. His lecture course on 20th-century Europe combined intellectual lucidity and passion in a way I had never imagined possible. It led me to graduate school, and if I later became diverted from academia into journalism, it was no fault of his. In grad school, I took his seminars and he sat on my orals and dissertation committee. As was likely the case for many of Stern's students, I read sections of his books The Politics of Cultural Despair and The Failure of Illiberalism again and again in my early twenties, their phraseology becoming imbedded in my own consciousness.

Stern had emigrated from Germany as a child in 1938 and spent a career exploring how what may have been Europe's most civilized country could have turned to barbarism. Central to his work was the notion that the readiness to abandon democracy has deep cultural roots in German soil and that many Europeans, not only Germans, yearned for the safeties and certainties of something like fascism well before the emergence of fascist parties. One could not come away from his classes without a sense of the fragility of democratic systems, a deep gratitude for their success in the Anglo-American world, and a wary belief that even here human nature and political circumstance could bring something else to the fore.

He is not a man of the Left. He would have been on the Right side of the spectrum of the Ivy League professoriat—seriously anticommunist, and an open and courageous opponent of university concessions to the "revolutionary students" of 1968. He might have described himself as a conservative social democrat, of the sort that might plausibly gravitate toward neoconservatism. An essay of his in Commentary in the mid-1970s drew my attention to the magazine for the first time.

But he did not go further in that direction, perhaps understanding something about the neocons that I missed at the time. One afternoon in the early 1980s, during a period when I was reading Commentary regularly and was beginning to write for it, he told me, clearly enjoying the pun, that my views had apparently "Kristolized."

It is impossible to overstate my pleasure at being on the same side of the barricades with him today. That side is, of course, that of the antiwar movement; the side of a conservatism (or liberalism) that finds Bush's policies reckless and absurd and the neoconservatives who inspire and implement them deluded and dangerous. In the past year, I had seen Stern's letters to the editor in the Times ("Now the word ‘freedom' has become a newly invoked justification for the occupation of a country that did not attack us, whose people have not greeted our soldiers as liberators. … The world knows that all manner of traditional rights associated with freedom are threatened in our own country. ... The essential element of a democratic society—trust—has been weakened, as secrecy, mendacity and intimidation have become the hallmarks of this administration. ... Now ‘freedom' is being emptied of meaning and reduced to a slogan. But one doesn't demean the concept without injuring the substance.") In the profile of him in the Times, he sounds an alarm of the very phenomenon Roberts, Raimondo, and Rockwell are speaking about openly.

To an audience at the Leo Baeck Institute, on the occasion of receiving a prize from Germany's foreign minister, Stern noted that Hitler had seen himself as "the instrument of providence" and fused his "racial dogma with Germanic Christianity." This "pseudo–religious transfiguration of politics … largely ensured his success." The Times' Chris Hedges asked Stern about the parallels between Germany then and America now. He spoke of national mood—drawing on a lifetime of scholarship that saw fascism coming from below as much as imposed by elites above. "There was a longing in Europe for fascism before the name was ever invented... for a new authoritarianism with some kind of religious orientation and above all a greater communal belongingness. There are some similarities in the mood then and the mood now, although significant differences."

This is characteristic Stern—measured and precise—but signals to me that the warning from the libertarians ought not be simply dismissed as rhetorical excess. I don't think there are yet real fascists in the administration, but there is certainly now a constituency for them —hungry to bomb foreigners and smash those Americans who might object. And when there are constituencies, leaders may not be far behind. They could be propelled into power by a populace ever more frustrated that the imperialist war it has supported — generally for the most banal of patriotic reasons — cannot possibly end in victory. And so scapegoats are sought, and if we can't bomb Arabs into submission, or the French, domestic critics of Bush will serve.

Stern points to the religious (and more explicitly Protestant) component in the rise of Nazism—but I don't think the proto-fascist mood is strongest among the so-called Christian Right. The critical letters this magazine receives from self-identified evangelical Christians are almost always civil in tone; those from Christian Zionists may quote Scripture about the Israeli-Palestinian dispute in ways that are maddeningly nonrational and indisputably pre-Enlightenment—but these are not the letters foaming with a hatred for those with the presumption to oppose George W. Bush's wars for freedom and democracy. The genuinely devout are perhaps less inclined to see the United States as "God marching on earth."

Secondly, it is necessary to distinguish between a sudden proliferation of fascist tendencies and an imminent danger. There may be, among some neocons and some more populist right-wingers, unmistakable antidemocratic tendencies. But America hasn't yet experienced organized street violence against dissenters or a state that is willing—in an unambiguous fashion—to jail its critics. The administration certainly has its far Right ideologues—the Washington Post's recent profile of Alberto Gonzales, whose memos are literally written for him by Cheney aide David Addington, provides striking evidence. But the Bush administration still seems more embarrassed than proud of its most authoritarian aspects. Gonzales takes some pains to present himself as an opponent of torture; hypocrisy in this realm is perhaps preferable to open contempt for international law and the Bill of Rights.

And yet the very fact that the f-word can be seriously raised in an American context is evidence enough that we have moved into a new period. The invasion of Iraq has put the possibility of the end to American democracy on the table and has empowered groups on the Right that would acquiesce to and in some cases welcome the suppression of core American freedoms. That would be the titanic irony of course, the mother of them all—that a war initiated under the pretense of spreading democracy would lead to its destruction in one of its very birthplaces. But as historians know, history is full of ironies.

Comment: We would disagree with the author above in regards to those last emphasized comments. Looking at the harsh and violent treatment of protestors at last year's RNC, the ongoing racial profiling and harrassment of Arabic Americans, and the indiscriminate and indefinite detentions of so-called "enemy combatants" at Guantanamo bay, would seem to contradict his statements.

In any case, while America's inevitable slide in to fascism hasn't yet reached the overt stage, one need only look at the Signs of the Times in present day U.S. to see that a totalitarian police state is only a few years if not perhaps months away.

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Bush names Rove deputy chief of staff
www.chinaview.cn 2005-02-09 10:33:58
WASHINGTON, Feb. 8 (Xinhuanet) -- US President George W. Bush on Tuesday named Karl Rove, his senior political strategist, assistant to the president and deputy chief of staff.

"Karl Rove is a longtime advisor and trusted member of my team.His hard work and dedication have been invaluable. I appreciate Karl's willingness to continue to serve my Administration in this new position," Bush said in a statement.

Rove, who has served as senior advisor to the president since 2001, will remain as Bush's senior advisor. He oversees strategic planning, political affairs, public liaison, and intergovernmentalaffairs at the White House.

Rove served as chief strategist for the Bush's presidential campaign in 2000, and orchestrated the president's re-election bidin 2004.

Also on Tuesday, Bush nominated Jeffrey Clay Sell of Texas, currently special assistant to the president for legislative affairs, as deputy secretary of Energy, and Patricia Lynn Scarlettof California, currently assistant secretary of the Interior for policy, management and budget, as deputy secretary of the Interior.

He also named Michael J. Gerson, currently assistant to the president for speechwriting and policy advisor, assistant to the president for policy and strategic planning.

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U.S. PR Firm Claims Involvement in Ukraine's Orange Revolution

Created: 09.02.2005 13:34 MSK (GMT 3)
MosNews

A U.S. public relations firm has said it helped develop the communications strategy for the Ukraine's "Orange Revolution" last fall which put the Western-leaning Viktor Yushchenko in the presidential seat.

Rock Creek Creative, a Washington, D.C. area-based firm, developed branding and a Web site for the Yushchenko campaign. It was also instrumental in promoting the "Ukraine in Europe and the World" conference held in Kiev in February 2004.

According to the Tuesday press release, the Web site "became the virtual freedom plaza for the democracy movement."

"Rock Creek Creative has not been willing to admit its role in promoting Ukrainian democracy until now," said Scott Johnson, the firm's principal. "While we have been involved in many international projects during our 19-year history, we have never before been so directly involved in a campaign that so strengthened democracy in a country.

"We were honored to have played a role. Ukraine needed the debate, the conference and something like the Orange Revolution. The Ukrainian people were the real winners here," Johnson added.

Yushchenko came to power in a repeat election following mass demonstrations protesting the rigged election of his rival, the Kremlin-backed Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich. During the campaign, allegations surfaced that the Kremlin had spent millions of dollars on spin doctors to promote Yanukovich, but their campaign ultimately failed.

There were also allegations that the U.S. government was funding the Yushchenko campaign, but officials in Washington denied involvement.

Rock Creek is the first U.S. firm to admit that it took part in Yushchenko's campaign.

However, Yushchenko's press secretary Irina Gerashenko on Wednesday denied Rock Creek's involvement in the Orange Revolution. "The campaign Web site for presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko were developed exclusively by Ukrainian designers and programmers," she said in a statement to the Russian Information Agency Novosti.

She linked Rock Creek's statement to what she called a "fashion craze" for bragging about involvement in the Yushchenko campaign.

Comment: The US was deeply involved in the recent elections in the Ukraine. They financed and trained many of the people working with Yushchenko. For more on this, see the article Ukraine: The Street Against the People.

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Baghdad army centre hit by bomb
Aljazeera Agencies
Tuesday 08 February 2005, 14:06 Makka Time, 11:06 GMT

A bomb has gone off at an Iraqi army headquarters in Baghdad, killing 14 people, while a politician escaped an assassination attempt that left two of his sons dead.

Hospital officials speaking to Aljazeera said a blast on Tuesday had killed 14 people and wounded at least eight.

Black smoke rose into the sky and ambulances raced to the scene where a car bomb went off targeting an Iraqi army convoy as the driver attempted to enter al-Muthanna airport.
 
A police source said the blast was caused by a car bomb that detonated next to a truck carrying recruits to the base, housed in a disused airport.

Other officials said they were still investigating the cause of the explosion. A US army spokesman was quoted as saying that it was a bomber on foot who detonated explosives as the vehicle approached. He was not able to confirm the casualty toll. Hospital officials said all the victims appeared to be young men.
 
Fighters have frequently targeted Iraqis queuing up to join the police and army.

Assassination bid

Also on Tuesday, armed men ambushed the convoy of an Iraqi politician in western Baghdad, killing two of his sons, police said.
 
They said Mithal al-Alusi, secretary-general of the Democratic Party of the Iraqi Nation, had survived the attack.
 
Two of his sons were killed, al-Alusi said.
 
"Yes, my two sons died and my bodyguard as well. It was a gunfire attack on my car near my house in Baghdad," said the 52-year-old politician.
 
His sons were aged 22 and 30, one of them a father of three. The bodyguard was a father of four, al-Alusi said.
 
Al-Alusi was waiting for his car when the armed men opened fire on the vehicle. "I was the target of the attack, there is no doubt."

Ties with Israel

"There are people who every day in the name of Islam or of the Baath party, kill those who want a free Iraq," he said.
 
Al-Alusi had been an adviser for Shia politician Ahmad Chalabi. He caused a stir when he voiced his support for a normalisation of ties with Israel.
 
After he became the first Iraqi politician to visit the Jewish state, al-Alusi and Democratic Party of the Iraqi Nation were expelled from Chalabi's political Iraqi National Congress.

Al-Alusi is a controversial figure in Iraq: he has been a vocal critic of Syria and Iran, and was widely criticised in Iraq for visiting Israel last year.

More deaths
 
In separate incidents, two Iraqis were killed and seven wounded in bomb blasts north of Baghdad, security sources said on Tuesday.

A civilian died and six others were wounded, including three women, when a roadside bomb hit their vehicle in Shurgat, 300km north of the capital on Monday, police Lieutenant-Colonel Faris Mahdi said.
 
All casualties were reportedly from the same family.

In the third attack, one soldier was killed and another wounded when their patrol was targeted by a roadside bomb late on Monday in Dhuluiya, 70km north of Baghdad, army Lieutenant Husain Abbas said.
 
Also on Tuesday, a US military base east of al-Qaim town near the Iraqi-Syrian border came under fierce mortar attack on Tuesday morning, Aljazeera has learned.
 
The targeted site was one of the three US military bases in the area.

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Stories from Fallujah

Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches
Feb 8 2005

These are the stories that will continue to emerge from the rubble of Fallujah for years. No, for generations…

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the doctor sits with me in a hotel room in Amman, where he is now a refugee. He'd spoken about what he saw in Fallujah in the UK, and now is under threat by the US military if he returns to Iraq.

"I started speaking about what happened in Fallujah during both sieges in order to raise awareness, and the Americans raided my house three times," he says, talking so fast I can barely keep up. He is driven to tell what he's witnessed, and as a doctor working inside Fallujah, he has video and photographic proof of all that he tells me.

"I entered Fallujah with a British medical and humanitarian convoy at the end of December, and stayed until the end of January," he explains, "But I was in Fallujah before that to work with people and see what their needs were, so I was in there since the beginning of December."

When I ask him to explain what he saw when he first entered Fallujah in December he says it was like a tsunami struck the city.

"Fallujah is surrounded by refugee camps where people are living in tents and old cars," he explains, "It reminded me of Palestinian refugees. I saw children coughing because of the cold, and there are no medicines. Most everyone left their houses with nothing, and no money, so how can they live depending only on humanitarian aid?"

The doctors says that in one refugee camp in the northern area of Fallujah there were 1,200 students living in seven tents.

"The disaster caused by this siege is so much worse than the first one, which I witnessed first hand," he says, and then tells me he'll use one story as an example.

"One story is of a young girl who is 16 years old," he says of one of the testimonies he video taped recently, "She stayed for three days with the bodies of her family who were killed in their home. When the soldiers entered she was in her home with her father, mother, 12 year-old brother and two sisters. She watched the soldiers enter and shoot her mother and father directly, without saying anything."

The girl managed to hide behind the refrigerator with her brother and witnessed the war crimes first-hand.

"They beat her two sisters, then shot them in the head," he said. After this her brother was enraged and ran at the soldiers while shouting at them, so they shot him dead.

"She continued hiding after the soldiers left and stayed with her sisters because they were bleeding, but still alive. She was too afraid to call for help because she feared the soldiers would come back and kill her as well. She stayed for three days, with no water and no food. Eventually one of the American snipers saw her and took her to the hospital," he added before reminding me again that he had all of her testimony documented on film.

He briefly told me of another story he documented of a mother who was in her home during the siege. "On the fifth day of the siege her home was bombed, and the roof fell on her son, cutting his legs off," he says while using his hands to make cutting motions on his legs, "For hours she couldn't go outside because they announced that anyone going in the street would be shot. So all she could do was wrap his legs and watch him die before her eyes."

He pauses for a few deep breaths, then continues, "All I can say is that Fallujah is like it was struck by a tsunami. There weren't many families in there after the siege, but they had absolutely nothing. The suffering was beyond what you can imagine. When the Americans finally let us in, people were fighting just for a blanket."

"One of my colleagues, Dr. Saleh Alsawi, he was speaking so angrily about them. He was in the main hospital when they raided it at the beginning of the seige. They entered the theater room when they were working on a patient…he was there because he's an anesthesiologist. They entered with their boots on, beat the doctors and took them out, leaving the patient on the table to die."

This story has already been reported in the Arab media.

The doctor tells me of the bombing of the Hay Nazal clinic during the first week of the siege.

"This contained all the foreign aid and medical instruments we had. All the US military commanders knew this, because we told them about it so they wouldn't bomb it. But this was one of the clinics bombed, and in the first week of the siege they bombed it two times."

He then adds, "Of course they targeted all our ambulances and doctors. Everyone knows this."

The doctor tells me he and some other doctors are trying to sue the US military for the following incident, for which he has the testimonial evidence on tape.

It is a story I was told by several refugees in Baghdad as well…at the end of last November while the siege was still in progress.

"During the second week of the siege they entered and announced that all the families have to leave their homes and meet at an intersection in the street while carrying a white flag. They gave them 72 hours to leave and after that they would be considered an enemy," he says.

"We documented this story with video-a family of 12, including a relative and his oldest child who was 7 years old. They heard this instruction, so they left with all their food and money they could carry, and white flags. When they reached the intersection where the families were accumulating, they heard someone shouting ‘Now!' in English, and shooting started everywhere."

The family was all carrying white flags, as instructed, according to the young man who gave his testimony. Yet he watched his mother and father shot by snipers-his mother in the head and his father shot in the heart. His two aunts were shot, then his brother was shot in the neck. The man stated that when he raised himself from the ground to shout for help, he was shot in the side.

"After some hours he raised his arm for help and they shot his arm," continues the doctor, "So after awhile he raised his hand and they shot his hand."

A six year-old boy of the family was standing over the bodies of his parents, crying, and he too was then shot.

"Anyone who raised up was shot," adds the doctor, then added again that he had photographs of the dead as well as photos of the gunshot wounds of the survivors.

"Once it grew dark some of them along with this man who spoke with me, with his child and sister-in-law and sister managed to crawl away after it got dark. They crawled to a building and stayed for 8 days. They had one cup of water and gave it to the child. They used cooking oil to put on their wounds which were of course infected, and found some roots and dates to eat."

He stops here. His eyes look around the room as cars pass by outside on wet streets…water hissing under their tires.

He left Fallujah at the end of January, so I ask him what it was like when he left recently.

"Now maybe 25% of the people have returned, but there are still no doctors. The hatred now of Fallujans against every American is incredible, and you cannot blame them. The humiliation at the checkpoints is only making people even angrier," he tells me.

"I've been there, and I saw that anyone who even turns their head is threatened and hit by both American and Iraqi soldiers alike…one man did this, and when the Iraqi soldier tried to humiliate him, the man took a gun of a nearby soldier and killed two ING, so then of course he was shot."

The doctor tells me they are keeping people in the line for several hours at a time, in addition to the US military making propaganda films of the situation.

"And I've seen them use the media-and on January 2nd at the north checkpoint in the north part of Fallujah, they were giving people $200 per family to return to Fallujah so they can film them in the line…when actually, at that time, nobody was returning to Fallujah," he says. It reminds me of the story my colleague told me of what he saw in January. At that time a CNN crew was escorted in by the military to film street cleaners that were brought in as props, and soldiers handing out candy to children.

"You must understand the hatred that has been caused…it has gotten more difficult for Iraqis, including myself, to make the distinction between the American government and the American people," he tells me.

His story is like countless others.

"My cousin was a poor man in Fallujah," he explains, "He walked from his house to work and back, while living with his wife and five daughters. In July of 2003, American soldiers entered his house and woke them all up. They drug them into the main room of the house, and executed my cousin in front of his family. Then they simply left."

He pauses then holds up his hands and asks, "Now, how are these people going to feel about Americans?"

Comment: Contrast this report with the Christian Science Monitor report from yesterday. The problem of course is that the American public are prevented from seeing reports of this nature, and hence the truth of what is happening in Iraq. It has become standard procedure for governments to censor the media in time of war, the reason, we are told, being to prevent sensitive information from reaching the enemy. In the case of the Iraq war, what is not stated is the fact that the "enemy" is, as far as the Iraqis are concerned, the American public.

If stories such as the above were to be broadcast widely in America it would be much more difficult for the Bush regime to maintain even the little support that they currently enjoy. We have all been programmed to accept the fact that "war is hell", and we do not doubt the fact that there is no such thing as clean war. The question that is never addressed, however, is "Why?" the war is being waged in the first place. Why young and naive American teenagers are being sent to shoot some "rag heads" and, when one of their buddies gets shot, take their revenge on innocent Iraqi civilians?

The TRUE nature of war is that it really is hell, a hell that is almost always contrived by corrupt members of government who get fat and rich by pitting ignorant humans against each other.

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Most shootings in Iraq go unreported
By Dionne Searcey | Wash Post - LA Times/ AP
February 7, 2005

MOSUL, Iraq -- The shootings rarely make news -- outside the towns where they occur.

The military does not make a practice of publicizing cases of "collateral damage" unless by chance reporters are embedded with units and write about the events they witness. And no one at the Pentagon nor at the U.S. Central Command keeps a comprehensive tally of the incidents, according to senior officials in both locations, who say that all operations in general are periodically reviewed. The examples that follow are a sampling.

From April to October a unit of Arkansas infantrymen was involved in at least eight shootings at roadblocks or in convoys that ended in civilian deaths, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. In one instance, the paper reported, a driver was killed and his pregnant wife wounded; in another a girl died after being struck by bits of metal from a shot intended to disable the car engine.

In mid-November, a family driving across battle-weary Fallujah encountered a company of Marines that opened fire, wounding a 23-year-old woman and killing her mother, media accounts reported.

In Baghdad the following month, a young man drove up to an Army base with his dead mother and two siblings, said Airborne Capt. James Shaw. Americans had shot up the car, the man said, and didn't even stop. Airborne officers from the 2nd Battalion, 325th Infantry, who were not responsible for this shooting, have been working to compensate the family.

And about three weeks ago, a nervous National Guard unit rolled into Mosul for the first time after patrolling calmer outlying areas. Soldiers came under mortar attack when they stepped out to investigate a body on the street. The onslaught had just ended when a car sped toward them with a 55-gallon drum in its opened trunk. It failed to slow despite warning shots, according to a soldier who was there.

Worried the vehicle was packed with explosives, troops peppered it with bullets, killing the driver. The drum, however, was empty and the driver was not armed.

Minutes later, another vehicle swung around the corner and headed toward the scene. Soldiers immediately shot it up, too. A mother got out of the car, her hand severed by bullets. In her arms was her dead 7-year-old girl. Her young son also was injured.

"She was sitting on the curb, holding her daughter, rocking, not crying, just in shock," the soldier said.

Troops told their superiors they fired warning shots at the second vehicle, but the soldier disputed that. "The shots were into the cab" of the car, he said. "They were well-placed."

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Extremists make barbers new hunted
February 9, 2005

Baghdad: Umm Ali says militants killed her son last month for the most unlikely of reasons: he trimmed men's beards.

In Baghdad's Dora neighbourhood, residents say Sunni extremists have made barbers the new hunted, accusing them of violating a strict reading of Islamic teachings that say men should keep their beards long.

Some extremists also consider Western-style haircuts an offensive symbol of the hated, secularised culture of Europe and the United States. To them, sporting a clipped beard or a modern haircut is an infraction worthy of death.

In one month alone, five barbers were shot dead, residents said.
"He was a hair cutter. He only cuts hair," Umm Ali said of her son, Sadiq Abdul Hussein.

Abdul Hussein was killed after he shrugged off a threat to stop shaving men's beards or lose his life. A black mourning banner said only that he died due to a "regrettable incident".

Dora's streets are a battleground for rebels fighting US and Iraqi forces. Drive-by shootings targeting government officials are frequent. It's a symbol of the chaos that has followed Saddam Hussein's ouster nearly two years ago.

Masked, gun-toting militants freely roam Dora's streets, issuing orders and threats and meting out punishment to those who challenge them.

Among the many offences that run afoul of the gangs are men with long hair, goatees and even sideburns.

Wesam Noori, a 19-year-old art student, is careful to keep his long hair tucked under a hat. "We are trying to hide our hair under baseball caps or ski hats," he said.

Iraqi Christians have also been targeted by insurgents who consider them close to American and other foreign occupiers because they share the same religion. Four churches have been attacked in Dora in deadly car bombings.

Islamic militants have also publicly flogged and killed women's hairdressers in several places throughout Iraq.

Ali Hussein, a 25-year-old barber who owns a salon in Dora, now cuts customers' hair in secret inside his house. "I don't want to be killed, but I don't want to be broke, either," he said.

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Kuwaiti detainees in Guantanamo say they made false confessions to stop abuse and torture
By PAISLEY DODDS | Associated Press
February 7, 2005

PORT-OF-PRINCE, Trinidad - Eleven detainees say American troops in Afghanistan and Pakistan abused them before they were sent to the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, allegations that include beatings with chains, electric shock and sodomy, according to a lawyer's notes that were recently declassified and released Monday.

Some of the men say they falsely confessed to being members of Afghanistan's ousted Taliban regime or the al-Qaida terror network to make the abuse stop, said Tom Wilner, a lawyer for the 11 Kuwaitis being held in the prison camp at the U.S. Navy base in eastern Cuba.

Human rights groups and defense lawyers have long charged that some of the information that led to incarcerations at Guantanamo Bay was obtained through abuse or torture. Many of the 545 prisoners have been held for more than three years, most without charge.

Maj. Michael Shavers, a Pentagon spokesman, said the government would be issuing a statement later Monday in response to questions by The Associated Press about the Kuwaitis' accusations.

The government has denied the use of torture, but multiple investigations into abuse of detainees in Afghanistan and Guantanamo are under way.

Although most of 11 Kuwaitis say physical abuse stopped once they arrived at Guantanamo, all complained of being locked in their cells with scant reading materials and little contact with the outside world or current events.

"At Guantanamo, the physical abuse _ at least for Kuwaitis _ has stopped, but there has been a switch to mental torture," Wilner said Monday during a telephone conference call from Washington. "Charles Manson has much better prison conditions than these men."

Wilner and other attorneys for the Kuwaitis were allowed to interview the prisoners for the first time in December and January, after the Supreme Court ruled last June that foreigners detained as enemy combatants at Guantanamo could challenge their imprisonment.

Wilner last visited his clients Jan. 10-13. He and other attorneys are required to surrender attorney-client notes before leaving the U.S. base. The notes are then sealed and sent to a secure facility in Arlington, Virginia, where lawyers must ask for them to be unclassified. The attorneys must also get government permission to speak about their conversations.

Some of Wilner's clients range from a young man who is accused of being Osama bin Laden's spiritual adviser to a low-level member of the Taliban. None have been charged.

One detainee, according to Wilner's notes, said: "The American soldiers kept saying, 'Are you Taliban or are you al-Qaida?' 'Are you Taliban or al-Qaida!' They kept hitting me, so eventually I said I was a member of the Taliban." The detainees did not want to be identified by name.

Another Kuwaiti told Wilner he was held by U.S. troops in Afghanistan at bases in Bagram and Kandahar where he was hooded, tied with chains, hung by his wrists and stripped in front of female guards. He also said his interrogator forced him to sign a statement, but Wilner said the government has not provided him with any statement.

One Kuwaiti said he was sure he would be killed, Wilner's notes said.

Another Kuwaiti described how he confessed after having metal paddles placed under his arms and shocked in Afghanistan. Another said he was beaten so badly his ribs were broken. Some said they were beaten with chains.

One said U.S. troops in Afghanistan pulled down his pants and sodomized him with an object.

"One consistent theme, even at Guantanamo, has been religious humiliation," Wilner said.

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Stories From the Inside
By BOB HERBERT
Published: February 7, 2005

During the whole time we were at Guantánamo," said Shafiq Rasul, "we were at a high level of fear. When we first got there the level was sky-high. At the beginning we were terrified that we might be killed at any minute. The guards would say to us, 'We could kill you at any time.' They would say, 'The world doesn't know you're here. Nobody knows you're here. All they know is that you're missing, and we could kill you and no one would know.' "

The horror stories from the scandalous interrogation camp that the United States is operating at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, are coming to light with increased frequency. At some point the whole shameful tale of this exercise in extreme human degradation will be told. For the time being we have to piece together what we can from a variety of accounts that have escaped the government's obsessively reinforced barriers of secrecy.

We know that people were kept in cells that in some cases were the equivalent of animal cages, and that some detainees, disoriented and despairing, have been shackled like slaves and left to soil themselves with their own urine and feces. Detainees are frequently kicked, punched, beaten and sexually humiliated. Extremely long periods of psychologically damaging isolation are routine.

This is all being done in the name of fighting terror. But the best evidence seems to show that many of the people rounded up and dumped without formal charges into Guantánamo had nothing to do with terror. They just happened to be unfortunate enough to get caught in one of Uncle Sam's depressingly indiscriminate sweeps. Which is what happened to Shafiq Rasul, who was released from Guantánamo about a year ago. His story is instructive, and has not been told widely enough.

Mr. Rasul was one of three young men, all friends, from the British town of Tipton who were among thousands of people seized in Afghanistan in the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001. They had been there, he said, to distribute food and medical supplies to impoverished Afghans.

The three were interviewed soon after their release by Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, which has been in the forefront of efforts to secure legal representation for Guantánamo detainees.

Under extreme duress at Guantánamo, including hundreds of hours of interrogation and long periods of isolation, the three men confessed to having been in a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan. They also said they were among a number of men who could be seen in a videotape of Osama bin Laden. The tape had been made in August 2000.

For the better part of two years, Mr. Rasul and his friends, Asif Iqbal and Rhuhel Ahmed, had denied involvement in any terror activity whatsoever. But Mr. Rasul said they eventually succumbed to long months of physical and psychological abuse. Mr. Rasul had been held in isolation for several weeks (his second sustained period of isolation) when an interrogator showed him the video of bin Laden. He said she told him: "I've put detainees here in isolation for 12 months and eventually they've broken. You might as well admit it now."

"I could not bear another day of isolation, let alone the prospect of another year," said Mr. Rasul. He confessed.

The three men, all British citizens, were saved by British intelligence officials, who proved that they had been in England when the video was shot, and during the time they were supposed to have been in Al Qaeda training camps. All three were returned to England, where they were released from custody.

Mr. Rasul has said many times that he and his friends were freed only because their alibis were corroborated. But they continue to worry about the many other Guantánamo detainees who may be innocent but have no way of proving it.

The Bush administration has turned Guantánamo into a place that is devoid of due process and the rule of law. It's a place where human beings can be imprisoned for life without being charged or tried, without ever seeing a lawyer, and without having their cases reviewed by a court. Congress and the courts should be uprooting this evil practice, but freedom and justice in the United States are on a post-9/11 downhill slide.

So we are stuck for the time being with the disgrace of Guantánamo, which will forever be a stain on the history of the United States, like the internment of the Japanese in World War II.

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US lawmakers mull special office in State Dept to spread democracy
07 February 2005 1415 hrs
- AFP

WASHINGTON: In a move that will give impetus to US President George W. Bush's policy to spread world freedom and end tyranny, lawmakers are drafting legislation to set up a specific office in the State Department to spread democracy, officials say.

If approved, the legislation would give a shot in the arm to dissident groups, which would have direct access to Washington, and anger some governments, including in Asia, which may see it as an attempt to meddle in domestic politics.

The "office of democracy movements and transitions" in the State Department is to serve as a "point of contact for democratic movements within individual countries," said Lynne Weil, spokeswoman for Democratic Representative Tom Lantos of California.

She added that Lantos and Republican Representative Frank Wolf of Virginia, both of whom co-chair the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, are jointly drafting the bill that also would ask Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to publish an annual global report on democratic progress.

The State Department currently publishes annual reports on religious freedom and human rights, which are used as a key guide by US policymakers.

"The bill, which is still being written, is meant to reaffirm that promoting democracy is a fundamental value of US foreign policy and ensure that mechanisms are in place to carry this policy out," Weil said.

The move follows Bush's pledge in his second term inaugural address last month to end tyranny and promote democracy across the globe and putting "every ruler and every nation" on notice that this would be a test of their relations with the United States.

Weil denied the bill was in reaction to Bush's address.

"Well, that coincidence will in the end lend some momentum," she said.

Congressional staffers said the bill, if approved, would provide dissident groups easier access to the United States government.

"We are attempting to create a single address for them," said a staffer.

There is currently a bureau of democracy, human rights, and labor in the State Department which "oversees initiatives and policies to promote and strengthen democratic institutions, civil society, and respect for human and worker rights."

The bureau ensures that human rights and labor conditions in foreign countries are taken into account in US policy-making process, the department says.

In support of these efforts, the bureau prepares and submits to the Congress annual reports on human rights practices and religious freedom in countries around the world.

Many Asian governments have been among those sensitive to alleged violations cited in the report and analysts say a "report card" on democracy may draw more fire.

But it will also compel the United States to "set the record straight" in friendly but heavy-handed governments in places like Pakistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, maybe even China or Russia, they said.

Comment: Looking objectively at the tragic results of "spreading freedom and democracy" in Iraq, one can logically conclude that this new special office is soley designed to legitimize the unilateral invasion of sovereign nations, the terrorizing it's people, the reduction of it's infrastrusture to rubble, and the handing out of lucrative reconstruction contracts to administration-friendly corporations in the bloody aftermath.

Just like the illusory ideals of "freedom and democracy" in the United States, these phrases are just public-friendly buzzwords bandied about by the PTB, and have no actual relation to their commonly acccepted dictionary definitions.

Orwell would have been proud.

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War games give terror star billing
By DAVE HIRSCHMAN
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 02/07/05

Bound for Iraq, Georgia's citizen soldiers learn to fight unconventional enemies

FORT STEWART — Sgt. 1st Class Ronnie Perryman leveled his rifle at two Iraqi men emerging from a van that suddenly had stopped on a narrow dirt road.

Perryman, a land surveyor from Millen, had spoken to them through an interpreter earlier in the day when they were stopped at a military checkpoint. They seemed friendly and polite. But now they were hurrying to assemble something on the far side of the parked van.

"They've got a mortar!" Perryman yelled to about 20 fellow soldiers in a bunker nearby. "Light 'em up!"

M-16s crackled as the van sped away. A whistling shriek, then an explosion inside the soldiers' fenced compound confirmed that the hasty mortar shot had been accurate.

On the first day at a remote camp here, similar to the forward operating base that these soldiers from the Georgia Army National Guard's 48th Infantry Brigade plan to occupy in Iraq, one was killed by a car bomb, and two were wounded.

Fortunately, the casualties were only simulated.

But their flawed performance during the first of series of lifelike war games showed the Iraq-bound soldiers some of their vulnerabilities. The losses left the 87 soldiers in the brigade's 118th Field Artillery Regiment's Alpha Battery sobered.

"Practice makes perfect," said Capt. Jeff Schneider, who led the day's exercise. "This is our starting point. We'll get better from here."

Capt. Mike Smith, 39, a former battery commander in Iraq who saw two of his soldiers killed by insurgents last year, is helping prepare these citizen soldiers for the dangers they will face overseas. He organized the simulated attacks and tried to make them as realistic as possible.

The men in the van were Iraqi natives, one of whom used to live in Baghdad.

"Complacency will get you killed faster than anything," said Smith, a somber, 270-pound former University of Tennessee football player who joined the Army after seeing "Stripes," an irreverent 1982 Bill Murray comedy.

Smith can still remember one-liners from the movie, but he's deadly serious about preparing soldiers for their dangerous mission.

"If you're up, you're alert and your posture is high, they won't shoot," Smith said of Iraqi insurgents. "They'll wave at you. If you appear passive or inattentive, you invite attack. You'll have to respond to what they do, and you never want to be in the react mode." [...]

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Iraq Deposits Five Billion Dollars with US Federal Reserve

February 8, 2005

BAGHDAD, Feb 8 (AFP) - The Iraqi central bank has built up five billion dollars in reserves in recent months which have been deposited with the US Federal Reserve, a top US treasury official said Tuesday.

The sum will earn the Iraqi government about 100 million dollars of much needed interest each year, John Taylor, US treasury under secretary for international affairs, told a press conference after talks with Iraqi officials.

The money has been placed with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Taylor said the five billion dollars had built up from the currency transactions since the introduction of the new Iraqi dinar.

He said he had discussed the importance of improving Iraq's banking system by developing electronic payments -- Iraqis still rely heavily on cash -- and to help the private sector to borrow money.

Iraqi authorities also had to set up financing for housing mortgages, he added.

While acknowledging Iraq's security troubles, Taylor said there was much to be "optimistic" about in the country's economy with more signs of activity since the country's January 30 election.

"There is a lot of economic activity that you can see just by driving around the streets," said the official, who told reporters he had not been confined to the high-security Green Zone while in Baghdad.

"The necessary economic and political foundations are taking root to ensure Iraq's prosperity," he said.

Comment: Install proxy government. Proceed to siphon off the country's resources while pretending that you are spreading freedom adn democracy. How much more obvious can it get?

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Attack via Canada is minister's 'nightmare'
JIM BRONSKILL
CANADIAN PRESS
Feb. 7, 2005. 01:00 AM

Protecting border transport czar's 'top priority'
'We don't have culture of security,' Lapierre says


OTTAWA—The federal transport czar's "worst nightmare" is the chilling prospect of a terrorist strike on the United States via Canada.

Jean Lapierre fears Canada "could be used as a springboard" to assault its southern neighbour — an event that would paralyze the border and cause untold economic fallout.

"That's what I'm trying to avoid, and this is my top priority as Minister of Transport," Lapierre told The Canadian Press.

"Obviously, they would close the borders and things like that, and that would have a major impact," he said.

"That's my worst nightmare."

Canada has long been perceived by critics as a convenient staging ground for extremists seeking to raise money, forge documents and plan operations abroad.

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, the federal government has earmarked more than $8 billion for improving intelligence gathering, policing, and security at border crossings, seaports and airports.

Auditor-General Sheila Fraser has pointedly questioned some of these efforts and the Senate security committee has noted numerous holes in Canada's anti-terrorism net.

In opinion polls, Canadians often rank security concerns well below other priorities such as health care, the economy and the environment.

Lapierre said Canadians and Americans see the issue of national security differently.

"We have to adjust, because we were never a nation that was worried about its own security," he said. "We don't have a culture of security here. We've been pretty easygoing on it. And I think we've got to learn fast."

That's one reason Lapierre is planning to visit Israel to take a first-hand look at its renowned security apparatus, including extraordinarily tight air passenger screening.

"When I travel (there), people talk to me a lot about their system and they say they close all the loopholes and everything. And I want to see it for myself."

Lapierre interprets Canadians' relative lack of concern about security not as indifference but as evidence they believe the state will look out for the safety of its people.

"I think they're counting on government and that's why I take that responsibility fully," he said. The duty extends not only to Canadians "but also to our neighbours that may be targets. And you want to be sure that you protect your side of the border."

The usually loquacious minister said little when asked whether the volume of terrorist "chatter" being picked up by spy services had increased recently.

The government has been criticized for not moving quickly enough to implement air security measures.

Electronic screening of all baggage and cargo loaded aboard flights is due to be in place next year. Canadians should feel confident when they fly, he added.

"Obviously, you'll never have 100 per cent security. I mean, there's always a risk management. But I think Canada's airports are some of the safest in the world." he said.

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Rice Gives Europe Stylish Image of US
By ANNE GEARAN
The Associated Press

PARIS Feb 9, 2005 — It will take some doing to dispel the current European caricature of Americans and their president as being reckless and out of touch, but it doesn't hurt to speak French and wear a superbly cut suit while trying.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is the new face of U.S. foreign policy in more ways than one. On her first foreign trip as President Bush's chief diplomat, Rice is displaying a sophisticated style right at home on the streets and in the salons of taste-making capitals such as Rome and Paris.

Her custom-made suits have included a black boucle number with gold brocade that probably cost more than your first car. She favors chic Italian heels, nipped waists and understated jewelry.

Rice's eight-day hopscotch across Europe and the Middle East is meant to project a different image of the United States, and change the subject from frustration and anger over the Iraq war.

She is resolute in defending American policies, many of which she helped direct as Bush's first-term national security adviser.

But she also comes with intellectual and academic bona fides, as well as years of training in classical piano.

She visited a Parisian music school Wednesday Conservatoire Hector Berlioz in a cultural grace note after her speech inviting debate with the French political elite on Tuesday.

Rice watched and tapped her toes to keep time as a music teacher led a group of students age 7 to 9 through their scales. She told the youngsters she learned to read music at age 3. "It takes a lot of work to learn to read music," she said. "You have to practice and practice and practice."

She also heard much older students preparing for a Beethoven recital and told them she is working to master a piano piece by Anton Dvorak.

Rice worked the French national motto, "Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite," into her speech at the political science academy Sciences Po, although her accent was distinctly American.

She charmed some in the audience, including Sciences Po economist Francois Rachline, who called her "courageous."

Comment: While the rest of the world is trying to figure what whether the French really mean it when they call the Secretary of State, "Dear Condi", Americans are being treated to an in-depth analysis of Rice's fashion sense.

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'Dear Condi' hails new start for Franco-US relations
PARIS, Feb 9 (AFP)
France and the United States declared Tuesday a "new chapter" in their rocky relationship, ending two years of feuding over Iraq with pledges of cooperation to help stabilise the Middle East.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, on the most delicate stop of her fence-mending European tour, made a forceful appeal for improved transatlantic ties and was greeted by an unusually warm French response.

"It is time to turn away from the disagreements of the past. It is time to open a new chapter in our relationship, and a new chapter in our alliance," Rice said in a speech at a prestigious political sciences institute.

French President Jacques Chirac and Foreign Minister
Michel Barnier, who met separately with Rice, responded effusively to her call for a halt to the bitter row sparked by the March 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Routinely referring to the chief US diplomat as "dear Condi," Barnier waxed enthusiastic on the meaning of Tuesday's rapprochement on the sixth leg of her whirlwind tour of eight European nations.

"Today the time has come to open a new phase, to start a new chapter, to make a new beginning within this very old relationship," he said.

"I'd like to say in public how much better the world works when the United States and Europe work together," the Frenchman told a joint news conference with Rice in the foreign ministry's ornate Salon de L'Horloge.

A Chirac spokesman said he told Rice that "France attached great importance to bilateral and transatlantic cooperation and shares a common desire to keep up a constructive dialogue."

Officials said both sides spoke of cooperation on a range of issues, including efforts to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, reconstruction in Iraq and dismantling Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program.

Paving the way for a European swing by President George W. Bush late this month, Rice set the tone with a speech at the Institute of Political Studies that hailed the "unprecedented opportunity" before the transatlantic alliance.

"America stands ready to work with Europe on our common agenda, and Europe must stand ready to work with America," she said in the centerpiece address of her first trip as secretary of state.

"After all, history will surely judge us not by our old disagreements but our new achievements."

Rice said the United States "welcomes the growing unity of Europe" but made it clear Washington did not want to see the European Union positioning itself as a counterweight to US power.

"America has everything to gain from having a stronger Europe as a partner in building a safer, and a better world," she said.

Rice warned that, in the Arab world, "the status quo is not going to be acceptable" and called on Europe to march with the United States in spreading democracy to the Middle East.

But some differences lingered despite earnest attempts on both sides to focus on their new-found sense of unity.

Barnier, for his part, made a pointed call for the United States to rally to diplomatic efforts by France, Britain and Germany to rein in Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program.

"We need the confidence and the support of the United States in this very delicate phase within which we are. And that's what the message is that we conveyed to Condi Rice."

Some Europeans have been complaining that the United States was keeping its distance from the talks while keeping the alive the possibility of military strikes on Iran's nuclear facilities.

But Rice shrugged off a suggestion that Washington and Tehran have direct talks to resolve the nuclear issue. "Everybody knows what the Iranians need to do," she said. "They just need to do it.

The American also raised US objections to EU plans to lift an arms embargo slapped on China after the massacre of pro-democracy students in Beijing more than 15 years ago.

On Iraq, Rice hailed the success of the country's national elections held January 30 and urged the United States' NATO allies to move forward to consolidate the breakthrough.

Barnier, for his part, sharply rebuffed a question suggesting France was waiting to "re-engage" in Iraq, saying it was providing support for its reconstruction if not troops.

"So we are committed," he said. "We are committed for the success of the political process... We want the country to get back to stability and sovereignty.

In response to questions posed by students at the political sciences institute, Rice said change had to be encouraged in the Arab world at large.

"We have a level of helplessness that has produced an ideology of hatred so thorough and so virulent... that this cannot be the future of the Middle East," she said.

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39 injured in powerful bomb explosion in Madrid
www.chinaview.cn 2005-02-09 21:55:41
MADRID, Feb. 9 (Xinhuanet) -- A powerful explosion occurred outside Madrid's main convention center Wednesday and 39 people were injured in the blast.

The explosion took place following a warning from the armed Basque separatist group ETA, local TV reported.

Meanwhile, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero,who is currently paying a visit to Poland, condemned the car bomb blast in Madrid, saying "there is no place in society for terrorists."

"I say to the ETA terrorists and those who back them that there is no place for them in society," Zapatero told reporters ata joint press conference with Polish Prime Minister Marek Balka inWarsaw.

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Two JFK-Bound Flights Land Safely After Apparent Threats
POSTED: 1:35 pm EST February 4, 2005

NEW YORK -- A passenger aboard a Delta Air Lines flight from Paris was taken off the plane at Kennedy Airport on Friday and was being questioned, a federal official said, following reports that two arriving flights may have been threatened.

Both flights landed safely early Friday afternoon.

The passenger, described by a witness aboard Delta Flight 119 as a man in his 20s, was being questioned by local law enforcement officers, said U.S. Customs and Border Protection assistant commissioner Kristi M. Clemens.

The plane was isolated immediately after landing, but its passengers and crew were later permitted to leave, she said.

Dag Erik Kleven, 20, a passenger from Norway who was on Flight 119 from Paris, said that when his flight landed in New York, he saw two law enforcement officers board the plane. He said a man in his 20s sitting in the first-class section was removed from the plane without incident.

"Everything was calm," Kleven told The Associated Press.

Marcel Teunissen of the Hague, who was aboard the other plane, Delta Flight 81 from Amsterdam, said that an announcement had been made before the flight took off that there would be a slight delay because a woman had been taken off due to security concerns.

A spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Steve Coleman, said that at about 12:45 p.m., his agency, which operates Kennedy Airport, received a number of reports, which he said were subsequently found to be erroneous, from "various federal agencies."

He said the reports alleged first that there were seven "people of interest" on Flight 119, which had originated from Bombay, India.

Another report, Coleman said, had the plane being escorted to Kennedy Airport by F16 fighters.

"The Port Authority took the necessary precautions and mobilized," Coleman said. Port Authority and federal law enforcement agents questioned both pilots and determined "there was absolutely no problem on board either flight," he said.

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Police searching for bomb near Italian consulate in Petersburg
February 8 (Itar-Tass)

ST. PETERSBURG, -- The police are searching for a bomb near the building of the Italian consulate general in St. Petersburg.

The police was informed about a bomb allegedly planted under a parked vehicle at 7:33 p.m., a source in the press service of the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry department in St. Petersburg told Itar-Tass.

There is preliminary information that a police dog has reacted to explosives.

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Soldier Kills Himself After Shooting Wife

February 7, 2005 - 7:18 p.m.
The Associated Press

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — A Fort Bragg soldier — once implicated as a teenager in a notorious New Jersey rape case — shot and wounded his estranged wife and her boyfriend, then killed himself, authorities said.

Spc. Richard Timothy Corcoran, 34, entered wife Michele A. Corcoran's house Thursday night and shot William Paul Seifert several times. Michele Corcoran ran outside, where she was shot in the arm, said Cumberland County sheriff's Maj. Sam Pennica.

Corcoran then went back inside the house and shot himself, Pennica said.

Seifert, who is also a Fort Bragg soldier, was taken to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center. Michele Corcoran, 30, was treated and released. The Corcorans' 7-month-old baby was in the house but was not hurt.

Richard Corcoran was involved in a 1989 case in affluent Glen Ridge, N.J., in which a group of popular high school athletes allegedly raped a mentally retarded teenage girl with a broom and a baseball bat.

Corcoran, the son of a Glen Ridge police lieutenant, was among seven boys who were arrested and charged, but charges against him were dropped the day before his trial was to begin. [...]

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Fury after LA police kill car thief, 13
irishexaminer

A Los Angeles neighbourhood expressed anger and shock after a 13-year-old suspected car thief was shot dead by police following a three-and-a-half-mile chase which ended when he reversed into their patrol car.

Friends and neighbours of Devin Brown said they could not understand why police opened fire on him early on Sunday in South Los Angeles.

"I know he was wrong for stealing a car, but what I really don't understand is the police have had so much training," said Carmen Dorsey, who stopped by an impromptu memorial at the site where the teenager was killed. "What happened to the rubber bullets they have? Why do they have to shoot to kill?"

A 14-year-old passenger was arrested after a foot chase, police said.

Police declined to comment, but issued statements summarising the shooting and identifying the officers involved. Nine-year veteran Steven Garcia, 31, who fired the shots, and six-year veteran Dana Grant, 26, have been assigned to desk duty during the investigation.

The police union said officers are required to make quick decisions in the field and a delay in judgement could cost them their lives and endanger the community.

At the crash site, some placards criticised the shooting. "LAPD … Thank you for giving us yet another reason to dislike your services," one read. "You are a cancer to the community."

The incident happened just three days after the district attorney's office declined to press charges against an officer who was videotaped pummelling a black suspect with a metal flashlight.

Two weeks ago a jury awarded €1.9m to two Inglewood police officers who sued after one was sacked and the other suspended in connection with the videotaped beating of a black teenager during an arrest.

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'Disrespectful' band member scalped

09/02/2005 - 10:48:43

A member of a US punk gang scalped a teenage girl apparently as punishment for her disrespectful behaviour toward women, police said.

The victim, a 16-year-old who had a mohawk style haircut before the attack, survived.

Police in Boise, Idaho, are searching for Marianne Dahle, 26, who allegedly tied the teenager up and used a four-inch knife to cut away the crown and back portion of her scalp.

She faces 14 years in prison for the assault.

Dahle was visiting Kirkham Hot Springs in central Idaho with the girl and a friend when the attack took place last month. The teenager spent two weeks in the hospital and is now recovering at home.

"When I say this gal was scalped, she was truly scalped," said Bill Braddock, chief deputy of Boise police. "The top of her head, her hair, was completely cut off.

"The motive, as near as we've been told by witnesses, was retaliation for acting in a way that the adult perceived as being offensive to women as a gender."

Braddock said the victim, Dahle and another teenage girl who witnessed the attack were long-term acquaintances who belonged to the same group. The victim's mohawk hair cut may have played a role in the assault, he said.

"In their punk group, wearing a mohawk is a sign of being a punker, and according to their creed if you disrespect women you are not allowed to wear a mohawk," he said. "But I don't think the victim had any idea in the world she was going to be scalped."

The victim, named only as Sheila, said she thought the woman was going to cut her hair.

"Why would they do something like this to me?" Sheila asked. "I thought they were my friends."

Doctors grafted skin from Sheila's thigh to cover the inches-long circular patch of missing skin on her crown. She has one operation left. She wears hats to hide the healing patch of skin.

Police chief Braddock said: "It was an act of revenge. I view this as a case where an adult female is using predatory control – both psychological and sexual - toward juvenile victims. There are definitely sexual overtones to this crime," he said.

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Rugby fan 'cuts off testicles' to celebrate win
February 8, 2005 - 1:35PM
Reuters

A Welsh rugby fan has reportedly cut off his own testicles to celebrate Wales beating England at rugby.

Geoff Huish, 26, was so convinced England would win Saturday's match he told fellow drinkers at a social club, "If Wales win I'll cut my balls off", the Daily Mirror reported today.

Friends at the club in Caerphilly, south Wales, thought he was joking.

But after the game Huish went home, severed his testicles with a knife, and walked 200 metres back to the bar with the testicles to show the shocked drinkers what he had done.

Huish was taken to hospital where he remained in a seriously ill condition, the paper said. Police told the paper he had a history of mental problems.

Wales's 11-9 victory over England at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff was their first home win in 12 years.

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Woman found with severed hands in Mexico
Tuesday, February 8, 2005 · Last updated 3:07 p.m. PT
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

MONTERREY, Mexico -- A woman was found alive on the outskirts of the border city of Reynosa after both of her hands had been cut off, police said Tuesday.

Maria Amalia Salazar had been beaten severely and was only wearing underwear when she was discovered Monday by a passer-by, said Ruben Arredondo, a spokesman with ministerial police in Tamaulipas state, where Reynosa is located.

Salazar, 40, was drunk and under the influence of drugs when she was found and investigators were still trying to determine if she had been sexually assaulted.

"She remembers someone hitting her on the head but she hasn't been able to give us a full statement," Arredondo said.

Arredondo said Salazar had her arms bound with tape, while the place where her hands used to be was covered with newspaper.

Investigators haven't been able to locate the hands, Arredondo said.
Reynosa is located across the border from McAllen, Texas.

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130 dead cats found in home
By SAEED AHMED
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 02/08/05

Fulton County authorities call it one of the worst cases of animal abuse in county history: more than 100 cats found dead inside a two-story house in an affluent subdivision in Alpharetta.

One hundred and thirty-four cats lay strewn across every room of the house on Alstonefield Drive when animal services officials were called Feb. 1.

An additional 26 severely malnourished cats were found, said Susan Feingold, assistant director of county animal services. They were taken to a local animal clinic where they are being cared for until they are strong enough to be put up for adoption, she said.

"We basically found a house of horrors," Feingold said. "They were everywhere. In every bedroom. In the bathroom, the garage, the basement."

Authorities believe the cats may have died of dehydration or starvation, but won't know for certain until tests are completed. [...]

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Flu kills 8 at nursing home
Feb. 8, 2005. 01:00 AM
JOHN DRISCOLL
SPECIAL TO THE STAR

COBOURG—A flu outbreak has claimed the lives of eight people in a nursing home, the region's medical officer of health confirmed yesterday.

Dr. Lynn Noseworthy said all of the deaths, attributed to an Influenza A outbreak, have taken place in the last two weeks at the Golden Plough Lodge, a 141-bed long-term-care facility operated by Northumberland County.

Along with the eight deaths, there were 85 people ill with influenza, she said.

The home has been closed to visitors since Jan. 24. [...]

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Breaking News - NO TORNADO
State Journal-Register
Feb 8/05
Illinois - No, a tornado wasn't bearing down on Springfield today. But an unannounced test of the city's emergency warning sirens about 1:45 p.m. left some residents looking for a funnel cloud -- or worse. In the future, city officials said, sirens won't be tested without prior notice.

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Flashback: Emergency Broadcast Test Mistakenly Calls For Evacuation

Associated Press
3:49 pm EST February 1, 2005

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Despite what residents may have seen on television, the state of Connecticut was not ordered evacuated on Tuesday.

State emergency management officials believe someone pressed the wrong button, and instead of running a test of the emergency alert system, midday television viewers and radio listeners were told that the state was being evacuated.

"There is absolutely no evacuation or state emergency," said Kerry Flaherty, of the Office of Emergency Management. "It was an erroneous message."

The department is investigating how the alert was sent. Officials said it is manually released to broadcasters.

Comment: Yes, someone must have pressed the wrong button. That makes perfect sense. We're quite certain that the system in place consists of a big, complicated-looking box that has a row of buttons, all of which are the same size, shape, and color. You know, like in the movies... Anyway, one of the buttons runs a test of the emergency broadcast system, and the one right next to it orders an evacuation of the state. So, obviously, somebody's finger just slipped, and whoops!

Then again, maybe they're practicing for "terrorism", martial law, meteor impacts, etc.

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Earthquake Shakes Tokyo Area; No Damage Reported
By Tomomi Sekioka
Feb. 8 (Bloomberg)

-- An earthquake of magnitude 4.8 in Japan's southern Ibaraki Prefecture at 11:29 a.m. local time shook buildings in the Tokyo area.

There was no threat of tsunami waves, Japan's Meteorological Agency said on its Web site. Japan's semi-public broadcaster, NHK, said there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

The quake shook buildings in central Tokyo, where it registered a 2 on the seven-level Japanese scale. Seven is the highest level.

Japan, one of the world's most earthquake-prone countries, is located in a zone where the Eurasian, Pacific and Philippine tectonic plates meet and occasionally shift, causing quakes.

Quakes of magnitude 5 and more can cause considerable damage.

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Nobody hurt in earthquake in Russian Far East
Feb 8 2005 9:40AM

YUZHNO-SAKHALINSK. Feb 8 (Interfax) - Underground tremors measuring up to 3 points on the Richter scale were registered in the South Kuril Islands Monday evening.

Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk seismological station told Interfax on Tuesday that the earthquake recorded at 7:40 p.m. had its epicenter 80 kilometers northeast of Shikotan where its magnitude reached 4.1 points.

The strongest tremors were reported in Malokurilskoye in Shikotan island.

The quake did not cause loss of life or damage. Neither was there any threat of tsunami.

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Strong earthquake jolts sea waters of Vanuatu
www.chinaview.cn 2005-02-09 13:47:19

HONG KONG, Feb. 9 (Xinhuanet) -- A strong earthquake measuring 6.7on the Richter scale hit the sea waters near Vanuatu in the Pacific at 10:59 p.m. Hong Kong time Tuesday, according to the Hong Kong Observatory Wednesday morning.

The epicenter was initially determined to be 14.3 degrees southlatitude and 167.3 degrees east longitude, about 2,070 kilometers northeast to Brisbane, Australia.

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Klyuchevskaya Sopka volcano spews gas, vapour, lava
February 8 (Itar-Tass)

PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKY, - The Klyuchevskaya Sopka volcano on the Kamchatka Peninsula on Tuesday spewed incandescent gas and vapour to an altitude of up to three kilometres.

The trail of the emissions has stretched for 50 kilometres to the northeast of the volcano. A cloud containing volcanic ash particles moves in the direction of the town of Klyuchi (water-springs), which is situated at a distance of about 30 km from the volcano. Yuri Demyanchuk, a staff member of the Klyuchi-based volcano monitoring station, has told Itar-Tass by telephone.

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Cuban Doctors Assist Flood Victims in Guyana
Feb 8/05 (AIN)

Havana - As efforts continue in Guyana to recover from the worst floods in the last 100 years, volunteer Cuban doctors are assisting hundreds of patients a day.

The Cuban medical team, made up of 40 doctors and other specialists, arrived in that South American nation last week in order to offer their assistance to victims in the most affected areas.

The floods that hit Guyana in January left over 80,000 homes partially or totally destroyed, while some 4,000 persons were left homeless and are currently in shelters, reports Guyana's National Information Agency.

Heavy rains and the subsequent mud slides have claimed 19 lives, 11 of which were due to leptospirosis-related infections.

Community authorities are addressing the issue by working to drain still flooded areas and distribute drinking water and food.

Local authorities have repeatedly called on the population to cooperate with rehabilitation and clean up of the affected zones, as well as to collect garbage in plastic bags to avoid further contamination.

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Report says 2005 flood set records
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
— Time: 10:59:27 AM EST

OHIO - THE JANUARY 2005 flood in the Muskingum River Watershed of eastern Ohio will be one for the record books, according to a report issued by Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District officials.

Seven of the 16 reservoirs in the system set all-time marks for high water and nearly $400 million in potential property damage was saved by the system of dams and reservoirs that temporarily holds floodwaters. Communities that endured temporary flooding were spared the widespread devastation that could have occurred without any of the protection offered by the dams and reservoirs, the report said.

Many other communities endured the frustration of seeing roads inundated by standing floodwaters, cutting off reliable access to their homes, jobs and schools. [...]

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UFO over Hawaii puzzles astronomers
Posted: February 8, 2005
3:30 p.m. Eastern
WorldNetDaily.com

Mysterious streak captured by camera positioned on active volcano

An unidentified streak moving through the night sky above Hawaii has sky watchers puzzled.

The streak, which can be viewed in motion on a NASA website page, was captured on film by a camera positioned on an active volcano in Haleakala, Hawaii. It moves from southeast to northwest.

According to the NASA site, the streak was spotted on the night of Dec. 17. Another camera trained on the night sky in Hawaii, in Mauna Kea, also captured the image.

While the streak may have been disregarded as a satellite, NASA says no record of a satellite in that position exists on a website that documents bright satellite events.

NASA includes an online discussion board for people to speculate about what the streak might have been.

One poster wrote: "What is truly bizarre is that this object is visible for a good 55 minutes at Haleakala and close to 30 minutes at Mauna Kea. Usually, satellites take a few dozen seconds or, at the most, a couple of minutes to cross the entire sky.

"If this object is a satellite, it is either very slow moving or at a very high altitude. I checked all the possibilities at Heavens-Above and no satellite passes seem to fit this observation. It is also impossible to be a meteorite."

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New Planet Found in 'Similar Solar System'
By John von Radowitz, PA Science Correspondent

Astronomers have identified a "scaled-down version" of our Solar System based around a miniature super-dense star, it was revealed today.

Three planets circle the star, known as a pulsar, with orbits almost exactly proportional to the spacings between Mercury, Venus and Earth.

Scientists have now announced the discovery of a fourth planet, the smallest ever detected in another star system.

Its orbit is six times larger than that of the third planet in the system, and strangely close to the distance between our Sun and the asteroid belt, which lies between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.

The small planet appears to occupy the same outer-boundary position in its system as Pluto does in ours. But it has about a fifth of Pluto's mass.

Dr Maciej Konacki, from the California Institute of Technology, one of the American astronomers, said: "Surprisingly, the planetary system around this pulsar resembles our own Solar System more than any extra-solar planetary systems discovered around a Sun-like star." [...]

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Researchers uncover 10,000-year-old engraving in British cave
February 7, 2005

LONDON (AP) - An engraving thought to be 10,000 years old has been uncovered in a British cave, researchers said Monday.

The series of inscribed crosses - found on the wall of the Aveline's Hole cave in Somerset, southwest England - are believed to date from the early Mesolithic period just after the Ice Age.

Jill Cook of the British Museum's Department of Prehistory and Europe said the discovery was significant as it gave an insight into an early form of communication.

"The few lines that form this panel are a signature from the period right at the end of the last Ice Age when the present period of warm climate was beginning," Cook said.

"The pattern is comparable with others known from Northern France, Germany and Denmark, giving a wider context for the finds of this time and a rare glimpse of what may have been a rather special means of communication."

The discovery of the engraved crosses at Aveline's Hole - the site of the earliest known cemetery in the British Isles - follows the discovery of 12,000-year-old Ice Age engravings at Creswell Caves in Nottinghamshire, central England two years ago.

Graham Mullan and Linda Wilson, of the University of Bristol Spelaeological Society, who conducted the search of Aveline's Hole following the Nottinghamshire find, believe that further engravings could be found in other caves in Britain's south.

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HOW COME? - Tree rings unlock history
BY KATHY WOLLARD
February 7, 2005

How come trees have rings? asks Jonathan Tam, a student in Manhasset.

What if there were a record of what had happened to our planet, before human beings wrote down what they were seeing? What if there were a way to know when a volcano erupted a continent away, a comet crashed into an open plain, or a rash of sunspots erupted on the Sun's fiery face?

There is such a silent diary; it is locked in the heart of trees.

The rings revealed when a tree trunk is cut horizontally or sampled with a corer are a kind of natural hieroglyphics, in which scientists can read some of the history of Earth. There is even a branch of science dedicated to translating the riddle of the rings: dendrochronology.

Deciduous and cone-bearing trees (conifers) in temperate climates usually have distinct growth rings. Trees expand outward by growing a new layer of wood cells just under the bark. In the spring, the growth layer makes large, thin-walled cells called "early wood." As the season becomes drier, the cells produced become smaller and thicker-walled "late wood." By fall the tree has stopped making new cells. You can tell one yearly ring from the next because the darker, late-wood cells from one year lie beside the next year's lighter, early-wood cells. By counting rings, we can get a good idea of the tree's age in years.

Rings are thinner when rainfall is scant or temperatures plunge in the growth season. Sunlight, soil fertility, and diseases and pests all affect rings, too. Because rings vary, sometimes dramatically, from year to year, they provide clues as to what happened in those years - droughts, floods, erupting volcanoes, forest fires, global cooling and warming. By counting the rings backward in time, we can often figure out when such events occurred.

To read the record hidden in the wood, scientists can drill into trees and pull out slim cores. By matching up rings from living trees, dead trees, and ancient wood, scientists can cross-date rings and make a timeline extending far into the past. (For more on tree-ring mapping, visit www.nps.gov/ seki/fire/pdf/firehistory.pdf.)

One of the best ring histories hides in bristlecone pines, slow-growers that take 3,000 years to reach their full height (40 to 60 feet). By matching up the overlapping rings of living and long-dead bristlecone wood, scientists have dated events back to about 7,000 BC.

Tree rings help scientists track climate changes. When volcanoes erupt, spewing soot and sulfur droplets, the atmosphere darkens, making for frosty summers and thin rings. The widespread thinning of tree rings about 1,500 years ago points to a bigger catastrophe - possibly pieces of a giant comet hitting Earth.

Tree rings even help us glimpse events elsewhere in the solar system. When cosmic rays strike nitrogen molecules in the Earth's atmosphere, radioactive carbon-14 forms. High sunspot and solar wind activity means fewer cosmic rays reach the atmosphere, and carbon-14 creation falls. By comparing the carbon-14 content of tree rings with other natural objects, scientists have traced sunspot activity back thousands of years.

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Elated? Depressed? Obsessed? You may be suffering lovesickness
By Maxine Frith, Social Affairs Correspondent
07 February 2005

Falling in love used to be fun. Now doctors are warning that the throes of passion should be seen as a potentially fatal medical disorder.

Psychologists say that "lovesickness" is a genuine disease that needs more awareness and diagnosis.

And those little actions that are normally seen as symptoms of the first flush of love - buying presents, waiting by the phone for a call or making a bit of an effort before a date - may actually be signs of deep-rooted problems to come.

Frank Tallis, a clinical psychologist in London, examined the historical attitudes to love and mental illness, stretching back to the time of the ancient Greeks.

Before the 18th century, lovesickness had for thousands of years been accepted a recognised ailment. But for the past 200 years it has been out of favour with medical practitioners as a proper diagnosis, Dr Tallis said in a report in The Psychologist magazine.

Dr Tallis said modern research suggested that the effects of being lovesick could be described in the latest diagnostic terms.

Symptoms can include mania, such as an elevated mood and inflated self-esteem, or depression, revealing itself as tearfulness and insomnia.

Aspects of obsessive compulsive disorder can also be found in those experiencing lovesickness, such as preoccupation and obsessively checking for text messages and e-mails.

"The average clinical psychologist will not receive referral letters from GPs and psychiatrists mentioning lovesickness," Dr Tallis said.

"However, careful examination of the sanitised language will reveal that lovesickness may well be the underlying problem.

"Many people are referred for help who cannot cope with the intensity of love, have been destabilised by falling in love, or who suffer on account of their love being unrequited."

A consequence of this might be a suicide attempt - dramatising the ancient contention that love can be fatal, Dr Tallis said.

"Although there is much modern research into the treatment of relationship and psychosexual problems, there is little dealing with the specific problem of lovesickness," he said.

"Perhaps now is the time for us to take it more seriously and take a lead from those ancient clinicians who diagnosed and treated it like any other complaint."

Professor Alex Gardner, a clinical psychologist in Glasgow and a member of the British Psychological Society, said doctors needed to be more aware of lovesickness as a possible diagnosis in their patients. "People can die from a broken heart," he said. "Lovesickness is probably extremely common."

Comment: Indeed, a study of modern biochemistry tells us that what passes for "love" in many instances is simply misdirected lust; or an imbalance of hormones and neurotransmitters run amok in the physical body. As the above story suggests, the symptoms of "lovesickness" could be defined as an actual disease, and may even be comparable to some kind of chemical addiction, resulting is all kinds of problems.

The idea of "true courtly love" as passed down to us from the poets and bards of yore, may be a memory of a higher spiritual love, where the object of one's affection was not another person's physical body per se, but more akin to the direction two like-minded souls travelling together in their quest for truth as they journey through the infinity of time and space. A marriage of souls in a way, based on empathy and mutual respect, that transcends the mere physical and approaches the sacred and divine.

If such an notion of true spiritual love exists, it certainly seems like a rarity in these hectic days of shotgun weddings, multiple partners, and quick-fix divorces. And though many of us take comfort in the "idea" of love, as endlessly promulgated by bubblegum pop music, we usually end up settling for less out of fear of lonliness and rejection.

However, there still may exist a few people who carry a memory of this courtly love and aspiring to towards such, choose not to seek out any old partner who will have them just for the sake of not being alone, and would rather walk the earth solo rather than settle for anything less than their true polar opposite.

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Power(lessness) to the People! National Malaise Comes From the Sun.

Polina Moroz
MosNews
Created: 09.02.2005 14:14 MSK (GMT 3)

There is one natural phenomenon that affects the daily life of Russians in a profound way. Millions of people keep track of its changes every morning, experts offer suggestions on minimizing its detrimental effects: rest, eat lots of bananas, don't make sudden movements. It's a national peril-national, because outside of Russia the phenomenon is virtually unknown. Maybe it's yet another challenge fortune throws Russia's way, maybe it's a crafty invention of Soviet scientists and maybe, just maybe, the importance and danger of this phenomenon is that one thing which people need to add meaning to their lives. To spice up the conversation on their commute. To excuse their sudden fatigue, restlessness, and inability to carry on. I speak, of course, of the great threat of geomagnetic storms.

Just like the weather, geomagnetic activity is often a suitable topic for chit-chat on the shuttle bus, or for a conversation between two babushkas on a park bench. Yet it's an issue of vital importance, with daily prognoses, recommendations, and warnings. Every now and then all the media outlets start screaming about giant explosions on the sun, about dangerous solar particles approaching Earth at fantastic speeds that cause "aching joints, migraines, plane crashes, epidemics, and grasshopper infestations," as Lenta.Ru recently reported in sensationalist fear.

Huh? That's what all non-Russians are wondering. Have you ever seen any of these solar prognoses anywhere outside Russia? Maybe the Dow, the latest side-effects of consuming too much soy, and perhaps the ubiquitous ten weight loss tips, but nowhere among the front pages of Anglophone news sources will you find anything about solar spots, winds and explosions that are supposed to influence your daily grind.

Outside Russia, these phenomena are reserved for space nerds in the "science" section at best, and for astrology fringe theorists at worst. If in Russia geomagnetic storms are a serious health hazard, elsewhere they are about as hazardous as the full moon that may or may not turn a stock broker into a werewolf.

While non-Russian sources modestly link geomagnetic activity only with possible satellite troubles, Russians make it responsible for all of their pain and suffering. The end of January was particularly rich in geomagnetic storm warnings. Colleagues whined about not being able to concentrate — solar storms made them limp and incompetent. Women especially are known to sometimes stay in bed all day, moaning with a sack of ice over their heads. Oh that darn storm last night, I didn't sleep at all, did you feel it? —they would ask their girlfriends the next morning.

If you google "geomagnetic storms", you will not get many sources dealing with people's health. Experts both in Europe and America admit that sometimes the sun's actions can harm communication with space missions, and one particularly strong storm caused a major power shortage in Montreal. But in Russian search engines, thousands of links and news pieces deal with "magnitnye buri," and their ill-effects (sometimes mortal) on the human body. Something that happens on the Sun is supposed to affect people from Helsinki to Buenos Aires, not Russians exclusively. Right?

My theory is that geomagnetic storms are sort of a cultural fable--maybe every country has a national malaise, a media-propagated inanimate adversary that just keeps everyone on guard. Or, as some Russophobes argue, it's just another excuse for Russians to stop working and lounge on a sofa, Oblomov-style.

Finding an entirely corresponding example of an American national malaise is difficult, but realistic. I have always been curious, for example, about why PMS is such a big deal in the United States. Having PMS has almost become a part of being American — if you don't think you have it, the media will help you find its symptoms anyway. Even if you are a guy. After all, they did discover something called "male PMS" recently. Having PMS is okay, you're told in a comforting tone, don't be scared, it's not your fault.

In Russia no one knows what PMS is. Searching PMS on Russian internet I find an article titled "post modernity today," and lots of alphabet soup-type administrative acronyms. Younger generation may have heard of it, but we can write that off as sneaky western influence on innocent girls, acting through half-baked translations from "Cosmopolitan." Maybe that's because the role of PMS is already taken in the Russia's public mind by geomagnetic storms. It's also a mysterious sickness of unknown exact causes. The difference is that Russia's malaise comes from the Sun and the American one from people's own hormones.

Anyway, back to geomagnetic storms. One notable Russian scientist, Alexander Chizhevsky, went so far as to propose that human history is shaped by what's happening on the Sun. According to him, geomagnetic storms affect the concentration of adrenalin and stress people's mental health. People who are motivated by charismatic leaders like Lenin are in fact victims of a "mass psychosis" triggered every eleven years by peaks in the sun's activity. Chizhevsky even came up with a set of tongue-in-cheek recommendations for political reformists who fancy a bloodbath: just make sure to sow your propaganda while the explosions on the Sun's surface make the masses more susceptible to persuasion.**

Meanwhile, the turn of 2004-05 is another one of geomagnetic peaks. January 2005 is highest in the Sun's activity since 1938. Anyone who is still surprised at the mass pensioners' protests across the country should ponder the geomagnetic theory. Experts say that old people are more susceptible to the Sun's activity: with their weaker hearts they don't tolerate stress as well as others. My grandma sighs, promising not to listen to geomagnetic prognoses any more, saying that knowing the date makes her symptoms worse. Maybe she too suspects a conspiracy.

** "sun activity peaks" of the 20th century:
- revolutions of 1905 and 1917
- beginning of repressions (1928)
- peak of political persecutions (1937)
- beginning of the Cold War (1947)
- Hungarian revolt (1956)
- Soviet troops enter Czechoslovakia (1968)
- Soviet troops enter Afghanistan (1979)
- Mass demonstrations and perestroika (1989)

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And finally...

4-year-old drives to video store – and back

Last Updated Mon, 07 Feb 2005 12:09:06 EST
CBC News

SAND LAKE, MICH. - No charges are being laid after a four-year-old boy in Michigan drove his mother's car to a video store and back in the middle of the night, police said.

Around 1:30 a.m. Friday, the boy, who could not reach the accelerator, was able to put the car in gear and drive it to the store, located about a half a kilometre away, said Doug Heugel, chief of the Sand Lake Police Department.

When he discovered the store was closed, he began driving home.
The car caught the attention of a police officer, who noticed the vehicle was weaving with its headlights off.

The police officer followed the car which eventually drove into the boy's apartment complex and hit two parked cars.

The boy then put the car in reverse and struck the police officer's cruiser.

"He knew how to go from forward to reverse," Sgt. Jay Osga said Monday. "The mother said she taught him how to drive by letting him sit on her lap and steer."

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