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Nunzilla isn't happy with our comments about the Pope.

Prophecy on Pope Fulfilled by Eclipses?
NewsMax – April 7, 2005

A 10th Century Irish bishop - St. Malachy - predicted every pope that would preside over the Catholic Church.

Almost ten centuries ago, Malachy predicted this pope would be noted by an eclipse of the sun.

In an eerie coincidence, John Paul II was the only known pope to be born on the day of a solar eclipse.

But the prophetic link doesn't end there. Pope John Paul II will be buried this Friday during another solar eclipse.

Astronomers say that on Friday, the day of the Pope's funeral, a partial solar eclipse will blot out most of the sun and darken a wide area of the world, from the South Pacific to the Western Hemisphere.

Solar eclipses are not unusual. But what makes this coming Friday's eclipse notable is the fact that there was a near total eclipse of the sun seen across Europe on May 18, 1920, the very day that John Paul II was born in Poland.

Adding fuel to the arcane speculation about these events is the prophecy of St. Malachy.

Malachy was discovered to have left behind a prophetic list of all future popes beginning with Pope Celestine II, whose papacy began in 1143 A.D., up to and including the 112th. The list includes John Paul and just two more popes who will follow him.

In his list of popes, he uses a single line in Latin identifying a characteristic of each pope.

The description applied to the 110th pope on his list - John Paul II - is "De Labore Solis" (Of the Solar Eclipse), which seems to add great weight to the validity of St. Malachy's chilling prophecy: that the next two popes chosen to succeed John Paul II will be the last popes.

After the reign of the last pope, "Peter the Roman," St. Malachy wrote, Rome will be destroyed.

As reported April 3, Saint's Prophecy: Only Two Popes Remain, the 112th prophecy says, "In the final persecution of the Holy Roman Church, there will reign Petrus Romanus (Peter the Roman), who will feed his flock amid many tribulations; after which the seven-hilled city [Rome] will be destroyed and the dreadful Judge will judge the people," an indication that the world will end.

Comment: Yesterday, a report claimed that the Pope had in fact died on Friday 1st April, but the world was told that he had died on Saturday:

In a conspiracy theory worthy of a Dan Brown novel, liberals suggested that Pope John Paul II had died a day earlier than was officially declared but the news was withheld to give the conservatives an advantage.

According to the rumours, said to have come from sources in the Italian government and believed by senior cardinals, the Pope actually died on Friday.

The theory goes that conservatives close to the Pope decided that if they had an extra day they could mobilise many more sympathetic Roman Catholics from around the world to converge on Rome for the Pope's funeral.

The event would then become one of the biggest mass rallies in Catholic history and increase the momentum in favour of the Pope being elevated to sainthood in record time. In this heady atmosphere, the speculation goes, the conservative plotters could then ensure the election of another doctrinally conservative figure in the mould of John Paul II.

The comment "if they had an extra day", would seem to suggest that there is a very definite time frame in which the pope must be buried. Doing a little research we discover that, according to Papal protocol established by JP II himself, a pope must be buried between four and six days after his death. In the above article, we are told that the reason that "conservatives" lied about the date of the Pope's death was to give them more time to mobilise many more sympathetic Roman Catholics around the world, yet we have to wonder what organising could have been done in 7 days that could not have been done in 6. A much more plausible explanation is that the "conservatives" desired to ensure that the Pope was buried on the day of the Solar eclipse in order to facilitate the obvious "prophetical" or "divine" meaning that would be inferred by the faithful from the coincidence of the two events. However, if JP II did in fact expire on Friday 1st, then, according to protocol, he would have to buried by Thursday at the latest thereby missing the eclipse. By postponing his death until Saturday 2nd they could keep with protocol while also ensuring that a "heavenly sign" would accompany JP II's final farewell.

See Laura Knight-Jadczyk's article St. Malachy and the Toil of the Sun for more.

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The Pope Who Revived the Office of the Inquisition

An American Catholic Reflects on Papacy of John Paul II

This week you will be inundated with honorific obituaries to Karol Wojtila, Pope John Paul II. I am writing not to honor Wojtila; he will (quite frankly) receive more honor in the next week than any individual mortal deserves. I write as a witness to the damage this man did during his 26 years as Roman pontiff to the causes of liberty and peace throughout the world.

There will be few voices such as mine raised on the occasion of Wojtila's death, but someone must speak the truth. Much of what I say here will be new (perhaps even surprising) to non-Catholics. To Catholics, I write to remind them of what each of them knows but seldom acknowledges. Karol Wojtila forced the best minds out of the Catholic Church, or at least to the extreme margins of the Church. Wojtila sanctified the baroque reproductive/sexual bugaboos that infest the Catholic Church while striving to ideologically lobotomize the Catholic clergy and laity. Although he was a fine ambassador of good will to Protestants, Jews, and Muslims, Wojtila degraded the richness of Catholic faith and tradition into mindless displays of loyalty. An archaic organization that had shown signs of serious promise as a refreshed (and even potentially progressive) social force under Popes John XXIII and Paul VI was methodically and ruthlessly drubbed into the mold of ideological and cultural reaction. The record shows that Karol Wojtila was a charming man and a master of international public relations, but he was a political and cultural reactionary to his core

Remember that I and many others did not become Catholics by reason of our voluntary decisions. Long centuries before my birth, complex systems of custom and loyalty and political alliances led the Irish and Bavarian peasants who made up the bulk of my ancestors to become cemented within the Roman Catholic Church. As an infant, my family inducted me into the Catholic Church by way of the rite of baptism. As a young child, I was educated in Catholic schools. In my childhood, loyalty to family and Church stood much higher than loyalty to nation. Even as I have defined myself as an individual in a secular society, the ties of ancestry, ethnicity, early experience and schooling leave me thoroughly "Catholic" in many senses.

Largely because of the actions of Karol Wojtila, it is unlikely that my grandchildren will be raised as Catholics. For many years I vowed that I would not cede the Catholic Church to the vile reaction induced and symbolized by Pope John Paul II. I strove for many years to be one of those who kept alive the fine things within the rich Catholic religious and cultural tradition, but in the last two years I have had to acknowledge that this quest can no longer reasonably be pursued within the current institution of the Roman Catholic Church. In death, Wojtila's reaction is likely to entirely prevail, since he transformed the Church itself by promoting only the most rigid and automoton-like of clerics to positions of responsibility.

Ignore the press hype about kissing the ground while globetrotting and recognizing Israel. Forget the ridiculous lie that John Paul II favored "human rights." Ignore the canned media obituary coverage that strives to show you that Wojtila (like Nixon, Reagan, Bob Hope, and (soon) Margaret Thatcher) were "great" international figures. Here is part of the damage wrought by this arch-reactionary and the regressive forces he unleashed in the Catholic Church:

1. Among Wojtila's first actions as Pope was to attack freedom of inquiry and freedom of speech in Catholic universities. Progressive theology, feminist thought, and "liberation theology" were driven from accepted Catholic discourse. Catholic universities in Europe and North America have lost their best scholars in the humanities and have sunk into being miserable intellectual ghettoes with respect to history, philosophy, theology, and related fields.

2. Wojtila revived and strengthened the Office of the Inquisition under the infamous Cardinal Ratziger. The "Holy Office" was near abolition under the two previous pontiffs, but Wojtila wielded the Inquisition as his special shock troops in a relentless campaign to silence all varieties of opinion other than his own. Repression of thought at the level of the diocese and parish became commonplace again after a blessed reprieve in the 1960s and 1970s.

3. Pursuing his lifelong dedication to fanatic anti-communism, Wojtila pressured the reluctant Christian Democrats of Italy, Germany, and Holland to accede to the placement of US cruise missiles in Europe in the early 1980's. As a result of this provocative action by the United States, nuclear war between the US and the Soviet Union came even closer than during the Cunan Missile Crisis. The result might have been the nuclear annihilation of the planet. No credit to Wojtila, the planet survived. Wojtila's claims as an advocate of peace are false to their core.

4. Wojtila has intervened repeatedly in the electoral politics of his homeland, Poland, since the late 1980s to bring about government by socially conservative politicians who pass papal muster on women's rights and abortion and "anti-materialism" (opposition to the introduction of consumerism). Despite some cultural and economic promise in the late 1980s, Poland has become stultified with vast out-migration of educated Poles and economic paralysis. When they are being honest, migrating Poles will tell you that Wojtila and the power of the Polish Catholic Church are destroying their homeland.

5. Wojtila badgered the progressive Latin American bishops and archbishops (yes, there used to be several of them!) to abandon support of cooperatives, peasant political initiatives, and community organizing in his infamous campaign to eliminate "liberation theology." Only safe, traditional, right-wing candidates were promoted into the Catholic hierarchy. Wojtila denounced "liberation theology" and drove its proponents in Nicaragua and many other places out of the Catholic Church.

6. In the United States, Wojtila in 1980 forced Father Robert Drinan, one of the nation's leading elected progressive politicians, to resign from Congress (under penalty of being forced to leave the priesthood). At the same time, Wojtila fostered the alliance of right-wing American Catholic bishops with the "Christian right" on the issues of abortion, women's rights, and homosexuality. In North America and beyond, a double standard has been applied by Wojtila for Catholic clergy involvement in political causes. Advocating for progressive causes has been forbidden as impermissibly "political" while advocacy and alliances against abortion, contraception, and women's rights has been approved as necessary "witnessing" to Catholic values.

7. Wojtila has systematically purged what were previously culturally and politically progressive religious orders such as the Jesuits and Franciscans. These worldwide purges of the orders have been carried out by appointees Wojtila has made as heads of the various orders. In some cases, progressive leaders in the religious orders were forced to retire early so that his handpicked reactionaries could take command.

8. Wojtila has refused to acknowledge what had been a central role of women in the Catholic Church. He not only opposed the elevation of women to ministry (despite powerful evidence that women performed such roles in the early Christian Church), he refused to allow the many orders of nuns to creatively adapt to modern conditions. As a result, the Catholic sisterhoods are virtually defunct, and the clerical personnel of the Catholic Church has been turned into an all-male private club.

9. Wojtila has forbidden the use of indigenous cultural forms in worship services in non-Western countries. Gone are the marvelous masses and hymns from Africa and Latin America that inspired Christian worship in the 1960s and 1970s. In Western countries, he has insisted on restricting the use of Catholic church buildings to specifically religious purposes despite their great value as venues for concerts, art exhibits, and community activities. Multiple uses of churches was a tradition carried down from the Middle Ages. The great cathedrals of Europe were designed on the assumption of multiple uses.

10. Despite painfully obvious need and institutional commitments made during the Second Vatican Council, Wojtila refused to modernize working conditions for the Catholic clergy. Catholic priests remain the most underpaid and overworked of denominational Christian ministers. In addition, the input of priests into promotion processes within the clergy, which traditionally acted as a counterweight to hierarchical oppression, has been reduced by Wojtila to a nullity.

11. Flying in the face of historical precedent and the most basic common sense, Wojtila refused to consider issues of clerical celibacy and the upgrading of the diaconate to the central functions of the ministry. Clerical celibacy is (quite frankly) a custom originating in the early middle ages for purposes of property consolidation, and it has always been "honored more in the breach than the observance." Furthermore, deacons performed sacramental functions until modern times. The restriction of sacramental functions to a celibate priesthood was not even an official ideal of the Catholic Church until the sixteenth century. Wojtila's refusal to even permit discussion of issues concerning clerical celibacy and full sacramental functions for the diaconate has created a vast shortage of Catholic clergy and turned the most energetic and talented Catholics away from ministry within their own Church.

12. The ancient tradition of partial autonomy of the "nationes" within the Catholic Church has been broken by Wojtila. Traditionally, the national councils of Catholic bishops within each country had considerable leeway in governing the local churches. Wojtila, unlike any of his modern predecessors, regularly intervened and overturned decisions by the national councils concerning details of religious customs and personnel decisions.

13. Wojtila deepened and intensified the reproductive doctrinal fetishes of his most reactionary predecessors. Official "Catholic" positions on contraception and abortion are creations of deservedly obscure, personally bizarre, and sexually twisted theologians resident in the Roman theological colleges during the nineteenth century. They have no basis whatsoever in the beliefs and practices of either the ancient or medieval Church. Because of Wojtila's use of the Catholic Church's influence in international organizations and its alliance with the "Religious Right" in the USA, international birth control programs have been starved and gutted over the last two decades. As a result, tens of millions of African, Asian and Latin American infants and children have lived and died in misery!

14. Despite Wojtila's external reputation as some sort of "liberal," Catholics know that Wojtila is the close ally of the extremist and highly secretive Catholic movement known as Opus Dei. Wojtila has welcomed and blessed the practices of Opus Dei, which is a kind of "Church within the Church." He has promoted clergy who are affiliated with Opus Dei to the highest of positions within the Church. Opus Dei members congregate in secret in KKK-like costumes and engage in practices which include wearing hairshirts and self-flagellation. They maintain a network of secret monasteries and houses where young Catholics (especially those from wealthy and prominent families) are taken for intensive indoctrination sessions. Opus Dei members have been reliably reported by deprogrammed former members to favor re-ghettoization of Jews and international military crusades against Islam. US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is a key member of Opus Dei in North America. The most likely successor to John Paul II is the ultra reactionary Archbishop of Milan, Dionigi Tettamanzi (known in Italy as the "Beast of Milan") who is reputedly one of the maximum leaders of the secretive cult of Opus Dei.

15. Wojtila methodically purged the College of Cardinals of any creative or free-thinking members, and almost all members of the current College of Cardinals, which will now choose Wojtila's successor, are rightwing clerical robots appointed by Wojtila himself. The Catholic Church is now guaranteed to have a self-perpetuating reactionary leadership for the indefinite future.

16. All initiatives for democratization of governance of the Catholic Church which began in the 1960s and 1970s were stopped in their tracks by Wojtila. American Catholics no longer talk about lay input into major decisions of the Church. The many talented laymen and laywomen who run the day-to-day operations of Catholic parishes and diocese are treated with highhanded disrespect, and the most talented have left or are in the process of leaving.

17. Wojtila cruelly abandoned the Catholics of Northern Ireland to a fate of political oppression and denial of their basic human rights. The Catholics of Northern Ireland are the only European Catholics still undergoing systematic persecution for their religious beliefs. One might have thought that Pope John Paul II would have championed the human rights of Northern Irish Catholics. Instead, Wojtila never spoke out against the horrendous oppression of his coreligionists in Northern Ireland. His sole contribution to the discussion of Northern Ireland was to condemn IRA violence (without any corresponding condemnation of British Army or loyalist violence) and demand a cessation of IRA activities, which would simply have left the Catholics in Northern Ireland completely helpless to their oppressors.

18. Last but not least, Karol Wojtila proved his utter moral bankruptcy in his horrendous mishandling of the pedophile scandals in the Catholic Churches of the United States, Canada, Ireland, Britain, and several other nations. Wojtila could never bring himself to a clear apology or an acknowledgement of wrongdoing or institutional responsibility for the Catholic Church's practices of abuse, intimidation, and rape of tens of thousands of children and adolescents. Most reprehensibly, Wojtila removed the independent power of the United States Catholic bishops to discipline pedophile priests while attributing the horror and filth within the American Catholic Church to some sort of American cultural malady.

Visiting a synagogue and a mosque, issuing a few statements about Iraq and Palestine, opposition to capital punishment as an isolated issue--Sorry, but these and some other (mainly symbolic) "proofs" of John Paul's "humanity" and his "apostolate of peace" ring very, very hollow to this American Catholic who has had his tradition and his Church wrenched from him by an Eastern European rightwing fanatic in Pope's clothes.

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Socialist priest speaks out after death of the Pope
By Erik Demeester
April 4, 2005

Erik Demeester interviewed Remi Verwimp, who is an activist of a special kind. He is in fact a priest who belongs to a group called Christians for Socialism in Belgium inspired by liberation theology and Marxist ideas. As a lecturer at the Theology and Society Workshop (Werkgroep Theologie en Maatschappij) he has developed a critical view on the Catholic Church and especially on the latest pontificate.


Before he started to analyse the 27-year pontificate of John Paul II Remi wanted to put the last months of suffering of the Pope into a broader perspective.

“The two month long agony of the Pope and the media hype around it is a great mise en scène designed to identify his suffering with that of Jesus Christ. But that is wrong. The suffering of John Paul II and that of Jesus have nothing in common. The Pope suffered and died from illness and old age. Jesus suffered as a result of his resistance against an oppressor, the Roman Empire. Jesus did not just die. He was arrested, tortured and finally murdered because he rose up against all forms of exploitation. Jesus was killed for his beliefs and his actions! What a difference with this man who just passed away. Those last months of mise en scène are very typical of the theological policy of the Vatican that is built around the figure of the suffering Jesus. The political dimension of a Jesus who struggled against oppression and injustice is put in the shadow. In its stead we have a mysticism that can be applied to whatever form of physical suffering. Jesus’ example is being depoliticised.”

“Yes, the media hype around the death of the Pope surprised me a bit. But I think they’ve gone too far. I hear not a few people reacting against this and becoming more critical”.

In fact, an Internet poll published yesterday by the Flemish Catholic paper De Standaard, indicated that almost half of the respondents thought that John Paul II was not a good Pope.

Asked to explain how we should interpret the mass gatherings of Catholic worshippers in front of the Vatican, Remi notes:

“Many people have been alienated by the Church as an institution and by its practices. On the other hand those massive gatherings and mourning all over the world cannot simply be explained with the media hype. Today there is a deep quest for spirituality and religion in the world. People are looking for shelter and a meaning to life. We live in a society where people feel isolated and abandoned. The searching man or woman does not find an answer. They are looking for strong figures and personalities. John Paul II seemed to give an answer to those people. In that sense religion is the opium of the people. This poses the question on how to deal with religion. We know that religion is used – and that is what the Pope has been doing – to wrap a nice, beautiful but protective veil around the edifice of power, dictatorship and injustice. It is used to cover up structural injustice.”

Remi does not doubt for one minute that the Pope’s activities were very political and right wing, if not reactionary:

“During his pontificate the Pope had established under his direct initiative some 123 different religious organisations that are all right-wing, conservative and reactionary. Some are linked to Opus Dei but others have their own dynamic like the Egidius community, the Tiberiades and so many others. They are based on small communities and preach a fundamentalist interpretation of the Bible Their aim, which is also the Pope’s aim, is to replace the old territorial structures – parishes for instance – of the Church that are now experiencing a general emptying out. The fact that John Paul II refused access to the clergy for women also strengthens this tendency. In Belgium for instance 2000 jobs aimed at helping community based Christian groups have not been filled as a result. Meanwhile the 123 new right-wing religious groups receive all the necessary aid. Those are the groups who also organise those world events of young people called World Days of the Youth around the figure of the Pope. We should nevertheless not be impressed by those gatherings. The media presents them as the proof that the Pope is loved by young people. It is not difficult to obtain this result of massive turnouts if those 123 organisations from all over the world come together at one place. Of course even amongst those circles of young and mostly right-wing people there is a desire for spirituality in a world full of insecurity and uncertainty.”

“Those reactionary objectives of the Pope are more sharply revealed in his early alliance with the American President Ronald Reagan. When he became president he published the so-called Santa Fe document. This was in 1980. It was a policy report on National Security based on the situation in Latin America. Part of the measures elaborated in this document to combat ‘Evil Communism’ in Latin America was to oppose the Christian rank and file groups who preached liberation theology. The Pope and Ronald Reagan were in complete accord on the objectives. John Paul II succeeded to marginalize during his pontificate the numerous supporters of liberation theology through a policy of appointments of right-wing clergymen and repression against people like Ernesto Cardenal, the priest who was a minister in the first revolutionary Sandinista government in Nicaragua in 1979. This situation made it very difficult for groups like Christians for Socialism to develop their work. It had a very negative effect.”

“It is true that the Pope also condemned the foreign debt of the poorest countries and that he favoured the cancellation of those debts. He also criticised the war in Iraq, but this was probably a tactic to protect the small Christian community in that country. Yes, he has even criticised capitalism but only its outer forms, the symptoms, and the consequences. He never really condemned the capitalist system as such. He took a very different attitude in relation to the regimes in Poland and the Soviet Union. If you believed the media, you would think that the Pope pulled down the Berlin wall single-handedly! John Paul II considered communism as the worst sort of atheism, which had to be combated fervently. That determined his support for the leadership of Solidarnosc, the Polish trade union that fought the Polish regime. This Pope was a very right-wing political leader of the Catholic Church.”

What about the new Pope?

“I expect nothing from a new Pope, except that he will continue and strengthen the right wing and conservative legacy of John Paul II. There can be no doubt about it. We on our side as critical Christians need to go and rediscover the Bible. Our Bible has been expropriated of its content as an instrument of the poor and the dispossessed in the struggle against injustice. Of course we nourish our inspiration from other currents such as the socialist ones. Nevertheless we have to reclaim Jesus as someone who struggled against the institutions and the structures of oppression”.

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The origin of the 9/11 mysterious 'melt down'?
Foreign Press Foundation, jeudi, 07/04/2005 - 02:44
by Henk Ruyssenaars

According to the latest polls more than half (52%) of the Americans still wrongly believe the 9/11 WTC disaster was the result of the murderous action by the 'Red Barons' of Al Qaida, with Iraq's Saddam Hussein as the bad genius behind it all.

A sordid example of indoctrination of the americans, with the 'spin' of the official 9/11 version. The world is confronted with an American/Israeli terrormachine, with guided missiles and misguided people, paying the bloody price for the inhumane and unlimited global restructuring of the US's energy needs.

All those poor ignorants concerned now also are supposed to believe: "That the hijacked airplanes that struck the World Trade Center hit with such force that the resulting explosions blew the fireproofing off the steel columns, accelerating heat buildup and weakening the structural core - contributing to the towers' eventual collapse." - As one of the many Newspeak specialists of the Washington Post wrote yesterday.*

So the 2 planes hit the upper part of the WTC skyscrapers high in the sky, and in the cellars ''the fireproofing blows of the core steel columns''? In their arrogance of power, bombarding us with lies through their mediocre media, they must think we are totally TV-lobotomized and stupid. The at present warmongering American/Israeli neocon-terminators are getting world infamous for their mendacity and greed, covered with lies and hypocrisy.

This last 9/11 report is one of those dirty black pearls again, on the immense and stinking string of US government cover up propaganda; lies based on the certainty that hardly anybody knows that construction steel first starts melting at 2800 or more (two-thousand-eight-hundred) degrees of heat.

And; who knows that no existing jet fuel yet has passed the highest temperature limit the Boeings jet fuel (=JP-4 / military mostly JP-8) can reach, which is 1,517 degrees?

Even adding all the paper in the WTC buildings to the inferno wouldn't help: thanks to Ray Bradbury we know that paper - like a Darwin book in the Bible Belt - already burns at Fahrenheit 451º.

Ever since I saw the airplanes crash into the World Trade Center Towers on 9/11 - and surely like many professional pilots - I've thought about which kind of virtuosi air acrobats those pilots must have been, even using a by the FBI 'found' video about "How to fly a Boeing 747".

No doubt to freshen up their memory lest they forgot the functions of one or more of the many hundreds of funny buttons and all those many coloured switches and clocks in the cockpits.

Confronted with this unbelievable and affronting idiocy, one also wonders still, which kind of unknown fuel they must have used to create this ‘melt down' of even the construction steel of the buildings. Maybe 'good old American' Herr Werner von Braun, the V1 specialist, knows?

Because that kind of destruction has never happened before, demolition experts confirm. Even the most blazing fires never brought down the steel pillar structures of any skyscraper in such a perfect vertical free fall movement of demolition. Never!

What than, was said to be the reason of this unique
‘melt down' of such huge steel constructions?

Official Press conference

The US's (what else?) 'National Institute of Standards and Technology' last Tuesday gave a press conference in New York, and offered a report* on the unique 'melt down' of the WTC Towers. It was the usual: by the criminal US government paid and bribed people, investigating crimes by that same government which is paying them and the way they vegetate in the shadow of government crime. So the gathered 'media people' hardly dared to ask anything critical (un-american!) , and thus haven't heard nor found anything special either about the WTC 'South Tower'. And that's strange too.

Because, even though it experienced a less forceful hit than the North Tower and had smaller fires, it fell in only half the time of its counterpart: it took only 56 minutes.*

Some like it hot

Contrary to the facts - but, as usual now - the 'sister papers' of the Jerusalem Post in the States, the 'Whitewashington Post' and the other misguiding and faking mainstream media - today broadly smear out the story that it was 'the fireproofing' which is supposed to have been 'blown off by the jets': falsely indicating that this way the steel could melt anyhow.

As Michelle Garcia wrote in her 'special' to the Washington Post yesterday: "The process was hastened by fires outside that consumed the buildings' face and caused the exterior columns to bow in, according to the report. Still, the study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology concluded that no amount of fireproofing could have saved the buildings*. [ ]

"It [WTC 2] started exploding," said Ross Milanytch, 57, who works at nearby Chase Manhattan Bank.* "It was about the 70th floor. And each second another floor exploded out for about eight floors, before the cloud obscured it all." [ASNE] "I saw small explosions on each floor." But still the perpetrators want us to believe that a plane - flying into the 70th floor above - melts the construction steel structure core in the cellars?*

The lies can easily be checked: all steel construction experts outside - and even an honest lot inside the United States - will confirm that the construction steel which was used in the WTC towers, starts melting at 2800 degrees. And that's steel without any fireproofing to be 'blown off'.

Furthermore: globally the 'fuel experts' will confirm that jet fuel will NOT burn any hotter than 1517 - (one-thousand-fivehundred-seventeen) - degrees under those circumstances, whoever is spinning and/or fanning.

One can check all steel industry and their research institutes in the whole world: no other figures are given.* Even research in Technion's library* - the 'Israeli National Institute of Technology', does not turn up higher degrees of heat.

So how was the strange 'melt down' possible? 'Only through well prepared and controlled demolition', a logical looking explanation of which very many are absolutely convinced. "And it has been quite an operation, with many people involved, of which some have become whistle blowers" - All the information, documentation and cross checking is available on Internet.* Including the whistle blowers.

Filming the 9/11 disaster?

Not 'whistle blowing' - nor opening their mouths - were the Israeli agents dancing on top of their Mossad 'moving van' in Manhattan, celebrating and filming the disaster as the Boeings plowed into the Twin Towers on Septemer 11th 2001.

They were - because of their very strange behavior - arrested, but heard nor charged and apparently flown out of the country home to Israel - with many of their colleagues - as fast as was possible, and never heard of nor seen again. Officially anyhow.

In the British 'Sunday Herald' editor Neil Mackay investigated the hair-raising matter and wrote*: "There was ruin and terror in Manhattan, but, over the Hudson River in New Jersey, a handful of men were dancing. As the World Trade Center burned and crumpled, the five men celebrated and filmed the worst atrocity ever committed on American soil as it played out before their eyes.

Who do you think they were? Palestinians? Saudis? Iraqis?, even Al-Qaeda, surely? Wrong on all counts.

They were Israelis, and at least two of them were Israeli intelligence agents, working for Mossad, the equivalent of MI6 or the CIA. Their discovery and arrest that morning is a matter of indisputable fact. Were they part of a massive spy ring which shadowed the 9/11 hijackers and knew that al-Qaeda planned a devastating terrorist attack on the USA?" [more below]

The gist of the story, and contradicting the misleading reports offered now again, is that construction steel melts at around 2800 degrees and that the 'melt down' of the construction steel and pillars in the WTC buildings - resulting in a perfect vertical free fall movement of demolition - is seen as unique, better said impossible.

Even with the media and jets fueling the fire.

Remember the 'South Tower'? Even though it experienced a less forceful hit than the North Tower and had smaller fires, it fell in only half the time of its counterpart: 56 minutes. It takes five times that long to cook a turkey!

But the Bush administration and their media's 'cooking' and 'crooking' of their 9/11 story, has been going on for three and a half years now! And - as the expected spin result - still many mentally poor people believe the version of 'Spin Meisters' like Karl Rove.

Many - especially on the still free Internet* - wonder if in 'Operation 9/11' it maybe was the covert help of some kind of explosive 'Trumpets of Jericho' that brought down the walls. The 'Jericho Trumpets' which Bruce Dickinson sings about.

Some of the lyrics chillingly describe what the people in the stopped elevators, in the rubble stacked and smoke-filled stairways in the buildings must have felt just before they died; many of them by heat and despair forced to take a terminal dive:

"This is the maze of life

This is the maze of death

This is the matrix of eternity"

It is expected that the people guilty of the 9/11 operation; the makers of the present maze of global terror, with their bombing, machine-gunning, napalming, stealing, kidnapping/renditions, jailing, raping, humiliating, torturing and killing, will be arrested and after a fair trial - which they now deny everybody - will be punished as soon as international law is restored and International Crime Courts and Tribunals start working legally.

Judging all war criminals and their supporters cum collaborators of all nationalities. Whomever they may think they's their deeds that count.

Of course never 'capital punishment': nobody wants to stoop as low as these criminals. 'Hard labor' for life in their Guantanamo and other concentration camps would be an adequate punishment.

Also guilty are the people of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey - which operated the towers until several weeks before the attacks when they were leased to a real estate company: they had never organized a complete fire drill in either building, and prohibited the use of the stairways ''afraid of them clogging up'', according to the abominable ''9/11 Commission'' hearings In New York City.

"Fire Engineering has good reason to believe that the "official investigation" blessed by FEMA and run by the American Society of Civil Engineers is a half-baked farce that may already have been commandeered by political forces whose primary interests, to put it mildly, lie far afield of full disclosure." [US - 'Fire Engineering' - 1/4/2002]

The findings of also this 'Investigating 9/11commission' were accurately qualified by Sally Regenhard - who lost her firefighter son - and during the session in New York held up a piece of paper reading:


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Bush team 'causing chaos in Arab world'
Uk Telegraph
By Anton La Guardia, Diplomatic Editor

A group of Arab intellectuals endorsed by the Bush administration turned their wrath on America yesterday, accusing it of undermining reform in the Arab world by backing Israel, weakening the United Nations and creating chaos in Iraq.

President George W Bush has made the promotion of democracy in the Middle East a key priority, saying that reform was the best means of undermining violent Islamist groups.

He eagerly seized on the work of the same Arab scholars who drew up a report in 2002 that bemoaned the "democratic deficit" in a region ruled by all-powerful kings, princes, sheikhs and presidents for life.

But their latest "Arab Human Development Report", issued under the auspices of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), will make much less comfortable reading in Washington.

"As a result of the invasion of their country, the Iraqi people have emerged from the grip of a despotic regime that violated their basic rights and freedoms, only to fall under a foreign occupation that increased human suffering," said the authors.

They said America's repeated veto - or threat of veto - at the UN Security Council to block resolutions critical of Israel's policy towards Palestinians "has pushed many people in the region to lose hope of obtaining justice from global governance and could exacerbate a tendency towards extremism".

A UNDP spokesman denied claims that the US had blocked publication of the report earlier this year. But he admitted that publication had been delayed because of disagreements among the authors, and UNDP's demands for changes.

He said UNDP kept the report at "arm's-length" - agreeing to publish it as a document worthy of discussion without "endorsing every dot and comma" of the text.

The report surveys events only until October 2004 - so does not deal with what the US regards as key achievements in democratisation.

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Services Have "Gotten Worse"
By Juan Cole

A returning aid worker for the AFSC says of Iraq:

Finally, the city grew too dangerous for Westerners and they left, concerned that they were putting not only their lives in danger but also the lives of the Iraqis that they interacted with.

McDowell's job had been to assess the conditions in Iraq and see how humanitarian resources were being used, as well as to work with new Iraqi non-governmental organizations and help with larger projects such as water sanitation.

What he saw wasn't good.

"In the past two years, rather than seeing an improvement in services, (Iraqis are) seeing a continual decline in those services," McDowell said.

That's gone hand in hand with a decline in security.

The American invasion, unfortunately, was undertaken in a manner that allowed chaos to take over.

On one hand, people were thrilled that Saddam's regime was overthrown. On the other hand, McDowell said, "I don't know anybody that would tell you conditions are better. They are worse. Obviously, there were problems under the regime. But they could walk the streets. Their kids could go to school. They felt safe - as long as they didn't engage in politics."

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Israeli soldiers force Palestinian minors to eat sand

Three Israeli border guards confessed to torturing a group of Palestinian children, forcing them to eat sand and kiss their boots.

A human rights group in Jerusalem, representing the Palestinian minors, filed a lawsuit against the three soldiers before an Israeli court.

After the soldiers confessed, the court convicted them of torturing children and disturbing court procedures.

The three guards were on patrol in the area near Abu Gush village near Jerusalem when they stopped the Palestinian minors at the Qutnah village and detained them, claiming that there were not carrying IDs, the court said.

They then took the children to a nearby Jewish settlement where they abused them and forced them to eat sand and kiss their boots before releasing them.

The Palestinian minors returned to their village and were photographed by a resident before filing the case against the soldiers.

Meanwhile, a released Palestinian child, Mahmoud Ereiqat, 16, from Jerusalem, said that he was severely tortured by Israeli guards during his detention in an Israeli jail inside the settlement of Ma'aleh Adomim.

Ereiqat told the Palestinian Prisoners' Society (PPS) that Israeli interrogators tied his testicles to a thread and pulled it strongly, causing severe pains.

He added that they used him as an ashtray, putting off their cigarettes on his skin, and that he was deprived of sleep, movement and using the toilet.

Hussein al-Sheikh, lawyer of PPS, said that he saw wounds in Ereiqat's head, which asserts his abuse accusations. He added that many Palestinian detainees presented several testimonies on the abuse they faced during their detention in Israeli jails.

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Officials Ask Why Iraq Details Surface Now
By KATHERINE SHRADER, Associated Press Writer
Wed Apr 6, 6:43 PM ET

WASHINGTON - The CIA and members of Congress said they want to know how a presidential commission unearthed details on intelligence failures about Iraq's prewar weapons programs that previous investigations missed.

Of particular interest is information that emerged in last week's report about how doubts were handled regarding a leading source on Saddam Hussein's alleged mobile biological weapons labs - an Iraqi scientist who defected to Germany, code named "Curveball."

Porter Goss, who became CIA director last September, has instructed officials to determine what happened and why the details did not come to light earlier, said his spokeswoman, Jennifer Millerwise.

"It was an unhappy surprise to the director that his first understanding of this issue was when he first read" the commission's report, Millerwise said Wednesday.

Senate Intelligence Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., also acknowledged President Bush's intelligence commission had details that did not emerge during his committee's yearlong investigation into the Iraq assessments, released last July.

If Bush's intelligence commission learned "something obvious," Roberts said, "we want to make sure the intelligence community does fill in those gaps so we have a clear picture."

Comment: As before, the Senate Intelligence Committee and CIA don't want to find the truth; they want to "fill in those gaps" to make sure that the Bush reich's version of history is accepted as the correct one.

Other lawmakers are angrier. "As far as I am concerned, the CIA threw us a curve ball," said Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., also a member of the Intelligence Committee.

Comment: And anyone but Bush and his gang will take the heat... What groups or individuals in their right mind would help Bush to blame them for his criminal activity? Perhaps some officials have been backed into a corner via blackmail, while others actually believe that by helping Bush, they will have a chip in the Big Game that he will cash in for them at a later date. Wishful thinking will get you every time.

The White House, Congress and U.S. intelligence agencies have launched a number of investigations into the faulty prewar intelligence on the Iraq threat. The most definitive to date came last week from Bush's intelligence commission.

Comment: Note that "most definitive" does not necessarily mean "most truthful".

According to the report, CIA officials tried to tell the agency's top officials that Curveball was a suspected fabricator and may have been mentally unstable. The new information includes an alleged warning in a late-night phone call to the agency's former director, George Tenet.

Tenet and his top deputy have both released statements emphatically denying that they received such warnings. Tenet called it "deeply disturbing" that the information didn't get to him.

Levin wants Tenet to testify under oath. "I don't think the intelligence committee was given some of that detail on Curveball, but I think it should have been," Levin said.

"Tenet said he doesn't remember," Levin said. "Hey, these are life and death decisions. This is what we tell the world. That's not good enough. ... Where is the responsibility?"

U.S. intelligence agencies and the Bush administration have come under fire since 2001 for not sharing enough information with lawmakers who oversee some of the government's most sensitive intelligence activities. Some in Congress have been particularly concerned about U.S. detention policies and the botched Iraq intelligence that was used to justify the invasion.

When asked how the new investigation got more detail, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and a commission member, said that the panel conducted numerous long interviews. "We did not come up with that information early," McCain said of the information on Curveball.

Last week's report said the Defense Intelligence Agency circulated more than 100 reports from Curveball, with detailed information about mobile biological weapons labs in Iraq.

Curveball was working with German intelligence, and U.S. intelligence had limited access to him. The report said Curveball met once with a defense official and seemed to have a hangover.

The report said CIA officials contended that they tried to raise warnings about Curveball. One unnamed CIA division chief claims to have called Tenet at midnight the night before former Secretary of State Colin Powell gave his address to the United Nations, which provided the Bush administration's case for invading Iraq. The division chief recalled telling Tenet that foreign intelligence officials were concerned about Curveball's credibility.

In an unusual seven-page statement last week, Tenet said his "strong recollection" is that he did not speak with the division chief around midnight.

Comment: Perhaps the time of the conversation was more like 11:30?

Tenet also said it was "stunning and deeply disturbing that this information, if true, was never brought forward to me by anyone" when the Iraq intelligence was scrutinized.

Comment: It seems that it was the Pentagon's spy agency, the DIA, that received and circulated Curveball's reports. The CIA and Senate Intelligence Committee just played along. In another recent article from The Observer, we note:

In May 2000 doubts about [Curveball's] credibility surfaced when he was examined for signs that he had been exposed to biological agents. While the results were inconclusive, a US official was surprised to find Curveball had a hangover and said he 'might be an alcoholic.' By early 2001, the Germans were having doubts of their own, telling the CIA their spy was 'out of control'.

So the CIA did know all about Curveball...?

But warnings were dismissed. Intelligence analysts who voiced concern were 'forced to leave' the unit mainly responsible for analysing his claims, the commission found. At every turn analysts were blocked by spy chiefs and their warning never passed on to policy-makers.

Spy chiefs like Tenet?

It is obvious that this entire episode is no more than a game to those in power. As long as each person and group involved believes that they will emerge in the end with more power and more influence, the human cost of their hideous quest is clearly irrelevant to them.

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Death of a Conspiracy
By Tim Schmitt

Johnny Gosch, Jeff Gannon, Hunter Thompson and the unraveling of a troubling tale.

Noreen Gosch sits in a booth at the West Des Moines Village Inn, nursing a cup of coffee and managing, despite her larger-than-life personality, to blend into the surroundings and keep a low profile in the almost empty restaurant. She is open with her thoughts and willing to share what information she can, yet she remains guarded - cautious and thoughtful in a manner often mistaken as cold and standoffish. She thinks carefully as she speaks about her son, Johnny, and the players in a bizarre conspiracy surrounding his disappearance in 1982 that continues to evolve, and may finally be on the verge of breaking down.

"Just because you don't want to believe something is true," says Noreen slowly, "that doesn't mean it's not true."

It's a statement that bears repeating:

"Just because you don't want to believe something is true, that doesn't mean it's not true."

Anyone who has heard the theories surrounding Johnny Gosch's disappearance on Sept. 5, 1982 (and who in Iowa has not?), knows they are difficult to accept. If there are Satanic pedophiles working in the top levels of government and law enforcement selling kids on the black market and forcing them into prostitution, pornography, extortion and things far worse, it's easier as a human being to simply believe that such things could not be true.

But they could be.

And Noreen knows this all too well. She didn't want to believe her child was kidnapped, sexually abused, tortured, brainwashed and sold into slavery, but she accepts this now as an indisputable truth. And she is not alone.

Many others accept the existence of a vast network of high-profile people - powerful politicians, business leaders, law enforcement and government agents - who exist in a subculture of degenerates who participate in child pornography, snuff films, drugs, devil worship, brainwashing and kidnapping. And Noreen believes that Johnny (and hundreds of other children like him) was forced into this life of depravity by those who kidnapped him.

But Johnny's story has been told thousands of times. It's been analyzed, disputed and ridiculed just as frequently, and we have neither the time and space, nor the inclination to repeat it here in full. As, tragic as it may be, it's old news. Nothing major has happened in the case for some time, and the alleged players in the story have been silent, absent or simply missing for years.

Until recently.

In the past few months there's been a flurry of activity among the people once related to his case and the conspiracy that surrounds it. And in the midst of this commotion, some believe Johnny Gosch has been found very much alive.

Recent events began with Jeff Gannon, the right-wing journalist who was found to have gained access to the White House press pool with few credentials and a fake name. The death of Hunter S. Thompson followed shortly after. The arrest of two men, seemingly unrelated, in Nebraska and Virginia within days of the Gannon story and Thompson's death also play a role in the story.

And all these events, some suggest, are related to the 12-year-old paperboy kidnapped from West Des Moines 23 years ago.

And if they are right, there is much more to come...

Johnny lives

In late January a conservative journalist in Washington D.C. was found to have gained access to the White House press pool despite using a fake name, and despite the fact that he once worked as a high-priced homosexual escort.

Jeff Gannon was a White House correspondent for Talon News who regularly attended White House press briefings and at least four press conferences with President George W. Bush. On Jan. 26, 2005, Gannon asked a question of the president that was so friendly and factually inaccurate that some of his colleagues began looking into his background.

Talon News, it was learned, is a barely disguised tool of the Republican Party, and Gannon's credentials as a journalist consist solely of a training course at the Leadership Broadcast School of Journalism. After two days of training that cost $50, Gannon was officially a graduate of a journalism school and on his way to the White House press pool.

It was soon discovered that Gannon's real name is Jeff Guckert and that he has also gone by the nickname "Bulldog" when listing himself on the Internet as a homosexual escort and personal trainer charging $200 per hour for his "discreet" services.

Gannon was removed from the White House and resigned from Talon News on Feb. 8 "Gannongate" quickly became the presidential scandal of the hour, though the story faded from public view as politicians and the media eagerly turned their attention to such pressing matters as steroids in baseball and the Terri Schiavo situation.

But before long, Internet bloggers had picked up the story and began to think back to the administration of President Bush's father, which was rocked by a scandal that allegedly involved a high-level official giving private, late-night tours of the White House to teenage, male prostitutes. The New York Times and the Washington Post both wrote about the story and the eventual death of Washington lobbyist Craig Spence, who reportedly arranged the visits. Spence, it has been suggested, was preparing to admit publicly that he was using the teenage boys to blackmail high-powered politicians in the beltway. He committed suicide before he had the opportunity to do so.

With a gay escort gaining access to the White House during a Bush administration while many of the same officials from the '80s are back in power, the question became, "Is there a connection?"

Private investigator Sherman H. Skolnick posted a story about the Gannon debacle on, a site know for its conspiracy theories, and publicly stated on Feb. 19 that Gannon is Johnny Gosch.

Andy Stephenson, a blogger from Seattle familiar with the details of the Johnny Gosch case and the child sex rings in Nebraska detailed in the Book, "The Franklin Cover-Up," began, with a group of other writers and investigators, to ponder the claim. They looked at markings on Gannon's body and compared them to those reported on Johnny Gosch. They considered the lack of personal information about Gannon's early years. They considered that Johnny was alleged to have been used as a gay prostitute for blackmail purposes. They considered that the high-powered people alleged to have kidnapped and brainwashed children as part of the government's Monarch Project and MK-Ultra program, including Johnny, did so to use them in a variety of ways to advance their own agendas. And they contacted Noreen Gosch and discussed the idea with her - the first she'd heard of the theory - and they, too, came to the conclusion that Jeff Gannon is none other than Johnny Gosch.

The Internet has been abuzz with the theory ever since. And, in a way, it makes perfect sense. You've got a kid abducted and brainwashed into doing the bidding of government officials as part of top-secret mind-control programs, so now that he's older why not put him into the White House to soften press briefings to make the president look better? The suggestion from many is that Gannon is a Monarch Program child-turned-adult operative.

Gannon, according to investigators like Skolnick, is involved in high-level espionage and is also an expert on torture. He is said to be an expert penetration agent, using sex to compile negative data on U.S. and foreign governmental officials, and is also believed responsible for the Valerie Plame White House leak that allegedly caused 70 CIA undercover agents to be murdered.

Yet others suggest that Gosch took on the persona of James Gannon/Jeff Guckert and gained White House access with the eventual goal of exposing the people who kidnapped him and put him, and his family, through hell. Gannon is alleged to have a publishing deal with a Russian imprint, which some believe will result in a tell-all book that exposes those who've paid for his "services," as well as the pedophile ring that he, as Gosch, was victimized by after his kidnapping.

"I'm convinced 99 percent that he is Johnny Gosch" says Ted Gunderson, a retired FBI agent who has been working on the Gosch case for more than a decade. "The only way I'd be 100 percent sure is if there was a DNA test or if he admitted it."

He bases his opinion on a confidential source from whom he claims to have videotape testimony that has him identifying Gannon as Gosch.

"My source has told me in the past that he has maintained contact with Johnny Gosch," says Gunderson. "Let's just say he's in a position to know. The kids are all in touch with each other. It's a bond they all share."

The kids he refers to are those forced into the sex slavery rings and the government-sponsored mind-and behavior-control programs. One of those "kids" is a man named Paul Bonacci, who claims to have participated in the kidnapping of Johnny Gosch and says he was forced to be the first person to molest Johnny. Bonacci has long claimed to be part of the vast network of children trained to work for the government and participate in deviant sexual acts to make the blackmail of politicians possible.

In 1999, Bonacci won a $1 million lawsuit against Larry King, the former head of the Franklin Credit Union in Nebraska, whom he claimed forced him into the pedophile ring. The federal judge ruled Bonacci was truthful in his testimony, which included his claim that he was one of several young male prostitutes known to have toured the White House in the 1980s.

Gunderson claims that Bonacci is not his source for the Gannon-is-Gosch claim, but adds that Bonacci informed him a while back that Gosch had changed his appearance. John DeCamp, author of "The Franklin Cover-Up" says Bonacci told him the same thing.

"I do know that Johnny Gosch altered his appearance and the changes I've heard about conform to how Gannon looks now," he says. "Paul told me you could be standing right next to him and not know it's Johnny."

And he says that Gannon has been asked the question, but refuses to answer one way or the other.

"A fellow in New York City went to his door and asked him about his mother in Iowa and he slammed the door on him," he says. "He wouldn't talk about it at all."

A mother's instinct

Noreen Gosch has seen the videotape that Gunderson made with his confidential informant and believes the man is credible.

"Ted sent me a videotape of his interview with his source and he said Gannon is Gosch, and he said it without hesitation and without blinking an eye," recalls Noreen. "And he said he's known it for months."

When the theory was first proposed, Noreen's phone was ringing every 15 minutes with calls from bloggers, investigators, and radio and TV stations, all asking if she would identify Gannon as her son. She has not done so. She's sat with the numerous photos from the Internet and compared them to those of Johnny, herself and John Gosch Sr. looking for similar features.

"I could see some of the similarities that the bloggers were talking about," she says. "I could see in (Gannon) the features that Johnny had. And the last time I saw Paul Bonacci, he told me that Johnny had changed his entire appearance again. That he shaved his head and is going with that look for now."

She says the birthmark on Johnny's chest is very similar to a mark seen on Gannon's chest in at least one photo. And she points out that Gannon has a spot on his right cheek in the same place as Johnny. Sometimes, she's almost convinced. But it's not quite enough and she just can't - or won't - say for sure that Gannon is her son.

"People have asked me why I can't recognize him if I saw I him in 1997, and I tell them a picture from the Internet is a lot different than someone sitting in your kitchen," she says.

Noreen claims that Johnny visited her at her West Des Moines apartment in 1997, but told her he could not come out of hiding because his life and hers would be put in grave danger.

But what about her gut feeling? Her maternal instinct?

"Honestly, it changes," she says. "Sometimes I think, 'oh, yeah, that looks like him,' and other times the jump is too much to think about. When you factor in the facts, it's hard to believe. I've spent a lot of sleepless nights over this. I really wish I could say for sure."

But Noreen is no fool. She knows the risk of saying, one way or the other, if she thinks this is her son. If it is, and he's chosen not to say anything, she understands that he has reasons for his secrecy that are likely life-threatening and her outing him could very well put him at risk. If she were to claim Gannon is Johnny and is proven wrong later, then any amount of credibility she has left would go out the window.

"Even if he (Gannon) admitted to it, I would still want a DNA test done," she says. "This is so surreal. It's like I'm on the outside looking in. Almost 23 years have passed and we know he's still alive, but to potentially have your loved one found is just unreal. If this would turn out to be Johnny it would be a blessing for everyone to know what happened and to have it all wrapped up."

Subliminal hints

That is unlikely to happen anytime soon. Despite millions of words devoted to the subject on the Web and investigations being conducted by hundreds of Internet detectives, Gannon has not acknowledged the speculation.

Despite this, some say that Gannon has been providing clues to his real identity on his Web page (, which is still active.

Shortly after the theory was presented, Gannon posted an article titled "Hiding in Plain Sight," and has posted a column entitled "Fear and Loathing in the Press Room," which some suggest is a reference to the recently deceased Hunter S. Thompson, who also was accused of involvement in pedophile, child slavery rings in the 1980s (see below).

Others suggest that his name itself is a clue to his real identity. Both Jeff Gannon and James Guckert share the same initials as Johnny Gosch. Furthermore, shortly after Johnny's disappearance, Noreen made a personal plea to the editor of The Des Moines Register, Johnny's employer. The editor printed her letter in the paper and mocked it by allowing the police department to dissect it. The editor's name was James Gannon.

"I would say that those are subliminal messages," says Gunderson, an attempt on Gannon's part to let slip his identity.

Jim Rothstein, a retired New York Police Detective who spent more than 35 years in the force, much of it investigating child slavery, pedophile rings, agrees that the evidence is strong that Gannon is actually Johnny Gosch.

"To me Gannon looks like Johnny," says Rothstein. "Everything just fits - the profile, the M.O., everything."

Rothstein has been involved as a private investigator on the Gosch case for the past several years, and says he is working to get the final proof needed to determine Gannon's true identity.

"We're working on getting a tail on him and getting a DNA sample to test," he says. "I still can't figure out why no-one knows where he (Gannon) was for 10 years."

There have been some Internet postings that give a timeline of Gannon's life, but according to Rothstein they are based on flimsy information that is not to be trusted.

"Records are easy to create," he says. "Maybe this Guckert kid died and someone took over his identity. If it is not Johnny Gosch, then it's one of the other kids like Johnny Gosch."

Says Noreen: "If all this is true, I don't think he was ready to be exposed just yet."

Hunter and snuff films

The Gannon/Gosch connection was first made public early in the morning on Feb. 20. Later that same day, Hunter S. Thompson was found dead in his home, the victim of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot.

Few people would ever have thought to connect Thompson and Gosch, but those familiar with the tales of child abuse and pedophilia documented in "The Franklin Cover-Up," a book first released in 1994 by former Neb. State Sen. John DeCamp, understand the association.

In his book, DeCamp relates many interviews and discussions with Paul Bonacci, the young man who claims to have been involved with the kidnapping of Johnny Gosch. Bonacci told horrific tales of being forced into sex with adults and other children. In one case he recalls being flown into Nevada with another young boy whom he did not know. They took on another passenger there and headed to a secluded location where Bonacci says he was forced to have sex with the younger boy. The young boy, Bonacci claims in this book, was also forced to have sex with adult males, who then killed the boy with a gunshot to the head. Bonacci says he was then forced to have sex with the corpse.

The passenger they took on in Nevada filmed the entire thing, and Bonacci recalled that his name was Hunter Thompson.

"I think it's kind of strange that Hunter Thompson would commit suicide at this time," says Gunderson. "Several kids told us that he directed snuff films. I think it's a strong possibility that he was murdered and I strongly suspect that it's all connected."

And the speculation on the Internet has been that Thompson was either killed to prevent his coming forward, or that he killed himself because he feared his role as a director of child snuff films would be proven true.

DeCamp also expressed some surprise at the timing of Thompson's death and says he still believes Bonacci's claim is true. Stephenson, the blogger from Seattle who has investigated the Gosch case, is also suspicious.

"I wonder, did he know? In light of Paul's (Bonnaci) testimony regarding the snuff film, I submit he knew quite a bit," he says. "The timing of his death was interesting."

The snuff film that Thompson allegedly made with Paul Bonacci is believed, based on Bonacci's description of the surroundings, to have been filmed at Bohemian Grove, a summer camp of sorts for the rich and powerful. Bohemian Grove is a secluded area outside Sacramento, Calif., where world leaders and dignitaries meet annually for a retreat that involves neo-pagan activities, including mock human sacrifices made before a large Owl statue referred to as "Moloch." While conducting this ritual, which they call "The Cremation of Care," participants are dressed in druid robes and chant and sing before Moloch.

Information on these gatherings has been well known for some time, though video footage has only recently been leaked out of the site. The site is very secure and access is available only to a handful of people worldwide. As a child, Bonacci could never have had access to the site, but he described it accurately, including the large owl statue.

Noreen Gosch says that on one recent evening her Web site,, had more than 50 hits that came from within a 10-mile radius of Bohemian Grove.

The CIA pedophile

In her book, "Why Johnny Can't Come Home," Noreen Gosch writes about a man who contacted her just six months after Johnny's disappearance claiming he worked with a government agency that was investigating pedophile organizations.

George Paul Bishop (often known just as Paul Bishop) claimed he was a "CIA asset" and arrived in Des Moines in July of 1984 to offer his assistance to the Goschs. Before he left, he provided, through his investigation, a detailed map of the kidnapping scene. Bishop, according to Noreen's book, often called the Gosch home from the Washington D.C. office of Sen. Charles Grassley, with whom Noreen had worked on Johnny's case.

"Many times Paul Bishop would call me from Sen. Grassley's office and, when finished speaking with me, he would hand the phone to one of Grassley's aides who I was familiar with," Noreen recalled in her book, published in 2000. "That convinced me Paul was an accepted visitor on the Hill in Washington."

Based on this, Noreen believed that Bishop was responsible for securing her invitation to testify before Sen. Arlan Specter's Hearing on Organized Crime and its Relationship to Kidnapping at the U.S. Capitol. Bishop, in fact, picked Noreen up from her D.C. hotel and accompanied her to the hearings.

Bishop became close to Noreen, even referring to her as "Mom," but suddenly, in 1985, he disappeared from the scene. The phone number he'd left was no longer valid and no one knew how to contact him. No one had seen or heard from him in almost 20 years, until he was suddenly arrested on Feb. 4 of this year in Virginia, after police allegedly found an explicit video of a 16-year-old boy in his home.

Detectives searched Bishop's home and found the tape after receiving a complaint that he was allowing teenage boys to drink and use drugs on the premises.

Noreen wonders now if Bishop was on the wrong side of Johnny's case all along. Was he involved in the kidnapping and merely running a smokescreen at the time to prevent discovery? Was his recent arrest an effort to keep him quiet about the larger story? A threat?

Or was he honest from the beginning and his recent arrest merely an effort to discredit him before he reappeared and started making noise and threatening to expose the powerful people involved?

Either way, Bishop seemed to know a lot about Johnny's disappearance in 1982, and his sudden reappearance on the scene coinciding with the outing of Jeff Gannon, the death of Thompson and the arrest of another man involved with the case (below) is too much of a coincidence for some to accept.

"It's very common to set someone up and arrest him to discredit him," says Rothstein.

The photographer

Rusty Nelson claimed that he once turned down an offer of $50,000 from Hunter S. Thompson to help in the production of a snuff film. The offer was allegedly made because Nelson worked closely with Larry King, the central figure in the "Franklin Cover-Up" accused of running a pedophile and child slavery ring. Nelson would often accompany King to elaborate parties where he worked as a photographer, taking photos of high-profile individuals in compromising positions with young boys and girls.

Nelson testified in court that he participated as a photographer, but claims that, though he took compromising photos, he never took any hardcore pornographic pictures; that he absolutely refused any involvement with child pornography. But he claims that King employed a Nelson look-alike for this purpose in order to compromise both the powerful people in the photos and Nelson himself. Nelson has admitted taking tens of thousands of photos, many of which have been confiscated and either destroyed or permanently sealed to protect those depicted. But many, according to some reports, remain hidden.

Despite his denials, Nelson has served time for his photography work, having been arrested in Oregon years ago with a van full of photos, at least one of which was said to involve a minor engaged in less-than-legal activity. He's been living in Nebraska for some time, providing what information he can to private investigators and trying to put his life back together. Most recently he was working with a friend to open a studio that specializes in wedding photography.

But two days after Thompson's death, Nelson was rounded up by police and arrested, reportedly for failing to register as a sex offender in a county of which he was no longer a resident.

John DeCamp bailed Nelson out of jail and says he thinks the arrest was intended as a warning to him and others that they best keep their mouths shut. Others agree.

"The timing is interesting," says Stephenson. "Especially given Thompson's death and Paul Bishop's recent arrest. I would place a suicide watch on both men.

"I think there's fixin' to be a heap of manure hitting the air circulating device soon," he adds. "I wonder about the timing. I have been wondering why all these people have all of a sudden come out of the woodwork. I wonder if there is a 'purge' going on. I don't think injustice ever leaves the public consciousness. I think there is far more going on here than we know."

So why now? After all this time, why the activity and renewed interest in the Johnny Gosch case and the tales of child abduction, slavery and prostitution in general. Did the theory that Gannon is actually Johnny Gosch hit too close to home and threaten to expose those with secrets to keep?

One suggestion is that increased media attention has the players in the decades-old scandal getting jumpy and looking to protect themselves.

Nick Bryant, the man who confronted Gannon at his home and asked him about Johnny Gosch, has apparently been working on this story for several years and has been shopping the finished product around for a publisher.

Rothstein says he's been working with Bryant for at least three years, and that Bryant was originally commissioned to do the story for Rolling Stone, which has since turned the finished piece down. The New York Times and several other outlets have reportedly shown interest in the story recently, as well.

Bryant declined to comment either on the Gannon situation or his involvement in writing a story. But, Rothstein says since Bryant began showing the piece around, the players involved have once again become active.

"Something is cooking here now," he says. "They'll have to throw someone to the wolves, but there's no telling how high it will go."

Everyone involved in the story acknowledges that it sounds like a wacky conspiracy theory, but the evidence of the conspiracy is too vast, they say, to simply dismiss it.

"I'm a conspiracy realist, because there is a conspiracy out there," says Gunderson, who says just two weeks ago he was chased through his neighborhood by an unknown man with a gun.

Adds Rothstein: "If two people were involved in kidnapping that kid, then it's a conspiracy. Well, these people don't work alone so it's a conspiracy. They try to discredit you by calling you a conspiracy theorist. Damn right I'm a conspiracy theorist, because that's what it is."

Still, in the end, this is a story about a young boy stolen from his home and his family. This simple tragedy is often lost in the complicated theories and conjecture, but it remains the single, undeniable truth in the entire story.

"I hold out hope that we'll be able to have regular communications with him," Noreen says of her son. "We know he's alive, and up until a couple years ago, we knew what he was doing and where. Maybe he could keep in touch with his mom, but moving back to Des Moines to live a life here? Those windows of opportunity have closed. I hear the horrible things people say about me. I can only imagine what they would say about him given the things he's been through.

"Johnny knows I tried, and who's to say it's all over. We don't know yet. If this is it, we're in the final days and this is all going to blow wide open."

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Democrats prep stinging rebuke on Gannon, Congressional oversight

Democrats are readying a sharp rebuke of the Republican-led Judiciary Committee's vote against demanding an investigation into discredited White House ‘reporter' Jeff Gannon, and placing it in the context of what they see as a broad attempt by Republicans to stonewall investigations into improper activity, RAW STORY has learned.

Their dissent, prepared by Democrats in the House, is an eight-page explanation of why they feel investigating Gannon's credentialing was warranted, citing preferential treatment and issues of security.

Most salient, perhaps, are the Democrats' effort to place Gannon in a broader context of the Republican-led Congress' moves to derail investigations on issues such as Abu Ghraib and Halliburton contracts.

"We have an Administration that is all too willing to flaunt the law, and a Republican-controlled Congress that refuses to investigate even the most serious ethical transgressions," the Democrats write. "Whether it is torture at Abu Ghraib, sole source contracts with Haliburton, or the outing of a CIA operative, this Congress has been unwilling and unable to ask the hard questions or issue the difficult subpoenas.

"The Committee's failure to request even the most cursory of information regarding Mr. Gannon from the Administration," they continue, "represents a disturbing continuation of this trend, and illustrates the ongoing problem of one-party rule in Washington." [...]

It is now widely known that James D. Guckert, a Republican activist, gained repeated access to the White House press briefing room and presidential press conferences from January of 2003 to January of 2005. He was allowed to work under the assumed name of "Jeff Gannon." [...]

Mr. Gannon's use of an alias, as well as the circumstances surrounding his access to the White House, contradict the strict standards the Secret Service sets for protecting the President and deviate substantially from standards applied to others seeking access to the White House or the President. To the best of our knowledge, Gannon is the only member of the White House press corps to receive such a privileged standing. In fact, Pulitzer Prize winning journalists have been turned down for press passes. It therefore appears to be highly unlikely that Mr. Gannon could have been repeatedly allowed into the White House over such a lengthy period without the intervention of someone very high up at the White House.

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. This Administration has come under severe questioning for its involvement in "manufactured" news. Among other things, Armstrong Williams received $240,000 from the Bush Administration to help promote the President's "No Child Left Behind" program to minority audiences through his nationally-syndicated column. Michael McManus, author of the syndicated column, "Ethics & Religion," which appears in 50 newspapers nationwide, was paid to champion a marriage initiative on the Administration's behalf and also did not disclose to his readers that he was contracted to help make the initiative a success.

These are just two of many contracts doled out by the Bush Administration, which has expended more than $88 million in taxpayer funds to disseminate manufactured news and propaganda. [...]

We also believe it is important to obtain information concerning Mr. Gannon's interactions with the White House in order to resolve concerns the White House may have illegally published propaganda and improperly granted access to classified information.

On numerous occasions Mr. Gannon reprinted White House talking points and press releases word for word as his own work. The non-partisan GAO has determined that it is illegal for the Administration to use appropriated money to broadcast or publish propaganda without taking credit for it. Accordingly, the White House may have violated this ban when it gave prepackaged print stories to Mr. Gannon, which he reprinted wholesale without disclosing that they were authored by the Administration.

A separate legal concern relates to the fact that Mr. Guckert may have had access to classified information, in violation of laws that protect the identity of undercover agents. This is because he claimed to have seen a classified CIA document identifying Valerie Plame as an undercover agent. There Are No Other Means Available to Pursue These Lines of Inquiry

It is important that we pursue this information from the Administration through a Resolution of Inquiry since all other potential avenues of obtaining the information have either been ignored or rejected by the Administration.

This resolution comes only after numerous Congressional inquiries that have gone unanswered (all attached herewith):

• Feb. 9, 2005: Representative Slaughter writes to President Bush inquiring how Mr. Gannon repeatedly got access to the White House press corps – No response received to date.

• Feb. 10, 2005: Representatives Slaughter and Conyers write special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald to inquire whether he was aware that Mr. Gannon claimed he had access to a classified CIA memo outing Valerie Plame as a undercover agent – Mr. Fitzgerald acknowledged receipt, but would not comment on the status of his investigation.

• Feb. 10, 2005: Representatives Slaughter and Conyers write to the head of the Secret Service to inquire whether Mr. Gannon went through standard clearance procedures, and who in the White House requested his access – The Secret Service responded by confirming that Mr. Gannon was cleared for access under his real name, James Guckert, however, they did not answer any of the other questions such as whether he had a full background check or who requested his access to the White House.

• Feb. 15, 2005: Representatives Slaughter and Conyers make a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to Homeland Security Department Secretary Tom Ridge, asking for all information the Secret Service has on how one gains access to the White House press corps, and how those policies were applied to Mr. Gannon – The FOIA office is searching its records.

• Feb. 23, 2005: Representatives Slaughter and Conyers write to special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald to note that Mr. Gannon claimed to have a journal chronicling all 200 days he was given access to the White House – Mr. Fitzgerald acknowledged receipt, but would not comment on the status of his investigation.

• Feb. 23, 2005: Representatives Slaughter and Conyers write to the GAO to ask that they include an investigation of Mr. Gannon in their review of how the Bush Administration has illegally used funds for propaganda purposes – No response received to date.

• Feb. 25, 2005: Senators Durbin, Kerry, Kennedy, Lautenburg and Reid write to the White House, requesting a thorough investigation into Mr. Gannon's White House access and any security breaches that may have resulted – No response received to date.

We categorically reject the contention of the Majority, made at the markup that the Administration has already complied with our requests. The fact is that all but one of Mr. Conyers and Ms. Slaughters letters has gone substantively unanswered, and the response they received was grossly incomplete. As a result, nearly two months after a series of inquiries were made to the Administration, we still don't know who in the White House arranged for Mr. Gannon's unfettered access to the president.

We further reject the Majority's contention that a request for information by the Committee would compete with other investigations being conducted. First, we are unaware of any current investigations of this scandal by the Administration, Congress or the GAO. Even if there were such an investigation, we are aware of no rule or principle that impedes the Committee from simultaneously conducting its own investigation. Indeed, one need look no further that the Clinton Administration to find numerous instances of Congress investigating allegations of misconduct that were being separately investigated – from travelgate, to allegations of improper campaign contributions, to the impeachment of the president. Had such a limitation on congressional prerogatives been obeyed by Congress during the Watergate era, it is doubtful the Nixon Administration's full array of misconduct would have been unearthed.[...]

We dissent from the Majority's decision to adversely report this Resolution of Inquiry because we believe the time is long past due for the Congress to demand accountability from the Administration for its ethical transgressions.

In our judgment it simply defies credibility that a phony reporter, operating under an alias, who couldn't get privileges in the House or Senate press gallery, could receives hundreds of White House "day passes" without the intervention of someone very high up at the White House. We are also unable to believe that while Pulitzer Prize winning journalists have been turned down for White House press passes, a neophyte, pseudo-journalist working for a Republican-controlled media front operation could receive virtually open-ended access to the White House press room in the absence of preferential treatment. In this context, we believe the full House is entitled to vote on H. Res. 136 to present these questions directly to the Administration.

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US university enrolment 'in decline'
Donald MacLeod
Thursday April 7, 2005

Participation in higher education has stagnated and even gone into decline for the first time in the US, a conference in Oxford heard yesterday.

The unexpected development in the country that invented mass higher education, but is now seeing its lead whittled away by European countries, including the UK, has prompted soul searching among American public universities and state authorities.

The massive expansion of higher education, which began in the 1850s, has been based on public universities, especially the large state-wide institutions like the universities of California and Texas, rather than private Ivy League universities like Harvard or Yale.

"California has been a leader in college-going rates, but for the first time we are seeing a decline. Is the American advantage in higher education waning?" said John Aubrey Douglass, senior research fellow at the centre for studies in higher education at the University of California Berkeley.

Comparing the numbers getting bachelor degrees in 1972 with 1992, he told the conference at New College that there had been a fall in white and Asian American students and a slight rise in African American graduates, probably due to affirmative action.

While some commentators have argued there is a natural ceiling on the proportion of the population capable of going to college, Dr Douglass said there were other factors, including a large rise in the immigrant population of California and Texas. Poverty has increased, as has the gap between rich and poor, and the effects have been seen in falling graduation rates at high school, and hence the ability to go on to university (in California only 58% of Chicano/Latino youngsters graduate from high school). However 64% of students at Berkeley, a highly selective institution, have at least one parent who is an immigrant. At the same time, states have been making drastic cuts in their university budgets, pushing more of the costs on to students in fees. Meanwhile, the federal government has been shifting from grants to student loans. These sort of factors are going to become increasingly pressing in the UK and the rest of Europe as they approach American levels of higher education.

In contrast, higher education enrolment has grown by more than 50% in England over the past two decades and by 72% in France.

In his contribution to a book linked to the conference, Dr Douglass points out that many EU countries have caught up or even exceeded participation rates in the US. But what does not happen in Europe is the high degree of mobility between institutions possible in the US, where about 30% of students transfer to another university in the course of their degree.

Comment: Universities in France are free.

We'll repeat that.

Universities in France are free.

That says something about a social choice, where the state decides to put the money it receives from its citizens in taxes. It is an example of what the right-wing in the US doesn't tell you when it rants and raves about "socialism" and "high taxes" in Europe. In the US it is more important to siphon off that money to the arms merchants.

It does not surprise us that the number of people going to higher education in the US is dropping. The leaders want a stupid and dumbed down populace that is unable to think for itself. Observant defenders of education have been warning about this for decades. Fox News is also a data point in this pattern. So is the bill recently introduced in Florida that would allow students to sue their professors if their ideas were belittled in class. And it started long ago when education began to be about touchy-feely issues rather than developing the rigour and discipline needed to master a new field of study, and no one was allowed to fail because it would inflict irreparable damage on their self-esteem.

See where it has gotten us.

The work on the self is even more difficult, calling for greater will power and discipline than completing your doctorate. What will happen to those who only got out of high school because of the curve when grades were shifted? Who were molly-coddled and think that everything is handed to them on a platter?

The United States is much like this. It expects to take what it wants from the rest of the world, by force if necessary, due to some right of birth. An important difference is that it is run by psychopaths who have the same modus operandi, but a public that has been able to get by without discipline, without working, will blindly follow because it recognises the dynamic and sees itself within it.

We are not saying that one has to be educated in schools to undertake esoteric work. But one does need to find the will and discipline necessary to sit in the fire as one fuses his or her Personality. Whether or not one gets through university does not change whether or not one has the divine spark within pushing towards the return Home.

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Good Things Happening in Venezuela

By: Michael Parenti - ZNet Commentary
Monday, Apr 04, 2005

Even before I arrived in Venezuela for a recent visit, I encountered the great class divide that besets that country. On my connecting flight from Miami to Caracas, I found myself seated next to an attractive, exquisitely dressed Venezuelan woman. Judging from her prosperous aspect, I anticipated that she would take the first opportunity to hold forth against President Hugo Chavez. Unfortunately, I was right.

Our conversation moved along famously until we got to the political struggle going on in Venezuela. "Chavez," she hissed, "is terrible, terrible." He is "a liar"; he "fools the people" and is "ruining the country." She herself owns an upscale women's fashion company with links to prominent firms in the United States.

When I asked how Chavez has hurt her business, she said, "Not at all." But many other businesses, she quickly added, have been irreparably damaged as has the whole economy. She went on denouncing Chavez in sweeping terms, warning me of the national disaster to come if this demon continued to have his way.

Other critics I encountered in Venezuela shared this same mode of attack: weak on specifics but strong in venom, voiced with all the ferocity of those who fear that their birthrights (that is, their class advantages) are under siege because others below them on the social ladder are getting a slightly larger slice of the pie.

In Venezuela over 80 percent live below the poverty level. Before Chavez, most of the poor had never seen a doctor or dentist. Their children never went to school, since they could not afford the annual fees. The neoliberal market "adjustments" of the 1980s and 1990s only made things worse, cutting social spending and eliminating subsidies in consumer goods.

Successive administrations did nothing about the rampant corruption and nothing about the growing gap between rich and poor, the growing malnutrition and desperation. Far from ruining the country, here are some of the good things the Chavez government has accomplished:

- A land reform program designed to assist small farmers and the landless poor has been instituted. Just this month (March 2005) a large landed estate owned by a British beef company was occupied by agrarian workers for farming purposes.

- Education is now free (right through to university level), causing a dramatic increase in grade school enrollment.

- The government has set up a marine conservation program, and is taking steps to protect the land and fishing rights of indigenous peoples.

- Special banks now assist small enterprises, worker cooperatives, and farmers.

- Attempts to further privatize the state-run oil industry - 80 percent of which is still publicly owned---have been halted, and limits have been placed on foreign capital penetration.

- Chavez kicked out the U.S. military advisors and prohibited overflights by U.S. military aircraft engaged in counterinsurgency in Colombia.

- "Bolivarian Circles" have been organized throughout the nation, neighborhood committees designed to activate citizens at the community level to assist in literacy, education, vaccination campaigns, and other public services.

- The government hires unemployed men, on a temporary basis, to repair streets and neglected drainage and water systems in poor neighborhoods.

Then there is the health program. I visited a dental clinic in Chavez's home state of Barinas. The staff consisted of four dentists, two of whom were young Venezuelan women. The other two were Cuban men who were there on a one-year program.

The Venezuelan dentists noted that in earlier times dentists did not have enough work. There were millions of people who needed treatment, but care was severely rationed by the private market, that is, by one's ability to pay. Dental care was distributed like any other commodity, not to everyone who needed it but only to those who could afford it.

When the free clinic in Barinas first opened it was flooded with people seeking dental care. No one was turned away. Even opponents of the Chavez government availed themselves of the free service, temporarily putting aside their political aversions.

Many of the doctors and dentists who work in the barrio clinics (along with some of the clinical supplies and pharmaceuticals) come from Cuba. Chavez has also put Venezuelan military doctors and dentists to work in the free clinics.

Meanwhile, much of the Venezuelan medical establishment is vehemently opposed to the free-clinic program, seeing it as a Cuban communist campaign to undermine medical standards and physicians' earnings. That low-income people are receiving medical and dental care for the first time in their lives does not seem to be a consideration that carries much weight among the more "professionally minded" practitioners.

I visited one of the government-supported community food stores that are located around the country, mostly in low income areas. These modest establishments sell canned goods, pasta, beans, rice, and some produce and fruits at well below the market price, a blessing in a society with widespread malnutrition.

Popular food markets have eliminated the layers of middlemen and made staples more affordable for residents. Most of these markets are run by women. The government also created a state-financed bank whose function is to provide low-income women with funds to start cooperatives in their communities.

There is a growing number of worker cooperatives. One in Caracas was started by turning a waste dump into a shoe factory and a T-shirt factory. Financed with money from the Petroleum Ministry, the coop has put about a thousand people to work. The workers seem enthusiastic and hopeful.

Surprisingly, many Venezuelans know relatively little about the worker cooperatives. Or perhaps it's not surprising, given the near monopoly that private capital has over the print and broadcast media. The wealthy media moguls, all vehemently anti-Chavez, own four of the five television stations and all the major newspapers.

The man most responsible for Venezuela's revolutionary developments, Hugo Chavez, has been accorded the usual ad hominem treatment in the U.S. news media. An article in the San Francisco Chronicle (12 September 2004) described him as "Venezuela's pugnacious president." An earlier Chronicle report (30 November 2001) quotes a political opponent who calls Chavez "a psychopath, a terribly aggressive guy."

The London Financial Times (12 January 2002) sees him as "increasingly autocratic" and presiding over something called a "rogue democracy."

In the Nation (6 May 2002), Marc Cooper---one of those Cold War liberals who nowadays regularly defends the U.S. empire - writes that the democratically-elected Chavez speaks "often as a thug," who "flirts with megalomania." Chavez's behavior, Cooper rattles on, "borders on the paranoiac," is "ham-fisted demagogy" acted out with an "increasingly autocratic style." Like so many critics, Cooper downplays Chavez's accomplishments, and uses name-calling in place of informed analysis.

Other media mouthpieces have labeled Chavez "mercurial," "besieged," "heavy-handed," "incompetent," and "dictatorial," a "barracks populist," a "strongman," a "firebrand," and, above all, a "leftist." It is never explained what "leftist" means.

A leftist is someone who advocates a more equitable distribution of social resources and human services, and who supports the kinds of programs that the Chavez government is putting in place. (Likewise a rightist is someone who opposes such programs and seeks to advance the insatiable privileges of private capital and the wealthy few.)

The term "leftist" is frequently bandied about in the U.S. media but seldom defined. The power of the label is in its remaining undefined, allowing it to have an abstracted built-in demonizing impact which precludes rational examination of its political content.

The leftist Hugo Chavez whose public talks I attended on three occasions proved to be an educated, articulate, remarkably well-informed and well-read individual. Of big heart, deep human feeling, and keen intellect, he manifests a sincere dedication to effecting some salutary changes for the great mass of his people, a man who in every aspect seems worthy of the decent and peaceful democratic revolution he is leading.

Millions of his compatriots widely and correctly perceive him as being the only president who has ever paid attention to the nation's poorest areas. No wonder he is the target of calumny and coup from the upper echelons in his own country and from ruling circles up north.

Chavez charges that the United States government is plotting to assassinate him. I can believe it.

Michael Parenti's recent books include Superpatriotism (City Lights) and The Assassination of Julius Caesar (New Press) which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. His forthcoming book, The Culture Struggle will be published by Seven Stories Press in the fall of 2005. For more information on Parenti, visit his website: <>

ZNet Commentaries are a premium sent to Sustainer Donors of Z/ZNet. To learn more folks can consult ZNet at <>

Comment: Given that close to half of Americans think George Bush is a great president, and most of the rest can't imagine he had any prior knowledge of, much less involvement in, the attacks of 911, is it surprising that they believe the image projected in the US media of Hugo Chavez?

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VENEZUELA: Is Washington planning a bloodbath in Caracas?
Stuart Munckton

The Venezuelan government headed by President Hugo Chavez repeatedly accused the US government of planning a “new aggression” against Venezuela, including a plot to assassinate Chavez, despite pro-Chavez forces winning nine national elections in six years. Caracas claims to have information of an assassination plot to be carried out “within 100 days” against Chavez, although the government has refused to reveal its sources.

While Washington has dismissed the accusations as “ridiculous”, further evidence was provided by a mid-March interview on Miami’s Channel 22 TV station with former CIA agent Feliz Rodriguiz.

A March 17 Washington Post article, entitled “Anti-Bush fears assassination”, reported that the previous week “former CIA operative and prominent Bush supporter” Rodriguiz, when asked by his interviewer about the assassination plot accusations, stated ‘‘that he had information about the administration's plans to 'bring about a change' in Venezuela, possibly through 'military measures’”.

Rodriguiz went as far as to set out possible scenarios. He said that an air-strike aiming to kill Chavez was one possibility, pointing to the bombing raid then US President Ronald Reagan ordered in 1986 to kill Libyan President Muammer Qadhafi (Qadhafi survived the raid, but his daughter was killed). The Cuban news agency Prensa Latina reported on March 15 that in the interview Rodriguez had stated that he personally expected to participate in a CIA operation to kill Chavez.

The Washington Post pointed out that “Rodriguez's remarks cannot be dismissed as bombast. He is well known in Latin America for his role advising a Bolivian military unit that captured and executed Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara in 1967. He is well-connected with the Bush family. The memory of various White House-approved, CIA-sponsored conspiracies to assassinate Fidel Castro in the 1960s may have faded in Washington but they have not in Havana or Caracas.”

The United States openly supported a military coup against the Chavez government in April 2002, which was reversed two days later by a popular uprising. Since then, however, the US Congress-funded National Endowment For Democracy has poured millions of dollars into the groups that supported the coup.

Washington’s aim is to crush the popular revolution being carried out by Venezuela's working people — who are organising on a mass scale to take control of the country out of the hands of the privileged oligarchs who have traditionally governed.

The US is targeting Chavez because of his role in encouraging the mass mobilisation of Venezuela’s poor. However, killing Chavez would only be prelude to further intervention aimed at physically crushing the revolutionary masses. The death of Chavez, the leader of the revolution, could trigger the kind of confusion and chaos that Washington could use to justify military intervention — directly, through US allies in Colombia or through counter-revolutionary Venezuelans. This would almost certainly be accompanied by a violent campaign to exterminate the popular organisations and the revolutionary militants in the cities and countryside, just as was done in Chile in 1973 when the CIA-backed Pinochet dictatorship overthrew the democratically elected President Salvador Allende.

In one infamous incident in Chile, a football stadium in Santiago was turned into a killing field when thousands of trade unionists were herded into it and many executed.

The cover of the April 11 right-wing National Review magazine featured a photo of Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro and the slogan, “Axis of Evil — Western Hemisphere Version”.

The author was Otto Reich, currently a private consultant to the US government, who has served under the current administration as a special advisor to Bush on Latin American affairs and as assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs.

Reich wrote: “With the combination of Castro's evil genius, experience in political warfare, and economic desperation, and Chavez' unlimited money and recklessness, the peace of this region is in peril”. According to Reich, the US's “pressing specific challenge is neutralizing or defeating the Cuba-Venezuela axis.”

As Eva Golinger pointed out in a March 30 Venezuela Analysis article: “The terms ‘neutralizing' and ‘defeating' are not friendly ... These are not terms used within the sphere of diplomacy, they are expressions used in the context of armed conflict.”

In late March, the Spanish-language edition of the Miami Herald, El Nuevo Herald, began a campaign to whip up hysteria against the supposed threat posed by organisations set up in solidarity with Venezuela.

According to Golinger, the series of articles “pretend to expose a network of Chavez supporters in universities and progressive groups that should be considered ‘foreign agents' or almost ‘terrorist' by the US government and public.” This supposed alliance of Chavista agents infiltrating the US includes university professors, writers, community groups concerned about the US policies towards Venezuela and the Catholic missionary group Maryknoll.

In an open letter sent the Miami Herald, Cort Greene from the US Hands Off Venezuela solidarity organisation, wrote: “Your so-called investigation is nothing more than a witch-hunt intended to scare and intimidate supporters of the Venezuelan revolutionary process ... Attacks such as these are reminiscent of the days of McCarthyism, when people and organisations were accused without evidence in order to suppress opposition to US government policies.”

While the US is planning an attack on Venezuela, it is unclear whether it will be able to carry it out, and, if it does, whether it will be successful or not.

Despite repeated public pressuring of other Latin American nations, Colombia is the only Latin American country to join the US in its campaign against Venezuela. In recent months, Venezuela has concluded far-reaching trade and political agreements with Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay — including, in the case of Brazil, an agreement to sell Venezuela military hardware.

One of the key complaints of the Bush administration is that Venezuela is engaging in an “arms race” by purchasing 100,000 AK-47s from Russia. At a press conference on March 30, Brazilian President “Lula” da Silva, attacked this claim, declaring, “we do not accept defamations and insinuations against companeros. Venezuela has the right to be a sovereign country.”

Venezuela Analysis reported on March 30 that Bush has personally taken on the job of trying to convince other Latin American countries to isolate Venezuela, speaking to the presidents of Mexico and Argentina, as well as Canada. However, the article quotes an unnamed Bush official as declaring that Argentinian President Nestor Kirchner responded by saying Argentina intended to continuing “dialoguing with the democratic government of Venezuela”.

This is not just because of the economic agreements Venezuela has in the region, but also because the immense popularity the Venezuelan revolution has among the Latin American masses. This makes it difficult for other Latin American leaders to take a public position against Venezuela.

The most important deterrent to US military intervention, however, is the moves inside Venezuela to organise the poor masses into armed, popular militias. The decision to organise and arm the masses into units of self defence was crucial to the defeat of the US-sponsored “Bay of Pigs” invasion of Cuba in 1961, at the Venezuelan government has clearly assimilated the lesson — and probably so has the US.

Comment: The bloody hands of US foreign policy have for years been active strangling any show of popular power in Latin America. From its provocations of Mexico in the 19th century, to the phoney war in Cuba to pry it out of Spanish hands, through coups in Guatemala, Brazil, Chile, and its embargo of Cuba, it has done everything in its power to crush movements and governments that sought to improve the lot of the poor.

The land of liberty.

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I'm with Wolfowitz

Liberal handwringing over the World Bank simply reflects a failure to recognise the role it exists to fulfil

George Monbiot
Tuesday April 5, 2005
The Guardian

It's about as close to consensus as the left is ever likely to come. Everyone this side of Atilla the Hun and the Wall Street Journal agrees that Paul Wolfowitz's appointment as president of the World Bank is a catastrophe. Except me.

Under Wolfowitz, my fellow progressives lament, the World Bank will work for America. If only someone else were chosen, it would work for the world's poor. Joseph Stiglitz, the bank's renegade former chief economist, champions Ernesto Zedillo, a former president of Mexico. A Guardian leading article suggested Colin Powell or, had he been allowed to stand, Bono. But what all this hand-wringing reveals is a profound misconception about the role and purpose of the body Wolfowitz will run.

The World Bank and the IMF were conceived by the US economist Harry Dexter White. Appointed by the US Treasury to lead the negotiations on postwar economic reconstruction, White spent most of 1943 banging the heads of the other allied nations together. They were appalled by his proposals. He insisted that his institutions would place the burden of stabilising the world economy on the countries suffering from debt and trade deficits rather than on the creditors. He insisted that "the more money you put in, the more votes you have". He decided, before the meeting at Bretton Woods in 1944, that "the US should have enough votes to block any decision".

Both the undemocratic voting arrangement and the US veto remain to this day. The result is that a body that works mostly in poor countries is controlled by rich ones. White demanded that national debts be redeemable for gold, that gold be convertible into dollars, and that exchange rates be fixed against the dollar. The result was to lay the ground for what was to become the dollar's global hegemony. White also decided that the IMF and the bank would be sited in Washington.

At the time, no one doubted that these bodies were designed as instruments of US economic policy, but all this has been airbrushed from history. Even the admirable Stiglitz believes the bank was the brainchild of the British economist John Maynard Keynes (he was, in fact, its most prominent opponent). When Noreena Hertz wrote on these pages last month that "the Bush administration is a very long way from the bank's espoused goals and mandate", she couldn't have been more wrong.

From the perspective of the world's poor, there has never been a good president of the World Bank. In seeking contrasts with Wolfowitz, it has become fashionable to look back to the reign of that other Pentagon hawk, Robert McNamara. He is supposed to have become, in the words of an Observer leader, "one of the most admired and effective of World Bank presidents". Admired in Washington, perhaps. McNamara was the man who concentrated almost all the bank's lending on vast prestige schemes (highways, ports, dams) while freezing out less glamorous causes such as health, education and sanitation. Most of the major projects he backed have, in economic or social terms or both, failed catastrophically.

It was he who argued that the bank should not fund land reform because it "would affect the power base of the traditional elite groups". Instead, as Catherine Caufield shows in her book Masters of Illusion, it should "open new land by cutting down forests, draining wetlands and building roads to previously isolated areas". He bankrolled Mobutu and Suharto, deforested Nepal, trashed the Amazon and promoted genocide in Indonesia. The countries he worked in were left with unpayable debts, wrecked environments, grinding poverty and pro-US dictators.

Except for the language in which US demands are articulated, little has changed. In the meeting last Thursday at which Wolfowitz's nomination was confirmed, the bank's executive directors decided to approve the construction of the Nam Theun 2 dam in Laos. This will flood 6,000 people out of their homes, damage the livelihoods of a further 120,000, destroy a critical ecosystem and produce electricity not for the people of Laos but for their richer neighbours in Thailand. It will also generate enormous construction contracts for western companies. The decision was made not on Wolfowitz's watch but on that of the current president, James Wolfensohn. There will be little practical difference between the two wolves. The problem is not the bank's management but its board, which is dominated by the US, the UK and the other rich nations.

The nationality of the bank's president, which has been causing so much fuss, is of only symbolic importance. Yes, it seems grossly unfair that all its presidents are Americans, while all IMF presidents are Europeans. But it doesn't matter where the technocrat implementing the US Treasury's decisions comes from. What matters is that he's a technocrat implementing the US Treasury's decisions.

Wolfowitz's appointment is a good thing for three reasons. It highlights the profoundly unfair and undemocratic nature of decision-making at the bank. His presidency will stand as a constant reminder that this institution, which calls on the nations it bullies to exercise "good governance and democratisation" is run like a medieval monarchy.

It also demolishes the hopeless re formism of men such as Stiglitz and George Soros who, blithely ignoring the fact that the US can veto any attempt to challenge its veto, keep waving their wands in the expectation that a body designed to project US power can be magically transformed into a body that works for the poor. Had Stiglitz's attempt to tinker with the presidency succeeded, it would simply have lent credibility to an illegitimate institution, enhancing its powers. With Wolfowitz in charge, its credibility plummets.

Best of all is the chance that the neocons might just be stupid enough to use the new wolf to blow the bank down. Clare Short laments that "it's as though they are trying to wreck our international systems". What a tragedy that would be. I'd sob all the way to the party.

Martin Jacques argued convincingly on these pages last week that the US neocons are "reordering the world system to take account of their newly defined power and interests". Wolfowitz's appointment is, he suggested, one of the "means of breaking the old order".

But this surely illustrates the unacknowledged paradox in neocon thinking. They want to drag down the old, multilateral order and replace it with a new, US one. What they fail to understand is that the "multilateral" system is in fact a projection of US unilateralism, cleverly packaged to grant other nations just enough slack to prevent them from fighting it. Like their opponents, the neocons fail to understand how well Roosevelt and Truman stitched up the international order. They are seeking to replace a hegemonic system that is enduring and effective with one that is untested and (because other nations must fight it) unstable. Anyone who believes in global justice should wish them luck.

Comment: It is true that the purpose of the World Bank and IMF is to exploit the poor countries by making grants and loans that will then be used to hire the corporations of the rich countries to come in and loot their riches and their resources. Wolfowitz may be there to bring down the old system as Monbiot suggests, he may be there to continue the tried and tested methods - though we don't bank on that -, he may be there because will soon be a country that needs World Bank help to support US corporations internally. But this is just the sideshow.

We are on the verge of a major upheaval that could be triggered by climate change or earthquakes or rocks falling on our heads from the sky. The old rules ain't gonna apply anymore.

We would go even further than Monbiot. There is no system or organisation or political party or government that can change the injustices of this world. It is man himself that must change. She must change from the inside out.

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Snow Warns Fannie, Freddie Pose Threat
By Kristin Roberts
April 7, 2005

WASHINGTON - Mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could threaten the economy if Congress fails to curb their investment activities, U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow said on Thursday.

In a second day of hearings before the U.S. Senate Banking Committee on the hot political issue of how to rein in government-sponsored enterprises, Snow told Congress to limit the size of the companies' mortgage portfolios, saying they are not needed to fulfill the core mission of supporting housing.

What's more, their size and the interest rate risk they carry potentially threatens the financial system and the economy.

"The risks undertaken by the GSEs, if not properly managed, may pose a threat to their solvency, the stability of the other financial institutions and the strength of our economy," Snow said in comments that often echoed Wednesday's testimony from Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. [...]

Comment: The US economy has much bigger problems that just Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. For example, an out-of-control president, a bogus war on terror, and a gargantuan deficit certainly don't help matters any.

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Pfizer Stops Arthritis Drug Bextra Sales
By Toni Clarke
April 7, 2005

NEW YORK - Pfizer Inc. on Thursday suspended sales of its arthritis drug Bextra on requests by U.S. and European regulators, who said the risks of potentially fatal side effects outweigh the benefits.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration also asked Pfizer to include a black box warning -- the strongest possible -- for its painkiller Celebrex. Bextra and Celebrex are part of a class of drugs known as COX-2 inhibitors that also includes Merck & Co.'s Vioxx, which was withdrawn last year due to increased risks of strokes and heart attacks.

The FDA said it singled out Bextra for suspension because it gives no added advantage as a painkiller and can cause a potentially life-threatening skin condition called Stevens-Johnson syndrome, an allergic reaction that usually begins as a blistering of the mouth and lips and can spread to the rest of the body.

The agency also asked the makers of dozens of other prescription and non-prescription painkillers, including Motrin, Advil and Aleve, to strengthen warnings about possible heart risks and potentially life-threatening gastrointestinal bleeding. The new warnings do not apply to aspirin. [...]

The FDA's decision is the latest in a long series of actions by companies, regulators, advisors, lawyers and consumers that began last September when Merck withdrew Vioxx after a clinical trial showed it doubled the risk of heart attack and stroke in patients who took it for more than 18 months. [...]

Comment: In defense of the poor, abused pharmaceutical companies, their painkillers do actually work as advertised. After all, death is one sure way to relieve arthritis and other painful ailments...

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Mystery of the Cosmic Thunderbolt

One of the most profound archetypes of the early cultures is also among the most enigmatic. Every culture recalled the ancient combat between a great warrior and a monster whose attack threatened to destroy the world. Pictured above is the lion-headed beast Anzu remembered by the Sumerians, Babylonians, and Assyrians--a fierce monster defeated (in various tales) by the Sumerian Ningirsu or the Babylonian Ninurta or Nergal. The warrior confronting Anzu in the above picture is the god Ninurta, wielding in each hand a weapon identified as a "thunderbolt".

As for explanations, historians can only offer contradictory guesses. How did the story of a heaven-altering contest find its way into so many cultures? In the ritual of the Babylonian Akitu Festival, the enemy is the dragon Tiamat, subdued by the god Marduk. For the Egyptians it was the dragon Apep, defeated by Ra or his agent Horus. For the Greeks it was the fiery serpents Typhon or Python, vanquished respectively by Zeus and Apollo. Hindu accounts similarly recalled the attack of the sky-darkening serpent Vritra, felled by Indra. But these are only a few of hundreds of such accounts preserved around the world.

The story typically begins with the monster's arrival, an event signifying universal catastrophe. A legendary warrior sets out to engage the monster in direct combat. The battle rages amid earthquake, fire, wind, and falling stone, and it appears that all will be lost. Then the hero's magical weapon, fashioned by gods or divine assistants, flies between the combatants, turning the tide of battle and vanquishing the monster.

From this primeval encounter, the warrior earned his title as "hero". He defeated chaos and saved the world from catastrophe. But how did the divine weapon accomplish this feat? The storytellers' own words and symbols, when traced to root meanings, make clear that the hero's weapon was no ordinary sword, arrow, or club. It was a thunderbolt--and not the familiar lightning of a regional storm, but a bolt of cosmic dimensions. Though this original identity may not be apparent in many of the later versions of the story, it can be established reliably through cross-cultural comparison, with close attention to the memory's more archaic forms. When the great civilizations of the ancient world arose, the monster, the hero, and the cosmic thunderbolt already dominated human consciousness.

For the proponents of the Electric Universe, the role of the thunderbolt in the more ancient accounts is a vital clue, one to which we shall return frequently in these pages. Why does the divine thunderbolt not look like the lightning known to us today? As we intend to show, the unusual forms of this weapon can serve as a bridge between plasma science and historical inquiry. The forms of the divine thunderbolt were not accidental. To an astonishing extent they mimic the configurations taken by intense electric discharge in the plasma laboratory. And now, thanks to modern telescopes, we see similar forms in remote space, a fact that can only reinforce the power of the ancient message. [...]

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Sony Invention Beams Sights, Sounds Into Brain
Wed Apr 6, 2:01 PM ET

LONDON - If you think video games are engrossing now, just wait: PlayStation maker Sony Corp. has been granted a patent for beaming sensory information directly into the brain.

The technique could one day be used to create videogames in which you can smell, taste, and touch, or to help people who are blind or deaf.

The U.S. patent, granted to Sony researcher Thomas Dawson, describes a technique for aiming ultrasonic pulses at specific areas of the brain to induce "sensory experiences" such as smells, sounds and images.

"The pulsed ultrasonic signal alters the neural timing in the cortex," the patent states. "No invasive surgery is needed to assist a person, such as a blind person, to view live and/or recorded images or hear sounds."

According to New Scientist magazine, the first to report on the patent, Sony's technique could be an improvement over an existing non-surgical method known as transcranial magnetic stimulation. This activates nerves using rapidly changing magnetic fields, but cannot be focused on small groups of brain cells.

Niels Birbaumer, a neuroscientist at the University of Tuebingen in Germany, told New Scientist he had looked at the Sony patent and "found it plausible." Birbaumer himself has developed a device that enables disabled people to communicate by reading their brain waves.

A Sony Electronics spokeswoman told the magazine that no experiments had been conducted, and that the patent "was based on an inspiration that this may someday be the direction that technology will take us."

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UFO Expert Bob Trotta Excited by Recent Crop Circle Activity in North Devon
April 6, 2005

Once thought the preserve of cranks and eccentrics this burgeoning phenomenon has caught the attention of mainstream academia over the last few years including organisations such as Bob Trotta's Institute of Crop Circle Investigation (ICCI). The recent activity in Devon saw local authorities reaching for the phone to request the advice of this leading research establishment.

The latest circles have appeared over the last week or so in at least fourteen different locations in North Devon, mainly in the large number of "super fields" that grow the cereal crops popular in this region. Speaking from his Woolacombe homestead local farmer David Wilkins had this to say: "I've always thought this sort of thing was a hoax but the ones that have appeared on my land have been so complicated that I can't see how they could have been done overnight. I'm glad that Bob Trotta and his team are here to try and get to the bottom of things".

Mr Trotta himself was not quite as optimistic about his team's ability to solve the mystery: "crop circles have been around for ever. We have reports of them in academic texts from the 1700's and they have appeared in at least twenty nine countries around the world. We are not sure what makes them although many of us believe it to be a form of light energy. However, one thing is for sure, since the 1990's the circles have developed in complexity to the point that where once we were seeing simple circles, we are now seeing crop glyphs mimicking computer fractals and elements expressing fourth dimensional processes in quantum physics. In layman terms that means we are seeing some really complicated patterns that are almost certainly beyond the capabilities of even the most accomplished hoaxer".

Whatever the outcome of Bob Trotta's investigation one thing is for sure – local farmers are going to be having some very late nights as they lie in wait to catch the culprits of this decorative yet ultimately destructive occurrence.

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