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Light Waves
©2005 Pierre-Paul Feyte

'Fireball' In The Sky Thrills And Scares People Across Region
Day Staff Writer, Lyme/Old Lyme
As daylight was fading over the marsh behind Rick and Kim Swan's house in Old Saybrook Sunday night, a group of about 22 parents and children were setting up in the Swans' back yard and on the deck to check out the full moon, Jupiter and Saturn.

The “moon and star party” was part of a lesson on the solar system for the home-schoolers, who were both making and setting up telescopes. At about 7:45 p.m., the sky had not yet darkened enough for their observation — but they got a startling, and impressive, bonus.

A ball of flame rocketed across the twilight sky, racing east to west before vanishing somewhere over Long Island Sound.

“It was huge,” Kim Swan said. “It was really large, and it was white and yellow with green around the edges. It was really beautiful.”

People from throughout the region, and as far away as Maine, began calling police and fire departments Sunday night with reports of a multicolored object traveling from east to west at high speed. The Coast Guard put out an alert to look for an airplane that had possibly crashed near the Thimble Islands in Branford while police and firefighters were dispatched to reports that airplanes had crashed at Rocky Neck State Park in East Lyme and South Windham.

The Old Saybrook amateur astronomers, as space aficionados like to say, were not alone.

People called local fire and police stations to report a plane and flashes of green or orange flames in the sky, said John Mincey, a petty officer with the U.S. Coast Guard's Long Island Sound office.

What everyone saw at about the same time, however, was neither a UFO, a plane in the throes of crashing, or an errant satellite.

What they saw were meteors, possibly from the Lyrid meteor shower, which was scheduled to be visible to the naked eye between April 20 and April 25.

It took about an hour for local emergency officials, town leaders, air tower operators at the region's airports, and state and federal emergency crews to figure that out. Although callers never reported a plane being down, emergency officials could not immediately rule out that possibility, said John Harland, a U.S. Coast Guard duty officer at the Long Island Sound office.

Eventually, at the Federal Aviation Administration's New England division, experts checked with Tweed and Groton-New London airports and metropolitan airports along the seaboard, and determined that no aircraft was unaccounted for , said Holly Baker, an FAA spokeswoman. [...]

At the Long Island Sound office, Mincey and Harland likewise heard no reports of distress from callers. Within the hour, one of the Coast Guard's own vessels confirmed what emergency workers were only too happy to hear: the debris lighting up the night sky belonged to the tails of meteors.

Mystic Seaport Planetarium supervisor Donald Treworgy said the eyewitness reports indicate that what people saw was a meteor.

“A fireball is the term that people often use to describe an exceptionally bright meteor,” he said. “It could be a piece of space junk but the military keeps close tabs on those types of things.”

He said the color of the meteor depends on what it is made of and said they sometimes leave a trail.

“I didn't see it. I wish I had,” he said.

Sarah Porter of Stonington described a white ball with a red tail and said it did not appear to be a plane to her. People described the meteor has having a whole spectrum of different colors.

“It was so close it looked like it was going to hit Stonington Point,” she said.

Louise Brown of Stonington said it was not traveling level like an airplane but shooting down toward the Earth's surface.

Treworgy said that meteors often look like they are much closer than they really are.

Jana Noyes Dakota of Mystic said she was on Long Hill Road in Groton when she saw it.

She said the blue green irridescent object was traveling very fast and then suddenly stopped and disappeared from the sky. She said it made no sound.

“It was pretty cool,” she said.

Swan said her daughter, Kelsey, heard a hissing sound just before the meteor shot past

“It looked a lot closer than any others that I've seen,” said Sally Faulkner of Old Saybrook, who was at the Swans' house. “There was a definite, fiery streaming path. You could really see that it was a flaming thing, and that made it seem much closer.”

Kim Swan said the group knew the fireball was not an airplane or a missile because of its shape and its velocity. But for several seconds after the meteor disappeared, she said, they waited to hear it land. They didn't hear anything.

“My first thought was, ‘Was that a meteor?' ” Swan said. “Then I was waiting for a boom because it was big. ... I'm still wondering where it touched down. I'm still thinking in the Sound, if no one on Long Island has said they have a hole or a big fire.”

“There was a big gasp and a big, ‘Did you see that?' everybody in a chorus,” Faulkner said. “Here we were to look at the night sky and we never thought we'd have such a spectacular sight. Those are the things you read about but don't often get to see.”

Comment: If you missed it last night, there is a pretty good chance you'll have a chance to see one in the not too distant future. Check out our meteor supplement for many other reports of fireballs raining down upon us from the skies over the last three years. It is up to ten pages and counting.

Our research indicates that fireballs like this are not flukes. Our planet is entering a periodic return of pennies from Heaven that will cascade down upon us with possibly devastating results.

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Bush's Most Radical Plan Yet

With a vote of hand-picked lobbyists, the president could terminate any federal agency he dislikes
Rolling Stone

If you've got something to hide in Washington, the best place to bury it is in the federal budget. The spending plan that President Bush submitted to Congress this year contains 2,000 pages that outline funding to safeguard the environment, protect workers from injury and death, crack down on securities fraud and ensure the safety of prescription drugs. But almost unnoticed in the budget, tucked away in a single paragraph, is a provision that could make every one of those protections a thing of the past.

The proposal, spelled out in three short sentences, would give the president the power to appoint an eight-member panel called the "Sunset Commission," which would systematically review federal programs every ten years and decide whether they should be eliminated. Any programs that are not "producing results," in the eyes of the commission, would "automatically terminate unless the Congress took action to continue them."

The administration portrays the commission as a well-intentioned effort to make sure that federal agencies are actually doing their job. "We just think it makes sense," says Clay Johnson, deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget, which crafted the provision. "The goal isn't to get rid of a program -- it's to make it work better."

In practice, however, the commission would enable the Bush administration to achieve what Ronald Reagan only dreamed of: the end of government regulation as we know it. With a simple vote of five commissioners -- many of them likely to be lobbyists and executives from major corporations currently subject to federal oversight -- the president could terminate any program or agency he dislikes. No more Environmental Protection Agency. No more Food and Drug Administration. No more Securities and Exchange Commission. [...]

Without many of those programs, however, American consumers, workers and investors would be left to the mercy of business. "This is potentially devastating," says Wesley Warren, who served as a senior OMB official in the Clinton administration. "In short order, this could knock out protections that have been built up over a generation." [...]

The man behind the sunset commission is Clay Johnson, the most influential member of Bush's inner circle whom you've never heard of. The two Texans have been close friends since 1961, when they met as fifteen-year-olds at Andover prep school and later roomed together for four years at Yale. When Bush was elected governor of Texas in 1994, he put the buddy he calls "Big Man" -- Johnson is six feet four -- in charge of all state appointments. Johnson, a former executive at Neiman Marcus and Frito-Lay, refers to Americans as "customers" and is partial to Chamber of Commerce bromides such as "We're in the results business." He is also partial to giving corporate lobbyists a direct role in gutting regulatory protections. One of his first acts in Texas was to remove all three members of the state environmental-protection commission and replace them with a former Monsanto executive, an official with the Texas Beef Council and a lawyer for the oil industry. Overnight, a commission widely respected for its impartiality became a "revolving door between the industry lobby and government," says Jim Marston, the senior attorney in Texas for the nonprofit organization Environmental Defense.

Johnson continued his anti-regulatory efforts in the early days of the Bush presidency, when he helped place industry champions in positions throughout the government. As director of OMB, an obscure but powerful arm of the White House, he has implemented a "Program Assessment Rating Tool" to evaluate federal programs and cut funding to those that are "not getting results." In reality, though, Johnson uses PART to slash government efforts that don't fit the administration's political agenda. This year's budget eliminates twenty percent of the programs that were rated most effective, including efforts to improve the environment and education, and increases funding for programs that received the lowest possible rating -- including an attempt to reduce the number of poor people claiming a low-income tax credit.

The evaluations "are based on the whims of White House budget bean counters," says Gary Bass, executive director of the nonpartisan OMB Watch. "These are meaningless numbers that do nothing but back up preordained political conclusions."

The Sunset Commission would go even further. The panel -- which will likely be composed of "experts in management issues," according to one senior OMB official -- will enable the administration to terminate entire government programs that protect citizens against injury and death. Consider what America might look like if Reagan had wielded such an anti-regulatory ax twenty years ago. Abolishing the EPA would have increased air pollution, causing tens of thousands of children to develop chronic respiratory diseases. Terminating the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration would have eliminated many protections we now take for granted -- including air bags, child safety seats and automatic seat belts. And getting rid of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration would have forestalled workplace regulations that have prevented illnesses among millions of farmworkers.

Even if such regulations remain on the books, eliminating entire agencies would leave no one to enforce them. "And if there's no cop on the beat, who's going to follow the law?" says J. Robert Shull, senior policy analyst at OMB Watch.

The first hint of Bush's plan to create a commission surfaced only weeks after he won re-election last November. At an economic conference convened by Treasury Secretary John Snow, one panel member made the case for inserting a sunset provision into existing regulations. Such a move would "shift the burden of proof onto the regulations and require us to demonstrate that they're still needed," said Susan Dudley, director of regulatory studies at the Mercatus Center, a free-market think tank based in Washington, D.C.

It's fitting that the first public mention of Bush's plan came from Mercatus. The center's "regulatory studies program" was founded by Wendy Gramm, the wife of former Texas Sen. Phil Gramm and the woman Reagan called "my favorite economist." As a senior official at OMB under the Gipper, Gramm fought hard to eliminate federal regulations. Her most notorious victory came in 1992 when, as chair of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, she pushed through a measure exempting companies that trade in energy derivatives from regulation, following an intense lobbying campaign by Enron. Gramm resigned from the commission and accepted a seat on the Enron board of directors, where she was paid $1.85 million and received donations from the company to support Mercatus. Enron, meanwhile, used its exemption from federal oversight to engage in its infamous accounting fraud that destroyed the company and bankrupted investors.

But such dangers of eliminating regulations have done nothing to slow Bush's drive for a sunset commission. Given its political gains last November, the administration is optimistic about winning approval in Congress. "The stars and the planets are aligned," Johnson recently declared, citing the solid Republican majority in Congress and the need to curb the soaring federal deficit.

But there may be a stumbling block. The commission not only threatens the environment and public health -- it would also violate the constitutional separation of power between Congress and the executive branch, enabling the president to dismantle programs created by lawmakers. "Under the administration's proposal, Congress would relinquish its constitutional power to legislate," says Rep. Henry Waxman, a Democrat from California who has been the commission's most vocal opponent. "Power would be consolidated in the executive branch, and the legislative role would be emasculated." [...]

Comment: With this little gem, George Bush would finally be dictator...

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Fascism: Are We There Yet?
Margaret Kimberly
Prison Planet
April 23 2005

Our government is treating us the way exterminators treat vermin. We are ruled by people who mask evil ideology with the artful use of language, so an advertising slogan is in order.

"Roaches check in, but they don't check out."

The United States government is now proposing that the roach treatment be meted out to American humans who want to visit Canada, Mexico, Panama and Bermuda. These countries currently do not require visiting Americans to have passports.

The United States can't force these nations to change their laws, so they are changing ours. The Department of State is proposing that Americans returning from these countries be required to have passports in order to re- enter the United States. We'll be able to check in, but not check out without letting Uncle Sam know where we have been.

When the President was asked about the new travel proposals he feigned both ignorance and concern:

"When I first read that in the newspaper, about the need to have passports, for particularly the day crossings that take place – about a million, for example in the state of Texas – I said, 'What's going on here?'"

Bush added that finger prints may be used "to serve as a so-called passport for daily traffic." Assuming this statement has any bearing in reality, a big leap to be sure, the President is proposing that we should all be finger printed like criminals. Bush once joked that a dictatorship wouldn't bother him, as long as he was the dictator. His wish has come true.

Not only will Americans require passports to travel everywhere, but beginning in 2007 our passports will have Radio Frequency Identity (RFID) chips embedded inside them. Any RFID reader, not just those used by customs officials, can be used to find all the information contained on a passport. That means our personal information is not secure from identity thieves, kidnappers, terrorists, or nosy individuals. Why would an administration that claims to make us more secure actually make us less so?

"Unfortunately, there is only one possible reason: The administration wants surreptitious access themselves," wrote security technologist Bruce Schneier in the October 4, 2004 International Herald Tribune. "It wants to be able to identify people in crowds. It wants to surreptitiously pick out the Americans, and pick out the foreigners. It wants to do the very thing that it insists, despite demonstrations to the contrary, can't be done."

The story gets even worse. Tom Ridge, former Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, recently became a board member of Savi Technology. Savi supplies RFID technology to the military. Will Savi and Tom Ridge make money from the imminent embedding of RFID chips in our passports? It is as likely as Dick Cheney and Halliburton making money in Iraq. The Bush doctrine of enriching cronies and keeping the population under control is alive and well.

The writing has been on the wall for some time now. We fight back as well as we can but big brother keeps getting bigger. Is it time to throw in the towel? Should we take our passports with their tracking devices and get out of Dodge before sundown?

Most progressives have muttered at one time or another that they would leave the country if Bush won again. Well, he did and it is as bad as we feared. The future isn't looking a lot brighter and the attacks have become more brazen.

People who call themselves Christians speak of a legislative "nuclear option" meant to end the Senate filibuster and silence critics of the powerful. Even religious leaders have happily adopted the language of violence and death.

Their latest target is the judiciary. Even Republican appointees are not safe from their wrath. Supreme Court justice Anthony Kennedy is one of the five who voted to put George W. Bush in office. It didn't do him much good with the Christian right.

One Edwin Vieira, an alleged expert on constitutional law and a right wing crazy, accused Kennedy of upholding "Marxist, Leninist, satanic principles drawn from foreign law." He also had this to say about the Reagan appointee:

"He (Stalin) had a slogan, and it worked very well for him, whenever he ran into difficulty, No man: no problem."

Joseph Stalin, the man who ruled an officially atheist nation, is now the darling of the Christian right. Anyone who dispatched their enemies ruthlessly is now their idol. When conservative jurists are fair game for violent threats from the Christian right, don't bother seeking sanctuary in a church. Just pack your bags.

This nation is on a runaway train with insane people at the controls. We will end up in Crazyland, forever in debt, without social security, with RFID chips embedded in our foreheads. At a certain point it will be too late to jump. We may not have reached that point yet, but the train is not slowing down.

Comment: 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. [...] Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. [II Thessalonians]

13:15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, [George Bush as dictator] that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.
13:16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
13:17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. [Revelation]

United States (of) America = 666

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US Muslims Sue Gov't over Border Detentions
April 21, 2005 ( & News Agencies)

NEW YORK, - Five US Muslims sued the US Department of Homeland Security, accusing the US border agents of rights violation and racial profiling.

The suit, filed in US District Court on Wednesday, April 20, named Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff among four defendants in what the New York Civil Liberties Union called a case of profiling, according to Reuters on Thursday, April 21.

The three men and two women said the agents who detained them as they returned from an Islamic conference in Canada violated their rights, held them, along with dozens of other US Muslims.

They added that they were interrogated, photographed and fingerprinted against their will in December 2004.

The lawsuit alleges that the plaintiffs, who were later released without charge, were singled out after telling customs officials they had attended a "Reviving the Islamic Spirit" conference in Toronto.

The suit does not seek monetary damages, but asks for a declaration that the government action was unlawful, an injunction against further enforcement of such policies and practices and erasing from all federal databases of information obtained from the plaintiffs, Reuters reported.

The annual conference draws thousands of Muslims from Canada, the United States and overseas, AFP said.

A May 2004 report released by the US Senate Office Of Research concluded that Arab Americans and the Muslim community in the US have taken the brunt of the Patriot Act and other federal powers applied in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.

Amnesty International said that racial profiling by US law enforcement agencies had grown over the past years to cover one in nine Americans, mostly targeting Muslims.

‘Most Humiliating'

Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union which is helping represent the plaintiffs, condemned what she described as the "over-zealous and counter-productive ethnic and religious profiling" encouraged by government security policies in the wake of the September 11 attacks.

"They are engaging in profiling," said Lieberman, adding that "the government detained people because they attended a conference that was perfectly legal, exercising their basic rights."

None of the citizens who were detained had done anything unlawful, nor were they charged with any unlawful act," Lieberman told reporters.

"You don't lose your rights when you're a Muslim. You don't lose your rights when you cross a border, and you certainly don't lose your rights by attending a religious conference," she added.

One of the plaintiffs, Sawsaan Tabbaa, an orthodontist from Buffalo in New York, said the experience at the border crossing "was the most humiliating I have ever gone through."

"It was unbelievable. I am proud of being American but I couldn't believe my eyes something like this could happen."

Tabbaa said she had refused to be digitally fingerprinted on the grounds that she had done nothing wrong, but was physically forced into compliance.

"I started sobbing like a kid," she said.

At the time of the incident, numerous press reports quoted Customs and Border Protection (CBP) spokeswoman Kristie Clemens as claiming the government had "credible information" that Islamic conferences were being used to promote and fund terrorist activities.

On Wednesday, Clemens said she was unable to comment on a specific case that was the subject of a lawsuit, but added that the "priority mission" of the CBP was to "prevent terrorists” and their weapons entering the country.

"As we continue to pursue this mission, we will continue to work with all communities to protect the freedoms of all Americans," she said.
Islamic leaders vehemently deny the charges.

Tabbaa's son, Hassan Shibley, 18, said the border guards had initially insisted they were picked "at random ", but when he entered the processing room he saw that all the occupants were Muslim.

"It was like I was walking into my local mosque," Shibley said.

Lieberman, whose organization filed the suit along with the American Civil Liberties Union and Council on American-Islamic Relations, said there was nothing about the RIS conference to raise suspicions.

"If the government has suspicions about criminal activities they have every right and indeed the obligation to go after those suspicions," Lieberman said.

"This is a case of rounding up the usual suspects in derogation of their rights and in derogation of all of our liberties."

A recent nation-wide poll, conducted by the Cornell University, showed that at least 44 percent of the Americans backs curbing Muslims' civil rights and monitoring their places of worship.

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BBC reporter's award stuns Israel
Apr. 25, 2005
Jeruslaem Post

Israeli officials have expressed dismay that BBC reporter Orla Guerin, who has come under sharp attack for what some perceive as an anti-Israeli bias in her coverage, will receive an MBE honor from the British government for "outstanding service to broadcasting."

Diaspora Affairs Minister Natan Sharansky, who last year wrote a formal letter of complaint to the BBC over Guerin's coverage, said it is a pity that the absence of anti-Semitism was not a criterion for the award.

If it were, he said, Guerin would not be receiving the honor. The MBE stands for Member of the British Empire, one of a number of honors issued each year by the queen.[...]

According to the Sunday Times, the 38-year-old Guerin will be presented the award by Baroness Symons, the minister of state for the Middle East in the British Foreign Office. According to this report, Guerin, who has spent 10 years reporting from war-torn countries, was to receive the honor last year, but the ceremony was postponed so she could report from Ramallah on Yasser Arafat's funeral.

In addition to Jerusalem, she has also reported from Kosovo, Grozny, Moscow, and the Basque country.

One Israeli official, who responded to the news by saying he was "shocked," said Guerin is among the most anti-Israeli journalists reporting from Israel today.

According to this official, granting her an award fits into a pattern that began in 2003 when the United Kingdom's Political Cartoon Society awarded Dave Brown of the Independent its "cartoon of the year" award for a cartoon he drew depicting a naked Ariel Sharon biting off the bloodied head of a Palestinian child.

"It seems if you are anti-Israel, you will get an award," the official said.

Last year, in response to one of Guerin's dispatches about Israel's capture of a mentally challenged 16-year-old would-be suicide bomber, Sharansky wrote the BBC that it employs a "gross double standard to the Jewish state" that smacks of anti-Semitism.

Sharansky protested that Guerin, in her report, portrayed the event as "Israel's cynical manipulation of a Palestinian youngster for propaganda purposes." He said this "reveals a deep-seated bias against Israel. Only a total identification with the goals and methods of the Palestinian terror groups would drive a reporter to paint Israel in such an unflattering light instead of placing the focus on the bomber and the organization that recruited him."[...]

In his letter, Sharansky quoted Guerin as describing to viewers how the IDF "paraded the child in front of the international media," then "produced" the child for reporters, "posed" him a second time for the cameras, and then "rushed him back into a jeep."

Likewise, the Evening Standard, which interviewed Guerin in 2003, wrote that she "questioned Israel's claim to be a democracy, compared its press freedom with Zimbabwe's, and accused its officials of paranoia."

Comment: First of all, we must ask the question: Is "Israel" the Israeli government and military alone, or does it include the Israeli people also? The question is important, given the title of the above article, which claims that Guerin's award has "stunned Israel". Despite the title however, it would seem that it is only Israeli government ministers that are shocked and outraged. There is no word from any section of the Israeli population.

Unsurprisingly, the main thrust of the Israeli government's objection to the award being given to Guerin is that her reporting from Israel has been biased because she is clearly anti-Semitic and anti-Israel. Most right-wing Israeli politicians never miss an opportunity to link anti-Semitism to a bias against Israel, yet to do so is clearly a manipulation and a distortion of the truth.

Anti-Semitism is defined as a hatred of Jews simply because they are Jews. Over the past number of years Israeli politicians have been at pains to associate anti-Israel bias with anti-Semitism and/or a bias against the existence of the state of Israel. The truth however, is that most people that are labeled, "anti-Semitic" and "anti-Israel" by Israeli politicans and lobby groups bear no grudge against the existence of Israel as a nation and certainly do not hate Jews simply because they are Jews! Rather, they deplore the policies of the current Israeli government and its army and oppose the victimisation and brutalisation of innocent civilians, regardless of ethnic or religious background or geographic location. In fact, members of the Israeli government would be well advised to avoid insisting on associating anti-Semitism and "anti-Israelism" with each other and with the actions of the Israeli government and army. The entire world can see that the Israeli government and army sanction the murder of innocent Palestinian children. Does Sharon really want the Jewish people and the Jewish state to become synonymous with such wanton acts of murder? On second thoughts...

Objective journalism is allegedly achieved through simply reporting the facts of any given event without undue input or opinion of the reporter. It is not reasonable, however, to expect a reporter in all circumstances to remain completely detached from the events they are witnessing and reporting. In order to really bring home the reality of any given event, the reporter may find it necessary to employ particular language that best conveys the reality on the ground. For example, a reporter might use strong and somewhat emotional language when reporting on a murder scene. A "biased" word like "brutal" might be used instead of the more objective "violent", or the murder might be described as a "slaying" instead of a "killing", yet these words may be much more appropriate and accurate in conveying a real taste of the actual events to the viewer/reader. Equally, when referring to people, it is not unreasonable that a reporter would use strong "biased" language to describe a murderer for example, particularly if his or her crime were marked by a particular callousness.

It follows then that, due to the brutality and viciousness with which the Israeli government and military treat the Palestinian people, emotionally charged reports are not only to be expected but often required if the true horror of the the atrocities that are regularly visited upon the Palestinian people are to be conveyed to viewers and readers. Orla Guerin's reports from Israel and Palestine won her a prestigious honor from the British government for "outstanding service to broadcasting" because she was dedicated to bringing the truth of Palestinian people's plight to public attention.

As we have seen time and time again, the Israeli government is desperate to ensure that the crimes it permits in Palestine remain largely hidden from view. On a number of occasions the IDF has resorted to murdering specific journalists who were attempting to report the truth about Israeli state-sponsored murder of innocent Palestinian civilians. Naturally, the guilty soldiers are never punished. In the case of Orla Guerin and those other journalists that they are unable to silence in this way, the Israeli government is forced to resort to defamation and ridiculous accusations of anti-Semitism.

Every time there is a report that is in any way critical of Israel, Israeli politicians decry the "one-sided" nature of media reporting on Israeli actions in Palestine. The simple fact however is that, given the extreme bias in the US mainstream press TOWARDS Israel (which is a direct product of Israeli influence within the US government), the public is exposed to only a tiny portion of Israeli crimes in Palestine. The Israeli government desires 100% control on the reporting of events in the occupied territories, when they can only manage 90% they accuse the 10% of bias and anti-Semitism.

On a point of note; the "evidence" that Israeli Diaspora Affairs Minister Sharansky uses to support his claim that Guerin is anti-Israel and anti-Semitic, concerns an event that occurred a little over a year ago, when a 16 year old would-be Palestinian suicide bomber, Husam Abdu, was arrested at the Hawara Israeli check point in the occupied West Bank. At the time, the incident was presented to the world as evidence of the "evil" that the Israeli government was confronting, yet Orla Guerin's description of the affair as "Israel's cynical manipulation of a Palestinian youngster for propaganda purposes" is, as we shall see, much more accurate.

Israel's -'14 yr old bomber stunt' - backfires

It turns out that 14 yr old Husam Abdu from Nablus was mentallly retarded and drugged. A stranger offered him $20 to wear the belt.

Six news teams had advance notice.Cameras were rolling as the child approached

The 1st story

The boy was a religious nut that belong to Hamas – he did it to get 72 virgins in heaven, the IDF said - as he approached the check point the Jewish soldiers stopped him. His controllers saw this and tried to detonate the bomb but the cell phone failed.

The 2nd story

The second story is the Jewish soldiers were informed he was coming – they kept Arabs away from checkpoint – next the IDF notified the press and the kid approached alone. The IDF sent a robot to meet him.

Palestinian teenager in the oversized jacket approached Israeli soldiers, who had received a tip about a suicide bomber at this crowded checkpoint yesterday. Source

A few weeks ago, another boy from Nablus, Muhammad Kuraan, made headlines when the Israeli army presented him to the media as a child who had been dispatched to blow himself up at an Israeli roadblock.

Residents of Shechem, including the boy himself, now refute Israel's version of events, and say the bag Abdullah Quran was transporting did not contain any explosives.

The IDF wouldn't let today's bomber be interviewed.

Israel 'fabricated' child-bomber story

By Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank
Thursday 25 March 2004

Palestinian leaders have accused Israel of fabricating a story about a 14-year-old Palestinian boy who planned to blow himself up.

The Israeli army said he was caught wearing an explosive belt at an army roadblock in the northern West Bank.

The boy, identified as Husam Abdu from Nablus, was shown on TV screens around the world, with an explosive belt strapped to his waist.

The Israeli army said the boy told interrogators that his dispatchers promised that he would have sex with 72 virgins in heaven soon after his death.

"We know for sure this is a fabricated story from A to Z. Would you believe that a 13 or 14-year old would agree to blow up himself in return for a hundred shekels which he would receive after his death?

"It seems to me that the Israelis are bad liars as well," said Yaqub Shahin, a director-general of the Palestinian Authority ministry of information.

Painting a 'terrorist' picture

In an interview with, Shahin accused Israel of seeking to justify slaughtering Palestinian children by spreading the false impression that they are used as human bombers.

"Their [Israel’s] goal is to besmirch Palestinian childhood so that when they slaughter the children, the world won’t feel sorry for them," he said.

Arab Knesset member Muhammad Baraka has also voiced "serious doubts" about the veracity of the Israeli narrative.

"I have very serious doubts about the whole story. I can't give the Israeli army the benefit of the doubt." However, Baraka urged all parties to "keep children away from this sinister and bloody conflict"

"Using children as bombs is infinitely diabolical. It is totally inconsistent with all religious, moral and human values."

Fatah denial

The armed wing of Fatah, the Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, has denied any involvement in the incident, accusing Israel of "concocting the whole story for the purpose of justifying the killing of more Palestinian children".

The Israeli newspaper Yedeot Ahranot reported on Thursday that Abdu told Shin Beth interrogators that an anonymous person had promised him 100 shekels if he blew himself up in the midst of Israeli soldiers. [...]

A few weeks ago, another boy from Nablus, Muhammad Kuraan, made headlines when the Israeli army presented him to the media as a child who had been dispatched to blow himself up at an Israeli roadblock.

However, when the boy returned home, he reportedly told his family and relatives
"Jews told me to do this or else they would kill me." asked the Israeli army spokesman in Tel Aviv to explain why Abdu would accept 100 shekels to get blown up and what good the money could possibly do?

The army was also asked to explain why it had TV cameras ready at the roadblock more than two hours before the event.

Despite two hours of waiting, the army failed to provide an answer.

Notice in the above that the news reporters had obviously been tipped off and were ready and waiting for the boy to arrive. Obviously this was an Israeli army manufactured "suicide bombing". It makes one wonder how many other suicide bombings Sharon and the IDF were responsible for.

This is "By Way of Deception", the tactics of Sharon and the Israeli Mossad, although the clumsy way in which the "operation" was carried out suggests that it was probably the brain child of the IDF. Who now can deny that Sharon and the Israeli government want this war? As we have been saying for many months, when your goal is war at all costs, you are obliged to fight it on both sides, create an enemy and stage attacks so that you can then retaliate. This tactic is by no means new, but is rather a very simple and effective method to crush all those that are deemed a threat to the interests of a given group - whatever those interests may be. We have seen this tactic used to great effect on September 11th 2001 in New York, which was an Israeli "false flag" operation, carried out by the Mossad, and was but one in the long and ignoble history of Israeli secret services, as they wage their wars of deception.

Israelis have killed 263 children under 14 in the Intifada


The controversy of using children in the Israeli-Palestinian strife underscores the brazen ugliness of the conflict.

According to human rights groups operating in the occupied territories, the Israeli army has killed hundreds of Palestinian children since the outbreak of the Palestinian Intifada more than three and a half years ago.

According to a spokeswoman for the East Jerusalem-based Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group (HRMG), the Israeli army and paramilitary Jewish settlers have killed 263 Palestinian children from age 0-14 and 236 minors from the age of 15-18 during the ongoing Intifada.

The total number of Palestinians killed by Israel since the outbreak of the Intifada is estimated a
t 2670.

The figures for the injured and maimed are believed to be in the thousands.

The number of Israelis killed by Palestinians during the same period is around 838, including soldiers, settlers and civilians.

Israel claims its army does not target Palestinian civilians deliberately but admits, rather grudgingly, that the killing is carried out knowingly.

However, human rights groups argue forcefully that, in the final analysis, killing knowingly is killing deliberately.

Sharansky claims that Orla Guerin's accurate depiction of this event as "Israel's cynical manipulation of a Palestinian youngster for propaganda purposes" "reveals a deep-seated bias against Israel", which simply provides more evidence for the fact that, in the eyes of people like Sharansky and all other Likudniks (which includes a decent percentage of the Bush administration) the truth really is anti-Israel and anti-Semitic.

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Israeli army 'lied' about Miller death

Leaked report returns Gaza Strip death of British film-maker to the spotlight

Mark Townsend
Sunday April 24, 2005
The Observer

Israeli soldiers stand accused this weekend of 'lying' and tampering with evidence in an attempt to obstruct an inquiry by military prosecutors into the death of British film-maker James Miller, according to internal army documents seen by The Observer.

A 79-page report by the chief lawyer of the Israeli army's southern command into the shooting of Miller in the Gaza Strip details how soldiers questioned over the killing changed earlier testimonies. The version of events offered by the soldier originally implicated in the shooting, identified only as Second Lieutenant H, were so contradictory that his accounts were described in the report as coming 'full circle'.

'Evidence shows that Second Lieutenant H heard his soldiers lying in their testimonies during the investigation, and unfortunately did not mention that fact to his commanders, that his soldiers are giving them details that are not true,' the report says.

In addition, the report alleges the barrel of the rifle understood to have been used in the shooting two years ago was changed. Rifles submitted as part of the investigation could not have been those used in the shooting because it was 'impossible' that bullets found at the scene in Rafah belonged to the weapons surrendered, adds the report.

'It is important to point out that during the investigation a concern was raised, based on intelligence information, that some of the soldiers later changed the barrel they used during the event with a different barrel,' it continues.

Concern over a possible cover-up is underlined by the disappearance of videotapes that would have been recorded by the army's observation system and may have filmed Miller's death. Despite several attempts to locate them, the tapes from 3 May 2003 have never been found. The report's contents, disclosed here for the first time, come days after the Israeli advocate general announced he would appeal against a decision to acquit the officer of charges of misuse of his weapon. He was never charged with the killing after the Israeli army's judge advocate general said that there was insufficient evidence.

Released on 7 April, the report was circulated to all senior Israeli Defence Force commanders, including the chief of staff.

Although the report stops short of recommending the suspect should face criminal charges, its catalogue of highly damaging revelations will tarnish the reputation of the Israeli army in the Occupied Territories.

The high-profile case of Miller has become a source of increasingly strained diplomatic tension between the Israel authorities and the British government. Last Sunday, Miller won a Bafta award for his film following the lives of Palestinian children during the intifada. He was shot just after 11pm on the last day of filming Death in Gaza .

The 34-year-old, who was wearing journalist insignia and waving a white flag when he was shot in the neck, was targeted as he emerged from the home of a Palestinian family in the Rafah refugee camp. Initially, Israeli troops claimed they had come under fire, accounts now disproven. Radio conversations from the day confirm that Israeli soldiers knew there were journalists in the area.

'By allowing vital evidence to be tampered with, the Israeli army was complicit in my son's murder,' said Miller's father, Geoffrey.

The report says that all the soldiers interviewed changed their testimonies from accounts given to an earlier inquiry by the military police. [...]

By contrast, army lawyers said all journalists and Palestinian witnesses interviewed gave reliable accounts. [...]

The report goes on to cast suspicion upon the army's entire chain of command. Senior officers assumed without question that the soldiers when questioned were telling the truth. Attempts to explain the contradictions were based on assumptions that 'they were confused because of the fighting,' the report concludes.

Comment: Journalists have a nasty way of reporting things that governments don't like. You know, the stuff about civilian deaths, the use of illegal weapons, or how the family murdered at the check point died because they didn't understand hand signals based on US customs, not Iraqi. The US and Israel are, at the moment, on their game in the eliminate the journalist Olympics. They have taken all the gold and silver medals for several years in a row, and our scouts inform us that with the strong farm teams they have in place, they don't look like they'll lose their advantage any time soon.

The US has had rumours of a new player draft in the wings which would only beef up their already considerable bull pen.

The referees are still out discussing their call on the Guiliana Sgrena case. To return to a line from Casablanca, they have the death certificate and are still deciding whether to call the death of Italian agent Nicola Calipari a "suicide" or "shot while attempting to escape".

When the target does manage to escape, Team USA and Team Zionist Entity have other means in their bag of black ops tricks, as our next story illustrates...

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The emperor is perfectly naked
By: Abu Assur on: 24.04.2005 [05:55 ]

April 24, 2005 - Pentagon whores, you can't from now on keep on lying about your casualties in Iraq and continue to hide to your people the real losses, the Iraqi resistance is inflicting to the US beastly invader army. The world over knows that you are crippled in the land of the Two rivers. The Iraqi resistance hunt down your army rabble, day and night in Iraq. Your poor soldiers are morally devastated. They don't want to be killed and to fight for idol Zion wars.

US citizens, the Bush administration and their corporate media in their cushy studios and with their big salaries, are ready to rage wars all over the world until the last... US soldier. They are hiding from you what is really happening in Iraq. The situation is not at all improving. The resistance controls Iraq. The US mercenary army is hiding in bunkers and don't dare get into the street in Iraq. All Iraq. The Iraqi puppet government exists only on TV screens. It controls nothing. The US is spending billions of US tax payers to guard these traitors, who don't sleep even the night in Baghdad but in Kuwait or Jordan, while your fellow citizen soldiers are getting killed, for what ?

US citizens and US youth, you have to know the truth of what is going on in Iraq. You, mothers, fathers and beloved of US soldiers in Iraq, do something ! The US army is in real trouble. You must do everything now to save your youth from Iraq inferno. The news from Baghdad are extremely bad for the occupiers. The so called new US trained Iraqi militias are frightened rats and don't dare face the Iraqi fighters, who are defending their homes, land and honor from Bush, Rumsfield, Cheney, Kissenger racketeers and murderers.

US citizens, if only you spoke or you read another language, and here I am not talking about learning Arabic, Hindi or Urdu, but another language than English, let's say French, you would have a completely different vision of what is going on in Iraq. You would rebel and curse Bush media lying machines. You would discover with horror the death and misery which are awaiting your people in Iraq. Again the situation is not improving at all. Bush is lying again. He is lying and your sons and daughters are getting killed for his lies and for his petrol clan.

Read, rather listen to what a European leading Secret Service says about US casualties in Iraq. Let me tell you just what is going on in the news here in France. France is a democracy. France is Christian. France is culturally closer to the US than the Iraqis. I don't really imagine the US using napalm and chemical weapons against the French population, but knowing the racist behavior of the US army during its short history, even innocent women and children are victims of their sadistic behavior, and are killed in holy shrines and churches.

Yes I was talking about the US lies, about their losses and casualties. This week the French satirical weekly magazine "Le Canard Enchainé" known to be the best informed and with close connection with the French secret services talks with irony, and mockery and scoffs at the Pentagon official US casualty figures in Iraq. The satirical newspaper quoting French secret services, announces in large letters that the Pentagon is lamenting at least 240 tanks and some 79 bomber jets plus hundreds of helicopters and unmanned aircrafts destroyed or brought down by the Iraqi Resistors. Imagine the US cannon fodder killed, wounded and maimed in these losses, multiply them by at least a crew of let's say four personnel and you will be horrified with the numbers of the US casualties. Then you will discover the Pentagon whores lies talking about only 1500 killed soldiers since the beginning of the aggression against Iraq.

The "Canard Enchainé" affirms that through some talks with their US counterparts, or through special secret services known practices, the French experts from the Directorate of the Military Intelligence discovered a highly extravagant, according to the weekly magazine own terms, toll of the US losses in Iraq. Since the beginning of the US war in Afghanistan three years ago and specially since the US aggression against Iraq, the US army lost not less than 240 heavy armored Abram M1 and Bradley tanks, plus some 79 combat jets, plus many transport aircrafts, not to mention the many, very many knocked down helicopters.

The "Canard Enchainé" also quoting French military intelligence said that this toll will continue rising for the current year 2005 and for the coming years according to general Richard Cody the US deputy chief of staff. The French magazine also jested at the optimistic humor of the Bush circle which is trying whatever they can to trumpet that the situation is improving. It is not. The US generals have lately presented a new salty bill to the Congress amounting 8 billion dollars to repair these technological military marvels, again according to the terms of the French magazine. The Canard Enchainé also reveals that another Pentagon document intercepted by the French Military analysts belonging to the ministry of defense general Secretariat uncovered imbelievable figures of the cost of the US war in Iraq. Up to now some 159 billion dollars have been spent for invading and occupying Iraq, and this is not to mention the extra 80 billions agreed upon and voted for the war against terror and for internal security. In Afghanistan the US are squandering 5 billions dollars a month, while President Kharzai controls a tiny area of only one square mile in Kabul.

The French newspaper added that the Pentagon speaks more willingly about dollars than about US human losses in Iraq. The weekly magazine went on saying that in Paris and in many European capitals, everybody suspects the US staff of concealing the real figures of the US killed, wounded and maimed for life soldiers. Not to mention the alarming degradation of the US army moral due to depression and to the frequency of their missions.

The Canard Enchainé mocked Donald Rumsfield saying, that this chap doesn't seem to care a damn about his army, adding that this war against Iraq is fragilising and breaking down dangerously the US army. Rumsfield, says the Canard Enchainé, is planning another four years of occupying Iraq. He even asked Think Tanks institutions to come with new ideas, solutions and plans. One of the plans is to involve the NATO in Iraq. But Rummy is dreaming said the French Newspaper mockingly.

According to the French analysts any solution will be extremely costly and not a single option will open an honorable exit for the US from Iraq.

This is what a European very well informed magazine says about the US quagmire in Iraq. The Iraqis and the world over know about the real state of the US aggressors in Mesopotamia. Until when the Pentagon whores will continue to laugh at themselves and at the US people. In the meantime the Resistance mill is turning at high, very high speed indeed mincing more mercenary US army heads.

God bless Iraq. God bless Iraq. God bless Iraq and the Iraqi resistance which humiliated and is about to defeat the filthy US Zionist hydra in Mesopotamia, land of revelation, cradle of civilization. Iraq the smiling mouth of Arabity and Islam.

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How Arabic text of WMD dossier was massaged by Downing Street

By Robert Fisk - 24 April 2005

When Tony Blair published his notorious 2002 "dossier" which falsely claimed that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, Downing Street also produced an Arabic version - which contained significant deletions and changes in text that substantially altered its meaning.

A translation carried out for The Independent on Sunday reveals for the first time that several references to UN sanctions were cut from the Arabic text. On one page, the words "biological agents" were changed to read "nuclear agents". Arab journalists who reported on the dossier culled their information from the Arabic version - unaware that it was not the same as the English one.

While there is evidence of sloppiness in the translation - a 2001 Joint Intelligence Committee assessment of Iraqi nuclear ambitions is rendered as 2002 - many of the changes were clearly deliberate, apparently in an attempt to make the dossier more acceptable as well as more convincing to an Arab audience. At the time, the US and Britain were trying to convince Arab Gulf states that Saddam Hussein still represented a major threat to them - in the hope of seeking their support for the 2003 invasion - while the Arab world was enraged at the disastrous effects UN sanctions had on child mortality in Iraq.

In the "Executive Summary" at the start of the English edition, readers in Arabic were reminded that Saddam Hussein had used chemical weapons against Iran and his own people before the 1991 Gulf War. But the fact that he had admitted this after the Gulf War was deleted, along with the fact that he agreed to give up his WMD. The apparent intention was to convince Arabs that Saddam remained an imminent threat.

In some cases, too, the Arabic text was hardened to remove any doubts that Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction.

The alteration of "biological agents" - biologia in Arabic - to nuclear (la-nawawiya in Arabic) is obviously deliberate, and may reflect the belief that an Arab audience would be more fearful of nuclear weapons than biological agents. References to "damaged" Iraqi factories have been changed to "destroyed" (tadmir in Arabic), giving the impression that US and British air strikes in 1991 were more accurate than in fact they were.

On Iraq’s nuclear programme, the English version of the dossier says that two research reactors were "bombed" in 1991. In the Arabic, the two reactors are described as "destroyed".

Comment: does this qualify as a lie, or would our leaders never do that?

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Iraq suicide bombings kill 23, Pakistani hostage released
25 April 2005 0443 hrs

BAGHDAD : At least 23 people died and more than 80 were wounded Sunday in a series of bomb attacks near a mosque in Baghdad and outside a police academy in the north of the country, security officials said.

Amid the violence, Islamabad said a Pakistani hostage held since two weeks had been released, while in Washington controversial politician Ahmed Chalabi said delays in forming a government were playing into the hands of insurgents.

Two explosions Sunday evening in a mixed Shiite-Sunni district of the Iraqi capital apparently targeted an area close to the Shiite Hussayniah al-Beit mosque, killing 16 and wounding 50.

"A bomb exploded and, when people ran out near the Hussayniah al-Beit mosque, a car driven by a suicide bomber ploughed into them," an interior ministry official said.

Earlier, two suicide car bombs went off outside a police academy in Tikrit, killing at least seven people and wounding 37. Police casualties accounted for five of the dead, police and hospital sources said.

The mosque bombing was the latest in a series of attacks on Shiites, with a suicide car bomb exploding outside another Shiite mosque during weekly prayers on Friday, killing nine people and leaving 26 wounded.

The majority Shiites won control of parliament in January 30 elections, while the Sunni Arab minority, which dominated the ousted regime of Saddam Hussein and all previous Iraqi governments, largely boycotted the poll.

The insurgency that has raged in Sunni areas since Saddam's ouster in 2003 has seen a growing resort to sectarian attacks.

Militants loyal to Al-Qaeda's Iraq frontman Abu Musab al-Zarqawi claimed responsibility for the twin Tikrit attacks in an Internet statement, the authenticity of which could not be verified. [...]

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NeoCons Gunning For Saudi?
From an article by Efraim Halevy, the former chief of the Mossad and the National Security advisor to Ariel Sharon:

"Not long ago a senior official in one of the world's largest oil companies told me that he wakes up every morning fearful that he will turn on his bedside television set and see reports of a coup in Saudi Arabia."

and (my emphasis of his careful wording):

"Few observers of the Middle East scene are actually taking a good hard look at the situation in Saudi Arabia and examining coolly the terrifying scenarios, one of which might ensue. Some believe that there is a real danger that extremist religious figures will seize power in Saudi Arabia and establish an 'Al-Qaida state' in Riyadh. Others note that the national identification of large numbers of the country's population with the Saudi entity is feeble and that their main attachment is tribal or local-regional. Thus, a revolutionary situation might cause the disintegration of the state and the creation of parallel regimes in various regions of the kingdom.

In a visit to the United States two weeks ago, I was told by several well-informed observers that should one of the more severe scenarios come to pass, the United States will have no choice but to deepen its presence in the Middle East. To that end, it will have to renew the draft, to ensure that there are enough forces to deal with developing situations in countries like Saudi Arabia."

An attack on Iran just causes problems for the Americans without really addressing the issue of total control of the world's oil that appears to be mad Cheney's ultimate goal. The Iran attack would cost a fortune, go on for years, result in the deaths of thousands of Americans, and might even fail. After the debacle of the lies about Iraq and the disastrous American occupation, it would be very hard for the Bush Administration to make a case for it. On the other hand, if Israel and/or the United States were to stage a fake 'coup' in Saudi Arabia - a bit of made-for-TV bafflegab blown up into a full armed insurrection by the disgusting American media, together with claims that 'al Qaeda' now controls the American oil supply - American troops could have full control of the country in a matter of days, without having to interrupt the flow of oil. Americans run the security apparatus of Saudi Arabia, and can almost certainly remotely render useless any defense mechanisms which have been supplied by American arms contractors. The Saudi rulers are essentially helpless.

Due to the 'instability' in the Middle East ("in countries like Saudi Arabia"), the Bush Administration would then have full authority to call a draft, and the same instability would serve just as well as another terrorist attack in removing the malaise that has now settled over Bush's presidency (the last time we heard of problems in Bush's Presidency was in early September 2001). The new political capital could be used by Bush to propel his planned take-over of the American social security system by Wall Street. The price of oil would go up, benefiting Bush's oil friends, but not too much as to be a political problem (Americans will accept just about anything if it is framed as being part of fighting the 'war on terror' by keeping al Qaeda from taking over Saudi Arabia). Saudi rulers and clerics would be bundled off to the new statelet around Mecca and Medina - a new country completely unthreatening to Israel, having neither arms nor money - and the rest of the country, including all the oil fields, would be run from Washington and Tel Aviv.

I think all the talk about Iran, including Sharon's much publicized show-and-tell map show presented to Bush in Crawford - no doubt with maps of every orphanage, bomb shelter, baby formula factory, pharmaceutical plant, and Chinese embassy in Iran, but with no maps of the well hidden Iranian scientific labs - may be a trick to hide the real goal. Don't forget Laurent Murawiec. Once Saudi Arabia goes, Iran is not a problem.

Halevy spends a lot of the rest of the article trying to weasel out of the terms of the 'road map', but also leaves this gem:

" It was none other than Martin Indyk, the former U.S. ambassador to Israel, who not long ago raised the idea of establishing an American trusteeship regime in the areas of the Palestinian Authority, if it should turn out that the Palestinians are not ripe for self-rule. That arrangement would require an American operational military presence along Israel's border with the Palestinian territories."

That might explain the recent reports of the presence of significant numbers of American troops in Israel. American troops would save Israel the messy problem of being the concentration camp guards for the bantustans - for excellent analyses of Sharon's most recent plans, see here and here and here - that Sharon is obviously attempting to create by dividing the Palestinians into small enclaves divided by the expanding settlements.

Comment: Consider the above analysis in terms of the following article...

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Islamists make strong showing in Saudi election
By Salah Nasrawi, AP Writer, in Jeddah
24 April 2005

Candidates backed by conservative clerics did well in the final stage of Saudi Arabia's landmark municipal elections, according to results released yesterday.

In the commercial capital of Jeddah, considered one of the most liberal parts of Saudi Arabia, the seven winning candidates appeared on the "golden list" - those recommended by fundamentalist clerics. Five of the six winners in Buraydah, capital of ultra-conservative Qassem province, were backed by the clerics, and Islamist candidates also did well in the holy city of Medina.

Last month and in February, many Islamists also won seats during municipal council voting elsewhere.Though they will have significant influence over local politics, the government can still appoint half of all council seats.

"We are an Islamic country, and we are Islamists. We will stick to our Islamic values in fulfilling our duties, according to the book and al-Sunnah," said Bassam Jamil al-Khadher, who won in Jeddah, referring to the Koran and the teachings of Mohammed.

He denied there was any co-ordination or a formal list. However, the list of names was circulated on the internet and through mobile phone text messages. "Of course, our respected scholars support us. We are people known for our public service. It is only natural that we will get such support," Mr al-Khadher said.

The Saudi monarchy, an ally of Washington, has come under pressure from the US to implement democratic reforms. But the limited experiment in democracy - only men could vote and run for seats - also appeared an attempt to deflate the militant Islamic movement by bringing Islamists into the system.

Nabil Qamlu, a liberal lawyer who lost to one of Jeddah's "golden" candidates, accused the powerful clergy of interfering in the elections. Some losing candidates were expected to lodge complaints with the election commission, which has largely ignored previous objections.

"This is neither democracy nor equal opportunity," Mr Qamlu said. "Who has given them such power to determine who the electorate should choose? For the next election, I must grow a beard."

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By Sheila Samples

The empire of the Romans filled the world, and when that empire fell into the hands of a single person, the world became a safe and dreary prison for his enemies. The slave of Imperial despotism . . . expected his fate in silent despair. To resist was fatal, and it was impossible to fly. On every side he was encompassed with a vast extent of sea and land, which he could never hope to traverse without being discovered, seized, and restored to his irritated master. Beyond the frontiers, his anxious view could discover nothing, except the ocean, inhospitable deserts, hostile tribes of barbarians of fierce manners and unknown language. . . "Wherever you are," said Cicero to the exiled Marcellus, "remember that you are equally within the power of the conqueror." ~~Historian Edward Gibbon

My dad always responded to anything that was patently obvious with, "Well, yea-ah. Anybody with half sense and one eye knows that," which was his way of saying don't go with the flow, but look at facts and come to your own conclusions. He also said, "If you're determined to show your ass, make sure it's a clean 'un," or -- get those facts straight before you jump out there and start concluding...

Well, I've looked at heaps and piles of facts about what the deranged leaders of this nation are willing to do to the men and women who wear the US military uniform, and I've come to two conclusions. This country's most expendable commodity is its children and, with few exceptions, Americans appear to be both senseless and blind.

Give Us Your Young, Your Poor...

Of course there's going to be a draft, if for no other reason than George Bush has steadfastly promised there wouldn't be one.

They're coming after our children -- sweeping them all up -- bullying them at schools, stalking them, offering them big bucks to join the military. And there's no one to stop them. Servile Americans, even those who can still see, feel helpless. When faced with the decision to stand up and speak up, or give up their children, they are bombarded from all sides with strident demands for patriotism so, like their counterparts of empirical Rome, Americans await their fate -- their children's fate -- in silent despair.

There is nowhere to hide -- no one to turn to. The mainstream media has dropped all pretense of objectivity and has become a worthless tool of the state. The media's once envied "public service" to the people has become little more than applauding each new atrocity of this warmongering administration in the hopes of earning a share of the spoils. Vigilant no longer, the watchdog media has become, in the words of Czech novelist Milan Kundera, "a parade of people marching by with raised fists . . . shouting identical syllables in unison."

We can forget the Congress suddenly realizing it has a Constitutional mandate for oversight and restraint. Ain't gonna happen. The elected members of both parties are far too busy struggling under the weight of their own corruption to worry about the relentless dismantling of the republic or the worldwide chaos their lack of attention is causing. There's no indication that the injury, maiming or death of thousands of US servicemembers, or as Henry Kissenger describes them, "dumb, stupid animals" will appear on their radar as long as the media can prevent it from appearing on ours. They're not only cold, they're evil. Rotten to the core. Rotten from the core -- on in...

On February 8, President George Bush proudly bragged to Tim Russert on Meet the Press, "I'm a war president. I make decisions here in the Oval Office in foreign policy matters with war on my mind."

Do you hear that, moms and dads? If your president's juvenile, paranoid announcement doesn't cross your minds whenever you're loading up your sons and daughters and sending them off to Iraq -- perhaps it will as you unload their flag-draped coffins at your cemeteries when they return home...

Many foolishly believed Bush's signature legislation, the No Child Left Behind Act, meant that all children in this country -- all children -- would have equal opportunity for education. However, it didn't take long for those paying attention to realize that, as with anything Bush tells us, the opposite is true. The No Child Left Behind Act is little more than an increasingly harsh and punitive testing apparatus, the funding of which has been pushed off on states in a Catch-22 requirement -- either fund the program and meet the testing standards or face sanctions and, ultimately, closure.

Other than underfunding it, putting sanctions on schools, and wreaking havoc throughout the public school system, Bush has mostly ignored the Act's provisions -- with one exception. Buried deep within its 670 pages is a requirement that secondary school officials must provide contact information for every student as well as allow military recruiters unlimited access to their facilities, or lose federal aid. From the various sites these uniformed child abusers are setting up shop, primarily in minority neighborhoods and lower socio-economic areas, it's obvious whose children are being targeted. If Bush succeeds, none of them will be left behind.

Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, It's Off To War We Go...

The empire is in the hands of a single madman who demands that we show our loyalty and patriotism by trading our humanity, our freedom, our dignity and, sadly, our children, for the mere illusion of safety in a world that is crumbling around us. [...]

As CNN correspondents like to say proudly, "this president" is having the time of his life. Given the grisly silence of the citizenry, of the judicial branch, the legislative branch and the mainstream media, Bush is under no pressure to justify the senseless maiming and killing spree upon which he is embarked, even if he could remember the reason -- or coherently describe the enemy who has no face. Shortly after the devastating assault upon Iraq in 2003, a self-satisfied Bush crowed, "We're on their trail. We're smokin' em out. We got em on the run. We're huntin' em down one-by-one. We're on a scavenger hunt for terror..."

A scavenger hunt for terror? This is why thousands of young Americans must give up their lives before they've had a chance to live them? Hundreds of thousands of innocents must die -- nations must be destroyed -- for no other reason than George Bush is off on a scavenger hunt? [...]

America -- do you know where your children are tonight? [...]

Getting the attention of the American people is, for the most part, a futile exercise -- like screaming into the wind. One wonders how many birth defects, such as babies born with no internal organs, fused organs, no brains, no eyes in empty sockets, will it take before Americans join their international counterparts and cry, "Enough!" When will we realize we are the terrorists, and our weapon of mass destruction is Depleted Uranium?

No one has screamed louder or longer than Dr. Doug Rokke, former Major and health physicist for the US Army. Rokke, the Army's nuclear expert, was sent to Iraq after Gulf War I to salvage tanks contaminated by DU. He admits he went into the project "with the total intent to ensure they could use uranium munitions in war," but says what he and his team of 100 found there cost one-third of them their lives, cost Rokke his job because he refused to remain silent about his discovery, and continues to wreak havoc with the team's health, the health of millions of civilians in the Gulf, and the health of hundreds of thousands of Gulf War I, and now Gulf War II, veterans.

"We can't do it," Rokke says fervently. "We can't keep sending our citizens into that toxic mess. It's a crime against God. It's a crime against humanity to use uranium munitions in a war, and it's devastating to ignore the consequences..."

Rokke's conclusion is that DU must be banned from the planet, for eternity, and medical care be provided for everyone, not just the US or the Canadians or the British or the Germans or the French but for citizens from Afghanistan and Iraq to Kosovo and Okinawa to Maryland and Indiana, and other US states where DU munitions are tested.

For Americans to remain silent as Bush hands down death sentences for their children and their unborn grandchildren is a war crime in itself. Arthur Bernklau, executive director of Veterans for Constitutional Law in New York cites a study done by eminent scientist Leuren Moret which names DU as the definitive cause of Gulf War Syndrome. Bernklau says of the 580,400 US Gulf War I soldiers, 11,000 are now dead. By the year 2000, when Bush and his draft-dodging warmongers were already planning Gulf War II, there were 325,000 military personnel on permanent medical disability. Currently, more than half of those who served in Gulf War I have pemanent medical problems.

This scandal is threatening to erupt, even as US officials continue to deny there are any long-lasting effects from DU radiation. Bernklau believes the Moret study may be the reason behind Veterans Administration Secretary Anthony Principi's recent and sudden departure. Bernklau says Principi was "aware that DU was causing illness and death as far back as 2000. He and the Bush administration has (sic) been hiding these facts, but now, thanks to Moret's report, is far too big to hide or to cover up."

Moret works tirelessly on the issue of depleted uranium and its effects upon the planet and its inhabitants, especially children. She wrote the Foreword to Discounted Casualties:The Human Cost of Depleted Uranium, by Hiroshima journalist Akira Tashiro. The book can be read online, and should be required reading for all Americans, especially those who still possess half sense and one eye.

Moret says the use of DU by the United States defies all international treaties, and will slowly annihilate all species on earth, including the human species. She describes DU as "the Trojan Horse" of nuclear war -- the weapon that keeps on killing for billions of years." There's no way to turn DU off. There's no way to clean it up.

Because we are Americans, it is not acceptable that our bloodthirsty leaders be allowed to continue to rain DU down upon the world with full knowledge of its destructive potential. We cannot allow Bush to continue to kill our children -- our unborn children -- as he whips up new candidates for death in his rollicking "scavenger hunt for terror."

It's time we stopped it.

Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma freelance writer and a former civilian US Army Public Information Officer. She is a regular contributor for a variety of Internet sites.

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Watchdogs Seek Out The Web's Bad Side

Some Groups Target Pro-Terrorism Sites
By Ariana Eunjung Cha
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, April 25, 2005

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A. Aaron Weisburd slogged up to his attic at 5 a.m. to begin another day combing through tips he had received about possible pro-terrorist activity on the Internet.

It did not take long for one e-mail to catch his attention: was offering instructions on how to steal people's personal information off their computers. It was a new development for an Islamic discussion site accustomed to announcing "martyrdom operations," or suicide bombings, against U.S. troops and others in Iraq.

Weisburd quickly listed the discovery in his daily log of offensive and dangerous sites, alerting his supporters. A few days later, Ekhlaas experienced an unusual surge in activity, the hallmark of a hacker attack, forcing the company hosting the site to take it down.

It was another small victory for Weisburd, one of a new breed of Internet activists. Part vigilantes, part informants, part nosy neighbors, they search the Web for sites that they say deal in theft, fraud and violence.

Weisburd said he and his supporters are responsible for dismantling at least 650 and as many as 1,000 sites he regards as threatening, especially Islamic radical sites.

"I'm sort of like a freelance investigator," Weisburd said.

Like the foes they pursue, online crusaders like Weisburd are adept at using the Internet's unique characteristics -- its anonymity, speed and ability to reach across nation-state boundaries. Some work alone and in secret; others like Weisburd have managed to put together well-organized operations that run almost like companies. Their causes can vary widely, be it stopping spam or holding large corporations accountable for poor products or service. There are groups that investigate murders and those that fight terrorism and other crimes.

The activists often operate at the boundaries of what is legal and illegal. For his part, Weisburd insists that he uses only legal means to go after his targets. A posting on his site explains that in fighting crime he does not think it proper to commit one, but he admits he cannot always control the actions of those who help him.

Government agencies and others are not sure what to make of him. Some law enforcement officials praise his efforts. Kenneth Nix, a police detective from Missouri who is on the Internet Crimes Task Force, said Weisburd often provides information that "we didn't have before."

But others say that he is making more trouble than he is doing good. Some U.S. officials think that they can learn more about terrorist operations by monitoring suspicious sites as they operate. Weisburd said an analyst from a federal agency recently wrote him a scathing letter calling him a "grave threat to national security" because his work was interfering with its investigations.

Comment: People like Weisburd are such a grave threat to national security that the government has done absolutely nothing to stop them...

Marshall Stone, a spokesman for the FBI, said that while the agency encourages citizens to report alleged wrongdoing, it believes any attempt to stop criminals should be left to the government.

Without due process, evidence could be tainted and become unusable in court cases or, worse, targets could be condemned as guilty when they are really innocent, said Paul Kurtz, executive director of the Cyber Security Industry Alliance, a coalition of tech company chief executives. "When we all become 'law enforcement officers' justice becomes very blurry," he said.

Armed with three aging computers, Weisburd hunts what he describes as terrorists from his home.

Weisburd, 41, a half-Irish, half-Jewish New Yorker, said that like other Americans he was deeply affected by the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. He wanted to enlist in the military, but his age and health issues made that impossible.

Then, about a year later, he saw a news story about a Web site that showed what appeared to be a kindergarten class in the Gaza Strip acting out terrorist attacks. He was outraged and went to his computer to do some research, eventually discovering the name of the company hosting the site. He e-mailed the owner of the Web-hosting company at 6 a.m. By 8 a.m. the site was down.

From that success, the former philosophy major from George Washington University set up "Internet Haganah,"-- the latter word in Hebrew means "defense" and was the name of the underground Jewish militia in British- controlled Palestine from 1920 to 1948. The site, dedicated to fighting back against Islamic terrorist sites, has more than 30,000 unique visitors each month.

On another morning that same week in early April, Weisburd called up an e- mail informing him that someone on a Yahoo bulletin board was soliciting donations to go on a "jihad" somewhere. Within a few minutes, Weisburd is able to find three of the messages and trace their origin -- from cable modems at someone's home and at a New England school district. He hit the forward button and sent the information off to a law enforcement contact.

Another message urged Weisburd to check out a Web site in Arabic rallying readers to pray to Allah for a volcanic eruption on the Canary Islands. The site surmised that, if large enough, the vibrations could trigger a tsunami that could wipe out the Eastern seaboard of the United States. The site even contained a map of the potential destruction. A bit absurd, Weisburd thought. He summarized the information, posted it on his site, and moved on to the next e-mail.

The site consumes so much of Weisburd's time that he gave up a steady job as a computer programmer. He now works part time as a high-tech consultant and he said he and his wife, who is a graphic artist, are just scraping by.

He said he has received thousands of dollars in donations, as well as some ominous death threats. One warning came in a handwritten letter mailed to Weisburd's house. Another letter on a Web site declared that he should be beheaded and it listed his address. For his protection, Weisburd keeps a loaded 38mm pistol in the house.

Weisburd is helped by a loosely organized group of volunteers. Among them are techies from Silicon Valley, Middle East experts, and more than a few women he described as "young grandmothers with high-speed Internet in rural areas."

In one case, Weisburd identified an Atlanta-based Web provider that appeared to be hosting a site that advocated attacks against the United States and its Western allies. The provider, however, seemed to be ignoring requests to remove it. So some Weisburd supporters figured out which church the owner went to and got his personal cell phone number and began lobbying him non-stop until he took down the site.

Comment: In other words, they invaded the owner's privacy and harassed him until he gave in.

"I sometimes feel like I'm in that scene from [the movie] 'Young Frankenstein': I am the enforcer and there is an angry mob in back of me," Weisburd said.

Some Web hosting providers who have dealt with Weisburd and his supporters said such groups place them in an awkward position. If they keep the sites up, they are in danger of being labeled as supporting terrorism. If they take down the sites, they could become targets of free speech advocates, and lose paying customers.

T. Griffin Conrad, vice president of marketing for iPowerWeb Inc., the Santa Monica, Calif., company that hosted Ekhlaas, said the company shut down the site because it feared the surge in activity was in danger of triggering a ripple effect that could shut down the company's other clients. Conrad would not speculate on what caused the excess traffic and said he was unaware of the nature of the content on the site until contacted by a reporter.

Perhaps the most difficult question Weisburd faces is determining which sites qualify as promoting "jihad." Even some of his supporters are torn.

Brian Marcus, director of Internet monitoring for the Anti-Defamation League, said Weisburd deserves "a lot of praise." Marcus added that the line between a terrorist-support site and a discussion forum is often nebulous. "We are a civil rights group and freedom of speech means to lot of us," he said.

Weisburd does not read Arabic but uses a computer translator and relies on other volunteers who are fluent in other languages to assist him with more difficult text. But he said it is often clear from just the images and a few words on sites which ones deserve to be kept up and which ones should be made to disappear from cyberspace.

"I understand enough of what they say to know they are my enemy, and that's all I need to know," Weisburd said.

Comment: The Bush administration doesn't have to worry so much now about eliminating Americans' freedom of speech on the internet, because vigilantes like Weisburd are doing it for them.

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Signs Economic Commentary
Donald Hunt
April 25, 2005

The U.S. stock market recovered a bit last week with the Dow closing at 10,157.71 up 0.7% from the previous week's 10,087.51 but the direction was down at the end of the week. The NASDSAQ closed at 1932.19 up 1.3% from 1908.15 on the previous Friday. The ten-year U.S. Treasury Bond closed at 4.25% up a bit in yield compared to the previous week's 4.23%. The euro closed at 1.3066 dollars, up 1.1% from last week's 1.2924 dollars. The dollar closed at .7653 euros, down from .7738 the previous week. Gold closed at $436.50 up 2.8% from the previous Friday's close of $424.60. Gold in euros would be 334.07 euros an ounce, up 1.7% from the previous week's 328.43. Oil was up sharply again, closing at $55.39, up 9.7% from last week's $50.49. Oil in euros increased as well, climbing 8.5% to 42.39 euros from 39.07 the previous week. The number of barrels of oil an ounce of gold can buy went down 6.7% last week, closing at 7.88 compared to 8.41 last week.

This past week the big story was oil. The violence in Iraq during the past week put upward pressure on oil prices, in spite of good supply at the present. Iraq isn't the only oil-rich country to be hit by violence recently. This sentence was buried deep in a Reuters wire service article on oil prices:

Two suspected militants and two Saudi security personnel were killed in a fierce gunfight on Thursday in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, the Interior Ministry said.

A gunfight between government forces and militants in Mecca? That can't be a good thing. Of course, the resultant higher oil prices benefits the Saudi royal family and the U.S. oil industry, so who knows? The Xymphora blogger has this:

From an article by Efraim Halevy, the former chief of the Mossad and the National Security advisor to Ariel Sharon:

"Not long ago a senior official in one of the world's largest oil companies told me that he wakes up every morning fearful that he will turn on his bedside television set and see reports of a coup in Saudi Arabia."

and (my emphasis of his careful wording):

"Few observers of the Middle East scene are actually taking a good hard look at the situation in Saudi Arabia and examining coolly the terrifying scenarios, one of which might ensue. Some believe that there is a real danger that extremist religious figures will seize power in Saudi Arabia and establish an 'Al-Qaida state' in Riyadh. Others note that the national identification of large numbers of the country's population with the Saudi entity is feeble and that their main attachment is tribal or local-regional. Thus, a revolutionary situation might cause the disintegration of the state and the creation of parallel regimes in various regions of the kingdom.

"In a visit to the United States two weeks ago, I was told by several well-informed observers that should one of the more severe scenarios come to pass, the United States will have no choice but to deepen its presence in the Middle East. To that end, it will have to renew the draft, to ensure that there are enough forces to deal with developing situations in countries like Saudi Arabia."

An attack on Iran just causes problems for the Americans without really addressing the issue of total control of the world's oil that appears to be mad Cheney's ultimate goal. The Iran attack would cost a fortune, go on for years, result in the deaths of thousands of Americans, and might even fail. After the debacle of the lies about Iraq and the disastrous American occupation, it would be very hard for the Bush Administration to make a case for it. On the other hand, if Israel and/or the United States were to stage a fake 'coup' in Saudi Arabia - a bit of made-for-TV bafflegab blown up into a full armed insurrection by the disgusting American media, together with claims that 'al Qaeda' now controls the American oil supply - American troops could have full control of the country in a matter of days, without having to interrupt the flow of oil. Americans run the security apparatus of Saudi Arabia, and can almost certainly remotely render useless any defense mechanisms which have been supplied by American arms contractors. The Saudi rulers are essentially helpless.

Due to the 'instability' in the Middle East ("in countries like Saudi Arabia"), the Bush Administration would then have full authority to call a draft, and the same instability would serve just as well as another terrorist attack in removing the malaise that has now settled over Bush's presidency (the last time we heard of problems in Bush's Presidency was in early September 2001). The new political capital could be used by Bush to propel his planned take-over of the American social security system by Wall Street. The price of oil would go up, benefiting Bush's oil friends, but not too much as to be a political problem (Americans will accept just about anything if it is framed as being part of fighting the 'war on terror' by keeping al Qaeda from taking over Saudi Arabia). Saudi rulers and clerics would be bundled off to the new statelet around Mecca and Medina - a new country completely unthreatening to Israel, having neither arms nor money - and the rest of the country, including all the oil fields, would be run from Washington and Tel Aviv.

Speaking of malaise, there does seem to be a rising amount of economic pessimism in the normally-optimistic United States. The Washington Post ran this chart on Wednesday summarizing data from their "Consumer Comfort Index":

Funny how the percentage of those thinking the economy is getting worse began to rise just after the November U.S. presidential elections. George W. Bush's approval ratings have been sinking since then as well. It seems that once he got himself reelected, the Bush-controlled media slowed down on pushing their rosy economic scenarios. According to the accompanying article, there is a growing disconnect between the economic fears of the people and the lack of reaction to it by the political elite:

"People feel vulnerable and besieged," said Lawrence Mishel, president of the labor-oriented Economic Policy Institute, "and they don't hear anybody talking about it."

Yet the only economic bills signed into law this year have tilted against the little guy: Legislation that restricts class-action lawsuits, and a major rewrite of the nation's bankruptcy laws, signed yesterday, that will make it harder for debt-ridden Americans to wipe out their obligations.

The Washington area has been insulated from some of the current economic problems. Gasoline prices here have risen as rapidly as elsewhere, but the area has a booming real estate market and strong job growth.

Beyond the Beltway, the real curiosity is why the economy has not become a more significant political issue this spring. One reason may be the media's preoccupation with other news: the deaths of Pope John Paul II and Terri Schiavo, and debates about the future of Social Security and the federal judiciary.

Another may be the degree to which partisanship rather than the actual state of the economy shapes attitudes toward Bush's performance. Republican pollster Bill McInturff said that attitudes about Bush are generally fixed -- with Republicans overwhelmingly supportive and Democrats overwhelmingly opposed -- and affected primarily by terrorism and security. Therefore economic changes have less impact on this administration than past administrations.

Still, there is evidence that the public may be paying closer attention to economic issues, particularly rising gasoline prices, than politicians in Washington realize. The most recent NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll found that gasoline prices ranked second behind Schiavo as the most closely followed story during late March.

Ehlers said he has been getting an earful from constituents, angered by gas prices, frightened by the latest layoff announcement, this one from the Grand Rapids-based office furniture giant Steelcase Inc., and frustrated by Congress's inattention. The negative reaction to Congress's intervention in the Schiavo case was particularly jarring, Ehlers said.

"Many are rather upset at the Terri Schiavo issue," he said, even "moderately pro-life" voters. "I'm getting a lot of the, 'Why are you spending time on that when we don't have jobs?' type of thing."

In Michigan, jobs and the economy have vaulted to the No. 1 concern of 34 percent of voters, with the closest other issues, health care and education, at a distant 15 percent, said Ed Sarpolus, an independent Michigan pollster. "I haven't seen anything like that since the early '90s and crime," he said.

Michigan is not isolated. A Des Moines Register poll released Sunday found Bush's approval rating in Iowa down to 42 percent, the lowest of his presidency. Only 24 percent of Iowans approved of his handling of the federal budget, 26 percent approved of his efforts to change Social Security and 36 percent approved of his handling of the economy.

"There are serious pocketbook issues lurking in America," said Rep. Jim Leach (R- Iowa).

Democratic pollster Peter Hart, who conducted the NBC poll with McInturff, said gas prices and other economic indicators have directly contributed to pessimistic views about the state of the country, which have been generally negative in their survey for almost two years.

If gas prices stay high and the market remains sluggish, the economy could mushroom into a dominant issue in next year's midterm elections. "In terms of what they're looking for out of Washington and the president and Congress, [people] are expecting some policy that will address this issue [gas prices]," said GOP pollster David Winston. "It doesn't have to happen tomorrow, but they expect to see some progress being made."

It's almost as if the political elite think that the economy and political approval rates as they stand now are no longer important, that something big is coming. It is as if you are working in an office, and have been promised a new computer or something, but the managers know that the office will be shut down and everyone laid off but can't say anything. You keep asking about the computer, and the manager just has to shake his head and think to him or herself that getting the new computer is the least of your worries.

The financiers, however, have to make public bets. For a sure sign of a coming economic depression (at least) we see that Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway acquired a large amount of shares in Anheuser-Busch. Few industries do better in a depression than the beer industry! For a frightening look into how at least some of those people at the level of Warren Buffet or George Soros think about the economy, see this on Maurice Strong, the Canadian billionaire financier, from Jeff Wells's Rigorous Intuition blog:

The broad strokes: The Canadian Strong is an oxymoronic billionaire socialist who serves as Special Advisor to the Secretary-General of the United Nations and as Senior Advisor to the President of the World Bank. He is also, among many other things, Chairman of Strovest Holdings, Chairman and Director of Technology Development Corp, Director of the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum ["Davos"] and Chairman of the Earth Council. Strong's former appointments include Secretary General of the World Bank and Director of the Rockefeller Foundation. He is a leading Bilderberger, and member of the Trilateral Commission, the Council on Foreign Relations and Club of Rome.

Strong wasn't born to privilege, but was cultivated by David Rockefeller whom he met at 18, when he took a job as assistant pass officer in the Security Section of the United Nations. A year later Strong was an investment analyst, and at 25 he became vice-president of Dome Petroleum.

What else is Maurice Strong? An environmentalist and patron of New Age beliefs and religious syncretism. He and his wife have been developing tens of thousands of acres in Colorado as a model "international spiritual community," called the Baca, of which the Manitou Institute forms a part.

In other words, Strong is the stuff of nightmares for revanchist conspiracy theorists who hear the whirr of the UN's black helicopters: a gilded Rockefeller socialist linked to the Lucis Trust; a proponent of one world religion and government.

… Strong has said that "we may get to the point where the only way of saving the world will be for industrial civilization to collapse." Again, largely, I agree. One teeny distinction between us: Strong is one of those in a position to effect its collapse.

Here's Strong, thinking dangerous thoughts aloud at the conclusion of an interview with WEST magazine in May, 1990 entitled "The Wizard of the Baca Grande":

Each year the World Economic Forum convenes in Davos, Switzerland. Over a thousand CEOs, prime ministers, finance ministers, and leading academics gather in February to attend meetings and set the economic agendas for the year ahead. What if a small group of these word leaders were to conclude that the principle risk to the earth comes from the actions of the rich countries? And if the world is to survive, those rich countries would have to sign an agreement reducing their impact on the environment. Will they do it? Will the rich countries agree to reduce their impact on the environment? Will they agree to save the earth?

The group's conclusion is "no." The rich countries won't do it. They won't change. So, in order to save the planet, the group decides: isn't the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn't it our responsibility to bring that about?

This group of world leaders form a secret society to bring about a world collapse. It's February. They're all at Davos. These aren't terrorists - they're world leaders. They have positioned themselves in the world's commodity and stock markets. They've engineered, using their access to stock exchanges, and computers, and gold supplies, a panic. Then they prevent the markets from closing. They jam the gears. They have mercenaries who hold the rest of the world leaders at Davos as hostage. The markets can't close. The rich countries...?

The journalist adds, "and Strong makes a slight motion with his fingers as if he were flicking a cigarette butt out of the window. I sat there spellbound.... He is, in fact, co-chairman of the Council of the World Economic Forum. He sits at the fulcrum of power. He is in a position to do it."

Could it be that what the super-elite are trying to do is to conduct a controlled demolition of the world economy? If we are to believe Maurice Strong, he thinks the world economy and the biological ecosystem are like a teetering skyscraper. Do you let it fall naturally or do you set explosives in strategic locations and bring it down at a time of your choosing, in such a way that you are in control of the situation during and, more importantly, AFTER the crash?

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U.S. prison population growing by about 900 inmates per week

WASHINGTON (AP) - Growing at a rate of about 900 inmates each week between mid-2003 and mid-2004, the America's prisons and jails held 2.1 million people, or one in every 138 U.S. residents, the government reported Sunday.

By last June 30, there were 48,000 more inmates, or 2.3 per cent, more than the year before, according to the latest figures from the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

The total inmate population has hovered around two million for the past few years, reaching 2.1 million on June 30, 2002, and just below that mark a year later.

While the crime rate has fallen over the past decade, the number of people in prison and jail is outpacing the number of inmates released, said the report's co-author, Paige Harrison. For example, the number of admissions to federal prisons in 2004 exceeded releases by more than 8,000, the study found.

Harrison said the increase can be attributed largely to get-tough policies enacted in the 1980s and 1990s. Among them are mandatory drug sentences, "three-strikes-you're-out" laws for repeat offenders, and "truth-in-sentencing" laws that restrict early releases.

"As a whole most of these policies remain in place," she said. "These policies were a reaction to the rise in crime in the '80s and early 90s."

Added Malcolm Young, executive director of the Sentencing Project, which promotes alternatives to prison: "We're working under the burden of laws and practices that have developed over 30 years that have focused on punishment and prison as our primary response to crime."

He said many of those incarcerated are not serious or violent offenders, but are low-level drug offenders. Young said one way to help lower the number is to introduce drug treatment programs that offer effective ways of changing behaviour and to provide appropriate assistance for the mentally ill.

According to the Justice Policy Institute, which advocates a more lenient system of punishment, the United States has a higher rate of incarceration than any other country, followed by Britain, China, France, Japan and Nigeria.

There were 726 inmates for every 100,000 U.S. residents by June 30, 2004, compared with a year earlier, according to the report by the Justice Department agency. In 2004, one in every 138 U.S. residents was in prison or jail; the previous year it was one in every 140.

In 2004, 61 per cent of prison and jail inmates were of racial or ethnic minorities, the government said. An estimated 12.6 per cent of all black men in their late 20s were in jails or prisons, as were 3.6 per cent of Hispanic men and 1.7 per cent of white men in that age group, the report said.

Other findings include:

-State prisons held about 2,500 youths under 18 in 2004. That compares with a peak, in 1995, of about 5,300. Local jails held about 7,000 youths, down from 7,800 in 1995.

-In the year ending last June 30, 13 states reported an increase of at least five per cent in the federal system, led by Minnesota, at about 13 per cent; Montana at 10.5 per cent; Arkansas at 9 per cent.

Among the 12 states that reported a decline in the inmate population were Alabama, seven per cent; Connecticut, 2.5 per cent; and Ohio, two per cent.

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Suspension suggested in Taser case
By Becky Purser
Telegraph Staff Writer

WARNER ROBINS - A former school resource officer who discharged a Taser stun gun to get the attention of a sleeping student may be placed on a three-day suspension, according to city of Centerville documents.

Centerville police Maj. Ron Coley has recommended the suspension without pay for Jason Spielman after the April 6 incident involving a 13-year-old seventh-grader at Thomson Middle School. [...]

Brand said it has not been proven whether the student was actually shocked with the stun gun, although Brand noted that the student and an adult who was in the room at the time said that he was shocked.

Regardless, Spielman used bad judgment, Brand said. After the incident, school officials removed Spielman as a resource officer at the middle school.

According to a statement of explanation of discipline included in Spielman's personnel file, Spielman violated the city's police policy by discharging the Taser.

"No officer shall playfully, maliciously or intentionally use (the Taser) against another individual unless in the field and to gain control of situation," reads a section of the police policy included in the disciplinary statement. Spielman also failed to file a "use of force" report required with the discharge of a Taser, the document said.

According to the statement, Spielman saw that the student was sleeping during an in-school suspension, walked over to the student's desk and removed the cartridge part of the Taser that shoots darts. The officer then pointed the Taser in the air and discharged it once.

"Subsequently, the student claimed he received a shock from the (Taser) when he was startled awake by its sound and jumped upward in his desk," the statement said.

The document does not address whether the boy was shocked. City Attorney Rebecca Tydings said Spielman violated policy by discharging the Taser regardless of whether the teenager was shocked.

Spielman could not be reached for comment Wednesday or Thursday.

Nancy Hancock, the boy's mother, said she believes her son was shocked. She said her son said he felt like he was being "electrocuted."

"When your child is at school and something like that happens, it's scary," Hancock said. She said her son had a mark on his arm where the Taser came into contact with him and that he had an arm spasm. She said her son is OK.

Hancock said her son came home bragging about being "tased," but she said she didn't know what being "tased" meant at first. She said she felt the officer should have faced criminal charges. "If any of us did anything like that, we'd been in jail," Hancock said.

The stun gun delivers a 50,000-volt shock to the body and temporarily overrides the central nervous system.

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Dead after cop scuffle
April 24, 2005

Authorities and witnesses differ over officers' struggle with a man who died after being shot by stun gun

(Long Island, N.Y.) - A Ronkonkoma man died Friday night after a violent encounter with nine Suffolk police officers, during which he was shocked five times with a Taser gun, Suffolk police said.

Yesterday, as the Suffolk County medical examiner's office found evidence of cocaine and alcohol in John Cox's blood and began an examination to determine exactly how he died, police and witnesses on the outside offered differing accounts of what transpired inside the battered home on Taylor Avenue in Bellport.

"The officers used commendable restraint. This was someone who was clearly not complying with what they were telling him to do," said Suffolk Homicide Commander Det. Lt. Jack Fitzpatrick.

Cox's friend, Daryl Harris, who was ordered to go outside the house by police, said officers should not have used the Taser gun. "They could have just held him down," Harris said. "We could hear the screams from the Taser from the street."

Police are investigating Cox's death and will turn over their findings to the Suffolk County district attorney's office. That office did not return a call for comment.

The incident Friday erupted several hours after Cox, 39, who came to visit his girlfriend, started drinking with friends at the house, police and witnesses said.

A muscular man who stood 5-foot-9, weighed 240 pounds and had been taking anti-psychotic medication, Cox suddenly became agitated, prompting an acquaintance inside the house to call 911, police and witnesses said.

"We called the police because Johnny forgot to take his medication and started yelling and screaming," said Harris, a Brentwood resident whose grandmother lives in the house. "He punched a hole through a bedroom door and was telling us he was God."

When officers arrived just after 8 p.m., they cleared several other occupants out of the house and confronted Cox in a bedroom, Fitzpatrick said.

"The sergeant shows up, says 'I have a Taser, calm down, get on your knees,'" Fitzpatrick said, "at which point, he charges them."

The sergeant fired once, sending two electrically charged darts from the Taser at Cox, striking him on his bare chest. Cox pulled the darts out and kept coming, Fitzpatrick said.

Over the next 10 minutes, Fitzpatrick said, the nine officers wrestled with Cox, trying to subdue and handcuff him.

During that time, he bit an officer on the left shoulder, broke another officer's wrist, and was shocked with Tasers four more times, Fitzpatrick said.

When Cox was placed facedown on a gurney and handcuffed in front of his stomach, he still resisted so much that three officers had to accompany him in the ambulance to Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center in East Patchogue, police said.

Margie Jackson, 21, of Bay Shore, who said she saw him leave the house, refutes the police account. "He wasn't moving," she said.

Once at the hospital, medical personnel attempted to place him on another gurney and noticed Cox did not appear to be breathing. He was pronounced dead at 9:37 p.m., Fitzpatrick said.

An autopsy conducted by the Suffolk County medical examiner's office indicated that Cox had a blood-alcohol content between .07 and .09, and cocaine in his system, although it was unclear yesterday how much of the drug was in his bloodstream.

Cox had no broken bones or skull fractures and only a few abrasions, Fitzpatrick said. Police did not strike Cox, or use pepper spray, and exercised restraint in trying to subdue him, Fitzpatrick said.

The only visible signs of trauma, Fitzpatrick said, were a cut to the bridge of Cox's nose and another above his eye. Both were inflicted by four men who initially tried to subdue Cox inside the house before police arrived, Fitzpatrick said.

But several witnesses who were just outside the house said they heard police beating Cox moments after they arrived.

"Nine cops were stomping on his head, kicking him in the [groin area] . .. while one put a Taser to his chest," said Jackson, who said she stepped on a chair and peered through a bedroom window.

"They were in the house with him for an hour," said Lucille Harris, an elderly woman who rents the tiny house. "The cops put us outside and shut the blinds." [...]

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Putin sees Bush as reliable, predictable partner 2005-04-25 17:18:10

MOSCOW, April 25 (Xinhuanet) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday that he regards his American counterpart George W. Bush as a reliable and predictable partner though sometimes they disagree with each other, the Itar-Tass news agency reported.

"I have developed very good personal relations with President Bush. He can take some decisions which I regard as disputable, but he is a consistent and predictable partner," Putin said in an interview with Egyptian reporters before his tour to the Middle East.

Referring to a high level of interaction with the United States,the Russian president said "A various approach to tackling some or other international problems does not mean that we have no contacts or even common positions on other no less important questions on the present-day agenda of both international character as well as in bilateral relations."

Recalling his support for Bush during the US presidential elections in Nov. 2004, Putin explained it by his desire to continue cooperation with Washington from the previous high level rather than from scratch.

The president noted that Russia "had no desire to start again from the center of the field with such an important for us partner as the US. Why to do this if we have developed definite relations, and cooperation between the US and Russia has reached a very high level?"

"I don't think after all, that my stand influenced somehow the decision of American people," the Russian leader said.

"Americans are not very interested in an opinion from abroad, and this is correct: this should be the case with any other country, including, I believe, with Russia," Putin added.

Comment: Notice the clever way Putin sets up his final remark, his dig at last week's visit by the imperious Condi Rice. His remark about Bush being "consistent and predictable" can also be read two ways, though we are fairly certain that Putin only meant it in one.

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Ruling party's election agent found dead in Zanzibar's violent run-up to polls
ALI SULTAN | Associated Press
April 24, 2005

ZANZIBAR, Tanzania (AP) - Neighbors discovered the body of the ruling party's election agent in Zanzibar, four days after he went missing in the violent run-up to general elections in this Indian Ocean archipelago, police and witnesses said Sunday.

The body of Chande Rashid Saleh was found on his farm. It was partially covered with soil and his head had possible machete wounds, the witnesses said. Relatives suspect he was killed, said Mohammed Juma, a cousin.

The partially decomposed body was discovered Saturday, regional police chief George Kizuguto said, describing the death as "mysterious." He refused to provide additional details.

Zanzibar, which united with the mainland to form the United Republic of Tanzania in 1964, elects its own president and legislature. General elections are set for Oct. 30 in the semiautonomous archipelago. [...]

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Top Philippine diplomat murdered
Last Updated Sun, 24 Apr 2005 10:13:19 EDT
CBC News

MANILA - A senior Philippine diplomat has been murdered by three men who broke into her home in Manila, police say.

Alicia Ramos, 64, was strangled, while her sister suffered lacerations on her arms before escaping.

The men were wearing hoods over their heads when they entered the home, according to Jovito Gutierrez, chief of police in the capital's Makati district.

Ramos, a former ambassador to Singapore and New Zealand, was an assistant secretary for Asia Pacific affairs at the foreign ministry.

Police say an initial investigation suggests the motive was robbery. They are also looking for the diplomat's house maid, who has been missing since Friday.

President Gloria Arroyo is reported to have said that a special police task force will be set up to solve the case.

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Twenty-five dead, at least 60 injured in Japan train crash
25 April 2005 0903 hrs - AFP /ch

TOKYO : At least twenty-five people were killed and 60 others injured Monday in western Japan when a train crashed into a car, sending one carriage hurtling into an apartment block, officials said.

The train, which was carrying some 200 passengers, was travelling at 70 kilometres an hour in Hyogo prefecture when it hit the vehicle at a railway crossing, a spokesman for West Japan Railway Co said.

Three carriages were derailed in the collision, with one smashing into the side of an apartment building in Amagasaki town, some 400 kilometres west of Tokyo.

Emergency crews rushed to the scene to free trapped survivors of the morning rush-hour accident.

An employee of the national broadcaster Japan Broadcasting Corp (NHK) was in the third car of the train and said he could hear voices from the first and second carriages which were badly damaged by the force of the crash.

"I could hear voices of people in the carriage that hit the building.
Rescue workers and emergency officials are using cutters to open the train and to pull people out," he said.

Television footage showed a young man with blood stains over his face as a woman shrieked in the background.

A businessman who was taking the train to work told NHK of the panic following the collision.

"The crash caused an enormous noise. People in the train - many of them were high school students - were in a panic," he said.

Train accidents are rare in Japan, where high-speed railways are one of the main forms of inter-city transport.

In July 2003, 36 people were injured when a train derailed on the southern island of Kyushu after large rocks fell onto the track.

One month later, the driver of a car and four train passengers were injured when an express train carrying some 300 passengers hit a car in western Japan.

In October, one of Japan's famous high-speed bullet trains - the Shinkansen - derailed for the first time in its 40-year history due to a powerful earthquake in the central prefecture of Niigata.

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GM industry puts human gene into rice
By Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor
The Independent
24 April 2005

Scientists have begun putting genes from human beings into food crops in a dramatic extension of genetic modification. The move, which is causing disgust and revulsion among critics, is bound to strengthen accusations that GM technology is creating "Frankenstein foods" and drive the controversy surrounding it to new heights.

Even before this development, many people, including Prince Charles, have opposed the technology on the grounds that it is playing God by creating unnatural combinations of living things.

Environmentalists say that no one will want to eat the partially human-derived food because it will smack of cannibalism.

But supporters say that the controversial new departure presents no ethical problems and could bring environmental benefits.

In the first modification of its kind, Japanese researchers have inserted a gene from the human liver into rice to enable it to digest pesticides and industrial chemicals. The gene makes an enzyme, code-named CPY2B6, which is particularly good at breaking down harmful chemicals in the body.

Present GM crops are modified with genes from bacteria to make them tolerate herbicides, so that they are not harmed when fields are sprayed to kill weeds. But most of them are only able to deal with a single herbicide, which means that it has to be used over and over again, allowing weeds to build up resistance to it.

But the researchers at the National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences in Tsukuba, north of Tokyo, have found that adding the human touch gave the rice immunity to 13 different herbicides. This would mean that weeds could be kept down by constantly changing the chemicals used.

Supporting scientists say that the gene could also help to beat pollution.

Professor Richard Meilan of Purdue University in Indiana, who has worked with a similar gene from rabbits, says that plants modified with it could "clean up toxins" from contaminated land. They might even destroy them so effectively that crops grown on the polluted soil could be fit to eat.

But he and other scientists caution that if the gene were to escape to wild relatives of the rice it could create particularly vicious superweeds that were resistant to a wide range of herbicides.

He adds: "I do not have any ethical issue with using human genes to engineer plants", dismissing talk of "Frankenstein foods" as "rubbish". He believes that that European opposition to GM crops and food is fuelled by agricultural protectionism.

But Sue Mayer, director of GeneWatch UK, said yesterday: "I don't think that anyone will want to buy this rice. People have already expressed disgust about using human genes, and already feel that their concerns are being ignored by the biotech industry. This will just undermine their confidence even more."

Pete Riley, director of the anti-GM pressure group Five Year Freeze, said: "I am not surprised by this.

"The industry is capable of anything and this development certainly smacks of Frankenstein."

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French Cheeses in Peril
Dominique Ageorges
France's delicious and wonderfully varied produce of hundreds of farm fromages are fast disappearing, nibbled away by both the commercial clout of industrial brands and EU hygiene laws.

A worrisome trend is looming in this country of cheese-lovers, where the nation's rich palette of 1,000 cheeses is being nibbled away at with the annual demise of several varieties.

"In 30 years, more than 50 have been struck off the menus as the proportion of industrial cheeses continues to grow while cheeses made from unpasteurised milk only represent seven percent of our consumption," said Véronique Richez-Lerouge.

She is the president of the Association Fromages de Terroirs, formed to protect France's unique cheeses.

"The Mont-d'Or galette, which had been produced for some 400 years, disappeared this summer following the death of the last producer who knew the secret of how to make it," she said.

Guy Martin, a Michelin three-star chef, serves up in the Grand Véfour in Paris another threatened variety, Termignon blue, which is made in southern Maurienne close to the Italian border.

"The association wants to mobilise the French to confront this "looming disaster" which has been triggered for different reasons.

Tastes are becoming more uniform, European standards are more and more draconian, more than half of the cheeses which receive a quality rating are made from pasteurised milk, large stores no longer have cheese-cutting counters, and outbreaks of listeria have been blamed on unpasteurised milk, even though all products such as pasteurised milk, fish and meat are affected by bacteria," Richez-Lerouge said.

It was the job of the country's leaders to help small producers. "We have to be vigilant to ensure that our representatives at the European Union are banging their fists on the table.

"You can't expect small producers to have the same standards as big cheese manufacturers. We have to find a proper compromise," said Martin, who has published a book "Cuisiner les fromages" (Preparing meals with cheeses). But others remained optimistic for the future.

Cheese-maker Philippe Olivier, based in the northern town of Boulogne-sur-mer, said: "For the past two to three years, young people have been moving here to save these cheeses, young farmers of 30 with ethics, who produce while respecting the environment, who make a lifestyle choice by choosing to become producers.

"And at the same time, there have never been so many young people registered at the cheese school in Paris," he added.

"Fifteen years ago, there were only two producers of Bergues left, close to Dunkirk - this poor person's cheese which the Dunkirk sailors would take on board for their expeditions to the New World.

"Thanks to our mobilisation, there are eight producers today and seven others are training. I sell Bergues in some 30 cheese-shops in France as well as abroad," he added.

Lafayette Gourmet, the food department at one of Paris' biggest stores, has also edited for the first time a guide to France's cheese, aimed at providing practical as well as cultural help to the often bewildering range confronting shoppers.

"We have to explain that cheese is a wonderful product, and not something harmful. We have to defend French heritage and safeguard those products with real taste," said Sylvain Gaudu, head of Lafayette Gourmet.

He said the store's cheese counter, which has some 150 kinds made with unpasteurised milk, was the most visited in the shop.

Comment: The European standards are one reason why French cheeses are in danger, as are certain German beers. It may also be a reason why the polls are showing the French are likely to vote against the European Constitution.

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Unspoiled mummies unearthed at Xinjiang site 2005-04-25 13:39:55

BEIJING, April 25 (Xinhuanet)-- Mummies unearthed in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in 2003 have been well-preserved, scientists said recently.

Excavated from the Xiaohe Tomb Complex in the Lop Nur Desert, Zhu Hong, director of the Frontier Archeology Study Department of Jilin University in Jilin Province, said: "The mummies were unbelievably well-preserved, even better than the mummies in Egypt. Even lice on the dead people's heads have been preserved."

Zhu participated in the excavation in 2003 and studied the mummies with two other experts this year between January 31 and February 12.

Archeologists unearthed 167 tombs at Xiaohe site, which sprawls over a 2,500-square-meter oval-shaped dune. About 174 kilometers away sit the ruins of the Loulan Kingdom, an ancient civilization that vanished 1,500 years ago.

The complex contained about 330 tombs. More than 160 were spoiled. Most objects found in the tombs remained untouched.

Idelisi Abuduresule, head of the Xinjiang Cultural Relics and Archeology Research Institute, said they will help studies on social culture and customs of that period.

The institute launched the excavation project in 2003 with the approval of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage.

The tomb complex yielded rare cultural relics including wooden objects, animal hair fabrics, jade, stoneware, as well as the fur and bones of animals such as sheep, cattle, fowl and lynx

It also yielded objects symbolic of genitals, suggesting a belief in phallicism. Few bronze ware pieces were unearthed. Zhu said bronze ware objects may have been too rare to be buried as funerary objects.

Most tombs had the same design, experts said. Ancient people dug sand pits, used coffins made of poplar wood and then erected carved wood pieces to indicate the dead person's gender, Zhu said.

Idelisi said more riddles will be studied. "Why were the tombs terraced? Why were the wooden posts cut into a variety of shapes from columns to prisms and what did people use for carving? Why didn't we find any traces of human life near such a massive burial site?" he asked.

Idelisi said the burial style is unique and solving its mysteries will likely involve the research efforts of not only archeologists and historians, but also anthropologists, religion experts and environment researchers.

Experts believe the tomb complex might belong to the Bronze Age and are attempting to determine the date of the tombs through tree-ring analysis of coffins and chronometry on soil samples from the tombs.

The massive burial site was first discovered in 1934 by Swedish explorer Folke Bergman. His archeological diary helped Chinese researchers spot the site at the end of 2000, when the diary was published in Chinese.

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Interior could undergo dynamic breakup this spring
Apr 23, 8:34 PM EDT

FAIRBANKS -- The National Weather Service is warning that conditions are right this spring for a dynamic breakup in Alaska's Interior.

Computers are telling meteorologists and hydrologists that breakup this year could involve flooding, ice jams and significant erosion in fire-ravaged areas.

Record-setting snow depths and water-content measurements have hydrologists warning of the potential for spring floods along several major Interior rivers.

"They should be getting prepared," said Scott Lindsey, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service's Alaska-Pacific River Forecast Center. "There is a potential for what the villages call 'spring flooding,' when the snowmelt ends up causing flooding after the actual breakup." [...]

The numbers coming out of their formulas are striking. For instance, the "volume flow forecast" for the Yukon River around Stevens Village is 116 percent of normal for April through July, McClure said. That means enough water will flow by the village to cover 48.2 million acres of land with 1 foot of water, a measurement hydrologists call acre-feet.

"Forty-eight million acres is about the size of South Dakota," McClure said.

McClure said some of the most impressive measurements came along the Yukon River near the Dalton Highway crossing, where water content was measured at 180 to 190 percent above normal, and in the White Mountains, where water content was 150 percent.

The Chena River basin also has significant water content, according to John Schaake of the Chena River Lakes Flood Control Project. Schaake said there is enough water contained in snow and ice to cover the basin to a depth of 6 1/2 inches.

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3 quakes jolt Marianas
Monday, April 25, 2005

At least three earthquakes jolted the Marianas last week, with the strongest one having a magnitude of 5.5.

The tremors happened last Thursday and Friday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The Emergency Management Office reported no casualty from those incidents.

The first quake last week measured 4.9 on the Richter scale. The USGS recorded the event at 5:34pm Thursday, locating it at about 55 miles southeast of Rota, 60 miles east of Guam, 120 miles south of Saipan and 200 miles south of Anatahan. The quake had a depth of about 35 kilometers.

At about 5:24am the following day, another quake shook the Marianas, the intensity of which was estimated at 4.7. [...]

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Snow cyclone in Ukraine cuts off electricity to hundreds of settlements
April 23/05 (Itar-Tass)

LVOV, -- A snow cyclone left about 400 Ukrainian settlements without electricity on Saturday.

Automatic systems cut off electricity in five western and central Ukrainian regions when wet snow covered the high-voltage electro-transmission lines, the press service of the Ministry of Emergencies told Itar-Tass.

Electricity was cut off to residential areas in the Vinnitsa, Zhitomir, Kiev, Chernigov and Khmelnitsky regions.

Meteorologists say it will stop snowing and raining in the next few days, but it will become colder all over the country.

Authorities in Kiev, Lvov and other cities said heat supply would be resumed.

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Snow, ice and wind wipe out summer
by Stuart Dye and Derek Cheng

(New Zealand) - The country's Indian summer was blasted away at the weekend as a cold front swept up New Zealand.

Snow covered the Desert Rd, a 71-year-old yachtsman had to be winched to safety from a boat off Stewart Island, and an Interislander ferry carrying 676 passengers lost power in 4m swells near the entrance to Tory Channel in the Marlborough Sounds, where the MetService said winds reached 75km/h.

Last night the agency said swells in Cook Strait were bigger still at 8.3m. The Arahura took seven hours to complete the crossing, almost twice as long as usual.

The Maritime Safety Authority is investigating the breakdown. It had put emergency services - including the Rescue Co-ordination Centre and the Westpac rescue helicopter - on standby after the captain issued a "pan-pan", a call indicating a potentially serious situation, as it headed into the channel.

Marble-sized hailstones fell in Christchurch, turning the city white.

Temperatures dived from a balmy 19C on Saturday afternoon to just 4C by evening, rising yesterday to a high of 8C.

And the weather is likely to get worse.

The MetService issued strong wind warnings across the South Island and parts of the lower North Island, and four snow warnings for the central and lower North Island.

Snow was expected to affect many lower and central North Island roads overnight, including the Desert Rd, State Highway 1 north of Hunterville and the Gentle Annie and Napier-Taupo roads.

A further 15 gale and storm warnings were issued for marine areas, with Canterbury told to expect heavy thundery showers and more hail.

The blustery conditions were expected to move on to the lower North Island last night and spread up the east coast to Gisborne.

Bob McDavitt of MetService said the cold snap would sweep across the country, also bringing showers to much of Auckland and Northland. [...]

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Late snowfall in Midwest takes the bloom off spring
April 23, 2005, 11:22PM
Associated Press

More than a month after spring's official start, winter is coming back to the Midwest for a visit.

Snow began falling in parts of the region Saturday, with up to 1 foot expected in eastern Michigan and northern Ohio by tonight, according to the National Weather Service. Temperatures will be well below normal with a freeze warning posted into this morning for much of Ohio and winds gusting to 35 mph.

Spring began March 20.

In Detroit, snow was mixed with rain for much of the morning, changing over to snow before noon.

The Detroit Tigers postponed their afternoon game against the Minnesota Twins at Comerica Park, while college baseball and softball games across southeast Michigan also were postponed or canceled.

Detroit and surrounding communities were expected to get 5 to 8 inches through this evening. [...]

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Weather service confirms tornado  
The Courier Journal
Sunday, April 24, 2005

(Kentucky) - The National Weather Service confirmed early yesterday that a tornado briefly touched down in downtown Louisville on Friday night.

The storm produced damage along Campbell Street south of the Ohio River. The weather service said witnesses saw a funnel cloud form over the river between 6:40 and 6:45 p.m.

The funnel cloud became a tornado at 6:47 p.m. near Campbell and Market streets, where a business's roof was destroyed. An empty 18-wheel tractor-trailer flipped a block away to the northeast. [...]

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Flood kills victims in their sleep
From correspondents in Addis Ababa
April 25, 2005

UP to 40 people have been killed by a flood in eastern Ethiopia.
"Many are still hanging on to trees for dear life," Mohammed Admi Abdi, district administrator of West Emi in Ogaden province, said by telephone today.

He said the Wabe Shabelle river had burst its banks after 48 hours of continuous heavy rain, flooding or washing away 35 villages in one of the most remote regions of the Horn of Africa country of more than 60 million.

Government officials and voluntary organisations were trying to move the survivors by helicopter, as all roads leading to the area, 700km east of Addis Ababa, were under water and impassable.

"The flood caught the people in 35 villages along the banks unawares," Mr Abdi said.

"Up to 40 died in their sleep, while those were were awake were able to escape."

He said officials of the government, the United Nations and voluntary organisations were meeting in the Ogaden capital of Gode to plan relief operations.

Ethiopia, which was hit by intense droughts during the 1980s that killed nearly a million people, is in the midst of a rainy season.

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Flooding forces people from Ontario reserve
Last Updated Sun, 24 Apr 2005 18:32:55 EDT
CBC News

MOOSONEE - Nearly 200 people have been flown out of a remote reserve in northern Ontario after flooding filled dozens of basements with raw sewage and contaminated the water.

Hundreds more people could be forced to flee within days if the problems continue in Kashechewan First Nation, on the coast of James Bay.

Spring flooding on the Albany River caused reserve's sewage system to back up, dumping sewage into 39 basements and contaminating the water system.

The people whose homes were affected were flown to Moosonee, Ont., on Saturday. [...]

If the problems persist, some of the remaining 1,400 residents could be flown out of the community within a few days.

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Flood watch in effect in western Mass.
By Associated Press
Sunday, April 24, 2005 - Updated: 11:20 AM EST

BOSTON- Residents in western Massachusetts are being advised to brace for possible flooding.

The National Weather Service in Taunton this morning issued a flood watch for the Connecticut River, which runs through dozens of cities and towns in Franklin, Hampden and Hampshire counties.

The river is expected to rise above flood stage tonight and early tomorrow morning.

The watch remains in effect until Tuesday morning. [...]

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Flood traps 69 miners
April 24, 2005
From: Agence France-Presse

FLOODING at a coal mine in north-east China has trapped 69 workers, the state news agency reported.

Citing "local sources", Xinhua said the incident occurred in Jiaohe, Jilin province.

Xinhua said the miners were working at the bottom of Tengda Coal.
They have remained out of contact since then, it said.

The licensed mine is run by the local township, the agency said.

An intense rescue operation was underway and the cause of the flooding was under investigation, it said.

Official figures show more than 6,000 miners died in accidents last year but independent estimates say the real figure could be up to 20,000. [...]

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Hoppers hit drought-plagued area
By Steve Miller, Journal Staff Writer

HOT SPRINGS — The ranchers of Fall River County have enough to worry about with drought stunting growth in their pastures.

Now, an early season grasshopper has begun eating new grass on rangeland west of Hot Springs.

The band-wing grasshopper, known scientifically as pardalophora haldemani, began showing up in large numbers in Minnekahta Valley west of Hot Springs last year, according to Mark Fanning, Fall River County Extension educator for agronomy.

The hopper, sometimes called Haldeman's grasshopper, is not the normal grasshopper commonly seen in South Dakota later in the season. It overwinters and, in fact, can survive being frozen solid, Fanning said.

The nymphs from last year's eggs have become grasshoppers and are already eating the new growth, he said. "This particular type eats primarily range grasses. They are a problem because they eat what little grass we've got going."

Fall River County, one of the areas hit hardest by drought last year, has received little moisture this year. [...]

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Scientists Baffled by Boiling Lake That Isn't
By Carol J. Williams, Times Staff Writer

A key tourist attraction in Dominica, the usually bubbling crater is calm, and sometimes the water drains away. No one knows what to expect.

LAUDAT, Dominica — Boiling Lake, this Caribbean island's most exotic tourist lure, has ceased to simmer.

For nearly four months, the volcanic crater's usually bubbling brew has been calm, except for brief surges when water inexplicably drains away, then rises again. The temperature rises and falls, sometimes hot enough to send up steam clouds, other times so tepid that adventurous visitors have dared to swim in it. The color has varied from gray-green to alabaster, and, most recently, black as coal.
The mysterious changes have scientists scratching their heads and hikers skipping the seven-hour round-trip trek that many found adventurous enough without added risks.

"The lake has stopped boiling at times in the past, but what worries us about this case is that the changes are drastic and really, really fast," said Nicolas Fournier, a volcanologist with the Seismic Research Unit of the University of the West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago.

The 200-foot-wide lake is a crater filled by underground rivulets and rainwater and heated by volcanic gases.

Since the boiling stopped in late December, the water level has fluctuated, dropping as much as 40 feet, leaving a sludgy pool of gray sediment on the bottom and a ring of mineral residue. Water normally so hot that it can cook an egg in five minutes cooled to a tepid 68 degrees in January, when a party of Austrian hikers ventured in.

Boiling Lake has baffled Dominicans before. In 1887, 1900, 1971 and 1988, the lake water calmed and drained away through the fumaroles that funnel heat from beneath the crusted lava lake bed. But each time, the water level and temperature returned to normal within a few weeks.

Fournier speculates that a magnitude 6.3 earthquake north of Dominica on Nov. 21 caused the thick mineral sediment on the lake floor to shift and clog the fissures from which volcanic heat had been reaching the water.

But he is at a loss to explain why the water level has been fluctuating so dramatically. [...]

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Exploding Toads Baffle Experts
April 24, 2005

Scientists in Hamburg, Germany, are baffled by the strange deaths of hundreds of toads after they apparently exploded in and around a pond, according to a Local 6 News report.

As many as 1,000 toads have died after their bodies swelled to bursting point and then exploded, according to reports from animal welfare workers and veterinarians. [...]

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