Thursday, February 10, 2005

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New Article! Co-opting the 9/11 Truth Movement

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911 Eye-witnesses

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Picture of the Day

A float featuring a caricature of US President George Bush makes its way through the crowd during a carnival parade in Duesseldorf.
(AFP/DDP/Volker Hartmann)

 

The shattered glass ( ... and the milk it spilled)

By John Kaminski skylax@comcast.net

What if we what we thought was healthy was actually killing us?

The only sound in the darkness was the voice of a woman on the phone outlining her plans to awaken a sleeping citizenry with an accurate video version of the crime of the century. But when a man listens to a woman, he often doesn't hear her words, but instead drifts off into the uncharted narrative of his own dreams.

Fifty years ago I stood in the kitchen of my childhood. The giant glass of milk I always consumed before bedtime had accidentally crashed onto the kitchen floor, spewing a white Rorschach blot across the checkered linoleum. I loved milk, I told her. But her voice chided through the line: no adult animal drinks milk; it isn't healthy, because the excess protein putrefies in your digestive tract and catalyzes all manner of debilitating ailments.

So we learn what we thought was essential to our well-being may in reality be a recipe for needless misery, not to mention serious injury. This passing thought, this shattered glass in my memory, got me thinking about what we once learned was good and life-giving can with the right information lead to the realization that we are killing ourselves because we remain ignorant of basic facts.

This evolving image coalesced in my mind as she talked about the need to convince people that 9/11 was really an inside job inflicted on the American people by our own leaders. Hence this thought: what we thought was good and pure can, without accurate information, actually be a poison that we eagerly and happily guzzle down.

•••

I have long insisted that the heart-wrenching trauma that was 9/11 is the key to understanding both the past and the future of American history. If you choose to accept the official version of these horrible events, you are continuing to ingest a poison that has killed millions of innocent people, and will surely kill millions more.

Once you begin to contemplate the notion that our own leaders callously engineered the whole tragedy simply to advance their own greedy agenda, you open up a very unsettling window into the predatory behavior of the United States, both throughout its bloody, falsely reported history, and obviously also to a terrifying future of what America's power-mad leaders have planned for the rest of the world in the coming months and years.

Yet most Americans, willingly distracted by simpler concerns like children and bank accounts, cannot — or will not — see this, despite an avalanche of evidence that could, if we had an uncorrupted court system, convict thousands of rich and famous men of profoundly serious crimes.

Intellectually stunted by a one-size-fits-all educational system and constantly deceived by clownlike media that deliberately ignore certain negative events like fixed elections and toxic medicines, a majority of the American people simply cannot bring themselves to believe their leaders could be such cold-hearted villains, such sociopathic criminals.

Could President Bush, who throbs the hearts of blue-haired ladies across America and sends squadrons of superficial preachers into convincingly feigned rhapsodies of Rapture fever, have supervised the murder of 3,000 Americans just to get his geopolitical way?

To most Americans who have sworn their allegiance to their churches and their country, the idea is too preposterous to consider. Yet this allegiance, based on false information, is, for so many (including those many Americans who are persuaded to physically fight for their country), a fatal misstep.

But when we do open our minds to the endless string of lies, the towers that couldn’t have fallen due to airplane crashes, the phonecalls that couldn’t have been made with existing technology, the so-called Arabs who never showed up on the passenger lists (allegedly devout Muslims who ate pork and went to strip clubs), the building that fell for no reason, the air defenses that failed to respond, the deliberate lies, the stonewalled investigations, the confiscated videos and tapes that would have more clearly revealed what happened, and various other pieces of the puzzle that will never in a million years fit together, we have an inkling that something is really wrong, regardless of whatever allegiances we may profess.

That we have not been told the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

And then we recall bits and pieces of history that still stick in our craws like bad fish. The window opens.

Historian William Blum always describes these matters best.

“From 1945 to 2003, the United States attempted to overthrow more than 40 foreign governments, and to crush more than 30 populist-nationalist movements fighting against intolerable regimes. In the process, the U.S. bombed some 25 countries, caused the end of life for several million people, and condemned many millions more to a life of agony and despair.”

But one need not lurch into history books to taste that sour burp of genuine American history. One need only not rely on newspapers and look elsewhere for unspun info on the American genocides transpiring this very day in Palestine, Iraq, Haiti, Colombia, Serbia, Afghanistan and throughout Africa and Asia to acquire an accurate picture of the way America really works.

It always comes as a shock to me to realize that today’s majority of the American population was not alive for Watergate, never mind that tragic spate of assassinations in the Sixties — all of which were engineered by the same demonic faction of the U.S. government that exerts its murderous impulses over all of us today.

So for you young victims of the American public school system, let me recount just a little of the actual history of your country that you may, in your media-induced, consumeristic coma, have missed.

Few Americans know that America's involvement in World War I was triggered by a deliberate deception known as the sinking of the Lusitania, which was a passenger ship torpedoed by a German U-boat that changed public opinion in America from neutral to pro-war. 128 Americans died and America eventually went to war over the incident, after first concealing that the Lusitania was covertly carrying ammunition to Britain, and that fact had been deliberately leaked to German intelligence to assure a suitable public affront to American dignity.

Many historians theorize that this period actually signalled the end of the republic, since the most important legislative act ever passed in American history, the Federal Reserve Act, gave control of the currency to private bankers, who have been igniting wars ever since for the purpose of making huge amounts of money.

This process remains the centerpiece of the American economy, and is the reason you can bask in your self-depleting trivalities while the rest of the world forever mourns the millions murdered by the American war machine.

World War II was triggered by an almost identical process. Americans did not want to participate in another European war, but it's well known now that Franklin Roosevelt goaded the Japanese into attacking Pearl Harbor, creating the necessary outrage and support for millions more to die so the bankers could make money with that best moneymaker of all — all out war.

And Vietnam. Surely you’ve heard by now. The famous Gulf of Tonkin incident, in which the Vietnamese supposedly opened fire on a U.S. ship, never happened. It was a total fabrication that triggered 20 years of misery for all and killed up to four million people, but the bankers who start these things made out like the bandits they are. They even loaned money to the Russians who furnished weapons to the Viets just to prolong this profitable operation as long as possible.

Most of you still remember Saddam, the Iraqi stoolie put in power by the Americans, and, thirty years later, declared to be the reincarnation of Adolf Hitler.

Our leaders said Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, so we bombed. But now we know he had no such weapons, and yet still we bomb.

The bad perpetrators of 9/11 were hiding in Afghanistan, they told us, so we bombed. But when we had the chance to catch them, we didn’t want to, and still we bomb.

What kind of lies have you been telling yourself that America is the land of the free and the home of the brave? Are you still feeding your children this crap? America is the land of racist mass murderers. And you wave your flag and cheer as the rest of the world bleeds.

If 9/11 is the key to understanding American history, your own ignorance of how America has behaved over time is the key to understanding how America is raping and prostituting the world, and always has been. And you cheer that. By our silence, we are all complicit in these crimes, because we elected these fools. Every one of them. We are the real fools.

Realizing all this is possible when you understand what happened on 9/11, and what has happened in all of America’s foreign adventures. America sees a commodity it likes, arranges with corporate bigwigs how to steal that commodity for its big campaign donors, invents a false story enumerating some perilous threat to the American people, and goes off and murders millions.

America also kills thousands of your own sons and daughters just to make it look authentic. And you cheer.

This is the key to understanding. Your own participation in mass murder. Look in the mirror. And see how your opulent standard of living is the direct result of all those people who were killed, who are being killed as we speak, in your name. You are the mass murderer. And you cheer. And then you lie about what’s really happening. It’s the American way. And it always has been.

A toast, then. To the real American justice. The real history. Your wonderful way of life. Raise your glass of champagne high in a salute to our valiant heroes defending freedom and democracy around the world. Then let the glass slip through your fingers, and crash onto the kitchen floor. You may now choose — or not — to see the blood you’re standing in.

John Kaminski’s Internet essays can be seen on hundreds of websites around the world. They have been collected into two anthologies, the latest of which is titled “The Perfect Enemy,” about how the Zionist-controlled U.S. government created the terrorist group knowns as al-Qaeda. For more information go to http://www.johnkaminski.com/

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Ending the UFO truth embargo, BILL CAIN, Bow - Letter

February 07. 2005 8:00AM
Concord Monitor

So a Tilton man claims to have seen UFOs and we're expected to think it's a quirky story spun by a poor, misguided and possibly delusional individual in our community that can't be verified or regarded as anything important or substantial?

Not!

For those of us who have bothered to investigate the mountain of evidence for UFO reality in the public domain, it is no-brainer that mainstream newspapers like the Monitor are loath to cover the phenomenon seriously. It's always safer to pursue a story about a lone individual and marginalize him with the little green men moniker.

Fear of ridicule has been official U.S. government policy regarding UFOs since 1953.

On May 9, 2001, the National Press Club in Washington held a conference kicking off the Disclosure Project, a nonprofit organization headed by Dr. Stephen Greer, the world's foremost authority on UFOs, that is attempting to end the truth embargo concerning this subject.

It was the most highly attended event in that prestigious organization's history, was seen via Internet simulcast by millions worldwide, was lightly covered by the big media and then buried and forgotten the next day.

Twenty-one government, military and intelligence eyewitnesses from a pool that exceeds 400 identified, interviewed and vetted by the Disclosure Project (http://www.disclosureproject.org) spoke that day. They gave riveting testimony about their direct involvement with top secret projects dealing with UFOs and related technologies that, were they not militarized, could free us from our oil dependence.

I'm a member of Greer's organization. As a local Disclosure Project representative, I'm authorized to show and intelligently discuss the two-hour disclosure video assembled by Greer where the best eyewitnesses are interviewed. Any organization interested in sponsoring a screening can contact me at bpcain@comcast.net.

I've spent five days with Greer and a small group that successfully initiated UFO contact. Several of my photographs capturing UFOs over Istanbul were donated to the UFO museum there.

Tilton's Mr. Spera validates what recent polls have shown: Well over 50 percent of the U.S. population believes UFOs exist. Almost as many think factions of the U.S. government have been engaged in a cover-up. He should be commended for his courage in stepping forward.

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Major new UFO book just published

NICK REDFERN
Phenomena US Editor-in-Chief
Monday, February 7, 2005

Project Beta, UFOs and official disinformation

Greg Bishop, the editor of the magazine The Excluded Middle, radio host, author and lecturer has just provided the field of UFO research with what is without doubt (in my opinion, at least) one of its finest and most important, published contributions.

Published by Paraview-Pocket Books of New York, the subject matter of Project Beta is an unusual and bizarre one. And I have no hesitation in saying that were it not for the fact that the story is meticulously detailed, referenced and researched by Greg, the reader might be forgiven for thinking that they had stumbled upon the ufological equivalent of a high-tech, X-Files-meets-The Manchurian Candidate (the original, not the horrible re-make)-meets Robert Ludlum-style thriller.

However, Project Beta tells a very real story - and one that is as disturbing and mind-blowing as it is informative.

Seasoned UFO researchers will be aware of certain aspects of this story already as it has been "in the air" so-to-speak for years, but Greg finally nails the case to the wall in detailed fashion and for all to see under one cover.

In essence, the truth-is-stranger-than-fiction book relates the fascinating and compelling story of New Mexico-based physicist Paul Bennewitz, who - after stumbling upon Air Force and National Security Agency secrets at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, that he believes are connected to the activities of sinister extraterrestrials forces flying around in their UFOs - is literally bombarded (both physically and electronically) with a mass of disinformation, faked stories and outright lies, all carefully provided to him by US Intelligence, with the express intent of diverting him from his research and leading him down the rocky path towards mental and psychological collapse.

While I would urge both anyone and everyone with an interest in UFOs to read Greg's book, it is very unlikely to please some readers - and particularly the I-want-to-believe crowd that foam at the mouth whenever the words "underground alien base," "Roswell," and "alien abductions" surface.

As Greg carefully and skillfully demonstrates, many of the sacred cornerstones upon which much of today's ufological lore are constructed, had their origins not in far-off corners of the galaxy, but in the fertile and imaginative minds of US military intelligence and the behind-the-scenes spook-brigade.

The UFO truth that has captivated so many for so long might not be "out there" after all - in fact, it may all be one big con behind which a veritable plethora of classified, military projects have been carefully hidden.

If there is any justice in the world for the now-deceased and tortured Bennewitz, Project Beta will lead to the opening of floodgates of cosmic proportions that lead to intense questions being asked at a higher, official level about the Bennewitz affair.

Hopefully, those employed within the world of officialdom who manipulated the man to the point of nervous collapse will be made to answer for their actions - and hopefully the lack of mercy shown to Bennewitz will be reflected upon them, in spades.

Project Beta by Greg Bishop is published by Paraview-Pocket Books, New York, and is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and all good book-selling outlets.

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UNIDENTIFIED FIERY OBJECT

Western Daily Press
04 February 2005

The great bright light first appeared above the village of Iwerne Minster in Dorset, scorching a trail through the night skies. Just eight days later, an uncannily similar object was seen above Devizes, Wiltshire, and that same evening above Swindon.

This spate of UFO sightings last September was yesterday revealed in previously secret documents disclosed to the Western Daily Press.

The files, released under the Freedom of Information Act, sparked frenzied speculation among UFO experts that the West may have been visited by extra-terrestrials. "We should not discount the possibility," said James Bazil, a ufologist from Withywood, Bristol. "We've got three different accounts painting a similar picture.

"The West has been a hot spot for UFOs for many years. The longest ley line in the country runs from Dundry, near Bristol, down to Salisbury, and we think this may have something to do with it."

Ley lines are supposedly prehistoric routes across the landscape.

The classified files revealed that last year there were a total of 88 UFO sightings reported to the Ministry of Defence's UFO unit, five of which were spotted in the West Country.

The spree of West sightings began on September 24, when an object was reported in at 3.50am above Iwerne Minster. The observer said: "It looked like a great bright light and was really intense, like a big ball of fire moving rapidly to the ground."

A report from Devizes recorded an object that "looked like a big ball of fire coming down from the sky with a tail and sparks coming off the end of it".

That same day an orange object was spotted above Swindon.

Denis Plunkett, head of Bristol branch of the British Flying Saucers Bureau, said: "I think it's important we don't dismiss sightings like this out of hand. There is a pattern here, which suggests there could be UFO activity."

Although such reports might be discounted as meteor showers or astronomical phenomena, other sightings are harder to dismiss.

A report from Surrey on May 20 last year, describes a UFO as having "grooves and windows" but no room for humans. Even the MoD inspector notes that the "witnesses have seen it so clearly".

Det Con Gary Heseltine, of British Transport Police in Leeds, runs the database of police-reported UFO sightings, and he is convinced there is something out there.

He said: "After 28 years of investigating the subject I would have to say yes, and the public don't really get told what's going on.

"To my logical, police-trained mind, the officers provide excellent witness testimony, promoting the 'nuts and bolts' evidence that supports the extra-terrestrial hypothesis."

These latest files to be declassified by the MoD are not as complete as reports from 1976-77, which were released last month.

Hundreds of documents kept secret by the Ministry's special UFO department, known as S4F, detail many reports of a possible visit by extra-terrestrial life forms.

In July 1997, Flt-Lt A M Wood reported "bright objects hanging over the sea". The MoD document adds that the RAF officer said the closest object was "luminous, round and four to five times larger than a Whirlwind helicopter". The UFOs were reported to be three miles out to sea at a height of 5,000

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Houston says devil made him poke out his eye

Canoe.ca
4/2/05

NEW YORK (AP) - The devil made him do it, representatives for R&B singer Houston said in a statement explaining how his eye was seriously gouged.

Houston's publicist issued a statement Thursday night denying reports he tried to take his life by jumping from a London hotel window last week. The statement said Houston "found himself in the midst of a spiritual battle against the evil that runs rampant in the entertainment industry."

Houston, whose 2004 single I Like That was used in a McDonald's commercial, was found in his London hotel room with a serious eye injury. He was briefly in hospital.

"I went to check on him before going to bed and I saw blood on the floor," Houston's bodyguard, Marco Powell, said in the statement.

"Houston was lying on his bed with a towel over his face and I removed the towel to find his eye hanging out. He said he had to get the devil off of his back and that's the only way he could kill the devil."

Houston, whose full name is Houston Summers, is a Los Angeles resident. He was raised strictly Christian and was "constantly at odds with the temptations that come with success in the music business," the statement said.

The incident prompted a statement from Bushwick Bill of the rap group The Geto Boys. In 1991, a severely intoxicated Bushwick forced his girlfriend to assist him in a suicide attempt. She shot him in the eye but he miraculously survived.

"Fame will make you crazy," Bushwick's statement said.

"I want Houston to know that he is in my prayers and that I will ask God to give him peace of mind and peace of heart and I hope his eye heals as well as his mind and his emotions."

Houston was recuperating Friday at his Los Angeles home. The condition of his eye was not known.

"I still love all my fans. Please pray for me and know I'll be back with some more hits," Houston said.

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Chickens falling from the sky

Frances O'Shea
10feb05

THE sky is falling, said Chicken Little. And now chickens are falling from the sky.

Twice in the past six weeks plucked chooks have plummeted on to two roofs at Fletcher, in Newcastle, NSW.

Both times, tiles were smashed, suggesting the birds had fallen from a great height.

Police have been called and the search is on for an answer to the strange phenomenon.

One theory is that someone is using a giant slingshot to launch the probably frozen birds into the air.

After the first chicken fell on to the roof of Stephen Leung on January 2, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority thought it may have fallen from an external luggage locker on a light plane.

That theory now seems less likely after a second chook came crashing on to Warwick Slee's house sometime during the weekend. Mr Slee lives less than 1km from Mr Leung.

The Slee family were away last week and returned home on Sunday afternoon to a foul smell.

Mr Slee was trying to find the source of the smell when he noticed three smashed tiles on his roof.

He climbed into the roof cavity and found the remains of a chicken.

"It was a bit of a shock," Mr Slee, 28, said. "You don't expect a chook to come flying through your roof."

Comment: Yes, but then you don't expect a government to attack its own people and for the President to attempt to install him as dictator...but there it is...

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A third term for Bush?
by James L. Secor
APR
Dec 02, 2004 - 07:26 PM

No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of President more than once.
- AMENDMENT XXII, Passed by Congress March 21, 1947. Ratified February 27, 1951.

In the wake of George W. Bush's first electoral victory, detractors have focused on possible illegalities, mostly involving voting violations that any incompetent needs in order to succeed. Perhaps all of this hoopla makes people feel better but they are getting caught up in the furor of the moment and losing sight of the true significance of this election. It will be, perhaps, a mystery as to why Mr. Bush won his first term as an elected president; but people were maybe happy that a third term could not be had. And...

This is it folks. Those who figured, after this election, we would be rid of George W. Bush might want to think again. They are wrong: a third term can be had. The XXII Amendment is quite clear on this. George W. Bush has only been elected to the Presidency once. His first term he was appointed, not elected. And, during his first term, he was not sitting during part of some other President's term of office.

So... more is better. George W. Bush will be the second President to sit three terms. That first President to do so had something to do with bringing the country out of a deep depression-- without the use of drugs. He established Social Security and certain legal restrictions on businesses so that they would not grow out of order--or get out of order.

During George W. Bush's first four year tenure in the office, he successfully did Herbert Hoover one better. Mr. Bush created vast unemployment. Mr. Bush created a deficit, a hole in the economy that is miles wider than that that it took to sink the Titanic. The social programs that have helped people, however minimally or perversely (in some cases), have been gutted. Indeed, Mr. Bush has done his best to not only marginalize virtually the entire population of the country (making less than $100,000 per year). Four years of Mr. Bush and his neo-con buddies has created horror worldwide and havoc within our borders. Another four years will possibly result in first state of serfdom since the Middle Ages and Feudalism, an inescapable serfdom with the people getting just exactly what the Communist Manifesto calls for: the absolute minimum to live on and in and by. It will also work to enrage the rest of the world--or bring it to its knees. [...]

Whatever George W. Bush is not able to accomplish in eight years, he surely will in 12--or he will leave the country so befuddled and bedraggled and beholden to his policies and hated by everyone else that destruction will be inevitable. Again, to think that he will not move to make it three terms as President is a little naïve: this man and his cronies are experts at utilizing the courts, else how could such incompetents manage to gain such heights? Only the incompetent need rely on devious means to assure success. And so it is that George W. Bush is more than likely to already be planning to utilize the exact language of the XXII Amendment with his very own non- election in 2000 to create a third term presidency. He could, too, strike the Amendment from law. All he needs is a majority in Congress. He, like Hitler, has this hands down.

There were many during the making of the free United States of America who thought that more protections were needed else the elected would rise to tyranny. While we were not looking, it has come to pass.

We can only hope that either George W. Bush and his boys overstep their bounds and are dismissed or, like all criminals, there is so much bickering and in-fighting that they destroy themselves. I do not hold any hope for a successful revolution: violence to end violence is just more of the same; rebels seeking revenge is yet again more of the same; the Left has nothing to offer that is not more of the same; there is no such thing as a good government.

Comment: At this point, it seems highly unlikely that overstepping their bounds will get Bush and the gang thrown out of Washington. After all, it is Bush and the neocons who are redefining those bounds.

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Medicare Drug Benefit to Cost $724 Billion
By LAURIE KELLMAN
Associated Press Writer
Wed Feb 9, 6:33 PM ET

WASHINGTON - President Bush added Medicare to the government's fix-it list Wednesday after new figures showed the first full decade of the program's prescription benefit will cost taxpayers $724 billion.

"There's no question that there is an unfunded liability inherent in Medicare that Congress and the administration is going to have to deal with over time," Bush told reporters.

"Obviously I've chosen to deal with Social Security first," he added. "Once we modernize and save Social Security for a young generation of Americans, then it'll be time to deal with the unfunded liabilities of Medicare."

The new figure for years 2006 through 2015 is much higher than the $534 billion cost calculated for years 2004 through 2013. That's because under the previous decade-long projection, the benefit didn't exist for two of the 10 years.

Congress passed the prescription drug benefit at the end of 2003, but except for some low-income seniors, it delayed making it available until January 2006.

Nonetheless, several lawmakers said Wednesday that they had been deceived.

"This new information further demonstrates what appears to be an attempt to dupe Congress and win passage of the legislation," said one such lawmaker, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., calling for an investigation by the Senate Finance Committee.

Some Republicans long skeptical of the administration's estimates also expressed alarm at the escalating costs as more people reach age 65 and qualify for it and drug prices continue to rise. The administration estimates that the number of people covered by the prescription benefit will rise in the first decade from 36.9 million people covered in 2006 to 45.8 million people in 2015.

"I do think we are going to have to go back and readdress it," said Senate Budget Committee Chairman Judd Gregg, R-N.H.

Lawmakers used the revised estimate Wednesday to revive proposals to allow drug importation from Canada and to let the federal government negotiate drug prices. Both are now forbidden.

Congress narrowly approved the drug legislation in 2003 after an extraordinary all-night debate. At the time, Republican leaders assured wavering lawmakers that the program would cost $400 billion, including expected savings. The administration estimated the cost at $534 billion two months later, after the law was enacted.

The $724 billion figure is in documents obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press and related to the president's Monday budget request to Congress. Without anticipated savings included in the calculation, the cost of the program over the next decade could swell to $1.19 trillion, according to the documents.

White House Budget Director Joshua Bolten said the new price tag of $724 million reflects $134 billion in savings the government expects because states are paying some drug costs, $145 billion more from beneficiaries' premiums and $200 billion in savings by switching some Medicaid prescription benefits to Medicare.

Under the benefit:

- Participants must pay monthly premiums that are expected to average $35 in 2006.

- The participants must pay out of their pockets the first $250 in pharmacy bills.

- Medicare will then pick up 75 percent of the next $2,000 in prescription expenses.

- Then a gap is built into coverage, during which participants must pay all drug costs until the total tops $5,100.

- The government will then pay 95 percent of prescription bills above $5,100 a year.

Comment: The cost of the program could rise to as much as $1.19 trillion over the next decade, and that includes the "gap" where participants must foot the bill for all drug costs between $2000 and $5100. Given the insane cost of most prescription drugs, that means that the average "beneficiary" under the new Medicare plan would have to pay over $3500 a year.

First, Bush will butcher social security. Then he will take care of employer-provided health coverage. Finally, he will "fix" Medicare. In every step of his grand reform plan, it is the average American who will pay the most through taxes and more direct costs. But don't worry about defense and terrorism-related programs. They'll get all the funding they need, and more...

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Trade Gap Narrows But Still Near Record
Reuters
February 10, 2005

WASHINGTON - The U.S. trade deficit narrowed in December as oil import prices had their biggest monthly decline in nearly 14 years, but the annual trade gap still widened more than 24 percent in 2004 to a record $617.7 billion, the Commerce Department said on Thursday.

The December trade gap totaled $56.4 billion, only slightly below the average estimate of Wall Street analysts surveyed before the report.

Commerce revised its estimate of the November trade gap to $59.3 billion, down from $60.3 billion, partly because of a computer error by Canada's statistical agency, which understated U.S. exports to Canada in November by $1.4 billion, the Commerce Department said.

Even with the downward revision, the November trade deficit remained a record and the December trade gap was the second highest.

U.S. exports of goods and services were a bright spot in the December trade report, at a record $100.2 billion. Annual exports were also a record at $1.15 trillion, but were surpassed by record imports of $1.76 trillion.

More than 25 percent of the annual trade deficit reflects the shortfall in trade with China, which hit a record $162 billion in 2004, up from last year's record $124 billion.

The rapid rise has lead to proposals in Congress to reduce imports from China by slapping tariffs on their products. The United States imported a record $196.7 million from China in 2004, while exporting a record $34.7 billion to that country.

Despite the huge gap, China is one of the fastest growing markets for U.S. exporters.

The bilateral trade deficits with Canada, Mexico and the European Union also set records in 2004.

Oil import prices fell $4.52 per barrel in December for the largest month-to-month decline since early 1991.

However, the United States still imported a record $94.1 billion, mostly oil, from members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in 2004 and the trade deficit with those countries was a record $71.9 billion.

To put the current U.S. trade gap in perspective, in 1983 the U.S. deficit in goods and services trade was only $57.8 billion, roughly the size of recent monthly trade gaps. In 1998, the total U.S. trade deficit was $164.9 billion, only slightly larger than the 2004 trade gap with China alone.

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Bush's High School Plan Faces Opposition
By BEN FELLER, AP Education Writer
Wed Feb 9, 5:40 PM ET

WASHINGTON - President Bush's plan to expand high school testing is facing a fight from some of the same leaders in Congress who pushed through his first-term school agenda.

Bush wants Congress to require yearly reading and math tests in grades nine through 11, further extending a greater federal role in education. The No Child Left Behind law Bush championed requires tests yearly in grades three to eight, and once during high school.

Congressional education leaders are wary, if not opposed, to the way Bush wants to change high school, as outlined in his new budget proposal. He wants to spend $1.2 billion on high school "interventions," for example, but erase about as much from vocational education.

That trade-off drew resistance from Rep. Mike Castle, chairman of the House Education and the Workforce's subcommittee on education reform. "It does not look likely" that Bush's testing plan will go forward in Congress, said Castle, R-Del. [...]

But Democratic leaders say they have been burned by their first go-round on the education law, which passed with highly touted bipartisan support. Democrats say schools have not received enough money and that Bush's new budget makes it worse by cutting overall spending. [...]

Bush also wants to expand access to Advanced Placement testing, increase competitive grants in math and science and reward teachers whose students excel. Those plans are offset by cuts elsewhere in education.

"The resources the president are proposing are essentially stolen from another critical program," said Carmel Martin, chief education adviser for Sen. Edward Kennedy, the top Democrat on the Senate education committee.

Comment: Bush wants to take funding from programs for the "have nots" and hand it over to the "haves". Why are we not surprised?

But then, if you think about it, it's not so bad. As the war on terror expands, the armed forces will need more troops. Those students who get the short end of the stick in high school will simply be funneled into a different sort of "vocational" program - the military.

That's where those poor, able-bodied serfs belong: in service to their Lord and Master. Right, George?

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Rumsfeld Warns of 'Bumpy Road' in Iraq
By Will Dunham, Reuters
Wed Feb 9,11:57 AM ET

ABOARD THE USS O'BANNON - Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told sailors on a destroyer off the French coast on Wednesday to expect a "bumpy road" in Iraq as he prepared to press NATO allies to do more to train Iraqi forces.

Separately, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said talks with NATO allies in Brussels had been their most harmonious yet on Iraq and had produced a number offers of troops to help get the NATO training mission off the ground.

Rumsfeld arrived in Nice on the French Riviera ahead of an informal meeting of NATO defense ministers, with the alliance's peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan also on the agenda.

U.S. officials said Rumsfeld would urge alliance members to provide more military personnel, equipment and funds to accelerate the training of Iraqi security forces, or help in training Iraqis outside Iraq.

NATO has sent about 80 out of a planned 300 military officers to Iraq to train officers intended ultimately to provide security for their own country in place of U.S., British and other foreign troops.

Millions of Iraqis braved insurgent threats to vote in elections on June 30, but violence has continued since.

"I wish I could assure you that everything was going to turn out well (in Iraq). But I can't. I suspect that there are going to be more people killed, that there'll be more difficulties, that it will be a bumpy road, a tough road," Rumsfeld said aboard the USS O'Bannon.

"But I don't believe in the history of the world there's ever been a country that has gone from a dictatorship, or a repressive regime, or an authoritarian regime to a democracy smoothly," he added. [...]

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Pentagon Confirms Guantanamo Sex Tactics -- Report
Reuters
February 10, 2005

WASHINGTON - A Pentagon investigation and newly declassified documents confirm detainees' accounts of the use of sexual tactics by female interrogators at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, The Washington Post reported on Thursday.

At least eight detainees, in documents or through their lawyers, have accused female interrogators of violating Muslim taboos about sex and contact with women, including rubbing their bodies against the men and touching them provocatively, the newspaper said.

The Pentagon investigation of U.S. detention and interrogation practices worldwide has not been released publicly, the Post said. But a senior Defense Department official familiar with the report was cited as saying it generally confirms the detainees' allegations.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official told the newspaper the investigation confirmed one case in which an Army interrogator wore a tight T-shirt to make a Guantanamo detainee uncomfortable. It also confirmed other cases in which interrogators touched detainees suggestively, the report said.

The newspaper quoted Defense Department officials as saying two female interrogators have been reprimanded for such tactics.

A Pentagon spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

Col. David McWilliams, a spokesman for the U.S. Southern Command in Miami, which oversees operations at Guantanamo Bay, was quoted as saying that it was premature to comment on whether the detainee allegations were credible until a second military investigation that focuses on Guantanamo Bay abuse allegations is complete.

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Lawyers for Omar Khadr allege Canadian teen abused in U.S. prison camp
RITA TRICHUR
CP
Tue Feb 8, 6:31 PM ET

TORONTO - The federal government has "abandoned" a Canadian teenager being held as an "enemy combatant" at a U.S. prison camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, broadening a shroud of secrecy that has failed to ensure his humane treatment for nearly three years, his legal team said Tuesday.

Toronto-born Omar Khadr, now 18, is accused of killing a U.S. army medic in a battle in Afghanistan, planting mines to target U.S. convoys and gathering surveillance at an airport in Afghanistan, according to U.S. Defence Department documents released last fall.

He was first detained by U.S. forces in July 2002, and his lawyers allege that newly declassified information - originally gathered during their own interviews with the teen last year - describes "acts of torture and abuses" committed against their client.

Canadian lawyers Dennis Edney and Nathan Whitling were set to join their U.S. counterpart, Muneer Ahmad, and members of the Khadr family to outline the claims at a Toronto news conference Wednesday.

"Newly declassified information will describe acts of torture and abuses committed against Omar Khadr," the lawyers said in a release Tuesday.

"The government of Canada will be called upon to explain why it has abandoned this Canadian citizen."

The lawyers said that Ottawa will also be asked to explain why it has assisted U.S. officials in Khadr's interrogation, despite what they called "the notorious and ongoing denial of fundamental human rights in Guantanamo Bay."

Other countries, they added, have acted to secure the humane treatment and release of their own nationals - noting recent efforts by Britain and Australia.

That was an allegation quickly denied by the government.

Rodney Moore, a Foreign Affairs spokesman, said government officials have raised the issue of humane treatment of detainees with the U.S. State Department in the last six weeks.

"I understand that Omar's lawyers are going to be alleging abuse," Moore said Tuesday. "Certainly when allegations of abuse first surfaced in Guantanamo Bay, Canada sought and received renewed assurances from the U.S. that Omar Khadr was being treated humanely.

"And at that time we reminded the U.S. that detainees should be treated humanely at all times."

Canadian officials, he added, have requested consular access to Khadr to verify his well-being, along with access to his medical records, and an independent medical assessment.

"To date we've not been provided with consular or welfare access," Moore said, adding the U.S. continues to acknowledge its willingness to treat all detainees in a manner consistent with the Geneva Convention.

"We've noted during other contact with him that he seemed well (when intelligence officials visited him in 2003 and 2004) ... but those were for intelligence purposes."

Ahmad said Tuesday the alleged abuse took place after the youth was transferred to Camp X-Ray in Guantanamo Bay, but he declined to give further details. [...]

He added that Khadr's allegations would be consistent with other reports that have recently come to light. According to declassified notes released Monday, 11 detainees say U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Pakistan abused them before they were sent to the prison camp.

The U.S. Justice Department has already opened an investigation after FBI reports about harsh treatment at the base were made public. The allegations - released through a lawsuit launched by the American Civil Liberties Union - include claims of prisoners being chained for up to 24 hours while left in their own feces and urine in rooms that were excruciatingly hot or cold.

Khadr was 15 when he was first captured by U.S. forces in Afghanistan and was designated an "enemy combatant" and al-Qaida fighter at a military tribunal in Guantanamo in September.

He is accused of tossing a grenade that killed U.S. army medic Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Speer on July 28, 2002 during an al-Qaida shootout with U.S. Special Forces.

His petition is one of more than 60 cases pending in U.S. Federal Court. His lawyers say under the Geneva Convention, he should have been afforded special rights as a juvenile when captured and detained.

Khadr is one of four sons by the late Ahmed Khadr, an Egyptian-born Canadian who had ties to Osama bin Laden and his Egyptian deputy, Ayman Al-Zawahari. The elder Khadr died in a shootout in Pakistan in 2003.

Also in 2003, Omar Khadr's elder brother, Abdurahman, was released from Guantanamo Bay. He initially told a story of being left by the Americans to fend for himself in Afghanistan, but later admitted he was hired by the Central Intelligence Agency and sent to Bosnia to try to spy on al-Qaida recruiters. [...]

The youngest Khadr brother, Karim, and family matriarch Maha Elsamnah returned to Canada in April 2004, so the youngster could receive treatment at a Toronto hospital. The 14-year-old was paralysed after being shot in the spine during the same 2003 shootout that killed his father.

Elsamnah admitted her family links to al-Qaida and bin Laden during a CBC television documentary but later recanted.

All members of the family are Canadian citizens and, during the late 1990s, moved between Toronto, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

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"Didn't We Get Rid of Those People Years Ago?"

Reflections on Empire and Uppity Indians

By TIM WISE
February 9, 2005

I should have known better than to listen in to the conversation immediately to my left, sitting as I was in the Northwest Airlines World Club, in Detroit. Unlike most of the folks who have paid their $450 for an annual membership--which entitles one to little more than some free booze, cheese, crackers and coffee, along with a comfy chair between flights--I am hardly, after all, the typical "business traveler." I usually spend my time in such places, hastily composing one or another radical screed (like this one), while waiting to fly somewhere to deliver a speech that will, in some small way, move forward the cause of social transformation.

This is not the purpose for which the guy talking about mutual funds in the cubicle next to me, is here.

But this time, I couldn't avoid hearing the discussion between the two men, appropriately white and with matching blue suits and red power ties, whose familiarity with a bottle of scotch had apparently reached intimate proportions.

They were ruminating on the recent goings on at the University of Colorado, where Ethnic Studies professor, Ward Churchill is under siege for an article he composed back in the immediate aftermath of 9/11; an essay in which Churchill sought to explain that a nation really ought not be surprised when its policies abroad--which have resulted in the slaughter of millions of innocent civilians--cause some in those nations to "push back" and seek to exact a similar collective death upon the people of that first country.

While Churchill's essay was indelicate in places, it was hardly more so than any of the bloodthirsty things said by representatives of the state or the denizens of talk radio around that same time--folks who were itching to level Afghanistan, turn the Arab world into a parking lot, or, as Bill O'Reilly put it, put a bullet to the heads of any Afghans who weren't sufficiently supportive of our ousting the Taliban for them.

I remember reading Ward's missive at the time, and being bothered by the "little Eichmanns" reference (for those who worked in the World Trade Center), not because I thought Churchill actually believed these folks deserved to die, but because I knew the statement would be taken out of context and used to smear not only him, but the larger left of which we are both a part. In other words, Ward was perhaps guilty of naiveté, assuming that people are far more capable of discerning nuance and irony than they really are.

But to the two men in the World Club, he was guilty of a lot more than that. To them, Churchill's most egregious crime was not having died, "like all the other Indians."

I sh*t you not. One of the men, fuming about the article that now has Ward facing down the barrel of a Board of Trustees looking for any reason to fire him, despite tenure, turned to the other and said: "Just when you thought we'd killed all the Indians, one pops up talkin' some sh*t like this, and reminds you that we didn't finish the job after all."

White guy number two laughs, in fact, damn near spits Dewar's and soda all over the leather barca lounger he's plopped down in, finding this affable romanticizing of genocide to be the funniest f*cking thing he has apparently had the luxury of hearing, at least since the last time he and his buddies sat around in a sports bar, farting, and trading jokes about fags, or some such thing.

I was stunned, because just one day before, I had speculated, only half-seriously, during an interview with KPFK in Los Angeles, that this anti-Indian sentiment might lay beneath some of the vitriol aimed Ward's way. After all, the attacks on him have seemed so personal, so vicious, so much worse than even the histrionics normally leveled at white leftists like Chomsky, or Parenti, or Zinn, who said much the same thing about 9/11 after that fateful day. The bombast has seemed to include an unhealthy dose of racial resentment--absolute rage--at the notion that a person of color and an Indian no less, should dare to condemn the American empire. [...]

Even having concluded that racism was part of the reason for the overwrought reaction to Churchill, I was utterly unprepared to hear my suspicions confirmed in such a manner; probably because I've grown so accustomed to white people lying about their racist views, going out of their way in fact to deny them, at least around others. As such, I couldn't even think of what to say. My inclination was to ask for the guy's business card, pretending to have liked his comment, and then send his address and phone number to the American Indian Movement, so they could harass his pretty white ass for a few months. But in the end, all I did was glare, a gesture the meaning of which I'm sure was lost on them both, lubricated as they were on second-rate blended whiskey.

And while these two guys might not be representative of the masses of people so driven to distraction by Churchill's commentary, I have little doubt but that, like the rest of the teeming hordes out to see him fired, they regularly shrug off comments about civilian deaths being justified, when made by representatives of their own side. More to the point, they glibly accept, as a consequence of war, the deaths themselves (not merely talk about them) as justified, as in Iraq, where even the lowest of low-ball estimates places the numbers of these around 15,000, and where the highest reach above 100,000.

So what? they might say, in a tone and manner little different from that echoed in the caves of Afghanistan that have served as a home for bin Laden all these years.

They surely are not bothered by pundit Ann Coulter's recent comments, to the effect that we should "nuke North Korea," so as to "send a message" to the rest of the world, and because it would be, in her words, "fun."

They are not bothered by the comments of nationally syndicated talk show host Jay Severin last year, to the effect that the U.S. should tell the Arab world that unless "they" stop killing our troops in Iraq, we will drop nuclear weapons throughout the region, destroying all of the holiest sites of Islam, and killing ten million people, without batting an eye.

They were not bothered when former Secretary of State Madeline Albright rationalized the deaths of a half million children in Iraq as a result of Western sanctions, by saying that those deaths had been "worth it."

Dead people of color, the world over, or right here in the U.S., whose ashes they step over every time they walk out the door of their homes, mean nothing to them. Their deaths are cause for no tears, no contrition, no recompense, and certainly have never served to disqualify those responsible (or those who applaud the carnage) from positions of authority, in colleges, or government. Nor will schools now move to block dear Madame Albright from speaking on their campuses, as happened to Ward; nor will Ann Coulter find herself a pariah for fantasizing about the incineration of folks whose only crime was to be born North Korean.

But Ward Churchill, who has merely laid out the facts about America's murderous ways around the globe--facts that have not been disputed even once by any of his critics--is to be silenced. Those who do the deed are cheered, re-elected and get buildings named after them. Those who merely tell of their exploits and suggest that perhaps there may be consequences, get crushed.

This is what happens, in a nation built on lies from the beginning; whose empire has been constructed on the sands of self-delusion; whose inability to tell the truth about itself has now become the stuff of farce. Our lack of self-awareness, not to mention the way in which Americans pride ourselves on how little we know about the world, and how reflexively patriotic we can be, would all be funny were it not so miserably pathetic, and ultimately so dangerous.

The sickest irony of the entire episode with Churchill is this, of course: namely, if there is anyone whose views and actions lead to the inevitable conclusion that the civilians in the World Trade Center were legitimate, if unfortunate targets, it is the President of the United States. It is he, whose doctrine of "preventative" warfare, assumes by definition that it is acceptable to target buildings that house offices tied to the government and military apparatus of one's enemy, which, indeed the WTC did, and which of course describes the Pentagon in its entirety.

It is Bush whose "shock and awe" invasion of Iraq was planned, even though all agreed that thousands of civilians would die in the process. And if such a mentality is acceptable for Americans--one that reduces innocent civilians to mere collateral damage and shrugs at their untimely demise as if they were the sad but inevitable consequence of modern warfare--then surely we must extend the same courtesy of barbarism to every nation or group on earth with a bone to pick.

So the squealing of those on the right when it comes to Churchill--persons who wholeheartedly endorse the notion of America's right to bomb other nations, even if innocents will be killed, and knowing full well that they will be--does nothing so much as call to mind the line from Shakespeare, that "methinks the lady doth protest too much." Or perhaps the psychological concept of projection, whereby the patient displaces their own sickness onto others, finding in them the very flaws and pathologies to which the patient him or herself has been given over.

We're sort of like the national equivalent of a child, whose mommy and daddy are trying desperately, against all hope, to maintain the child's belief in Santa or the Easter Bunny, or even the tooth fairy. And we rage against any who seek to dispel the myths out of a desire to protect our children's "innocence." While such deceptions are perhaps excusable when dealing with the fantasies of real children, one would hope that a nation run by full-grown men and women would ask a bit more of itself; would find truth more valuable a commodity than innocence; would recognize that, as James Baldwin explained, "Those who insist on maintaining their innocence, long after that innocence has died, turn themselves into monsters."

And so we have: a monster that sees no evil and hears no evil, unless it comes from the despised "other," and who in the process perpetrates its own version of the thing daily.

Tim Wise is the author of two new books: White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son (Soft Skull Press, 2005), and Affirmative Action: Racial Preference in Black and White (Routledge: 2005). He can be reached at: timjwise@msn.com

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It's the Singer...Not the Song

What Ward Churchill Didn't Say

By MICKEY Z.
February 9, 2005

My sources tell me that U.S. intelligence has just uncovered a chilling pre-9/11 edict from Osama bin Laden on the topic of striking the infidels where it hurts:

"What is necessary is cruel and strong reactions. We need precision in time, place, and casualties...we must strike mercilessly, women and children included. Otherwise, the reaction is inefficient. At the place of action, there is no need to distinguish between guilty and innocent."

Actually, not only do I not have any "sources," but that quote does not come courtesy of the reigning bogeyman...it's a January 1, 1948 diary entry by one of Israel's founding fathers, David Ben-Gurion (talking about the Palestinians, of course.)

It's the singer, not the song...and when those crooning are Israeli, the tune they carry is never panned by the American corporate media. Golda Meir can declare, "There was no such thing as Palestinians; they never existed" while Menachem Begin can conversely admit the existence of Palestinians but paradoxically call them "beasts walking on two legs" and "cockroaches" but the H Word isn't uttered.

Thanks to Ward Churchill, we have a good idea of what provokes the H Word in today's McSociety. But is he really guilty of hate speech for what he said? In the end, that's a matter of opinion...but I do know what Churchill didn't say.

Ward Churchill didn't say this: "God told me to strike at al Qaeda and I struck them. And then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did." That was George W. Bush, twice un-elected president of the United States of Advertisement.

Ward Churchill didn't say this: "There are all kinds of atrocities, and I would have to say that, yes, yes, I committed the same kind of atrocities as thousands of other soldiers have committed in that I took part in shootings in free fire zones. I conducted harassment and interdiction fire." That was John F. Kerry and he was still considered soft (he just didn't hate enough, I guess).

Ward Churchill didn't say this: "My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building" or this: "We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity." That was the noted humanitarian Ann Coulter.

Ward Churchill didn't say this: "Covert action should not be confused with missionary work." That was Nobel Peace Laureate, Henry Kissinger

Ward Churchill didn't say this: "Every immigrant who comes here should be required within five years to learn English or leave the country" or this: "Democracy has justified itself by keeping for the white race the best portions of the earth's surface." That was Mount Rushmore's own, Teddy Roosevelt.

Ward Churchill didn't say this: "The Antichrist is probably a Jew alive in Israel today," or this: "Communism was the brainchild of German-Jewish intellectuals," or this: "The Almighty does not hear the prayer of a Jew." That was political power broker and God's best friend, Pat Robertson.

Ward Churchill didn't say this: "I want you to just let a wave of intolerance wash over you...Our goal is a Christian nation. We have a biblical duty; we are called by God to conquer this country. We don't want equal time. We don't want pluralism." That was the very holy Randall Terry, founder of "Operation Rescue," speaking to a like-minded audience.

Ward Churchill didn't say this: "Racism isn't holding blacks back, it's their own laziness!" That was Bill Cosby (net worth: $540 million).

And here's one more thing Ward Churchill didn't say: "Freedom of speech...just watch what you say." That was Ice T (before he started playing a cop on network TV).

One last note: The last time I checked Ward Churchill's most recent book, "On the Justice of Roosting Chickens: Reflections on the Consequences of U.S. Imperial Arrogance and Criminality," is ranked #365 at Amazon...thus proving yet again that hate sells.

Mickey Z. is the author of four books, most recently: "The Seven Deadly Spins: Exposing the Lies Behind War Propaganda" (Common Courage Press). He can be found on the Web at http://www.mickeyz.net.

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Mossad's strategy: anything wrong in the world…blame it on the Arabs
2/9/2005 1:00:00 PM  GMT

Top U.S. Army analysts believe the Israeli intelligence agency, the Mossad, to be "ruthless and cunning" and "a wildcard" that "has the capability to target U.S. forces and make it look like a Palestinian/Arab act."

This declaration was reported on the front page of The Washington Times on September 10th 2001, just one day before the September 11th strikes on the U.S. which are blamed on "Arabs".

This charge reported by the paper was made by American Army officers in a 68 page report prepared by some 60 officers at the U.S. Army's School for Advanced Military Studies, a training ground for up-and-coming Army officers.
 
Furthermore, just hours after the strikes hit America a well-known pro-Israel analyst George Friedman proclaimed on his website, "The big winner today, intended or not, is the state of Israel. There is no question that the Israeli leadership is feeling relief" in the wake of the terrorist attack on America as a result of the benefits that Israel will glean.  
 
The events of September 11th do require careful attention in light of the fact that Israel has had a long and proven record in planting "false flags"-orchestrated assassinations and acts of terrorism for its own purposes and pinning those atrocities on innocent parties.
 
One of the most famous instances in which Israel used a "false flag" to cover its own trail was in the infamous Lavon Affair.

In 1954 several Israeli-orchestrated acts of terrorism against British targets in Egypt were carried out. Blame for the attacks was placed on the Muslim Brotherhood.

However, the truth about the wave of terror is found in a once-secret cable from Colonel Benjamin Givli, the head of Israel's military intelligence, who outlined the intended purpose behind the wave of terror:
 
"[Our goal] is to break the West's confidence in the existing [Egyptian] regime. The actions should cause arrests, demonstrations, and expressions of revenge. The Israeli origin should be totally covered while attention should be shifted to any other possible factor. The purpose is to prevent economic and military aid from the West to Egypt."
 
The full extent of Israel's involvement did become public and the government was rocked by the revelations.

More damaging though was the truth about Israel's use of a "false flag" had come to international attention and demonstrated how Israel was willing to endanger innocent lives as part of its grand political strategy to expand its influence in the Middle East.
 
Placing the blame
 
Israeli "false flags" have been used time and again to point the finger of blame on others, mainly Arabs.

On June 28, 1978, Israeli agents exploded a bomb under a small passenger car in the Rue Saint Anne in Paris, killing Mohammed Boudia, an organizer for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

Immediately afterward, Paris police received anonymous phone calls accusing Boudia of involvement in narcotics deals and attributing his murder to the Corsican Mafia.

A thorough investigation subsequently established that Mossad special-action agents were responsible for the terrorist killing. 
  
Blame the Libyans

One of Israel's most outrageous "false flag" operations involved a wild propaganda story aimed at discrediting Libyan leader Muamar Qaddafi.

In the early months of Ronald Reagan's administration, the American media began 'promoting' a story that a "Libyan hit squad" was in the U.S. to assassinate the president. It goes without saying this piece of 'fact' inflamed public sentiment against Libya.
 
Suddenly, however, the "hit squad" stories vanished.

It was discovered that the source of the story was one Manucher Ghorbanifar, a former Iranian SAVAK (secret police) agent who had very close ties to the Mossad.

But doubts were being raised about Ghorbanifar; with the Washington Post acknowledging the CIA itself believed he was a liar who "had made up the hit-squad story in order to cause problems for one of Israel's enemies."
 
By then, the Los Angeles Times had already blown the whistle on Israel's scare stories.

The Times reported; "Israeli intelligence, not the Reagan administration, was a major source of some of the most dramatic published reports about a Libyan assassination team allegedly sent to kill President Reagan and other top U.S. officials . . . Israel, which informed sources said has 'wanted an excuse to go in and bash Libya for a longtime,' may be trying to build American public support for a strike against [Qaddafi]."
 
In other words, Israel had been promoting the former SAVAK agent, Ghorbanifar, to Washington as a reliable source. When in fact, he was a Mossad disinformation operative waving a "false flag"-yet another Israeli scheme to blame Libya for its own misdeeds, using one "false flag" (Iran's SAVAK) to lay blame on another "false flag" (Libya).

Comment: An in depth understanding of how the Mossad routinely use "false flag" operations in order to advance it's agenda by carrying out terrorist attacks and blaming innocent parties is crucial to understanding the real story behind the September 11th attacks.

By looking objectively at which parties benefit the most from those attacks, one need only to see the results of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to understand that it is certainly NOT the peoples of those two nations. These two wars were launched as a direct result of September 11th, and the "supposed" perpetrators have experienced an enormous amount of suffering as a result.

At the same time, the United States and Israel have benefited in an untold number of ways, the least of which being the ongoing demonization of all Muslims as bloodthirsty fanatics, which allows Israel to continue it's murderous campaign of oppression against the Palestinians unabated.

Please see our newest Signs article; Co-Opting the 9/11 Truth Movement, for more on the high probability of Mossad culpability in 9/11.

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Is Israel the biggest supporter of "terrorist groups"?
1/26/2005 10:30:00 AM  GMT

For all their postulations, it seems Israel's relationship with militant groups is very cosy indeed.

There is increasingly solid evidence emerging that the Mossad has had a long time relationship with the very groups that Israel had always claimed were the country's "worst enemies". Mossad's relationship with the groups included the provision of financial and tactical support as the groups proved to be extremely useful in advancing Israel's geo-political agenda.

It's pubic knowledge that the CIA sponsored Osama bin Laden's early efforts in Afghanistan against the Soviets, and what has been called "the second largest covert action". What isn't so public is that the arms supplies pipeline to bin Laden was under the direct supervision of the Mossad.

The former correspondent to American television stations ABC, John K. Cooley, in Unholy Wars: Afghanistan, America and International Terrorism, writes: "Discussion of the input of outsiders to training and operations in Afghanistan would be incomplete without mention of Iran and the State of Israel. Iran's major role in training and in supply is a matter of historical record. As for Israel, the evidence is much sketchier. . .

Whether or not units of Israel's elite special forces trained the militant groups…is a well-guarded Israeli secret.

Several Americans and Britons who took part in the training program have assured the author that Israelis did indeed take part, though no one will own to having actually seen, or spoken with, Israeli instructors or intelligence operatives in Afghanistan or Pakistan.

What is certain is that of all the members of the anti-Soviet coalition, the Israelis have been the most successful in concealing the details and even the broad traces of a training role; much more than the Americans and British. . . "

Additional confirmation about Israel's role comes from Sami Masri, the former insider in the infamous Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) who told Time magazine journalists that BCCI "was financing Israeli arms going into Afghanistan. There were Israeli arms, Israeli planes, and CIA pilots. Arms were coming into Afghanistan and [BCCI was] facilitating it."

But Israel's ties with militant groups isn't just assigned to Afghanistan. Ostrovsky reveals in his book, The Other Side of Deception, that Mossad had a secret history of supporting militant groups for its own purposes.

Ostrovsky points out that the Arab and Muslim hating hard-liners in Israel believe the survival of the state lies solely in its military strength and that "this strength arises from the need to answer the constant threat of war." As such Israeli hard-liners believe that peace with any Arab state would weaken Israel and bring about its demise.

Ostrovsky writes in his book, "Supporting the radical elements of Muslim fundamentalism sat well with the Mossad's general plan for the region. An Arab world run by fundamentalists would not be a party to any negotiations with the West, thus leaving Israel again as the only democratic, rational country in the region."

American columnist Jack Anderson, a devoted news conduit for the Israeli lobby, wrote on April 25th, 1983, that one secret State Department report speculated that if Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat were to be dislodged, "the Palestinian movement will probably disintegrate into radical splinter groups, which, in combination with other revolutionary forces in the region, would pose a grave threat to the moderate Arab governments."

Then, according to Anderson's account, the State Department reported: "Israel seems determined to vent this threat . . . and can be expected to greatly expand its covert co-operations with revolutionary movements."

Anderson added that "two well-placed intelligence sources" had explained that this meant that it was in Israel's interests to "divide and conquer" by setting various Palestinian factions against one another. This would then help destabilize all of the Arab and Islamic regimes in the Middle East. Anderson then stated flat out that the sources said: "Israel had secretly provided funds to Abu Nidal's group."

British journalist Patrick Seale, an acknowledged authority on the Middle East, devoted an entire book, entitled Abu Nidal: A Gun for Hire, outlining and documenting his thesis that Nidal was largely a surrogate for the Mossad all along.
 
Today Nidal has been replaced by Osama bin Laden in media headlines as "the world's most wanted terrorist."
 
And in light of recent questions about the real nationalities and identities of the purported hijackers who brought down the four planes on Sept. 11, a Sept. 17 1972, column by Anderson pointed out something that should be noted:

"Israeli agents-immigrants whose families had lived in Arab lands for generations-have a perfect knowledge of Arab dialects and customs. They have been able to infiltrate Arab governments with ease."

Comment: What is missing from this otherwise excellent article, are the reports which document connections between Israel and it's support of the militant group Hamas.

One of the reasons there will never be real peace in the occupied territories is because every time it seems that the two sides are close to reaching a settlement, Hamas, at the behest of Israel, conveniently dispatches a suicide bomber so that the cycle of violence begins anew.

Even today, as newspapers worldwide are heralding the latest ceasefire, and the symbolic photo-op handshake, there are reports of another Palestinian having been killed by IDF forces.

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Abbas Dismisses Commanders After Truce Breached

Reuters
Thursday, February 10, 2005; 11:38 AM
By Nidal al-Mughrabi

GAZA (Reuters) - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas fired three of his own security chiefs Thursday after militants punctured a cease-fire he had agreed with Israel by bombarding Jewish settlements in Gaza with mortars.

After the attacks, Israel had put off security coordination talks scheduled as a follow-up to Tuesday's groundbreaking meeting in Egypt with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

But an Israeli official said troops would not retaliate after some 50 mortar bombs and rockets hit settlements in Gaza.

There were no casualties in the attacks by militants who have refused to participate in Abbas's cease-fire gesture and plans for him to reconvene with Sharon next week at the Israeli leader's desert ranch remained in place.

Comment: All reports in the Western press are presenting this incident as if Palestinians broke the ceasefire. The fact is that it was Israeli soldiers who deliberately incited retaliation from Palestinians by shooting dead an innocent Palestinian in his car last night:

Israel Kills Two Palestinians, Hamas Shells Settlements

Hamas said the shelling came to retaliate Palestinians killed by Israeli forces and not in defiance of the ceasefire declared by Abbas. (Reuters)

GAZA CITY, February 10 (IslamOnline.net & News Agencies) – In what seems the first violation of its newly-minted pledges to halt violence against Palestinians, Israeli occupation forces killed two Palestinians over the past 24 hours, triggering retaliation from the Palestinian resistance group Hamas.

Dampening recent optimism, trigger-happy Israeli soldiers opened fire and instantly killed a Palestinian driving a vehicle in the West Bank overnight, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP).

The victim, from the West Bank town of Salfit, was hit by the gunfire and the vehicle then rolled over at speed.

The Israeli army, however, claimed Thursday, February 10, that the Palestinian man had failed to stop at one of its countless roadblocks north of Ramallah.

It is very likely that IDF forces were instructed to "take out" at random any Palestinian in order to provoke a response from Hamas or Islamic Jihad. This is the nature of Sharon's war. Yet the Western press repeatedly ignores this fact.

By now we should all be beginning to understand the REAL reasons why there is no peace in the Middle East. The simple truth is that while Sharon and his cronies hold power, peace will never be allowed to break out.

We have to wonder also about the real identities of those who were behind the retaliatory attack by "Palestinian" militants. Are we really expected to believe that 50 mortar rockets were fired and not ONE Israeli was even injured?!

Since Arafat's murder, his successor, Abbas, has been touted as the last great chance for peace between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples. Nothing could be further from the truth. Arafat was the last chance for peace with Israel, because Arafat held firm to the line that since injustice was at the root of the conflict, justice alone could solve it. Arafat demanded that the Israelis pull back to the 1967 internationally mandated "green line" marking the borders between Israel and Palestine. If Sharon had agreed to this, in one fell swoop he could have stamped peace on the Middle East.

He steadfastly refused to do so, unreasonably claiming that he would not negotiate with the Palestinians on such issues until all attacks on Israel stopped. Yet the attacks on Israel will never stop until the Israeli injustice and persecution of Palestinians stopped first. In this way Sharon could ensure that the war with Palestinians would continue indefinitely, ensuring also that money and weapons from the US would continue to prop up the defunct Israeli state.

Despite the spin put on it by the Western media, very clearly there is an oppressor and an oppressed in this particular Middle East conflict. Until justice is served there will be no peace. And that is one fact that Sharon can, and will continue to, depend on.

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Israeli consul in Australia suspected of sexual harassment
Last Update: 09/02/2005 23:06
By Yossi Melman, Haaretz Correspondent

Amir Lati, formerly the consular affairs officer for the Israeli mission in the Australian capital of Canberra, was asked to leave the country one month ago due to alleged sexual harassment as well as security-related reasons, according to a report in Wednesday editions of the Sydney Morning Herald.

According to the daily, which first reported on the affair, Lati was asked to depart Australia for a short amount of time and was declared persona non grata.

The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem instructed Lati to pack up his belongings and return to Israel.

The Australian government is demanding Lati either resign his post or risk expulsion for two reasons: "national security", namely the suspicion that he was involved in espionage on Australian soil, and "out of hours activities."

The newspaper reported that numerous women who met Lati have come forward with complaints that he harassed them with repeated telephone calls which "unnerved" them.

Australian media reports were rampant with speculation that the security reasons for Lati's expulsion stems from the forged passport affair involving two Mossad agents who were arrested by authorities in New Zealand. Lati reportedly visited the agents in New Zealand.

It was also revealed that the Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO) will brief members of the opposition Labor Party on the matter.

The case has received much public attention in Australia, so much so that the matter has been submitted for deliberation in parliament.

Nonetheless, ASIO chief Dennis Richardson refused to comment on the affair as have official spokespersons representing the Australian government.

The Mossad agents, Elisha Cara and Uriel Kelman, were apprehended by New Zealand security forces while trying to obtain a New Zealand passport under the guise of a citizen afflicted with a mental disability. Two other alleged co-conspirators remain at large.

Despite the fact that prosecutors did not charge them with security-related offenses or espionage, the press in New Zealand as well as the country's prime minister, Helen Clark, argued that the two suspects are Mossad agents who were hoodwinked in the course of an espionage operation.

The Israelis struck a plea bargain with prosecutors, confessing to fraud and attempted procurement of a false passport. They were sentenced to six months in prison and were fined $50,000.

After serving half of their sentence, the two were released and subsequently returned to Israel.

Lati served in the Israeli embassy in Canberra for a year and a half, during which he assumed the post of charge d'affaires for the Israeli mission in New Zealand.

Part of his responsibilities in his post included providing service to visiting Israelis in distress. The Finance Ministry, under the direction of director-general Ron Prosor, is currently conducting its own investigation. The findings of the investigation have yet to be made public.

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Israeli president not invited to NZ
07 February 2005

Continuing strained relations with Israel mean President Moshe Katsav has not been invited to extend an Australian visit to include New Zealand next month.

Relations have been chilly since Israel's refusal to apologise for what Prime Minister Helen Clark described as "utterly unacceptable" behaviour surrounding two alleged Mossad agents, Uriel Zoshe Kelman and Eli Cara, who tried to fraudulently obtain New Zealand passports.

The two were deported in September after serving two months of their six-month prison sentences.

Miss Clark imposed diplomatic sanctions pending an apology from Israel, including delaying approval for the appointment of a new Israeli ambassador. As well, all Israeli officials who want to visit New Zealand have to apply for visas and foreign ministry consultations were postponed.

Miss Clark today said no apology had been forthcoming.

"No, they have maintained that they would not be further addressing the matter until the court processes had been completed," she said.

"Shortly after the sentencing and conviction they lodged an appeal. At some point, of course, the processes will be completed and then they will have to make some judgments."

That could be sooner rather than later as the appeal, which was to have been heard in early April, is understood to have been dropped.

However, the Government had had no formal notification of that.

Miss Clark said New Zealand had been "extremely careful" over what it said about the matter but, given the lack of an apology, Mr Katsav would not be invited to extend his Australian visit to New Zealand.

"We never expected this sort of action from a government with which we had friendly relations," she said.

"We made clear what we believed needed to be done to restore those relations..."

It emerged at the weekend that Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv had uncovered an Australian request for a senior Israeli diplomat to leave over his links with Kelman and Cara.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Foreign Minister Alexander Downer's office both refused to comment on the Canberra-based diplomat's departure.

Ma'ariv said the Australian government had summoned a senior Israeli official to a meeting at which it requested the immediate recall of the diplomat.

If this was not done, the diplomat would be declared persona non grata and steps taken to deport him.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry then instructed the diplomat to return home immediately.

Miss Clark said the Australian Government had briefed her on the matter but that it was up to it to comment.

She could not confirm whether the diplomat was the same one who visited Kelman and Cara in prison here.

"What I would say is that it's absolutely normal practice for diplomats to visit prisoners in jail offshore. Our diplomats regularly do visit New Zealanders who are in trouble and end up in another country's prison," she said.

"So I wouldn't have seen anything extraordinary about an Israeli official coming from the embassy in Canberra."

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EU continues nuclear talks with Iran but US warns Europe is not tough enough
AFP
Wed Feb 9, 3:15 PM ET

GENEVA - The European Union pressed on with talks in Geneva to persuade Iran to give guarantees it is not developing nuclear weapons but US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warned that Europe was not being tough enough.

"The Iranians need to hear that if they are unwilling to live with verification measures... then the Security Council referral looms," Rice told the US Fox News television channel, alluding to Iran being referred to the UN Security Council for possible economic sanctions.

"I don't know that anyone has said that as clearly as they should to the Iranians," said Rice, who was in Brussels on a European tour.

But in an apparent attempt to soften her criticism of the Europeans, Rice later told a news conference: "I think a diplomatic solution is in our grasp if we have unity of message and unity of purpose."

US President George W. Bush said he was "very pleased" with European leaders' response to Rice's call for a harder line on Iran's nuclear program. [...]

Comment: What exactly is going on here? Condi makes a whirlwind tour of the world, and all of a sudden everyone is at least pretending to cooperate with the US, while still maintaining their previous stance. Why the sudden drama about a "change of heart"?

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N. Korea Announces It Has Nuclear Weapons
By SANG-HUN CHOE, Associated Press Writer
February 10, 2005

SEOUL, South Korea - North Korea on Thursday announced for the first time that it has nuclear arms and rejected moves to restart disarmament talks any time soon, saying it needs the weapons as protection against an increasingly hostile United States.

The communist state's pronouncement dramatically raised the stakes in the two-year-old nuclear confrontation and posed a grave challenge to President Bush, who started his second term with a vow to end North Korea's nuclear program through six-nation talks.

"We ... have manufactured nukes for self-defense to cope with the Bush administration's ever more undisguised policy to isolate and stifle the (North)," the North Korean Foreign Ministry said in a statement carried by the state-run Korean Central News Agency.

The claim could not be independently verified. North Korea expelled the last U.N. nuclear monitors in late 2002 and has never tested a nuclear bomb, although international officials have long suspected it has one or two nuclear bombs and enough fuel for several more.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Washington would consult allies before responding.

"I think we just have to first look at the statement and then we need to talk with our allies," Rice told Dutch RTL television while on a trip through Europe.

"The North Koreans have no reason to believe that anyone wants to attack them," she added. "They have been told they can have multilateral security assurances if they will make the important decision to give up their nuclear weapons program. So there is really no reason for this, but we will examine where we go next."

Previously, North Korea had reportedly told U.S. negotiators in private talks that it had nuclear weapons and might test one of them. The North's U.N. envoy said last year that the country had "weaponized" plutonium from its pool of 8,000 nuclear spent fuel rods. Those rods contained enough plutonium for several bombs.

But Thursday's statement was North Korea's first public acknowledgment that it has nuclear weapons.

North Korea's "nuclear weapons will remain (a) nuclear deterrent for self-defense under any circumstances," the ministry said. It said Washington's alleged attempt to topple the North's regime "compels us to take a measure to bolster its nuclear weapons arsenal in order to protect the ideology, system, freedom and democracy chosen by its people."

Since 2003, the United States, the two Koreas, China, Japan and Russia have held three rounds of talks in Beijing aimed at persuading the North to abandon nuclear weapons development in return for economic and diplomatic rewards. No significant progress has been made.

A fourth round scheduled for last September was canceled when North Korea refused to attend, citing what it called a "hostile" U.S. policy.

In recent weeks, hopes had risen that North Korea might return to the six-nation talks, especially after Bush refrained from any direct criticism of North Korea when he started his second term last month.

On Thursday, North Korea said it decided not to rejoin such talks any time soon after studying Bush's inaugural and State of the Union speeches and after Rice labeled North Korea one of the "outposts of tyranny."

"We have wanted the six-party talks but we are compelled to suspend our participation in the talks for an indefinite period till we have recognized that there is justification for us to attend the talks and there are ample conditions and atmosphere to expect positive results from the talks," the ministry said.

Still, North Korea said it retained its "principled stand to solve the issue through dialogue and negotiations and its ultimate goal to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula remain unchanged."

Such a comment has widely been interpreted as North Korea's negotiating tactic to get more economic and diplomatic concessions from the United States before joining any crucial talks.

In Vienna, a spokesman for the International Atomic Energy Agency said that "North Korea remains our single highest priority."

"We know they have raw materials to build nuclear weapons. We also know that they have a delivery system and they've expressed their intentions to have a nuclear arsenal," spokesman Mark Gwozdecky said.

In Japan, the top government spokesman said he wanted to confirm the North's intentions.

"They have used this sort of phrasing every so often. They didn't say anything particularly new," Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda told a regular news conference. [...]

Comment: By "we need to talk with our allies", Condi just means that the US will consult other countries, and then ignore any recommendations that go against the neocons' imperialist ambitions, which appear to have something to do with fomenting perpetual war and conflict...

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America still holds 480 nuclear weapons in Europe, says survey

By Rupert Cornwell in Washington
10 February 2005

More than a dozen years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, America still keeps 480 nuclear weapons in Europe, more than twice as many as previously believed, according to an authoritative new study.

The Washington-based Natural Resources Defence Council says the weapons are under US control and stored at eight bases in six countries - Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and Turkey. The weapons are all gravity bombs. Three hundred are fitted to be dropped by US planes, and 180 by planes from local air forces.

In Britain, 110 weapons are said to be stored at RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk, home to 5,000 US military personnel and three squadrons of F-15 aircraft.

The new report, 102 pages long, challenges the entire rationale for keeping a nuclear arsenal of any size in Europe. Pentagon officials say they are part of Nato's "strategic deterrence mission" in the region, hinting that they could be employed to counter a non-conventional threat from countries such as Iran or Syria.

But the NRDC dismisses that reasoning as "obsolete and vague". It argues long range nuclear missiles based in the US render Europe-based ones superfluous. Indeed, the presence of the latter is if anything counterproductive - "an irritant" in relations with Russia, and a factor undermining Washington's efforts to prevent countries such as Iran from acquiring nuclear arms.

In what may be no coincidence, the report appears as Donald Rumsfeld, the Defence Secretary, meets his Nato counterparts in Nice for talks in which nuclear proliferation is to be a key topic. European members are divided on the issue.

Comment: Shock Horror! The truth is actually 180 degrees from what the American government claims it is. The American government is actually exacerbating global conflict rather than quelling it. What a a surprise!

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Iraqi borders to be closed for six days
AFP
February 10, 2005

BAGHDAD - Iraq's borders will be closed for six days from next week during an annual Shiite Muslim mourning period, a government spokesman said.

The borders will be closed down from February 17 until February 22 for Ashura, said government spokesman Thaer al-Naqib.

He told AFP security officials had ordered the closure.

"This decision was taken as we are expecting a large number of pilgrims and it is difficult to control the situation and protect visitors and Iraqis," said the spokesman.

Ashura is the main Shiite mourning period and since the fall of Saddam Hussein (news - web sites), hundreds of thousands of foreigners, mainly from Iran, Pakistan and Gulf states have visited the Iraqi holy cities of Kerbala and Najaf each year.

The main day of mourning this year is February 20.

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Iraqi official seized, journalist killed
Aljazeera Agencies
Wednesday 09 February 2005, 14:15 Makka Time, 11:15 GMT

An Iraqi official was seized and a journalist for a US-funded Arab television station shot dead in attacks that also saw four Iraqi police officers killed.

The four police officers were killed and two others wounded when a roadside bomb blew up near their convoy in Samarra, north of Baghdad.
 
Fighters have been waging a bloody campaign against the country's security forces, killing more than 35 people in attacks over the past two days.
 
Aljazeera learned that Abd al-Husain Khazaal al-Basri, a correspondent with US-funded pan-Arab television station Al-Hurra, was killed by unknown attackers in the southern city of Basra on Wednesday.

Other violence
 
Al-Basri, who was also the head of the information department in the Basra governorate, was shot dead near his house in al-Maaqal district.
 
Al-Basri's four year-old son was also killed and his driver wounded.
 
The victim, in his 40s, was also a member of the Shia political party, Dawa.
 
In other violence, Col Riad Gatia Allawi was captured in Dora district in southern Baghdad, officials said. He is the interim Oil Ministry's representative to the interim Interior Ministry.
 
Cleric arrested
 
Aljazeera also reported that Shaikh Ali al-Jiburi, head of the office of the Association of Muslim Scholars (AMS) in al-Karkh district in Baghdad, was arrested by US and Iraqi soldiers who raided his house at dawn on Wednesday.
 
No further information on the arrest was available.
 
The US army said its troops killed a fighter near Balad, north of the capital, as he was planting a bomb on Tuesday.
 
A US soldier has been killed in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, the US military said on Wednesday. 

Pipeline attacked
 
There were also reports that a gas pipeline linking Iraq's northern oil hub of Kirkuk to the Baiji refinery had been damaged by a rocket attack.

"A rocket hit the gas pipeline near al-Fatha, 90km southwest of Kirkuk," an unnamed official at the North Oil Company said on Wednesday.
 
"The attackers used rockets because the pipeline is located in an area sealed off with barbed wire and well protected," he said, adding he hoped the blaze would be put out by the end of the day.
 
According to the interim Iraqi government, attacks on oil infrastructure have cost the country $7 billion-$8 billion in exports since the March 2003 US-led invasion.

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Miscarriages of justice: How times change
The Independent
10 February 2005
Or maybe they don't. The disturbing parallels between 1974, and Gerry Conlon's conviction, and 2005, when he was 'completely exonerated'

1974

Gerry Conlon jailed for life for the IRA's Guildford pub bombings

* Britain hit by terrorist attacks

* Prevention of Terrorism Act, introduced after Guildford, allows longer detention of suspects

* Judges sit without juries in terrorist trials in Northern Ireland

* Judge-only courts rejected for Britain

* Ministers reject ID cards

* European Court of Human Rights criticises Labour government policy

* 15 years later, convictions quashed. Anti-terror laws cited for this injustice

2005

Gerry Conlon yesterday, 'Completely exonerated' by an apologetic Tony Blair

* Britain fears terrorist attacks

* Anti-Terrorism Act allows for indefinite detention without trial for foreign terror suspects

* Judges sit alone in immigration appeals involving terror suspects

* More judge-only hearings proposed

* Ministers support ID cards

* Law lords criticise Labour government policy

* Even as Tony Blair apologises, he backs tougher anti-terror approach

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Tsunami was 'divine visitation upon Sabbath pleasure seekers'

Scotsman
09/02/05
IAN JOHNSTON

A FREE Presbyterian minister has caused outrage by claiming that the Asian tsunami was a "divine visitation" on "pleasure seekers" breaking the Sabbath.

Writing in the Free Presbyterian Magazine, the Rev John MacLeod compared the disaster to the biblical flood "on the world of the ungodly" in the time of Noah.

In the article, Mr MacLeod wrote: "Possibly ... no event since Noah’s flood has caused such loss of life by drowning as the recent Asian tsunami.

"That so many of our fellow creatures should have perished in so short a time, and in so awful a fashion, was a divine visitation that ought to make men tremble the world over."

Mr MacLeod said: "To rule out the hand of God in this ... is to forget that He is in sovereign control of all events. If the sparrow falling to the ground is an event noted, and ordered, by Him, how much is this the case when the souls of so many thousands are parted from their bodies?"

He went on to say that some of the places most affected by the tsunami "attracted pleasure seekers from all over the world".

"It has to be noted that the wave arrived on the Lord’s Day, the day that God has set apart to be observed the world over by a holy resting from all employments and recreations that are lawful on other days," he said.

"We cannot but fear that it found multitudes unprepared for the eternity into which they were ushered so suddenly."

Last night a tsunami survivor said Mr Mcleod should be ashamed of himself.

"The man is a disgrace and should be ashamed of himself." [...]

Comment: Now cross reference with the following story

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Rabbi: Tsunami punishment for pullout

Tuesday 01 February 2005, 2:41 Makka Time, 23:41 GMT

Last month's Asian tsunami disaster was a form of divine retribution for the world's support of the planned pullout of settlers from the Gaza Strip, a former chief rabbi of Israel has said.

"The all powerful one was angry with the nations that did not help Israel, which wanted an evacuation, a disengagement [from Gaza] ... and this provoked the earth to shake," Mordechai Eliahu said in a religious publication distributed on Monday in thousands of synagogues throughout Israel.

The top-selling Yediot Ahronoth said the rabbi was guilty of "extreme stupidity" with his comments.

Right-wing rabbis have been among the instigators of the opposition to the plan by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to pull troops and settlers out of the Gaza Strip by the end of the year.

The number of people presumed dead in last month's tsunamis rose to more than 286,000 on Monday when Indonesian authorities announcing a further increase in the number of dead and missing.

Comment: Notice anything? One would almost think that both men were speaking about the same rathful vengeful god. But of course, we know better, one being simply could not have created the three major organised religions that have been the bane of the world, now could it?

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Indonesian Christians go on rampage
Wednesday 09 February 2005, 17:22 Makka Time, 14:22 GMT  

Angry Christians in the eastern Indonesian province of East Nusa Tenggara have attacked three police stations in rioting that began over alleged blasphemy.

Local medai reported that dozens of protestors and police were injured before calm was restored on Wednesday.

Church-goers became angry when a Protestant man committed unspecified disrespectful acts during a mass at the Immaculata Cathedral Catholic Church in Atambua district town of Belu.

Police apprehended the man and took him for questioning, but according to a report on the Detik.com online news service, the Christians demanded the suspect be released to face mob justice.

When police refused, angry Christians went on a rampage, said Adjunct Senior Commissioner Ekotrio Budidarma, chief of Atambua's district police.

Several clashes took place, leaving dozens of protestors and police officers injured, Budidarma said. Calm was restored by Wednesday evening, he said.

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BBC journalist shot dead in Somalia
www.chinaview.cn 2005-02-10 04:45:21

NAIROBI, Feb. 9 (Xinhuanet) -- A journalist from the British Broadcasting Corp. was shot dead Wednesday in Somalia by an unidentified militiaman, according to reports reaching here from Mogadishu.

The BBC confirmed that Kate Peyton, 39, an Africa producer for the broadcaster, was shot while accompanied by another BBC journalist who was not injured.

Peyton underwent surgery at a Mogadishu hospital. The BBC said "it was later reported that she died from internal bleeding.''

The reason for the shooting was not immediately clear. [...]

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Russian mine blast kills at least 21
Last Updated Wed, 09 Feb 2005 12:03:00 EST
CBC News

MOSCOW - A series of explosions that swept through a coal mine in Siberia killed at least 21 men and left four others missing.

Miners were trying to isolate a fire in the 20-year-old Yesaulskaya mine, about 3,000 kilometres east of Moscow, when the first explosion occurred at about 8 a.m. local time.

Several other blasts followed immediately and explosions continued to be heard in the mine shafts for hours, hampering rescue efforts.

"A shockwave came and it hurled us all, thrown into somersaults like in a circus," miner Andrei Pshenichnikov told a Russian television channel from his hospital bed.

"Then I walked along the track, I don't remember how long. I met security guards and they helped me." About 30 miners were on the site at the time of the blast.

Sergei Vlasov, a spokesman for the Emergency Situations Ministry in Moscow, said 21 miners had been confirmed dead by the end of the day and four hadn't been found.

Four men remained in hospital with injuries that are not considered life-threatening, while a fifth is in serious condition.

Officials speculated that the explosions could have been caused by a buildup of methane gas.

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Peru bus crash kills 16, injures 30
February 10, 2005 - AP

At least 16 people were killed and 30 injured when a passenger bus rear-ended another bus on the Pan American highway along Peru's northern coast, officials said.

Both buses were travelling to Lima when the accident occurred near the coastal town of Casma, about 315 kilometres north of the capital, firefighter Ray Li told The Associated Press.

Li said survivors were taken to hospitals in Casma and the coastal city of Chimbote for treatment.

Local media reports said that one bus had pulled over on the highway because of a mechanical problem when it was hit from behind by the other bus.

Peru.21, a local newspaper, said most of the fatalities were on the bus that rear-ended the parked bus.

No foreigners were aboard either vehicle, Li said.

Bus crashes are common in Peru, where drivers frequently speed and pass other vehicles.

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38 killed as truck slams into crowd in Angola
09 February 2005 0449 hrs

LUANDA : At least 38 people, including many children, were killed and 70 injured when a truck rammed into a crowd watching a carnival parade in the southern Angolan town of Lubango, the Roman Catholic radio Ecclesia reported.

Witnesses quoted by the radio said that the truck's brakes apparently failed and that it rammed into the crowd, mowing down many Angolans who had turned out to watch the annual parade. [...]

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Laser beam aimed at airliner landing at DFW
Feb. 9, 2005, 7:03AM
Associated Press

GRAPEVINE - An investigation is under way after an American Airlines captain reported that a laser beam hit his jet as it approached Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

"The captain, who actually was not flying the approach -- the first officer was flying the approach -- but the captain personally did see the laser for a second or two," Gregg Overman, a member of the Allied Pilots Association, told Dallas-Fort Worth television station KXAS on Tuesday.

The pilot was examined after Sunday night's incident and doctors found no permanent damage to his eyes. [...]

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For the Worst of Us, the Diagnosis May Be 'Evil'

New York Times
By Benedict Carey
February 8, 2005

Predatory killers often do far more than commit murder. Some have lured their victims into homemade chambers for prolonged torture. Others have exotic tastes - for vivisection, sexual humiliation, burning. Many perform their grisly rituals as much for pleasure as for any other reason.

Among themselves, a few forensic scientists have taken to thinking of these people as not merely disturbed but evil. Evil in that their deliberate, habitual savagery defies any psychological explanation or attempt at treatment.

Most psychiatrists assiduously avoid the word evil, contending that its use would precipitate a dangerous slide from clinical to moral judgment that could put people on death row unnecessarily and obscure the understanding of violent criminals.

Still, many career forensic examiners say their work forces them to reflect on the concept of evil, and some acknowledge they can find no other term for certain individuals they have evaluated.

In an effort to standardize what makes a crime particularly heinous, Dr. Michael Welner, an associate professor of psychiatry at New York University, has been developing what he calls a depravity scale, which rates the horror of an act by the sum of its grim details.

And a prominent personality expert at Columbia University has published a 22-level hierarchy of evil behavior, derived from detailed biographies of more than 500 violent criminals.

He is now working on a book urging the profession not to shrink from thinking in terms of evil when appraising certain offenders, even if the E-word cannot be used as part of an official examination or diagnosis.

"We are talking about people who commit breathtaking acts, who do so repeatedly, who know what they're doing, and are doing it in peacetime" under no threat to themselves, said Dr. Michael Stone, the Columbia psychiatrist, who has examined several hundred killers at Mid-Hudson Psychiatric Center in New Hampton, N.Y., and others at Creedmoor Psychiatric Center in Queens, where he consults and teaches. "We know from experience who these people are, and how they behave," and it is time, he said, to give their behavior "the proper appellation."

Western religious leaders, evolutionary theorists and psychological researchers agree that almost all human beings have the capacity to commit brutal acts, even when they are not directly threatened. In Dr. Stanley Milgram's famous electroshock experiments in the 1960's, participants delivered what they thought were punishing electric jolts to a fellow citizen, merely because they were encouraged to do so by an authority figure as part of a learning experiment.

In the real world, the grim images coming out of Iraq -the beheadings by Iraqi insurgents and the Abu Ghraib tortures, complete with preening guards - suggest how much further people can go when they feel justified.

In Nazi prisoner camps, as during purges in Kosovo and Cambodia, historians found that clerks, teachers, bureaucrats and other normally peaceable citizens committed some of the gruesome violence, apparently swept along in the kind of collective thoughtlessness that the philosopher Hannah Arendt described as the banality of evil.

"Evil is endemic, it's constant, it is a potential in all of us. Just about everyone has committed evil acts," said Dr. Robert I. Simon, a clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown Medical School and the author of "Bad Men Do What Good Men Dream."

Dr. Simon considers the notion of evil to be of no use to forensic psychiatry, in part because evil is ultimately in the eye of the beholder, shaped by political and cultural as well as religious values. The terrorists on Sept. 11 thought that they were serving God, he argues; those who kill people at abortion clinics also claim to be doing so. If the issue is history's most transcendent savages, on the other hand, most people agree that Hitler and Pol Pot would qualify.

"When you start talking about evil, psychiatrists don't know anything more about it than anyone else," Dr. Simon said. "Our opinions might carry more weight, under the patina or authority of the profession, but the point is, you can call someone evil and so can I. So what? What does it add?"

Researchers have found that some people who commit violent crimes are much more likely than others to kill or maim again, and one way they measure this potential is with a structured examination called the psychopathy checklist.

As part of an extensive, in-depth interview, a trained examiner rates the offender on a 20-item personality test. The items include glibness and superficial charm, grandiose self-worth, pathological lying, proneness to boredom and emotional vacuity. The subjects earn zero points if the description is not applicable, two points if it is highly applicable, and one if it is somewhat or sometimes true.

The psychologist who devised the checklist, Dr. Robert Hare, a professor emeritus at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, said that average total scores varied from below five in the general population to the low 20's in prison populations, to a range of 30 to 40 - highly psychopathic - in predatory killers. In a series of studies, criminologists have found that people who score in the high range are two to four times as likely as other prisoners to commit another crime when released. More than 90 percent of the men and a few women at the top of Dr. Stone's hierarchy qualify as psychopaths.

In recent years, neuroscientists have found evidence that psychopathy scores reflect physical differences in brain function. Last April, Canadian and American researchers reported in a brain-imaging study that psychopaths processed certain abstract words - grace, future, power, for example - differently from nonpsychopaths.

In addition, preliminary findings from new imaging research have revealed apparent oddities in the way psychopaths mentally process certain photographs, like graphic depictions of accident scenes, said Dr. Kent Kiehl, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Yale, a lead author on both studies.

No one knows how significant these differences are, or whether they are a result of genetic or social factors. Broken homes and childhood trauma are common among brutal killers; so is malignant narcissism, a personality type characterized not only by grandiosity but by fantasies of unlimited power and success, a deep sense of entitlement, and a need for excessive admiration.

"There is a group we call lethal predators, who are psychopathic, sadistic, and sane, and people have said this is approaching a measure of evil, and with good reason," Dr. Hare said. "What I would say is that there are some people for whom evil acts - what we would consider evil acts - are no big deal. And I agree with Michael Stone that the circumstances and context are less important than who they are."

Checklists, scales, and other psychological exams are not blood tests, however, and their use in support of a concept as loaded as evil could backfire, many psychiatrists say. Not all violent predators are psychopaths, for one thing, nor are most psychopaths violent criminals. And to suggest that psychopathy or some other profile is a reliable measure of evil, they say, would be irresponsible and ultimately jeopardize the credibility of the profession. [...]

Comment: Sound like anyone you know? Psychopaths can be sane and charming. They can talk about "peace and freedom" while waging war and spreading oppression. If they rise to a position of power they can fool millions of people who cannot believe that such psychopaths even exist, much less hold government positions.

Yet there is another problem. Perhaps half of the world's population lacks the ability to truly empathise with another human being. They hear of the death and destruction that is being wreaked by the US government and they think it is "bad" or "sad", and immediately their attention is distracted by some banal trivia. They move on.

Such people are not evil. Just because a cat toys with the mouse before it eats it, doesn't make it evil. It is simply acting according to its nature. The fact that 50% of the the world's population is made up of human beings who only possess the instincts of an animal should give the rest of us pause for serious concern. It should also give us an insight into the reality of the predicament in which we, as a divided species, find ourselves. In such a world, what hope can there be for the future? What future can there be?

If we do not all wake up and recognise this world and the people on it for what they/we are, we will all share the same fate.

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Woman Admits Story on Dead Soldier a Hoax
AP
February 10, 2005

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - A woman concocted a heartbreaking story of how her soldier husband died a hero in Iraq - and then admitted the story was all a hoax.

"I think I need some serious counseling," 24-year-old Sarah Kenney told The Daily Sentinel newspaper on Wednesday editions. "This is the most serious lie I've ever told, but I've been caught in many lies."

The touching story of how Spc. Jonathan Kenney took a bullet meant for an Iraqi child on Jan. 29 was reported by a score of Colorado media after a news release was sent to them by the nonprofit group Homefront Heroes.

In reality, there is no record of a soldier with that name dying in Iraq. Sarah Kenney is married to a man named Michael Kenney, and he is neither currently in the military nor serving in Iraq.

Mesa County District Attorney Pete Hautzinger said Tuesday that he had convened a team of investigators to look into the hoax and see if any laws were broken.

Phyllis Derby, founder and president of Homefront Heroes, said Kenney convinced her group the story was true. The account of the fictitious man's death was then released to local media.

"I would have never thought in a billion years that she was lying to me," Derby said. She said the donations on behalf of the fictitious soldier would be returned.

Comment: Most people would never imagine that someone would tell such a big lie, especially when it comes from those in positions of authority. If we simply accept what others say without checking the facts, we leave ourselves open to all sorts of manipulations.

The problem seems to start when we lie to ourselves about little things. We justify actions and feelings that are based on nothing more than our own skewed perceptions or a desire for something to be real. It is not surprising that when someone like Bush wanders through the door and feeds us all a line of bull about Saddam working with Bin Laden, we believe it.

"Why would the president lie?" we ask. We will tell ourselves that it would be just unheard of for the president to lie to the people like that. So, we assume that he must either be telling the truth, or he has a good reason for his words and actions, and he just can't tell us why for reasons of national security. In other words, psychopaths like Bush don't need to make excuses for their lies, because we do it for them. When caught lying, the psychopath will simply lie again. Sometimes when caught in a lie, people will say things like:

"I think I need some serious counseling. This is the most serious lie I've ever told, but I've been caught in many lies."

She just made a mistake, right? But now she realizes that she needs help, so the story has a happy ending, right? Perhaps not. Someone who lies frequently - whether or not she admits it - would certainly feign mental illness to get herself out of trouble. Would she knowingly spread propaganda? Who does she associate with? Perhaps Kenney is a psychopath. Maybe she is simply mentally ill, and she does need help. Whatever the case, her lie can certainly be used as a good lesson on the importance of seeking the truth of any situation.

The damage of her lie has already been done. How many Americans who heard or saw Kenney's fable sent e-mails to their friends about it, or mentioned it in person? The controlled US media spread her original story without checking any of it, yet how many people will hear about the retractions after the fact? How many Americans out there heard that there was no truth to the story about Iraqis taking babies out of incubators and throwing them on the floor during the first Gulf War? How many Americans heard the tale about Saddam's people shredder machine, but they didn't read the tiny little print on the last pages in their local paper when the story was shown to be a lie? And that assumes that the media actually does widely disseminate the retractions, which they often simply do not do...

While it may not be "fun" to have to ask "Sez who?" about absolutely everything, it is essential in obtaining a more objective view of our reality and ourselves.

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Black man hung in effigy from Cal City billboard
February 9, 2005
BY LISA DONOVAN Staff Reports

The effigy of a black man hanging from a noose and racial epithets scrawled across a Calumet City billboard have touched off a police investigation and prompted at least one city official to assure the community it is a place where blacks and whites otherwise live together peacefully.

No arrests have been made, but Calumet Police Chief Patrick O'Meara said Tuesday the department has "solid leads," including the discovery of a spray-paint can possibly used in the crime.

Racially charged graffiti, the contents of which police declined to discuss, was discovered by a city worker about 7:30 a.m. Feb. 2 on the billboard along Michigan City Road, along a stretch known as the Calumet bike path.

Public works crews cleaned up the billboard, but on Saturday a passerby -- again, about 7:30 a.m. -- noticed more graffiti. This time, though, a life-sized effigy of a man with an Afro wig and brown-painted skin was hanging from the billboard with a noose around its neck, police said. [...]

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Boy, 10, charged over scissor attack on teacher
February 9, 2005 - 12:42PM

A 10-year-old boy accused of attacking a teacher with a pair of scissors has been charged with intent to commit a serious offence.

Police said a 34-year-old teacher at a primary school in Tenterfield, on NSW's northern tablelands, was attacked but not hurt about 10am (AEDT) yesterday.

A 10-year-old boy was taken to Tenterfield police station in the company of his parents and charged with being armed with the intent to commit a serious indictable offence and intimidation, police said.

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School first in state to track students with radio ID tags
Posted on Wed, Feb. 09, 2005
By Dana Hull
Mercury News

Brittan Elementary School near Yuba City is the first in California to make some of its students wear ID badges equipped with a new technology capable of tracking their movement on campus.

Described as the next generation of bar coding, the technology already is used to track automatic payment of tolls on Bay Area bridges as well as livestock, missing pets and inventory in warehouses.

For the past few weeks, Brittan's seventh- and eighth-graders have been required to wear badges with the technology -- called RFID, or radio frequency identification devices -- around their necks. School officials say the badges are scanned and used for attendance. But some parents and privacy advocates are outraged that the badges were given to students without parents' knowledge or consent.

"I never heard of RFID until my kid came home wearing it,'' said Michele Tatro, whose daughter Lauren, 13, is in eighth grade. "They use this to track missing pets, not children. It's creepy, Big Brother and Orwellian.''

Tatro said kids now walk to and from school wearing the badges -- which are scanned as they walk through classroom doors and include photographs, names and grade level -- on lanyards around their necks. She's worried that sexual predators could read the badges and be able to call out to students by name.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the Electronic Privacy Information Center are urging the school board to "terminate this ill-advised test immediately.''

Earnie Graham, principal of the K-8, 600-student school and district superintendent, said parent concerns are overblown because the technology is confined to the campus. [...]

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Gun-toting cops on drug raid bust 2-year-old's birthday party
February 9, 2005
BY DAVID HAMMER

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Police on a drug raid burst into a home during a toddler's birthday party, startling children who were getting ready to eat cake when the gun-toting officers crashed the party.

Amid wails from children and a few parents -- and a phone ringing incessantly with prospective drug buyers -- officers arrested a pregnant woman and accused her of selling marijuana from the house.

Shannon Hills Police Chief Richard Friend, who led the raid, found parents about to light candles on a cake adorned with green and white cartoon characters and a big "2" on top.

''The kids were up in high-chairs eating pizza, and the cake was just about to be lit and cut when we kicked the party off a little early,'' Friend said Tuesday. ''We got them something they wish they could return.''

Police did not know a birthday party was going on when they decided to make the bust.

''The first thing I saw was the birthday table and cake, so I yelled for everyone to put away their guns,'' Friend said. ''You could see they had a nightmare-come-true. Everyone just froze and looked at me. The parents started crying and then the kids started crying.''

Elizabeth Leah Sauls, 21, was hosting her niece's second birthday party at the time of Friday evening's raid. [...]

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Cop's Taser puts boy in cardiac arrest
February 9, 2005
BY DAVE NEWBART AND ANNIE SWEENEY Staff Reporters

A 14-year-old boy went into cardiac arrest after police used a stun gun to subdue him, authorities said Tuesday.

More than a day after the Monday morning incident, the boy remained unconscious at Children's Memorial Hospital, Cook County Public Guardian Robert Harris said. Harris questioned why police used a Taser on the boy, a ward of the state who was living at a residential treatment center on the North Side.

"It's crazy stuff,'' he said.

But Chicago Police spokesman Dave Bayless said the boy lurched at an officer after a violent outburst at the center, in which he attacked three people and broke three windows. The boy has been charged with three counts of aggravated battery to protected employees and one count of aggravated assault.

Police said it was the first time anyone in the city had gone into cardiac arrest after being hit by the Taser electronic gun, which shoots wire barbs that give shocks of 50,000 volts of electricity. [...]

14-year-old was not armed

The incident happened around 9:40 a.m. Monday, Bayless said. The boy, described by Harris as a "big kid,'' became agitated and out of control. He allegedly began shattering windows and battered employees of the center, Bayless said.

But he did not have a weapon and was not believed to be under the influence of drugs, Harris said. By the time police arrived, the boy had calmed down, Harris claimed. Still, he refused treatment for a severe cut to his hand, which was bleeding.

"It was my understanding he was just sitting there,'' Harris said. "But he didn't want anybody to touch him.''

Bayless said police officers warned the boy for 10 minutes that they were going to use the Taser on him if he didn't cooperate.

The boy then allegedly swung his fist and leaped toward a sergeant, who discharged the Taser, police said. The boy fell to the floor and was handcuffed. Police then realized he was unresponsive, and paramedics attempted to revive him. They took him to the hospital in critical condition, police said.

Bayless said the sergeant followed the correct procedure for using the Tasers, which are supposed to be used as an alternative to lethal force.

"When he has hit three people, broken three windows with his bare hands, there is more urgency then simply telling him, 'We need to get you to a doctor,' '' Bayless said.

But Harris said the force appeared excessive. "There has to be other means other than Taser,'' he said.

Arizona-based Taser International spokesman Steve Tuttle said it was "inappropriate to jump to conclusions as to the cause of the subject's medical condition,'' but said the weapons are safe. Chicago aldermen expressed concern about the weapons at hearings last month.

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Houston mother: Taser turned son into 3-year old
03:27 PM CST on Wednesday, February 9, 2005
By Jeff McShan / 11 News / KHOU-TV

More Houston police will soon be armed with tasers, but there is visible proof that weapons are not without risk.

The company claims their stun guns lack the power to kill. Some, including medical examiners, disagree.

The danger is well documented, and although tasers are seen by many as a better alternative to guns, at least 70 people have died.

A Houston man who was shot with a taser survived the shot, but the rest of his life will be a struggle for him, and his family.

Jason Hodge curls up in a ball after learning his stuffed animal has fallen on the floor of the hospital room where a video was taken by his mother.

His mother says her life is now a living hell.

It was just a couple of weeks ago that Harris County deputies were called to a hotel on the North Freeway to investigate a narcotics complaint.

When the first deputy arrived, he said he found two men that appeared to be under the influence of drugs. One of the men, he said, took off running. That man was allegedly Jason Hodge.

"To turn a 31-year-old into a 3-year-old and now I have to take care of him," says his mother Kay Spencer.

Spencer's son, who did have cocaine in his body, has never been the same. [...]

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Indonesia Earthquake Triggers Panic
Wednesday February 9, 2005 6:31 PM
By CHRIS BRUMMITT
Associated Press Writer

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia (AP) - A strong earthquake struck Indonesia's tsunami-ravaged Aceh province Wednesday, shaking buildings as terrified residents fled for higher ground in cars and on foot while police shouted "Tsunami! Tsunami!''

Entire families jumped aboard nearby scooters and passing vehicles and sped off, snarling traffic on the main two-lane thoroughfare. Some headed to mosques, whose sturdy foundations and upper floors offered protection from the killer waves in the Dec. 26 disaster. Women screamed and sobbed.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

The 6.2-magnitude tremor struck about 8:30 p.m. and was centered beneath the Indian Ocean floor, about 65 miles southwest of the provincial capital of Banda Aceh, the Banda Aceh Geophysics Center said.

The U.S. Geological Survey registered slightly different readings, estimating the quake's magnitude at 5.7 and its epicenter about 50 miles southwest of Banda Aceh. A magnitude-6 quake can cause widespread damage if it is centered in a densely populated area.

The shaking lasted less than five seconds and was felt across a wide swath of Aceh, on the northern tip of Sumatra island. Even before the tremors subsided, police officers and soldiers began shouting "Tsunami! Tsunami!'' causing mayhem for about a half hour.

Panicked residents evacuated buildings and raced in cars and on foot for the highest ground, a hill on the outskirts of the city.

At one mosque, where dozens of frightened residents had gathered, officials urged calm.

"Do not panic. God willing, nothing serious has happened,'' a voice said over the loudspeaker.

Aftershocks have hit the region frequently since the December earthquake, which registered a magnitude of 9.0, and the following tsunami that killed more than 160,000 people in 11 Indian Ocean nations. Most of the victims were in Aceh province, closest to the epicenter.

Also Wednesday, a powerful earthquake rocked the Pacific seabed near Vanuatu island, but there were no immediate reports of damage. A Pacific warning network issued a bulletin saying the 6.7-magnitude quake did not generate a tsunami. [...]

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Intense quake off Japan recorded
(AFP) Feb 09, 2005

HONG KONG - An intense earthquake near some Japanese islands more than 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) southeast of Tokyo was recorded early Thursday, the Hong Kong Observatory said.

The quake estimated to be 6.2 on the Richter scale occurred at 1852 GMT Wednesday with its epicentre in the vicinity of Japan's Bonin Islands 1,140 kilometres south-southeast of Tokyo, it said.

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Micro earthquake rattles NW Oregon
01:31 PM PST on Wednesday, February 9, 2005
By ANTONIA GIEDWOYN, kgw.com Staff

COLUMBIA CITY, Ore. -- A small earthquake rattled northwest Oregon early Wednesday morning.

The magnitude 2.2 quake hit an area four miles northwest of Columbia City, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

It occurred just before 2 a.m. and there were no reports of damage.

Pacific Northwest Seismograph Network reported the micro quake was about 13 miles deep.

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GIANT VOLCANO ERUPTION CONTINUES IN KAMCHATKA
February 9 (RIA Novosti)
2005-02-09 12:24

PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKY - The gas and ash trail of the Kluchevskoi volcano erupting in Kamchatka stretches for over a hundred kilometers.

According to the Kamchatka experimental seismological center, the trail can be clearly seen in satellite shots provided by the Alaska volcano observatory.

Lava masses are flowing along the western slope of the volcano, its temperature reaching about 1,100 degrees Celsius. The sharply changing temperature added to the snow and ice causes powerful phreatic explosions discharging ash. Lava fountains and volcanic bomb blasts can be seen at the summit crater.

According to experts, the lava flowing down the Kluchevskoi slopes will inevitably give way to powerful mudflows that are usually 500 meters wide at the front and are flowing east of the Klyuchi village 30 km away from the foot of the volcano. The mudflows carrying huge stones with a diameter of up to three meters and tree trunks pose a serious threat to people and equipment on their way. The local residents have been warned about the risk. According to Vladimir Valyavka, the deputy head of the regional air transport department of the Russian Transport Ministry, the flights have not been cancelled in the area, as the air routes run aside the erupting volcano and are not exposed to any danger.

The Kluchevskoi volcano, the highest in Eurasia (4,822 meters high), began erupting on January 17. The summit crater of the giant can continue erupting for a month or a few years.

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One killer whale escapes, 11 die in ice off Japan coast
10 February 2005 0328 hrs

TOKYO : Eleven killer whales were declared dead after being trapped between ice floes and concrete blocks on the northern Japanese coast, but one managed to escape badly wounded back into the ocean.

The 12 giant mammals were found trapped in floating ice off the town of Rausu on the Shiretoko Peninsula, some 1,050 kilometers (650 miles) northeast of Tokyo, on Monday. [...]

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Storm in Venezuela claims nine more lives, 14 dead
10 February 2005 0414 hrs
- AFP

CARACAS : Heavy rains that have pounded Venezuela since the weekend have left nine more people dead in the country's northwest, raising the death toll to 14, local officials said Wednesday.

A mother and her five children were among nine people killed when buildings collapsed in the coastal Carabobo state, local officials said.

Five other people were killed Tuesday, including three in Caracas, according to an official toll.

Mudslides and rising waters have affect at least 5,000 people across the country and caused chaos on the roads.

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Tsunami threat to Bay of Plenty real
10.02.05
by Rosaleen Macbrayne

(New Zealand) - Tsunamis may pose more of a threat to the Bay of Plenty than previously thought, according to a report.

A geological study of the region's coastline has found traces of six major tsunami events over the past 4000 years, each at least five metres in height. Eleven smaller tsunamis - less than 3m - have been recorded officially since 1840. [...]

In the past 160 years, the most substantial tsunamis to have affected the Bay of Plenty and eastern Coromandel areas were generated by "remote" or distant sources. The biggest, in 1868, 1877 and 1960, were triggered by very large earthquakes in the subduction zone along the Chile and southern Peru coastlines of South America - directly opposite and facing New Zealand's eastern seaboard.

Another tsunami in August 1883 was probably generated by an atmospheric pressure wave from the Krakatau eruption in Indonesia.
The Niwa report before the committee suggested the greatest risk to the Bay of Plenty was from tsunamis originating close to shore, such as from an eruption of Mayor (Tuhua) Island or a fault movement in the offshore Taupo Volcanic Zone.

A tsunami of that type could reach the coast in 30 to 60 minutes. [...]

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Tsunami threat includes both U.S. East and West coasts
Tuesday, February 8, 2005 · Last updated 12:00 p.m. PT
By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER

WASHINGTON -- While the deadly tsunami in the Indian Ocean has focused attention on that part of the world, great waves also pose a threat to the United States.

A tsunami struck the Virgin Islands in 1867 claiming 23 lives, and geologic evidence shows giant waves have struck several times over the last 3,500 years, affecting what is now Washington, Oregon and northern California.

"We're not trying to scare you, we're just trying to inform you," Kevin Krajicik said Tuesday, opening a Smithsonian Institution-sponsored panel discussion of U.S. vulnerability to tsunami. Krajicik wrote an article on tsunami scheduled for the March issue of Smithsonian magazine.

"It's a matter of when, not if," another tsunami will strike, added George A. Maul, head of the department of marine and environmental systems at the Florida Institute of Technology.

A 1755 earthquake that devastated Lisbon, Portugal, generated a wave that caused damage in the Caribbean, he noted.

And there have been reports of a potential threat to the East Coast of the United States from waves that could be generated by landslides in the Canary Islands, across the Atlantic, added James F. Luhr, a volcanologist at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History.

While one-fourth of the world's tsunami occur in the Pacific Ocean, Maul noted that they can occur on any coast.

For example, on the American side of the Atlantic Ocean, more than 2,500 people have been killed in the last 150 years by these waves striking the Virgin Islands, Panama, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and even Canada, Maul added. The most recent, in 1991, killed two people in Costa Rica.

A U.S. tsunami warning program has been in operation about 10 years, focusing largely on Hawaii, Alaska and the Pacific Northwest, where damaging waves have been recorded in recent history, noted Laura S.L. Kong, director of the International Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii.

Tsunami, caused by undersea earthquakes or volcanoes, can travel across the ocean at the speed of a jet plane, suddenly rising up to as high as 90 feet when they reach the shore, she said. [...]

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UFO in Phoenix sky?
02:44 PM MST on Wednesday, February 9, 2005
By 3TV Staff

South Phoenix resident Jeff Woolwine took home video of something odd in the sky last week.

Woolwine said a black object appeared around 8 a.m. one day last week then swooped and moved over his apartment complex near 40th Street and Baseline Road.

"At first we thought it was a black plastic bag," Woolwine said.

But Woolwine claims it was the size of a Volkswagen and said the object held its shape the entire time it was on camera.

Woolwine said the object was "absolutely silent."

"I think the reason people might not have noticed it was because it didn't make any sound," Woolwine said. "It was very silent and it was cruisin'."

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Outcast Star Zooms Out of Milky Way Galaxy
By Deborah Zabarenko
Reuters
Tue Feb 8, 4:51 PM ET

WASHINGTON - An outcast star is zooming out of the Milky Way, the first ever seen escaping the galaxy, astronomers reported on Tuesday.

The star is heading for the emptiness of intergalactic space after being ejected from the heart of the Milky Way following a close encounter with a black hole, said Warren Brown, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

The outcast is going so fast -- over 1.5 million mph -- that astronomers believe it was lobbed out of the galaxy by the tremendous force of a black hole thought to sit at the Milky Way's center. That speed is about twice the velocity needed to escape the galaxy's grip, Brown said by telephone.

"We have never before seen a star moving fast enough to completely escape the confines of our galaxy," he said. "We're tempted to call it the outcast star because it was forcefully tossed from its home."

The star used to be part of a binary pair, waltzing with its companion star close to the rim of the black hole. In this case, "close" is a relative term; the actual distance was probably about 50 times the 93 million-mile distance between Earth and the sun.

As the two stars twirled around each other, they were pulled faster and faster toward the edge of the black hole, one of those monster drains in space whose gravity is so strong that nothing, not even light, can escape once it is consumed.

While the companion star was captured by the black hole, the outcast continued on its whirling path around its edge.

Objects go faster the closer they get to black holes and this star was probably moving at extraordinary speed, perhaps as high as 20 million mph. That very speed, coupled with the speed of its twirling, sent the outcast zooming toward the edge of the Milky Way and beyond.

At this point, the outcast is about 180,000 light-years from Earth, in an outer region of the galaxy known as the halo. A light-year is about 6 trillion miles, the distance light travels in a year.

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Postcard for Hitler arrives at German parliament
AFP
Wed Feb 9, 1:48 PM ET

BERLIN - Mail handlers at Germany's parliament were surprised to receive a postcard addressed to Adolf Hitler, some 60 years after the Nazi leader's death, it was reported.

According to the DPA press agency, the card was marked: "To Fuehrer Adolf Hitler, Reichstag, German Parliament, Berlin, Germany," and was sent from an undisclosed address in England.

The German postal service marked on the card that the address was incorrect and that the unidentified sender should be informed.

Without any reference to the deceased addressee, Deutsche Post said all future correspondence should be sent to the "German Bundestag, 11011 Berlin".

The Bundestag lower house could not be immediately reached for comment.

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And Finally...

Anomylous additional figure within "The Last Supper"

source

An informal experiment to determine the possibility of the presence an additional figure within Leonard da Vinci's wall painting "The Last Supper"

Professor Julio Napolitani

The recent popularity of the novel "The da Vinci Code", by American author Dan Brown has re-ignited interest in the parahistorical theory previously propounded by the books "The Templar Secret" and "Holy Blood, Holy Grail", that the term 'Holy Grail' realtes not to the cup used by Christ at the last supper, but rather to a Holy blood-line descended from the union of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. Proponents of this theory suggest that Leonardo da Vinci's wall painting "The Last Supper", at the Capella de Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, contains coded information confirming the existence of a child produced by such a union.

In support of this claim, theorists suggest that the figure of St John, seated to the left of Christ in the painting, is actually a representation of a female figure (Mary Magdalene) and that the shape formed by the space between the two figures represents a 'V' shape, symbolising the female vulva or uterus, which cryptically indicates the fertility of the union of Jesus and Mary Magdalene.

However, while not wishing to dismiss these theories unduly, based on previous research involving manipulated photographs from the Soviet Union and considering the size and nature of the area (being apparently lacking in any important detail which would require the separation of the seated figures), the possibility was considered that in the original image the area between the figures of St John and Christ may have contained an additional figure, which has subsequently been erased or obscured.

A parahistorical exercise was devised to test this hypothesis as follows:

Method

Due to the informal nature of this exercise and funding constraint, a reproduction of Leonardo da Vinci's "The Last Supper" was obtained via the internet. Using the 'Google' search engine, an advanced image search was undertaken on the following criteria:

Keywords: da Vinci "The Last Supper"
Image size: large
File type: JPEG
Colour: Full colour only

A reproduction was selected from the search results on the basis of image pixel dimension (the largest image available), image clarity (the clearest reproduction) and assumed reliability and independence of the source (the image used being a digital scan of a postcard obtained from the Capella de Santa Maria delle Grazie, one of a number of such scanned postcards made by an Italian writer detailing his visits to various tourist locations in Italy).

The original digital image used for this exercise may be viewed in full at:

http://images.fbrtech.com/dnew/Italy2001/Postcards/Milan1.jpg

The image was downloaded from the internet to a computer within the department of parahistory and examined using digital imaging software (photoshop v6), with particular attention to the area between the figures of St John and Jesus.

Result

Upon inspection of the image area detailed in (figure 2), it was determined that an outline figure existed between the figures of St John and Christ, the figure being apparently smaller than that of others within the image. The standing figure is apparent facing Christ, with head and torso visible directly in front of the darker area of the pillar. Additionally, the figure appears to have two arms, the left being raised, the right lower, the forearms extending into the lighter area of the pillar to the right. Although no right hand is apparent, lightness of the area of Christ's robe at the point at which the hand would extend from the figure's right arm suggests that the right hand may, originally, have been touching the robe at this point.

Although the figure is apparently clothed and standing upright, the facial features do not appear human. Notably, the figure appears to have whiskers similar to those of a cat or dog and large, pointed ears.

In (figure 2), the image area studied is shown unenhanced. (Figure 3) shows the result of initial digital enhancement of the key outlines of the figure.

Figure 2: detail of image Figure 3: digitally enhanced detail of image

Conclusion

Taking the results of this exercise into account and using established parahistorical reasoning methods, it is determined that while da Vinci may have intended to cryptically convey knowledge relating to the existence of a Holy blood-line resulting from the union of Mary Magdalene and Christ, the presence of the cat-like creature standing immediately to the right of and touching Christ, indicates that this, now erased figure, held a position of greater significance than that of the others at the table.

Further, while evidence for this conclusion is provided by the suppression of any reference in Biblical texts to marriage between Jesus and Mary Magdalene or of any cat-like creature resulting from the union, apocryphal texts, specifically the Gospel of Mary Magdalene (Nag Hammadi) contain references to "corruption of the body", which suggest that such a creature was central to biblical events and, while apparently reviled by many of the apostles, enjoyed the particular affection of Mary Magdalene.

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