the 9/11 Truth Movement
Canary in The Mine
Strike Flash Presentation by a QFS member
of the Day
DEEP in the basement of a dusty
university library in Edinburgh lies a small black box, roughly
the size of two cigarette packets side by side, that churns out
random numbers in an endless stream.
At first glance it is an unremarkable piece of equipment. Encased
in metal, it contains at its heart a microchip no more complex than
the ones found in modern pocket calculators.
But, according to a growing band of top scientists, this box has
quite extraordinary powers. It is, they claim, the 'eye' of a machine
that appears capable of peering into the future and predicting major
The machine apparently sensed the September 11 attacks on the World
Trade Centre four hours before they happened - but in the fevered
mood of conspiracy theories of the time, the claims were swiftly
knocked back by sceptics. But last December, it also appeared to
forewarn of the Asian tsunami just before the deep sea earthquake
that precipitated the epic tragedy.
Now, even the doubters are acknowledging that here is a small box
with apparently inexplicable powers.
'It's Earth-shattering stuff,' says Dr Roger Nelson, emeritus researcher
at Princeton University in the United States, who is heading the
research project behind the 'black box' phenomenon.
'We're very early on in the process of trying to figure out what's
going on here. At the moment we're stabbing in the dark.' Dr Nelson's
investigations, called the Global Consciousness Project, were originally
hosted by Princeton University and are centred on one of the most
extraordinary experiments of all time. Its aim is to detect whether
all of humanity shares a single subconscious mind that we can all
tap into without realising.
And machines like the Edinburgh black box have thrown up a tantalising
possibility: that scientists may have unwittingly discovered a way
of predicting the future.
Although many would consider the project's aims to be little more
than fools' gold, it has still attracted a roster of 75 respected
scientists from 41 different nations. Researchers from Princeton
- where Einstein spent much of his career - work alongside scientists
from universities in Britain, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Germany.
The project is also the most rigorous and longest-running investigation
ever into the potential powers of the paranormal.
'Very often paranormal phenomena evaporate if you study them for
long enough,' says physicist Dick Bierman of the University of Amsterdam.
'But this is not happening with the Global Consciousness Project.
The effect is real. The only dispute is about what it means.' The
project has its roots in the extraordinary work of Professor Robert
Jahn of Princeton University during the late 1970s. He was one of
the first modern scientists to take paranormal phenomena seriously.
Intrigued by such things as telepathy, telekinesis - the supposed
psychic power to move objects without the use of physical force
- and extrasensory perception, he was determined to study the phenomena
using the most up-to-date technology available.
One of these new technologies was a humble-looking black box known
was a Random Event Generator (REG). This used computer technology
to generate two numbers - a one and a zero - in a totally random
sequence, rather like an electronic coin-flipper.
The pattern of ones and noughts - 'heads' and 'tails' as it were
- could then be printed out as a graph. The laws of chance dictate
that the generators should churn out equal numbers of ones and zeros
- which would be represented by a nearly flat line on the graph.
Any deviation from this equal number shows up as a gently rising
During the late 1970s, Prof Jahn decided to investigate whether
the power of human thought alone could interfere in some way with
the machine's usual readings. He hauled strangers off the street
and asked them to concentrate their minds on his number generator.
In effect, he was asking them to try to make it flip more heads
It was a preposterous idea at the time. The results, however, were
stunning and have never been satisfactorily explained.
Again and again, entirely ordinary people proved that their minds
could influence the machine and produce significant fluctuations
on the graph, 'forcing it' to produce unequal numbers of 'heads'
According to all of the known laws of science, this should not
have happened - but it did. And it kept on happening.
Dr Nelson, also working at Princeton University, then extended
Prof Jahn's work by taking random number machines to group meditations,
which were very popular in America at the time. Again, the results
were eyepopping. The groups were collectively able to cause dramatic
shifts in the patterns of numbers.
From then on, Dr Nelson was hooked.
Using the internet, he connected up 40 random event generators
from all over the world to his laboratory computer in Princeton.
These ran constantly, day in day out, generating millions of different
pieces of data. Most of the time, the resulting graph on his computer
looked more or less like a flat line.
But then on September 6, 1997, something quite
extraordinary happened: the graph shot upwards, recording a sudden
and massive shift in the number sequence as his machines around
the world started reporting huge deviations from the norm. The day
was of historic importance for another reason, too.
For it was the same day that an estimated one billion
people around the world watched the funeral of Diana, Princess of
Wales at Westminster Abbey.
Dr Nelson was convinced that the two events must be related in
Could he have detected a totally new phenomena? Could the concentrated
emotional outpouring of millions of people be able to influence
the output of his REGs. If so, how?
Dr Nelson was at a loss to explain it.
So, in 1998, he gathered together scientists from all over the
world to analyse his findings. They, too, were stumped and resolved
to extend and deepen the work of Prof Jahn and Dr Nelson. The Global
Consciousness Project was born.
Since then, the project has expanded massively. A total of 65 Eggs
(as the generators have been named) in 41 countries have now been
recruited to act as the 'eyes' of the project.
And the results have been startling and inexplicable in equal measure.
For during the course of the experiment, the Eggs
have 'sensed' a whole series of major world events as they were
happening, from the Nato bombing of Yugoslavia to the Kursk submarine
tragedy to America's hung election of 2000.
The Eggs also regularly detect huge global celebrations,
such as New Year's Eve.
But the project threw up its greatest enigma on
September 11, 2001.
As the world stood still and watched the horror of the terrorist
attacks unfold across New York, something strange was happening
to the Eggs.
Not only had they registered the attacks as they
actually happened, but the characteristic shift in the pattern of
numbers had begun four hours before the two planes even hit the
They had, it appeared, detected that an event of historic importance
was about to take place before the terrorists had even boarded their
fateful flights. The implications, not least for the West's security
services who constantly monitor electronic 'chatter', are clearly
'I knew then that we had a great deal of work ahead of us,' says
What could be happening? Was it a freak occurrence,
Apparently not. For in the closing weeks of December
last year, the machines went wild once more.
Twenty-four hours later, an earthquake deep beneath
the Indian Ocean triggered the tsunami which devastated South-East
Asia, and claimed the lives of an estimated quarter of a million
So could the Global Consciousness Project really
be forecasting the future?
Cynics will quite rightly point out that there is always some global
event that could be used to 'explain' the times when the Egg machines
behaved erratically. After all, our world is full of wars, disasters
and terrorist outrages, as well as the occasional global celebration.
Are the scientists simply trying too hard to detect patterns in
their raw data?
The team behind the project insist not. They claim that by using
rigorous scientific techniques and powerful mathematics it is possible
to exclude any such random connections.
'We're perfectly willing to discover that we've made mistakes,'
says Dr Nelson. 'But we haven't been able to find any, and neither
has anyone else.
Our data shows clearly that the chances of getting these results
by fluke are one million to one against.
That's hugely significant.' But many remain sceptical.
Professor Chris French, a psychologist and noted sceptic at Goldsmiths
College in London, says: 'The Global Consciousness Project has generated
some very intriguing results that cannot be readily dismissed. I'm
involved in similar work to see if we get the same results. We haven't
managed to do so yet but it's only an early experiment. The jury's
still out.' Strange as it may seem, though, there's nothing in the
laws of physics that precludes the possibility of foreseeing the
It is possible - in theory - that time may not just move forwards
but backwards, too. And if time ebbs and flows like the tides in
the sea, it might just be possible to foretell major world events.
We would, in effect, be 'remembering' things that had taken place
in our future.
'There's plenty of evidence that time may run backwards,' says
Prof Bierman at the University of Amsterdam.
'And if it's possible for it to happen in physics, then it can
happen in our minds, too.' In other words, Prof Bierman believes
that we are all capable of looking into the future, if only we could
tap into the hidden power of our minds. And there is a tantalising
body of evidence to support this theory.
Dr John Hartwell, working at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands,
was the first to uncover evidence that people could sense the future.
In the mid-1970s he hooked people up to hospital scanning machines
so that he could study their brainwave patterns.
He began by showing them a sequence of provocative cartoon drawings.
When the pictures were shown, the machines registered the subject's
brainwaves as they reacted strongly to the images before them. This
was to be expected.
Far less easy to explain was the fact that in many cases, these
dramatic patterns began to register a few seconds before each of
the pictures were even flashed up.
It was as though Dr Hartwell's case studies were somehow seeing
into the future, and detecting when the next shocking image would
be shown next.
It was extraordinary - and seemingly inexplicable.
But it was to be another 15 years before anyone else took Dr Hartwell's
work further when Dean Radin, a researcher working in America, connected
people up to a machine that measured their skin's resistance to
electricity. This is known to fluctuate in tandem with our moods
- indeed, it's this principle that underlies many lie detectors.
Radin repeated Dr Hartwell's 'image response' experiments while
measuring skin resistance. Again, people began reacting a few seconds
before they were shown the provocative pictures. This was clearly
impossible, or so he thought, so he kept on repeating the experiments.
And he kept getting the same results.
'I didn't believe it either,' says Prof Bierman. 'So I also repeated
the experiment myself and got the same results. I was shocked. After
this I started to think more deeply about the nature of time.' To
make matters even more intriguing, Prof Bierman says that other
mainstream labs have now produced similar results but are yet to
'They don't want to be ridiculed so they won't release their findings,'
he says. 'So I'm trying to persuade all of them to release their
results at the same time. That would at least spread the ridicule
a little more thinly!' If Prof Bierman is right, though, then the
experiments are no laughing matter.
They might help provide a solid scientific grounding for such strange
phenomena as 'deja vu', intuition and a host of other curiosities
that we have all experienced from time to time.
They may also open up a far more interesting possibility - that
one day we might be able to enhance psychic powers using machines
that can 'tune in' to our subconscious mind, machines like the little
black box in Edinburgh.
Just as we have built mechanical engines to replace muscle power,
could we one day build a device to enhance and interpret our hidden
Dr Nelson is optimistic - but not for the short term. 'We may be
able to predict that a major world event is going to happen. But
we won't know exactly what will happen or where it's going to happen,'
'Put it this way - we haven't yet got a machine we could sell to
But for Dr Nelson, talk of such psychic machines - with the potential
to detect global catastrophes or terrorist outrages - is of far
less importance than the implications of his work in terms of the
For what his experiments appear to demonstrate is that while we
may all operate as individuals, we also appear to share something
far, far greater - a global consciousness. Some might call it the
mind of God.
'We're taught to be individualistic monsters,' he says. 'We're
driven by society to separate ourselves from each other. That's
We may be connected together far more intimately than we realise.'
| WASHINGTON (Reuters) - CNN's chief
news executive Eason Jordan quit on Friday over remarks he made in
Switzerland last month about journalists killed in Iraq, possibly
by U.S. forces, the television network said.
CNN said on its Web site that Jordan conceded his remarks at last
month's World Economic Forum in Davos were "not as clear as
they should have been." Several participants at the event said
Jordan told the audience U.S. forces had deliberately targeted journalists
-- a charge he denied.
Jordan quickly explained that some journalists were killed because
they were in the wrong place at the wrong time, and were struck
by a bomb, while others died because American forces who mistook
them for the enemy.
But his comments erupted into a controversy that he said threatened
to tarnish the network he helped build, according to CNN.
"After 23 years at CNN, I have decided to
resign in an effort to prevent CNN from being unfairly tarnished
by the controversy over conflicting accounts of my recent remarks
regarding the alarming number of journalists killed in Iraq,"
Jordan said in a letter to colleagues.
The controversy gained steam last week, with Internet bloggers
posting their accounts of what transpired at the Switzerland forum,
an event attended by political, economic, academic and media figures
from around the world, the CNN site said.
The Davos organizers have said the session, like most at the forum,
was off-the-record, and they have refused to release a transcript
to preserve their commitment.
The resignation sent shock waves through CNN, the network said,
because Jordan has been long admired by his peers, from executives
to the rank-and-file.
Jordan joined CNN as an assistant assignment editor in 1982 and
rose through the ranks to become CNN's chief news executive.
WASHINGTON, Feb. 9 - In
the months before the Sept. 11 attacks, federal aviation officials
reviewed dozens of intelligence reports that warned about Osama
bin Laden and Al Qaeda, some of which specifically discussed airline
hijackings and suicide operations, according to a previously undisclosed
report from the 9/11 commission.
But aviation officials were "lulled into a false sense of
security," and "intelligence that indicated a real and
growing threat leading up to 9/11 did not stimulate significant
increases in security procedures," the commission report concluded.
The report discloses that the Federal Aviation Administration,
despite being focused on risks of hijackings overseas, warned airports
in the spring of 2001 that if "the intent of the hijacker is
not to exchange hostages for prisoners, but to commit suicide in
a spectacular explosion, a domestic hijacking would probably be
The report takes the F.A.A. to task for failing to pursue domestic
security measures that could conceivably have altered the events
of Sept. 11, 2001, like toughening airport screening procedures
for weapons or expanding the use of on-flight air marshals. The
report, completed last August, said officials appeared more concerned
with reducing airline congestion, lessening delays, and easing airlines'
financial woes than deterring a terrorist attack.
The Bush administration has blocked the
public release of the full, classified version of the report for
more than five months, officials said, much to the frustration of
former commission members who say it provides a critical understanding
of the failures of the civil aviation system. The administration
provided both the classified report and a declassified, 120-page
version to the National Archives two weeks ago and, even with heavy
redactions in some areas, the declassified version provides the
firmest evidence to date about the warnings that aviation officials
received concerning the threat of an attack on airliners and the
failure to take steps to deter it.
Among other things, the report says that
leaders of the F.A.A. received 52 intelligence reports from their
security branch that mentioned Mr. bin Laden or Al Qaeda from April
to Sept. 10, 2001. That represented half of all the intelligence
summaries in that time.
Five of the intelligence reports specifically mentioned Al Qaeda's
training or capability to conduct hijackings, the report said. Two
mentioned suicide operations, although not connected to aviation,
the report said. [...]
were repeatedly warned in the months before the 11 September 2001
terror attacks that Osama bin Laden and al-Qa'ida were planning
aircraft hijackings and suicide attacks, according to a new report
that the Bush administration has been suppressing.
Critics say the new information undermines the government's claim
that intelligence about al-Qa'ida's ambitions was "historical"
in nature. [...]
The report, withheld from the public for months, says the FAA was
primarily focused on the likelihood of an incident overseas.
Kristin Bretweiser, whose husband was killed in
the World Trade Centre, said yesterday the newly released details
undermined testimony from Condoleezza Rice, the former national
security adviser, who told the commission that information about
al-Qa'ida's threats seen by the administration was "historical
She told The Independent: "There were
52 threats that were mentioned. These were present threats - they
were not historical. There were steps that could have been
taken. Marshals could have been put on planes that spring. Condoleezza
Rice's testimony is undermined." To the consternation of members
of the commission who published the original report last year, the
administration has been blocking the release of the latest information.
An unclassified copy of this additional appendix was passed to the
National Archives two weeks ago with large portions blacked out.
US Federal Aviation Commission
had enough information to prevent 9/11 events, 9/11 panel said in
a revealed report.
FAA officials are now accused of being indifferent while tens of
warning reports have been sent to it prior to the tragedy. The report
said the FAA received at least 52 intelligence reports between April
and Sept. 10 that warned about Osama bin Laden or al Qaeda.
But the agency denied the accusation saying a lot of improvements
were made before the attacks, such as new rules for managing airport
screening. It also added that without specific information about
means and methods they had no chance to prevent possible attacks.
Some of the nation’s largest airports received information
about possible attacks just before the tragedy. The FAA’s
office of civil aviation held classified briefings for 19 of nation’s
largest airports, including Newark, Logan in Boston, and Dulles
outside Washington, the departure points for the four hijacked planes,
in the spring of 2004.
"The fact that the civil aviation system seems to have been
lulled into a false sense of security is striking not only because
of what happened on 9/11 but also in light of the intelligence assessments,
including those conducted by the F.A.A.’s own security branch,
that raised alarms about the growing terrorist threat to civil aviation
throughout the 1990’s and into the new century," the
The Bush administration is now accused of hiding the report for
5 months before it became public. The White House explained it with
| U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald
Rumsfeld has called for unity among NATO countries in the fight against
Mr. Rumsfeld told the 41st annual international security conference
in Munich Germany, Saturday that the battle should not be confined
to issues where there is NATO consensus. He said it must be clear
that one nation cannot defeat extremists alone.
Earlier, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder proposed creation
of an independent panel of experts that would review cooperation
structures between Europe and the United States and propose reforms
by 2006. German Defense Minister Peter Struck delivered the remarks
after illness prevented Mr. Schroeder from attending the meeting.
The call followed strong German-American disagreements over the
U.S.-led war in Iraq.
Two years ago, Mr. Rumsfeld dismissed Germany and France as "old
Europe" for their refusal to join the U.S.-led war. Today,
the defense secretary light-heartedly attributed those comments
to the "old Rumsfeld."
Insurgent activity rises as
Rumsfeld visits Mosul to see security training
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Insurgents shot into a crowd
of people in a Baghdad bakery with a burst of AK-47 gunfire yesterday,
killing at least 11, and a car bomb outside a mosque north of the
capital killed 12 and wounded at least 20.
Both attacks, which were in neighborhoods with
large Shiite populations, stoked fears of widespread sectarian strife
as violence continued to increase after national elections last
In western Baghdad, a roadside bomb killed an American soldier.
At the bakery yesterday, three cars carrying gunmen wearing ski
masks pulled up and stopped traffic. The men ran inside and shot
the bakery's workers, mostly men in their mid-20s, in the head and
In the aftermath, blood was splattered across the walls and floor.
Men stood outside and wept and screamed.
While the gunmen could not be identified, they are assumed
to be Sunni extremists.
"The people who were at the scene said this bakery had the
[United Iraqi] Alliance banner hanging up," said an Iraqi police
investigator, who asked that his name not be used because of safety
concerns. "They had received threats from people who said they
would kill them for it."
The police investigator handling the bakery killings said the police
station where he works is unable to patrol the entire neighborhood
on a regular basis because it has just three patrol cars.
Northeast of the capital, the car bombing took
place outside a Shiite mosque in the town of Balad Ruz as prayer
services were ending.
Witness accounts and police reports differed about what delivered
the blast - a car or a fruit truck. At least 12 people were killed,
including four Iraqi soldiers, and at least 20 were wounded.
The explosion came as Shiites began the holiday of Ashura, which
culminates with pilgrims walking to the holy city of Karbala to
commemorate the death of the Prophet Muhammad's grandson, al Hussein,
on a battlefield near the town.
More than 140 were killed in bombings in Baghdad and Karbala on
a single day during Ashura last year.
At Shiite mosques across Iraq, those leading Friday prayers warned
their audiences that more violence was to come as insurgents try
to provoke civil war.
Their messages were a mix of determination and fatalism that has
marked the struggle of the Shiites.
Near-sighted election observers
think the Iraqi people have finally sent America those long-awaited
flowers and candies, when Iraq's voters just gave them the (purple)
"The Iraqi people gave America the biggest 'thank you' in
the best way we could have hoped for." Reading this election
analysis from Betsy Hart, a columnist for the Scripps Howard News
Service, I found myself thinking about my late grandmother. Half
blind and a menace behind the wheel of her Chevrolet, she adamantly
refused to surrender her car keys. She was convinced that everywhere
she drove (flattening the house pets of Philadelphia along the way)
people were waving and smiling at her. "They are so friendly!"
We had to break the bad news. "They aren't waving with their
whole hand, Grandma – just with their middle finger."
So it is with Betsy Hart and the other near-sighted election observers:
They think the Iraqi people have finally sent America those long-awaited
flowers and candies, when Iraq's voters just gave them the (purple)
The election results are in: Iraqis voted overwhelmingly to throw
out the U.S.-installed government of Iyad Allawi, who refused to
ask the United States to leave. A decisive majority voted for the
United Iraqi Alliance; the second plank in the UIA platform calls
for "a timetable for the withdrawal of the multinational forces
There are more single-digit messages embedded in the winning coalition's
platform. Some highlights: "Adopting a social security system
under which the state guarantees a job for every fit Iraqi ... and
offers facilities to citizens to build homes." The UIA also
pledges "to write off Iraq's debts, cancel reparations and
use the oil wealth for economic development projects." In short,
Iraqis voted to repudiate the radical free-market policies imposed
by former chief U.S. envoy Paul Bremer and locked in by a recent
agreement with the International Monetary Fund.
So will the people who got all choked up watching Iraqis flock
to the polls support these democratically chosen demands? Please.
"You don't set timetables," George W. Bush said four days
after Iraqis voted for exactly that. Likewise, British Prime Minister
Tony Blair called the elections "magnificent" but dismissed
a firm timetable out of hand. The UIA's pledges to expand the public
sector, keep the oil and drop the debt will likely suffer similar
fates. At least if Adel Abd al-Mahdi gets his way – he's Iraq's
finance minister and the man suddenly being touted as leader of
Iraq's next government.
Al-Mahdi is the Bush administration's Trojan horse in the UIA.
(You didn't think they were going to put all their money on Allawi,
did you?) In October he told a gathering of the American Enterprise
Institute that he planned to "restructure and privatize [Iraq's]
state-owned enterprises," and in December he made another trip
to Washington to unveil plans for a new oil law "very promising
to the American investors." It was al-Mahdi himself who oversaw
the signing of a flurry of deals with Shell, BP and ChevronTexaco
in the weeks before the elections, and it is he who negotiated the
recent austerity deal with the IMF. On troop withdrawal, al-Mahdi
sounds nothing like his party's platform and instead appears to
be channeling Dick Cheney on Fox News: "When the Americans
go will depend on when our own forces are ready and on how the resistance
responds after the elections." But on Sharia law, we are told,
he is very close to the clerics.
Iraq's elections were delayed time and time again, while the occupation
and resistance grew ever more deadly. Now it seems that two years
of bloodshed, bribery and backroom arm-twisting were leading up
to this: a deal in which the ayatollahs get control over the family,
Texaco gets the oil, and Washington gets its enduring military bases
(call it the "oil for women program"). Everyone wins except
the voters, who risked their lives to cast their ballots for a very
different set of policies.
But never mind that. Jan. 30, we are told, was not about what Iraqis
were voting for – it was about the fact of their voting and,
more important, how their plucky courage made Americans feel about
their war. Apparently, the elections' true purpose was to prove
to Americans that, as George Bush put it, "the Iraqi people
value their own liberty." Stunningly, this appears to come
as news. Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mark Brown said the vote was
"the first clear sign that freedom really may mean something
to the Iraqi people." On The Daily Show, CNN's Anderson Cooper
described it as "the first time we've sort of had a gauge of
whether or not they're willing to sort of step forward and do stuff."
This is some tough crowd. The Shiite uprising against Saddam in
1991 was clearly not enough to convince them that Iraqis were willing
to "do stuff" to be free. Nor was the demonstration of
100,000 people held one year ago demanding immediate elections,
or the spontaneous local elections organized by Iraqis in the early
months of the occupation – both summarily shot down by Bremer.
It turns out that on American TV, the entire occupation has been
one long episode of Fear Factor, in which Iraqis overcome ever-more-challenging
obstacles to demonstrate the depths of their desire to win their
country back. Having their cities leveled, being tortured in Abu
Ghraib, getting shot at checkpoints, having their journalists censored
and their water and electricity cut off – all of it was just
a prelude to the ultimate endurance test: dodging bombs and bullets
to get to the polling station. At last, Americans were persuaded
that Iraqis really, really want to be free.
So what's the prize? An end to occupation, as the voters demanded?
Don't be silly – the U.S. government won't submit to any "artificial
timetable." Jobs for everyone, as the UIA promised? You can't
vote for socialist nonsense like that. No, they get Geraldo Rivera's
tears ("I felt like such a sap"), Laura Bush's motherly
pride ("It was so moving for the president and me to watch
people come out with purple fingers") and Betsy Hart's sincere
apology for ever doubting them ("Wow – do I stand corrected").
And that should be enough. Because if it weren't for the invasion,
Iraqis would not even have the freedom to vote for their liberation,
and then to have that vote completely ignored. And that's the real
prize: the freedom to be occupied. Wow – do I stand corrected.
Naomi Klein is the author of No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies
and Fences and Windows: Dispatches From the Front Lines of the Globalization
Elliott Abrams: the Neocon's
President Bush's Inaugural Address was the sound of the second
shoe dropping. Three years ago the president shocked the world with
the announcement of the U.S. government's new doctrine of preventive
war and global military engagement. Last month he proclaimed that
U.S. power and influence had a soft side. Along with use of our
military might, the U.S. government was committing the American
people to an international campaign to promote freedom and democracy.
Minutes before his State of the Union Address, in which he repeated
the promise to answer the call of freedom worldwide, the White House
announced that Elliott Abrams would direct the new global democracy
campaign as well as overseeing Middle East policy from his perch
in the National Security Council.
Elliott Abrams embodies neoconservatism. Perhaps more than any
other neoconservative, Abrams has integrated the various influences
that have shaped today's neoconservative agenda. A creature of the
neoconservative incubator, Abrams is a political intellectual and
operative who has advanced the neoconservative agenda with chutzpah
and considerable success.
As a government official, Abrams organized front groups to provide
private and clandestine official support for the Nicaraguan Contras;
served as the president of an ethics institute despite his own record
of lying to Congress and managing illegal operations; rose to high
positions in the National Security Council to oversee U.S. foreign
policy in regions where he had no professional experience, only
ideological positions; proved himself as a political intellectual
in books and essays that explore the interface between orthodox
Judaism, American culture, and political philosophy; and demonstrated
his considerable talents in public diplomacy as a political art
in the use of misinformation and propaganda to ensure public and
policy support for foreign relations agendas that would otherwise
be soundly rejected.
Abrams has moved back and forth between government and the right's
web of think tanks and policy institutes, holding positions as a
senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, president of the Ethics and
Public Policy Center (EPPC), advisory council member of the American
Jewish Committee, and charter member of the Project for the New
American Century (PNAC). Abrams has maintained close ties with the
Social Democrats/USA, the network of right-wing social democrats
and former Trotskyites who became the most vocal of the self-described
"democratic globalists" within the neocon camp in the
His family ties have helped propel Abrams into the center of neoconservatism's
inner circles over the past few decades. In 1980 he joined one of
the two reigning families of neoconservatism through his marriage
to Rachel Decter, one of Midge Decter's two daughters from her first
marriage. As a member of the Podhoretz-Decter clan, Abrams became
a frequent contributor to Commentary and Norman Podhoretz's choice
to direct the magazine's symposiums on foreign policy. As one of
the leading neocons in the Reagan administration, Abrams also served
as a liaison between government and the right wing's network, as
exemplified by his appearances at the forums organized by Midge
Decter's Committee for the Free World in the 1980s.
Emblematic of Abrams' visceral right-wing politics was his statement
following the murder of John Lennon in December 1980. Setting the
tone for the cultural and political backlash that would soon dominate
U.S. politics, Abrams complained publicly about all the media attention
given the famous singer: "I'm sorry, but John Lennon was not
that important a figure in our times...Why is his death getting
more attention than Elvis Presley's? Because Lennon is perceived
as a left-wing figure politically, anti-establishment, a man of
social conscience with concern for the poor. And, therefore, he
is being made into a great figure. Too much has been made of his
life. It does not deserve a full day's television and radio coverage.
I'm sick of it."
Abrams as Anti-Communist Gladiator
As an aide to Sen. Henry "Scoop" Jackson in the 1970s,
Abrams began his political career mixing the soft and hard sides
of the neoconservative agendaas both a proponent of Jackson's
strategically driven human rights policies and as an advocate of
his proposals to boost the military-industrial complex. Through
Jackson, Abrams became involved in a group of Cold Warriors called
the Coalition for a Democratic Majority, which was associated with
the Democratic Party and led by the neoconservatives.
Among former members of Jackson's staff to find positions in the
Reagan administration's foreign policy team were such neoconservative
operatives as Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Frank Gaffney, Charles
Horner, and Ben Wattenberg. Other Jackson Democrats who secured
appointments in the Reagan administration included Jeane Kirkpatrick,
as UN ambassador, and neoconservatives on her staff, such as Joshua
Muravchik, Steven Munson (like Abrams a Podhoretz-Decter son-in-law),
Carl Gershman, and Kenneth Adelman.
Abrams joined the neocon exodus from the Democratic Party in the
late 1970s led by members of the Committee on the Present Danger
and the Coalition for a Democratic Majority. His first position
in the Reagan administration was director of the State Department's
Office for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs. But he was appointed
only after Reagan's first choice came under fire in the Senate.
During the Reagan years, the neocon human rights program was a
velvet glove tailored for the iron fist side of foreign and military
policy. During the Reagan administration, Abrams was at once a human
rights advocate, a manager of clandestine operations, and a bagman
for the Nicaraguan contrascalling himself "a gladiator"
in the cause of freedom.
Crimes and Misdemeanors
Although he entered the Reagan administration scandal-free, he
left as a convicted criminal. Abrams, who entered the administration
as its human rights chief and in 1985 became assistant secretary
of state for inter-American affairs, was indicted by the Iran-Contra
special prosecutor for intentionally deceiving Congress about the
administration's role in supporting the Contras, including his own
central role in the Iran-Contra arms deal.
The U.S.-backed and organized Contras were spearheading a counterrevolution
against the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. Congress had prohibited
U.S. government military support for the Contras because of their
pattern of human rights abuses. Abrams pleaded guilty to two lesser
offenses (including withholding information from Congress) to avoid
a trial and a possible jail term.
Abrams and five other Iran-Contra figures were pardoned by President
George H.W. Bush on Christmas Eve 1992, shortly before the senior
Bush left office. By pardoning Abrams, John Poindexter, and other
former Reagan officials, Bush was in effect protecting himself.
At that time media and congressional investigations of Iran-Contra
scandal were threatening to expose the role of Bush himself, who
was Reagan's vice president during the executive branch's program
of illegal support to the Nicaraguan Contras.
During the Reagan administration, Abrams was the government's nexus
between the militarists in the National Security Council and the
public-diplomacy operatives in the State Department, White House,
and National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Abrams worked closely
with Otto Reich, who directed the White House's Office of Public
Diplomacy, which was in charge of disseminating "white propaganda"
to the U.S. public, media, and policymakers to build support for
the Reagan administration's interventionist policies in Latin America
Abrams in the 1990s
After Reagan left office in 1989, Abrams, like a number of other
prominent neoconservatives, was not invited to serve in the Bush
Sr. administration. Instead, he worked for a number of think tanks
and in 1996 became president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center.
With EPPC as his new base, Abrams wrote widely on foreign policy
issues, especially on Middle East policy, and on cultural issues,
including about the threats posed by U.S. secular society to Jewish
Created in 1976, EPPC was the first neocon institute to break ground
in the frontal attack on the secular humanists. For nearly three
decades, EPPC has functioned as the cutting edge of the neoconservative-driven
culture war against progressive theology and secularism, and the
associated effort to ensure right-wing control of the Republican
Party. It explicitly sought to unify the Christian right with the
neoconservative religious right, which was mostly made up of agnostics
back then. A central part of its political project was to "clarify
and reinforce the bond between the Judeo-Christian moral tradition
and the public debate over domestic and foreign policy." Directed
by Elliott Abrams from 1996-2001, EPPC counts among its board members
well connected figures in the neocon matrix including Jeane Kirkpatrick,
Richard Neuhaus, and Mary Ann Glendon.
Abrams remained an integral part of the tight-knit neoconservative
foreign policy community in Washington that revolved around the
American Enterprise Institute (AEI). Abrams was also a charter member
of the Project for the New American Century, which issued its statement
of principles about the need for a "neo-Reaganite" foreign
policy in 1997.
Elliott Abrams, when serving as EPPC president, said that human
rights should be a "policy tool" of the U.S. government.
Working closely with Newt Gingrich and the Republican Congress,
EPPC together with the Christian Coalition and Family Research Council
lobbied for the creation of a new permanent commission that focused
on religious persecution. The main countries of concern listed in
the congressional deliberations were China, Sudan, North Korea,
Cuba, Laos, Saudi Arabia, and Indonesia, as well as general condemnation
of Muslim nations. Abrams became a founding member of the U.S. Commission
on International Religious Freedom and served as its chairman until
mid-2001, when he joined the Bush administration.
Regarding Abrams's biased stance on Middle East affairs, Dr. Laila
al-Marayati, a former member of the U.S. Commission on International
Religious Freedom, wrote: "From the vantage point of the [U.S.
Commission on International Religious Freedom], as an American and
as a Muslim, I had the unfortunate opportunity of witnessingclearly
and unequivocallythe deep bias that Abrams brings to his new
position. ...As chairman of the commission at the time, Abrams led
the delegation to Egypt and Saudi Arabia, but did not go to Jerusalem
with three of us as he was of the opinion that there are no problems
with religious freedom in Israel that would warrant the attention
of the commission. ...Bypassing Israel was not the only way Abrams
undermined the Commission's visit to the Middle East. ...Abrams
managed to snub the leading Islamic cleric in Egypt... which nearly
created a diplomatic nightmare that was only narrowly averted by
the intervention of the U.S. ambassador."
The New Freedom Fighter
Since Bush's reelection in early November, Abrams has become one
of the administration's most high-profile officials. He has acted
as Bush's envoy to Europe and Israel as part of the administration's
new attention to the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Abrams participated
in an hour-plus meeting in the Oval Office with the president and
Natan Sharansky, Israel's minister for Jerusalem and diaspora affairs.
Sharansky, the author of The Case for Freedom, subsequently met
with Rice. Both Bush and Rice have repeatedly referred to Sharansky's
book in their pronouncements about the U.S. government's new commitment
to ending tyranny and spreading democracy, frequently using the
same phrasing as Abransky.
Also in November, Abrams arranged conference calls with the leaders
of the major national Jewish American organizations in advance of
formal meetings with Rice. Last week, Abrams traveled to Israel
and met with Ariel Sharon's top adviser Dov Weisglass to smooth
the way for Secretary of State's visit with Prime Minister Sharon.
After the scandals involving neoconservatives in the late 1980s
and the end of the cold war, many foreign policy observers wrote
off the neoconservatives as a spent force. The same dismissal of
the enduring influence of the neoconservative camp became widespread
among pundits and analysts when the Iraq invasion proved a quagmire
rather than a liberation "cakewalk."
It's likely that Elliott Abrams, who has established a close working
relationship with Condoleezza Rice, will become the leading administration
architect of Middle East policy during the second Bush administration.
Like the Middle East policy of the first administration, the regional
initiatives of the new administration will continue to be guided
by neocon notions about the centrality of Israel, the U.S. mission
to restructure the Arab world, and the use of public diplomacy gloss
of spreading freedom and democracy to advance U.S. national security
The Americans and their Israeli
ally are running very short now on both credibility and options.
Using military force to bomb either or both North Korea and Iran
would bring on considerable backlash around the world and could
well have very unforeseen consequences, even potentially igniting
some kind of World War III. Using additional 'international sanctions'
against either of these countries, especially Iran, could well push
them further and faster into the kinds of things the Americans insist
they are trying to prevent. This dangerous situation is 2005 is
the price now being paid for U.S. and Israeli policies of the past,
albeit hardly anyone is allowed to seriously discuss these past
and present connections in the corporate-controlled government-fearing
Meanwhile the American war on Iraq is faltering and soon the U.S.
will face a new Baghdad regime only partly of its making.
Meanwhile as well the U.S.-Israeli 'roadmap' ploy to end the Palestinian
Intifada has largely been fake from the start. With settlements
still expanding and no real Palestinian State on the horizon this
situation too remains out of control and in all likelihood the tenure
of the U.S.-Israeli-annointed Mahmoud Abbas may not last very long.
Back at home popular American T.V. programs have become pretty
much extensions of government policies extra-heavy on cinematic
propaganda and flag-waiving patriotism. JAG on CBS makes joining
the military look like going to a singles bar with super-attractive
guys and gals all dressed up in carefully creased military uniforms.
ALIAS on FOX makes joining the CIA the in-thing to do; after all
what red-blooded American doesn't want to chase around the globe
with Jennifer Garner. And just a few nights ago on NBC's THE WEST
WING the case for the U.S. and U.K. to together take on IRAN was
featured; as usual with no mention of past pro-Shah policies nor
of Israel's considerable nuclear weapons and vast military power
coupled to outrageous policies that have inflamed the region for
| BEIJING, Feb. 11 -- Palestinian
militants have fired more than a dozen mortar bombs at Jewish settlements
in southern Gaza Strip. Some buildings were destroyed.
The Israeli military radio reported Thursday that some buildings
in the settlement were destroyed, but it did not report the number
An Israeli military official condemned the attack, saying it was
in defiance of a new Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire agreement.
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel
Sharon came to an agreement at the Mideast summit in Sharm el-Sheikh
that both sides should stop attacks against each other.
It is reported that Abbas will be in Gaza later Thursday to discuss
a cease-fire with Palestinian factions.
A car bomb exploded in front of
a hospital south of Baghdad this morning, killing 17 and wounding
16, police said, a day after 23 were killed in two attacks aimed
at the Shiite community.
A police captain, who refused to give his name, said today's blast
occurred in front of the Musayyib General Hospital, about 55 kilometres
(35 miles) south of the capital.
Elsewhere, a prominent Iraqi judge under Saddam Hussein, Taha al-Amiri,
was assassinated this morning by two gunmen in the southern port
city of Basra, said Lt. Col. Karim al-Zaidi.
Al-Amiri, a former chief judge at Basra's highest criminal court,
is one of several former Ba'ath Party figures assassinated in the
Basra area during the past 18 months.
Police in Mosul said they discovered the bodies of six men dressed
in Iraqi National Guard uniforms dumped on a main highway near the
The men had been shot in the chest and head, said police Lt. Ali
Hussein. They were found in the area of Intisar, east of Mosul.
Police in Kirkuk said they were on the trail of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi,
the Jordanian militant who has claimed responsibility for many of
the worst attacks in Iraq, including the beheading of several foreign
hostages. "He came to Kirkuk from Mosul," a source in
the Kirkuk police department said. "There's a possibility that
he might be captured at any moment."
Attacks against Iraq's security forces have steadily risen following
the January 30 national elections. Insurgents have vowed to intensify
their attacks against the Iraqi forces at a time when the United
States is trying to pass those forces more of the responsibility
of securing the country.
Russian officials called U.S.
fears that Moscow’s plans to sell weapons to Venezuela could
be used by leftist rebels “unfounded.”
“Moscow has been puzzled by the State Department spokesman’s
concerns,” the Interfax news agency quoted an unnamed Foreign
Ministry official as saying.
Russian officials on Friday rejected U.S. objections to Moscow’s
plans to sell automatic rifles and helicopters to Venezuela, dismissing
as “unfounded” concerns that the weapons could be used
by leftist rebels.
According to Reuters, U.S. State Department spokesman Lou Fintor
said on Thursday that Washington was concerned that 100,000 Kalashnikov
guns and a number of helicopters due to be sold to the Latin American
state could fall into the hands of leftist guerrillas in the region.
“U.S. protests should be viewed as nothing but a dishonest
form of competition and an attempt to squeeze Russian producers
from the arms market,” Interfax quoted a senior official in
the Russian military-industrial complex as saying.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, was quoted by Reuters as saying,
“Our bilateral cooperation does not violate laws and obligations.
There is nothing to comment on.”
The Russian Foreign Ministry official said the armed forces of
the South American OPEC member had weapons supplied by the United
States and other NATO countries.
“No one seems to be raising questions about the legality
of those arms sales,” he said. “Concerns that specifically
Russian weapons could end up in terrorists’ hands look unfounded
and, one may say, biased.”
Apart from the purchase of Kalashnikov guns and helicopters under
an arms pact announced last year by Venezuela’s President
Hugo Chavez, Venezuela is also evaluating Russian MiG-29 fighters
as possible replacements for its F-16s.
U.S. administration officials have suggested the new rifles could
allow Chavez, who has strained relations with Washington, to export
small arms to rebel movements, including guerrilla groups in neighbouring
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei
Lavrov blasted Western media Thursday for trying to bring back the
Cold War with overt criticism of Russia.
In a column published by the Izvestia daily, Lavrov
expressed his dismay at “voices of those who have for several
months been hammering out that that relations between Russia and
the West are cooling, in an attempt to sculpt a new ”enemy“
out of our country.”
Lavrov went on to praise Russia’s attempts at creating a
stable and predictable foreign policy and strong diplomacy, and
strengthening the country in general, noting that the international
community has said this is the kind of Russia it would like to see.
At the same time, he pointed to “evil wishers”,
the existence of which was “no news for us.” Attempts
by European and American media to “whip up suspicions and
hatred toward Russia,” according to Lavrov, “surpass
all bounds of journalistic and simple human ethics.”
Calls to restrain the strong ties between President Vladimir Putin
and his U.S. counterpart George Bush were particularly “odious,”
“All the same,” he wrote, “I think that it does
not make sense for us to give in to irrational anti-Western emotions,
to create an atmosphere of a ’besieged fortress’ in
the country. Russia does not need a new Cold War.”
He noted, meanwhile, that Russia has critics inside the country,
whose right to voice dissent has not been curbed, as opposed to
what was alleged in the Western media.
Much of Western criticism in the recent past has dealt with what
observers call a worsening human rights atmosphere in Russia, with
centrist reforms passed by parliament concentrating more power in
Putin, meanwhile, meeting with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Louise Arbour in the Kremlin on Thursday, said that Russia is ready
for a constructive dialog on human rights with the international
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- U.S. military
service members may have been imprisoned and died in Soviet forced-labor
camps during the 20th century, according to a Pentagon report to
be released Friday.
Researchers for the U.S.-Russia Joint Commission on POW/MIAs have
been investigating unconfirmed reports of Americans who were held
prisoner in the so-called gulags.
"I personally would be comfortable saying that the number
[of Americans held in the gulags during the Cold War and Korean
War] is in the hundreds," said Norman Kass, executive secretary
of the commission's U.S. section.
| Clouds of interstellar molecules
may have plunged our planet into a deep freeze.
think interstellar dust could cause a reverse greenhouse effect
Our planet may have frozen over in the past as it drifted though
giant dust clouds in space. The result of the dust-bath would have
been an almost complete overcoat of ice for the world, according
to a new theory.
A group of US and Russian researchers argue that interstellar dust
might have accumulated in Earth's atmosphere and cooled the planet,
tipping the climate towards a 'snowball Earth' event in which ice
sheets keep growing until they cover almost the entire globe.
But the idea does not persuade some geologists. "It conflicts
with the geological record," says Daniel Schrag, a geochemist
at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He points out
that there seem to have been dramatic changes in the Earth's carbon
cycle up to a million years before known snowball Earth events,
which the dust-cloud hypothesis is at a loss to explain.
Alexander Pavlov, of the University of Colorado at Boulder, and
his colleagues counter that their climate-cooling mechanism is almost
inevitable, however. They say that on at least two occasions in
the past 2 billion years, the Solar System must have passed through
clouds of dust thick enough to cause a snowball Earth1,2. They think
it is possible that two such ultracold episodes, 600 million and
750 million years ago, might have been triggered in this way.
Snowball Earth events are much more severe than normal ice ages.
They occur through a runaway process in which growing ice sheets
reflect ever more sunlight back into space, resulting in further
cooling and more ice. Eventually, the ice advances from the Poles
virtually all the way to the Equator, trapping the planet in a deep
There is strong evidence in the geological record that Earth may
have iced over in this way several times during its history. Various
causes have been proposed, but Pavlov and his colleagues say that
none is fully convincing.
They argue that their dust trigger is more plausible. Our Galaxy
contains many giant molecular clouds, which are huge clusters of
molecules that can clump into dust grains. As the Solar System moves
through the galaxy, it passes through such clouds roughly once every
100 million to 1 billion years.
Pavlov and colleagues have calculated how much of this dust might
be captured by Earth's gravitational field, filling the atmosphere
with dust. Dust particles reflect sunlight, but they let Earth's
heat out into space. In other words, they act as the precise opposite
of greenhouse gases, cooling the planet.
Such a cooling effect was observed after the eruption of Mount
Pinatubo in the Philippines in 1991, which scattered volcanic dust
into the atmosphere. The researchers calculate that the cooling
effect of a passage through a dense molecular cloud could be at
least two or three times greater.
That, they say, would be sufficient to trigger snowball cooling.
If the planet were already on the verge of an ice age, even a molecular
cloud of modest density could push it over the edge a larger freeze.
The snowball Earth could then persist for about 10 million years,
much longer than it would take the Solar System to cross a typical
molecular cloud. The ice would thaw only when enough greenhouse
gases from volcanoes had built up in the atmosphere.
International Human Genome enth International Human Genome
The researchers suggest that there could be a detectable geological
signature of such an event. Interstellar dust is enriched in the
isotope uranium-235, relative to its natural abundance on Earth.
This dust would gradually settle out of the atmosphere and find
its way into sedimentary rocks laid down at the time of the snowball
Schrag doubts that such evidence, if it were to be found, would
be conclusive. And he does not see how an extraterrestrial trigger
for the cooling can explain the apparent timing of such events.
"Why would you get two of them close together [600 and 750
million years ago], and then nothing?" he asks.
| The deadly tsunami could have uncovered
the remains of an ancient port city off the coast in southern India.
Archaeologists say they have discovered some stone remains from
the coast close to India's famous beachfront Mahabalipuram temple
in Tamil Nadu state following the 26 December tsunami.
They believe that the "structures" could be the remains
of an ancient and once-flourishing port city in the area housing
the famous 1200-year-old rock-hewn temple.
Three pieces of remains, which include a granite lion, were found
buried in the sand after the coastlin
A NEW superstrain of the virus
that causes AIDS has been diagnosed in New York. So far only one
case has been found -- a New York man in his mid-40s.
Experts believe it progresses in just months from HIV infection
to AIDS, a process that normally takes at least 10 years. In this
man's case, it took two months.
| At least 60 people are confirmed
dead and more than 400 remain missing after the Shadi Kor dam ruptured
in southwestern Pakistan Thursday.
More than 1,500 people have been rescued from the floodwaters after
the two-year-old dam failed. Primarily used for irrigation, the
25-meter-high, 150-meter-long dam was destroyed by a wall of water
after a week of heavy rain and snow that has caused over 120 storm-related
deaths in the region.
Members of Pakistan's army, navy and coast guard are leading relief
efforts at the disaster site in Baluchistan Province. An estimated
50,000 people in the province have been affected with the loss of
roads, bridges, houses, crops and telecommunications, much of which
remains under water.
Several more days of severe, wet weather are expected.
More than 200 scientists employed
by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service say they have been directed
to alter official findings to lessen protections for plants and
animals, a survey released Wednesday says.
The survey of the agency's scientific staff of 1,400 had a 30%
response rate and was conducted jointly by the Union of Concerned
Scientists and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.
A division of the Department of the Interior, the Fish and Wildlife
Service is charged with determining which animals and plants should
be placed on the endangered species list and designating areas where
such species need to be protected.
More than half of the biologists and other researchers who responded
to the survey said they knew of cases in which commercial interests,
including timber, grazing, development and energy companies, had
applied political pressure to reverse scientific conclusions deemed
harmful to their business.
Bush administration officials, including Craig Manson, an assistant
secretary of the Interior who oversees the Fish and Wildlife Service,
have been critical of the 1973 Endangered Species Act, contending
that its implementation has imposed hardships on developers and
others while failing to restore healthy populations of wildlife.
Along with Republican leaders in Congress, the administration is
pushing to revamp the act. The president's proposed budget calls
for a $3-million reduction in funding of Fish and Wildlife's endangered
"The pressure to alter scientific reports for political reasons
has become pervasive at Fish and Wildlife offices around the country,"
said Lexi Shultz of the Union of Concerned Scientists.
| FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. Feb 12, 2005
— A woman lied about finding a newborn that had been thrown
from a moving car because she wanted to abandon the child and conceal
her pregnancy from her family, authorities said.
"It's not as horrible as we first thought," Sheriff Ken
Jenne said Friday. "The baby was never thrown out of a moving
car. This is the case of a disturbed woman who gave birth and did
not want to keep her child."
Patricia Pokriots, 38, was committed for psychiatric evaluation
under a law that allows for people who are a threat to themselves
or others to be held for 72 hours. She was not charged with any
On Thursday afternoon, Pokriots dropped an hour-old baby off at
a sheriff's station, telling authorities that she had scooped the
boy up after seeing him tossed out of a car onto the grass, Jenne
said. Pokriots told investigators she saw a couple arguing in a
car, then witnessed the woman throwing the child from the passenger
Eventually, investigators found inconsistencies in Pokriots' story,
and on Friday she acknowledged that she had lied, the sheriff said.
"She has indicated that she does not want the child,"
The 8-pound, 2-ounce boy, whose umbilical cord was still attached
when he was brought in, had no injuries. Nurses at the hospital
nicknamed him Johnny.
The sheriff said the woman had kept her pregnancy a secret, and
had initially planned to take the baby to authorities. State law
allows a mother to abandon a baby at any medical facility or fire
station within three days of birth.
But she came up with a cover story after seeing two people argue
inside their car, the sheriff said. A boy who was playing nearby
did see a couple arguing, but never saw them throw anything out,
Pokriots is a barmaid and has an arrest record including an aggravated
battery charge. "She said she may be a threat to herself,"
Jenne said. He said she has a 10-year-old child who will be taken
from the home Pokriots shared with her mother.
No one answered the door at the home on Friday.
OSLO, Norway (Reuters) -- When
bears wake early from hibernation, Australia suffers its worst drought
in 100 years and multiple hurricanes hammer Florida should we believe
the end is near?
That's the nub of a debate over the human impact on global warming
that pits scientists who say such anomalies are signs of impending
doom against those who say they are evidence that the earth's climate
has always been chaotic.
Amid those signs of warming, for instance, Algeria had its worst
snow in 50 years last month.
This month 141 countries will attempt the best effort to arrest
a forecasted continued rise of global temperatures by bringing into
force the Kyoto protocol. The treaty is an agreement aimed at curbing
emissions of gases from cars and industry, blamed for trapping the
"Dealing with (global warming) will not be easy. Ignoring
it will be worse," the United Nations says.
At issue is how humanity should deal with global warming, the risks
of which are not yet fully understood despite broad consensus among
scientists that people are heating the planet with the emission
of such heat-trapping gases as carbon dioxide.
Not everyone is convinced of Kyoto's importance.
U.S. President George W. Bush pulled the United States out
of Kyoto in 2001, reckoning it will be too costly and that it wrongly
excludes developing countries from cuts in emissions until 2012.
Bush accepts there are risks from climate change but says more
research is needed -- exasperating even allies who say that the
time for Kyoto-style caps on emissions is now.
"We're talking about spending perhaps $150 billion a year
on Kyoto with fairly little benefit," said Bjorn Lomborg, Danish
author of "The Skeptical Environmentalist."
Lomborg said that money would be better spent on combating AIDS
and malaria, malnutrition and promoting fair global trade.
Many climate scientists say that floods, storms and droughts will
become more frequent and that climate change is the most severe
long-term threat to the planet's life support systems.
Rising temperatures could force up ocean levels, swamping coasts
and low-lying Pacific islands and drive thousands of species to
extinction by 2100.
But full proof is elusive.
A Caribbean hurricane season last year, when Florida was the first
U.S. state to be hit by four hurricanes in one season since 1886,
might be a fluke. Bears are waking in Estonia in the warmest winter
in two centuries, again a possible climate freak.
"Imagine a pot of boiling water on the stove. If I turn up
the heat I can't say that each bubble is from the extra heat,"
said Mike MacCracken, chief scientist for climate change programs
at the Climate Institute, a Washington think-tank.
"But there are more bubbles and they're larger," he said,
adding it was best to act now rather than risk disaster.
The warmest year at the world's surface since records began in
the 1860s was 1998, followed by 2002, 2003 and 2004, according to
the U.N.'s World Meteorological Organization.
World surface temperatures have risen by 0.6 degrees centigrade
(1.1 degrees Fahrenheit) since the late 1800s when the Industrial
Revolution started in Europe.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of 2,000
scientists which advises the United Nations, projects a further
rise of 1.4-5.8 degrees centigrade by 2100. Even the lowest forecast
would be the biggest century-long rise in 10,000 years.
Yet the evidence for a human impact on the climate falls short
of being "beyond a reasonable doubt," the standard of
proof needed in a criminal court.
"It is really for a legal mind to decide whether the scientific
consensus of the IPCC provides findings that are beyond reasonable
doubt," said IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri.
Many so-called skeptics concede that carbon dioxide stokes global
warming but say U.N. models of what will happen in 2100 are about
as reliable as tomorrow's weather forecast.
Other factors, like variations in the sun's radiation, ash from
volcanoes or other natural effects may have a bigger role, they
say. The IPCC tries to account for all such effects.
"My bottom line is that natural variations are much larger
than the human component," said George Taylor, state climatologist
for Oregon state.
Backers of Kyoto say it is a blueprint for regulating the climate
by cutting rich nations' emissions of carbon dioxide by 5.2 percent
below 1990 levels by 2008-12. Supporters say that much deeper cuts
will be needed after 2012.
In a landmark phrase in 1995, the IPCC said that the balance of
evidence suggested a discernible human influence on the global climate.
And its 2001 report spoke of "new and stronger" evidence
that humans had caused warming in the past 50 years.
Pachauri said that he hoped the next report, in 2007, would fill
in gaps in knowledge. But Washington has given no signs of being
won over to Kyoto, preferring to focus on funding new clean technologies
The Environmental Protection Agency says:
"The fundamental scientific uncertainties are these: How much
more warming will occur? How fast will this warming occur? And what
are the potential adverse and beneficial effects? These uncertainties
will be with us for some time, perhaps decades."
OTTAWA—The country's biggest
greenhouse gas emitters have been handed a near 20 per cent break
on their reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol, according to
sources familiar with the federal negotiations.
The sources said the oil and gas industry, electricity sector,
heavy manufacturing and mining companies will together have to reduce
annual emissions of carbon dioxide by only 45 million tonnes annually,
instead of the target of 55 million tonnes announced in the government's
2002 Kyoto plan.
These so-called large final emitters account for more than half
of the country's total emissions of greenhouse gases, which reached
about 750 million tonnes in 2003. The companies lobbied hard to
have their cumulative target cut to 37 million tonnes, claiming
the technology didn't exist to make larger reductions economically.
NEW YORK (Reuters) -- A weak El
Nino and human-made greenhouse gases could make 2005 the warmest
year since records started being kept in the late 1800s, NASA scientists
said this week.
While climate events like El Nino -- when warm water spreads over
much of the tropical Pacific Ocean --affect global temperatures,
the increasing role of human-made pollutants plays a big part.
"There has been a strong warming trend over the past 30 years,
a trend that has been shown to be due primarily to increasing greenhouse
gases in the atmosphere," said James Hansen of NASA's Goddard
Institute for Space Studies, based in New York.
The warmest year on record was 1998, with 2002 and 2003 coming
in second and third, respectively.
Short-term factors like large volcanic eruptions that launched
tiny particles of sulfuric acid into the upper atmosphere in 1963,
1982 and 1991 can change climates for periods ranging from months
to a few years.
Last year was the the fourth-warmest recorded, with a global mean
temperature of 57 degrees Fahrenheit (14 Celsius), which was about
1.5 degrees warmer than the middle of the century, NASA scientist
Drew Shindell said in an interview.
Average temperatures taken from land and surfaces of the oceans
showed 2004 was 0.86 degrees Fahrenheit (0.48 Celsius) above the
average temperature from 1951 to 1980, according to Hansen.
The spike in global temperatures in 1998 was associated with one
of the strongest El Ninos of recent centuries and a weak El Nino
contributed to the unusually high global temperatures in 2002 and
2003, NASA said.
Carbon dioxide, emitted by autos, industry and utilities, is the
most common greenhouse gas. Hansen also said that the Earth's surface
now absorbs more of the sun's energy than gets reflected back to
That extra energy, together with a weak El Nino, is expected to
make 2005 warmer than 2003 and 2004 and perhaps even warmer than
1998, which had stood out as far hotter than any year in the preceding
century, NASA said in a statement.
The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said on
Thursday the current weak El Nino will diminish and end during the
next three months.
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