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The New World of Mr. Tompkins

The End of an Era?
March 13, 2005

A reader posted the following entry to the Signs Forum just a few days ago:

The Book of Revelation says:

"And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months." [Rev. 13:4-5]

Forty-two months after 9/11/01 is 3/11/05 - tomorrow. Will something big go down tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow?

The question is, did "something big" actually happen on March 11, 2005? Perhaps a better question would be: What constitutes a "big" event? After more than three and a half years of the war on terror - including the 9-11 attacks and the train bombing in Madrid on March 11, 2004 - one is generally inclined to expect "big events" to come in the form of more "terrorist attacks" or fascist moves by those nations and groups most determined to strengthen their grip on the hearts and minds of the masses.

There is another possibility which requires a basic understanding of modern physics and specifically time loops, i.e. the idea that time is cyclic rather than linear. While the details of the time loops discussed in certain physics circles today are beyond the scope of this article, a basic understanding of the concept itself will suffice. In short, time loops are the idea that history repeats itself in a more organized fashion than is generally conceived of when our history teachers tell us that if we don't study history, we are doomed to repeat it. While we generally agree with this statement, we believe it is highly probable that cyclical events involve more than mere repitition of human error and ignorance. To illustrate exactly what we mean, and to bring the present discussion back to the topic of 42-month cycles, consider the following excerpt from The Beast and His Empire written by Laura Knight-Jadczyk not long after 9-11:

Using our idea of Time Loops to consider the present events in terms of the Dress Rehearsal of WW II which lasted 42 months - possibly lunar months - from the time of the entry of the United States until VE day - we can propose that the present "War on Terrorism" will last an equivalent period of time. And since the events in Germany presaged our own times - a "dress rehearsal" as it were - and we realize that the center of action has been transferred to the United States just as the activities of the Illuminati were transferred from Germany to the U.S.A., we can expect that the events in the next 42 months HERE will be very similar to activities in Germany during that time. In short, we are looking at the imposition of a Fascist Regime through the offices of the Bush Administration and whatever follows.

However, the later passages of Revelation which describe the destruction of the Beast and Great Harlot - which we have identified as the U.S.A. and the Wealthy Elite Industrial-Military Complex Agents of the US - i.e. Israel, are even more fascinating and informative. It is always interesting to observe the results of Self-Serving Wishful Thinking. Without the openness of the Creative Energy approach - and the concomitant Frequency Resonance Vibrational alignment - it seems that those with an agenda simply cannot SEE the end results of their own actions - the wide road that leads to Destruction.

I am also going to go out on a limb here and suggest something more in terms of general "timing." Let's look at two passages:

"Whoever leads into captivity will himself go into captivity; if any one slays with the sword by the sword must he be slain."

"To the degree that she glorified herself and reveled in her wantonness -- living deliciously and luxuriously -- to that measure impose on her torment and anguish and tears and mourning. Since in her heart she boasts, I am not a widow; as a queen I sit, and I shall never see suffering or experience sorrow."

What this suggests to me is that a period of global destruction will begin after 42 months of "global domination" by The Beast, and that it will LAST for 42 months until the " the seventh angel emptied out his bowl into the air, and a mighty voice came out of the sanctuary of heaven from the throne, saying, It is done!

"And there followed lightning flashes, loud rumblings, peals of thunder, and a tremendous earthquake; nothing like it has ever occurred since men dwelt on the earth, so severe and far reaching was that earthquake. The mighty city (a usage which indicates the nation) was broken into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. And God kept in mind mighty Babylon, to make her drain the cup of His furious wrath and indignation. And every island fled and no mountains could be found. And great hailstones, as heavy as a talent (between fifty and sixty pounds), of immense size, fell from the sky on the people, and men blasphemed God for the plague of the hail, so very great was the torture of the plague." (Rev. 16, ex)

This puts the dating of that event at approximately July of 2008. And, in actual fact, this fits the mathematical models of the orbit of the Companion Star formulated by Ark based on the work of Matese and Muller. [...]

Is it possible that on March 11, 2005, we entered into a second 42-month period that will be marked by increasing chaos and the eventual downfall of "The Beast"? Before discounting such ideas as looney prognostications or the rantings of some eschatology-obsessed fundamentalist Christian preacher, consider what has happened in the first 42 months since the attacks of 9-11.

On 9-11, the world watched in horror as the US was attacked by "terrorists". In a few short hours, people everywhere were rudely awakened to the alleged threat of Arab terrorists determined to destroy western culture because they "hate our freedoms". In the immediate aftermath of the WTC and Pentagon attacks, the world stood alongside the US and expressed their most heartfelt condolences for the horror experienced by so many Americans on that fateful day. The attack on Afghanistan quickly followed. It seemed like the world was willing to stand by and believe the intelligence that US agencies claimed to possess. Other nations were willing to take the US at its word, despite the high probability that their intelligence agencies and perhaps even government officials were at least partially aware that something was definitely fishy about the alleged terrorists and their attacks on the US.

The next step in the war on terror was the invasion of Iraq, when the good will expressed towards the US after 9-11 was quickly squandered by the Bush administration. Originally informed that Saddam had WMD's and that he was prepared to use against the US, many Americans supported the proposed invasion to overthrow the Iraqi tyrant. Unfortunately, the world was not convinced by the Bush administration's arguments this time, although some nations did agree to go along on the Bush regime's latest adventure.

All the "evidence" of Iraq's WMD's was later shown to be either wrong or entirely manufactured. US troops never found any weapons in Iraq. Eventually, the torture of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib was exposed, and the entire world was shocked that the supposed beacon of freedom and democracy in the world had resorted to some of the most despicable means in persecuting those expected of participation in the war on terror. While fascist legislation was passed at home, US forces abroad became even more bold in detaining suspects without charge and without a fair trial. Even several US citizens were detained - and remain imprisoned to this day - without charge.

Despite all that has occurred, few nations or governments have stood up and spoken out against the breaking of international law and plainly fascist undertakings of the Bush administration and their pawns. Numerous alternative news sources, including Signs of the Times, have presented vast quantities of evidence raising numerous key questions about the 9-11 attacks that cast serious doubt on the official explanation of that day's events.

Getting back the Revelations passage:

"And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months." [Rev. 13:4-5]

The world's inaction and misplaced praise of Bush's spreading of "freedom and democracy" could certainly be interpreted as worshipping the beast, i.e. the US imperialist, materialist empire. The US government has also uttered countless "great things and blasphemies". The lies and deceptions uttered by the US president and his pals are now too numerous to count.

At present, Iran and Syria are in the crosshairs of the Neocon/Zionist alliance. As the US economy teeters on the brink of disaster, the US rhetoric against China has escalated. Even US ally Japan has hinted that it may begin to sell off its dollars if circumstances don't improve soon.

On March 11, 2005, Rumsfeld and other top Bush administration officials were cleared of any wrongdoing in the torture scandal that should have rocked the foundations of the so-called war on terror. Strangely enough, we also learned that day that the capture of the man alleged to be Saddam Hussein was actually a made-for-TV movie that was obviously designed to play on the emotions of the average American.

At the same time, a QFG member wrote to us with the following report:

This morning, a local talk radio show (very conservative, Xtrian, rightwing) had as its guest, Anita Anderson, the mother of a purple heart-winning 22 year old Iraq veteran soldier who, faced with orders to return to Iraq, chose to go to Canada, and is now seeking asylum there.

According to the mother, her son chose not to return because he was once ordered to fire upon what he knew to be an Iraqi family, women and young children. He also found it unconscionable that the vast majority of soldiers cited Christianity as their reason for fighting, and felt their faith justified the war.

During the first hour of the program, the vast majority of callers called the young man a coward, and basically said he was a disgrace in every manner. I think there was one call during the first hour that was supportive of her son. Two retired career military men called in to say he should turn himself in to the US Army, and that they would hold administrative hearings in which he would be separated from the Army and returned to civilian life. Yeah, raise your hand if you believe that one.

Anyway, on Fridays on this particular show, the second hour is ALWAYS reserved for a segment called "What's ticking you off?", wherein callers can call in and complain about potholes, or other (usually local) issues.

However, due to the extreme amount of emails and phone calls received about this issue, the host made the heretofore unprecedented decision to extend the topic of the young soldier's desertion into the second hour.

I called right as the news break came on because I didn't think anyone was going to call and be supportive of this woman, and her brave son. I was the second call, but before me was a WWII veteran who spoke with an old, tired, and very labored voice. He said he supported the son and that in his mind the son was a hero. Then the man talked about Bush's illegal war and how we are just doing the neocon's and Israel's bidding. Well, you can imagine my shock at that call. I was next and went on and essentially repeated what the WWII vet said, and i did say that i was a Vietnam Marine veteran, and added that war is wrong, always.

Well, for the entire hour every call that came in with the exception of one or two was supportive of the mother, the young soldier, and focused in one way or another on the fact that the war was illegal and that Bush lied.

The right wing, I-believe-all-President-Bush says talk show host was beside herself. She couldn't believe what she was hearing, so she turned to reading emails which were coming in, because those were the only persons making comments that agreed with her position that basically soldiers do what they are ordered, it's not their decision to question orders, and if they desert, they should be shot. Plus, she could cherry pick which emails she would read.

Thus, I quickly sent her an email, mine didn't get read over the air. The mother of the young soldier emphasized that the major reason her son deserted was because he could not stand to see how religion and Christianity were being twisted and misused within the ranks. She was at a loss to see how anyone could call themselves Christian and then partake in that unjust war. [...]

I know this isn't much, and while we realize the monumental task before us, I wanted to share this with the group because just maybe people are beginning to wake up. This experience today is the first indication I have seen of people speaking out against this war and how the people are being lied to on talk radio. FWIW.

In the handful of days since March 11, 2005, there have been a few reports that tend to indicate that something has "shifted", and that we are indeed in a new 42-month cycle. Americans and world governments appear to have sat up a bit and started to take notice of exactly what the US has been doing and continues to do in their imperialist crusade. For example, today we found the following article:

Poll: 7 in 10 Worried About Gov't Secrecy

By ROBERT TANNER, AP National Writer
March 13, 2005

Americans feel strongly that good government depends on openness with the public, with seven out of 10 people concerned about government secrecy, a new poll says.

The poll, conducted by Ipsos-Public Affairs for Sunshine Week, a coalition of media organizations and other groups pressing for government access, found that more than half of Americans believe government should provide more access to its records.

Even more - 70 percent - are either "somewhat concerned" or "very concerned" about government secrecy. Nearly as many felt access to public records was "crucial" to good government.

The results come amid growing debate about openness at all levels of government in the years since the Sept. 11 attacks: Open-government advocates say the government has become more secretive at the price of a healthy democracy, while government defenders say the times demand that national security weigh a little more heavily in the balance between openness and privacy.

A bipartisan bill now in the U.S. Senate seeks to revisit the federal Freedom of Information Act to address many of the open-government complaints. [...]

The public attitudes toward open government, records and open meetings were very similar to an earlier poll conducted in February 2000.

"We were surprised to see that there was little change in public thinking on secrecy after the attacks of 9/11," said Andy Alexander, chairman of the American Society of Newspaper Editors' Freedom of Information Committee.

"With the ongoing war and continuing concerns about terrorism, you might think that people would be more tolerant of government's tightening control of information, but these results suggest that's not the case. The survey indicates people are not only concerned about secrecy but also recognize the importance of access to information about their government," said Alexander, who is also Washington bureau chief for Cox Newspapers. [...]

Note especially the quotation from Andy Alexander indicating that there was little change in public thinking on secrecy after the 9-11 attacks. The Bush administration and their lackeys seemed to have the public pretty well convinced that secrecy was necessary in the war on terror. Now a mainstream media organization published this article indicating that the majority of Americans probably never thought more secrecy was necessary or desirable.

Even the UN may be finally finding its voice:

US May End Up Scrutinized at UN Human-Rights Meet

By Richard Waddington, Reuters
March 13, 2005

GENEVA - The United States, usually a finger-pointer on human rights, could end up in the dock itself over reports of torture and abuse in its war on terror when the United Nations begins a worldwide scrutiny this week.

Activists, such as the New York-based Human Rights Watch, are urging members of the Commission on Human Rights to condemn Washington for mistreatment of prisoners detained abroad.

If any such move emerges during the commission's annual session, which starts on Monday, the United States will be in a similar position to Cuba, Iran and Sudan, countries which Washington and others are likely to seek to pillory.

"If the commission is going to be taken seriously, it needs to be looking at the United States as well as Cuba, China and other serious human rights situations," said Loubna Freih, Geneva representative of Human Rights Watch.

So far, only Washington's political enemy Cuba has said it will attempt to bring the abuse issue before the commission. [...]

We are reminded of the recent admission that rendition has been used by the CIA since the beginning of the war on terror. Rumsfeld has also indicated that he would like to see the majority of prisoners currently at Guantanamo Bay sent overseas to be detained. Clearly, this latest move means that there will be no change in the Bush administration's policy of detaining without charge and torturing prisoners in the battle against "terrorists". It is noteworthy, however, that the process of rendition is no longer a secret or a "conspiracy theory", and that the power and influence of the Neocons has taken a small, if mostly symbolic, blow because of the legal challenges to the torture and detainment of suspected terrorists.

Still, it would be foolish to believe that Bush and his criminal gang cannot still succeed in their efforts. Patriot Acts I and II are still the law, and the push for the control or eradication of certain groups around the globe will not magically cease. One must also consider the effects that the apparent impending economic collapse will have, as well as the influence of the forty percent of fundamentalist Christian Americans who still believe Bush will bring on Armageddon and the rapture. Finally, we must consider less "controllable" events such as the cyclic catastrophes that seem to regularly strike the globe:

Bright Streaking Light Seen in Western Sky

By WILLIAM McCALL, Associated Press Writer
March 13, 2005

PORTLAND, Ore. - Dozens of residents in the Pacific Northwest reported seeing a bright streak of light as it flashed across the sky, startling witnesses from southern Oregon to the Seattle area, according to officials.

Scientists said the flaming object was probably a meteor, and that it likely disintegrated before any fragments fell into the Pacific Ocean.

"It was like a big ball of fire," said Summer Jensen, who was in her living room Saturday night when she saw the flash of light outside her Portland home.

Michael O'Connor, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration's regional office in Renton, Wash., said he fielded numerous calls from people reporting they had seen a bright streak across the sky shortly before 8 p.m.

He said police, pilots and some air traffic controllers described it as "a green ball of fire with a long tail." [...]

Jim Todd, planetarium director at the Oregon Museum of Science & Industry, said that if a meteor had entered the atmosphere during the day, it may not even have been noticed. [...]

Last year, a meteor that appeared like a fireball was sighted over western Washington state. In March 2003, residents in four Midwestern states also reported seeing a disintegrating meteorite flash across the sky.

For a much lengthier list of recent fireball and meteor sightings, see our Signs Meteor Supplement.

In recent times, the planet has also been struck by numerous large earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, a massive tsunami that killed hundreds of thousands, and strange weather that caused hurricanes, tornados, floods, droughts, and even heat-related deaths. As this activity continues to escalate, along with conflicts both within and outside the bounds of the war on terror, it seems highly likely that Laura Knight-Jadczyk's hypothesis of a second 42-month cycle of global destruction after 42 months of "global domination" by "The Beast" will turn out to be horrifically accurate. While the geographic area of "The Beast" may be hit harder than others due to natural catastrophes accompanied by economic hardship and potential intranational strife resulting from those who are apparently beginning to resist Bush and his gang, there is no place for any of us to hide from meteor impacts, earthquakes, volcanoes, global warming, the resulting ice age, and so on.

We should note that since the future is open, nothing is carved in stone. Today Americans and others may resist the blanket of lies and confusion draped over them by Bush and crew, while tomorrow may bring blind obedience. Nevertheless, it seems there are certain cyclic patterns in the history of humankind which are a result of our mostly unconscious choices and actions as well those of the people who came before us. The present is based on the past, and the future is based on the present. In the end, there is nothing any of us can really change except ourselves. If we can learn to see reality as objectively as possible, our unconscious choices may become conscious actions. While we still may not be able to predict exactly what the future holds, we can develop the ability to see the general path on which humankind is traveling. In doing so, we may learn to see choices that were not previously visible to us - and who knows what effects the flapping of even one tiny pair of butterfly wings may have.

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Fireball sighted over Pacific Northwest
Green streak likely caused by meteor, scientists say
The Associated Press
Updated: 3:07 a.m. ET March 13, 2005
PORTLAND, Ore. - A fireball streaked through the night sky across the western half of the Pacific Northwest on Saturday, startling people all the way from southern Oregon to the Seattle area. [...]

"It appears to have come down over the ocean," said Dick Pugh, with the Cascadia Meteorite Laboratory in Portland.

He said the object flew over the Pacific Coast, streaking along from south to north.

Melinda Hutson, another expert at the lab, said meteors large enough to turn into fireballs are uncommon.

To get a fireball, it has to be "a big piece of rock or metal — most are pieces of asteroids. Once every once in a while a piece of the moon or Mars breaks off," she said. [...]

Comment: Well, that's the best explanation for large meteorites that we've ever heard. They just break off of the moon and Mars and go hurtling out into space. Perhaps it was smaller pieces flying up from Mars' surface that took out the Mars probes that have failed. We wonder if NASA has investigated this possibility.

Two other possible explanations are:

a) the Earth is flat, Mars and Moon are hanging over the earth, and once in a while pieces from them fall down on Earth


b) people on the Mars and Moon are throwing stones at the Earth.

Then again, you could combine both hypotheses, and it would explain why it is so easy for them to throw stones and hit us. And, not forgetting the reports of fish and frogs falling from the sky, we may have also found an explanation for such Fortean phenomena. After all, there isn't any water on the moon, and the water on Mars is frozen, so they would have to do something with all of those fish and frogs flopping around in the dust. Why not throw them down on us? After all, our planet has lots of water.

Perhaps the good scientist meant to say large pieces of rock were thrown into space by an impact of a large meteorite on the surfaces of the moon or Mars. Anyone who looks out at the moon on a clear night can see evidence for such events in the past. This explanation, however, amounts to saying that large meteorites are caused by large meteorites, a tautology that does nothing to get to the origins of the matter. It also doesn't explain why the moon and Mars, both smaller than the earth, would get hit while we don't... unless they are deflected out in space by the fish and frogs. Could that be the fabled help from our space brothers? A deflection shield of fish and frogs to protect the planet from meteor and cometary impacts while leaving their own homes in danger?

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Bad news - we are way past our 'extinct by' date
Robin McKie, science editor
Sunday March 13, 2005
The Observer

Some say the world will end in fire, some say in ice, wrote Robert Frost. But whatever is to be our fate, it is now overdue.

After analysing the eradication of millions of ancient species, scientists have found that a mass extinction is due any moment now.

Their research has shown that every 62 million years - plus or minus 3m years - creatures are wiped from the planet's surface in massive numbers.

And given that the last great extinction occurred 65m years ago, when dinosaurs and thousands of other creatures abruptly disappeared, the study suggests humanity faces a fairly pressing danger. Even worse, scientists have no idea about its source.

'There is no doubting the existence of this cycle of mass extinctions every 62m years. It is very, very clear from analysis of fossil records,' said Professor James Kirchner, of the University of California, Berkeley. 'Unfortunately, we are all completely baffled about the cause.'

The report, published in the current issue of Nature, was carried out by Professor Richard Muller and Robert Rohde also from the Berkeley campus. They studied the disappearances of thousands of different marine species (whose fossils are better preserved than terrestrial species) over the past 500m years.

Their results were completely unexpected. It was known that mass extinctions have occurred in the past. During the Permian extinction, 250m years ago, more than 70 per cent of all species were wiped out, for example. But most research suggested that these were linked to asteroid collisions and other random events.

But Muller and Rohde found that, far from being unpredictable, mass extinctions occur every 62m years, a pattern that is 'striking and compelling', according to Kirchner.

But what is responsible? Here, researchers ran into problems. They considered the passage of the solar system through gas clouds that permeate the galaxy. These clouds could trigger climatic mayhem. However, there is no known mechanism to explain why the passage might occur only every 62m years.

Alternatively, the Sun may possess an undiscovered companion star. It could approach the Sun every 62m years, dislodging comets from the outer solar system and propelling them towards Earth. Such a companion star has never been observed, however, and in any case such a lengthy orbit would be unstable, Muller says.

Or perhaps some internal geophysical cycle triggers massive volcanic activity every 62m years, Muller and Rohde wondered. Plumes from these would surround the planet and lead to a devastating drop in temperature that would freeze most creatures to death.

Unfortunately, scientists know of no such geological cycle.

'We have tried everything we can think of to find an explanation for these weird cycles of biodiversity and extinction,' Muller said. 'So far we have failed. And, yes, we are due one soon, but I would not panic yet.'

Comment: We discussed this report yesterday. We come back to it today because the article from the Guardian does mention that we are past our extinction date, a point overlooked in the other article. It does, however, attempt to recuperate the bad news by ending on the optimistic note that although "we are due one soon", there is no need to panic "yet".

"Go back to asleep. There is no need to worry. What? That meteor in Washington state yesterday? Freak happening. Put it out of your mind."

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Earth Battered By Natural Disasters In 2004
March 11, 2005

Aon Units Release Global Climate/Catastrophe Report

Two Aon subsidiaries, Aon Re Global and Impact Forecasting, LLC, have released a report on 2004's natural catastrophes, describing "a year of freakish weather patterns, ending with the worst natural disaster in modern times: the December 26th tsunami."

The report notes that "unusually violent weather throughout the U.S. and the Pacific Rim made 2004 one of the most active years for natural phenomena in recent memory." The tsunamis alone "killed more than 159,000 people across Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and India and obliterated villages and seaside resorts in ten countries across southern Asia and eastern Africa" said the report. "By contrast, the worst natural disaster in 2003 was the Bam, Iran earthquake in which 26,271 people perished."

It also confirms that the 2004 hurricane season in the U.S. was among the most active on record. "The western Atlantic produced 15 named storms and 9 hurricanes, which is above the norm of 10 tropical systems and 6 hurricanes. The United States and Caribbean Islands experienced a rough August and September, with 6 major hurricanes making landfall in 2004, well above the average normal landfall of 1-2 storms. By contrast, 2003 saw only two of seven hurricanes making landfall. It had been half a century since Florida sustained hits by three destructive hurricanes in rapid succession. In 1950, hurricanes Baker and Easy made landfall in or near Florida within a six-day period."

The report also found that the U.S. tornado season was especially active in 2004, due at least in part to the tropical storms that battered the southern part of the country. The higher-than- usual number of hurricanes helped to spawn some of the 1,722 tornadoes in the United States in 2004, according to the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma. That's up from the previous year's total of 1,376. A normal tornado season yields an average of 1,200 tornadoes.

"Of the 1,722 storms in 2004, 20 were so-called 'killer' tornadoes, resulting in 36 deaths. That's down from 2003's 23 'killer' storms and 54 fatalities. Both years were below the normal count of 25 'killer' storms resulting in an average of 54 deaths nationwide."

More general findings indicated that the global climate last year "was warmer and wetter than normal, which is a change from previous years, where warmer but drier than normal conditions existed. Precipitation amounts were also higher than normal for the first time in four years. Though many areas still experienced drought conditions, some locations received an overabundance of rain, leading to severe flooding that killed thousands of people this last year, primarily across Southeast Asia and through the Caribbean Sea."

While the report, which is issued at the beginning of each year, doesn't discuss the recent heavy rains in Southern California, they would seem to be evidence of an ongoing trend. The study does point out that a number of "record-breaking natural disasters" occurred last year "many of which broke long-standing records. Haiti and the Dominican Republic were hit with two massive flooding events in 2004, killing over 5,000 people in May and September combined. Monsoon flooding across Bangladesh, India, and China claimed more than 1,900 lives from late June through early August. Landslides and flooding from successive tropical systems killed thousands of people in late November in the Philippines."

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Patriot crews heading to exercise in Israel
By Steve Mraz, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Wednesday, March 9, 2005

U.S. Patriot missile crews stationed in Germany are once again headed to Israel to participate in a joint exercise with the Israeli military.

The exercise, called Juniper Cobra, is set to begin Thursday and continue until mid-April. Its purpose is to develop and improve air defense cooperation between the two nations, said Connie Summers, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Army’s V Corps in Heidelberg, Germany.

Roughly 1,000 U.S. troops will participate in the computer-assisted and limited live-fire exercise, with Army soldiers making up the majority of the group.

Of the total U.S. force, about 500 soldiers with the 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade based at Giebelstadt Army Airfield in Germany and the brigade’s two Patriot battalions will take part in the exercise. The brigade’s Patriot battalions are the 5th Battalion, 7th ADA in Hanau, and the 6th Battalion, 52nd ADA headquartered in Ansbach.

The remaining U.S. force, both active-duty and reserve, is composed of Navy and various communications and logistics support elements from the States and Europe, Summers said.

While the timing of the exercise comes amid increasing tension in the Middle East, Army officials said Tuesday that the missile exercise had been planned for a year.

"There is absolutely no connection with this exercise and any event in the region," Summers said. "As always, we are interested in implementing lessons learned from training exercises."

The deployment of the crews and their missiles is partly a signal to others in the Middle East but largely a reassurance to the Israelis, said Michael Desch, a political science professor at The Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University.

"The symbolic thing is this signals the American commitment to Israeli security," he said.

As recently as January 2003, Patriot missile crews were deployed to Israel for the Juniper Cobra exercise. At that point, troops and materials were being deployed steadily to the Middle East in preparation for Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Also, Juniper Cobra took place in February 2001, which coincided with an Israeli prime minister election and continuing strife between Israelis and Palestinians.

In both instances, Army officials said the exercise had been planned a year in advance and was not prompted by the developing situations.

Patriot crews were sent to Israel in November 1998 for exercises. But shortly after arriving, the United States conducted Operation Desert Fox, which resulted in three days of strikes against Iraq sparked by tensions over U.N. weapons inspections.

The Patriot missile debuted in combat during the 1991 Persian Gulf War when Iraq fired Scud missiles toward Israel and Saudi Arabia. The high-speed missile was originally designed to strike down jets but was modified to intercept unfriendly missiles.

Its success in the Gulf War made the missile a household name in America.

Comment: This story is a worrying development and presents clear echoes of the lead up to the first Gulf war when Patriot Missile batteries were used to protect Israel from Iraqi scuds. Is Israel planning a pre-emptive strike against Iran or Syria?

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Converging U.S. Navy aircraft carrier groups in Middle East send strong message to Iran and Syria
Sudhir Chadda
Mar. 12, 2005
India Daily

The U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt is on the move in Atlantic Ocean and is possibly headed towards the Mediterranean Sea. The convergence of three carrier groups in the corridor of the Middle East will send very strong message to the Syrians and Iranians. There are indications that soon US is moving two more aircraft carrier battle groups to the Eastern Mediterranean Sea and the Persian Gulf. This will spell a formidable strike force for Iran and Syria who are in defiance on issues of Lebanon and Nuclear weapons development.

Outbound from Singapore, the USS Carl Vinson is currently crossing the Indian Ocean headed towards Middle-East. This will be the first time since February 2004 that US will have three major carrier groups stationed on and around Middle East.

Each of these carrier groups carry nearly 85 aircrafts and is capable of deliver precision-guided munitions. In addition there are anti-submarine aircrafts, airborne-early-warning and rotary-wing aircrafts. Because in the air refueling capabilities these aircrafts can operate from a long distance. The carrier groups are independent and can operate indefinitely.

U.S. military air bases in Turkey, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia and the three carrier groups will create a formidable force far superior to any military in the region.

In addition more than 100,000 battle hardened force in Iraq will be another major force in case US has to use force against Iran and Syria.

It seems American are preparing to deal with Syria and Iran in the next several months. The first priority right now is diplomacy in association with the Europeans and the rest of the world. But the leadership in Teheran and Damascus are taking notice of the power build up in the region.

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U.S. Gaining World's Respect From Wars, Rumsfeld Asserts
By Ann Scott Tyson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, March 11, 2005; Page A04

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld upheld the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan yesterday as powerful demonstrations of U.S. military prowess that will make other countries think twice about making "mischief" around the world.

Pressed by lawmakers on whether wear and tear on U.S. troops and equipment has impaired the Pentagon's ability to meet unforeseen global contingencies, Rumsfeld said U.S. commanders have assured him that "our military is capable of performing."

Rumsfeld acknowledged concern about stress on the force -- particularly the Army Reserve and National Guard. He said U.S. military equipment such as tanks, helicopters and Bradley Fighting Vehicles are wearing out at from two to six times the peacetime rate, leading the Pentagon to request $12 billion for equipment repairs in the fiscal 2005 emergency supplemental budget.

He also pointed to positive outcomes from the sustained combat. The fighting has created a force of "battle-hardened veterans" whose overthrow of the Taliban government in Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein's government in Iraq erased doubts in the minds of the nation's friends and foes over U.S. willingness to use force and stay the course of conflicts, Rumsfeld said.

"The world has seen, in the last 3 1/2 years, the capability of the United States of America to go into Afghanistan . . . and with 20,000, 15,000 troops working with the Afghans do what 200,000 Soviets couldn't do in a decade. They've seen the United States and the coalition forces go into Iraq. . . . That has to have a deterrent effect on people," he testified before the House Armed Services Committee.

"If you put yourself in the shoes of a country that might decide they'd like to make mischief, they have a very recent, vivid example of the fact that the United States has the ability to deal with this," he said.

Rumsfeld was asked about a potential military threat from China. He said this year's Quadrennial Defense Review -- a major rethinking of U.S. military strategy -- would plan long-range weapons systems "with respect to China and other circumstances that can change dramatically."

The defense review must "recognize the changes that are taking place in Asia and the kinds of capabilities that the United States could be facing in 10, 15, 20 years" in addition to today's threats, he said.

Lawmakers asked Rumsfeld to solve a shortage of jammers to counteract road bombs that have killed many U.S. troops in Iraq. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Richard B. Myers said no "silver bullet" exists to thwart the bombs, which the military is working to defeat as quickly as Iraqi insurgents reinvent them.

Committee Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) said Congress has created a new license to allow Rumsfeld to waive U.S. laws to speed the production of jammers and other battlefield equipment.

Comment: The respect of an underworld enforcer. "Do what I say, or I'll send someone around to break your legs." That is democracy, American-style.

Rumsfeld expects the world to be in awe of American prowess, yet the reality-based community understands that the US has merely shown the world that it is capable of committing the worst atrocities against innocent civilians while fooling the American people into thinking that they are protecting them from evil terrorists. Note also Rumsfled's comment that "with 20,000, 15,000 troops" the US could "do what 200,000 Soviets couldn't do in a decade." Of course, Rumsfeld fails to mention the fact that the US government supplied the Afghan warlords with billions in covert military supplies and training to combat the Russians and in doing so create the "evidence" for the modern-day "al-Qaeda terrorist network". To date we are not aware that any foreign power aided the Taleban to the tune of billions of dollars in their short-lived fight against the US war machine. Iraq, however, is a different story. The Russians may yet succeed in "payback" for the Afghan war.

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Why Can't U.S Psychic Spies Find Osama Bin Laden?
Thu Mar 10 2005

(PRWEB) -- Although the U.S. government officially shut down its Remote Viewing Unit in 1995, the unit was actively used by the CIA and other military intelligence agencies, to assist in sensitive intelligence matters for 23 years prior to its closure. Furthermore, there is evidence that some of these original psychic spies from secret units named "Sun Streak," "Grill Frame," and "Star Gate" are still being asked to use their paranormal skills as consultants to the military. If the U.S. government is calling upon its psychic operatives for this type of intelligence, why haven"t they yet found Osama Bin Laden?

Screenwriter and author Ed Kovacs, himself a remote viewer, is now available for interviews to discuss the successes and failures of this government unit.

"Obviously there is great secrecy among the RVers." says Kovacs, "Some have died under suspicious circumstances in the past, and it is believed by many that they were killed by unfriendly governments. So you can imagine that they are reluctant to even hint at what projects they might currently be working on. Furthermore, it is entirely likely that Bin Laden uses his own spies to provide psychic protection from remote viewing activity."

"Although this type of ESP is considered a borderline, or even an unbelievable theory by many, an article released last month in Pravda admitted that the Russians used their own psychic spies to protect Boris Yeltsin from their American counterparts. It is likely that Bin Laden has also created a similar protective shield."

Kovacs novel, Unseen Forces, which The St. Louis Post-Dispatch calls "A spellbinding thriller that will keep you riveted well past midnight," is set in the present day, and deals with the relationship between a maverick archaeologist and U.S. government psychic spy who form an uneasy alliance as they race across Asia and the Middle East to acquire an ancient Egyptian alchemical code, alleged to spell out the secret of eternal life. The story, which weaves together action, romance, conspiracy, suspense and elements of the occult, is based upon Kovacs knowledge of the U.S. government remote viewing programs, and also finds its roots in an actual 3000-year old Egyptian conspiracy.

Kovacs, himself a practicing clairvoyant, is currently on the speaker circuit, offering mini-seminars to people interested in discovering their own inner psychic. He is the author of nine produced films as well as numerous magazine and newspaper articles, and Unseen Forces is his first novel.

Comment: Good question, but a better one might be: if the CIA were able to pinpoint the location of Che Guevarra in the Bolivian jungle by intercepting his radio communications over almost 40 years ago, why is it that they cannot do the same with Osama's many communications using the massively more advanced modern technology? Could it be that they don't actually want to find him? After all, he has been extremely useful in rallying the US population to back a US war of conquest that was planned many years ago and sat on the drawing board until the right event transpired...

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Arab American Publisher Says Bush Told Him in May 2000 He Planned to "Take Out" Iraq
Friday, March 11th, 2005

Osama Siblani, publisher of "The Arab American" newspaper, says George W Bush told him in May 2000 - before he was nominated as the Republican presidential candidate - that he is going to "take out" Iraq and Saddam Hussein.

Excerpt of rush transcript:

OSAMA SIBLANI: I met with the President, and he wanted to go to Iraq to search for weapons of mass destruction, and he considered the regime an imminent and gathering threat against the United States.

AMY GOODMAN: You met with the President of the United States?

OSAMA SIBLANI: Yes, when he was running for election in May of 2000 when he was a governor. He told me just straight to my face, among 12 or maybe 13 republicans at that time here in Michigan at the hotel. I think it was on May 17, 2000, even before he became the nominee for the Republicans. He told me that he was going to take him out, when we talked about Saddam Hussein in Iraq.

And I said, ‘Well, you know, I totally disagree with you. You just can’t go around taking leaders out of their countries, you know. Let the Iraqi people do it. They can't do it on empty stomachs. Lift sanctions. Keep the pressure on Saddam Hussein, but lift the sanctions on the Iraqi people. People can't make moves on an empty stomach. Once they start establishing, you know, a connection with the United States and helping democracy inside, they will overthrow him.’

And then he said, ‘We have to talk about it later.’ But at that time he was not privy to any intelligence, and the democrats had occupied the White House for the previous eight years. So, he was not privy to any intelligence whatsoever. He was not the official nominee of the Republican Party, so he didn't know what kind of situation the weapons of mass destruction was at that time.

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On Ending Military Occupations in the Middle East
Juan Cole
Informed Comment

Some Iraqis find it ironic that President Bush called for a withdrawal of foreign troops from Lebanon before the elections, but that elections were held in Iraq under conditions of foreign military occupation. Some quotes from the Knight Ridder story:

"He must have forgotten that his army is occupying Iraq," said Sa'ad Abdul Aziz, 21, an engineering student at Baghdad University. "What about the Republican Palace that they are using as a U.S. embassy?" . . .

"America should get out of Iraq immediately and without conditions, just like it is asking neighboring Syria to withdraw from the Lebanese Republic," said Sheikh Nasir Al-Saidi, imam of a mosque in the restive Shiite neighborhood of Sadr City, in a front-page article Saturday in the newspaper Azzaman. . .

"Everyone in Iraq would like to see foreign troops leave," said Walid al Hilli, of the DAWA Party, which is part of a Shiite coalition that won a majority in the January elections. "But we would like to see the foreign troops leave Iraq when there is enough security inside Iraq, which does not exist now. We're working hard to get Iraqi troops and Iraqi policemen ready to keep security inside Iraq. We don't exactly know the situation in Lebanon. Can the police secure Lebanese cities?"

Comment: Those poor, deluded Iraqis. They just don't understand democracy. See, the US is the leader of the free world and has been chosen by God to bring upon the non-believers the final reckoning. That is what is meant by bringing democracy to the Middle East. Therefore, anything done by the US is a priori good for democracy, just like Bush, as president of the US, can never do anything illegal because he's the president. That was Nixon's argument during Watergate, and the poor man was hounded from office by liberals and other commie lovers. Now we see the president being hounded in the same way by liberals and terrorist-huggers in America and by the Pope-hugging French and the dictator Putin in Russia.

This time, fortunately, Mr. Bush is backed by a higher source, the Good Lord Jesus.

But the struggle to bring God's word to the colored hordes will not be easy. Our president has been tested by Satan himself, as every saint will be, when the Lord of Evil sent Mr. Gannon to the White House late that night. He slipped in without signing the registry, which just goes to show the Devil's hand because no human could get past the guards unnoticed. But God came to the president that night and counseled him to use the Devil's hand against himself by giving Mr. Gannon, who was a reporter after all, the documents about Valerie Plame and her husband's vile treachery, thereby using the channel of vileness to pass the message of Christian retribution.

Do not mock the Lord.

Oh, children, the Lord works in mysterious ways, ways that the heathens in Iraq can not comprehend because they have been raised far from the light of liberty and the one, true Christian God. If today they suffer, it is penance for their sins, their acceptance of Saddam Hussein long after the wise men of God's anointed country had cast him from the ranks of the righteous into the bowels of the Axis of Evil and the hands of the Prince of Darkness.

Praise be to Jesus who has told us that the meek shall inherit the earth, for was not America founded by the world's meek who sought a new life on its shores?

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Bush's Bubble
By Jim Hightower, AlterNet. Posted March 11, 2005.

Do you think George W. has ever even visited the real world—or has he spent his entire life in the bubble of special privilege to which he was born and in the political bubble maintained so carefully by his White House handlers?

Take the economy, which he keeps telling us is fantastic. Even in the rare case when economic reality confronts him, George doesn't get it. He recently flew to Omaha for one of his made-for-TV "conversations" with the people—although "the people" allowed in are always a hand-picked rent-a-choir for his political message-of-the-day.

On this day, however, reality inadvertantly intruded. A single mother named Mary told George that she has a young, mentally-challenged son and two daughters. Bush blurted out, "fantastic," cheerfully telling the audience that Mary has "the hardest job in America, being a single mom." Well, yes, Mary said, but she also has to work three other jobs to make ends meet. From deep within his personal bubble, the effervescent president then exclaimed, "fantastic," calling her experience "uniquely American," as though she was offering up her family's hard reality as some sort of uplifting Horatio Alger tale. Then, George made a little joke of her situation, asking if she gets any sleep.

This would be either laughable or pathetic if it were not so vicious—vicious in the sense that government policy which could do something to benefit the millions of Marys in today's economy, instead is being shaped from within George's bubble to do them more harm. Bush's budget, for example, cuts education, housing and food programs, claiming that there's no money in the public treasury, while shovelling out $1.3 trillion in tax giveaways to America's richest people, who share Bush's bubble.

Our elitist leaders have lost all sense of economic morality. They can live in their bubble, but they can't hide in it— and the day is coming when that bubble will burst.

Comment: George joked about the situation of a single mother with three children, including one who was mentally handicapped, a woman obliged to hold down three jobs just to make ends meet, by asking her if she gets any sleep. The lack of empathy is one of the signs of psychopathy. As Hightower points out, Bush's response is vicious. It is petty and cruel.

Yes, leaders in the US have lost all sense of economic morality. Each is in it for himself, for greed and power. The blind spot of those who do feel for others, for those for whom the story of Mary above is like a knife to the heart, is the belief that everyone else feels and reacts as they do. For someone for whom stories of hardship such as the above are painful, it is natural to assume that everyone else reacts in the same way, able to put themselves in the place of the storyteller. Bush, for his part, clearly is amused by the tale. It has no meaning for him on a deep level. He sees only the surface, the facts, without any connection to the deeper implications: the worry and fear of the mother that she won't be able to feed her children, that her handicapped child may not receive the love and care he needs because she is out working three jobs, nights awake worrying about what would happen to her children if she were not there to provide for them.

The psychopath is incapable of such thoughts. He can not understand them, has no context for them or framework within which to contrast and compare that situation with his own because it is not real to him. It is only words. A psychopath's only feelings turn around food, feeding on his prey, his likes and dislikes, the basest urges of the machine.

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Mask of faith
By Jim Baker, Journal-World
Saturday, March 12, 2005

Theologians, psychologists question how accused BTK killer could lead double life

In the wake of the Feb. 25 arrest in the BTK case in Wichita -- and the revelation that the suspect, Dennis Rader, is president of his church council -- many stunned Kansans are struggling with the question "How is it possible?"

How is it possible that Rader, by all outward appearances a faithful Christian and active at all levels of his congregation, could also prove to be the notorious serial killer who taunted and terrorized a city for three decades?

The possibility that Rader was in fact a wolf in sheep's clothing, a man living behind a mask of faith that concealed a monstrous secret life, raises profound questions about the nature of evil and the mystery that ultimately lies at the heart of every human being.

Some of those troubling questions have theological implications. How is it seemingly possible for the religious impulse and evil actions to co-exist in the same human being? Do horrible, ongoing deeds rule out the possibility of a real connection to God? And does God still love the BTK suspect?

But theologians aren't the only ones trying to figure out how a churchgoing man -- in fact, the church council leader -- could also be the man charged with 10 murders. Pastors, psychologists and experts on the criminal mind seek answers, too.

They're among millions of Americans who are captivated by this stark example of a person leading a life outwardly devoted to faith and inwardly to radical evil. [...]

On the other hand, sociopaths and others with anti-social personalities excel at faking concern and compassion, while blending in with everyone else. In one way, Rader's behavior was surpassingly common. Like most people, he had his secrets. [...]

"The bright ones, those are folks who can fake it. They can look very concerned or compassionate to others. It's the old used-car salesman syndrome -- you can come across to others however you want to," he said.

Rader was hiding in plain sight, leading a life that appeared beyond suspicion. He likely used his role in church to his advantage.

"What is a better cover for criminal behavior than active community and church involvement?" Ruark asked. "Rader was considered a real pillar of his community, a leader in his church, a respectable position of employment. That's a wonderful cover for somebody who has a secret life in another direction. [...]

Comment: How is it possible? Take a look at the US government. Take a look at Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld.

People wonder "how is it possible" that a complete psychopath could pass himself off as an honest Christian, but perhaps they should be wondering how a group of obvious psychopaths could have conned the American public into voting them into public office and the White House. The answer to both questions is essentially the same: people cannot see reality. They see only what they want to see, and there is usually a very heavy price to pay for such ignorance and illusion.

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Orlando Mayor indicted and suspended in election case
By Mark Schlueb
Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted March 11 2005

Special election will be held to replace him

In a day of swift and stunning developments triggered by four grand jury indictments, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer was charged with violating state absentee ballot law during last year's mayor's race and quickly removed from office.

Dyer; his campaign manager Patti Sharp, accused ballot broker Ezzie Thomas and Circuit Judge Alan Apte braved a phalanx of news reporters at the jail this morning as they entered a booking area to be fingerprinted and processed.

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush suspended the mayor this afternoon, issuing an executive order prohibiting Dyer "from performing any official act, duty, or function of public office."

Orlando's city attorney concluded that a special election should be held in the next two months to replace Dyer with a temporary mayor while Dyer fights the charges. Mayor Pro Tem Ernest Page, who coincidentally was suspended from the Orlando City Council in the 1980s and eventually served time in jail, will take over until the election.

Dyer, Sharp and Apte are each accused of "providing pecuniary gain for absentee ballot possession or collection," according to their arrest affidavits. Thomas -- who was hired by Dyer's and Apte's campaigns -- was charged with "accepting" payment. A 1998 state law prohibits paying someone or being paid for collecting absentee ballots.

"The charges are without merit and are totally politically motivated," Dyer said this afternoon, relying on a "vague Florida statue that has never been applied." Dyer, a Democrat, was first elected mayor in 2003. Brad King, the special prosecutor who conducted the investigation, is a Republican.

Gov. Bush, also a Republican, was visiting the University of Central Florida campus this morning, and said it is his policy to suspend public officials under indictment.

"I'm disappointed," Bush said. "I admire Mayor Dyer. I'm sad for him and his family. It's always difficult when public officials....allegedly, and that's what we're talking about at this point, allegations...are accused of wrongdoing because it violates the public trust."

Comment: Indeed, Jeb is right, it really is "difficult" when elected officials violate the public trust, but the most difficult part for Jeb and his little brat of a brother in the White House is finding a fool-proof way to cover up the violations. Luckily for the Bushes, they have Karl "army stud" Rove, to come up with ever more creative ways to lie to the American people.

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Teresa Heinz Kerry Hints That Bush Stole 2004 Election

Heinz Kerry is openly skeptical about results from November's election, particularly in sections of the country where optical scanners were used to record votes.

"Two brothers own 80 percent of the machines used in the United States," Heinz Kerry said. She identified both as "hard-right" Republicans. She argued that it is "very easy to hack into the mother machines."

"We in the United States are not a banana republic," added Heinz Kerry. She argued that Democrats should insist on "accountability and transparency" in how votes are tabulated.

"I fear for '06," she said. "I don't trust it the way it is right now."

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Broadcast Journalists Fire Back
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 3/11/2005

The White House, the courts and the Federal Communications Commission all took hits from broadcast journalists Thursday night, who said they were feeling under fire from a manipulative and even malicious government.

NBC News President Neal Shapiro set the tone, telling a roomful of top journalists gathered for the Radio-Television News Directors Foundation awards dinner in D.C. that the press is under attack as never before from the executive and judicial branches, which he says are pursuing journalists with "actual malice" just for doing their jobs.

It's time to "sound the alarm," he said. That call was picked up by other speakers and punctuated with applause from the crowd.

Shapiro cited Jim Taricani, the reporter for NBC-owned WJAR Providence, R.I., who was convicted of contempt by a federal judge for failing to reveal a source. Only a heart condition kept him out of prison, said Shapiro. Taricani is on six months house arrest.

"This is what reporters do," Taricani told Shapiro after the conviction. But facing arrest should not be part of the job description, said Shapiro, who took the opportunity to push for a federal shield law, which the Radio-Television News Directors Association and several legislators are championing on Capitol hill.

Shapiro attributed some of the repressive climate to frustrated governmnent officials who, having failed to please their superiors, take it out on journalists. But he also cited "a handful of scandals" that have tarred the broadcast industry and a post-9/11 climate that contributed to the crackdown. He advised journalists to do a better job of showing themselves as reporters, rather than entertainers. [...]

Bradley talked of the pressure by government and corporations to "control the message," saying journalists must fight those efforts. "There is a price to pay," he said, for representing the people.

Comment: Indeed there is a price to pay for honest reporting, but so few in the mainstream media are willing to pay it because most are already being paid by the US government. The current state of information control in the US is not unlike the censorship used by the Nazis. Of course, many will challenge such a claim by citing the obvious "freedom of speech" offered by the Internet and blogs and the recent "damage" done to the White House by the "Jeff Gannon" story. The problem however is that the vast majority of Americans have been so mind programmed over the course of their lives that blogs and the Internet pose little or no threat to "the powers that be".

The alternative press has been so successfully maligned that to say blogs prove that free speech is alive and well in the US is like saying the "free speech zones" set up for Bush protestors at the GOP conference last year offered an equal platform for Americans to voice their dissent. In any case, the point is that, as in Nazi Germany, the level of thought and speech control in the US is so advanced that information that appears to be critical of the government can be stage managed to give the impression of free speech, yet the complete lack of any real change in public opinion as a result of the "damaging expose" belies the true controlled nature of the "free speech".

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Forbes: The rich get richer 2005-03-13 14:07:14
BEIJING, Mar. 13 -- The collective net worth of the 691 billionaires we could find is $2.2 trillion, up $300 billion from the combined worth of the 587 people listed last year.

Every region saw gains. The world’s richest moguls now hail from 47 countries, including, for the first time, Kazakhstan, Poland, Ukraine and even Iceland. The newcomers include 69 Americans and 38 Europeans. More than half of them are entirely self-made.

American gas pipeline tycoon Daniel Duncan, who was raised by his grandmother after his mother died when he was 7, debuts on the list as the wealthiest new billionaire, with a net worth of $5.1 billion. Wong Kwong Yu, 35, the youngest new self-made billionaire, runs a chain of 100-plus appliance stores catering to China’s burgeoning middle class.

The most conspicuous new entrant: Martha Stewart, who was freed from jail earlier this month. Seventeen people found their way back onto the list, including Home Depot shareholder Kenneth Langone, who returns following a rebound in the retailer’s stock.

The gap between the world’s two richest people, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, narrowed further this year, though Gates hung on to his superlative title for the eleventh year.

The third-richest person in the world, steel baron Lakshmi Mittal, is this year’s biggest gainer in dollars, adding $18.8 billion to his net worth. Russia delivered mixed results this year: Mikhail Khodorkovsky, imprisoned for 18 months and counting, saw his fortune fall $12.8 billion, making him the biggest loser. (Five of his former partners dropped off our list entirely.)

Thirty people fell off the list, either because their net worth dropped below the minimum or because their fortunes were reclassified as belonging to families. Another 14 died, including Canada’s french fry king Harrison McCain and Lebanon’s former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Fobes rankings represents a snapshot of wealth taken on Feb. 11, the date it priced publicly held stocks. That’s why chemical maker Jon Huntsman’s net worth does not reflect the 15 percent run-up in the stock since his company went public on Feb. 14.

Comment: What is left unsaid is that the poor continue to get poorer. We live in a time of greater and greater polarisation. The middle is being torn asunder by the pulling towards the extremes. We see it happen economically, politically, and socially. The United States is the great laboratory at the moment where this ripping of the fabric of society is the most blatant, but the To Do list of tyranny includes the entire globe.

Look at the recent proposals to change the bankruptcy laws in the US to protect the credit card companies, companies who have done everything in their power to increase the indebtedness of the US public by extending card after card with pre-approved credit to people throughout the country. The system is rigged. Once you begin to play by their rules, the outcome is cast in stone. Sure, every once in awhile, a person with no scruples, willing to do anything to succeed, will join the club of the haves. His success is paraded as proof the system works, that the little man can make good with hard effort and the sweat of his brow. But for each who job the club of the robber barons, how many have been thrown onto the rocks, having lost all, family, home, and business?

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By Jim Hightower
Friday, March 11, 2005
One of the favorite whipping boys of right-wing moralists is Larry Flynt, the self-described "smut peddler" and civl libertarian.

But – Holy Moly – smut has gone corporate! Some of the primmest, most-proper, most Republican of CEOs are quietly slipping bundles of "dirty" money into their hand-tailored pinstripe suits – money derived from their burgeoning business of peddling porn on television.

I'm not talking about the tame fare of "Desperate Housewives" or the flashing of Janet Jackson's breast on a Super Bowl broadcast, but about the really raunchy stuff of X-rated movies now available on your own personal tube. Movies rated single-X feature nudity and simulated sex; double-X movies show real sex; and triple-X... well, it can cause your eyeballs to explode.

Thanks to cable and satellite TV, you can get all three in your own home, not only courtesy of Larry Flynt, but also of such heavy-hitting corporate Republicans as Rupert Murdoch. His DirectTV satellite company peddles the stuff, as does EchoStar satellite company.

If you don't have a dish, no-problem – just hook up to Aldelphia Communications, the nation's fifth-largest cable-TV provider. Adelphia was once run by the ultra-conservative John Rigas, who considered even the softest porn immoral. But, alas, John had other moral weaknesses – he got caught looting the company and now faces prison time.

Adelphia's new top executives are still backers of George W and other "moral values" Republicans, but they've redefined the company's morality in terms of hard cash, making a grab for the billion-dollar-a-year market for TV sex. Adelphia has become the first major cable company to offer the most explicit, hardest-core programming to its subscribers. As a company official explains: "People want it, so we are trying to provide it. The more Xs, the more popular."

That's a perfect statement of today's corporate ethic: Money trumps morality every time.

Comment: This article is only the tip of the iceberg when we think about gay prostitutes being received at the White House late at night. On the other hand, now we know the true meaning of a "Roving reporter".

The hypocrisy of the Bush Administration knows no bounds.

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Eight Dead at Wisconsin Hotel Shooting
Sat Mar 12, 2005

BROOKFIELD, Wis. (Reuters) - A man opened fire with a handgun at a church service in a Wisconsin hotel on Saturday, killing seven people and wounding four before taking his own life, police said.

Four victims and the gunman died at the scene and three others died later at a hospital.

What prompted the violence at the Sheraton Hotel in Brookfield 10 miles west of Milwaukee during a regular service of the Living Church of God in a meeting room was still under investigation, Brookfield's police chief, Dan Tushaus, told reporters.

He said the unidentified 45-year-old shooter "was either a member or somehow affiliated with the church" and that he entered the service while in session and began firing.

A woman present in the room said "I sat in front of a family that he mowed down. ... I dove under a chair. The man whose chair I dove under, he died," the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

She said one of those killed was the group's minister, the newspaper said.

Police were searching the man's residence in the nearby town of New Berlin for more information.

"I have no indication of a motive at this time" Tushaus told a news conference. He said the church had been meeting at the same location for the past four to five years.

The police chief did not release the names of the victims but said the four slain at the scene were two teen-aged boys, ages 15 and 17, a 72-year-old man and a woman aged 55.

Of the seven wounded people taken to hospitals, three later died -- men aged 44, 50 and 58. Still being treated and in serious condition were a 52-year-old man, a 20-year-old woman, a 20-year-old man and a 10-year-old girl.

The denomination, headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., believes that the Sabbath -- the day of worship -- is to be observed Saturday. According to its Web site it is active in North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia with over 200 congregations.

The church is an offshoot of the Worldwide Church of God which was founded by American evangelist Herbert W. Armstrong in 1933.

The hotel is located near a major shopping center. Several other gatherings were taking place there Saturday, but no injuries were reported outside the meeting room.

Tushaus said he did not believe anyone else was involved in carrying out the crime beyond the man who did the shooting.

Comment: Earlier last week a man shot and killed five people including a judge a guard and a stenographer in an Atlanta courthouse. Can we say Canaries in Mine?

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Toddler shot by brother, four

A two-year-old was shot by his four-year-old brother, who may not have known the difference between a real and toy gun, police said.

The two-year-old, who suffered a single gunshot wound to the temple, was in critical condition last night at Ben Taub Hospital.

The shooting occurred yesterday afternoon at a home in south-west Houston.

Police Sgt. Cameron Grysen said the boys had been arguing when the two-year-old threw a toy at his brother.

The mother thought the boys had returned to their room, but they had instead gone to her room, where the older boy took a loaded gun from the woman’s purse.

"The four-year-old was angry … he went and got the gun, put it to his brother’s head and shot the gun," Grysen said. [...]

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Quakes rock India's Andaman Islands 2005-03-13 16:18:29
NEW DELHI, Mar. 13 (Xinhuanet) -- India's Andaman Islands were Sunday rocked by aftershocks of the massive Dec. 26 undersea earthquake that triggered a tsunami in South and Southeast Asia, Indo-Asian News Service reported.

The first aftershock was felt at 4:14 a.m. Indian time with the epicenter off the coast of Little Andaman Island and measuring up to 5.3 on the Richter scale, an official of the India Meteorological Department said.

The second aftershock was felt at 7:49 a.m. and measured 5.3 on the Richter scale, with its epicenter off the coast of South Andaman Island.

An earthquake off the coast of Sumatra in Indonesia Dec. 26 had triggered the massive tsunami that killed over 280,000 people in South and Southeast Asia, including some 10,200 in India.

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Moderate earthquake shakes rural Iran
March 13 2005 at 12:56PM

Tehran - An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.9 shook a sparsely populated area in south-eastern Iran on Sunday but there were no immediate reports of any casualties, state media and officials said.

State radio said the tremor struck at 6am and was centred close to the town of Saravan in Sistan-Baluchistan province, close to Iran's borders with Pakistan and Afghanistan.

"The windows of some homes were smashed and some walls were damaged," said Interior Ministry spokesperson Jahanbakhsh Khanjani.

"As it was in a sparsely populated area we are not expecting many deaths or casualties," he added.

A strong earthquake struck the neighbouring Kerman province on February 22, killing more than 600 people and destroying several villages. That quake had a magnitude of 6.4.

Criss-crossed by several major faultlines Iran, is plagued by frequent earthquakes.

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Earthquake registered near Anapa in Black Sea, causing no damage
KRASNODAR, March 13 (Itar-Tass)

An earthquake, measuring up to four points on the open-ended Richter scale, was registered near the resort city of Anapa, the Krasnodar Territory, in early hours of Sunday, according to the information of Anapa-located seismic station.

The epicenter of the quake was located ten kilometres southwest from Anapa in the Black Sea.

Residents of Anapa, Novorossiisk and Krasnodar cities, as well as the Abinsk and Slavyansk districts felt the underground tremors.

There were no immediate reports about damage or casualties, a duty officer of the chief civil defence and emergencies department in the Krasnodar Territory told Itar-Tass on Sunday.

This was the second earthquake that shook the Black Sea area over past week.

Earlier, the Sochi seismic stations registered another earthquake near the port of Tuapse overnight from March 10 to March 11, causing no damage or casualties.

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By David Siddall
PARTON residents are baffled by what has been described as a "mini Loch Ness Monster" washed up on their beach.

Joan Singleton, from Firth View was strolling on the foreshore near to where Lowca Beck flows out to sea when she came upon the "monster".

She alerted friends, saying she had never seen anything like it.

Jack Southam, skipper of the Whitehaven sea angling charterboat Riptide, said on seeing a photograph of it: "I have never seen anything like this in all my years at sea."

Another Parton resident told The Whitehaven News: "It seems to have a seal’s body, the tail of a whale, fins on top and sides, but also claws and really sharp teeth."

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Doomsday prediction sparks fear of tsunami
March 12, 2005

Rumours that an astrological event would lead to a disaster on the scale of the December 26 tsunamis this weekend caused widespread panic yesterday.

According to Hindu astrology, the God Rahu will cross into a new zodiac sign today, ushering in a time of potential bad luck for some and good luck for others.

The dire predictions of pending disaster and misfortune sent the superstitious flocking to Buddhist temples with black offerings, said to be favoured by Rahu.

Websites were flooded with posts about the prediction that a fireball would hit the Gulf of Thailand and generate more terrible waves than last year’s, while state agencies concerned with disaster prevention were inundated by calls from the public.

Tawalrat Onsira, director-general of the Marine Transport and Commerce Department, said he thought the prediction was nonsense but, since many people were worried, he had instructed harbour officials to remain on duty over the weekend and be on the alert for any incident.

Srisuda Rakphao, deputy director-general of the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department, saw no grounds to expect such a disaster on the weekend or to fear that two large dams in Kanchanaburi would burst. [...]

The doomsday prediction caught the attention of the diplomatic community in Bangkok too, with most wondering how it originated and whether any astrologer had actually announced it officially.

"Diplomats keep asking each other whenever there is gathering whether anyone has heard about March 12," a Western diplomat said.

Such talk would quickly catch people’s attention as people were still scared by the December 26 natural disaster, he said.

"Most of us might not believe but, as long as local people keep talking about it, we must pay attention," he added.

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Source of mystery booms likely to remain unknown
By Paul Garber

'Quiet' N.C. has no seismic-detection network

The mysterious booms that rocked much of downtown Saturday night may remain forever a mystery.

About 8:20 p.m., 911 dispatchers started getting a wave of calls reporting the booms, said Shawn Cline, the hazardous-materials coordinator for the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Office of Emergency Management. The calls covered an area of downtown between Glade and Cherry streets, from Brookstown Avenue to the south and West 24th Street to the north, he said.

Cline said that he spent most of yesterday looking at whether a small earthquake or sonic boom might have caused the noise, but by the end of the day he didn't have a solid answer.

There may not be enough earthquake-measuring equipment in the area to determine whether a small earthquake occurred, said Tyler Clark, the chief geologist for the N.C. Geological Survey.

"This is likely to go down in the history books as a mystery," Clark said.

Saturday's booms were about the 10th such report he has had from the Winston-Salem area in the past five years, Clark said.

"These are not anything new," he said. "They've happened to our state for a long time."

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Exorcist fights demons
Liam Houlihan

A CONTROVERSIAL visiting exorcist says Melbourne's demons are the most vicious in the world because our society is a religious vacuum

High profile American preacher Bob Larson began his national exorcism tour at the Forum Theatre last night.

A shyster to some and a saviour to others, he claims to have exorcised demons in 90 countries.

He said the demons he battled in his Melbourne exorcisms were among the roughest he had faced. Larson said Australia's "lack of regard for religion" led demons to possess non-believers.

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