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Palestinian homes to make way for a national park
01/06/2005 - 13:34:28

The Jerusalem municipality will push ahead with plans to demolish 88 homes in an Arab neighbourhood in the disputed city to make room for a national park, the city engineer overseeing the project said today.

The plan has infuriated the Palestinians. It comes at a time of growing Israeli-Palestinian tension over the fate of Jerusalem, a city claimed by both as a capital.

The demolition campaign, if approved, would be one of the largest in east Jerusalem since Israel captured the traditionally Arab sector in the 1967 Mideast war.

At issue is the Arab neighbourhood of Silwan, just outside the walled Old City and close to key holy sites, such as Islam’s Al Aqsa Mosque and Judaism’s Western Wall.

City engineer Uri Shetrit said nearly all homes in the part of Silwan marked for demolition had been built in violation of zoning regulations and that courts already issued demolition orders against one-third of the 88 homes. Once the houses are razed, the park will be established “as soon as possible,” he added.

Shetrit said the idea is to restore a biblical-era feel to the area that used to be covered with date and chestnut trees. An Israeli human rights activist, Danny Seidemann, accused the municipality of “moral autism.”

Palestinian officials warned that violence could flare over house demolitions in Arab neighbourhoods. In the past, disputes over Jerusalem have triggered large-scale Israeli-Palestinian fighting, including the current round that began in 2000.

Comment: Palestinian violence could erupt over the illegal demolition of 88 of their homes? Excellent!! Just what Sharon was hoping for!

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Israel plans to demolish Jerusalem mosque

The Israeli occupation authorities has issued a demolition order of a 20-year-old mosque at the village, Palestinian sources revealed on Monday.

The sources added that the Israeli authorities posted the demolition order at the gates of the Bader Mosque.

"Residents had just started few days ago renovation works to the mosque; however, they were shocked by the Israeli order, to knock down the mosque within 24 hours, issued by the Jewish municipality of the holy city" eyewitnesses said.

Hundreds of Palestinians used to pray in the mosque, which falls under the control of the Islamic Awkaf department in the old city, and was built in 1986. [...]

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Franklin admits he disclosed classified information in AIPAC affair
By Nathan Guttman, Haaretz Correspondent

WASHINGTON - Pentagon official Larry Franklin has admitted that he may have disclosed classified information to a foreign official who was not authorized to receive it. The admission appeared in an FBI affidavit submitted to a U.S. District Court last week.

A Virginia grand jury is expected to indict Franklin for giving classified information to representatives of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in the coming days.

The charges will replace the criminal complaint filed by the U.S. Justice Department at the beginning of the month.

Haaretz reported on Monday the U.S. Justice Department is also expected to file indictments against two former senior American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) staffers - Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman - and, according to sources familiar with the affair, the charges will be subsumed under the Espionage Act.

According to sources, the grand jury will submit indictments against Rosen, the former head of foreign policy for the lobbying organization, and against Weissman, who was responsible for the Iranian brief in AIPAC.

Franklin appeared last Wednesday before a Federal District Court judge in West Virginia, where he was indicted for holding secret documents in his residence.

According to an FBI affidavit filed on May 24 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia, "Franklin admitted that he may have disclosed information from one of the classified documents found at his residence to a foreign official who was not authorized to receive that information."

The official was believed to be Naor Gilon of the Israeli embassy in Washington, although his name and Israel have not been mentioned in any official legal documents.

Gilon maintained professional ties with Franklin as part of his responsibilities as chief of political affairs at the embassy; he is not suspected of any wrong doing in the affair.

The FBI affidavit says that on July 13, 2004, Franklin came to the bureau for questioning and was shown secret documents which had been found in his residence during a search two weeks earlier. He admitted that he had taken 34 of them home between October 2003 and June 2004.

Franklin and Gilon first made contact when the Pentagon official visited Israel as a American air force reservist, attached to the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency. Franklin requested a routine briefing by Gilon, who worked in the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem.

When Gilon was appointed head of political affairs at the Washington embassy, he kept in touch with Franklin, who was then posted at the Pentagon's Iran Desk. The two maintained routine ties, typical of the regular diplomatic work at embassies in the American capital.

The two indictments issued against Franklin do not mention handing information to a foreign agent. The charges focus on transferring secret information to AIPAC staffers and holding secret documents illegally. However, the fact that the FBI affidavits say Franklin admitted giving information to a foreign official leaves an opening for future charges against him.

The classified material was said to involve information about Iranian intentions to harm U.S. soldiers in Iraq, and was supposedly given to the two former AIPAC staffers during lunch in Virginia on June 26, 2003.

Comment: Naor Gilon is Mossad

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Israeli firms 'ran vast spy ring'
BBC News
Tuesday, 31 May, 2005

Police in Israel say they have uncovered a huge industrial spying ring which used computer viruses to probe the systems of many major companies.

At least 15 Israeli firms have been implicated in the espionage plot, with 18 people arrested in Israel and two more held by British police.

Among those under suspicion are major Israeli telecoms and media companies.

Police say the companies used a "Trojan horse" computer virus written by an Israeli to hack into rivals' systems.

Interpol and the authorities in Britain, Germany and the US are already involved in investigating the espionage, which Israeli police fear may involve major international companies.

Hi-tech rivalry

"This is one of the gravest scandals in... industrial and market espionage in Israel," special fraud investigator Supt Roni Hindi told Israeli media.

Israel's investigation has been running since November, uncovering as it expanded an intricate web of alleged espionage among some of the nation's best-known companies.

The country's biggest telecoms company, Bezeq, initially came under suspicion as the parent company of two mobile phone operators accused of spying on a mutual rival.

Bezeq now says the Trojan horse virus has been discovered on its own systems.

Police now suspect that another mobile phone operator ordered the spying against Bezeq, Israel's Haaretz newspaper reports.

Two rival car import firms are suspected of spying on each other, as are two of Israel's major satellite and cable television companies. [...]

Police have arrested an Israeli man living in London, 41-year-old Michael Haefrati, on suspicion of writing the software and then selling it onto middle men acting for interested parties within the corporate sector.

Company executives, private detectives, and former members of the Israeli state security services are among others already arrested.

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By Bob Drogin and Greg Miller
Los Angeles Times, September 3, 2004

Washington — Despite its fervent denials, Israel secretly maintains a large and active intelligence-gathering operation in the United States that has long attempted to recruit U.S. officials as spies and to procure classified documents, U.S. government officials said.

FBI and other counterespionage agents, in turn, have covertly followed, bugged and videotaped Israeli diplomats, intelligence officers and others in Washington, New York and elsewhere, the officials said. The FBI routinely watches many diplomats assigned to America.

Officials said FBI surveillance of a senior Israeli diplomat, who was the subject of an FBI inquiry in 1997-98, played a role in the latest probe into possible Israeli spying. The bureau now is investigating whether a Pentagon analyst or pro-Israel lobbyists provided Israel with a highly classified draft policy document. The document advocated support for Iranian dissidents, radio broadcasts into Iran and other efforts aimed at destabilizing the regime in Tehran, officials said this week.

The case is unresolved, but it has highlighted Israel's unique status as an extremely close U.S. ally that presents a dilemma for U.S. counterintelligence officials.

"There is a huge, aggressive, ongoing set of Israeli activities directed against the United States," said a former intelligence official who was familiar with the latest FBI probe and who recently left government. "Anybody who worked in counterintelligence in a professional capacity will tell you the Israelis are among the most aggressive and active countries targeting the United States."

The former official discounted repeated Israeli denials that the country exceeded acceptable limits to obtain information.

"They undertake a wide range of technical operations and human operations," the former official said. "People here as liaison … aggressively pursue classified intelligence from people. The denials are laughable."

Current and former officials involved with Israel at the White House, CIA, State Department and in Congress had similar appraisals, although not all were as harsh in their assessments. A Bush administration official confirmed that Israel ran intelligence operations against the United States. "I don't know of any foreign government that doesn't do collection in Washington," he said.

Another U.S. official familiar with Israeli intelligence said that Israeli espionage efforts were more subtle than aggressive, and typically involved the use of intermediaries.

But a former senior intelligence official, who focused on Middle East issues, said Israel tried to recruit him as a spy in 1991.

"I had an Israeli intelligence officer pitch me in Washington at the time of the first Gulf War," he said. "I said, 'No, go away,' and reported it to counterintelligence."

The U.S. officials all insisted on anonymity because classified material was involved and because of the political sensitivity of Israeli relations with Washington. Congress has shown little appetite for vigorous investigations of alleged Israeli spying.

In his first public comments on the case, Israel's ambassador, Daniel Ayalon, repeated his government's denials this week. "I can tell you here, very authoritatively, very categorically, Israel does not spy on the United States," Ayalon told CNN. "We do not gather information on our best friend and ally." Ayalon said his government had been "very assured that this thing will just fizzle out. There's nothing there."

In public, Israel contends it halted all spying operations against the United States after 1986, when Jonathan Jay Pollard, a former Navy analyst, was convicted in U.S. federal court and sentenced to life in prison for selling secret military documents to Israel.

U.S. officials say the case was never fully resolved because a damage-assessment team concluded that Israel had at least one more high-level spy at the time, apparently inside the Pentagon, who had provided serial numbers of classified documents for Pollard to retrieve.

The FBI has investigated several incidents of suspected intelligence breaches involving Israel since the Pollard case, including a 1997 case in which the National Security Agency bugged two Israeli intelligence officials in Washington discussing efforts to obtain a sensitive U.S. diplomatic document. Israel denied wrongdoing in that case and all others, and no one has been prosecuted.

But U.S. diplomats, military officers and other officials are routinely warned before going to Israel that local agents are known to slip into homes and hotel rooms of visiting delegations to go through briefcases and to copy computer files.

"Any official American in the intelligence community or in the foreign service gets all these briefings on all the things the Israelis are going to try to do to you," said one U.S. official.

At the same time, experts said relations between the CIA and Israel's chief intelligence agency, the Mossad, were so close that analysts sometimes shared highly classified "code-word" intelligence on sensitive subjects. Tel Aviv routinely informs Washington of the identities of the Mossad station chief and the military intelligence liaison at its embassy in America.

"They probably get 98% of everything they want handed to them on a weekly basis," said the former senior U.S. intelligence officer who has worked closely with Israeli intelligence. "They're very active allies. They're treated the way the British are."

Another former intelligence operative who has worked with Israeli intelligence agreed. "The relationship with Israeli intelligence is as intimate as it gets," he said.

Officials said Israel was acutely interested in U.S. policies and intelligence on the Middle East, especially toward Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia.

"They are sophisticated enough to want to know where the levers are they can influence, which people in our government are taking which positions they can try to influence," said a former high-ranking CIA official.

But the official said the relationship between the U.S. and Israel, at least in intelligence circles, "is not one of complete trust at all."

The latest counterintelligence investigation began more than two years ago, and initially focused on whether officials from a powerful Washington lobbying group, the American Israel Political Action Committee, passed classified information to Israel, officials said.

Several months later, the FBI conducted surveillance of Naor Gilon, chief of political affairs at the Israeli Embassy, meeting with two AIPAC officials. The arrival of a veteran Iran analyst at the Pentagon, Larry Franklin, sparked a new line of FBI inquiry.

In 1997 and 1998, the FBI had monitored Gilon as part of an investigation into whether Scott Ritter, then a U.S. intelligence official working with U.N. weapons inspectors in Iraq, was improperly delivering U.S. spy-plane film and other secret material to Israeli intelligence. Gilon was posted in New York at the time and operated as liaison between Israel's Anan, or military intelligence service, and the U.N. teams, several officials said.

"Naor was the focus of FBI surveillance into allegations that I was a mole," said Ritter, who was never charged in the case. "They suspected Naor was working me to gain access to U.S. intelligence, which was absurd."

In an e-mail message this week, Gilon said he was under orders not to talk to the media about the current case. He has denied any wrongdoing in interviews with Israeli newspapers.

Franklin has not responded to requests for comment, and officials said he was cooperating with authorities. The FBI interviewed several AIPAC officials last Friday and copied the contents of a computer hard drive. AIPAC has denied any wrongdoing and said it was cooperating fully with investigators.

In a statement released Thursday, AIPAC said the group's continued access to the White House, senior administration officials and ranking members of Congress during the two-year probe would have been "inconceivable … if any shred of evidence of disloyalty or even negligence on AIPAC's part" had been discovered.

AIPAC, has especially close ties to the Bush administration. Addressing the group's policy conference on May 18, President Bush praised AIPAC for "serving the cause of America" and for highlighting the nuclear threat from Iran.

Washington and Tel Aviv differ on their assessments of Iran's nuclear weapons development. Israel considers Iran's nuclear ambitions its No. 1 security threat, and the issue is the top priority for AIPAC. The Bush administration takes the Iran nuclear threat seriously, but its intelligence estimates classify the danger as less imminent than do the Israeli assessments.

What mystifies those who know AIPAC is how one of the savviest, best-connected lobbying organizations in Washington has found itself enmeshed in a spy investigation.

Although never previously implicated in a potential espionage case, AIPAC has frequently been a subject of controversy. Its close ties to Israel and its aggressive advocacy of Israeli government positions has drawn criticism that it should be registered as an agent of a foreign country. Others, noting its ability to organize significant backing for or against candidates running for national office, have demanded that it be classified as a political action committee.

So far the group has avoided both classifications, either of which would impose major restrictions on its activities.

Three years ago, Fortune magazine ranked AIPAC fourth on its list of Washington's 25 most powerful lobbying groups — ahead of such organizations as the AFL-CIO and the American Medical Assn.

Comment: Talking about the Israeli state security services and spying on the US, remember this little piece of censored news from a few years back?

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Flashback: The Five Dancing Israelis Arrested On 9/11

A Mossad surveillance team made quite a public spectacle of themselves on 9-11.

The men set up cameras by the Hudson River and trained them on the twin towers.

Police received several calls from angry New Jersey residents claiming "middle-eastern" men with a white van were videotaping the disaster with shouts of joy and mockery.

"They were like happy, you know … They didn't look shocked to me" said a witness.

[T]hey were seen by New Jersey residents on Sept. 11 making fun of the World Trade Center ruins and going to extreme lengths to photograph themselves in front of the wreckage.

Witnesses saw them jumping for joy in Liberty State Park after the initial impact. Later on, other witnesses saw them celebrating on a roof in Weehawken, and still more witnesses later saw them celebrating with high fives in a Jersey City parking lot.

"It looked like they're hooked in with this. It looked like they knew what was going to happen when they were at Liberty State Park."

One anonymous phone call to the authorities actually led them to close down all of New York's bridges and tunnels. The mystery caller told the 9-1-1 dispatcher that a group of Palestinians were mixing a bomb inside of a white van headed for the Holland Tunnel. Here’s the transcript from NBC News:

Dispatcher: Jersey City police.
Caller: Yes, we have a white van, 2 or 3 guys in there, they look like Palestinians and going around a building.
Caller: There's a minivan heading toward the Holland tunnel, I see the guy by Newark Airport mixing some junk and he has those sheikh uniform.
Dispatcher: He has what?
Caller: He's dressed like an Arab.

(*Writer’s note: Why would this mystery caller specifically say that these “Arabs” were Palestinians? How would he know that? Palestinians usually dress in western style clothes, not "sheikh uniforms")

Based on that phone call, police then issued a “Be-on-the-Lookout” alert for a white mini-van heading for the city’s bridges and tunnels from New Jersey. When a van fitting that exact description was stopped just before crossing into New York, the suspicious “middle-easterners” were apprehended. Imagine the surprise of the police officers when these terror suspects turned out to be Israelis!

According to ABC’s 20/20, when the van belonging to the cheering Israelis was stopped by the police, the driver of the van, Sivan Kurzberg, told the officers:

"We are Israelis. We are not your problem. Your problems are our problems. The Palestinians are your problem."

Why did he feel that Palestinians were a problem for the NYPD?

The police and FBI field agents became very suspicious when they found maps of the city with certain places highlighted, box cutters (the same items that the hijackers supposedly used), $4700 cash stuffed in a sock, and foreign passports. Police also told the Bergen Record that bomb sniffing dogs were brought to the van and that they reacted as if they had smelled explosives.

The FBI seized and developed their photos, one of which shows Sivan Kurzberg flicking a cigarette lighter in front of the smouldering ruins in an apparently celebratory gesture.

The Jerusalem Post later reported that a white van with a bomb was stopped as it approached the George Washington Bridge, but the ethnicity of the suspects was not revealed. Here’s what the Jerusalem Post reported on September 12, 2001:

American security services overnight stopped a car bomb on the George Washington Bridge. The van, packed with explosives, was stopped on an approach ramp to the bridge. Authorities suspect the terrorists intended to blow up the main crossing between New Jersey and New York, Army Radio reported.

TCM Breaking News reported that the van was laden down with tonnes of explosives.

What's really intriguing is that ABC's 20/20, the New York Post, and the New Jersey Bergen Record all clearly and unambiguously reported that a white van with Israelis was intercepted on a ramp near Route 3, which leads directly to the Lincoln Tunnel.

But the Jerusalem Post, Israeli National News (Arutz Sheva), and Yediot America, all reported, just as clearly and unambiguously, that a white van with Israelis was stopped on a ramp leading to the George Washington Bridge, which is several miles north of the Lincoln Tunnel.

It appears as if there may actually have been two white vans involved, one stopped on each crossing. This would not only explain the conflicting reports as to the actual location of the arrests, but would also explain how so many credible eye-witnesses all saw celebrating "middle-easterners" in a white van in so many different locations. It also explains why the New York Post and Steve Gordon (lawyer for the 5 Israelis) originally described how three Israelis were arrested but later increased the total to five.

Perhaps one van was meant to drop off a bomb while the other was meant to pick up the first set of drivers while re-crossing back into New Jersey? If a van was to be used as a parked time-bomb on the GW Bridge, then certainly the drivers would need to have a "get-away van" to pick them up and escape. And notice how the van (or vans) stayed away from the third major crossing -the Holland Tunnel- which was where the police had originally been directed to by that anti-Palestinian 9-1-1 "mystery caller". A classic misdirection play.

From there, the story gets becomes even more suspicious. The Israelis worked for a Weehawken moving company known as Urban Moving Systems. An American employee of Urban Moving Systems told the The Record of New Jersey that a majority of his co-workers were Israelis and they were joking about the attacks.
The employee, who declined to give his name said: "I was in tears. These guys were joking and that bothered me." These guys were like, "Now America knows what we go through."

A few days after the attacks, Urban Moving System's Israeli owner, Dominick Suter, dropped his business and fled the country for Israel. He was in such a hurry to flee America that some of Urban Moving System's customers were left with their furniture stranded in storage facilities.

It was later confirmed that the five detained Israelis were in fact Mossad agents. They were held in custody for 71 days before being quietly released. Some of the movers had been kept in solitary confinement for 40 days.

[S]everal of the detainees discussed their experience in America on an Israeli talk show after their return home.

Said one of the men, denying that they were laughing or happy on the morning of Sept. 11, "The fact of the matter is we are coming from a country that experiences terror daily. Our purpose was to document the event."

How did they know there would be an event to document on 9/11?

It doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to connect the dots of the dancing Israeli Mossad agents - here's the most logical scenario:
1. The Israeli “movers” cheered the 9-11 attacks to celebrate the successful accomplishment of the greatest spy operation ever pulled off in history.

2. One of them, or an accomplice, then calls a 9-1-1 police dispatcher to report Palestinian bomb-makers in a white van headed for the Holland Tunnel.

3. Having thus pre-framed the Palestinians with this phone call, the Israeli bombers then head for the George Washington Bridge instead, where they will drop off their time-bomb van and escape with Urban Moving accomplices.

4. But the police react very wisely and proactively by closing off ALL bridges and tunnels instead of just the Holland Tunnel. This move inadvertently foils the Israelis’ misdirection play and leads to their own capture and 40 day torture.

5. To cover up this story, the U.S. Justice Department rounds up over 1000 Arabs for minor immigration violations and places them in New York area jails. The Israelis therefore become less conspicuous as the government and media can now claim that the Israelis were just immigration violators caught in the same dragnet as many other Arabs.

6. After several months, FBI and Justice Department “higher-ups” are able to gradually push aside the local FBI agents and free the Israelis quietly.

Osama bin Laden was immediately blamed for the 9/11 attacks even though he had no previous record of doing anything on this scale. Immediately after the Flight 11 hit World Trade Center 1
CIA Director George Tenet said "You know, this has bin Laden's fingerprints all over it."

The compliant mainstream media completely ignored the Israeli connection. Immediately following the 9-11 attacks, the media was filled with stories linking the attacks to bin Laden. TV talking-heads, “experts”, and scribblers of every stripe spoon-fed a gullible American public a steady diet of the most outrageous propaganda imaginable.

We were told that the reason bin Laden attacked the USA was because he hates our “freedom” and “democracy”. The Muslims were “medieval” and they wanted to destroy us because they envied our wealth, were still bitter about the Crusades, and were offended by Britney Spears shaking her tits and ass all over the place!

But bin Laden strongly denied any role in the attacks and suggested that Zionists orchestrated the 9-11 attacks. The BBC published bin Laden's statement of denial in which he said:

"I was not involved in the September 11 attacks in the United States nor did I have knowledge of the attacks. There exists a government within a government within the United States. The United States should try to trace the perpetrators of these attacks within itself; to the people who want to make the present century a century of conflict between Islam and Christianity. That secret government must be asked as to who carried out the attacks. ... The American system is totally in control of the Jews, whose first priority is Israel, not the United States."

You never heard that quote on your nightly newscast did you?

[A] number of intelligence officials have raised questions about Osama bin Laden's capabilities. "This guy sits in a cave in Afghanistan and he's running this operation?" one C.I.A. official asked. "It's so huge. He couldn't have done it alone." A senior military officer told me that because of the visas and other documentation needed to infiltrate team members into the United States a major foreign intelligence service might also have been involved.

To date, the only shred of “evidence” to be uncovered against bin Laden was a barely audible fuzzy amateur video that the Pentagon just happened to find "lying around" in Afghanistan. How very convenient, and how very fake.

There is no evidence, be it hard or circumstantial, to link the Al Qaeda "terrorist network" to these acts of terror, but there is a mountain of evidence, both hard and circumstantial, which suggests that Zionists have been very busy framing Arabs for terror plots against America.

One last thing. At 09:40 on 9/11 it was reported that the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine claimed responsibility for the attacks. This claim was immediately denied by the DFLP leader Qais abu Leila who said it had always opposed "terror attacks on civilian targets, especially outside the occupied territories."

Why would a Palestinian organisation comprising less than 500 people make the suicidal move of immediately claiming responsibility for the attacks?

Sharon and the other Israeli leaders aspire to fulfill what the goals of the political Zionist movement have been since its origin a century ago: to turn all of historic Palestine into an exclusively Jewish state. A central tenet of the Zionist ideology is expressed in the racist slogan, "A land without people for a people without a land."

The implication of Palestinians in the 9/11 attacks would have handed Zionists a golden opportunity to achieve the above because all Palestinians would have been labelled terrorists.
"Evidence linking these Israelis to 9/11 is classified. I cannot tell you about evidence that has been gathered. It's classified information."

US official quoted in Carl Cameron's Fox News report on the Israeli spy ring.

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Bush Calls Human Rights Report 'Absurd'
Tuesday May 31, 2005
AP White House Correspondent

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush on Tuesday dismissed a human rights report as "absurd'' for its harsh criticism of U.S. treatment of terrorist suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, saying the allegations were made by prisoners "who hate America.''

"It's an absurd allegation. The United States is a country that promotes freedom around the world,'' Bush said of the Amnesty International report that compared Guantanamo to a Soviet-era gulag.

In a Rose Garden news conference, Bush defiantly stood by his domestic policy agenda while defending his actions abroad. He repeatedly pledged to press ahead - "The president has got to push, he's got to keep leading'' - despite mounting criticism.

With the death toll climbing daily in Iraq, he said that nation's fledging government is "plenty capable'' of defeating insurgents whose attacks on Iraqi civilians and U.S. soldiers have intensified.

Bush spoke after separate air crashes killed four American and four Italian troops in Iraq. The governor of Anbar province, taken hostage three weeks ago, was killed during clashes between U.S. forces and the insurgents who abducted him. [...]

Comment: In a sure sign that Bush is going the same route as his relative George III of England, it now appears that, in Bush world, anyone that criticises the US is an "America hater". The fact that the abuse at Guantanamo was confirmed by high-level members of the US military is apparently lost on George, unless of course his subtle hint that ANYONE that criticises his administration will be labeled anti-American and therefore a "terrorist".

Later on in the above-mentioned article we read:

On a lighter note, Bush said he was comfortable with the decision by his staff and Secret Service not to notify him when the White House and Congress were evacuated in May because of an errant airplane.

Noting that his wife, Laura, has said he should have been told of the potential threat, the president joked, "She often disagrees with me.''

Yes, George, very funny. Is the old "the wife's a nag" joke the only one in your repertoire? The fact that Bush has essentially confirmed that he is little more than a puppet with no real power is hardly a laughing matter, especially when most Americans believe that their President is the one that actually makes the decisions that directly effect their lives.

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Whooping it up with the black ops boys ...
The Abu Musab al-Zarqawi show
1 June 2005

The last week of May was a nail-biting time for fans of the greatest soap opera to come out of the War on Terror – the Abu Musab al-Zarqawi Show.

By week’s end the world’s most wanted terrorist – scourge of the occupation and Shiite Muslims, representative of Osama bin Forgotten – gravely wounded in battle, had made his way to the safety of Shiite Iran. Think about that. He manages to get from the west of Iraq, across the war-torn country, through dozens of checkpoints, to seek safety among apostates he had sworn to expunge from the face of the earth. If you believe that, I have a second-hand Nissan Bluebird to sell you.

Once upon a time, a long time ago, there was a real Zarqawi. Nobody is willing to tell what really happened to him, but at some point before the invasion of Iraq he vanished from the real world and entered the twilight zone of black operations to become a symbol of evil and a master of disguise. Nowadays he hides out in the CIA complex at Langley, Virginia, a basement in Baghdad’s Green Zone, an office in Kuwait … or maybe all three.

Are the black ops boys who script the Zarqawi character having fun? We can only imagine the mirth as they workshop their man’s next adventure over a Budweiser or three, the snickers as they upload his latest message to the internet, the hysterical laughter as they follow the earnest accounts of his evil deeds in the world’s media. With journalists as compliant as this, it must be like shooting fish in a barrel.

For those who haven’t been following the Zarqawi show here’s a synopsis:

The wicked Wahabist first came to notice when Colin Powell tried to coerce the UN into backing the invasion of Iraq. Our man was his key bit of evidence for collusion between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda. Zarqawi, having lost a leg in combat, had an artificial one fitted in one of Saddam’s hospitals, Powell claimed. Oddly enough, he was said to be hiding out among his bitter enemies in Kurdish-controlled territory, then protected by the US enforced no-fly zone. Really?

After the invasion of Iraq the Coalition Provisional Authority “discovered” a CD containing a letter from Zarqawi to bin Laden in which the dastardly insurgent railed against Iraq’s Shiite majority and outlined his plan to foment civil war in the country. Naturally, Coalition spokesman trotted out this proof of the evil of the Resistance on every possible occasion. Not only was Zarqawi behind every car bombing in Iraq he then went international and masterminded the Madrid train bombing.

Then, just in time to counteract the shock of the Abu Ghraib scandal, Zarqawi beheaded the missing American contractor, Nick Berg. Trouble was, the tin-leg terrorist was seen on the notorious beheading video stepping nimbly forward to wield the knife. Ah, the US spokesmen glibly admitted, maybe his leg wasn’t shot off after all, maybe we were wrong about that. Pity about the 100,000 Iraqis who died in the invasion, but, hey, everybody makes mistakes.

After the Berg job, Zarqawi vanished for a while, before surfacing in Fallujah, where he provided the excuse for the Yanks to flatten the city, with the loss of tens of thousands more lives. There was vague media talk of US troops finding Zarqawi’s torture chambers, but strangely, no pictures or first-hand accounts. Alas, the man himself vanished … to be useful another day.

He popped up in the West of Iraq, near the Syrian border, where he became the subject of the recent Operation Matador. A few more towns were flattened but gosh, no Zarqawi.

Which brings us down to the last week of May, when the world’s press began to run with stories by embedded journalists to the effect that Zarqawi had been wounded in an ambush. At first this stuff was attributed to statements on those mysterious Islamic websites (“the authenticity of which couldn’t be confirmed”) that only embedded journalists get tipped off about and that vanish after a few hours.

The US army spokesman played inquiries with a straight face. “We don’t know whether it’s fact or fiction. He continues to be our number one target”, he said. Naturally.

So did the puppet Iraqi prime minister’s “security advisor” who added: “In all cases there are many probabilities. Maybe he is not wounded and he posted this statement on the internet to say he is wounded and then post another statement to say that he is treated and fine and he is like superman”.

Indeed. Like Superman: mythical figure with fabulous powers.

But then the plot had thickened. By Thursday 26 May the mainstream media were breathlessly reporting that a struggle for succession had broken out within al-Qaeda Iraq Inc., which was leaking like Australia’s Liberal Party during a leadership contest. Half the organization was spending hours on the phone to Western journalists, who were offering direct quotes from a variety of talkative terrorists. Yeah, right. How likely is that?

On that day Donald Rumsfeld, no less, told thousands of US paratroopers that Zarqawi was cornered like Hitler in his bunker (he must have just seen the movie). Even hardened observers like me were thinking the scriptwriters had decided to kill off their creation. Perhaps he’d evaded his pursuers so often they were looking incompetent. Perhaps they were risking making him into a kind of Robin Hood.

But it wasn’t to be. How could they replace an asset as useful as Zarqawi? Even as Rummy was speaking the black ops scriptwriters were moving their prize asset out of harm’s way.

Iran. Yes, that’s it. Let’s get him to Iran. That’s more evidence of Iranian perfidy. Another reason why we should bomb the crap out of them.

Don’t buy the novel folks, wait for the musical.

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No serial numbers

American intelligence officers are reporting that some of the insurgents in Iraq are using recent-model Beretta 92 pistols, with a twist:

"The crucial detail is the erasure of the serial numbers. The numbers do not appear to have been physically removed. Instead, the guns seem to have come off the production line without any serial numbers, or they could have been erased with high-tech industrial technology. The lack of serial numbers suggests that the weapons were intended for intelligence operations or terrorist cells with substantial government backing."

These guns are probably from the Mossad or the CIA, or both. What we're seeing in Iraq is a national resistance against the American occupation, a resistance which is directed at the American troops and Iraqi collaborators (which include the Iraqi police). Any civilian deaths or injuries are collateral and accidental. Parallel to the resistance, we also see a concerted action by a major foreign intelligence service or services to create a civil war in Iraq by staging what appear to be sectarian attacks against specific groups in Iraq. These attacks always involve civilians and are always immediately blamed on the resistance. Occasionally these attacks are directed at foreign aid workers, exactly not the kind of people the resistance would be targeting. The attacks against civilians are used by the American authorities as evidence of the illegitimacy of the resistance. The confusion - much of it intentional - in describing what is going on is based on not distinguishing the legitimate resistance from the agents provocateurs.

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U.S. accused of buying prisoners
May 31, 2005

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - Pakistani tribesmen slaughtered a sheep in honour of their guests: Arabs and Chinese Muslims famished from fleeing U.S. bombing in the Afghan mountains.

But their hosts had ulterior motives: to sell them to the Americans, said the men who are now prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.

Bounties ranged from $3,000 to $25,000 US, the detainees testified during military tribunals, said transcripts the U.S. government gave The Associated Press to comply with a Freedom of Information lawsuit.

A former CIA intelligence officer who helped lead the search for accused terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden told AP the accounts sounded legitimate because U.S. allies regularly received money to help catch Taliban and al-Qaida fighters. Gary Schroen said he took a suitcase with $3 million in cash into Afghanistan to help supply and win over warlords to fight for U.S. Special Forces.

"It wouldn't surprise me if we paid rewards," said Schroen, who retired after 32 years in the CIA soon after the fall of Kabul in late 2001.

He recently published the book First In: An Insider's Account of How the CIA Spearheaded the War on Terror in Afghanistan.

Schroen said Afghan warlords like Gen. Rashid Dostum were among those who received bundles of notes.

"It may be that we were giving rewards to people like Dostum because his guys were capturing a lot of Taliban and al-Qaida," he said.

Pakistan has handed hundreds of suspects to the Americans but Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed told the AP: "No one has taken any money."

The U.S. departments of defense, justice and state and the Central Intelligence Agency also said they were unaware of bounty payments being made for random prisoners.

The U.S. Rewards for Justice program pays only for information that leads to the capture of suspected terrorists identified by name, said Steve Pike, a U.S. State Department spokesman. Some $57 million has been paid under the program, its website said.

It offers rewards up to $25 million for information leading to the capture of bin Laden and Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

But a wide variety of prisoners at the U.S. camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, alleged they were sold into capture. Their names and other identifying information were blacked out in the transcripts from the tribunals, which were held to determine whether prisoners were correctly classified as enemy combatants.

One detainee who said he was an Afghan refugee in Pakistan accused the country's intelligence service of trumping up evidence against him to get bounty money from the U.S.

"When I was in jail, they said I needed to pay them money and if I didn't pay them, they'd make up wrong accusations about me and sell me to the Americans and I'd definitely go to Cuba," he told the tribunal.

"After that, I was held for two months and 20 days in their detention, so they could make wrong accusations about me and my (censored), so they could sell us to you."

Another prisoner said he was on his way to Germany in 2001 when he was captured and sold for "a briefcase full of money" then flown to Afghanistan before being sent to Guantanamo.

"It's obvious. They knew Americans were looking for Arabs, so they captured Arabs and sold them - just like someone catches a fish and sells it," he said.

The detainee said he was seized by "mafia" operatives somewhere in Europe and sold to Americans because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time - an Arab in a foreign country.

A detainee who identified himself as a Saudi businessman said: "The Pakistani police sold me for money to the Americans."

"This was part of a roundup of all foreigners and Arabs in that area," of Pakistan near the Afghan border, he said, telling the tribunal he went to Pakistan in November 2001 to help Afghan refugees.

The U.S. military-appointed representative for one detainee - who said he was a Taliban fighter - said the prisoner told him he and his fellow fighters "were tricked into surrendering to Rashid Dostum's forces. Their agreement was that they would give up their arms and return home."

"But Dostum's forces sold them for money to the U.S."

Several prisoners who appeared to be Chinese Muslims - known as Uighurs - described being betrayed by Pakistani tribesmen along with about 100 Arabs.

They said they went to Afghanistan for military training to fight for independence from China. When U.S. planes started bombing near their camp, they fled into the mountains near Tora Bora and hid for weeks, starving.

One detainee said they finally followed a group of Arabs, apparently fighters, being guided by an Afghan to the Pakistani border.

"We crossed into Pakistan and there were tribal people there and they took us to their houses and they killed a sheep and cooked the meat and we ate," he said.

That night, they were taken to a mosque, where about 100 Arabs also sheltered. After being fed bread and tea, they were told to leave in groups of 10, taken to a truck, and driven to a Pakistani prison. From there, they were handed to Americans and flown to Guantanamo.

"When we went to Pakistan the local people treated us like brothers and gave us good food and meat," said another prisoner.

But soon, he said, they were in prison in Pakistan where "we heard they sold us to the Pakistani authorities for $5,000 per person."

There have been reports of Arabs being sold to the Americans after the U.S.-led offensive in Afghanistan but the testimonies offer the most detail from prisoners themselves.

In March 2002, the AP reported Afghan intelligence offered rewards for the capture of al-Qaida fighters - the day after a five-hour meeting with U.S. Special Forces. Intelligence officers refused to say if the two events were linked and if the United States was paying the offered reward of 150 million Afghanis, then equivalent to $4,000 a head.

That day, leaflets and loudspeaker announcements promised "the big prize" to those who turned in al-Qaida fighters.

Said one leaflet: "You can receive millions of dollars...This is enough to take care of your family, your village, your tribe for the rest of your life - pay for livestock and doctors and school books and housing for all your people."

Helicopters broadcast similar announcements over the Afghan mountains, enticing people to "Hand over the Arabs and feed your families for a lifetime," said Najeeb al-Nauimi, a former Qatar justice minister and leader of a group of Arab lawyers representing nearly 100 prisoners.

Al-Nauimi said a consortium of wealthy Arabs, including Saudis, told him they also bought back fellow citizens who had been captured by Pakistanis.

Khalid al-Odha, who started a group fighting to free 12 Kuwaiti detainees, said his imprisoned son, Fawzi, wrote him a letter from Guantanamo Bay about Kuwaitis being sold to the Americans in Afghanistan.

One Kuwaiti who was released, 26-year-old Nasser al-Mutairi, told al-Odha interrogators said Dostum's forces sold them to the Pakistanis for $5,000 each and the Pakistanis in turn sold them to the Americans.

"I also heard that Saudis were sold to the Saudi government by the Pakistanis," al-Odha said.

"If I had known that, I would have gone and bought my son back."

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Basra out of control, says chief of police
Rory Carroll in Basra
Tuesday May 31, 2005
The Guardian

Families can still stroll but militia gangs hold power in port city

The chief of police in Basra admitted yesterday that he had effectively lost control of three-quarters of his officers and that sectarian militias had infiltrated the force and were using their posts to assassinate opponents.

Speaking to the Guardian, General Hassan al-Sade said half of his 13,750-strong force was secretly working for political parties in Iraq's second city and that some officers were involved in ambushes.

Other officers were politically neutral but had no interest in policing and did not follow his orders, he told the Guardian.

"I trust 25% of my force, no more."

The claim jarred with Basra's reputation as an oasis of stability and security and underlined the burgeoning influence of Shia militias in southern Iraq.

Comment: This claim about Basra being peaceful and an example for the rest of Iraq was made by the US military

"The militias are the real power in Basra and they are made up of criminals and bad people," said the general.

"To defeat them I would need to use 75% of my force, but I can rely on only a quarter."

In fact the port city, part of the British zone, is remarkably peaceful. It is largely untouched by the insurgency and crimes such as kidnapping and theft have ebbed since the chaotic months after the March 2003 invasion.

In marked contrast to Baghdad, razor wire and blast walls are uncommon in Basra and instead of cowering indoors after dark families take strolls along the corniche.

But Gen Sade said the tranquillity had been bought by ceding authority to conservative Islamic parties and turning a blind eye to their militias' corruption scams and hit squads.

A former officer in Saddam Hussein's marine special forces, he was chosen to lead Basra's police force by the previous government headed by Ayad Allawi and he started the job five months ago. [...]

Comment: Juan Cole comments on the Police Chiefs remarks:

It gradually becomes apparent, though, that al-Sade's jaundiced view of the situation in Basra is that of an ex-Baathist nervous about the rising influence of the Sadrists and the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, who are replacing Allawi's ex-Baathists with their own men in the police force.

Carroll would have done his readers a favor to have mentioned who won the provincial elections in Basra on January 30. Of 41 seats, 20 went to the Shiite Islamists of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI). Another 16 or so went to the Virtue Party or Fadilah, which follows the late ayatollah Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr. Carroll, it seems to me, is likely confusing Fadilah with the followers of Muqtada al-Sadr. In fact, they follow Muhammad al-Yaqubi, a more low-key rival of Muqtada's who studied with Muqtada's father. Fadilah controls Basra city hall because it put together a coalition that gave it 21 seats, so it can outvote SCIRI. The two victors of the democratic elections, in any case, are now appointing the police, which are obviously loyal to the parties rather than to an ex-Baathist police chief installed by the widely disliked ex-Baathist and old time CIA asset Iyad Allawi.

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Iraq aircraft crashes claim at least nine lives

An Iraqi Air Force aircraft crash killed four US Air Force staff and one Iraqi, the American military said today.

An Italian military helicopter has also crashed in Iraq, killing the four people on board, the Italian military has said.

The crash of the Iraqi Air Force aircraft happened at about noon on Monday in Diyala, a province north east of the capital, Baghdad, said military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Fred Wellman.

"All the personnel on board are confirmed to have been killed in action, but there is still an investigation ongoing," Wellman said.

It was unclear what type of fixed-wing aircraft it was, who was in control of it nor why it crashed. Strong wind buffeted central and northern Iraq on Monday. [...]

The crash of the Italian military helicopter happened overnight about eight miles southeast of Nasiriyah, the southern Iraqi city where Italy’s 3,000 troops are based, the military said in a statement.

It was coming back from the Kuwaiti international airport and had stopped to refuel at Camp Buehring, also in Kuwait.

Radio contact was lost soon after take-off from the camp, the statement said. A rescue team found the wreckage early today in the desert close to the Tallill air base near Nasiriyah.

The military said it was investigating the cause of the crash.

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U.S. bid to dominate invites disaster - Gorbachev
Mon May 30, 2005
By Robert Evans

GENEVA (Reuters) - U.S. efforts to dominate the world could end in disaster, Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet Union's last leader who launched an era of cooperation with the United States that ended the Cold War, said on Monday.

A critic of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, Gorbachev called for the rapid withdrawal of what he called occupation forces, warning: "The longer they stay, the worse the situation will get.

"You cannot get anywhere ... by trying to dominate," he told a meeting marking the 20th anniversary of his 1985 Geneva summit with U.S. President Ronald Reagan, a turning point in then frigid East-West relations.

"That doesn't work with small countries nowadays, and even less with big ones like Russia, Iran and -- heaven forbid -- China. That way lies disaster," said Gorbachev, who lost his post as president when the Soviet Union broke up in 1991.

"Trying to be a world gendarme today is an illusion. That is not the way ahead, but a blind alley."

Insistence by the administration of President Bush that it had the right to use nuclear weaponry amounted to renunciation of the course he charted with Reagan and Bush's father in the second half of the 1980s, he said.

If Washington pursued its efforts to put a defensive weapons system in space, the 74-year-old Gorbachev told the meeting at the United Nations European headquarters, "it will spark a new arms race, with all the consequences....

"Surely it would be better if we worked together to eliminate nuclear weapons entirely and to use the resources that freed to eradicate poverty and misery around the globe?" he asked his audience, which included U.S. diplomats. [...]

Comment: Sure Gorby, get with the program, don't you know who you are dealing with here? Destruction and depopulation is the name of the game!

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A reminder of duplicity in Iraq war
Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The New York congressman two years ago assailed the hypocrisy of the war in Iraq by demanding that, if the Bush administration and Congress believed in the war so much, they should reinstate the draft. Now he is urging the President to appeal to Americans to enlist in the military.

"At the very least, the President should spend some of his political capital and publicly appeal to Americans to volunteer for service in Iraq," Rangel has been saying lately. "He should go on television and explain why this war is important enough for parents to put their sons and daughters in harm's way."

Rangel's remarks are partly tongue-in-cheek, coming from a man who has opposed the war since before it started and hasn't cast a single vote in support of it. But they also are a dare. They come after the Army reported lowering its minimum required active duty from 24 to 15 months, the lowest in history, in an attempt to lure hard-to-get recruits.

The prospect of dying in Iraq has made recruitment so difficult that the Army expects to have only 10 percent of the 80,000 troops it will need to replace those in Iraq and Afghanistan next year in place by this fall.

The Army's desperation to meet its quotas has driven recruiters to sign up people who are mentally ill, who have police records, who use drugs and who can't pass the military aptitude exams without cheating, according to The New York Times.

Despite Iraq's much ballyhooed election and the installation of an interim government, more than 600 people, including at least 58 U.S. military personnel, have been killed since Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari announced his new government last month. If Bush still thinks all this carnage is justified, then why not personally call on young people to enlist as their patriotic duty, instead of counting on the desperation of their being out of work and doing it for the cash bonuses, steady paychecks and college educations?

A lot of Americans have bitten the bullet and accepted our involvement in Iraq, which Rangel compares to driving a car into the rental return space and having the spikes pop up, so you can't get out. But revelations about how we got there continue to insult our intelligence.

A British memo written in summer 2002 about a meeting of Tony Blair's top foreign-policy advisers reports that Bush was looking for a way to remove Saddam Hussein by military action months before Congress voted to authorize it and while assuring the public that he was seeking an alternative to war.

At a time when we feel stuck in Iraq, Rangel's challenge to the President shakes us out of our doldrums, reminding us that this war is no less hypocritical just because Iraq has a somewhat better government. "If the President cannot convince the American people to make the financial and human sacrifice ... then he should refer this policy back to the U.N., where it belonged in the first place," Rangel told me.

He says the United States has done as much as it can in Iraq with guns and tanks, and that it should go to the United Nations and try to involve international diplomats who want to see a peaceful Iraq. Once the terrorists see that the international community, not just the United States, is guiding things, order might be restored, Rangel says.

I'm not nearly so hopeful as Rangel that the United Nations can close the Pandora's box we have opened over there. But he's right to remind us of the duplicity behind the mess we've made.

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So This Is How Liberty Dies?

by Steven LaTulippe

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

- The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America

05/27/05 "" - - In the most recent episodes of Star Wars, George Lucas takes his audience on a journey through the process of political decay. He illustrates the ironies and absurdities inherent in the collapse of a limited, republican form of government. He portrays the defenders of the republic as confused and impotent while he exposes the vile and conspiratorial nature of their imperial adversaries.

In what surely must be one of the fascinating examples of life imitating art, the typical observer of American politics ought to be awestruck by the events unfolding around him on a routine basis.

Hardly a day passes now without some new outrage being perpetrated on our republic by those in the halls of power. It is happening with such regularity that one could almost excuse the concerned citizen for simply throwing in the towel and tuning out.

But occasionally something so egregious occurs that even the most jaded and cynical among us have to stand up and take notice.

Just such an event unfolded in the halls of the United States Senate this week in the form of a hearing concerning the FBI’s quest for new investigative powers included in the latest Patriot Act.

Alan Eisner at Reuters reports:

The FBI on Tuesday asked the U.S. Congress for sweeping new powers to seize business or private records, ranging from medical information to book purchases, to investigate terrorism without first securing approval from a judge.

Valerie Caproni, FBI general counsel, told the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee her agency needed the power to issue what are known as administrative subpoenas to get information quickly about terrorist plots and the activities of foreign agents.

In essence, the FBI wants the power to issue "administrative subpoenas" to execute searches without the annoyance of having to show probable cause in a court. (Since the agency carrying out the search is going to be the one issuing the subpoena, one wonders why they even bother with a subpoena at all. Why not just ransack wherever they please and dispense with the fiction altogether? Can anyone envision a circumstance where the FBI would refuse to issue a search warrant to itself?)

The Republicans, who have discarded their previous concerns for the Bill of Rights like a snake shedding its skin, are the primary supporters of this scheme.

Committee chairman, Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts, noted that other government agencies already had subpoena power to investigate matters such as child pornography, drug investigations and medical malpractice. He said it made little sense to deny those same powers to the FBI to investigate terrorism or keep track of foreign intelligence agents.

One has to admit certain logic in his argument. After all, if other government agencies are already disregarding the constitution, then why can’t the FBI?

But the really fascinating parts of the testimony came later. The first example was when the FBI counsel claimed that these powers were needed to prevent terrorist attacks such as car bombs. When challenged on that point, she responded:

Caproni said she could not cite a case where a bomb had exploded because the FBI lacked this power, but that did not mean one could not explode tomorrow.

Whether she appreciated it or not, this is the pure, undiluted logic of a Sith Lord. In essence, she contends that we should discard our constitutional protections here and now in the theoretical hope that we can avoid a terrorist attack at some undefined point in the future.

We are, in short, to abandon our freedom for the mirage of security.

While the advocates for the empire are obnoxious and tragically predictable, their odiousness is petty compared to the nature of the bill’s opponents. If anyone dares look down upon the defenders of Lucas’ Republic as being ineffectual and spineless, I give you the junior Senator from West Virginia:

"I am not aware of any time in which Congress has given directly to the FBI subpoena authority. That doesn't make it right or wrong. It just needs to be thought about," said West Virginia Democrat Jay Rockefeller.

An agent of the executive branch paraded into the Senate Chamber with a proposal that directly trashes one of the most important protections in our Bill of Rights, and the esteemed legislator’s only reply was that he cannot say if it is "right or wrong".

With friends like these, liberty hardly needs enemies.

Patrick Henry, he is not.

In better times, any government official openly agitating for the evisceration of our constitution would be immediately relieved of his job. After all, are not members of our security forces sworn to protect and defend our freedoms? And how has our system degenerated so badly that those advocating authoritarian policies are outspoken and arrogant while those supporting our freedom are wishy-washy and pathetic?

Truly, we are seeing the visions of Yeats come to life before our very eyes.

"The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity."

A glance at the structure of our government in this late era of republican governance demonstrates a variety of oddities and ironies. The most interesting is the observation that each branch of our government is now ignoring those areas where its actual responsibilities lie while simultaneously intruding into areas where it was once explicitly forbidden.

Thus, we have a judiciary that is meekly turning over its responsibility to scrutinize warrants to various elements of the executive branch. Meanwhile, these same judges have abandoned the constitution’s moorings and are dictating social policy to the nation far in excess of any powers envisioned by our Founders.

The congress, in a cowardly and cynical attempt to avoid responsibility, has abrogated its constitutional mandate to make declarations of war to the executive branch. Thus, presidents now take America into conflicts without the necessary debate and scrutiny that the Founders intended. Meanwhile, these same legislators have constructed a myriad of bloated and corrupt programs that are found nowhere in their powers enumerated by the constitution (i.e. retirement Ponzi schemes, prescription drug programs, Byzantine agricultural subsidies, etc. etc.).

The executive branch now reigns supreme over foreign policy with almost no checks or balances whatsoever. The result has been the repeated abuse of the military in a variety of undeclared wars that have almost no relationship to the well-being of the people of this country. This same executive branch, meanwhile, refuses to enforce federal laws that it finds objectionable, such as defending our own borders from the hordes of illegals crossing on a daily basis.

Thus, we have a judiciary that wants to be a legislature, a legislature that wants to be a sugar daddy, and a president who wants to be an emperor.

It is a sorry sight to behold, and one that will probably make for a great tragic adventure series someday.

Unfortunately, we are all cast in the role of the "innocent bystanders."

And everyone knows what usually happens to them.

Steven LaTulippe is a physician currently practicing in Ohio. He was an officer in the United States Air Force for 13 years.

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Afghanistan Harvests Another Bumper Opium Crop
By Sayed Yaqub Ibrahimi
Enviornment News Service

MAZAR-e-SHARIF, Afghanistan, May 31, 2005 (ENS) - Due to plentiful rains earlier this year and late efforts at poppy eradication, farmers in northern Afghanistan say they are enjoying a bumper crop of the opium producing plant this season.

While President Hamed Karzai has called for a jihad, or holy war, against poppy growing and an international coalition has been carrying out its own campaign against the drug, even some senior government officials acknowledge that most eradication efforts have come too late and achieved too little.

Afghanistan produced an estimated 4,200 metric tons of raw opium last year, amounting to 87 percent of world supply, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

“This year’s rainfall has increased our harvests over last year’s,” said Mohammad Nazar, a farmer in the northern Balkh province, happily showing off a fat green poppy pod.

Opium, the raw material for heroin, is produced in most provinces of Afghanistan. While no official estimates were available, reports suggest that this year's crop will surpass last year's harvest.

Local farmers who heeded warnings that their poppy crop would be eradicated and opted to grow other plants are now sorely disappointed that they will miss out on the profits from a lucrative harvest.

"The poppy fields have not been destroyed as people said they would be, so those farmers who didn't plant poppies were very sad," said Nasrullah, another Balkh farmer.

The harvest was a boon for farm workers. “I was unemployed before the opium collection season but now I’m working in the poppy fields making 300 to 400 afghanis a day,” said laborer Mohammad Omar.

Reports of the bumper crop come even as Karzai, during a recent visit to the United States, rejected criticism of his counter-narcotics effort, saying his government had worked hard to eradicate poppy fields. Instead, he blamed western countries for a lack of support.

According to a report published in "The New York Times" on May 23, a U.S. State Department memo blamed the lagging poppy eradication effort on a reluctance on the part of Karzai and others in the Afghan government to take on powerful warlords in the southern Kandahar province and elsewhere.

The newspaper reported that a cable sent on May 13 from the U.S. embassy in Kabul to Washington, said that provincial officials and village elders had impeded the destruction of significant acreages and that top Afghan officials, including Karzai, had done little to overcome that resistance.

"Although President Karzai has been well aware of the difficulty in trying to implement an effective ground eradication program, he has been unwilling to assert strong leadership, even in his own province of Kandahar," said the cable drafted by embassy personnel involved in the anti-drug efforts, two American officials told the newspaper.

The cable also faulted Britain, which has lead responsibility for counter narcotics assistance in Afghanistan, for being "substantially responsible" for the failure to eradicate more acreage. UK personnel choose where the eradication teams work, but the cable said that those areas were often not the main growing areas and that the British had been unwilling to revise targets.

But Karzai rejected such criticism, saying it was part of an effort to shift blame from the U.S., Britain and other countries that have failed to deliver economic aid.

"We are going to have, probably all over the country, at least 30 percent [of] poppies reduced,” Karzai said in an interview on CNN. "So we have done our job. The Afghan people have done their job. Now the international community must come and provide [an] alternative livelihood to the Afghan people, which they have not done so far."

"Let us stop this blame game," he added. [...]

While authorities are upset at the situation, farmers are looking forward to a prosperous year. Nor are they likely to change crops voluntarily, many say. The average gross income from a hectare of opium poppies was about $US4,600 last year, and the same area planted with wheat yielded just US$390, according to UN figures.

Comment: At least under the Taleban, opium production was at an all time low. Now that "freedom" has been restored to Afghanistan and a proxy US government installed, opium production is flourishing. Conincidence? We think not.

On the other hand, at least women in Afghanistan are now free and equal members of society, right? Isn't that we have been told all along by Bush and Co.?

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Afghan Women No Better Off After Taliban: Amnesty

LONDON, May 31, 2005 ( & News Agencies)

Amnesty blamed state institutions for their “systematic failure” to protect women from abuse.

Women are raped, murdered and abused with impunity all over Afghanistan despite the overthrow of the Taliban that was supposed to have ushered in a new era of women rights, Amnesty International said on Monday, May 30.

"Hundreds of women and girls continue to suffer abuse at the hands of their husbands, fathers, brothers, armed individuals, parallel justice systems, and institutions of the state itself such as the police and the justice system," said the London-based rights group on its Web site.

“Violence against women and girls in Afghanistan is pervasive,” it said.

“Throughout the country, few women are exempt from violence or safe from the threat of it.”

Amnesty added that entrenched feudal customs still meant Afghan men often treated women as chattels who could be abused at will without any fear of official retribution.

“Husbands, brothers and fathers remain the main perpetrators of violence in the home but the social control and the power that they exercise is reinforced by both state authorities and informal justice systems,” the report said.

Three and a half years ago, US-led forces invaded the country and toppled the ruling Taliban, which was accused of violating women rights.

Though Washington still keeps at least 18,000 troops on the ground, the country remains a dangerous place, particularly in remote areas where the government has less authority than tribal elders and regional warlords.

Government Failure

The report blamed state institutions for their “systematic failure” to protect women from abuse and violence within and outside families.

Amnesty further noted that investigations by the authorities into complaints of violent attacks, rape, murders or suicide of women are neither routine nor systematic, and few result in prosecutions.

"We stress that the Afghan authorities have a duty to refrain from committing violations of human rights and to protect women from violence committed not only by agents of the state but also by private individuals and groups.

"Reform of the criminal justice system is integral to the protection of all Afghan women and it is the responsibility of the state to provide legal safeguards."

The watchdog also urged the Afghan government to actively promote women human rights and start a process of education to transform customs that treated women as an underclass.


The report's author, Nazia Hussein, who traveled all over the country conducting interviews, told Reuters there was a deep sense of disappointment that matters had not improved since the ouster of the Taliban in late 2001.

“A lot of women told us they had hoped things would change rapidly for the better after the overthrow of the Taliban, so there is a sense of disappointment,” she said.

“But on education, employment and security there is a feeling that generally things have not improved ... and in some cases have got worse," she added.

Attempts to talk to men -- including government officials -- revealed at best verbal concern but no action and at worst the attitude that it was not a problem.

“It is about tribes and codes of conduct based on age-old customs, not religion,” Hussein added.

“It is really, really important that this issue is flagged up -- especially in terms of donor states.”

Comment: So tell us, how is installing a US proxy government in Afghanistan that is only interested in kick-starting opium production and building military bases, going to do away with "entrenched fedal customs"? The answer is clear - it is not, and Afganistan will remain under the control of the very same war lords that they placed in power in the late 70's and early 80's to fight the Russians.

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Crowd storms Kyrgyz Supreme Court 2005-06-01 17:29:49

MOSCOW, June 1 (Xinhuanet) -- A crowd of about 300 people broke into Kyrgyzstan's Supreme Court on Wednesday and clashed with supporters of the defeated candidates in the April parliamentary elections, according to reports from Bishkek, capital of Kyrgyzstan.

A group of supporters of the defeated parliamentary candidates had been in the building since April 22 and vowed to occupy the building until the Supreme Court judges resign, the Itar-Tass newsagency reported.

The crowd, armed with sticks, smashed windows while the occupiers hurled cocktail bottles during the clashes.

Soldiers and policemen rushed to the scene and tried to separate the two sides.

The building of the Supreme Court is now under the control of the policemen and soldiers.

Officials from the law enforcement department said nobody was injured in the clashes.

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Given the Chance, the People Reject "Globalization"
French Say "Non" in Thunder!

May 31, 2005

The French went ahead and did it. Despite being lectured by government and party leaders, media pundits and foreign leaders flown in from neighboring countries, all telling them that they must vote "yes" to the Treaty establishing a Constitution for the European Union or the sky would fall, a solid majority of 55% voted "no"! The high turnout of 70% gave the rejection indisputable credibility.

This was essentially a vote against dogmatic free market policies, and the type of economic globalization being pursued by the "neo-liberal" free marketeers.

The "non" was resounding, and, for those who were listening, the message was clear. But who was really listening?

The day after the vote, mainstream politicians and media were all scurrying to misinterpret the event to suit their own repudiated agendas. No wonder, because the referendum result amounted to an extraordinary rejection not only of a bad text, but also of the whole political class -- newspaper and television commentators included -- who had zealously resorted to every possible exhortation, deception and threat to sell the "oui" vote.

And it was not only the ardent salesmanship of the familiar faces on the screen that was rejected. The "non" was also an expression of exasperation with the whole lot of mainstream politicians and media stars, the "oui-ouistes" as they were dubbed, for years of preening self-satisfaction and unfulfilled promises as more and more businesses shut down leaving employees out in the cold. Part of the satisfaction of voting "non" was to watch television and see the consternation on all those familiar faces, and listen to each one's frantic attempts to blame the others for the disaster in hopes of salvaging his or her own political career. This was a highly amusing spectacle, but also extremely disturbing. Because although the meaning of the vote was clearly a desire to throw all the rascals out, they are still there. They are still there in the media especially, where they need not fear losing the next election. They are there to interpret events as it suits them, not least to the rest of Europe and the world.

The interpretations of the French vote making the rounds display an unshakable determination not to understand what happened.

Of course, all the stale, ignorant clichés about "the French" are being trotted out. Typically, to explain the French psychology, the International Herald Tribune quoted a Polish human resources consultant on a Warsaw parkbench, who opined that "France still has nostalgia for its empire". No doubt people all over Europe and in the United States could come up with the same absurdity, because that's what their media tell them.

That being the case, let it be observed that France's "nostalgia for empire" is a fantasy, especially current among certain imperialist Americans who cannot conceive of any lesser national ambition. There has been no significant nostalgia for empire in France since President de Gaulle decided over forty years ago that it was in France's best interest to withdraw from its colonies. In any case, that has absolutely nothing whatever to do with the May 29 vote. Exit polls showed that the number one motive for the "no" vote -- 56% of respondants -- was the state of the economy. This means unemployment. Because in terms of business profits, the French economy is not doing so badly, thank you. But ten percent official unemployment, as profitable firms shut down plant to move to countries with cheaper labor, is considered intolerable.

The second motive indicated, with 46%, was the "neo-liberal" nature of the Constitution treaty. The third most frequently mentioned motive was the desire to have the Constitution renegotiated.

These data show clearly that the vote was not "against Europe". Of course, there were bound to be contradictory motives behind the no vote -- and behind the yes vote as well. The far right National Front voted "no" to the European Union, which will surely be the choice of an even larger segment in the United Kingdom, if the UK referendum takes place. But the bulk of the French "non" was pro-European and anti-globalization. If anything, it was for a stronger Europe more inclined and able to resist the destructive thrust of globalization and to protect social and environmental standards.

On the right, voters wanted to preserve national sovereignty. There is nothing really so dreadful about that. But most of the "no" vote came from the left. Despite increasingly frantic efforts by their party leaders to shore up the "yes" vote, a large majority of Socialists (59%) and an overwhelming majority of Greens voted "no". The current leaders of those parties are in for a rough time. Socialist Party leader François Hollande is perhaps the major casualty, with his main rival, Laurent Fabius, who prudently endorsed the "non", waiting politely in the wings to take over the shattered party.

The party leader who comes out of this test with flying colors is Marie-George Buffet, who may have succeeded in saving the French Communist Party from total oblivion by cutting loose from the Socialist Party while at the same time abandoning all past sectarianism in favor of a unitary campaign with the whole rejectionist spectrum from the center to the left, includingTrotskyists, dissident Socialists and Greens. An eventual left coalition with Laurent Fabius can be imagined.

Meanwhile, the Eurocrats who were warning of a cataclysm in case the French voted the wrong way, are trying to pretend that nothing has happened. The particularly unattractive Portuguese head of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, and the current Luxembourgeois head of the European Council, Jean-Claude Juncker, announced blandly that the ratification process will go ahead as planned in spite of this "accident de parcours" -- a chance mishap, like a flat tire to be repaired before continuing in the same direction. However, legally, the Constitution cannot go into effect unless it is ratified by all 25 member States. Rather than recognize that the French have killed this text, and demanded a better one, the Eurocrats sputter that it's not fair for one country to decide for all the others. But one reason people voted against the proposed Constitution was precisely that it required unanimity for amendment, meaning any country could decide no for all the others.

In a couple of days, the Dutch will vote. Their no will probably have a somewhat different coloration than the French, but so what? There is in fact an emerging clash between the sort of "European construction" pursued over the heads of Europe's people and democracy. If "Europe" can't be constructed democratically, should it be constructed at all?

The biggest question mark is Germany, where the left is already in political crisis because of the drastic anti-social economic reforms pursued relentlessly by the "pink and green" government of Gerhard Schroeder. The Social Democratic Party (SPD) was just voted out of office in its last major stronghold, North Rhine Westphalia. Oskar Lafontaine, who left the leadership of the SPD years ago in disagreement over Schroeder's turn to neoliberalism, has now officially left the SPD and is working to create a new more progressive party. At a "non de gauche" rally on the eve of the French vote, Lafontaine was given a huge, overwhelming ovation that obviously left him deeply moved. The revival of the French left around the referendum has encouraged Lafontaine to try to revive the German left. While mainstream Germans converged on Paris condescendingly lecturing people who knew more about the Treaty than they did, Lafontaine is one German who understands perfectly what this vote was all about. And there are more. The crucial task for the future of Europe will depend on cooperation between the French and German left in explaining the meaning of the French rejection to the Germans and in inspiring a new common political course.

President Chirac warned that France would be the "black sheep" of Europe if it refused to ratify the Constitution. Significantly, Germany ratified the Constitution by an overwhelming vote -- of the Bundestag. If French ratification had been up to the National Assembly, the "yes" vote would have been just as overwhelming. The German Constitution bans popular referendums. But one can imagine that a popular referendum in Germany might have produced exactly the same result: at first, polls would have shown a majority in favor, but little by little, as people examined and discussed the actual text, opinion would have shifted. After all, the economic situation in Germany is even quite a bit worse than in France. The reasons to reject free market dogma are equally valid in both countries.

For this to be realized, trade unionists and political activists have to overcome the obstacle of chronic media misrepresentation. For this, they have a new weapon, which already played a significant role in the campaign for the "non" -- the web.

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De Villepin's appointment signals end of reform hopes

By John Lichfield in Paris
01 June 2005

To a chorus of boos on the left, and some anger on the right. President Jacques Chirac appointed Dominique de Villepin, an unelected member of the French mandarin class, as prime minister yesterday.

The president appealed, in a solemn television address for France to "ìmobilise" to combat unemployment and defend the "French social model" and the "national interest".

In the wake of Sunday's cataclysmic rejection of the European Union constitution ­ shaped largely by a wave of anti-free trade feeling on the French left ­ M. Chirac's comments seemed to point to a nominally centre-right government which would be interventionist, and possibly even protectionist.

M. de Villepin, 51, is best known for his defence in the UN of France's stand against the Iraq war in March 2002. He has been foreign minister and interior minister but he has never stood for election to any political office.

His appointment was met with derision on the left and disappointment and fury among some members of parliament in M. Chirac's centre-right party, the UMP. There was even talk among a minority of UMP deputies last night of voting against M. de Villepin when it comes to a vote of confidence in the national assembly.

Many UMP deputies wanted President Chirac to give the job to the party president, Nicolas Sarkozy, 50, the rising star of the French right and the likely centre-right presidential candidate in 2007.

President Chirac refused to do so, partly because he dislikes and distrusts M. Sarkozy, partly because the younger man would have insisted on reforming the public sector-dominated French economy.

M. Chirac feared a Sarkozy government bent on market-opening reforms could plunge France into a violent round of street politics. M. Chirac may also harbour hopes of running for a third term in 2007, or boosting M. de Villepin into a presidential contender who might yet block M. Sarkozy's rise.

M. de Villepin is a complete stranger to economic and social policy. His brief from M. Chirac is to calm the political mood with reflationary measures to boost growth and cut the 10 per cent unemployment rate.

In a TV address last night , M. Chirac rejected the idea of a Thatcher-Blair approach to economic revival.

"National mobilisation" against unemployment must "scrupulously respect our French model," M. Chirac said. "This is not the Anglo-Saxon model but neither is it a synonym for immobility".

The de Villepin government ­ whose composition will be announced today­ can, therefore, be expected to adopt a less reformist, more protectionist and high-spending approach, which could put Paris on a collision course with Brussels.

M. Sarkozy has agreed to serve as M. de Villepin's deputy and return to his old post as interior minister. That is a climb-down by M. Chirac, who had refused to allow his rival to hold the UMP presidency and a cabinet job.

The outgoing prime minister, Jean-Pierre Raffarin, came to office three years ago promising an aggressive, reforming government for the lower echelons.

Comment: How the meaning of terms has changed in recent decades! "Reforms" has now come to point to neo-liberal policies that gut the social aspects of state policy. Once upon a time, to be a reformer meant that you fought to put social policies into place. The curious and misleading image that the change of meaning gives is that the modern state somehow successfully accomplished the first, progressive, stage of reforms, perhaps even overshooting the mark to such a degree that regressive "reforms" are now needed.

This point of view is clearly the one dominant among the neoliberals in the Anglo-Saxon world where the slogans of Thatcherism have been the rallying cries for over two decades.

In France, it is different. Liberal economics has never gained the same ground in France, as Sunday's "Non" well illustrates. Chirac is now fighting to save the final two years of his presidency, and to do so he is letting go of his reform-minded PM Raffarin. Nicolas Sarkozy, the very reform-minded adversary to Chirac, has been brought back into the new de Villepin government as a show of unity. The Parti socialiste, divided by the campaign into the proponents of both the "Oui" and the "Non", had taken an official position in support of the constitution. The pro-Constitution leaders are now attempting to portray the vote as a failure of Chirac, not as the victory of a people fed up with liberal economics.

The number two of the PS, Larent Fabius, supported the "Non". He now has much more support with the party than before. There are reports he will be calling for a broad-based coalition of left-wing parties to form a united front. The internal politics at the PS should be amusing over the next months. The well-known antipathy between de Villepin and his new number two should do the same for the ruling UMP.

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Deep throat revealed
Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Joseph Cannon has two excellent posts on the 'revelation' that Deep Throat is Mark Felt. Felt may honestly feel that he was Deep Throat, but could not have known everything that Deep Throat knew. He is an excellent patsy to take on the role, as he has Alzheimer's and can't be asked any embarrassing questions.

I imagine the long wait for the identity of Deep Throat was a wait dependent on finding someone with the proper characteristics who could assume the role without having to provide details (i. e., either dead or senile). I doubt very much there ever was a Deep Throat. He was a fictional method of funneling the information that Woodward was getting from whomever he was really working for - likely CIA or Joint Chiefs of Staff - into the stories intended to unseat Nixon, or at least weaken him. Woodward needed a mysterious source to explain how he was getting material that should have been impossible to obtain, and a source who could never be questioned. Deep Throat was a brilliant plan (the name itself, in the context of the times, was brilliant marketing, as everyone got a cheap thrill by being allowed to say it).

We know the Joint Chiefs of Staff were spying on Nixon, and that Nixon caught them and let them get away with it. The American Powers That Be were apparently terrified that Nixon, who up to the end of the 1960's was a reliable, crooked, mob-connected political hack, was intelligent enough to realize that his place in the history books would be determined by the substantial good he did. China whet his appetite, and there was a very real danger that the old fool would succeed in approaching the Soviets and ending the Cold War fifteen years early (and billions and billions of dollars in weapons sales early), all in a bid to take his place in history. He had to be stopped, so the barely-literate Woodward mysteriously appeared at the Washington Post, was hooked up with a real, if spectacularly unsuccessful, journalist in Bernstein, and suddenly received all kinds of unexpected help from the Very Establishment Ben Bradlee.

A newspaper that you would never expect to even consider challenging the status quo, and very connected to the CIA, was suddenly lauded as the king of investigative journalism, and the savior of the Republic. All nonsense, of course. Nixon's big character flaws, instinctive dishonesty and paranoia, were manipulated to slide him into a completely unnecessary cover-up of a completely unnecessary burglary conducted by a bunch of CIA agents (a burglary Nixon wasn't even aware of until after the fact, with the burglars conveniently getting caught through extreme bungling and conveniently having documented ties to Nixon's crooked political financing system), and Nixon was safely pushed out of office before he could do any real harm. Rather than being a victory for journalism, Watergate was the start of the systematic corruption of the disgusting American media, which continues to do its job in hiding the fact that the United States has been a military dictatorship since November 22, 1963.

Comment: After Nixon left office, the press then went into overtime extolling the virtues of American democracy and the failsafes built into the governmental strucutre and division of powers foreseen by the founding fathers. Well, that division of powers has been all but eradicated by Bush. Congress is supposed to rubber stamp his appointees and the Supreme Court has as its mandate to repeal all of the "liberal" legislation left over from the civil rights movement, the woman's movement, etc.

Although Bush's crimes are worse than breaking and entering the DNC, there is no groundswell for impeachment. Where is the Washington Post now? When Clinton lied about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky, the GOP was up in arms calling for his impeachment over what was essentially a private matter. Bush lied to get the country into war, to occupy a country that was no threat to US security. Hundreds of thousands are dead or wounded.

Yet the myth of the press and the strength of the American system lives on.

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Deep Throat: A Felt response
James Cannon
Every time I take a couple of days off from the net, something big happens.

A number of you have asked for my response to Vanity Fair announcement that W. Mark Felt, at one time the number two man at FBI, was the world's most famous unnamed source. Felt, we are told, revealed this secret to his lawyer John O'Connor, who wrote the upcoming Vanity Fair article.

My first reaction: Mark Felt? That's so dull!

His name arose early in the throatstakes. Many researchers discounted him, just as the Marx Brothers would discard jokes during the run of their stage shows: After hearing the same thing 100 times, they got bored and started fiddling with the script.

Still, the signs pointing to Felt were hard to deny. Woodward had lunch with the aged Felt in 1999, perhaps to ask for permission to reveal all. Carl Bernstein's son once blurted out to friends that Felt was Throat.

Nixon himself suspected that Felt was leaking information. According to the transcript of a taped conversation, the soon-to-be-ex-president asked Haldeman if Felt was Catholic. Haldeman responded "Jewish," which Nixon seemed to consider a telling detail.

Felt has long denied the Throat identification, and once told a reporter: "I would have done better. I would have been more effective. Deep Throat didn't exactly bring the White House crashing down, did he?"

Woodward, Bernstein and the Washington Post have, so far, kept mum about the Vanity Fair announcement -- and their silence has kept the speculation going. A few believe that Woodward may be miffed because Felt, in essence, "scooped" them.

A more intriguing notion: Felt both is and is not Deep Throat.

I have no trouble accepting the claim that Felt and Woodward met, and that information was passed. On the other hand, Felt did not live near Woodward's apartment, which renders the whole "signaling" scenario more unlikely than ever.

Many still argue that Woodward worked with a number of sources. A reader has told me that Woodward was dating a woman who worked at Robert Bennett's Mullen Company, the CIA cut-out which channeled money to the burglars. Bennett himself is a confirmed Woodward source who steered the Post reporters away from the all-important CIA connection. (See the appendices to Jim Hougan's Secret Agenda.)

Those advanced Throat students who discounted Felt did so for one primary reason: The nature of the information. How could Felt grab hold of all that juicy inside-the-White-House material? The source must have been someone inside the administration itself.

As this Washingtonian article puts it,
But the White House man conceded that someone from an investigative agency who had good White House contacts could have been Deep Throat. We asked a former high FBI aide about this. He said, "Felt would have had good White House contacts before Watergate. Deke DeLoach was the Hoover aide who always was closest to the White House. When DeLoach retired in 1970, much of the White House liaison responsibility went to Felt. There was a lot of direct contact between the FBI and the White House -- there always has been." So it's not difficult to visualize a Mark Felt on the phone every day with his White House contacts, talking about how the FBI investigation was coming and how the White House was reacting.
If we accept this scenario, then -- in a real sense -- we really have not uncovered Deep Throat. Mark Felt was simply the middleman, the collator, the relayer. The "multi-source" theory comes closer to the truth.

I'm not sure, though, that we have yet reached the deepest truth.

The CIA connection remains key, as is partially indicated by the infamous, yet under-scrutinized, "smoking gun" tape. I apologize if this excerpt goes into some rather arcane details; the reader need merely skim for the gist. Note how Felt's name crops up here:
H: Now, on the investigation, you know the Democratic break-in thing, we're back in the problem area because the FBI is not under control, because [FBI chief] Gray doesn't exactly know how to control it and they have --their investigation is leading into some productive areas because they've been able to trace the money--not through the money itself--but through the bank sources--the banker. And, and it goes in some directions we don't want it to go. Ah, also there have been some things--like an informant came in off the street to the FBI in Miami who was a photographer or has a friend who was a photographer or has a friend who was a photographer who developed some films through this guy Barker and the films had pictures of Democratic national Committee letterhead documents and things. So it's things like that that are filtering in. Mitchell came up with yesterday, and John Dean analyzed very carefully last night and concludes, concurs now with Mitchell's recommendation that the only way to solve this, and we're set up beautifully to do it, ah, in that and that-- the only network that paid any attention to it last night was NBC--they did a massive story on the Cuban thing.

P: [Nixon] That's right.

H: That the way to handle this now is for us to have [CIA Deputy Director Vernon] Walters call Pat Gray and just say "Stay the hell out of this--this is ah, business here we don't want you to go any further on it. That's not an unusual development, and ah, that would take care of it.

P: What about Pat Gray--you mean Pat Gray doesn't want to?

H: Pat does want to. He doesn't know how to, and he doesn't have, he doesn't have any basis for doing it. Given this, he will then have the basis. He'll call Mark Felt in, and the two of them--and Mark Felt wants to cooperate because he's ambitious--

P: Yeah

H: He'll call him in and say, "We've got the signal from across the river to put the hold on this." And that will fit rather well because the FBI agents who are working the case, at this point, feel that's what it is.

P: This is CIA? They've traced the money? Who'd they trace it to?

H: Well they've traced it to a name, but they haven't gotten to the guy yet.

P: Would it be somebody here?

H: Ken Dahlberg.

P: Who the hell is Ken Dahlberg?

H: He gave $25,000 in Minnesota and, ah, the check went directly to this guy Barker.

P: It isn't from the committee though, from Stans?

H: Yeah. It is. It's directly traceable and there's some more through some Texas people that went to the Mexican bank which can also be traced to the Mexican bank-- they'll get their names today.
Kevin Phillips' important book American Dynasty presents some important history concerning these Mexican bank accounts used by the CIA; these financial conduits link all the way back to the Bay of Pigs, and perhaps to the JFK assassination. That's a tale for another time.

For now, the important aspects of the above transcript are these: Nixon expected the CIA to "handle" the FBI. Mark Felt was ambitious, and was in a position to deep-six the FBI investigation. Most importantly: Nixon assumed CIA to be on his side.

That was one hell of an assumption.

Recall that the Ervin Committee fingered Bennett of the CIA as Deep Throat -- and for good reason:
Bennett took relish in implicating Colson in Hunt's activities in the press while protecting the agency at the same time. It is further noted that Bennett was feeding stories to Bob Woodward who was 'suitably grateful'; that he was making no attribution to Bennett; and that he was protecting Bennett and Mullen and company.
(Mullen, readers will recall, was the CIA front company that had officially hired Watergate burglar E. Howard Hunt.)

Powerful forces at CIA had come to dislike or distrust Nixon for a number of reasons. Not least among those reasons was the prominent role played by Henry Kissinger, considered by James Jesus Angleton (CIA's somewhat unhinged counterintelligence chief) to be nothing less than a Soviet agent.

So...what's the picture now?

1. Many at CIA disliked Nixon.

2. Nixon, not guessing at the level of antipathy, expected CIA to keep a lid on the FBI's investigation, specifically on Mark Felt.

3. Felt was not squelched. Instead, he relayed "insider" White House dope -- which he scooped up from who-knows-where -- to Bob Woodward of the Washington Post. Or so, at least, we are now told.

4. Felt was ambitious; he wanted the top spot at FBI. Whatever he or his family may say now, his tour of duty as "Throat" may well have had a connection to this goal.

Here's another piece of the puzzle: The CIA was, according to Jim Hougan and others, bugging the White House itself. Those eavesdropping devices may have been the real source of Felt's information.

In a previous post, I argued that whoever Throat turned out to be, he would probably share Angleton's anti-Semitic distrust of Kissinger. That presumption must now go into rewrite. But we still cannot rule out the very distinct possibility that Mark Felt received his White House scoops from a "friend" at the Company.

I've always said that the important question was not "Who was Deep Throat?" but "Who was behind Deep Throat?"

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More on Mark Felt, Deep Throat, and Bennett
James Cannon
Bob Woodward, according to the Washington Post website, confirms that Mark Felt is Deep Throat.

Most will now consider the matter resolved. And yet -- as of an hour ago, at least -- one noted researcher offered a counter-argument to the Felt scenario.

Jim Hougan, author of the essential Secret Agenda, wrote a response to Vanity Fair's assertion that Deep Throat was Mark Felt. Even earlier today, I had already written about this matter at some length; my post below references both Hougan and Robert Bennett, a confirmed Woodward source who was previously my favorite in the throatstakes.

Hougan's response came in the form of an email. To be frank, I'm not sure about the ethics of sharing his words with my readers; normally, I am fastidious about keeping private mail private. On the other hand, Hougan's text was cc'd to, like, everyone. Many folks on his brobdinagian recipient list have quickly shared the piece with others, which is how the damned thing reached me. By now, this letter is about as "private" as the Downing Street memo.

Since the author seems to want an audience, I've decided to publish. Despite Woodward's admission, I believe that Hougan raises some good points; he reminds us that, despite today's revelations, Watergate lore still contains many mysteries.

Read what he has to say, and then -- if you are of a mind to do so -- scan my own humble offering, which attempts to reconcile the Felt admission with what we know about CIA's involvement with Watergate.
All y'all,

In the last couple of hours I've gotten half-a-dozen emails, and a couple of phone-calls, about Mark Felt's belated declaration (in the upcoming *Vanity Fair*) to the effect that he's Deep Throat. I've just done an interview with Fox (James Rosen/Britt Hume), and it looks like this is the story de jour.

That said, it's possible, maybe even likely, that you have no absolutely interest in Wategate. If so, put this down as parapolitical spam, and stop reading.

Anyway, here's my take on Felt's declaration:

1. He was badgered into it by family and friends. Felt is 91 years old, and counting. A reporter who recently interviewed him found the interview an incoherent waste of time, and killed his own story.

2. Felt has always denied that he was Deep Throat until, as we're told, members of his family recently pointed out to him there might be a buck in it, and that his children and grandchildren have bills to pay.

(And there is a buck in it: Bob Loomis told me, 20 years ago, that Throat could probably get a $4-million advance from Random House for his life-story.)

3. Felt wrote a book about his career in the FBI. In it, he goes out of the way to say that he met Woodward on a single occasion. This was in Felt's FBI office, and the upshot of it was that Felt told Woodward that he would not cooperate with him in his pursuit of "Watergate."

4. After a careful study of Throat's relationship to the *Post* and to the White House, first in *Secret Agenda* and subsequently while working with Len Garment, it became clear that *no one* in or around the Nixon White Hoouse was in a position to know all of the things that Throat is alleged to have told Woodward. For example, Felt had no way of knowing about the 18-and-a-half minute gap in Rosemary Woods' tape. This strongly suggests that Throat was a composite.

5. Just as importantly, if Felt was Throat, he betrayed the people for whom he was a source. This is so because the biggest story that anyone could have broken in the Summer of 1972 was Alfred Baldwin's decision to come forward and tell what he knew. An employee of James McCord's, Baldwin told the U.S. Attorney's office and the FBI that he had monitored some 250 telephone conversations from "the Listening Post," his room in the Howard Johnson's motel across the street from the Watergate. The significance of this information was that the public and the press believed that the Watergate break-in was a failure, and that the burglars were arrested before they could succeed in placing their bugs. Because of that, the public believed, no telephone calls were ever intercepted. Baldwin gave the lie to that, and Felt knew it. For him to have withheld that information from the *Post* would not only have been a betrayal---it would not have made sense if Felt's alleged intention (as Throat) was to keep the story alive. (The Baldwin story was eventually broken in the Fall of 1972 by the Los Angeles Times.)

6. What we have here, then, is the sad spectacle of an old man being manipulated.

For the record, it seems to me that if anyone proposes to identify Deep Throat, or to identify the lead singer in the choir of sources subsumed by the identity of Throat, they must meet a very basic criterion. That is, they must demonstarate, at a minimum, that their candidate met repeatedly and secretly with Bob Woodward. (Throat is obviously Woodward's creation. I don't think Bernstein would know him from a bale of hay.)

The only person who meets that criterion, to my knowledge, is Robert Bennett. Now one of the most powerful men in the U.S. Senate, Bennett was President of the Robert R. Mullen Company in 1972-3. This was the CIA front for which Howard Hunt worked. (It was also the Washington representative of the Howard Hughes organization.) As I reported in *Secret Agenda*, Bennett's CIA case officer, Martin Lukoskie, drafted a memo to his boss, Eric Eisenstadt, reporting on his monthly debriefing of Bennett after the Watergate arrests. According to Eisenstadt, Bennett told him that he, Bennett, had "made a backdoor entry to the Washington Post through Edward Bennett Williams' office," and that he, Bennett, was feeding stories to Bob Woodward, who was "suitably grateful." (Williams was the Post's attorney, and attorney, also, for the Democratic National Committee.)

Woodward's gratefulness was manifest in the way he kept the CIA, in general, and the Robert R. Mullen Company, in particular, out of his stories. (I obtained the Lukoskie memo under the Freedom of Information Act. Eric Eisenstadt's reaction to that memo, which I also obtained under FOIA, was considered so secret that it was delivered by hand to then-CIA Director Richard Helms.

What bothers me the most about all this, and what inspires me to write this unforgiveably long email to so many about something so few care about, is the gullibility of "the press"---by which I mean Talking Heads like Jeffrey Toobin---who have bought Felt's story hook, line and sinker.

That Woodward and Bernstein have taken a no-comment stance toward Felt's story is interesting and probably predictable. On the one hand, if I'm right about Bennett being Throat, they have a serious problem where their source is concerned---not just that he was a composite, but that their relationship to him was predicated on a quid pro quo concealing the CIA's involvement in the Watergate story.

Thanks for listening (if you're still there),

Jim Hougan

Comment: The Deep Throat story opens into the bottomless rabbit hole of black ops, mind control, and illegal experimentation against the American people. We were played, given a heroic tale of two devoted journalists who wouldn't stop. Later immortalised on the screen by Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman, we were reassured, comforted, and made to feel good because "the system works".

Time for a moment of re-programming.

Take a look at our Timeline of Cointelpro Activity for an idea of how much is going on below the surface...and we don't think that we have even begun to scratch that surface.

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Teens captured after triple murder, car chase
By Mark Todd in Brisbane
June 1, 2005

Queensland police hauled five teenagers from a car at gunpoint to end a dramatic car chase sparked by a multiple murder at Toowoomba, west of Brisbane.

Three males and two females were detained.

Police cast metal spikes across the road in the pursuit, in which items of furniture were thrown from a moving vehicle.

Police charged two teenagers with the murder of three men who were beaten so badly police could not immediately identify the bodies.

Two youths, aged 16 and 17, both from Rockhampton, will face court this morning on three counts of murder. Further charges are expected.

Police found the dead men in a unit in Hume Street in Toowoomba's north.

The men had severe head inquires from being bludgeoned with a blunt object, possibly a length of metal pipe, according to media reports.

The bodies were to be removed from the unit yesterday afternoon after scientific officers had examined the scene.

Police Superintendent Tony Wright described the killings as particularly horrific. [...]

Comment: Two days ago, a teenager shoots and kills six people in rural Ohio. Yesterday, a nine year old girl fatally stabs her eleven year old companion over a ball, and two teens in Florida beat a homeless man to death "just for fun". Today, five teenagers murder three men by beating them until their bodies were unrecognizable. And then we learn that the HAARP array in Alaska has become increasingly active over the last few days.

Coincidence? We think not.

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Climate key to mega-beast demise

It is unlikely humans exterminated in a short killing spree the immense marsupial Diprotodon and other huge beasts that once roamed Australia.

Two new studies reject the theory that humans moving on to the continent more than 45,000 years ago took out its megafauna in a 1,000-year "blitzkrieg".

The studies suggest instead a more complex pattern to the extinctions.

Their authors say humans certainly had a role but it was not as important as the period's climate changes.

The studies are published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) and in Memoirs of the Queensland Museum.

'Guilt by association'

Migrating humans have been blamed for the quick disappearance of large creatures both in the northern and southern hemisphere.

In North America, for example, the demise of mammoths and sabre-toothed tigers at the end of the Pleistocene Epoch is coincident with the arrival on the landmass of humans with new stone-spear technologies about 12,000 years ago.

And in Australia, the extinction of great beasts - such as the marsupial lion (Thylacoleo carnifex), the immense wombat-like Diprotodon optatum and the 400kg lizard Megalania prisca - also occurred at roughly the same time humans appeared on the scene.

Previous research had even indicated a very rapid removal of the megafauna, in perhaps as little as a thousand years.

But in their PNAS paper, Clive Trueman, from the University of Portsmouth, UK, and colleagues in Australia argue evidence for the involvement of human overkill in the southern extinction is largely circumstantial - "guilt by association".

They report detailed new dating data on fossils found at Cuddie Springs in New South Wales. These suggest humans lived side by side with the great beasts of Australia for at least 10-12,000 years.

It gives the lie, they claim, to the notion that humans rapidly removed the large animals either by hunting or changing the landscape through burning.

Instead, the team argues for a more complex explanation of megafaunal extinction in which large climate shifts played a significant role.

These saw temperatures plummet and the lush landscape become arid.

Also, the researchers believe humans simply would not have had the hunting technologies to take out so many large creatures.

"There is not a single stone-spearpoint in Australia until, at the very earliest, about 15,000 years ago - long after anyone thinks the megafauna went extinct," said co-author Dr Stephen Wroe, from the University of Sydney.

"You try taking out a two-to-three-tonne wombat with a pointy stick.

"I don't doubt the first Aboriginals did hunt megafauna but the argument that they did it with the efficiency required to effect near-instantaneous extinction is not, in my view, credible."

Small and big

This analysis fits with the second paper, published by Gilbert Price, of Queensland University of Technology.

He says that the colder, drier climate that came about between 50,000 and 20,000 years ago changed the type of animals that could survive in the region of Australia that he studied.

He found that the patterns of fossils in a creek bed in the Darling Downs area of south-east Queensland suggested that other, smaller species also disappeared with the larger ones.

The shift in the fossils found in the 10m-deep section of creek bed mirrored the changes to the environment as woodland and scrubland gave way to grassland, he told Memoirs of the Queensland Museum.

Mr Price said that many of the fossils found pre-dated human activity in the area, absolving humans from any involvement in their extinction.

"We've done a little bit of radiocarbon dating on the deposits themselves and we know that the age of the deposits pre-dates the first humans on the Darling Downs by about 30 to 35,000 years," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

"We know that there's no human or cultural artefacts in the deposits as well and we know that all the cut marks on the bones are related to predation by some of the other species that lived on the Darling Downs, such as marsupial lions."

Some commentators in the Australian media on Tuesday questioned whether Trueman's and colleagues' dating of Cuddie Springs was as reliable as they claimed.

They also pointed to evidence that the megafauna had withstood previous climate uphevals, making it unlikely that one more extreme, Late-Pleistocene shift would have had such a big impact on its own.

Comment: The factor that these good scientists do not take into account is that of a massive disruption that has nothing to do with either human hunting nor with gradual climate change over hundreds of years. Laura Knight-Jadczyk discusses what might have happened in her book The Secret History of the World:

Something catastrophic happened to the large mammals roaming the world during the Pleistocene Epoch. Woolly mammoths, mastodons, toxodons, sabre-toothed tigers, woolly rhinos, giant ground sloths, and many other large Pleistocene animals are simply no longer with us. The fact is, more than 200 species of animals completely disappeared at the end of the Pleistocene approximately 12,000 years ago in what is known to Paleontologists as the “Pleistocene Extinction.”

At the same time that the paleontologists are dealing with the unsettling notion of such a recent mass death, geologists are confronted with the evidence of terrifying geological changes which took place: extensive volcanism and earthquakes, tidal waves, glacial melting, rising sea levels, and so on. The Pleistocene Epoch didn’t end with a whimper, for sure. It went out roaring and thundering.

We already know that Geologists and Paleontologists don’t like catastrophism - it keeps them up at night. They fought long and hard against the Catastrophists. But in the present day, scientists in both fields have to face the fact that the Catastrophists were mostly right from the beginning - even if they might have gone overboard and explained everything in terms of catastrophe. It is evident that there are “gradual” changes, but that most of what happens on the Big Blue Marble in terms of significant changes is catastrophic.

One of the major facts that paleontologists and geologists and archaeologists have had to face is the stupendous number of frozen carcasses in Canada and Alaska in the western areas, and in Northern Russian and Siberia in the eastern areas - all dated to about 12000 years ago. This suggests, of course, that something dreadful happened on the planet, and its effect on the Northern hemisphere was more severe than on the Southern hemisphere.

Back in the 1940s Dr. Frank C. Hibben, Prof. of Archeology at the University of New Mexico led an expedition to Alaska to look for human remains. He didn’t find human remains; he found miles and miles of icy muck just packed with mammoths, mastodons, and several kinds of bison, horses, wolves, bears and lions. Just north of Fairbanks, Alaska, the members of the expedition watched in horror as bulldozers pushed the half-melted muck into sluice boxes for the extraction of gold. Animal tusks and bones rolled up in front of the blades “like shavings before a giant plane”. The carcasses were found in all attitudes of death, most of them “pulled apart by some unexplainable prehistoric catastrophic disturbance.”

The evident violence of the deaths of these masses of animals, combined with the stench of rotting flesh, was almost unendurable both in seeing it, and in considering what might have caused it. The killing fields stretched for literally hundreds of miles in every direction. There were trees and animals, layers of peat and moss, twisted and tangled and mangled together as though some Cosmic mixmaster sucked them all in 12000 years ago, and then froze them instantly into a solid mass.

Just north of Siberia entire islands are formed of the bones of Pleistocene animals swept northward from the continent into the freezing Arctic Ocean. One estimate suggests that some ten million animals may be buried along the rivers of northern Siberia. Thousands upon thousands of tusks created a massive ivory trade for the master carvers of China, all from the frozen mammoths and mastodons of Siberia. The famous Beresovka mammoth first drew attention to the preserving properties of being quick-frozen when buttercups were found in its mouth.

What kind of terrible event overtook these millions of creatures in a single day? Well, the evidence suggests an enormous tsunami raging across the land, tumbling animals and vegetation together, to be finally quick-frozen for the next 12000 years. But the extinction was not limited to the Arctic, even if the freezing at colder locations preserved the evidence of Nature’s rage.

Paleontologist George G. Simpson considers the extinction of the Pleistocene horse in North America to be one of the most mysterious episodes in zoological history, confessing, “no one knows the answer.” He is also honest enough to admit that there is the larger problem of the extinction of many other species in America at the same time. The horse, giant tortoises living in the Caribbean, the giant sloth, the saber-toothed tiger, the glyptodont and toxodon. These were all tropical animals. These creatures didn’t die because of the “gradual onset” of an ice age, “unless one is willing to postulate freezing temperatures across the equator, such an explanation clearly begs the question.”

Massive piles of mastodon and saber-toothed tiger bones were discovered in Florida. Mastodons, toxodons, giant sloths and other animals were found in Venezuela quick-frozen in mountain glaciers. Woolly rhinoceros, giant armadillos, giant beavers, giant jaguars, ground sloths, antelopes and scores of other entire species were all totally wiped out at the same time, at the end of the Pleistocene, approximately 12000 years ago.

This event was global. The mammoths of Siberia became extinct at the same time as the giant rhinoceros of Europe; the mastodons of Alaska, the bison of Siberia, the Asian elephants and the American camels. It is obvious that the cause of these extinctions must be common to both hemispheres, and that it was not gradual. A “uniformitarian glaciation” would not have caused extinctions because the various animals would have simply migrated to better pasture. What is seen is a surprising event of uncontrolled violence. In other words, 12000 years ago, a time we have met before and will come across again and again, something terrible happened - so terrible that life on earth was nearly wiped out in a single day.

Harold P. Lippman admits that the magnitude of fossils and tusks encased in the Siberian permafrost present an “insuperable difficulty” to the theory of uniformitarianism, since no gradual process can result in the preservation of tens of thousands of tusks and whole individuals, “even if they died in winter.” Especially when many of these individuals have undigested grasses and leaves in their belly. Pleistocene geologist William R. Farrand of the Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory, who is opposed to catastrophism in any form, states: “Sudden death is indicated by the robust condition of the animals and their full stomachs … the animals were robust and healthy when they died.” Unfortunately, in spite of this admission, this poor guy seems to have been incapable of facing the reality of worldwide catastrophe represented by the millions of bones deposited all over this planet right at the end of the Pleistocene. Hibben sums up the situation in a single statement: “The Pleistocene period ended in death. This was no ordinary extinction of a vague geological period, which fizzled to an uncertain end. This death was catastrophic and all inclusive.”

The conclusion is, again, that the end of the Ice Age, the Pleistocene extinction, the end of the Upper Paleolithic, Magdalenian, Perigordian, and so on, and the end of the “reign of the gods,” all came to a global, catastrophic conclusion about 12,000 years ago. And, as it happens, even before this evidence was brought to light, this is the same approximate date that Plato gave for the sinking of Atlantis.

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Hurricane Season could Renew Global Warming Debate
May 31, 2005

MIAMI - If hurricanes again pound the United States this summer, their roar is likely to be accompanied by the din of another storm -- an angry debate among US scientists over the impact of global warming.

Last season's $45 billion devastation, when 15 tropical storms spawned nine hurricanes in the Atlantic and Caribbean, prompted climatologists to warn of a link to warming temperatures.

But hurricane experts say the unusual series of hurricanes, four of which slammed into Florida in a six-week period, was the result of a natural 15- to 40-year cycle in Atlantic cyclone activity.

After a lull between 1970 and the mid-1990s, the number of storms picked up dramatically from 1995 and higher-than-normal activity is expected for the next five to 30 years as a phenomenon known as the "Atlantic multidecadal mode" holds sway.

"Really, for the folks that are doing work on hurricanes, there isn't a debate (about global warming)," said Chris Landsea of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's hurricane research division in Miami.

Many climatologists disagree. They say the large, decades-long swings in hurricane activity may mask, but do not rule out, longer term climate change trends.

The warmer waters and increased air moisture that global warming is expected to produce are, after all, the primary fuels that hurricanes feed off during the June to November season.

"Global climate change is happening. The environment in which these hurricanes form is clearly changing," said Kevin Trenberth, a climatologist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado. He is also a lead author of the next major UN report on climate change, due in 2007. [...]

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Second Bigfoot Sighting In Norway House, Manitoba: Nervous Residents Seek Answers, Offer Photos of Evidence
May 31, 2005 05:15 PM

A second bigfoot sighting has been reported by a young girl, and her play mates in Paupanekis Point, Norway House, Manitoba, which is located on the south end of the same First Nations reserve where ferryman, Bobby Clarke, videotaped a large, dark, bipedal creature walking along the bank of the Nelsen River.

The girls were close to a residential area, which borders the woods, at around 7:30-8:00 pm on May 20, when the encounter occurred. The woods are bordered by knee high grass, which is where the creature was standing in plain view, apparently watching the children play. One of the girls fainted from fright, after seeing "a huge creature." None of the children were hurt, but they are understandably still quite shaken, and afraid to be left alone.

Immediately following the sighting, a search party was assembled to investigate the surrounding area. Footprints were found where the actual sighting occurred, as well as deeper into the woods. Several more expeditions have been conducted since, and have resulted in finding more physical evidence. The size of some of the tracks measure "larger than a man`s size 16 shoe" said one witness, and have a clearly defined outline of the toes. The tracks have been preserved, photographed, and videotaped by Norway House residents. [...]

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Most Americans Believe Alien Life is Possible, Study Shows
By Tariq Malik
31 May 2005

While most depictions of extraterrestrials are confined to science fiction, nearly two-thirds of Americans believe that some form of alien life exists somewhere in the universe, according to a new survey.

The telephone poll, which questioned 1,000 Americans, found that 60 percent of those surveyed believe extraterrestrial life exists on other planets.

Of those who believed, most agreed that they would be “excited and hopeful” upon learning of the discovery of extraterrestrial life while 90 percent of them said Earth should reply to any message from another planet, the poll reported. At least two-thirds of those polled who said they did not believe in extraterrestrial life also stated that Earth should respond to an alien signal if the situation arose, the survey reported.

Conducted by the Center for Survey and Research Analysis at the University of Connecticut, the telephone poll surveyed 523 women and 477 men above the age of 18 between April 20 and May 2. The survey was commissioned by the National Geographic Channel, which debuted its television special ‘Extraterrestrial’ on May 30, in association with the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute.

“It is quite likely that there is life elsewhere in our galaxy, and there’s a real possibility that we will find evidence of intelligent extraterrestrial life by the year 2025,” said Seth Shostak, senior astronomer for SETI, who appeared in ‘Extraterrestrial.’ [...]

Of those polled who believed in the possibility of extraterrestrial life, 77 percent thought alien lifeforms could develop on planets very different from Earth. About eight of 10 Americans believe it is likely that intelligent aliens on other planets are more advanced than humans, the poll found.

The poll also reported that belief in alien life did not split across political lines, but did vary depending on religious practices. Democrats and Republicans were equally likely to believe in life on other planets, while regular churchgoers were less likely to believe in extraterrestrial life (about 46 percent) than non-churchgoers (about 70 percent), the poll stated.

Comment: Now hang on, lets be fair here, regular church-goers are at a distinct advantage, they don't need to believe in extra-terrestrial life because they already have their alien "burning bush" god Yahweh.

Speaking of aliens; a few days ago we reported on prophet Yahweh and his amazing talent for producing UFOs on cue. As a result of the news coverage he received, ABC has decided NOT to do their planned follow up, which was scheduled for today. Hmmm... as ABC basically said by way of an explanation to the dejected Prophet Yahweh, "UFOs appearing in the sky on camera? Nothing to see here folks"

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