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Bush's 'Elmer Gantry' Politics
By Robert Parry
February 21, 2005

A central media narrative of Election 2000 was that Al Gore was a calculating politician who would do whatever it took to win, while George W. Bush was just a regular guy who spoke from the heart, wasn't obsessed with winning, and disdained political calculation.

This narrative – combined with attacks on Gore's honesty – was decisive in making Election 2000 close enough for Bush to seize victory despite losing the national popular vote. But new disclosures suggest that the dominant media narrative of that historically important campaign was way off the mark.

Not only did Bush display a political ruthlessness by stopping the vote-counting in Florida in December 2000, but just-released tape recordings reveal an ambitious Gov. Bush in 1998 honing his religious pitch to conservative Christians, rehearsing how he would nail down their support by stressing his devotion to Jesus Christ.

The tapes were recorded by Doug Wead, a longtime Bush family adviser who counseled both George Bushes on how to talk to religious conservatives. Wead's strategies first surfaced before the 1988 presidential campaign as he gave pointers to then-Vice President George H.W. Bush on how to "signal" messages to Christian fundamentalists.

Wead's Memos

In a series of memos, Wead advised the senior George Bush to "signal early and signal often," meaning that references to God should be inserted into speeches and that meetings should be held with celebrity Evangelicals. The idea was that secular voters would miss the significance of these messages, but Christian fundamentalists would understand.

Comment: It seems that Wead's assessment of the voters was dead on.

The elder George Bush resisted this manipulative advice apparently out of discomfort over mixing religion and politics. But the junior George Bush – then a senior adviser to his father's campaign – seized on the recommendations.

"George would read my memos, and he would be licking his lips saying, 'I can use this to win Texas,'" Wead said in an interview published in GQ magazine in September 2003.

George W. Bush indeed proved he could use Wead's techniques for winning Texas. He defeated incumbent Gov. Ann Richards in 1994 and rolled to a resounding re-election in 1998. In September 1998, already eyeing the White House, Bush prepared for a meeting with conservative Christian leaders by again consulting Wead.

"As you said, there are some code words," Bush said in a tape-recorded conversation, recently given by Wead to the New York Times. "There are some proper ways to say things and some improper ways. … I am going to say that I've accepted Christ into my life. And that's a true statement."

Comment: Bush's comment here is rather interesting. Why would he add, "And that's a true statement"? Perhaps because he knows full well that his target audience understands the words, "I've accepted Christ into my life" in a vastly different way than Bush himself does. Bush knew exactly what he was doing. He wasn't intelligent enough to figure it out on his own, but he understood and used the manipulation once it was explained to him.

Rehearsing how he would make the pitch, Bush said, "I'm going to tell them the five turning points in my life: accepting Christ, marrying my wife, having children, running for governor, and listening to my mother."

Other "code words" delivered to the Christian fundamentalists appeared to be more blunt. On the first day of his second term as Texas governor, Bush told a group of supporters, "I believe that God wants me to be president," according to Richard Land, a director of the Southern Baptist Convention who was at the meeting. [See PBS's Frontline report, "The Jesus Factor"]

Past Drug Use

Bush's conversations with conservative pastors also helped him refine how he would duck questions during Campaign 2000 about drug use and other indiscretions of his early adulthood, according to Wead's tapes.

Reciting these lessons, Bush said, "What you need to say time and time again is not talk about the details of your transgressions but talk about what I have learned. ... I've sinned and I've learned."
Bush called this mantra – admitting to "immature" actions without specifying what they were – "part of my shtick."

The tapes also show that Bush was not just the easygoing fellow who didn't care much about winning – the image that the national media fell for in 2000. George W. Bush was ready to play hardball against Al Gore, like his father had done with Democrat Michael Dukakis in 1988.

"I may have to get a little rough for a while," Bush told Wead. "But that is what the old man had to do with Dukakis, remember?"

As far as most of the American journalists on the campaign trail were concerned, however, Gore was the "ruthless" candidate who would do whatever it took to win. [For more on the media's mishandling of Campaign 2000, see Consortiumnews.com's "Al Gore v. the Media" and "Protecting Bush-Cheney." Wead, who still supports Bush, said he recorded the tapes for historical purposes. Excerpts appear in the New York Times, Feb. 20, 2005.]

God's Choice

After winning the White House in 2000, Bush consolidated his hold over the Christian fundamentalists by presenting himself as one of the most overtly religious presidents in modern times. Though Bush rarely went to church, he peppered his speeches with phrases that had special meaning for Evangelicals.

Comment: He rarely went to church?? That is surely not the sign of a saintly, god-fearing Christian soul...

After the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, Bush said "the Almighty" inspired his decisions and referred to the war against Islamic terrorism as a "crusade" and a "calling" that pitted good against evil. Many conservative Christians came to see Bush as the de facto leader of their movement, replacing Evangelical leaders, such as Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell.  

The notion of Bush as God's messenger came to pervade the thinking of many Christian fundamentalists. Some viewed Bush's unusual rise to the presidency – despite getting fewer votes than Gore in Florida and across the United States – as divine intervention. [For more on the results of Election 2000, see Consortiumnews.com's "So Bush Did Steal the White House."]

Comment: You see, for Christian fundamentalists, hanging chads and rigged voting machines are the work of the Lord. Those who question the legality of the elections and the tactics employed by Bush are heathen sinners. The truth of Bush's rise to power is irrelevant, because the fundamentalists are quite anxious to ascend into heaven while laughing at the rest of us who are "left behind". The more chaos Bush brings, the more they love him. And Bush and his handlers know it...

Even mainstream media and political figures began bowing to this quasi-religious idea that God wanted George W. Bush to be president.

On Dec. 23, 2001, for instance, NBC's Tim Russert joined New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and First Lady Laura Bush in ruminating about whether divine intervention put Bush in the White House to handle the Sept. 11 crisis.

Russert asked Mrs. Bush if "in an extraordinary way, this is why he was elected." Mrs. Bush objected to Russert's suggestion that "God picks the president, which he doesn't."

Giuliani thought otherwise. "I do think, Mrs. Bush, that there was some divine guidance in the president being elected. I do," the mayor said. McCarrick also saw some larger purpose, saying: "I think I don't thoroughly agree with the First Lady. I think that the president really, he was where he was when we needed him."

While Mrs. Bush and other more moderate Christians found the notion of God picking presidents somewhere between silly and offensive, Bush's White House image-makers have done nothing to discourage this growing belief among right-wing Christians. For some, Bush's invasion of Iraq even became an omen of the coming Rapture, in which Christians go to Heaven and a vengeful Jesus returns to rule the non-believers on Earth.

Craig Paul Roberts, a former Reagan administration official and an associate editor on the Wall Street Journal's editorial page, began to encounter these strange beliefs when he criticized the Iraq War.
"America has blundered into a needless and dangerous war, and fully half of the country's population is enthusiastic," Roberts wrote in an essay about the fury he finds among Bush's true believers. "Many Christians think that war in the Middle East signals 'end times' and that they are about to be wafted up to Heaven."

Comment: Bush may be a psychopath, but his rise to power would not have been possible without the roughly forty percent of Americans who consider themselves evangelical Christians.

Roberts wrote that his Iraq War criticism made him an object of "much hate" often expressed in "violently worded, ignorant and irrational e-mails from self-professed conservatives who literally worship George Bush."

Roberts even compared these pro-Bush extremists to the Brownshirts, the thugs who helped Adolf Hitler bully his way to power in Germany and who "were ignorant, violent, delusional, and they worshipped a man of no known distinction."

 "Brownshirts' delusions were protected by an emotional force field," Roberts wrote. "Like Brownshirts, the new conservatives take personally any criticism of their leader and his policies. To be a critic is to be an enemy."

Roberts added, "Even Christians have fallen into idolatry. There appears to be a large number of Americans who are prepared to kill anyone for George Bush."

Comment: While the rest of us see the cognitive dissonance inherent in belief in a God of Love coupled with a hatred of those who disagree, fundamentalist Christians believe that expressing rage, hatred, or even harming anyone who is against Bush is not a sin - it is battling against the forces of evil, which is the fast track to heaven.

Though comparisons to Hitler's Brownshirts may strike some readers as excessive, there can be little doubt that George W. Bush used Doug Wead's advice in ways that George H.W. Bush resisted.

What is less clear is exactly where George W. Bush's political expediency ends and his real political-religious views begin. In other words, is Bush someone who is simply making political hay out of his genuine religious feelings – or is he a political Elmer Gantry who cynically exploits religious "code words" to rally support and to shield himself from criticism?

Beyond the issue of Bush's sincerity, there may be even a bigger question: whether Bush's success in wrapping himself in a cloak of Christian mythology signals the "end times" for the United States as a democratic Republic based on rational discourse.

Comment: Given the current decline of American "freedom and democracy", the answer to the last question posed by the author is obvious. We also have to wonder about the claims regarding Bush presented in the following article:

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Flashback: White House Letter: Why is Bush reading Tom Wolfe? Don't ask
Elisabeth Bumiller
International Herald Tribune
Monday, February 7, 2005

WASHINGTON - If you ask the White House what President George W. Bush is reading these days, the press office will call back with the official list: "His Excellency: George Washington," by Joseph J. Ellis, "Alexander Hamilton" by Ron Chernow and, not least, the Bible.

What the official list omits is Tom Wolfe's racy new beer- and sex-soaked novel, "I Am Charlotte Simmons." The president, a Wolfe fan, has not only read the book but is enthusiastically recommending it to friends.

It is unclear exactly what Bush liked so much about the book, which is told from the point of view of a young woman from the God-fearing backwoods of North Carolina, Charlotte Simmons, the first in her family to go to college. Charlotte, who is at first shocked by the booze and debauchery she encounters at Wolfe's Dupont University, modeled on Duke among others, eventually succumbs in a chapter-long deflowering scene at the hands of a drunken fraternity rat. Then she sinks into depression. [...]

"Well, a 74-year-old man wrote it," Wolfe replied. He said he had no idea why Bush liked it. "I imagine he responded to the blinding talent," Wolfe added, chuckling, "but beyond that, I'm just not sure."

Wolfe, who voted for Bush and was invited by the first lady to the White House last year to speak at a salute to the authors Eudora Welty, Flannery O'Connor and Truman Capote, said he had not talked to the president about his book. But he said that Bush's father once told him how much he liked "The Bonfire of the Vanities," Wolfe's novel about New York City bond traders and racial politics during the excesses of the 1980s.

Friends note that the current President Bush has read every one of Wolfe's books, including "A Man in Full," the behemoth about real estate and social change in Atlanta in the 1990s.

Bush, who does his reading for pleasure on Air Force One, on weekends and before bed at night, has long said he prefers books to channel surfing, although he does watch television sports. [...]

Bush noted that he liked the Hamilton biography because "it was a very interesting history of how hard it was to get democracy started." He also told Lamb that he alternates between reading the Bible every day in one year and a daily devotional by Oswald Chambers, a Protestant minister of Scotland from a century ago, the next.

Bush told Lamb that "Oswald Chambers was one of the great Christian thinkers" and that "the easier it is to understand what he writes, I think, the more understanding of religion a person becomes." This year, the president said, he is once again making his way through the Bible.

He did not utter a word to Lamb about "I am Charlotte Simmons."

Comment: Does Bush really read the Bible? Are the rumors of Jesus' invasion of the White House really true, or are they simply more propaganda to fire up the religious right?

Consider the recent revelations generally referred to as "Gannongate". On the one hand we have a president who, along with most of his administration, is supposed to be the most conservative and deeply religious US leader in years. On the other hand, we have a male prostitute parading around as a journalist and lobbing softball questions at Bush during press conferences. Gannon/Guckert obviously had someone on the inside of the White House doing him some serious favors.

The thing is, Gannongate is not the first scandal of this type to hit the Bush family and the Republicans. For such a "religious" party, the gang seem to have some issues with homosexual prostitutes being invited to the White House...

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Homosexual Prostitution Inquiry Ensnares VIPs with Reagan, Bush

'Call Boys' took midnight tour of White House
Paul M. Rodriguez and George Archibald
The Washington Times
June 29, 1989

A homosexual prostitution ring is under investigation by federal and District authorities and includes among its clients key officials of the Reagan and Bush administrations, military officers, congressional aides and US and foreign businessmen with close social ties to Washington's political elite, documents obtained by The Washington Times reveal.

One of the ring's high-profile clients was so well-connected, in fact, that he could arrange a middle-of-the-night tour of the White House for his friends on Sunday, July 3, of last year. Among the six persons on the extraordinary 1 a.m. tour were two male prostitutes.

Federal authorities, including the Secret Service, are investigating criminal aspects of the ring and have told male prostitutes and their homosexual clients that a grand jury will deliberate over the evidence throughout the summer, The Times learned.

Reporters for this newspaper examined hundreds of credit-card vouchers, drawn on both corporate and personal cards and made payable to the escort service operated by the homosexual ring. Many of the vouchers were run through a so-called "sub-merchant" account of the Chambers Funeral Home by a son of the owner, without the company's knowledge.

Among the client names contained in the vouchers - and identified by prostitutes and escort operators - are government officials, locally based US military officers, businessmen, lawyers, bankers, congressional aides and other professionals.

Editors of The Times said the newspaper would print only the names of those found to be in sensitive government posts or positions of influence. "There is no intention of publishing names or facts about the operation merely for titillation," said Wesley Pruden, managing editor of The Times.

The office of US Attorney General Jay B. Stephens, former deputy White House counsel to President Reagan, is coordinating federal aspects of the inquiry but refused to discuss the investigation or grand jury actions.

Several former White House colleagues of Mr. Stephen are listed among clients of the homosexual prostitution ring, according to the credit card records, and those persons have confirmed that the charges were theirs.

Mr. Stephen's office, after first saying it would cooperate with The Times' inquiry, withdrew the offer late yesterday and also declined to say whether Mr. Stephens would recuse himself from the case because of possible conflict of interest.

At least one highly placed Bush administration official and a wealthy businessman who procured homosexual prostitutes from the escort services operated by the ring are cooperating with the investigation, several sources said. [...]

Comment: It seems that the administrations of both Bush Sr. and Reagan had regular visits from male prostitutes, and security wasn't a problem back then, either. All the news anchors and politicians who are "shocked, just shocked" at the recent breach of security at the White House in the Guckert case obviously don't know US history very well.

Perhaps the real reason the Guckert case is being buried is because of the harm it could do to the illusion that Bush is the "Messiah". The other sixty percent of the US population still needs to be hoodwinked into submission to the War Machine. Although the propaganda and brainwashing is powerful, this other segment of America does not believe in the infallibility of God's Representative on Earth. They might decide that Bush is a clown if he and/or his administration are having late night parties with rented "MilitaryStuds" and allowing some of them into the White House the next day to pose as reporters - and who knows what else.

In any case, the problems facing America today are only compounded by the complicity of the Democratic party. Thanks to the Gannon scandal, one source found some interesting information linking the two parties...

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"Gannon" scandal leads to link between high-level Republicans, high-level Democrats
by Carol Rawle
February 15, 2005
Unknown News

Over the weekend, while pursuing information that might lead to uncovering connections between the Bush White House and the 'non-reporter' Jeff Gannon, aka James Guckert, a blogger may have stumbled onto information that could begin to uncover a possible alliance between the Republican and Democratic leadership.

On Saturday, Feb. 12, a blogger, going by the screen-name "Do You Ever Wonder", posted the first of his discoveries as a thread on Democratic Underground.com.

The evidence shows that John Kerry had hired the Washington lobbying firm Quinn Gillespie & Associates to do work for his 2004 campaign. The firm's two founding partners are each political heavy-hitters, Jack Quinn for the Democratic Party and Ed Gillespie as 2004 Republican National Committee chairman.

From information gleaned from the firm's web site, it was learned that Marc Lampkin, a Quinn Gillespie lobbyist, was a Bush campaign manager, while another employee of the firm, Bruce Andrews, was political director for the Kerry/Edwards coordinating committee in Pennsylvania. Yet another employee, Manuel Ortiz, was involved in the overall leadership structure of the Democratic Party, including both policy and fundraising, raising money for Kerry.

A large, influential public relations firm such as this might normally have clients of all political persuasions, and were it not a presidential election year, it would raise nary an eyebrow. However, for the chair of the Republican National Committee (even though Gillespie officially took "unpaid leave" from his firm to work on Bush's 2004 campaign) to be just one degree removed from the Kerry campaign, casts a shadow of suspicion regarding possible collusion between the Democratic and Republican parties. At the very least, it represents an obvious conflict of interest.

For those of us who find the entire manner in which the Kerry campaign was conducted "odd", including Kerry's abrupt concession, this is simply more evidence to support the suspicion that Kerry threw the 2004 election.

Comment: We have been saying for quite some that there are no longer two main parties in US politics. Kerry was a straw man for Bush to knock down in the 2004 election. Any opposition from Democrats in America today is arranged simply for show. It is clear that although their growl may be fierce, the declawed Democrats have no bite.

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What pride can a country have when its president is an unabashed liar?
SourceDate: Mon, 21 Feb 2005 11:04:06 -0500
From: Kenneth T. Tellis

To: Editor@VHeadline.com
Subject: Let the truth prevail!

I got into a website called: Publiuspundit.com which apparently does not like my letters on your website ... and refers to me as: CRAZY PEOPLE ON THE INTERNET.

In America, throughout its history, it has replaced the truth with a lie, to the point that the truth is no longer tolerated.

Thus like Nazi Germany anyone who challenges their lies becomes the enemy. These Nazis (Republican party faithful) think they can threaten the world into submission, but that is mistake they never want to make.

In a letter which had the heading on your site as: "Tomorrow belongs to Latino Americanos" ... it is there to take for the asking... They have attempted to discredit me and call me a raving lunatic.

If telling the truth makes me a lunatic, then I would rather be a lunatic than a Nazi (Republican) and follower of George W. (Cowboy) Bush. The best part is in their stupidity they claim that I have a website dedicated to American terrorism.

For me to get these morons angry, reminds one of the Nazi era in Germany during the 1930s when one could be shot for making a comment about the Nazi party.

Freedom is really in danger when free speech and truth are not tolerated in a society.

The US for a country that claims to promote liberty and justice is sadly lacking in both. To even claim that the essay was totally unsubstantiated is to put it mildly.

Unlike those Americans who have never left their own cities, I have had the opportunity to travel worldwide and meet the common people of many countries. My experience and knowledge came from those travels, not just as a tourist but someone who was in search of truth.

I would not dare write on a subject in which I had no knowledge ... so to put my essay as falsehood, is typical of those who are afraid of the truth.

I studied the overthrow of the Arbenz government in Guatemala by the CIA working in collusion with the United Fruit Co. and the US puppet regime of Castillo Armas.  Taking up the story of Salvador Allende of Chile whose murder and overthrow was arranged at the White House in 1973. The attacks on Panama and Grenada. Followed by the setting up of proxy regimes in Peru, Bolivia and Paraguay.
If the record of the US was clean, there would be no questions asked.

But the record of the United States of America is one where the blood of the innocents has been shed over and over again.

What pride can a country have when its president is an unabashed liar?

We saw this in the prelude to the invasion of Iraq ... not only did the Cowboy president of the US lie about Iraq having Weapons of Mass Destruction, but it was aired and made government policy, to the point where Secretary of State Colin Powell went to the United Nations and repeated the lie.

The policy of the Bush regime has been to lie till its blue in the face, and it a regime that cannot be trusted.

I have no regrets for having written the truth and will not fear those American Nazis such as Publish Pundit.

If I do, then GOD help the future mankind.

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Injustice, in Secret
Monday, February 21, 2005

ATTORNEYS FOR the Justice Department appeared before a federal judge in Washington this month and asked him to dismiss a lawsuit over the detention of a U.S. citizen, basing their request not merely on secret evidence but also on secret legal arguments. The government contends that the legal theory by which it would defend its behavior should be immune from debate in court. This position is alien to the history and premise of Anglo-American jurisprudence, which assumes that opposing lawyers will challenge one another's arguments.

Ahmed Abu Ali was arrested in June 2003 in Saudi Arabia. He and his family claim the arrest took place at the behest of U.S. officials who, though unable to bring a case against him, have encouraged the Saudis to keep him locked up. The facts are murky, and Judge John D. Bates refused in December to dismiss the case, writing that he needed more information before he could decide whether a U.S. court has jurisdiction.

Since then, the U.S. government has acted to frustrate all reasonable searches for answers. It has moved to stay discovery based on secret evidence. It has proposed adding to the facts at Judge Bates's disposal by submitting secret evidence that Mr. Abu Ali's attorneys would have no opportunity to challenge. Most recently, it urged that the case be dismissed on the basis, yet again, of secret evidence -- this time supplemented with what a Justice Department lawyer termed "legal argument [that] itself cannot be made public without disclosing the classified information that underlies it."

Judge Bates is cautious and generally deferential to government concerns. Yet he was evidently disturbed by this argument, at one point asking whether the government could identify "any case in which . . . even the legal theory for dismissal is not known to the other side?" The government could not.

In this case, the liberty of a U.S. citizen is at stake. It is not clear what role the U.S. government played in his arrest, nor that he is innocent. What is clear is that Mr. Abu Ali has been held for 20 months without being charged and that, as Judge Bates wrote in December, his lawyers "have presented some unrebutted evidence that [his] detention is at the behest and ongoing direction of United States officials." It should be unthinkable that the courts would resolve this matter without hearing from both sides on key legal questions. It should have been unthinkable for the government to propose such a step.

Comment: The precedent set by this landmark case, if allowed by the judge, will be just one more nail in the coffin of the last vestiges of so-called American justice. Not only do the lawyers for the state argue that evidence against the accused is too secret for the defendant's lawyers to see, but that the reasons for keeping the evidence secret should be kept secret as well.

To put it bluntly; anyone can be named as a terrorist by the U.S. government and subsequently have no recourse by law to defend themselves. And lest the average American citizen think that because they are not Muslim makes them immune to such biased prosecution, time it seems, will surely prove them otherwise.

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'Nothing will ever divide us,' Bush tells Europe
Feb 21, 2005

Comment: "I believe it is peace for our time..."

- Neville Chamberlain, Sept 30, 1938

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Airliner said to fuel CIA ghost jail system
February 22, 2005
WASGHINTON - The CIA allegedly whisked foreign terrorism suspects to clandestine interrogation facilities using a Boeing 737 dedicated for that purpose, according to Newsweek magazine.

The allegation, if proven, is "further evidence that a global 'ghost' prison system, where terror suspects are secretly interrogated, is being operated by the CIA", Newsweek reported.

The magazine wrote that it had obtained the aircraft's flight plans, indicating that the CIA had used the plane "as part of a top-secret global charter servicing clandestine interrogation facilities used in the war on terror".

It said US Federal Aviation Administration records showed the plane was owned by Premier Executive Transport Services, a now-defunct company based in Massachusetts.

US intelligence sources told the magazine the company fitted the profile of a suspected CIA front. The plane's records date to December 2002 and show flights up until February 7, the magazine said.

Newsweek also noted previously disclosed flight plans of a smaller Gulfstream V jet used for similar purposes. [...]

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NZ-based ex-spy exposes Soviet secrets
20 February 2005

Alexander Kouzminov, green-eyed and serious, helped prepare Soviet war plans to poison the west. Now he is a Ministry of Health scientist doing environmental health and safety in New Zealand. Yes, he says in his Russianised English, I was a poacher and now I am a gamekeeper. He doesn't smile.

Kouzminov is short and hard, a kung fu exponent and painter of watercolours. He likes organ music, French poetry, Pushkin, and privacy. But the secretive former spy has now hurled himself into the limelight, publishing a book to warn the world about the dangers of biological terrorism. This puts him in a difficult position.

We can talk about the future of the planet. We can't talk about a lot of personal stuff, such as what his dad did for a living. He is always polite, but you can hear what he is thinking: what part of nyet don't you understand? The PhD in biological science from Moscow State University rarely blinks, and his face is as smooth and motionless as marble. Just occasionally he puts aside his geopolitical project and laughs. "A while ago," he jokes when asked how old he is, "I could call myself AK47. But now I'm AK48." He and his wife Irina brought their two daughters and two suitcases to New Zealand in December 1994: "The day the war began between Russia and Chechnya." Nobody knew he had once been in the KGB. The family lives quietly in Wellington. Irina, a gifted pianist who chose to be a journalist instead, gives music lessons. September 11, Kouzminov explains, put an end to his "peaceful" life of anonymity. The world had witnessed the terror of airborne terrorism. But Kouzminov knew that biological terror could be far worse, and decided he had better say so.

"It was very difficult to organise an attack simultaneously on the towers and the Pentagon and the residency of the president," he notes. "Technically it was difficult. But with biological weapons it's much easier to do that." Biological weapons, he says, are easy to make. "Even biologists with a masters degree may produce a nasty bug." Terrorists cold launch toxic viruses that do not stop at national borders. The wrong sort of bug could bring global catastrophe.

So he wrote a book, Biological Espionage, exposing the super-secret Department 12 of Directorate S of the KGB: the department that specialised in biological warfare. British espionage writer Nigel West, who has written the foreword, says that till now western experts knew nothing about Department 12.

Kouzminov worked in the department from late 1984 till 1992, running "illegals" - deep cover spies - in Western Europe. The Soviet Union, he says, penetrated the heart of the west's biological warfare programmes. It also made plans to hide toxins in strategic places in preparation for what the Russian spies called "D-Day" - the day the war began.

AK49 played a minor role in these plans himself. He was asked to analyse a five-page report on Soviet "dead drops" close to an Australian naval base used by the American navy. Where should the biological weapons of mass destruction be stashed, and how could they best be used to poison the garrison? Through the water supply, the air conditioning and ventilation system, or some other way?

Kouzminov joined the KGB, he says, partly out of "romance". He liked the louche glamour of espionage. Besides, he says, every country has its intelligence services, and every country seeks to preserve its interests. And he thought the Soviet system was a good one: "We had a very good education, we had a good health system, we don't need to pay any extra money. Ordinary people had the good life, the peaceful life." When he joined the KGB in 1984 he discovered that the spies had been watching him ever since he started studying science after his compulsory two years in the army. Department T and Department S had even fought over who would get him. He discovered that his student hostel had been bugged, and they knew all about him. The KGB had decided that he and Irina were an "ideal couple", loyal and reliable.

In fact, the pair privately harboured dangerous thoughts. They sympathised with the dissidents persecuted by the Soviet state. Kouzminov read the novels of the great dissenter Alexander Solzhenitsyn. "We discussed among ourselves that they were good guys, they tell the truth. But for us to oppose official state was very dangerous." Kouzminov notes that he never worked for the section of the KGB that hounded the democrats.

He studied spycraft while finishing his PhD, a desperately busy double life. During the day he would carry out his training exercises - one was to penetrate the pornographic movie business - and at night he would write about peptides. His main teacher, Colonel Yuri E - Kouzminov's book divulges few of his former colleague's names - disliked the "smart-pants" scientist. But he graduated as one of the best student spies.

One of his tasks at the department was to pick up biological samples from Sheremetyevo airport that had been smuggled out of the west. Dangerous pathogens arrived in insecure white foam plastic boxes sealed with tape and were rushed at "shocking speed" in a car to KGB secret laboratories. Two of his colleagues died mysteriously and suddenly: he thinks from accidental poisoning.

The spies sent back not only samples but enormous quantities of information about western biological research. There was even a spy ring in the World Health Organisation.

Department S took a special interest in genetic research. "Genetic" or "ethnic" biological weapons could target specific ethnic groups. Biochemical weapons could target chemicals in the brain that affect and control human emotions, causing mass panic and terror. Kouzminov also saw the other side of the KGB spy scandal that hit New Zealand in 1991. Agent Anvar Kadyrov was expelled for seeking a passport in the name of a New Zealand boy who had died aged six. Kouzminov reveals that Kadyrov's illegal support officer, Major Valery M, was also expelled.

He met him back in Moscow, "angered and dishevelled. He swore with his full range of vocabulary at Directorate S and its Second Department, and the country of New Zealand and its people, which he had underestimated". Kouzminov quit the KGB in 1992 for ethical reasons. He learned the agency was involved in the abortive August coup against Mikhail Gorbachev, the reformist Soviet leader. He remembers the bright sunny morning in Moscow when tanks and soldiers suddenly appeared on the ring road. The retired boss of Directorate S, General Yuri Ivanovich Drozdov, mysteriously showed up at work and said: "We had planned this since last December." And then, as the Soviet system crumbled, corruption set in. When his boss tried to involve him and his agents in a money-laundering scam involving emeralds, he refused and resigned from the service.

In 1994 he and Irina decided to move to New Zealand. He had read about this "beautiful" country as a boy and seen it in Russian movies. He hankered after the coral reefs of the South Pacific, the colourful paradise he had seen in Gaugin's paintings.

This sounds a far cry from windy Wellington, but Kouzminov loves his new country. The people are friendly but with a strong character, he says. The son of "ordinary working people" from the city of Cherepovetz, he was baptised into the Orthodox faith and still believes. Living in New Zealand, he says, made him realise that "something happened with Russia when religion was destroyed. If religion is strong, society is more stable". Now finishing a second PhD in environmental law at Auckland University, he loves the quiet life here. "I am proud I swore loyalty to the Queen and I want to help my new country." He believes the Soviet state was preparing for a biological war, "and luckily it didn't happen". But terrorists could unleash the biological demon, he says, unless the world acts. He wants to see an international body set up under the UN. The International Biological Security Agency, he suggests, would bring together the governments of the east and west, including their intelligence agencies. The spies, after all, are experts on the business. Pool their expertise, he says, and there is a fair chance of preventing terrorists or rogue scientists from poisoning the globe.

Could governments and spy agencies work together this way? Kouzminov himself believes that the KGB's successor, the SVR, is still doing biological espionage. Russia wouldn't abandon its "humungous" power just because of democratisation, he says. And the new privatised Russian economy gives spies much more scope to disguise themselves as businesspeople.

But look, says Kouzminov, governments co-operate together to prevent nuclear terrorism. Why can't they do something similar to fight the biological sort? In this case, it's the world versus the terrorists.

Is he afraid that his book - published this month in England and next month in New Zealand - will enrage his old colleagues? That they might send a hit squad to deal with him? Kouzminov gives his calm stare. He is trying to help his old country as well as his new one to avoid disaster, he says. And "I'm not a traitor". He doesn't smile.

Biological Espionage, published by Greenhill Books of London, should be available in New Zealand next month.

Comment: Apparently Russia isn't the only country doing research into biological weapons that target a specific ethnic group. See our Signs supplement on this very important issue for more information.

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South Africa seeks permission to retry apartheid germ warfare expert
22 February 2005 0410 hrs - AFP

JOHANNESBURG : The South African state sought permission from the Constitutional Court to retry apartheid germ warfare expert Wouter Basson who walked free on several charges including multiple murder three years ago.

In a marathon 30-month trial that cost an estimated 40 million rand (6.7 million dollars, 5.15 million euros), Basson was acquitted in April 2002 on 46 charges ranging from murder and fraud to drug-dealing.

"If the allegations are true, it means that he was one of the most serious offenders of crimes committed under apartheid," state lawyer Wim Trengove told the court on Monday.

Basson, 54, a former army brigadier, was head of the apartheid government's chemical and biological warfare programme for 12 years when South African troops were fighting black nationalists in neighbouring Namibia, Angola and at home.

During the trial, the court heard of plots to kill prominent black politicians with schemes as bizarre as an umbrella that fired deadly pellets, or lacing their clothes with toxins, as happened with anti-apartheid activist Frank Chikane, who was poisoned on a trip to the United States in 1989.

Witnesses testified how the heart surgeon's arsenal included cigarettes and envelope-flaps contaminated with anthrax, bottles of cholera and poisoned beer, whiskey, chocolates and sugar. [...]

Originally indicted on 67 charges in March 1999, Basson's defence early into his trial managed to quash several counts related to alleged conspiracies to murder opponents of the apartheid government in London, Namibia, Mozambique and Swaziland.

The charges were dropped because the alleged conspiracies happened outside South Africa.

It included a charge that Basson supplied knockout drugs to about 200 South West African Peoples Organisation (SWAPO) guerrillas in Namibia before dumping them from a plane into the ocean.

Basson was also allegedly involved in the poisoning of the water supply of a SWAPO refugee camp with cholera bacteria in 1989. [...]

Comment: In addition to Israel being one of the major investigators into ethnic-specific weapons intended for use on Arabs, it appears the Apartheid regime of South Africa was also doing research into this area, only in this case targeting the Black population.

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'Hariri assassins not Australian suspects'
By Nayla Assaf
Daily Star staff
Saturday, February 19, 2005

BEIRUT: Australian Federal Police said the men the Lebanese government has identified as suspects in the murder of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri are not linked to the assassination.

The denial by Australian police comes after Lebanese Justice Minister Adnan Addoum said Beirut police were on the trail of 14 suspects who left Lebanon for Australia within hours of Hariri's assassination.

Addoum said: "They left for Australia from Beirut airport a few hours after the attack. Traces of TNT powder were found on the seats some of them had occupied."

Addoum added the suspects are understood to have links with fundamentalist circles, but he did not specify if they were linked to the little-known group that claimed responsibility for Monday's assassination.

He said: "I can't say more because the investigations are taking their course."

But Jane O'Brien of the Australian Federal Police said federal officers interviewed the men but did not believe any were linked to the attack.

Sources close to the Public Prosecutor's Office told The Daily Star that 14 bearded men had initially left Beirut International Airport, but that two of them left the group after the plane stopped in the United Arab Emirates.

The men, all of whom are Australian nationals, had reportedly spent 25 days in Lebanon.

Prior to that, they had allegedly spent a few days in Saudi Arabia to perform the Hajj pilgrimage.

Commenting on Addoum's announcement, Chouf MP and opposition leader Walid Jumblatt called it "a myth."

Jumblatt said he had "received the list of names of the suspects 30 minutes after the blast, while Hariri's body was still lying on the ground." Jumblatt said Syrian and Lebanese security chiefs should be taken in for questioning and once again singled out Rustom Ghazaleh, the chief of Syrian Intelligence in Lebanon.

Meanwhile, speculation as to how the bombing was carried out continued to abound in Beirut.

The official theory remains centred on the blast being the work of a suicide bomber, despite a number of credible sources insisting that the blast was caused by a bomb placed below the surface of the road where Hariri's convoy was passing. The huge crater in the road left behind by the bombing tends to add weight to this theory according to independent security experts. According to former senior adviser of the United Nations Interim Forces In Lebanon (Unifil), Timur Goksel, the assassination could not have been a car bomb.

Goksel, who spent much of his term in South Lebanon dealing with explosions said: "If it were a car bomb, the damage would have been lateral and not vertical and the Saint Georges Hotel would have been swept away."

Goksel believes the explosion "almost certainly" came from the ground upward.

The opposition Free Patriotic Movement Web site shows a series of photographs and diagrams from the site of the blast which it insists prove the blast came from beneath the ground.

The Web site said the presence of large chunks of asphalt near the crater and an exposed manhole, both clearly visible in most pictures after the bombing, indicates the bomb had to have been planted below ground. The Web site adds: "If the explosion was above the ground, the (manhole) cover wouldn't fly off."

Chief military Magistrate Rashid Mezher has demanded police investigate recent road works in in the area and provide him with information on who commissioned the work as well as the identities of the laborers who carried out the work.

Mezher also asked for police dogs to look for the remains of Mohammed Ghalayini, a passer-by who is still reported missing.

He also appointed DNA expert Fouad Ayoub to study samples from the crime scene.

But sources close to the Public Prosecutor's Office insist the works recently undergone in the area were 400 meters further down from where the blast took place, towards the Vendome Intercontinental Hotel.

The group that initially claimed responsibility for the assassination, Victory and Jihad in the Levant, has been widely dismissed by experts who believe that the explosion was too sophisticated to be carried out by a minor organization.

Comment: Even though the "14 bearded men" are no longer considered suspects in the Hariri assassination, news that the men were all Australian nationals seems curious considering the recent expulsion of Israeli diplomat and likely Mossad operative Amir Laty for possible spying against Australia.

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France's Chirac Condemns Racism, Jews Demand Action
February 22, 2005

PARIS - French President Jacques Chirac on Tuesday condemned an attack in which swastikas were daubed on the main mosque in Paris, and faced pressure from Jewish groups to intensify the fight against anti-Semitism and all racism.

The graffiti scrawled on the outer wall of the Grand Mosque and an arson attack on a railway carriage that is now a monument to Jews killed by the Nazi Germans, were the latest in a wave of racist attacks that have alarmed Muslims and Jews in France.

Chirac telephoned Dalil Boubakeur, the rector of the Grand Mosque, to express his indignation over the graffiti.

"Everything will be done to find the culprits," Chirac said, according to a spokesman accompanying him on a trip to Brussels.

A dozen swastikas, the SS initials of Adolf Hitler's guard and the words "Get out!" were found Monday written in black paint on the outer wall of the mosque in central Paris.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, which Boubakeur called an "intolerable act of Islamophobia."

There has also been no claim of responsibility for the attack on the railway carriage at Drancy, just outside Paris.

Police said a petrol bomb was thrown at the carriage on Sunday night but it was not badly damaged. The Nazi Germans transported Jews by train from a transit camp at Drancy to death and concentration camps during World War II. [...]

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U.S., Iraqi forces launch offensive
Monday, February 21, 2005 Updated at 8:02 AM EST
Associated Press

Baghdad — U.S. marines broke down doors and raided houses Monday on the second day of an offensive aimed at cracking down on insurgent activity in several troubled cities west of Baghdad.

Shiites and their clergy-backed United Iraqi Alliance met Monday in Baghdad to renew discussions over who their prime ministerial candidate would be. But instead of narrowing the choices down, the field of potential candidates has grown to four, maybe even five, insiders said.

The two most prominent candidates have been former Pentagon favourite Ahmed Chalabi, a secular Shiite, and Ibrahim al-Jaafari, interim vice-president. The race may get more complicated following reports that the Shiites' initial pick for prime minister, Finance Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi, who has close ties to Iran, could become a compromise candidate.

Six explosions boomed through the capital before midday. The cause of the blasts was not immediately known. Footage from Associated Press Television News showed U.S. troops treating a soldier apparently injured in one of the blasts, which overturned a Humvee in the southern Doura neighborhood.

Militants announced the release of a pair of kidnapped Indonesian journalists missing since last week in a video delivered anonymously to Associated Press Television News. The Indonesian Foreign Ministry confirmed that the two had been freed.

In Ramadi, U.S. marines fanned out across the city, setting up checkpoints, searching cars and sealing off sections of the city to prevent people from entering or leaving as they carried out raids. Soldiers began the operation on Sunday, slapping a nighttime curfew on the city.

Iraqi Major Abdul Karim al-Faraji said troops detained a prominent Sunni Muslim sheik, Mohammed Nasir Ali al-Ijbie, who heads the al-Bufaraj tribe, along with 12 of his relatives. [...]

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Female Iraqi TV reporter kidnapped

Gunmen in Iraq have abducted a female Iraqi television presenter in the northern city of Mosul, an official from her local television network said today.

Raiedah Mohammed Wageh Wazan was abducted by several masked gunmen last night while she was returning to her house in Mosul's al-Shahwan neighbourhood, said the official.

No other details were immediately available.

On Wednesday, half a dozen mortar rounds were fired at the Mosul TV station, wounding three technicians working there.

An Arabic-language internet bulletin board carried a statement from al-Qaida's Iraq affiliate claiming responsibility for the mortar strike, but there was no way to verify the claim.

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This Day in History
February 21, 2005

In 1965 former Black Muslim leader Malcolm X, 39, was killed in New York by gunmen identified as Black Muslims.

In 1972 President Richard Nixon began his historic visit to China as he and his wife, Pat, arrived in Shanghai.

In 1973 Israeli fighter planes shot down a Libyan Airlines jetliner over the Sinai Desert, killing more than 100 people.

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Military can't solve missing man riddle
Mon, February 21, 2005

An intensive 19-month search that took military investigators to Asia has failed to turn up a highly trained Canadian explosives expert gone AWOL. Canadian Forces have called off the search for Sgt. Montgomery Paisley and kicked him out of the military.

The military's National Investigation Service report on Paisley, obtained under the Access to Information Act, was almost entirely censored by the Defence Department.

But information was included about NIS investigators' search of Paisley's home and their frequent contact with his family in New Brunswick and his girlfriend - all of whom claim not to have heard from Paisley since he left for Thailand in July 2003.


Published reports say Paisley emptied his bank account and tidied up his affairs before his trip.

The 16-year veteran of the Canadian Forces was working as an explosives expert with the secretive Joint Task Force 2 anti-terrorism force at the time.

Investigators failed to find an explanation of Paisley's disappearance or his final destination.

In July 2004, a full year after launching the probe, the NIS put Paisley's case on ice.

NIS spokesman Cpt. Mark Giles said a "quite extensive" probe to locate Paisley, which took military investigators to Thailand, came up empty.

"They've exhausted every avenue they have," Giles said.

Giles said investigators have ruled out foul play, and don't believe Paisley has joined one of the many mercenary groups working in and around Thailand.


"There was no indication that he left the Forces and left Canada to become part of some unsavoury activity," he said.

Giles said no proof has been found to determine whether Paisley is dead or alive, and his passport has not been used since his disappearance.

"It's an extremely strange situation," Giles said.

"It's one of those rare occurrences."

If Paisley surfaces, it will be up to his JTF 2 commanding officer to decide whether to press charges.

He could be tried in a military court martial and could face up to two years in jail.

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Police baffled by student's disappearance
Last Updated Feb 21 2005 08:40 AM MST
CBC News

CALGARY – Police spent the weekend searching downtown for a missing 25-year-old man, and call the student's disappearance baffling.

Michael Lewis was last seen leaving a social event in the early morning hours of Feb. 5.

Officers and volunteers searched the Bow River between 10th Street NW and the Calgary Zoo, but turned up no trace of the University of Calgary student.

Acting Staff Sgt. Frank Farkas says it's uncharacteristic for Lewis not be in contact with family and friends.

"Mr. Lewis was known to frequent restaurants in the downtown core," Farkas said. "He would typically walk from the downtown to his residence in the north of Calgary. Therefore, we just want to re-trace possibly any last activity, or any places he might have been at."

Police say they will now start sorting through tips that have come in through Crime Stoppers. Farkas says there is no evidence of suicide or foul play.

Comment: What this article neglects to mention is that on the night of his disappearance, Michael Lewis, a grad student in political science, gave a presentation on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

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By Paul Walter
February 18, 2005

Last week the House of Representatives passed an unconstitutional piece of legislation which will force all Americans to accept a national ID/driver's license. Those who refuse to accept this card will not be able to fly, take the train and one day you will be unable to travel the roads and streets without "your papers, please!" According to Congressman Ron Paul, "The bill establishes a huge, centrally database of highly personal information about American citizens: at a minimum their name, date of birth, place of residence, social security number and other sensitive data. [Read: National ID Bill Masquerading as Immigration Reform]

The bill even provides for this sensitive information to be shared with Canada and Mexico! Imagine a corrupt Mexican official selling thousands of identify files, including social security numbers to criminals."

Congressman Paul goes on to say, "Supporters claim the national ID scheme is voluntary. However, any state that opts out will automatically make non-persons out of its citizens. The citizens of that state will be unable to have any dealings with the federal government because their ID will not be accepted. They will not be able to fly or to take a train. In essence, in the eyes of the federal government they will cease to exist. It is absurd to call this voluntary, and the proponents of the national ID know that every state will have no choice but to comply."

Of course, this is unconstitutional and not just because the federal government has issued a direct threat to the sovereign states of the Union and their citizens. The driver's license and state identification cards are and always have been the domain of the states under the Tenth Amendment. Congress is trying to crush the independence of the states and the people should rise up and tell their U.S. Senators that while the House has passed this draconian piece of Nazi-style legislation, that you will refuse to accept these documents. Enormous heat must be put on the Senate to kill this legislation.
Only someone with their head in the sand can't see what's coming. Because these IDs will become like gold on the black market, counterfeiting will become so massive as we have already seen with theft identity, the next logical step is forced biometric implantable chips - into your right wrist. Congress is consistent at creating a mess and then destroying your rights to "fix it." Nothing could be further from the truth as we have seen over and over and over with all these broken government systems.

How can anyone deny this? Being forced to have a bio chip implanted under their skin isn't the Mark of the Beast as foretold in the Bible where you will be unable to do any business, commerce or travel without it? Now is the time to demand the Oregon State Legislature refuse to allow the federal machine to come into our state and force such draconian, Nazi-style intrusions into our lives. Speak up now or in a few years you'll be sporting the Mark of the Beast. Is our government using the fear and threat of terrorism to enslave us all? You bet they are.

Note: National drivers license is the precursor for the bio-chip implant. You see, if they demand bio chip implant right of the bat, people won't accept it. So, the stage has to be set first. Once the people accept the national drivers license, it will be a cinch to sell the sheep the bio chip implant, guaranteed, all in the name of security. And the 501-c-3 corporate church leadership will help them.

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High-tech border system is catching more criminals
SourceFeb. 20, 2005, 1:16AM
Los Angeles Times

SAN DIEGO - The U.S. Border Patrol has arrested tens of thousands of people with criminal records, including suspected murderers, rapists and child molesters, since the agency last year installed a fingerprinting system that identifies criminals among the 1 million illegal migrants apprehended annually.

The high-tech system is part of a broader effort by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to create a "virtual border" to stop terrorists and those with criminal pasts from entering the United States.

Quick results

The fingerprints of all detained illegal immigrants are now matched against the FBI's national criminal database through scanners installed at all 137 Border Patrol stations along the Mexican and Canadian borders. To process a person, all 10 fingerprints are rolled across a scanner, and the digitized images are compared against the database's 47 million records. The results usually come back within minutes.

About 30,000 of the 680,000 illegal migrants who were arrested from May through December were identified as having criminal records, compared with about 2,600 during the same period in 2002. Criminal illegal immigrants are those with past arrests or convictions for crimes ranging from shoplifting to murder.

The system has made it difficult for suspects to flee the country and then return. That was common in the past when illegal border-crossers who had criminal records or outstanding warrants often were simply deported because agents lacked tools to quickly investigate criminal histories.

"You never knew who the people were who you arrested," said Dale Landers, a supervisory agent who patrols east of San Diego. "This guy might look like someone who works in the fields, but he could have been a suspected killer."

Some suspects re-entered the United States and committed more crimes. One of them was Angel Maturino Resendiz, a train-riding drifter who had gone on a murder campaign in Texas, Illinois and Kentucky and was captured and released by border agents in 1999 despite his presence on the FBI's most-wanted list. He killed four more people before turning himself in. Among his victims was Dr. Claudia Benton of Houston.

Strain to the system

The surge in arrests probably will strain the ability of federal agencies to house and prosecute criminal illegal immigrants, law enforcement experts say.

How the Border Patrol handles the people it identifies depends on their records. People who have active warrants against them are handed over to the agencies that issued the warrants. Those with violent criminal records can be prosecuted for illegally re-entering the country and face potential 20-year prison terms.

People stopped at the border who have prior convictions for nonviolent crimes - the majority of cases - are usually deported, according to Border Patrol officials.

The technology overhaul, experts say, has greatly enhanced policing on the border. "It's a great step forward ... a great aid to law enforcement," said Joseph King, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.

The apprehensions provide a potential bright spot for Homeland Security. The department has been criticized for being slow to take advantage of new technologies that confirm the identities of people entering the United States.

A welcome net

Similar systems have been installed at many U.S. ports of entry, including airports, where only a small percentage of visitors are screened. Eventually, Homeland Security wants to scan the fingerprints of all foreign visitors.

The FBI criminal database contains terrorist watch lists as well as information on warrants and criminal histories. [...]

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Emergency landing as engine fails
Monday, 21 February, 2005, 11:35 GMT
BBC News

A jumbo jet carrying 351 passengers was forced to make an emergency landing after one of its engines failed during a transatlantic flight.

The British Airways flight 268 from Los Angeles was diverted to Manchester from Heathrow because the pilot feared he did not have enough fuel.

A power surge meant a port-side engine was shut down, but the plane carried on using its three remaining engines.

The 747 landed without problems on Sunday afternoon and no-one was hurt.

British Airways said the pilot had noticed problems with the engine one hour after take off.

The aircraft had enough fuel to reach Heathrow but, because of a strong headwind across the Atlantic Ocean, there was not enough to keep flying if it was forced to queue before landing.

A spokeswoman said it was not a major incident and fire engines at the scene were called only as a precaution.

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Tornado Bomber Catches Fire in Landing Emergency
Mon 21 Feb 2005
By Jude Sheerin, Scottish Press Association

A Tornado bomber was at the centre of a full-scale emergency after it caught fire when it was forced to land on just one set of wheels today.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said an inquiry was being launched into the incident, which left the two-man crew of the aircraft from RAF Lossiemouth shaken but uninjured.

The GR4 was returning to base in Moray when its pilot reported he could only lower the wheels on the left port side.

When the aircraft landed, an arresting wire brought it to a halt after it hit the runway at 180mph. Its right wing scraped and sparked across the tarmac catching fire. [...]

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Russian plane makes emergency landing in India
Feb 21/05

New Delhi, : An Il-96 aircraft of Russian carrier Aeroflot made an emergency landing at the international airport here Monday after its pressurisation control system developed snags, officials said.

"The Bangkok-Moscow Aeroflot flight was flying over India when the pilot noticed leaks in the pressurisation system. He then descended to 10,000 feet to maintain aircraft pressure," Indira Gandhi International Airport acting director Mandeep Lal told IANS.

After the automatic aircraft pressurisation system failed, the pilot again reduced altitude and maintained pressure using the manual mode.

"We made all arrangements as soon as the pilot requested permission for an emergency landing. The flight landed safely at 6.45 p.m.," Lal said.

The aircraft was carrying 108 passengers and crew. "All of them are safe," he said.

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Salinas man dies after getting hit by taser stun gun
KESQ News 3
 February 21, 2005

SALINAS, Calif. A Salinas man who was shot several times by police using a Taser electric stun gun has died.

Salinas police say Robert Clark Heston died around 7:30 last night. The 40-year-old Heston was hospitalized Saturday afternoon after his heart stopped when he was hit by taser darts.

Officers who responded to a report of a domestic disturbance say they saw Heston attack his 66-year-old father, and then attacked them as well.

Police say even after hitting Heston with several of the electric tasers, he resisted attempts to be taken into custody.
When officers were able to subdue him they noticed he had stopped breathing.

Police say they were able to revive Heston using C-P-R. He was taken to a Salinas hospital, where he died last night.

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Hundreds Dead After Strong Earthquake Hits Iran
By Raheb Homavandi
February 22, 2005

ZARAND, Iran - A powerful earthquake hit a mountainous region of southeast Iran Tuesday, killing almost 400 people, injuring hundreds and destroying villages, officials said.

The tremor, with a magnitude of 6.4, was centered on the town of Zarand, about 440 miles southeast of Tehran and just 160 miles from Bam, devastated by an earthquake that killed 31,000 people just over a year ago.

Distraught and weeping villagers carried dead bodies wrapped in bloodied blankets and bed sheets and scrabbled with their bare hands through rubble in search of friends and relatives. [...]

"The toll now stands at 377 dead and more than 1,000 injured," Ali Komsari, a spokesman for the Kerman provincial governor's office, told Reuters. [...]

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Mild quake sows panic in Indonesia's Sulawesi island
21 February 2005 1820 hrs

JAKARTA : An earthquake measuring 4.8 on the Richter scale shook the tremor-prone Indonesian town of Palu on the island of Sulawesi Monday, causing panic but no reported casualties or damage, an official said.

Residents fled their homes when the tremor struck, fearing a repeat of the December tsunami that devastated western Indonesia's Sumatra, police in the town told AFP.

The land quake -- the second relatively strong tremor to hit Palu since January -- was centered 49 kilometers (30 miles) south of the city and struck at 11:00 am (0400 GMT) Monday, an official of the Meteorology and Geophysics office in Jakarta said.

Monday's tremor is the latest jolt to hit Sulawesi after a 6.9 Richter scale tremor on Saturday raised sea levels and spread panic among thousands of residents in three towns on the island. [...]

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FEBRUARY 21, (RIA Novosti)

PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKY - Lava flowed down the slope of the highest Eurasian volcano Klyuchevskoi, melting a large section of the Ehrman glacier. The Klyuchevskoi volcano, which is the highest in Eurasia, is located on the Kamchatka Peninsula (North-East Russia). That region is also referred to as "Volcano and Glacier Country".

Talking to RIA Novosti here today, Alexei Ozerov, a senior research associate with the Volcanology and Seismology Institute (Far Eastern department of the Russian Academy of Sciences), noted that the 2.5-km lava flow, which had a temperature of 1,100 degrees centigrade, was moving along the Klyuchevskoi volcano's north-east slope.

Scientists boarded a helicopter, subsequently flying above the erupting volcano, and finding out that the afore-said lava flow had melted a large section of the massive Ehrman glacier on the volcano's slope. The Ehrman glacier, which measures 30 to 50 meters deep, reaches a depth of 300 meters in some places. [...]

Mount Klyuchevskoi, which is the highest Eurasian volcano, began to erupt January 17. A powerful glow can be seen above the huge volcano's crater at night. Meanwhile volcanic bombs are hurled 300 to 500 meters in the air.

The Klyuchevskoi volcano's top-crater (altitude, 4,822 meters above sea level) eruptions last between 30 days and several years.

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More than 115 dead after heavy snow, avalanches in Indian Kashmir
22 February 2005 0009 hrs

Forty-one killed as heavy snowfall brings Indian Kashmir to a halt
SRINAGAR, India : Avalanches that swept rugged Himalayan Kashmir killed at least 115 people at the weekend with scores missing after the heaviest snowfall in two decades brought the region to a near-halt, officials said.

Seventy bodies were recovered from avalanches overnight and Monday around Verinag, 80 kilometres (50 miles) south of Kashmir's summer capital Srinagar, and other southern villages, police said.

Four more people died Monday near the southern towns of Qazigund and Ramsu when heavy snow collapsed their houses, police said.

Since heavy snows started blanketing Kashmir two weeks ago, 133 people have died, including 19 soldiers.

Police said many are still reported as missing in avalanches from various parts of Kashmir, mostly around Verinag, adding army rescue and medical teams were searching for survivors.

"The death toll could be higher as we are losing hope for the missing," a police officer said, adding there were no avalanches on Monday. [...]

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Almost 150 feared dead in Indonesian landslide
21 February 2005 1458 hrs

JAKARTA : Some 146 people are believed to have died under hundreds of tonnes of garbage and earth on Indonesia's main island on Monday when heavy seasonal rain unleashed a massive landslide, police said.

The landslide struck in the early hours when people were asleep and flattened up to 70 homes built in the shadow of a dumpsite at Cimahi, near Bandung, around 200 kilometres southeast of Jakarta.

Television footage showed whole houses buried under tonnes of earth and rubbish, with splintered rafters and smashed roof tiles littering the area.

Scores of rescuers and search teams from the military, police and local residents were desperately scouring the site in the forlorn hope of rescuing some of those missing.

"We believe that there are 139 people still buried under the garbage... it appears that all of them are buried and it is very likely that they are all dead," Police Commissioner Susiyanti told AFP.

Seven bodies had already been recovered from the disaster scene.

"The situation is still grave but we will continue rescue efforts while the weather still allows us to do so," she said, adding that while the rain had stopped, dark clouds remained.

The recovery effort was being hindered because rescuers feared triggering further landslides by disrupting the unstable ground, she added.

Second Sergeant Sudrajat from the Batujajar subdistrict police post said that while seven bodies had been dragged from shattered homes at the edge of the landslide, only five people had been pulled out alive.

The dumpsite was located on top of a hill above the homes and heavy rain had saturated the mountains of trash, causing the tragedy, she explained.

A policeman in Cimahi named Awan told AFP that at least 70 houses were engulfed by the landslide. [...]

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Calif. Storm Creates Mudslides; 3 Killed
Associated Press Writer
Published February 21, 2005, 5:40 PM CST

LOS ANGELES -- Mudslides trapped people in their homes Monday and forced others to flee as Southern California was soaked by yet another of the powerful storms that have pounded the region this winter.

At least three deaths were blamed on the weather and part of the area's commuter rail service was halted.

Rescuers pulled three people from about 10 feet of mud that flowed into a town house in Hacienda Heights, a suburb east of Los Angeles. One woman was flown to a hospital while the other two escaped with only minor injuries, said Los Angeles County Fire Capt. Mark Savage.

That same mudslide had forced the evacuation of 30 people from five units at the complex, as well as residents of five homes on the hill above it, Savage said.

The latest batch of rain, snow and hail started battering the region Sunday, part of a series of storms that arrived Friday and was expected to continue into Tuesday.

Since Thursday, downtown Los Angeles had gotten about 6.5 inches of rain. The city's total since July 1, the start of the region's "water year," has reached 31.40 inches, making it already the fifth wettest on record, said weather service forecaster Bruce Rockwell. The record, 38.18 inches, was set in 1883-1884.

Besides the mudslide victims in Hacienda Heights, mudslides and flooding chased about 30 people from 11 homes in Glendale, north of downtown Los Angeles, officials said. Three homes on an unstable hill were evacuated in nearby Pasadena and up to 10 homes were flooded in Fullerton.

A giant man-made lake in San Diego County spilled over a dam for the first time since 1998. The lake empties into a river and the overflow was not a threat, authorities said.

The California Highway Patrol reported more than 300 crashes in a 14-hour period, compared with between 50 and 75 accidents on a normal, dry day. [...]

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Rain check: L.A. soggier than Seattle
By Charles F. Bostwick, Staff Writer
Monday, February 21, 2005

What's wetter than San Francisco or even Seattle?

Los Angeles -- at least this winter -- which is headed for its second-rainiest season since 1877, when the National Weather Service began keeping records.

Rainfall as of Monday afternoon totaled 32.03 inches downtown, more than three times the normal through the date of 9.89 inches and bearing down on the annual record of 38.18 inches set in 1883-84.

"It is possible before the season is over that we'd even top the record," National Weather Service technician Bruce Rockwell said Monday. [...]

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Military telescope enlists in doomsday asteroid patrol
Last Updated Feb 21 2005 12:06 PM MST
CBC News

CALGARY – Scientists in Calgary have enlisted a retrofitted 1950s military telescope to help them spot massive asteroids that could theoretically collide with Earth with catastrophic results.

The telescope, which was used to track satellites during the Cold War, required $500,000 worth of upgrades to prepare it for its new assignment.

"The electronics needed to be redone," Mike Mazur, a geophysicist at the University of Calgary, said. "The motors needed to be replaced, the mechanics of the mount were modified considerably, the optics as well."

The Calgary telescope has a large field of vision, making it one of fewer than 10 places in the world equipped to search for an asteroid.

By using information from the telescope nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, the team hopes it will be better prepared to spot a doomsday rock hurtling towards Earth.

"If we had a big object impact the Earth, like a 10-kilometre diameter, it would cause a mass extinction," Alan Hildebrand, a planetary scientist at the U of C, said. "Our civilization would be almost entirely wiped out, along with thousands of other species."

In the 1990s, Hildebrand used rock samples to show that an asteroid or comet created a massive crater in Mexico millions of years ago. Many scientists believe the event led to the extinction of the dinosaurs.

In the meantime, space scientists aren't losing sleep over the potential threat.

If someone uses a telescope like the one in Calgary to spot a massive asteroid on a collision course with Earth, Hildebrand said it's conceivable that a spacecraft could be sent up with the goal of knocking the rock out of harm's way.

"Somehow, a rocket propulsion system would be put on the asteroid to change its orbit slightly so it would miss the Earth," he said.

The scientists believe asteroids are valuable, saying one day it may be possible for humans to travel there, mine them and bring back minerals to our planet.

Comment: Considering the numerous reports of meteorites and space rocks that have been reported in the media in recent days, along with a great deal of evidence to suggest that the PTB know full well that our planet is about to undergo an enormous barrage of celestial debris, the fact that there are less than 10 telescopes in the entire world designed to spot these rocks, should give the intelligent reader enough clues as to the real motives of our benevolent leaders.

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UFO sightings hit record pace
2005-02-21 02:52:59

WINNIPEG -- There were no little green men to be seen but there were plenty of strange occurrences in the night sky last year. A national survey by Ufology Research of Manitoba shows a record 882 UFO sightings were recorded in Canada in 2004 -- an average of more than two a day and up 31 per cent from the previous year.

Included in the reports of unidentified flying objects were disc-shaped crafts, spectacular fireballs and a large black triangular object moving through the sky.

Chris Rutkowski, research co-ordinator for the UFO tracking group, said the results show that people still have a fascination with what's going on above.

"People are curious about the universe," Rutkowski said yesterday. "People continue to report observing unusual objects in the sky and some of these objects do not have simple or obvious explanations."

Rutkowski said he's not exactly sure what caused the increase, although sightings have been growing steadily.

For a while that could be attributed to popular TV shows such as the X-Files or significant events such as the millennium, he said, but now it might simply be due to more UFO reporting sites on the Internet.
Ontario led with 254 sightings, British Columbia was second with 247 and Manitoba was third with 112.

Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Quebec all had a record number of sightings.

Figures show that more than 5,000 UFO sightings have been officially reported in Canada since 1989. Witnesses include pilots, police and individuals with good observation capabilities, Rutkowski said.

In most cases, a sighting can be explained, he added. More often than not it's a satellite, a piece of flaming asteroid or some kind of military training exercise.

But in 2004, about 15 per cent of all UFO reports remained a mystery. Even when only the most high-quality cases are considered, seven per cent still weren't explained.

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