Thursday, June 02, 2005                                               The Daily Battle Against Subjectivity
Signs Logo
Printer Friendly Version
Fixed link to latest Page


P I C T U R E   O F   T H E   D A Y

Papiere Bitte
By Doris Colmes
June 01, 2005

"ICH" - - Those were the magic words of the time: "Papiere Bitte. (Translation: "Papers, Please.") Hearing those words, even now, causes dull echoes of sounds akin to bodies hitting dirt, or bullets penetrating flesh to thud into my mind. Because, if those papers weren't correctly in order, or, if you were a Jew sneakily present in any place (including the grocery store) which displayed the usual "NO JEWS OR DOGS ALLOWED" sign, you were dead meat--literally. And, yes, of course I'm talking about my childhood as a little Jewish kid in Nazi Germany.

No one ever forgets stench. Whether it is a long-forgotten encounter with a ripe skunk, or a ripe egg, or a ripe decomposing body, once one of those odors has been brain-documented, then even the slightest tinge of such an aroma pops back up immediately, along with the circumstances under which it first offended the nostrils.

And, that's what's happening now. I smell the long-forgotten skunk, the long-forgotten rot of fascism. What is happening all around can no longer be denied. What I ran away from so desperately in 1938 is coming back full circle. Only the jack-boots have not yet arrived.

America quite literally saved my life. The love and gratitude deep in my heart for this country will never go away. But I'm scared now. Haunted by deep fear for the generations to come, who may wind up as I did – looking over their shoulders, scurrying for cover, mute with terror. And it hurts.

Think I'm some kinda elderly nut-job neurotically manufacturing dictatorship? Well, let's look at the 82 billion dollar defense bill passed just a few weeks ago, which (with a vote tally of 100 to 0) had the Real ID Act hidden inside it. This law allows a national identification process in which each and every person in the U.S.A. will be on computer.

This ID will be based on driver's license applications, although it isn't just for driving. Just like the infamous "Internal Passport" of Nazi Germany, no one will need it unless needing to fly, cash checks, apply for jobs, walk the streets, enter federal buildings -- or drive. As stated in TIME magazine on May 15, 2005 , "If you are a wealthy recluse with liquid assets, it doesn't concern you." Everyone else better watch out! Well, maybe that wealthy recluse had better watch out also. After all, he/she might be of a forbidden religion, or of suspicious racial origin.

Legal "ID Theft" and legal "illegal surveillance?"

"The Real ID Act links driver's licenses of all states, creating a data base including the private details of every single U.S. citizen. It mandates that your driver's license share a common machine-readable digital photo of you, all the better to track your every movement. It hands the federal government unfunded mandate power to dictate what data all states must collect for license holders, including everything from fingerprints to retinal scans". [1]

And, if you don't drive, you'll still need to submit to the national ID card. How else, after all, will the cop who doesn't like the shape of your face, or the fact that you are (God Forbid) wearing a turban get to arrest you? Yes, "Papiere Bitte" has come home to roost.

And, folks, that's only the beginning. More technically sophisticated techniques will be implemented as they occur. If the Nazis had had electronic surveillance, phone bugging and all else that the Patriot Act not only condones but advises, there would have been an even tighter grip on the populace.

After all, the Patriot Act is modeled directly after Gestapo methods: Those 3:00 AM home intrusions – without warrant or reason for arrest – will get our undesirable "domestic terrorists" straight to the nearest version of Guantanamo with no need for trial. The USA is currently building thirty seven "detention centers" nationwide, and they'll soon be filled with persons who protest too much, or are simply of the wrong nationality. After all, it worked very well in Germany, successfully eliminating Jews, Gypsies, and anyone willing to stand up, and refuse to "Hail Hitler."

What's next? Well, it's already happening: The Geneva Conventions were initiated after WW II to prevent the insane war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated by Nazi Germany from ever happening again. Now, with blithe disregard of all of the above, the U.S.A. not only institutes torture (not just physical, but deliberately mental and emotional) on its prisoners, but actually exports these folks to countries in which such torture is governmentally approved. What the U.S. domestic prison system has kept hidden for years, is now right out there for everyone to applaud. How long it will take before the prison guards tie together the legs of a woman in labor and then make bets on how long it will take her to die? After all, that's what guards did for fun in Nazi Germany. Abu Ghraib, anyone?

So, you ask, "If that's all true, why doesn't the media expose it all?" Now, that's such a classic example of Nazi strategy, it's almost funny. The Nazis took over the media, folks. No newspaper published a single sentence without governmental approval, and propaganda was fed to the populace instead of news. Sound familiar? A TIME magazine article, (April, 2005), gave illustrated examples of how the current administration administers this process.

And, last but certainly not least, the Nazis took over the German government in its entirety with one simple maneuver: They simply took over the courts. You know, like it's happening right now, today, even as we speak: Our filibuster was busted, and those neo-con activist judges are a-sittin' on the bench, ready to take over the Supreme Court. Because, once that Supreme Court is co-opted, hey, driver's license ID cards are gonna be the least of our worries. Ask me. I know!

[1] Jim Babka, Canyon Lake Week , Canyon Lake , TX 5-11-2005

Click here to comment on this article

'Deep Throat' secret becomes the talk of the nation
June 1, 2005

WASHINGTON - Former FBI deputy director Mark Felt was hailed as a hero and denounced as a villain Wednesday after confessing to being the Watergate scandal's "Deep Throat" -- a revelation that took even President George W. Bush by surprise.

Felt's family and The Washington Post, which spearheaded press coverage of the Watergate cover-up in the early 1970s, confirmed that Felt was the celebrated anonymous source whose leaks helped bring down President Richard Nixon.

"I'm the guy they used to call Deep Throat," Felt, now 91, told Vanity Fair in an article published that was the talk of the nation on Wednesday.

"All I can tell you is that it was a revelation that caught me by surprise," President Bush told reporters, summing up the feeling of many in the Washington establishment.

"For those of us who grew up, got out of college in the late '60s, the Watergate story was a relevant story," Bush said. "And a lot of us have always wondered who Deep Throat might have been. And the mystery was solved yesterday."

Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who was appointed by Nixon as the US ambassador to NATO, in the 1970s, gave a guarded response when asked if he thought Felt had been right to leak confidential information.

"Well, I'm not in any judgmental mood," Rumsfeld told a Pentagon briefing. [...]

Comment: In response to Bush's assertion that Amnesty International's scathing report on US human rights abuses in the war on terror was "absurd", one QFS member wrote the following:

This morning I accidentally watched him say this on TV. What's really amazing to me is that it isn't already obvious [to everyone] that he's delusional. Oddly enough, a few moments after he abruptly called an end to the press conference, they came on with the news flash about the identity of "Deep Throat."

Perhaps it isn't so odd after all. Look at the wonderful distraction that the Deep Throat revelation provides. No one is talking about the US and human rights abuses or Bush's response to Amnesty's report - except for Amnesty International itself.

Click here to comment on this article

In "gulag" row, Amnesty challenges US to open up Guantanamo Bay to observers
Thu Jun 2, 4:47 AM ET

TOKYO - The head of Amnesty International hit back at US outrage over the group labelling Guantanamo Bay a "gulag" and challenged Washington to open the military-run detention center to outside inspections.

US leaders, including President George W. Bush, have said they were shocked that the human rights group accused the United States of running "a new gulag of prisons around the world beyond the reach of the law and decency".

The secretary general of London-based Amnesty International, Irene Khan, said the US response has lacked substance.

"Their response has been defensive and dismissive," she said during a visit to Japan. "We have not seen from them a more detailed response to the concerns we have expressed in our report.

"Our answer is simple. If that is so (that the allegations are unfounded), open up these detention centers. Allow us and others to visit them," she told a news conference on a visit to Tokyo.

"What is interesting is that we are actually getting response from the US government" after failing to do so for more than three years, Khan said. "We welcome an opportunity to sit down and have a debate with them on the issue."

Because the US military base in Guantanamo Bay for prisoners from the "war on terror" is located in Cuba, the Bush administration argues its inmates do not enjoy the same legal protections as those held inside the United States.

"We are concerned about allegations of torture that frequently emerge and are not independently and fully investigated," Khan said.

The Amnesty report came after allegations that interrogators at Guantanamo had desecrated the Muslim holy book the Koran to pressure prisoners.

Newsweek magazine retracted the report after it set off deadly riots in Afghanistan and stirred outrage in the Muslim world, saying its source had backed away from the allegation. [...]

Khan said the report was compiled mostly by American staff.

Click here to comment on this article

UN extends mandate of multinational forces in Iraq
Tue May 31, 8:46 PM ET

UNITED NATIONS - The UN Security Council agreed to extend the mandate of multinational forces in Iraq "until the completion of the political process."

Iraq had requested the council extend the mandate, which it did informally in a statement to the news media, without adopting a resolution.

The statement said council members "welcomed the progress made in recruiting, training and equipping Iraqi security forces and look forward to those forces progressively playing a greater role and ultimately assuming responsibility for Iraq's national security."

In an interview, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari called on the United States and other countries to accelerate efforts to help the new government get on its feet.

"We need the cooperation of all our neighbors, of the international community, to accelerate this, the process of training, of equipment, of assistance, because that will shorten the mandate of the (multinational force)," Zebari said.

"We need the continued engagement of the United States in this process. For us this is very important. It's important to accelerate the training, the buid-up of these forces. I know there are many efforts to see things through being exerted, but speed is of the essence."

Zebari was scheduled to meet with US Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice in Washington on Wednesday to discuss additional aid to his fledgling government.

Comment: Is it really a surprise that the US puppet government in Iraq would request the continued engagement of the US in Iraqi affairs? If Zebari's statement proves anything, it is that the Iraqi "government" and the Iraqi people have dramatically different views of the US occupation of their country.

Click here to comment on this article

Il Diario
56k RP
56 k WMP

NOTE: This video shows tough and shocking pictures and it's aimed to adult viewers only.

This video has been recorded in Falluja in early Janury, 2005, when the city was reopened to civilians after the American attack of November 8th, 2004 ("Operation Al-Fajr", i. e. "the dawn").

It's an important document since the city was closed to reporters at that moment. This video was handed over to the Italian weekly magazine Diario by the Studies Center of Human Rights and Democracy of Falluja. Diario issued a broad enquire on Falluja battle on May 27th, 2005.

"Falluja-The day After" shows the total devastation of the Iraqi town, the corpses of the victims, the mass graves, the exhumation of many corpses by local rescue teams in order to try to recognize some of the victims. The last corpse shown in this video belongs to a 14 year old girl.

The video lasts 18 minutes and 20 seconds.

Comment: Fallujah was the big battle launched by Bush hours after his re-election. We were told it was an operation against "terrorists" and "insurgents". It destroyed the city. These images taken in January 2005 show the devastation. Among the ruins, rotting bodies are pulled out and buried in trench graves. The camera drives through the empty streets taking in block after block of what is left of the homes and stores.

The occupation forces have had a ban on video and pictures from Fallujah. Giuliana Sgreno was researching the facts of this US war crime when she was abducted. We are not supposed to know what really happened. The US media won't report the truth. This 18 minute video is a first look at the liberation wrought by Bush's army.

Click here to comment on this article

Big, Bad Abu Musab al-Zarqawi

The creation of a myth

Is it time to 'dispose' of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi? Has he 'outlived' his usefulness?
by William Bowles
Wednesday, 1 June 2005

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi – a man notorious for his alleged ruthlessness – is suspected of direct involvement in the kidnap and beheading of several foreigners in Iraq – even of wielding the knife himself.

A headline to conjure with no doubt, though clearly whoever writes this drivel needs to go back to journalism school and get a lesson in sentence construction. "Alleged" and "suspected", but nevertheless there's no doubt that he's "notorious", what for, his allegedness?

Fascinating the way the media operates. Note here that the words that will stick won't be his allegedness but his ruthlessness and his notoriety, that is, after all, entirely the objective of this piece of disinformation.

Now whether the BBC is leading or being led makes little difference. I'm not sure if people even care about Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. What does count however, is the overall impression that's created, that is after all the objective, to deflect attention from the real issues through the creation of a mythological figure, the archetypal 'bogey-man', who comes and goes at will, seemingly impervious to capture. Able to slip across borders that are we are told, under surveillance 24/7, first he's here then he's there, he moves at the speed of light, the master of disguise, blah-blah-blah…

I caught a snatch of a news report on the BBC in the am (31/5/05) that talked of "Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of the insurgency in Iraq", so the elusive little bugger has been promoted overnight just as it seemed he was about to be 'downsized'. The BBC of course, is not exactly au fait with the man, just with the bits and pieces of disinformation it gets fed by the army of 'experts in terror' who feed parasitically on the myth and for all I know, are instrumental in its creation, or least 'conduits' through which disinformation can be fed.

Just a 'throwaway' line but one that instils an entire set of assumptions about what's going on in Iraq. Now is this all self-delusion? After all, how do the news mavens think? What exactly goes on between thought and pen? The traditional argument is somewhat self-referential as it relies on the idea that somehow, 'news' gets onto the front page and hence becomes 'news' all on its little own-some, without any help from its friends, but of course 'news' has to be primed. Cues are handed out from the 'powers that be' that inform the corporate/state media what's what when it comes to what needs to be the focus of the 'news' at any given time.

Much depends on the fact that most of us are not informed about events, hence discontinuities in the storyline escape unnoticed and unchallenged, although this is changing rapidly, even if its only an escalating state of utter disbelief at what we are being told – or not told (eg see the latest MediaLens piece) due in no small part to the Internet and the collapsing credibility of the corporate/state media's lock on events.

As regular readers will know, I've been on Abu's case since he surfaced mysteriously in Colin Powell's Powerpoint presentation to the UN way back in February 2003.

Zarqawi's pedigree is fascinating and an object lesson in story continuity for any would-be scriptwriter looking for a job with the imperium, for any analysis of Abu Zarqawi's evolution as a character reveals serious discontinuities. Not that these bother the news organisations, as they regularly discard anything that doesn't 'fit' the current scenario but you know how the 'soapies' work, with characters often killed off for a variety of reasons, only to re-emerge at a later date without any apparent objections from the viewer as to how, exactly, they arose from the dead.

Scriptwriting 101 – Characterisation
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's name first came to be used by the imperium shortly and not coincidentally, just before the appearance of the notorious September 2002 UK government 'dodgy dossier', when a reference is made to him by George Bush[1], then again but more extensively, in Colin Powell's fictional account of Saddam's WMD before the UN in February 2003. Indeed, Powell devotes several paragraphs and Zarqawi even gets a fuzzy aerial shot of his 'HQ' in northern, Kurdish-controlled Iraq, where he is credited with being boss of 'Ansar al-Islam', variously described as an 'offshoot' or a 'competitor' of al-Qu-eda' (depending on which press report you read, that in turn depends on which parasitical 'expert' is selling them the drivel). Powell is effusive in his description of Zarqawi

When our coalition ousted the Taliban, the Zarqaqi network helped establish another poison and explosive training center camp. And this camp is located in northeastern Iraq.

Ansar al-Islam POWELL: You see a picture of this camp.

The network is teaching its operatives how to produce ricin and other poisons. Let me remind you how ricin works. Less than a pinch-image a pinch of salt-less than a pinch of ricin, eating just this amount in your food, would cause shock followed by circulatory failure. Death comes within 72 hours and there is no antidote, there is no cure. It is fatal. [2]

Aside from anything else, Powell's description of ricin is complete rubbish, relying not only on our general ignorance about ricin but crucially, the fact that such assertions are unlikely to be challenged by the media. But who bothers about such details when viewing a soapie? It's the overall effect that's important. Later, in March of 2003, the camp (actually a small collection of huts) was flattened by US bombing, to such a degree that it was unrecognisable as a camp.[3] A strange event given as how the US had known about this 'al-Qu-eda HQ' for a considerable period of time.

Over the next few months, bits and pieces about Zarqawi emerge but it's not until after the occupation of Iraq by the 'coalition of the killing' that we start to read more about Zarqawi but even then, who he actually is and his relationship to al-Qu'eda is at best, sketchy and fraught with contradictions but as with all fictional, larger-than-life characters, it's best not to be too specific, let the consumer's imagination fill in all the blank sections, merely suggest, well, that's he's evil, ruthless, cold-blooded, without a conscience, well you know the sort of thing…

We learn that he is Jordanian and that he was a naughty boy at school and a bit of drunk (clearly not a devout Muslim at the time), though even here, we are totally reliant on the Jordanian secret service for these tidbits. He is variously described as being either the murderer of CIA operative, Foley, an opponent of the Jordanian monarchy, out to kill Israelis, Osama's right-hand man, his competition, take your pick. He did however spend some years in a Jordanian prison before being released under an amnesty, although again, what he did time for is not clear (one account says it was for a bombing, another simply for his opposition to the Jordanian regime) and that then he did a bunk to Afghanistan where he was allegedly trained by al-Qu'eda, then hopped it to Pakistan before or after either falling out with Osama or being sent to Iraq by Osama, take your pick.

Early US reports are contradictory about his relationship to Osama, but this is the entire point about keeping Zarqawi's activities deliberately vague, you can't be too specific, else someone will actually be able to follow a lead and expose the actual nature of his activities, if any.

At some point it's alleged that he a lost a leg due to US actions in Afghanistan or perhaps when they flattened the Ansar al-Islam HQ in northern Iraq but given the speed at which he allegedly moves around the world, perhaps he found it? He has also – in line with his soapie credentials – died and been reborn.

Of course, Zarqawi's actual role was to establish a connection between Osama/al-Qu'eda and Saddam Hussein and given that back in February 2003, Zarqawi was an unknown quantity, what better character was there than this non-entity to establish the connection with?

Once the idea has been planted, all that is necessary is to feed the media with a variety of 'tidbits' about the man, the more contradictory they are, the better, it makes him all the more mysterious and, easy to speculate about.

The Christian Science Monitor story of October 2003, 'The rise and fall of Ansar al-Islam' is one of the more notorious pieces of disinformation about Zarqawi, full of all manner of assumptions and accusations but without a shred of supporting evidence to back up a single claim by the author, Scott Peterson[4].

He tells us for example,

Ansar [al-Isam] was once part of a long-term Al Qaeda dream to spread Islamic rule from Afghanistan to Kurdistan and beyond. But that idea was embryonic at best, and when US forces attacked Afghanistan in October 2001, Al Qaeda support for Ansar dried up.

Yet virtually all of Peterson's information comes from the US-backed PUK or Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, long a recipient of US funding and support, so anything they say has to be viewed with suspicion, not to mention its dealings with Saddam.[5] In fact the leader of PUK, Jalal Talabani, now 'prime minister' of Iraq, did deals with just about everybody![6]

The rest is up to the media and it's here that we see the pivotal role the media plays in promulgating the myth, or should we say myths, starting with Newsweek Magazine's allegations about Zarqawi's role in the 'beheading' of the American Nicholas Berg, about which I've written before, another piece of disinformation that did the rounds, even ending up on the front page of the Independent. Subsequent research revealed that the Zarqawi/Berg connection had but a single, unverifiable source that was at least one year old.

What is amazing is just how many different stories there are about Zarqawi, most of which present entirely contradictory accounts about his life and activities, not that this bothers the media which is all too happy to turn this one time drunk and petty thief (Jordanian source) into Al-Qu'eda's #2 man in Iraq (US government source) and now, we are told by the BBC, the actual leader of the resistance in Iraq. Just for good measure, Rumsfeld actually denied at one time, that Zarqawi was of any consequence at all, as did the CIA.[7]

Take for example Zarqawi's alleged base in Falluja, the primary reason we were told, as to why the US demolished the city of 300,000 and slaughtered who knows how many thousands of innocent people. At one point, the US were alleging that Zarqawi directed the entire defence of Falluja by telephone! A not inconsiderable military achievement. Perhaps it was a videophone, so as he scooted (hopped?) around the country, he directed fire? Such assertions depend entirely on the reader's lack of knowledge about how, exactly, battles are fought.

We read this past week that he is now in Syria, Iran, back in Pakistan, possibly licking his wounds (wound?) somewhere in Iraq; that he had passed the baton on to his #2 man. So where do all these stories actually come from?

Scanning the stories, we find that none have an actual source, it's all pure supposition, using the classic phrase, 'it is alleged' but by whom we are never told unless it's yet another unverified source.

Then there's the issue of the Websites that conveniently tell us exactly what Zarqawi is not only thinking but also doing, presumably because he's so confident of success in carrying out his various and sundry missions around the planet, that he wants to give the US a sporting chance at catching him? What a sporting fellow Mr Zarqawi must be to be so very helpful.

Is it not all so transparent as to be utter nonsense? Apparently not, because this doesn't stop the home of 'objective' news, the BBC, repeating all this rubbish ad infinitum, with the able assistance of a raft of 'terror experts', who are making a fine living out of Mr Zarqawi thank you very much.

Typically, a BBC story purporting to be an "analysis" of Zarqawi tells us

But trends like the increase in suicide bombings in Baghdad may be evidence of growing collaboration between the foreign elements and local Iraqi insurgents.[8]

Note the use of the phrase "may be" but then again may be it's not. And for good measure, the sentence leaves the impression that the resistance is led by "foreign elements". This particular piece dated 26 May, is full of may be's

It remains unclear whether he is seriously wounded, whether he is in Iraq or elsewhere, and whether he has been replaced at least temporarily as leader of his group.

Unclear instead of a may be. Well they can't keep saying may be can they. And in fact, it's not clear whether he has actually been wounded at all (or for that matter, is actually even in Iraq).

He is blamed for many of the most deadly attacks and is the only widely-recognised leader in the insurgency.

Blamed by whom? And who recognizes him as the leader of the insurgency? Why the BBC of course. The use of such stock phrases like "he is blamed" are classic propaganda lines, for they leave an impression of veracity without actually having to offer a single piece of evidence.

The foreign fighters whom Abu Musab al-Zarqawi leads may be only a portion of the total.

May be again. It's all complete rubbish, based on nothing except pure supposition that ultimately serves to obscure the fact of the complete failure of the occupying forces to crush the resistance.

They have targeted and captured senior Zarqawi associates, they say, and believe they may even have got close to the man himself.

They say is of course, the Americans. Well what else should they say? And the BBC calls this objective, even-handed reporting!

The piece ends by saying

That may be, as the Americans contend, a sign of increasing desperation.

Or it may be further evidence that the insurgency is stronger and more sophisticated than US commanders and intelligence have calculated.

It may be an invasion from outer space by one-legged, aliens. Take for example, this BBC news report, also dated 26 May

The denial [concerning Zarqawi's wounding] was posted on a website often used by al-Qaeda after a statement appeared on a lesser known website saying that a new chief would take control while Zarqawi recovers from his wounds.

The authenticity of either statement cannot be verified.[9]

First it tells us authoritatively, that the Website is used by Al Qu-eda but then it tells us that the statement cannot be verified, so how does it know that it's an al-Qa'eda statement in the first place? It does this by implication, justifying one supposition with another, that the Website is "often used by al-Qaeda" though it offers no evidence to support this claim any more than it can substantiate the Website's claim that a "new chief" will take control.

Ultimately of course, it serves to mask the disaster that is the occupation and to cover up the fact that the Iraqi people are not too happy at having their country blown apart, its infrastructure destroyed, hundreds of thousands of its people killed and its natural resources ripped off by gang of heavily armed pirates.

So in spite of thousands of 'news' reports about Zarqawi, all of which are essentially self-referential in that not one single piece of actual evidence backs up any of the claims made in them, the overall impression created is that of a vast body of knowledge about the man and his alleged actions, that through the sheer volume of reports creates the impression of credibility. After all, if news outlet after news outlet repeats the same assertions, the overall impression is one of credibility.

One has to ask the question why do the corporate/state media participate in such a gigantic fraud, to which one can only answer that the media shares the same ideological viewpoint as the state's and that its objective is to project a view of the world that supports the state's view. It serves to obscure the causes of events through the creation of such mythological characters as Zarqawi who then becomes the 'cause' of the occupation's failure and of the Iraqi peoples resistance to the occupation.

Moreover, it serves to dehumanise the Iraqi people by transforming them into passive victims who can only stand idly by whilst they are manipulated by 'outside' forces over which they have no control, a tactic long used to rationalise invasion and occupation of Vietnam, Nicaragua, El Salvador et al. That we are only now coming to grips with the 'big lie' shows just how powerful is the media's grip on reality through the invention of archetypes like Zarqawi.


1. 'The World's Most Dangerous Terrorist', June 23, 2004.
2. U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell Addresses the U.N. Security Council. and 'No sign of poison in Ansar'.
3. 'The rise and fall of Ansar al-Islam'.
4. ibid
5. 'US Met with Kurdish Factions On Overthrow of Hussein'.
See also for PUK murders of Kurdish women members of WcP or the Worker communist Party of Iraq. PuK, which fought a long-running war with its main rival the PDK, even did a deal with the Ba'ath regime prior to Saddam's overthrow.
6. See Dilip Hiro's book, 'Desert Shield, Desert Storm' and Iraq's 'New President Jalal Talabani: Ally of CIA, Iranian Intelligence and Saddam Hussein'
7. 'Rumsfeld questions Saddam-Bin Laden link'.
See also 'Undeterred by CIA report, O'Reilly stood firm on "smoking gun" Zarqawi; urged Rumsfeld to watch The Factor'.
8. 'Analysis: Zarqawi's insurgency'.
9. 'Iraq backs Zarqawi wounded claim'

Click here to comment on this article

US has 'not forgotten' Villepin role over Iraq

WASHINGTON, May 31 (AFP) - The United States indicated Tuesday it wants to work with new French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, yet suggested France's opposition to the Iraq war when he was foreign minister had not been forgotten.

"We look forward to working with the prime minister and his government, when it's named," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said.

Asked about de Villepin leading opposition to the war in Iraq, chiefly at the United Nations, Boucher suggested the United States had not yet turned a page on that strained phase in Franco-American relations.

"We all know that when he was foreign minister, we had a variety of actions with him, and we know him from those days," Boucher said.

"I'm not going to comment on the new French prime minister," he added. "It's up to the French government to decide who they want in their government. They're doing so now."

Click here to comment on this article

Iraq War: Drafting the dead
Wednesday, June 1, 2005

President Bush was among the 260,000 graves at Arlington National Cemetery when he said it. But it was clear Monday that the president was referring to the more than 1,650 Americans killed to date in Iraq when he said, "We must honor them by completing the mission for which they gave their lives; by defeating the terrorists."

Bush insists on clinging to the thoroughly discredited notion that there was any connection between the old Iraqi regime -- no matter how lawless and brutal -- and the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

U.S. military action against an Afghan regime that harbored al-Qaida was a legitimate response to the 9/11 attacks. The invasion of Iraq was not.

As of Memorial Day 2003, Bush had declared major combat operations at an end, predicted that weapons of mass destruction would be found and that U.S. forces were in the process of stabilizing Iraq. One hundred sixty U.S. troops had died.

The U.S. death toll has grown more than tenfold. No weapons of mass destruction were found. More than 700 Iraqis have been killed since Iraq's new government was formed April 28.

Bush said of the insurgents at a news conference yesterday, "I believe the Iraqi government is plenty capable of dealing with them."

Of course, this is the same president that assured the world that military intervention in Iraq was a last resort and that the United States would make every effort to avoid war through diplomacy. Giving lie to that as well is the so-called Downing Street War Memo, which shows that as early as July 2002, "Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the Intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."

Perhaps all presidents' remarks in military graveyards are by nature self-serving. But few have been so callow as the president's using the deaths of U.S. troops in his unjustified war as justification for its continuance.

Click here to comment on this article

Iraqi attack kills three children as deadly violence rages on
02 June 2005 0312 hrs

BAGHDAD : A mortar attack in Baghdad killed four people, including three children, while Turkish Kurds sheltering in the north of the war-wracked country held out an olive branch to Ankara. "Four people, including three children, were killed and another child wounded when a mortar shell fell in Dura," a southern residential neighborhood, an interior ministry source said.

The attack was one of the first following the bloody month of May when an estimated 672 Iraqis died in attacks, according to figures released by the government.

An earlier attack at a Baghdad airport checkpoint wounded 15 Iraqis, as the government said its major anti-insurgent operation in the city was finally reaping dividends. [...]

Click here to comment on this article

Bomb hits Baghdad airport checkpoint
Wednesday 01 June 2005, 17:52 Makka Time, 14:52 GMT

At least 15 Iraqis have been injured after a bomber targeted US forces, exploding a vehicle near the heavily guarded checkpoint leading to Baghdad International Airport.

The bomb went off just after 9am (local time) on Wednesday but no soldiers were injured, US military spokeswoman Captain Kelly Lewis said.

Iraqi police Captain Talib Thamir added that the bomber, who died in the blast, was targeting a checkpoint that is mainly manned by private security guards backed by US troops.

A security official at western Baghdad's main Yarmouk Hospital said earlier that three Iraqi Airways employees were wounded.

One of the victims, Ghassan Yassin, said he suffered facial wounds as a result of the blast.

"Me and some colleagues at Iraqi Airways were waiting in line when we saw a speeding car, then we heard a big explosion," Yassin said. "The next thing I realised is that my car was on fire. I got out through the window after the doors jammed due to the explosion."

Baghdad International has often come under mortar attack, and vehicles travelling on the road leading to it from downtown Baghdad are routinely targeted by bombs.


In an unrelated development, an Iraqi soldier died from poisoning and nine others were in critical condition after they ate free watermelon handed out at a checkpoint in northern Iraq, police said on Wednesday.

"A vendor offered a poisoned watermelon on Monday to Iraqi soldiers manning checkpoints between Shorgat and Kiyara," said police Colonel Fares Mahdi.

"One soldier died and nine others who were rushed to the hospital are in critical condition."

Police were searching for the assassin in what is thought to be the first such attack against Iraqi security forces.

Click here to comment on this article

Suicide Bomber Strikes Afghan Mosque
Associated Press Writer

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan - A suspected al-Qaida suicide bomber walked into a mosque during the funeral of a Muslim cleric and blew himself up Wednesday, killing 20 people, including Kabul's police chief, and wounding 42 others.

The attack was the deadliest in Afghanistan since a surge in violence began in March, casting doubt on U.S. claims that it is stabilizing the country and reinforcing fears that militants here are copying the tactics of those in Iraq.

Hundreds of mourners were crowded inside the mosque for the funeral of Mullah Abdul Fayaz in the main southern city of Kandahar when the bomber struck.

President Hamid Karzai condemned the assault as an "act of cowardice by the enemies of Islam and the enemies of the peace of Afghan people" and ordered a high-level investigation.

Parts of the bomber's body were found and Kandahar Gov. Gul Agha Sherzai said he belonged to Osama bin Laden's terrorist network.

"The attacker was a member of al-Qaida. We have found documents on his body that show he was an Arab," Sherzai said. "We had an intelligence report that Arab al-Qaida teams had entered Afghanistan and had been planning terrorist attacks." [...]

Comment: Of course, that explains it! Because the suicide bomber was an Arab, by default he must also be a member of al-Qaeda.

Without any apparent proof at all, and using the most twisted logic imaginable, this spokesman for the American client-puppet Afghan government has basically said that all Arabs, by virtue of their race must also be part of al-Qaeda. No wonder Arab peoples are regarded with such fear and loathing by the west when reprehensible claptrap like this is reported in the mainstream media.

Click here to comment on this article

Saudi Maneuver Raises Suspicions of Nuclear Aspirations
BY BENNY AVNI - Staff Reporter of the Sun
June 1, 2005

UNITED NATIONS - A recent maneuver by Saudi Arabia to limit international inspection of its atomic capabilities has raised suspicions that the kingdom could be preparing to go nuclear.

The Saudis are calling for the implementation of a provision of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty that allows countries that are not suspected of having nuclear aspirations to forgo heavy inspection of their facilities by the International Atomic Energy Agency. [...]

Click here to comment on this article

Prisoners forced to drink urine: "Drink or die"
IMEMC & Agencies
Tuesday, 24 May 2005

After the horrific story of soldiers abusing two Palestinian workers, and forcing one of them to drink the soldiers' urine until he fainted, one of the soldiers stood in court and admitted to the hidden truth which even the press was hesitant to admit: "What we did was inhuman".

The extreme brutality which revealed a hidden face of the Israeli army was revealed during the trial of the soldiers who abused the workers and forced one of them to drink their urine.

The event took place on September, 2004 when soldiers based at a military checkpoint in Abu Dis, near Jerusalem, stopped Sameeh Rahhal, 22, from Bethlehem, and Firas al-Bakry, 22, from Hebron, and other workers.

The soldiers claimed that the workers were 'illegally' staying in Jerusalem and decided to "punish them". And took them to an abandoned hotel, which the army was using as a military post.

There, at the 'hotel' the abuse and cruelty of the soldiers was exposed on its highest level.

Sameeh said in his testimony that soldiers forced him to choose between having his hands and legs broken or drinking the soldiers' urine.

"First, the soldiers stopped us, along with dozens of workers, then they drew lots with our identity cards, randomly choosing two, and released the other workers", Sameeh said.

Sameeh and Firas and were forced – in what Israeli soldiers called 'entertainment' – to choose one from three paper notes inside a box.

The 'Game' which soldiers chose to play, included three sorts of punishments; breaking hands, legs and drinking from bottles filled with the soldiers' urine.

"I told them I would not do it, and they attacked me and sprayed my face with one of the urine bottles, I pushed one soldier away from me, then six soldiers attacked me and pointed their M-16 rifles in my face, this time I had to choose between drinking urine and death", Sameeh added.

He had to drink the urine until fell unconscious. After that, soldiers left him there on the ground until he was found by other civilians near the checkpoint, and was transferred to the Abu Dees clinic, where his stomach was emptied of the urine, and he was then moved to Beit Jala Hospital.

An Israeli military court convicted Nier Levy, the commander of the unit, of abusing the workers and sentenced him to 14 months, and one year on parole.

Apparently, abusing a Palestinian in this inhuman way and degrading him, threatening him with death, is not even grounds for a demotion.

The courts' ruling read that Levy, along with other soldiers, identified as Ariel Simhayev, Alexander Meropolsky, Robert Schneider and Yussi Moshiashiviely, jumped over the two workers, clubbed them, then one of the soldiers inserted his rifle top in the mouth of Sameeh and said, "When I say I will shoot, I mean I will shoot".

The soldiers also found a piece of soap on Sameeh's bag, and forced him to 'paint' his face with it, and rub it with sand, as if he was washing himself.

Later on, the soldiers told him to jump from a high window, but he said that it's too high, and then they ordered him to jump from a lower window, which caused several injuries, and forced him to drink the urine until he fell unconscious.

Sameeh was transferred to a clinic in Abu Dis, and received medication to clean his stomach, and then he was transferred to Bethlehem Governmental Hospital.

Simhayev was sentenced to 7 and a half months, Schneider was sentenced to eight months, Moshiashiviely was sentenced to four months in public service, 'since he did not directly participate in the event', but did not file a report against the soldiers who warned him not to, while Meropolsky was not sentenced yet.

Israeli soldiers manning the random checkpoints throughout the occupied Palestinian territories often force Palestinians to go through such 'entertainment'. A civilian in Hebron recently suffered multiple fractures in his limbs when he was forced to go through the same choices Sameeh had to choose from.

Yet, military checkpoints remain in every part of Palestine, separating the cities from each other, and even from their surrounding villages which depend on these cities socially and economically.

At each of these checkpoint, residents are often forced to undress, to dance, to stand in the sun or rain for several hours. Sick residents and even ambulances transporting patients in urgent conditions have to wait until they are allowed to pass, and are often blocked from passing through at all.

Over 100 patients have died at checkpoints since 2000, when Israeli troops prevented them from reaching hospitals. Even unborn babies have to suffer from these checkpoints, and die, those infants have been sentenced to death, even before seeing the light of this world, even before they managed to know what it is like out there!

One of these cases was the fetus of Amnah Abdul-Karim Safadi, 19, from a village near Nablus; the baby died before being born because the mother was denied access to the hospital at Huwwara checkpoint. She was delayed for 5 hours before she could access Alitihad hospital in Nablus.

Comment: More evidence of the fact that many Israelis and supporters of the Zionist entity do think that Palestinians are little better than animals.

Click here to comment on this article

U.S. gets tough with China on piracy laws
By Scott Hillis
June 2, 2005

BEIJING - U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez kicked off his first official trip to China on Thursday by saying that the country's rampant counterfeiting of American products was the top issue bedevilling trade ties.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has estimated that global trade in fake and pirated goods, anything from designer dresses to DVDs, costs the American economy $250 billion each year.

"Intellectual property rights are not up for negotiation, and frankly, abuse of intellectual property rights is not acceptable," Gutierrez told businessmen on his first visit to Beijing since becoming commerce chief in February.

"Intellectual property rights violations are a crime and we don't believe we should be negotiating crimes with our trading partners."

Industry groups estimate that U.S. music, movie and software companies lose up to $3.8 billion a year in China from sales of pirated copies, a headache for firms like entertainment giant Walt Disney Co. and software titan Microsoft Corp. [...]

U.S. imports of some types of clothing from China have risen dramatically since Jan. 1, when a decades-old system of quotas on developing countries' textile exports expired.

In response to the increases, Washington last month announced it would temporarily restrict imports of products such as pants, shirts and underwear. [...]

Comment: While China may have a problem with piracy, it seems that this story is simply more anti-China propaganda in preparation for the future economic armageddon in the US. As it turns out, China is not the worst offender - Israel is.

Click here to comment on this article

Flashback: Israel Could Be Next in Piracy Crackdown
By Barry Willis
February 28, 1999

Move over, Brazil. Step aside, China. Make room for Israel, king of the copyright-violation hill. US Trade Representative Charlene Barshevsky announced in mid-February that sanctions could soon be imposed on the Middle Eastern nation for what the State Department calls piracy of "epidemic proportions."

The US ambassador to Israel, Edward Walker, suggested earlier in the month that trade sanctions might be applied to Israel to try to rein in the wholesale piracy of American films and CDs. "Israel's fundamental interest must be protecting intellectual property rights," Walker warned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

According to Barshevsky, Israel is among the world's worst copyright offenders, alongside China, Brazil, Paraguay, and Bulgaria. The US has found it difficult to affect economic policies and internal procedures in Israel due to strong support for the nation among members of both the US Congress and the American entertainment industry.

The piracy problem has been made worse in the past two years by the Israeli Knesset, the nation's governing body, which weakened what the Los Angeles Times called "already feeble copyright laws." The situation is compounded by the fact that some illicit Israeli-owned duplicating plants are in the West Bank area controlled by the Palestinian Authority. The US Trade Representative's office is required to submit a yearly report to Congress on the state of intellectual property rights worldwide. The office is also empowered to impose sanctions against violators.

Comment: This article was written in 1999. How many reports have we heard since then about crackdowns on piracy in Israel spearheaded by the US?

Click here to comment on this article

Chirac urges EU to take time to study 'non' shock

PARIS, June 1 - President Jacques Chirac has asked his European Union counterparts to "take the time needed to analyse the consequences" of France's rejection of the EU constitution, in a letter released by his office Wednesday.

"It would be appropriate to take the time needed to analyse the consequences of France's vote for the union," Chirac wrote to his 24 EU counterparts, saying the process should begin at an EU summit later this month in Brussels.

Nearly 55 percent of French voters on Sunday rejected the EU constitution, which aims to streamline decision-making in the expanded bloc. The Netherlands went to the polls on Wednesday, with a "no" vote expected there too.

"Above and beyond what this decision implies for my own country, I am aware of the consequences that this situation imposes on France's partners and on the Union itself," Chirac wrote.

"It is up to all the other member states to express themselves on this treaty," the French leader said, suggesting that the ratification process should continue despite France's historic "no" vote. So far, nine EU countries have approved the treaty - Austria, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.

As the constitution must be ratified by all 25 EU states to take effect, observers suggested that the treaty would stop dead in its tracks following the French rejection, but EU officials insist the process will move forward.

Chirac insisted that France's repudiation of the EU charter "does not at all call into question France's deep and historic commitment to the construction of Europe," adding: "France is a founding member of the Union."

The 72-year-old leader - who on Tuesday appointed Dominique de Villepin as France's new prime minister, replacing Jean-Pierre Raffarin in the wake of the EU vote disaster - said Paris would maintain its position within the bloc.

Click here to comment on this article

EU leaders agonise over fate of treaty after Dutch blow
Thu Jun 2, 1:37 AM ET

PARIS - Europe was left agonising over the future of the EU constitution after voters in the Netherlands joined the French in rejecting it, but many leaders insisted the treaty was still alive and worth preserving.

Dutch voters on Wednesday followed their French counterparts in rejecting the draft constitution but the bloc's Luxembourg presidency and heavyweights France and Germany demanded that the process of ratifying the charter be allowed to continue in other member states.

But Britain said the result raised "profound questions" over the future of the constitution, while other commentators said it was expiring fast.

Italian Prime Minister Giulio Tremonti went even further.

"I think that the European Constitution as it has been presented and managed is finished," he said early Thursday.

"After a popular vote such as took place in France and the Netherlands, I think that the process on the text is finished. I see no alternative, technically or politically."

Most leaders said they were now looking toward a June 16-17 Brussels summit that has suddenly assumed crucial importance in determining the road ahead for the beleaguered bloc.

Newspapers across Europe performed the last rites over the body of the EU constitution.

"If France's vote dealt the treaty a critical blow, Dutch have now delivered the coup de grace," said The Guardian newspaper in Britain.

London's The Independent pronounced the treaty "dead and gone." [...]

Click here to comment on this article

Latvian lawmakers ratify EU constitution
Thu Jun 2, 4:50 AM ET

RIGA - Lawmakers in new EU member state Latvia ratified the
European Union's constitution, giving the text a much-needed boost after its rejection by French and Dutch voters.

Seventy-one deputies in the 100-seat parliament voted for the treaty, five against, and six abstained. The remaining lawmakers were absent.

Two-thirds of lawmakers had to vote in favour the constitution for it to be ratified.

Ahead of the vote, Foreign Minister Artis Pabriks urged lawmakers to endorse the text after it was decisively rejected in popular votes in France and the Netherlands.

"All Europe turns its eyes toward Latvia today. We have a chance to say our 'ja' after the stunning rejections of the constitution in France and the Netherlands," Pabriks said. [...]

Latvia's constitution does not allow the EU basic law to be validated by a popular vote. [...]

Click here to comment on this article

Elder Bush would like son Jeb to run for president
Tue May 31, 8:08 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - George Bush, the president's father, would like to see another Bush in the White House someday, saying on Tuesday that he would want his son Jeb to run for president when the timing is right.

Florida Governor Jeb Bush has repeatedly said he does not plan to run for president in 2008, trying to dampen speculation that another Bush could be on the next Republican ticket for the White House.

In an interview on CNN's "Larry King Live," former President Bush said he would want Jeb to run for president "someday," but now was not the time.

"The timing's wrong. The main thing is, he doesn't want to do it. Nobody believes that," Bush said.

But he and wife Barbara both said they believed Jeb, 52, did not want to run in the next presidential race.

Bush said he did not have a favorite candidate for the Republican nomination to succeed his son, President Bush.

Barbara Bush said she believed Senator and former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton would be the Democratic nominee in the 2008 presidential race. "I'm not going to vote for her, but I'm betting on her," she said.

Comment: Yes, just what we need, another soulless psychopath in the oval office.

Click here to comment on this article

Wolfowitz takes World Bank helm
June 2, 2005

WASHINGTON - Paul Wolfowitz became World Bank president on Wednesday and said his agenda would focus on Africa, tackling corruption and making poor countries feel less sidelined in the bank's decisions.

In his first briefing with reporters since he was confirmed unanimously in March, the former U.S. deputy defense secretary said he did not plan an organizational makeover.

The development bank was in "great shape," he declared, with a mission clearly trained on tackling global poverty.

Wolfowitz takes the reins of the globe's premier lender to impoverished countries despite widespread criticism of his role as the architect of the U.S. war in Iraq.

He quieted his critics by inviting them to meet with him and even handed out his e-mail to staff members still uneasy about their new boss.

Wolfowitz told reporters his immediate priority would be Africa, while not forgetting the development needs in Latin America, the Middle East and Asia.

"Africa has a dependence and need for the bank that stands out among all the many people who need what this bank has to offer" said Wolfowitz, acknowledging he still had lots to learn.

He said the bank's role in Africa was especially important given that a dozen or so countries were growing at unprecedented rates of 5 percent annually.

Adding he was "cautiously hopeful," Wolfowitz said, "There is a long, long way to go but I would find nothing more satisfying than, at the end of my tenure at this institution, to feel that we have played a part in what hopefully could be a period when Africa went from a continent of despair, to a continent of hope."

He said he wanted to ensure that developing countries that had complained to him about feeling alienated were brought into the decision-making of the bank.

Without saying outright he would give them a bigger role through management changes, Wolfowitz said, "I would like to work very hard at changing that feeling so that at the very least their views are brought in a serious way."


He said he would carry on with the campaign of departing bank President James Wolfensohn to clean up corruption in World Bank projects and push to reduce corruption in borrowing countries.

Such messages should bode well in the U.S. Congress where lawmakers led by Indiana Republican Richard Lugar, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, are fighting to stamp out corruption in multilateral development bank projects.

Lugar has presented legislation that would encourage independent auditing and transparency and would set up a trust fund to help poor countries combat corruption on their own.

The former No. 2 Pentagon official said the bank also had a role in rebuilding conflict-ridden countries, including in Iraq.

Wolfowitz drew parallels between Iraq and African countries like Liberia and the Democratic Republic of Congo where the bank has projects despite political instability.

He said he had surprisingly encountered very little skepticism about his ability to distance himself from the U.S. foreign policy agenda.

"You deal with it by being objective and credible," he said of the critics, adding, "If anything I have encountered 'Geez, maybe you can get us some useful access to the White House and to Congress."'

Comment: Considering all that transpired with 9/11, Afghanistan, and Iraq, "Paul Wolfowitz" and "objective and credible" hardly belong in the same sentence.

Click here to comment on this article

White House, N.Y. Face Off Over 9/11 Funds
Associated Press
June 2, 2005

WASHINGTON - New York has yet to spend $125 million for workers injured in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and their aftermath. Tired of waiting, the federal government wants the money back.

New York lawmakers are trying to hold on to the funds ahead of a House committee meeting next week to consider reclaiming the money as the Bush administration has proposed for the budget year that begins Oct. 1.

Twenty-one lawmakers from the state, including Democratic Sens.
Hillary Rodham Clinton and Charles Schumer, want the White House to redirect the money toward health programs for ground zero workers affected with long-term lung problems that might not appear for years.

So far, the administration has resisted.

The federal government agreed to give more than $20 billion to help New York recover from the attacks. That money included $175 million for the state's workers compensation program. But as the claims were processed, the bulk of the money was not spent.

A report last year by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, found that the state spent $44 million to pay out money quickly through other state agencies.

An additional $4.4 million paid to upgrade the compensation board's computer system to prepare for a possible disaster in the future.

That left about $125 million because the board has not paid out huge sums for Sept. 11-related claims. In the case of $25 million set aside for rescue workers who came to New York from out of town, the board had paid $456,000 by mid-2004.

Scott Milburn, spokesman for the White House Office of Management and Budget, said New York has used only $49 million of the $175 million and spent just $6 million in last budget year.

"The needs were not as large as initially feared," Milburn said.

Rep. James Walsh said the government is moving too fast to retrieve the money.

"We don't know yet what the need is," said Walsh, R-N.Y. "What we do know is that there was a witches' brew of toxic substances emanating from that debris and those firefighters, police officers and construction workers were breathing that for days."

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., said "too many people in Washington still don't realize that thousands of injured 9/11 responders still desperately need our help."

The state received some 10,182 claims for workers comp, but did not tell investigators how many claims were denied, saying it did not keep such figures.

Comment: Does the state know how many claims were approved?? Perhaps New York officials are incapable of paying back the "unused" money - but then, where did it all go? Obviously it was not distributed to those families who needed it after 9/11 if "...thousands of injured 9/11 responders still desperately need... help" and New York officials are still sitting on $125 million. Note also the contradiction between this last quote and the statement by Milburn earlier in the article that, "The needs were not as large as initially feared". So, which is it?

Click here to comment on this article

Update: Anti-War Coalition Planning Major Protests
Associated Press
June 2, 2005

WASHINGTON - Anti-war activists upset by the continuing violence in
Iraq are planning demonstrations in Washington, Los Angeles and San Francisco this fall to urge the administration to bring U.S. troops home.

Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER) has seen turnout in its demonstrations wane as the war has dragged on. The group hopes a long lead-up to the Sept. 24 protests will generate more interest. [...]

Comment: Riiight...

Click here to comment on this article

Two-Day Rampage Leaves Trail of Death and Questions
By Fred Alvarez, Daryl Kelley and Catherine Saillant, Times Staff Writers

A 38-year-old man with a violent past went on a 16-hour rampage in Ventura County, killing three people - including a mother who was pistol-whipped in front of her children - and injuring five others before taking his own life Tuesday morning inside a Wal-Mart store, police said.

The deadly spree began Monday afternoon in an upscale neighborhood of Thousand Oaks when Toby Whelchel ran up the driveway of attorney Steve Mazin's home and opened fire, killing Mazin, 52, wounding the attorney's best friend and killing the friend's wife.

A motive for the attack is uncertain, but Mazin and Whelchel had a bitter history. Mazin was granted a temporary restraining order against Whelchel three years ago after telling a judge he was "dangerous and violent." In court papers, Mazin had described Whelchel as the boyfriend of his estranged wife, Joanne - a statement she denied last year.

But what may have begun as private vengeance on Monday spiraled into highly public violence Tuesday as Whelchel eluded capture overnight and then attacked several strangers.

By the end of the rampage, Whelchel had fired on at least five people, including a sheriff's deputy; beaten five others; stolen two trucks; and had broken into a home in a gated community. There, he beat Carole Nordella, 48, who later died of her wounds, and then attacked her two youngest children, Jamie, 14, and Jeffrey, 10, as they tried to hide in a bathroom.

"Satan came into our home today. Let's pray he doesn't visit anyone else," Nordella's husband, Jeff, told a neighbor, Leslie Baker.

Whelchel fled, and less than half an hour later, shortly before 8:30 a.m., drove a pickup truck stolen from outside the Nordella home to the Wal-Mart in Simi Valley, with police in pursuit. As customers ran out of the store, Whelchel shot himself. [...]

Click here to comment on this article

PM: embassy attack makes it harder for Corby
By Cynthia Banham, Mark Metherell and Joseph Kerr
June 2, 2005

Relations with Indonesia were plunged into uncertainty last night after a dangerous biological agent - possibly linked to anthrax - was sent to the Indonesian embassy in Canberra in a suspected act of retribution against the Schapelle Corby sentence.

The Prime Minister, John Howard, issued an immediate apology to Jakarta, describing the act as "recklessly criminal", and saying it was a "very serious development for our country".

It was likely the incident was linked to the outrage over Corby's 20-year drug smuggling sentence. "Can I say to people, please, this is not helping her. In fact it will hurt her and anybody who imagines that this kind of gesture towards the Indonesian ambassador is going to alter attitudes in Indonesia - it will have a negative effect on the judiciary, it will have a negative effect on political opinion in that country."

Mr Howard held back from labelling the act as terrorism, but if initial analysis proves correct, yesterday's events will be the first time in Australia a biological agent has been used to further political motives.

The embassy and Indonesian consulates have received a number of death threats since the beginning of the Corby trial.

Yesterday's discovery was made at the embassy when two staff opened a letter addressed to the ambassador, Imron Cotan, and a white powder fell out.

They alerted Australian authorities who closed the embassy for 48 hours. Inside, nearly 50 staff were isolated but allowed to leave late last night after being decontaminated. The substance was sent for testing to the ACT Government laboratories.

The ambassador was not in the building at the time.

An Indonesian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Marty Natalegawa, said Indonesia would "not succumb to such acts of intimidation".

Mr Howard said he had been told the substance was a bacteria belonging to the bacillus group. "It's still being tested … it's not an innocent white powder, it's some kind of biological agent," he told the Nine network. "I'm not a scientist but they say it belongs to the bacillus group and is being tested."

He said he could not "overstate the sense of concern I feel that such a recklessly criminal act should have been committed".

Mr Howard told the Herald the Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, had phoned the Indonesian Foreign Minister, Hassan Wirajuda, last night, who was with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Mr Downer told Dr Wirajuda Australia was very concerned about the incident and strongly condemned it, and that the Government would work hard to track down the perpetrators.

A spokesman for Indonesia's Foreign Ministry, Marty Natalegawa, told the ABC last night that Indonesia would not be intimidated or close its embassy in Canberra.

Mr Howard said the incident was "damaging" and had put a strain on relations, which had been very strong in the wake of Australia's response to the Boxing Day tsunami.

The incident triggered a high-security operation with hazardous substance experts wearing protective gear and breathing apparatus to begin decontamination measures.

Australian Federal Police cordoned off the block around the embassy for most of the day. [...]

Click here to comment on this article

Trojan horse holds computers to ransom
02 June 2005 0432 hrs

PARIS : Software protection companies are warning that a vicious new form of cyber-attack known as "ransomware" is threatening computers by encrypting documents and demanding money for them to be decrypted.

Symantec, a manufacturer of anti-virus programmes, said on Wednesday on its website that the attacking programme is a "Trojan horse" that enters the computer via holes in the victim's web browser, scans a hard drive and encrypts any text-based documents that it finds. Unlike a virus, a Trojan horse does not replicate from machine to machine.

If it installs successfully, the new threat wipes out text files then displays a ransom note demanding US$200 (153 euros) to supply decryption software that will restore the data back to its original, readable form.

So far, only one case of "ransomware" has come to light, but this could be the start of a new and dangerous generation of malicious software, the British weekly New Scientist says in its next issue dated Saturday.

The algorithm used to scramble the data was not very sophisticated in this case, and the encrypted documents were easily decoded by a computer consultant.

"The danger now is that the virus writers might turn to using strong military-grade encryption systems," leaving the victim with little option but to pay up to decrypt his files, New Scientist warns.

Click here to comment on this article

FEMA altering how it handles disasters
By Mimi Hall and Tom Kenworthy
Thu Jun 2, 6:26 AM ET

Government inspectors surveying damage this hurricane season will be armed with digital cameras - the latest attempt to bring more accountability to the nation's disaster-relief agency.

The cameras will hold proof that the inspectors saw damaged property before doling out disaster aid. Photos will also help verify whether the damage was caused by a storm.

It's one of several simple efforts to solve serious problems of fraud and waste uncovered in an investigation into the Federal Emergency Management Agency's response to last fall's unprecedented hurricane season. The recent problems come after more than a decade of criticism leveled at FEMA, an agency that seems to always be weathering another storm on the public-relations front.

Members of Congress and the Homeland Security Department's inspector general charged last month that FEMA gave $31 million in disaster relief to 12,000 Florida residents who it didn't verify had property damage after Hurricane Frances in 2004 and may not have deserved any money. They say FEMA paid $9 million in rental assistance to 4,985 Miami-Dade County residents who didn't need it, paid $125,742 for three funerals for people whose deaths had nothing to do with the storm and paid $192,592 for unverified expenses for cleanup equipment.

Accustomed to criticism

"Taxpayers also bought rooms full of furniture and new wardrobes (and) paid to repair or replace nearly 800 cars and provide rental assistance to people living in undamaged homes," Sen. Susan Collins (news, bio, voting record), R-Maine, chairwoman of the Senate homeland security committee, told FEMA chief Michael Brown at a May 18 hearing. She called the situation "outrageous."

The public grilling may have been a first for Brown, but it was hardly a first for FEMA, which is bracing for what could be another tough Florida storm season. Wednesday was the first day of the Atlantic hurricane season.

In the past decade-and-a-half, FEMA has been criticized for its responses to earthquakes in California, hurricanes in the South and the 9/11 attacks.

This time, acting Homeland Security Inspector General Richard Skinner said the problems in Miami-Dade are "indicative or representative of problems we may have nationwide."

Collins accused FEMA of adopting a wasteful "pay-first-ask-questions-later" policy and is demanding that Brown tighten the agency's rules to make sure inspectors verify damage before handing out checks.

However, if FEMA didn't dole the money out almost immediately after a disaster, "the same people bellyaching now would be bellyaching that you didn't move fast enough," said Joe Allbaugh,
President Bush's first FEMA director. "It's unfair."

Brown acknowledges that some changes should be made - and he's started to make them. In addition to digital cameras, inspectors must more carefully document damage, including property that can't be inspected because it had to be discarded or washed away in the storm. Inspectors also must have software in their handheld computers that helps them determine how to hand out aid.

Brown makes no apologies for the agency's work in 2004, when four hurricanes hit in six weeks. He and others also dismiss the notion that presidential politics prompted FEMA to dole money out fast in a state crucial to Bush's re-election. [...]

Click here to comment on this article

One-fifth of Earth's bird species in danger - study
June 1, 2005

JOHANNESBURG - More than a fifth of the planet's bird species face extinction as humans venture further into their habitats and introduce alien predators, an environmental group said on Wednesday.

While there have been some success stories of species that reappeared or recovered, the overall situation of the world's birds is worsening, BirdLife International said in its annual assessment of the feathered fauna.

"The total number (of bird species) considered to be threatened with extinction is now 1,212, which when combined with the number of near threatened species gives a total of exactly 2,000 species in trouble -- more than a fifth of the planet's remaining 9,775 species," BirdLife said.

Several species from Europe appear in the list for the first time, including the European roller, for which key populations in Turkey and European Russia have declined markedly.

BirdLife, a global alliance of conservation groups, said 179 species were categorised as critically endangered, the highest level of threat. They include the Azores bullfinch, one of Europe's rarest songbirds that has fewer than 300 left. [...]

Click here to comment on this article

Canada Finds Bird Flu Strain on BC Turkey Farm
USAgNet - 06/01/2005

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has quarantined a turkey layer farm in Abbotsford, British Columbia based on preliminary results from the British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, indicating the presence of the H3 influenza virus in the flock.

The turkey farm is near a swine farm that recently experienced an H3 influenza infection and the virus is suspected to have originated from swine. Transmission of this influenza strain between swine and turkeys is a danger that has been seen before.

This low pathogenic H3 virus is a milder form of virus and has not been known to mutate into high pathogenic avian influenza as the H7N3 strain did last year in the Fraser Valley. [...]

Click here to comment on this article

Australian drought third worst on record
Wednesday June 1, 2:21 PM

Australia's agricultural heartland is experiencing its worst drought in 60 years, the National Climate Centre said, while the government said the dry-spell is affecting economic growth.

The four-year drought was the third worst on the dry continent in recorded history after one between 1895 and 1903 and the 1938 to 1946 drought, senior climatologist Grant Beard told AFP.

"We are talking about four years of pretty bleak conditions in the current situation... the other ones we are talking about went longer," he said.

Low rainfall and extremely high temperatures have created the worst drought in six decades in Australia's Murray Darling region, Beard said. The area generates about one-third of the nation's agricultural output.

"In terms of the Murray Darling basin, the drought there is the worst since the 1940s," he said of the water catchment area which stretches south from Queensland to New South Wales and Victoria and east into part of South Australia.

"Temperatures have also been quite above average at record or near record levels," Beard said. "Particularly, the last five months it's been extraordinarily warm across a large part of the country."

The drought affects the eastern coastal states of New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland, as well as South Australia and the lush southern island of Tasmania. Many parts of Australia have not a single drop of rain in April, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

The New South Wales government has declared 90 percent of the state in drought and on Tuesday introduced tough new water restrictions on homes as dam levels dropped below 40 percent capacity.

Treasurer Peter Costello said Wednesday the dry spell was starting to cut into economic growth as agricultural incomes had not fully recovered from the 2002-03 drought.

"The impact of drought now evident in four quarterly falls in agricultural production is now affecting the measure of overall economic growth," he said.

Click here to comment on this article

Storms Drag N Bulgaria into State of Emergency
1 June 2005, Wednesday

Torrential rains and hailstorms overnight have left vast areas to the north and north-east of Bulgaria plunged underwater, with many houses ruined and farmland destroyed.

Villages and towns in the region of Lukovit and Russe have announced a state of emergency. Rivers there are raging up to the brim and threaten to spill over dam walls, local officials alarmed.

Besides the ruined harvest, many domestic stock were killed of drowning in the barns.

Damaged municipalities claimed more than 15 M to recover from the natural disaster, but the state body for fight against natural disasters and accidents has so far allotted BGN 1.4 M only. [...]

Click here to comment on this article

Three killed, several injured as storm hits southwest Poland
(AFP) May 31, 2005

WARSAW - Three people were killed and several injured late Monday when a violent storm struck the Wroclaw region of southwest Poland, local police said.

Two men in their 20s and a 14-year-old boy were killed by falling tree branches, police spokesman Pawel Petrykowski said.

Several car drivers were injured in similar accidents, the PAP news agency quoted him as saying.

The high winds also struck power lines in Wroclaw, immobilising electric trams in the town and affecting traffic.

Most train services in the region were halted late Monday.

A string of storms hit Poland Monday, where record temperatures up to 35 degrees centrigrade (95 degrees fahrenheit) have been recorded in recent days.

Click here to comment on this article

Heatwave kills three in Croatia
(AFP) May 31, 2005

ZAGREB - Three people died in Croatia over the weekend after record high temperatures reaching up to 33 degrees Celsius (91 degrees Fahrenheit) which hit the Balkans country, hospital sources said Tuesday.

Two people died in the eastern town of Osijek and one in the northern town of Varadzin, all three of heart attacks caused by the heath, hospital sources said quoted by the Jutarnji List daily.

One person died in the capital Zagreb where temperatures reached 32 degrees Celsius Monday.

According to the country's meteorological service the temperatures are to get back to normal and drop by an average of six degrees Celsius on Tuesday.

Click here to comment on this article

Saltpond hit by the worst flood in 20 years
Wednesday, 1 June 2005

Saltpond (Ghana) - Parts of Saltpond, the capital of the Mfantseman District, got flooded on Tuesday as a result of a heavy downpour, destroying property worth millions of cedis. The worst affected areas were: Eguabado, Kuranchikrom, Prabiw, Appiakwa and the market area.

The flood destroyed houses and personal belongings. There was however no casualty.

Mr Robert Quainoo-Arthur, acting District Chief Executive, Mr Francis Donkoh, Assemblyman for Nkubem Electoral Area and Nana Baah VII, Chief of Saltpond Lower Town inspected some of the houses affected and consoled the victims.

Nana Baah told the Ghana News Agency that the flood was the worst experienced by the town in over 20 years.

Click here to comment on this article

Landslide Crushes 15 Homes on California Coast
USA: June 2, 2005

LOS ANGELES - A landslide destroyed at least 15 luxury homes in the upscale Southern California seaside community of Laguna Beach on Wednesday, causing panic but no serious injuries, authorities said.Police said 15 to 18 homes were destroyed or seriously damaged and about 20 others were destabilized by the slide that happened just before 7 a.m. as residents were getting up and preparing to go to work or school. Some escaped in their pajamas.

Some of the ocean-view homes -- many of them valued at more than $2 million -- slid intact down the hillside. Others cracked in half or were left tilting precariously on dirt piles as roads buckled, sidewalks disappeared and utility poles crashed onto cars.

Firefighters said no one was trapped and injuries were mainly cuts, scrapes and bruises as residents fled.

About 350 homes in the Bluebird Canyon area were evacuated while officials determined the possibility of further slippages in the area, about 54 miles (87 km) southeast of Los Angeles.

The landslide followed the heaviest winter rains in over a century in Southern California. Bluebird Canyon was also the site of a devastating landslide in 1978 in which dozens of homes were destroyed and damage ran into the millions of dollars. [...]

Click here to comment on this article

China Floods Leave 200 Dead or Missing - Resident
CHINA: June 2, 2005

BEIJING - Heavy rain has triggered floods and mudslides in southern China, leaving at least 200 people dead or missing, a resident and state media said on Wednesday.Torrential rain hit a mountainous region of Hunan province in the early hours on Wednesday and 22 people died in floods, the official Xinhua news agency said. Two officials were killed during rescue work.

Thirty-five people, including five students, were missing, Xinhua said.
However, a local resident with knowledge of the casualties and damage said at least 200 people died or were missing after torrential rains hit Xinshao and Lianyuan counties, Shaoyang city and three other cities in Hunan province since Tuesday.

"Villagers, cadres and rescuers were washed away by floods," the resident, who asked not to be identified, told Reuters.

"More than 10,000 people were left homeless after their homes were either washed away, flooded or toppled," he said.

Mountain torrents in Xinshao were the worst in the county's history, Xinhua said.

At least 47 villages were devastated by the torrents and 54,600 villagers affected, Xinhua quoted Shen Guirong, director of the county government's publicity department, as saying.

About 3,560 homes were destroyed, Shen said, and electricity and telecommunications services were cut off in some villages.

Click here to comment on this article

Magnitude 6.1 Earthquake - SALTA, ARGENTINA
2005 June 2 10:55:58 UTC

A strong earthquake occurred at 10:55:58 (UTC) on Thursday, June 2, 2005. The magnitude 6.1 event has been located in SALTA, ARGENTINA. The hypocentral depth was estimated to be 164 km (102 miles). (This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.)

Click here to comment on this article

Magnitude 5.6 Quake - SOUTH OF THE FIJI ISLANDS
2005 June 2 02:11:14 UTC

A moderate earthquake occurred at 02:11:14 (UTC) on Thursday, June 2, 2005. The magnitude 5.6 event has been located SOUTH OF THE FIJI ISLANDS. (This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.)

Click here to comment on this article

Powerful earthquake rocks Taiwan
02 June 2005 0121 hrs - AFP/ls/de

TAIPEI : An earthquake measuring 6.0 on the Richter scale rocked Taiwan on Thursday morning, rattling buildings across the island, the Seismology Centre said.

There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties. The quake hit at 00:20 am (1620 GMT) with an epicenter 12.2 kilometres northeast of eastern coastal town of Suao, 57.7 kilometres under the seabed.

Taiwan's worst earthquake, measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale, struck in September 1999, leaving about 2,400 people dead.

Click here to comment on this article

Earthquake jolts remote Tibetan counties 2005-06-02 18:46:43

LHASA, June 2 (Xinhuanet) -- An earthquake measuring 5.9 on the Richter scale, jolted Medog County, Mainling County and Bomi County in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region at 4:06 a.m. Thursday, according to the State Seismological Bureau.

The epicenter was located at about 29.1 degrees of north latitude and 94.8 degrees of east longitude.

The locals, most herders and nomadic Tibetans, are widely spread over the vast area in these counties, and no casualties have been reported, said local officials.

Click here to comment on this article

Earthquake jolts northeast India 2005-06-02 20:44:57

NEW DELHI, June 2 (Xinhuanet) -- A high magnitude earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale shook India's northeastern region Thursday, causing panic among residents, Indo-Asian News Service reported.

Police in the region said people panicked and rushed out of their homes.

There were no reports of damage or casualties so far. India's northeastern region is considered by seismologists as the sixth major earthquake prone belt in the world.

Assam experienced a massive tremor measuring 8.5 on the Richter scale on Aug 15, 1950 that claimed some 1,500 lives.

Click here to comment on this article

Earthquake felt early this morning along New Madrid fault

DYERSBURG, Tenn. (AP) - Some residents of northwestern Tennessee were jarred awake this morning by a minor earthquake.

The U.S. Geological Survey reported the temblor had a magnitude of 4 and was centered 10 miles north-northwest of Dyersburg, near Ridgely. The agency said the quake was about 15 1/2 kilometers below the surface.

Dyer County fire chief and emergency management agency director James Paul Medling said emergency agencies were flooded with telephone calls from anxious residents shortly after the 6:38 a.m. CDT event, but no one reported any damage.

"I was still in bed,'' Medling told The Associated Press. "I felt my house shake twice, my bed shook twice and I heard a big boom.''

Medling said he went outside and the water was swirling in his dog's water bucket.

The area where the quake was felt is in the New Madrid fault zone - a seismically active area that runs along the Mississippi River from New Madrid in the Missouri Bootheel to Marked Tree, Ark.

Scientists say a huge earthquake in 1811-1812 struck the area, causing the river to run backward for a time and creating Reelfoot Lake on the Tennessee-Kentucky border.

The Geological Survey also reported a very small quake in the region on Monday. The 1.6 magnitude temblor was centered five miles south of Manila, Ark., about 45 miles west-southwest of Dyersburg.

Click here to comment on this article

When science collides with the paranormal
Robert Matthews
The Telegraph - UK

Discovering that some great historical figure had the scruples of a Mafia hit-man or the sexual morality of a rabbit is nothing new these days. While such revelations often ruin the reputation of run-of-the-mill celebrities, this is not always the case for great scientists, whose po-faced image often benefits from a whiff of scandal.

Many physicists still delight in exchanging anecdotes about the late, great American Nobel prizewinner Richard Feynman, who enjoyed breaking into safes and frequenting topless bars. Madame Curie made tabloid headlines in 1911 with an affair with a fellow physicist, and was told by a member of the Nobel Prize committee not to collect her award for the discovery of radium (she turned up anyway). Erwin Schrodinger, one of the founders of quantum theory, did his best work between sessions with his mistress in a skiing lodge.

There is only one form of behaviour that is still regarded as utterly beyond the pale in the scientific mind, and that is any form of flirtation with the occult. Even the likes of Sir Isaac Newton knew his reputation would take a severe beating if anyone learned of his fascination with matters spiritual and alchemical. In public, Newton insisted that he had no interest in putting forward the explanation of gravity, and focused purely on its mathematical description. Only centuries after his death did it emerge that Newton believed gravity to be a manifestation of God's all-pervading spirit.

The same sentiments hold sway today. Professor Brian Josephson of Trinity College, Cambridge, is widely regarded to have "cracked up" after winning the 1973 physics Nobel at the precocious age of 33, simply because he refuses to dismiss evidence for paranormal phenomena.

Clearly anyone who hopes to succeed in the world of science is best advised to keep their flaky ideas to themselves. Just how far some scientists have been prepared to go to avoid being labelled fruitcases is made clear by a paper in the current issue of Physics World by Dr Jeff Hughes, a scientific historian at the University of Manchester.

While researching nuclear physics between the wars, Dr Hughes came across a large grey box of papers at the University of Cambridge Library belonging to the late Nobel prize-winning scientist Francis Aston. In 1922 Aston won the chemistry prize for his studies of nuclear isotopes.

Among the papers was a yellowing 15-page manuscript entitled On the homogeneity of atmospheric neon. Apparently written in 1913, the paper was a version of a talk Aston had given at that year's meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science.

It described Aston's attempts to separate neon from its chemically identical isotope, which he referred to as "meta-neon". Reading the paper, Dr Hughes was amazed to find that Aston had taken this odd term from a book with the even odder title of Occult Chemistry: A Series of Clairvoyant Observations on the Chemical Elements. Its authors were Annie Besant and Charles Leadbeater, two leading figures in the theosophy movement. As followers of this mystical philosophy, which insisted on direct experience of God and His works, Besant and Leadbeater believed in the powers of clairvoyance.

In 1895, Leadbeater had begun exploring chemical elements such as hydrogen and nitrogen using these paranormal means, and in 1908 reported his findings in Occult Chemistry. Leadbeater claimed that as well as exploring known elements, he had detected the presence of ones hitherto undiscovered. Among them was something he called "meta-neon", a slightly heavier version of the inert gas discovered in 1898. It was this bizarre claim to which Aston referred in the document.

Aston noted that Leadbeater had done more than merely announce the existence of meta-neon: he had even predicted its atomic weight as 22.33 times the mass of hydrogen. Aston's document then revealed the astonishing fact that in 1912 he had found this new form of neon - and its mass was within one per cent of the value predicted by Leadbeater. It was a "coincidence" that clearly disturbed Aston. Dr Hughes discovered that by the time of his award of the Nobel Prize, Aston had embarked on rewriting the whole story of the discovery of isotopes, excising all reference to Leadbeater and meta-neon.

Like the discovery of Newton's secret papers by John Maynard Keynes in 1936, Aston's determination to rewrite scientific history shows how uncomfortable the most rational of people can become by the merest hint of the non-rational.

Click here to comment on this article

Faithful see Jesus in apartment window
10:29 AM CDT on Friday, May 27, 2005

FORT WORTH – Faith can move mountains and make the crippled walk, according to Elvira Garcia, who said she was healed when she saw the image of Jesus Christ in an apartment window.

Early Thursday, Ms. Garcia took flowers and a candle to honor the image at the Fossil Ridge Apartments in northeast Fort Worth.

"I came here hobbling, and look how I am now: I can raise my leg," she said. "It's a miracle. Now that I see God's image, I am strong."

Clara Martinez, 43, said she noticed the image Wednesday afternoon as she took care of her grandchildren in the apartment.

"There were colors in the window. I went out and saw the face," she said.

Her neighbors gathered outside to see it, bringing candles, flowers and pictures of the Virgin of Guadalupe. One man came with an ultrasound scan of his ill wife.

The Rev. Esteban Jasso of All Saints Catholic Church in Fort Worth said he saw a colorful figure but not the face of Jesus.

"There are several ways to interpret this; there are people who see what we don't," the priest said. He said that expressions of faith are respected by the church, and that if people bring flowers and pray to the image, that's fine with him.

There is a rainbow in the widow that is Jesus' hair, according to those who see the image. They say his face is in the glass itself.

"The image is very clear. At first I didn't see it; I was looking for the virgin. And now that I look at it, it looks very good," said Norma Quiroz, who was driving by Thursday and stopped when she saw a crowd.

Father Jasso said that while he respects people's beliefs, he's concerned that someone will start asking for donations or otherwise try to exploit people's faith.

"I don't think the Fort Worth Diocese will do anything until this really causes a massive crowd to gather," he said.

A priest with the National Catholic Church of Mexico, a church that is not governed by the Fort Worth Diocese, said the image is a miracle and can be seen very clearly.

"I will bring two bishops from Mexico to see the image, and then we'll take proof to Rome," said the Rev. John Parnell of St. Augustine Church of Fort Worth.

He scheduled a Mass at the foot of the image.

Comment: An obscure prophet once said, "If you ever see a vision of Jesus in the mirror, it is surely a sign from heaven that you are in need of a haircut and a shave."

Click here to comment on this article


Readers who wish to know more about who we are and what we do may visit our portal site Quantum Future

Remember, we need your help to collect information on what is going on in your part of the world!

We also need help to keep the Signs of the Times online.

Send your comments and article suggestions to us Email addess

Fair Use Policy

Contact Webmaster at
Cassiopaean materials Copyright ©1994-2014 Arkadiusz Jadczyk and Laura Knight-Jadczyk. All rights reserved. "Cassiopaea, Cassiopaean, Cassiopaeans," is a registered trademark of Arkadiusz Jadczyk and Laura Knight-Jadczyk.
Letters addressed to Cassiopaea, Quantum Future School, Ark or Laura, become the property of Arkadiusz Jadczyk and Laura Knight-Jadczyk
Republication and re-dissemination of our copyrighted material in any manner is expressly prohibited without prior written consent.