Wednesday, June 08, 2005                                               The Daily Battle Against Subjectivity
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P I C T U R E   O F   T H E   D A Y

George Orwell's 1984 was published today in 1949. It tells the story of a lone individual attempting to rebel against a repressive, violent state.

Excerpted from the book "1984" by George Orwell

The splitting-up of the world into three great superstates was an event which could be and indeed was foreseen before the middle of the twentieth century. With the absorption of Europe by Russia and the British Empire by the United States, two of the three existing powers, Eurasia and Oceania, were already effectively in being. The third, Eastasia, only emerged as a distinct unit after another decade of confused fighting. The frontiers between the three superstates are in some places arbitrary, and in others they fluctuate according to the fortunes of war, but in general they follow geographical lines. Eurasia comprises the whole of the northern part of the European and Asiatic land-mass, from Portugal to the Bering Strait. Oceania comprises the Americas, the Atlantic islands including the British Isles, Australasia, and the southern portion of Africa. Eastasia, smaller than the others and with a less definite western frontier, comprises China and the countries to the south of it, the Japanese islands and a large but fluctuating portion of Manchuria, Mongolia, and Tibet. [...]

Since each of the three super-states is unconquerable, each is in effect a separate universe within which almost any perversion of thought can be safely practised. Reality only exerts its pressure through the needs of everyday life - the need to eat and drink, to get shelter and clothing, to avoid swallowing poison or stepping out of top-storey windows, and the like. Between life and death, and between physical pleasure and physical pain, there is still a distinction, but that is all. Cut off from contact with the outer world, and with the past, the citizen of Oceania is like a man in interstellar space, who has no way of knowing which direction is up and which is down. The rulers of such a state are absolute, as the Pharaohs or the Caesars could not be.

All the beliefs, habits, tastes, emotions, mental attitudes that characterize our time are really designed to sustain the mystique of the Party and prevent the true nature of present-day society from being perceived. Ownership of the print media made it easy to manipulate public opinion, and the film and radio carried the process further.

At this moment, in April 1984 (as Winston writes his diary) Oceania was at war with Eurasia and in alliance with Eastasia. In no public or private utterance was it ever admitted that the three powers had at any time been grouped along different lines. Actually, as Winston well knew, it was only four years since Oceania had been at war with Eastasia and in alliance with Eurasia. But that was merely a piece of furtive knowledge which HE happened to remember. Officially the change of partners had never happened. Oceania was at war with Eurasia: therefore Oceania had ALWAYS been at war with Eurasia. The enemy of the moment always represented absolute evil, and it followed that any past or future agreement with him was impossible. Everything faded into mist. The past was erased, the erasure was forgotten, the lie became truth.

All that was needed was unending series of victories over your own memory. 'Reality control,' they called it: in Newspeak, 'doublethink'.

In the ramifications of Party doctrine Julia had not the faintest interest. Whenever he began to talk of the principles of Ingsoc, doublethink, the mutability of the past, and the denial of objective reality, and to use Newspeak words, she became bored and confused and said that she never paid any attention to that kind of thing. One knew that it was all rubbish, so why let oneself be worried by it? She knew when to cheer and when to boo, and that was all one needed. If he persisted in talking of such subjects, she had a disconcerting habit of falling asleep. Talking to her, he realized how easy it was to present an appearance of orthodoxy while having no grasp whatever of what orthodoxy meant. In a way, the world-view of the Party imposed itself most successfully on people incapable of understanding it. They could be made to accept the most flagrant violations of reality, because they never fully grasped the enormity of what was demanded of them, and were not sufficiently interested in public events to notice what was happening. By lack of understanding they remained sane. They simply swallowed everything, and what they swallowed did them no harm, because it left no residue behind, just as a grain of corn will pass undigested through the body of a bird.

It was rather a shock to him when he discovered from some chance remark that she did not remember that Oceania, four years ago, had been at war with Eastasia and at peace with Eurasia. It was true that she regarded the whole war as a sham: but apparently she had not even noticed that the name of the enemy had changed. In the end he succeeded in forcing her memory back until she did dimly recall that at one time Eastasia and not Eurasia had been the enemy. But the issue still struck her as unimportant. "Who cares?" she said impatiently. "It's always one bloody war after another, and one knows the news is all lies anyway."

But in some ways Julia was far more acute than Winston, and far less susceptible to Party propaganda. Once when he happened in some connexion to mention the war against Eurasia, she startled him by saying casually that in her opinion the war was not happening. The rocket bombs which fell daily on London were probably fired by the Government of Oceania itself, 'just to keep people frightened'. This was an idea that had literally never occurred to him. She told him that during the Two Minutes Hate her great difficulty was to avoid bursting out laughing. But she only questioned the teachings of the Party when they in some way touched upon her own life.

He picked up the children's history book and looked at the portrait of BIG BROTHER which formed its frontspiece. The hypnotic eyes gazed into his own. It was as though some huge force were pressing down upon you - something that penetrated inside your skull, battering against your brain, frightening you out of your beliefs, persuading you, almost, to deny the evidence of your senses. In the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it. It was inevitable that they should make that claim sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it. Not merely the validity of experience, but the very existence of external reality, was tacitly denied by their philosophy. The heresy of heresies was common sense. And they would kill you for thinking otherwise. The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command. His heart sank as he thought of the enormous power arrayed against him, the ease with which any Party intellectual would overthrow him in a debate, the subtle arguments which he would not be able to understand, much less answer.

And yet he was right! They were wrong and he was right. At one time it had been a sign of madness to believe that the earth goes round the sun. Being a minority, even a minority of one, did not make you mad. There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad. The obvious, the silly, and the true had to be defended. Truisms are true, hold on to that! The solid world exists, its laws do not change. Stones are hard, water is wet, objects unsupported fall towards the earth's centre. With the feeling that he was speaking directly to O'Brien, and also that he was setting forth an important axiom, Winston wrote:

Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.

Comment: Orwell had a conspiracy theory. In "1984", he said that a global organization, "Big Brother", ruled the world and that it was "a dedicated sect doing evil".

Orwell said that Big Brother, owned every means of communication, i.e. TV, radio, movies, newspapers, books, magazines, textbooks etc. They're the ones who produce the violent and pornographic entertainment and distribute it among the people. Their goal is to "totally demoralize society" and they are willing to:

- commit murder
- commit acts of sabotage
- betray their country to foreign powers
- cheat, forge, and blackmail
- corrupt the minds of children
- distribute habit-forming drugs
- encourage prostitution
- disseminate venereal diseases" etc etc.

Remember, Orwell wrote "1984" over 55 years ago. This fact alone shows us that the present dumbed-down manipulated state in which humanity finds itself is not a recent phenomena, the policies that have today lead us to the full disclosure of the "Orwellian nightmare" were laid long ago, and now that the time is right, the final pieces are being put in place and the true terror of the situation unveiled. Do not, however, expect that the mere fact that the truth is staring us all in the face will suffice to awaken those who choose to remain asleep to reality.

Of course, when all is said and done, Orwell's book was just a work of fiction, right?...

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Mental Health Screening in Schools Signals the End of Parental Rights
Nancy Levant

In the 2005-2006 school year, all parents will receive written notice of new policies from your children's schools. Many schools will ask you to sign permission slips, allowing school counselors or "advocates" to have conversations with your children. You will be told how your local schools are now involved in vision and dental screenings, learning disabilities and speech impediment screenings, and other acts of kindness, but watch for the small print or the extra little blurb, which states that your children will also be evaluated for emotional wellness. Watch for wording like "happiness indicators" or "family participation."

The fact is that our president has mandated that every American child, age 3 through 18, is federally ordered to be evaluated for mental health issues and to receive "enforced" treatment. Welcome to President Bush's New Freedom Initiative and New Freedom Commission on Mental Health. Welcome to life-long profiling and drug addictions, New Freedom-style.

52 million students and six million adults working in schools, according to this commission, will be tested and should flush out at least 6 million people, or shall we say new customers, who will then be mandated to receive "treatment." What treatment does our president's commission have in mind? The newest drugs in the pharmaceutical pipelines, of course. The commission recommends "specific medications for specific conditions."

One of the state-of-the-art treatments, and most expensive, is an implanted capsule – yes, that's right, implanted. The capsule delivers medication into a child's body without the child having to swallow a pill or the need for parental permission for dispensation.

The New Freedom Commission named the Texas Medication Algorithm Project (TMAP) a model treatment plan. Medical algorithms are a flowchart-style treatment indicator. If you have A symptom and B symptom, take C medication. TMAP began with the University of Texas, big pharma, and the mental health and corrections system in Texas. The American Psychiatric Association concurs that TMAP is brilliant.

However, the New Freedom Initiative and Commission is a political-big pharma marriage. Many companies who supported TMAP were also major contributors to Bush's re-election funds. For example, Eli Lilly manufactures olanzapine - one of the drugs recommended in the New Freedom plan, and furthermore, George Herbert Walker Bush was once a member of Lilly's board of directors. Our current President Bush appointed Lilly's chief executive officer, Sidney Taurel, as a member of the Homeland Security Council. Eighty-two percent of Lilly's $1.6 million in political contributions in 2000 went to Bush and the Republican Party. Do tell…

Texas Algorithm grossed over 4 billion dollars in 2003 and olanzapine is Eli Lilly's top selling drug. A 2003 New York Times article by Gardiner Harris claims that 70 percent of olanzapine sales are paid for by government agencies, such as Medicare and Medicaid. And lo and behold, guess who is now able to bill Medicaid for health services? Public schools, of course, as they are now under the big pharma-political profits/pay-back umbrella once they adopt screening policies. Public schools can now be paid to screen and drug your kids.

Now, if you ever wonder, ever again, if public-private partnerships care about people, then you need a brain transplant. Your children are now the legislated guinea pigs and lab rats for the pharmaceutical companies who bought and paid for our president's campaign. Favors are now returned to those companies in the form of enforced, juvenile customers, their health, and their future drug addictions.

But wait, there is more. The New Freedom Commission also calls for enforced treatment. That means that parents have no rights to refuse the treatment recommenced by TMAP and other drug dispensing corporate-bureaucratic apparatuses. And as the mental health bureaucracy is also involved in this financial game of insidious cruelty, parents and families are also to be investigated via the result of their children's screenings in schools. In other words, schools are now the across-the board, or shall I say nation, diagnostic tool for big pharma and child control.

And there's more. The U.N. Agenda 21 has also called for total intrusion into schools and children lives. No more religion, no more individuality, no more real education, no more real grades, no more real teaching, no more teacher respect for parents, and no more truth from teachers or principals. This sounds very familiar and very political to me. And I've said it before, and I will say it again: if you are of a religious ilk and you refuse to allow your children to be abused by our "educational" system, the stage is being set for you to lose physical custody of your children. I suggest that you read this: Rethinking Orphanages for the 21st Century by Richard McKenzie, ed

Still got your kids in public schools? Shame on you, and may God bless your poor children and forgive you.

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The War Comes Home
By Gert Van Langendonck
Guerilla News
Wed, 8 Jun 2005 06:59:38 -0700

By the standards of Columbus, Georgia, the Platinum is a classy place. Meaning that it's a strip club where a five dollar cover charge will get you all the 'Hot Women' and 'Cold Beer' you can afford. Only a handful of customers are around to appreciate a half-naked girl wrapping herself around the ubiquitous pole. It's a quiet night in Columbus; most of the soldiers from Fort Benning, the sprawling military base outside of town, have gone back to Iraq for a second tour of duty

Things were very different on July 13, 2003. Business was booming for strip clubs in Columbus as thousands of soldiers were returning from the war in Iraq. At Fort Benning, five young soldiers piled into a car and took off for a night on the town. Jacob Burgoyne, Mario Navarrete, Alberto Martinez, Douglas Woodcoff and Richard Davis, all twenty-three years old, had come back from the war zone just 72 hours earlier. After months in Iraq and Kuwait, where women and alcohol were mostly out of reach, they were determined to make up for lost time. They five had been drinking heavily by the time they arrived at the Platinum club. Tony, the Platinum's bouncer, remembers them as a rowdy bunch. Twice, he'd had to warn them to tone it down. When Richard Davis hit one of the dancers in the eye, Tony's patience ran out and he kicked the whole group out. In the parking lot, Jacob Burgoyne picked a fight with Davis, whom he blamed for ruining everybody's evening. When someone called the police, the soldiers got back into Martinez' car and disappeared into the summer night.

Four months later, the Muscogee County coroner would count no less than thirty-three stab marks on what remained of Richard Davis. According to the statements made to police by Burgoyne and Navarrete after their arrests on November 7, 2003, the five soldiers had stopped at a dark spot by the road where the fight with Davis had resumed. At some point, Alberto Martinez had produced a knife. Both Burgoyne and Navarette later claimed that they had tried in vain to stop Martinez. One thing we know for sure: after Martinez killed Davis, the others all helped to cover up the crime. They drove to a nearby convenience store to buy lighter fuel; they doused Davis' body with it and set it on fire. They dumped his remains in the woods, where they were discovered in Nov. 2003.

Diagnosis: PTSD

"Jake told me Martinez just went into a rage that night. There was no stopping him," Billy Urban says. Jacob Burgoyne's mother lives in a modest redbrick house in the small town of Keystone Heights in Northern Florida. There is a police car parked in front; Urban's second husband Dennis, Jacob's stepfather, is the deputy sheriff here. Billy Urban says she is "not the kind of mother who believes her son can do no wrong." But, being a mother, that's exactly what she is. She is not surprised, she says, that it was probably her son's indiscretions that eventually led to him and the others being arrested. "Already as a little boy he was incapable of lying. Whenever he did something wrong, we could tell right away."

But the boy in the Little League pictures in the bedroom at his mother's house was clearly not the same person as the twenty-three year old in the mug shots taken by the Columbus police department. Something had changed, as Billy Urban soon found out when she went to collect her son's personal belongings after his arrest. In them, she discovered Jake's medical file. "Diagnosis: PTSD," it read, post-traumatic stress disorder. "Patient seems to have severe anxiety issues exacerbated from stress and multiple traumatic events. Patient must be monitored by unit members at all time, not be able to carry weapons or munitions. Patient has homicidal/suicidal ideations. Patient will be command directed to psych upon return." Urban was even more shocked to learn that Jake's being diagnosed with PTSD came as the result of a failed suicide attempt: Jake had swallowed an overdose of anti-depressives in Kuwait on July 6, just a few days before his return to the States. "You would think that the Army would tell his mom about something like that. But when I confronted them about it, all they said was Jake was an adult and they had to respect his privacy."

Like Jacob Burgoyne, more than one hundred thousand U.S. soldiers are estimated to have returned from the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan with symptoms of PTSD. An official Army study, the results of which were published in the New England Journal of Medicine in Dec. 2004, concluded that 15.8 to 17.7 percent of soldiers who took part in Operation Iraqi Freedom, the initial invasion of Iraq, showed signs of "severe depression, generalized anxiety or ptsd." That's roughly one in six soldiers out of more than one million soldiers who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past three years. (The percentage of PTSD among Afghanistan veterans is slightly lower.) [...]

PTSD is generally defined as "a psychiatric disorder that can occur following the experience or witnessing of life-threatening events." People who suffer from PTSD "often relive the experience through nightmares and flashbacks, have difficulty sleeping, and feel detached or estranged. These symptoms can be severe enough and last long enough to significantly impair the person's daily life." It is, of course, hardly a new phenomenon. [...]

The Midtown Massacre

If the library at the Muscogee County Jail had a copy of The Iliad, Jacob Burgoyne might well relate to Homer's description of the horrors of war. We have agreed not to talk about the events of July 13, 2003, for which he is on trial, but only about what led into them: Burgoyne's experiences during the war in Iraq, and his involvement in what has come to be known as the 'Midtown Massacre'.

"It must have been around 11 a.m. on April 11 when we got the call," Burgoyne says over the jailhouse phone. The U.S. invasion force had pretty much taken Baghdad, but isolated pockets of resistance remained. It was to one such pocket, near the main Baghdad airport, that Burgoyne's Bravo Company was dispatched. The men had been told that around fifty 'fedayeen', Saddam's paramilitary troops, including some Syrian fighters, were making a last stand there.

Burgoyne remembers the eerie calm at the scene. "When we first arrived, it was business as usual. There were cars going past, people were crossing the road. And then everything went real quiet. The next thing we knew they were shooting at us from all directions. It was obvious they had been waiting for us."

By the time the shooting stopped, some six hours later, the sun was setting over Baghdad. Depending on the source, one- to two-hundred enemy combatants lay dead in the street, but miraculously not a single American life was lost. It was the soldiers themselves who dubbed the events of that day the 'Midtown Massacre', after a famous mob killing in New York City. When Bravo Company returned to Kuwait six weeks later, their reputation preceded them. "Nobody would talk to us. They said we were crazy murderers and rapists," Specialist Donald Duncan would later recall. "Well, I can see the murder part, seeing as how we did kill a lot of people."

The Duncan quote is from a May 2004 article in Playboy magazine. It was the first detailed account of the 'Midtown Massacre', and it led to an internal inquiry at Fort Benning in July of last year. A major Hollywood movie, 'Death and Dishonor', based on the article, is currently under development at Warner Bros. with Paul Haggis of "Million Dollar Baby" fame directing. Clint Eastwood will play the part of Richard Davis' father Lanny, who for months had to battle the military hierarchy to get them to investigate the disappearance of his son, who had simply been listed as 'AWOL," Absent Without Leave.

But in this story, it seems, the victims are often also the perpetrators. The handwritten statements made by the members of Bravo Company during the Fort Benning inquiry, were recently obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). And they paint a less than flattering portrait of Richard Davis. There was an incident, during the Midtown Massacre, when Douglas Woodcoff had taken two enemy prisoners who had been hiding in a basement. One of the men had his arm shot off. As one soldier testified, "the guy with the shot up arm, [Richard Davis] stuck his finger in his wound, and put cigarettes out on him. The other guy, he only had a shirt on, other than that he was buck-naked, he punched him and stepped on his balls. He thought it was funny."

The inquiry also confirmed that Davis had, at one point, put a skull on a stick outside their temporary base at Baghdad's Technical College, possibly to evoke a scene from "Apocalypse Now!," although it turned out that the skull was made of plastic. And several soldiers testified that Davis and others in his platoon had sex with Iraqi women, probably prostitutes, at a shopping mall in Baghdad. This was not a secret. Davis boasted about it to other soldiers all the time. "Everybody knew about it," a soldier testified, "they were the only ones to get some in months."

In the end, the Army concluded that there was "insufficient evidence to prove or disprove the allegations" in the Playboy article. The investigation was closed, even though several soldiers had testified that they had also killed women and children during the firefight.

When Jacob Burgoyne talks about the Midtown Massacre, he goes into 'soldier mode'. "We were really in the enemy's hands out there. Everybody's just shooting. AK rounds being shot at you, guys with RPG's running across the road. You're trying to stay disciplined, trying not to O-cross nobody. There's bunkers all over the road, and the bunkers are all booby-trapped. We're shooting up the bunkers. Then, about two hours into the fight, we hear over the radio that we've got suicide bombers as well."

The Midtown Massacre had already led to an earlier inquiry into war crimes. The investigation centered on Lt. Col. John Charlton, the commander of the 1st Battalion 15th Infantry Regiment, which Bravo Company was part of. Charlton had executed an unarmed enemy combatant as he was lying on the ground. The Army cleared Charlton of any wrongdoing, accepting his argument that he, mistakenly, thought the enemy combatant was a suicide bomber. Minutes earlier, a suicide bomber had indeed blown himself up, wounding a U.S. soldier. "We really didn't take no prisoners after that," Burgoyne says. "We were told to just strip them, leave them tied to a post and get the hell out of dodge. You're not thinking about the Geneva Convention, you're thinking about staying alive."

There is one sentence that jumps out from Burgoyne's medical report: "The patient views his role in killing enemy soldiers in a poor light, inquiring if he should feel like a murderer."

"What made me say that is because some people that died didn't deserve to die; they were just in the wrong place. What we did in Iraq is what we were trained to do. But it's still hard when you're looking through a scope and you're about to kill somebody of flesh and bone, someone who has feelings just like you. You're killing your own kind. I just don't think it's something that people should think that it's OK to do. Killing, I mean. It's something I'm going to have to live with for the rest of my life. I still don't know what it is, this PTSD. I just know they diagnosed me with it, and that I'm going to have to find a way to deal with it." [...]

When the Columbus case goes to trial some time this summer, chances are you will hear about it. What with a Hollywood movie in the making, and at least one news network signing up relatives for exclusives, the case is sure to attract a lot of media coverage. David West is no longer Martinez's lawyer – his newly established private practice is taking up too much of his time – but he has asked to stay on as co-counsel. "Because, by now, there isn't another lawyer in Georgia who knows more about PTSD than I do. And because I like an historic trial. This is an important case, one that's going to have repercussions long after I'm gone." [...]

The irony is that Jacob Burgoyne was all set to become a success story for the Army's new approach to dealing with PTSD. Unlike Martinez and Davis, Burgoyne had been diagnosed with PTSD well before leaving the combat theater, and for a while, everything was done by the (newly established) book. In 2002, a mild panic had swept through the military hierarchy after four soldiers from Fort Bragg in North Carolina killed their spouses in a six-week period. Three of the soldiers had recently returned from Afghanistan; two committed suicide afterwards. For a while, the anti-malaria drug Lariam was seen as the culprit. (Lariam invariably comes up in cases like these, and the Army has since stopped giving it to soldiers.) An official inquiry concluded that the killings were the result of pre-existing marital problems, combined with the stress of separation. But it also said that military culture prevented troubled soldiers and their families from seeking the help they needed. "We're not doing what we need to be doing yet," said Col. Dave Orman, the Army psychiatrist who led the team of investigators. "There was a prevalent attitude that seeking behavioral health care was not career-safe." [...]

The "traitor"

People who are afflicted with war-related PTSD have different ways of coping, and this is Jimmy Massey's way. Several times a month, he puts on his old Marines uniform, his desert boots and his dark sunglasses. He throws a big handwritten sign over his shoulder, and proceeds to walk down the Main Street of Waynesville, North Carolina, population: 9,255. The sign says: "I killed innocent civilians for our government."

It is not the kind of thing you get away with in Waynesville. To get to Waynesville, you take the Billy Graham Freeway, named after the infamous TV evangelist whose vocational training center is nearby. A huge sign along the freeway declares North Carolina "the most military-friendly state in the nation." When Jimmy Massey walks down the Main Street, there are those who will spit at him and call him a traitor. Twice, people have tried to run him over in their cars.

There was a time when Jimmy Massey might have been one of those people. The old Massey was a gung-ho marine. After the Sept. 11 attacks, he says, "his hands were itching to go kill me a couple of ragheads." He didn't know it then but two years later he would have ample opportunity to do just that in Iraq. But there was no satisfaction after Massey killed his first "raghead." On the contrary, at the end of a forty-eight hour period in which he says his unit killed "at least thirty innocent civilians." Jimmy Massey would never be the same again.

It was early April 2003. Massey's unit was manning a checkpoint near the old Al-Rashid barracks in Baghdad. There is one incident that Massey recalls with more detail than any other because it was key to his transformation. "A red Kia was approaching our checkpoint and made no sign of slowing down. We fired warning shots but the care kept coming towards us. That's when we opened fire."

When the marines approached the car, they found three civilians dead. The driver, miraculously, had survived unscathed. They found no weapons in the car. "What I will personally never forget is how the driver looked me straight into they eye and shouted: 'Why have you killed my brother? He has done nothing to you!' That was the defining moment for me. After that, I was no longer a marine."

The facts are not disputed, merely their interpretation. In a letter to The Mountaineer, the local newspaper in Waynesville, Maj. Dan Schmitt, Massey's superior in Iraq, writes: "Staff Sergeant Massey was personally fired from his position by me. I have no regrets. He was ineffective at leading Marines, and was a liability to those very Marines. (…) There is no profit for anyone by discrediting his story in any way. There were civilians injured and killed during our last fight. What everyone needs to know, however, is the measures we took to avoid that. Your Marines are not killers. They are honorable, ethical warriors. Your community should be proud of them."

"You can call if fog of war if you wish but for me it was murder," Massey says, "and I want Americans to know this." The new Massey is a popular speaker at left-wing political events. He has traveled to Japan to meet with the peace movement there. He has testified at a Toronto hearing for Jeremy Hinzman, an American deserter who has asked for asylum in Canada. He has sold his gun collection. His own mother refuses to speak to him anymore, but his wife Kathy has followed him on his new path. Political activism has become his new career, but the PTSD is always present. "It's the nightmares, the flashback to those forty-eight hours in Iraq that can e brought on by nothing more than a car's screeching tires." And there is the fact that whenever Massey plans to walk down Main Street with his sign, he does the same route by car the previous night, taking GPS coordinates of possible sniper positions.

Back in Washington, D.C., Stephen Robinson had said he was worried about Massey. "If I was the Army and I wanted to shut Jimmy up, I would arrest him and charge him with war crimes." But Massey is unfazed. "What more can they do to me? Put me in prison? I'm already in prison. My PTSD, the knowledge that I have murdered innocent people, is my prison. It is what I have to live with every day of my life." [...]

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Senate Gives FBI More Patriot Act Power
Jun 7, 10:59 PM (ET)

WASHINGTON - The FBI would get expanded powers to subpoena records without the approval of a judge or grand jury in terrorism investigations under Patriot Act revisions approved Tuesday by the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Some senators who voted 11-4 to move the bill forward said they would push for limits on the new powers the measure would grant to law enforcement agencies.

"This bill must be amended on the floor to protect national security while protecting Constitutional rights," said Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md.

Ranking Democrat Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., supported the bill overall but said he would push for limits that would allow such administrative subpoenas "only if immediacy dictates."

Rockefeller and other committee members, such as Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., also are concerned that the bill would grant powers to federal law enforcement agencies that could be used in criminal inquiries rather than intelligence-gathering ones.

Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., said the bill places new checks and balances on the powers it would grant, such as new procedures that would allow people to challenge such administrative orders. He called the Patriot Act "a vital tool in the war on terror" and lauded the Democrats who voted for it in spite of misgivings.

Portions of the Patriot Act - signed into law six weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks - are set to expire at the end of 2005. The bill would renew and expand the act.

The bill also must be considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee, where Feinstein and other Democrats planned to again offer amendments.

Overall, Rockefeller said, the committee gave a nod to most of the Patriot Act in its first few years fighting the nation's new enemies.

"We concluded that these tools have helped keep America safe ... and should be made permanent," Rockefeller said in a statement.

Still, civil libertarians panned the bill and the closed-door meetings in which it was written.

"When lawmakers seek to rewrite our Fourth Amendment rights, they should at least have the gumption to do so in public," said Lisa Graves, the ACLU's senior counsel for legislative strategy. "Americans have a reasonable expectation that their federal government will not gather records about their health, their wealth and the transactions of their daily life without probable cause of a crime and without a court order."

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Katherine Harris to Run for Senate in 2006
The Associated Press
Tuesday, June 7, 2005; 9:22 PM

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Republican Rep. Katherine Harris, who as Florida's secretary of state was both praised and vilified for her part in the 2000 presidential recount, said Tuesday she will run for the Senate next year against Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson.

Her announcement brings a major name to the race - along with the potential to attract huge infusions of cash from Republicans and Democrats alike because she is such a polarizing figure.

"The time has come to launch a campaign for the U.S. Senate," Harris told The Associated Press.

Harris, 48, is serving her second term in Congress. She is considered a top fundraiser and is a popular figure among Republicans.

But she is also despised by some Democrats for her role in overseeing the recount that ultimately gave Florida and the White House to George W. Bush over Al Gore. And her entry into the race could galvanize Democratic voters and contributors. [...]

In 2000, while Harris was Florida secretary of state, Bush won a 537-vote victory over Gore after a dispute that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. While Democrats accused Harris of partisanship in her handling of the recount, she became the darling of GOP activists and got elected to Congress in 2002.

In an interview with The Associated Press earlier this year, Harris said of her handling of the recount: "Every decision we made was totally based in law."

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Carter Calls on U.S. to Shut Down Gitmo
Associated Press
Tue Jun 7, 5:43 PM ET

ATLANTA - Former President Carter on Tuesday called for the United States to shut down the Guantanamo Bay prison to demonstrate its commitment to human rights.

"The U.S. continues to suffer terrible embarrassment and a blow to our reputation ... because of reports concerning abuses of prisoners in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo," Carter said after a two-day human rights conference at his Atlanta center.

Such reports have surfaced despite President Bush's "bold reminder that America is determined to promote freedom and democracy around the world," Carter said.

About 540 detainees are being held at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. Some have been there more than three years without being charged with a crime. Most were captured on the battlefields of Afghanistan in 2001 and 2002 and were sent to Guantanamo Bay in hope of extracting useful intelligence about the al-Qaida terrorist network.

Carter said the United States needs to make sure no detainees are held incommunicado and that all are told the charges against them. [...]

Comment: The pressure continues to mount. One might suspect that the pressure will result in the closing of Gitmo, even though the renditioning of prisoners will continue. On the other hand, perhaps the pressure on the Neocons will result in something totally different...

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Signs Of The Next Attack?
By Ted Twietmeyer

It would appear we are nearing the next big event. No references will be given for this article, except for

1. The website above has photos of US Army tanks and other military vehicles on the streets of NYC (on

Comment: See the complete article below, with photos...

2. Recent events this week have come to my attention regarding the test-shutdown of certain regions of the internet, for several hours at a time. Of course, it's also possible that technical failures can cause some of the problems listed below. One must consider this is also a possibility.

Below are some indications you might have noticed:

* Dialing an 800# and hearing absolutely nothing - not even ringing.

* Find that email transmissions blocked for one or both directions

* Discovering that emails are getting "lost." This may be content-connected.

* Having your DSL or cable modem suddenly lose the carrier. You may or may not have had to call to restore your service.

3. My experience is that you will experience more than one of the above at the same time. For example, an 800 number you might use to access voice over IP goes completely dead when you dial it, and also lose your DSL service.

Now what would be the point of doing this? The answer is really quite simple. Since martial law will undoubtedly include picking up troublemakers, all communication will be suspended throughout the country while the camp roundups are underway. After this is over, everything (communications) will suddenly "come back to life" again after the red and blue list roundups are largely completed. Such a communications shutdown will isolate people and prevent them from warning others.

The ONLY warning of the next attack may be the shutdown of communications systems first. Including the internet.

Then you'll find there are far more tanks, helicopters and armored vehicles in the US than you could imagined possible.

And most likely, most ot them will be white.

4. Other signs? Black helicopters have hovered over our home TWICE last week, 3 days apart and hovering about 30 minutes each time. Not on a sight-seeing tour. And we live 30 miles from the nearest airport and out in the country. We'll get photos of them next time.

Martial law mobilization may have already begun. Bush will remain in the whitehouse, know the rest. Elections will be suspended indefinitely.

Comment: While we cannot verify the information presented in this article, we have noticed various problems with the internet and especially e-mail. If any readers can provide information on any occurrences of the listed communications problems, please send us an e-mail (link is at the bottom of today's page) or post to our guestbook.

In any case, the linked PrisonPlanet article is a bit odd...

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Tanks In The Streets Of New York
Prison Planet
June 7th 2005

On a recent trip to NY City (last weekend) three gun-mounted, armored tanks/vehicles were driving through the streets of Manhattan. I took these pictures with my camera phone (hence the crappy quality).

I couldn't believe how many people just waved at the armed soldiers peeking out of the top, many even cheered loudly in support. Nobody took the time to say, "Why the hell are armed soldiers and tanks rolling down the middle of the street?!"

This happened the day after I saw a NYPD officer in Times Square – he was simply standing around watching the pedestrian traffic, the only thing out of place… he was carrying a machine gun!

So the question is… what do we do about it?!


P.S. The tank pictures were taken at the corner of 53rd and 7th in Manhattan (just a few blocks from Central Park).

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Feds Charge Father, Son With al-Qaida Link
June 8, 2005

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Federal authorities arrested a father and son after the younger man allegedly acknowledged that he attended an al-Qaida camp in Pakistan to learn "how to kill Americans," according to published reports.

Hamid Hayat and his father, Umer Hayat, 47, were arrested over the weekend on charges of lying to federal agents, FBI agent John Cauthen confirmed to The Associated Press on Tuesday night.

According to prosecutors, Hamid Hayat trained to use explosives and other weapons, using photographs of President Bush as targets. The Sacramento Bee reported his age as 22; the Los Angeles Times said he is 23.

Umer Hayat was charged in the complaint with lying about his son's involvement and his own financing of the terror camp. His attorney, Johnny Griffin III, called the allegations "shocking" but said his client "is charged with nothing more than lying to an agent."

The detained men are both U.S. citizens. U.S. Magistrate Judge Peter A. Nowinski denied a bail request for the elder Hayat, saying he was "a flight risk and a danger to the community."

"He just returned from Pakistan where he built a new home and contributed financial assistance to an al-Qaida sponsored program training his son and others to kill Americans whenever and wherever they can be found," the Bee quoted Nowinski as saying.

Hamid Hayat's attorney was not present for the court hearing, and Nowinski set a bail hearing for him on Friday.

Hamid Hayat recently returned to California from Pakistan. After first denying any link to terrorist camps, Hayat reportedly told agents that he attended al-Qaida camps in 2003 and 2004.

"Hamid advised that he specifically requested to come to the United States to carry out his jihadi mission," according to the affidavit. "Potential targets for attack would include hospitals and large food stores."

FBI agents raided the Hayat home on Tuesday, family members told the Times. They seized videocassettes, photographs, fax machines, prayer books and other items.

Two other men, Shabbir Ahmed and Mohammed Adil Khan, were being held on immigration violations after meeting separately with Umer Hayat on Saturday, the Bee reported. All four men live in Lodi, about 40 miles south of Sacramento.

Comment: More arrests of US citizens on terrorism charges... Are these recent few raindrops a warning of the coming storm?

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Update: Toxin Misidentified As Ricin in Arrest
Associated Press
Tue Jun 7,11:02 PM ET

PHOENIX - A substance thought to be ricin after it was confiscated from a man's apartment has been retested and found not to be the deadly toxin, officials said.

All 15 samples retested came back negative for ricin, said state epidemiologist David Engelthaler. Previous tests indicated three samples contained ricin.

Widely available and easy to produce, a small amount of ricin can kill a person within 36 hours.

The new tests were performed after state health lab workers discovered outdated chemicals had been used in initial testing.

The samples were taken from the Mesa apartment of Casey Cutler on Saturday after Cutler's former roommate told police he may have been poisoned by ricin.

Cutler, 25, was charged Sunday with producing and possessing a deadly toxin for use as a weapon. If convicted, Cutler faces a maximum penalty of life in prison.

The U.S. Attorney's Office plans to amend the complaint to charge Cutler with attempting to produce ricin for use as a weapon, said spokeswoman Sandy Raynor. That charge carries the same maximum penalty.

According to the criminal complaint, Cutler told investigators he manufactured and carried the ricin in vials around his neck for self-defense after being assaulted last year.

The complaint also said Cutler manufactured the ricin by boiling castor oil and extracting the toxin with acetone. Ricin is made from the waste produced by processing castor beans. Engelthaler said he did not know of any way to produce ricin from castor oil.

Officials said Cutler isn't believed to have any connection to terrorism.

Comment: State epidemiologist David Engelthaler said he didn't know of a way to produce ricin in the way Cutler is claimed to have attempted to produce the poison. In other words, the statement by the state's own expert directly refutes the terrorism charges against Cutler. Don't worry, though - he's still going to jail for a long, long time.

Raindrops, indeed...

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Homeland Security Conspiracy Against America

A recent Report of the Homeland Security Council entitled 'Planning Scenarios' describes in minute detail, the Bush administration's preparations in the case of a terrorist attack by an outside enemy called the Universal Adversary (UA).

The Universal Adversary, is identified in the scenarios as an abstract entity used for the purposes of simulation.

Yet upon more careful examination, this Universal Adversary is by no means illusory. It includes the following categories of potential "conspirators":

"foreign [Islamic] terrorists" ,

"domestic radical groups", [antiwar and civil rights groups]

"state sponsored adversaries" ["rogue states", "unstable nations"]

"disgruntled employees" [labor and union activists].

According to the Planning Scenarios Report :

"Because the attacks could be caused by foreign terrorists; domestic radical groups; state sponsored adversaries; or in some cases, disgruntled employees, the perpetrator has been named, the Universal Adversary (UA).

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Flashback: What Price Freedom?
Jun 8, 2004, 08:19

How Big Brother Is Watching, Listening and Misusing Information About You

You're on your way to work in the morning and place a call on your wireless phone. As your call is relayed by the wireless tower, it is also relayed by another series of towers to a microwave antenna on top of Mount Weather between Leesburg and Winchester, Virginia and then beamed to another antenna on top of an office building in Arlington where it is recorded on a computer hard drive.

The computer also records you phone digital serial number, which is used to identify you through your wireless company phone bill that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency already has on record as part of your permanent file.

A series of sophisticated computer programs listens to your phone conversation and looks for "keywords" that suggest suspicious activity. If it picks up those words, an investigative file is opened and sent to the Department of Homeland Security.

Congratulations. Big Brother has just identified you as a potential threat to the security of the United States because you might have used words like "take out" (as in taking someone out when you were in fact talking about ordering takeout for lunch) or "D-Day" (as in deadline for some nefarious activity when you were talking about going to the new World War II Memorial to recognize the 60th anniversary of D-Day).

If you are lucky, an investigator at DHS will look at the entire conversation in context and delete the file. Or he or she may keep the file open even if they realize the use of words was innocent. Or they may decide you are, indeed, a threat and set up more investigation, including a wiretap on your home and office phones, around-the-clock surveillance and much closer looks at your life.

Welcome to America, 2004, where the actions of more than 150 million citizens are monitored 24/7 by the TIA, the Terrorist Information Awareness (originally called Total Information Awareness) program of DARPA, DHS and the Department of Justice. [...]

Going on a trip? TIA knows where you are going because your train, plane or hotel reservations are forwarded automatically to the DARPA computers. Driving? Every time you use a credit card to purchase gas, a record of that transaction is sent to TIA which can track your movements across town or across the country.

Use a computerized transmitter to pay tolls? TIA is notified every time that transmitter passes through a toll booth. Likewise, that lunch you paid for with your VISA becomes part of your permanent file, along with your credit report, medical records, driving record and even your TV viewing habits.

Subscribers to the DirecTV satellite TV service should know – but probably don't – that every pay-per-view movie they order is reported to TIA as is any program they record using a TIVO recording system. If they order an adult film from any of DirecTV's three SpiceTV channels, that information goes to TIA and is, as a matter of policy, forwarded to the Department of Justice's special task force on pornography.

"We have a police state far beyond anything George Orwell imagined in his book 1984," says privacy expert Susan Morrissey. "The everyday lives of virtually every American are under scrutiny 24-hours-a-day by the government." [...]

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Government can bar medical marijuana use
Mon Jun 6, 2005
By James Vicini

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The federal government has the power to prevent sick patients from smoking home-grown marijuana that a doctor recommended to relieve their chronic pain, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday in a setback for the medical marijuana movement.

The high court ruled that a federal law outlawing marijuana applied to two seriously ill California women, even though California is one of at least nine states that allow medical use of marijuana.

Justice John Paul Stevens said for the court majority that the federal law, the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, was a valid exercise of federal power by the Congress "even as applied to the troubling facts of this case."

By a 6-3 vote, the justices set aside a lower-court decision in favor of the two women.

It represented another setback for the medical marijuana movement. The high court ruled in 2001 that California cannabis clubs may not distribute marijuana as a "medical necessity" for seriously ill patients.

The latest ruling stemmed from a lawsuit brought in 2002 by Angel Raich, who has an inoperable brain tumor and other medical problems, and Diane Monson, who suffers from severe back pain. Their doctors recommended marijuana for their pain.

Monson cultivates her own marijuana while two of Raich's caregivers grow the marijuana and provide it to her free of charge. In 2002, Drug Enforcement Administration agents destroyed six cannabis plants seized from Monson's home.

Their attorney, Randy Barnett of Boston, argued that medical use of home-grown marijuana falls outside the power of Congress to regulate trade among the states and that only marijuana provided relief from the pain the two women suffer.

The ruling was a victory for the Bush administration, which appealed to the Supreme Court after a federal appeals court in California said that marijuana used for medical purposes was different from drug trafficking.

The administration estimated that as many as 100,000 Californians would use marijuana for medical purposes if the Supreme Court ruled for the two women.

Government lawyers said it would be difficult to enforce the nation's drug laws if there was an exception for medical marijuana. They said the federal ban trumped the California law, which the voters adopted in 1996 to allow "compassionate use" of medical marijuana.

Comment: It is entirely in keeping with the true nature of the US government that it should forcibly deny US medical patients an opportunity to experience relief from their suffering...

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U.S. leads in mental illness
Jun. 7, 2005. 01:00 AM

A quarter of all Americans met the criteria for having a mental illness within the past year, and fully 25 per cent of those had a "serious" disorder that significantly disrupted their ability to function every day, says the largest and most detailed survey of the nation's mental health.

Although parallel studies in 27 other countries are not yet complete, the new numbers suggest the U.S. is poised to rank No. 1 for mental illness globally, researchers said.

"We lead the world in a lot of good things, but we're also leaders in this one particular domain that we'd rather not be," said Ronald Kessler, the Harvard professor of health care policy who led the effort, called the National Comorbidity Survey Replication.

The exhaustive government-sponsored effort, based on in-depth interviews with more than 9,000 randomly selected Americans, finds that the prevalence of mental illness has remained roughly flat in the past decade - a possible glimmer of hope given that previous decades had suggested the rates were gradually rising.

But the rest of the news from the survey released yesterday - which did not include some of the most serious disorders, such as schizophrenia, for which patients are often institutionalized - is mostly discouraging.

Less than half of those in need get treated. Those who seek treatment typically do so after a decade or more of delays, during which time they are likely to develop additional problems. And the treatment they receive is usually inadequate.

Younger sufferers are especially overlooked, the survey found, even though mental illness is very much a disease of youth. Half of those who will ever be diagnosed with a mental disorder show signs of the disease by age 14, and three quarters by age 24. But few get help.

Many factors contribute to these failings, the reports say, including inattention to early signs, inadequate health insurance and the lingering stigma around mental illness. [...]

Comment: Not to worry, if you have been denied marijuana, there is always the opium of the masses...

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In God we Trust: America's rising religious zealotry
Andrew Buncombe in Washington
07 June 2005

Some snapshots of religious zeal in the US: there are churches in Texas where 20,000 worshippers pray every Sunday; Alabama's most senior judge was dismissed for refusing to remove the Ten Commandments from his court; the re-election of George Bush ­ returned with the support of thousands of evangelicals lured to the polls by local laws banning homosexual marriage.

Such images leave little doubt about the importance of religion in a country where more than 40 per cent of the population say they regularly attend church. But a survey has underlined the huge gulf between the US and other industrialised countries on the influence of religion in everyday life.

Despite the separation of church and state being enshrined in the US constitution, more than 40 per cent of US citizens said religious leaders should use their influence to try to sway policy-makers. In France, by contrast, 85 per cent of people said they opposed such "activism" by the clergy.

"These numbers are not surprising," Daniel Conkle, who teaches law and religion at Indiana University, told The Independent. "The US, in separating church and state, has not followed with the notion that it includes a separation of religion and politics.

"In other words, it's believed the institutions of church and state should be separate but there has never been a consensus that religious values should somehow be separated from public life or kept private."

The survey, carried out for the Associated Press by Ipsos, found that, in terms of the importance of religion to its citizens, only Mexico came close to the US. But unlike in the US, Mexicans were strongly opposed to the clergy being involved in politics ­ an opposition to church influence rooted in their history.

The survey ­ which questioned people in the US, Australia, the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, South Korea and Spain ­ found that only 2 per cent of people in the US said they did not believe in God. In France and South Korea the number of people who said they were atheists stood at 19 per cent.

The survey has again highlighted the gap between the US and Western Europe, where Pope Benedict XVI has complained that growing secularism has left churches empty. It has also reopened the debate among academics as to the reasons for the difference.

Some specialists, such as Roger Finke, a sociologist at Penn State University, point to the long history of religious freedom in the US and say it has created a greater supply of options for citizens than in other countries. That proliferation, they argue, has inspired wider observance.

"In the United States, you have an abundance of religions trying to motivate Americans to greater involvement. It makes a tremendous difference here," said Mr Finke.

Others argue that rejecting religion is a natural result of modernisation and the US is an exception to the trend. And then there are those who argue Europe is an anomaly and that people in modernised countries inevitably return to religion ­ they yearn for tradition.

Gregg Easterbrook, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think-tank, said: "By a lot of measures, the US is the most religious of the industrialised nations."

In terms of church attendance the US is not exceptional. A survey carried out by the University of Michigan found that, while more than 40 per cent of people in the US said they went to church, in Nigeria the number was 89 per cent and in the Philippines it was about 68 per cent. In South Africa and Poland, the figure stood at 55 per cent.

But the US appears to be exceptional among industrialised nations because of the numbers who believe religion should influence policy-makers.

One survey respondent, David Black, from Osborne, Pennsylvania, said: "Our nation was founded on Judaeo-Christian policies and religious leaders have an obligation to speak out on public policy, otherwise they're wimps." Experts said many countries, unlike the US, have experienced religious conflicts that have made people suspicious of giving clergy any say in policy.

"In Germany, they have a Christian Democratic Party, and talk about Christian values but they don't talk about them in the same way that we do," said Brent Nelsen, from Furman University in South Carolina.

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Agents provocateur?
John Kaminski

How the hell can you really tell valid criticism from clever deception?

June 7, 2005 - Honesty is a tricky business. What happens when an honest assessment of the situation actually works against your ultimate objective? What do you do then, when one of life's little riddles sneaks up and bites you on the butt?

Well, first you examine your long term objectives. What is your ultimate purpose? What is it you are trying to do? And finally, what the heck are we here for, anyway?

Then you review the short term goal. What is it I was trying to accomplish? And does that immediate achievement justify sitting on facts you suspect to be true, but don't dare say? And ultimately, will aspiring toward the short term goal actually work against your long term objective?

I could at this point veer into the murky territory that both links and repels men and women, but in the dull interests of decorous propriety, I will not, except to say the classic male example of this conundrum typically is a confession of undying love in pursuit of minimally sincere sexual activity, producing a result where one's long term objectives are inevitably polluted by the short term goal. (Ooh, I can just hear those speculative wheels spinning crazily in the minds of voyeuristic cybergossipers, but let me stress this I am only using this as a hypothetical for-instance.)

More to the point - and in fact exactly on it - is my perspective on the events of September 11, 2001, the day the world changed. Or, as I have said in the title of my booklet, "The Day America Died."

I remember that day all too well. I was standing in front of my TV. I had just awakened and flipped it on, intending to zap the clicker to ESPN to catch the latest sports news, a typical daily habit that occurs just before I stumble into the kitchen to make my coffee. By chance, the tube was set to NBC, where the plastic Today show commentators were talking about a plane that had crashed into the World Trade Center. So I never changed the channel. I just stood there, eyelids glued apart, and watched as plane number two glided into the south tower, and into history.

I just stood there, I don't know for how long. Eventually I turned around, made the coffee, and listened to the aghast commentary of the NBC crew. I don't remember now what it was triggered my next verbal outburst, whether it was Katie Couric reporting the government saying it was Osama bin Laden who was behind the attacks, or some vaguer speculation about Arab terrorists.

I only know I turned around, stalked into the living room, and then with the most certain self-assured vehemence I have ever shown in my life, started bellowing: "No way! No freaking way!"

I knew then, right then and there, that 9/11 was an inside job. That this was not the work of Arab terrorists, unless they played some minor diversionary role in a complex and deliberately confusing cast of characters. That this was done at the behest of the people who control our lives, who wanted to create a stultifying example that would be branded into the minds of the muddled masses in order to create a war mentality to justify their criminal intent to make war on the whole world, and make a handsome profit from it.

Nothing I have seen, heard, or read since has caused me to feel even the merest shadow of a doubt about what I felt at that moment. All those millions of words, mostly written by people who have no stake in anything media-related or politically purposeful, have only reinforced my conviction.

The highest, most important leaders in our land, and other countries as well, were behind the scheme to kill thousands of American citizens in order to justify an intensified assault on the oil-producing countries of the Middle East and elsewhere. Time and the telling of hundreds of more lies have only deepened my conviction, and proved it far beyond a reasonable doubt. The plans for these wars were drawn up BEFORE 9/11, and the lies utilized to execute them have become well-established in the public eye, at least for those interested enough to take a look.

So I began to write about it, firing thought cannons into cyberspace that were read by thousands of readers but which had little or no effect on the world at large. Gathering every fact I could from each mind who cared to comment on these matters, I soon amassed an array of speculative evidence from a variety of researchers that convincingly confirmed my initial emotional impressions.

I always thought the government's lies were the best piece of evidence, what with Cheney, Rice, and Myers all saying "we had no idea something like this could happen" and then the FBI announcing the names of ALL the hijackers later in the day. When Bush announced the invasion of Afghanistan as a response to 9/11, it soon became evident that this demonic target-shoot has been planned years before the towers had been hit.

But more tangible evidence quickly followed: Why did the FBI quickly confiscate that videotape from that gas station across the street from the Pentagon that would have clearly shown exactly what hit the Pentagon? Because it would not have verified their story - that is the only reason it could be.

And that is legitimate probable cause for a thousand prosecutions, if we had a law enforcement apparatus that actually tried to enforce the law.

Why is there no evidence of the so-called hijackers actually being on the supposedly hijacked airliners? Or even if they were, of having no snowball's chance in hell of executing the impossible aerobatic maneuvers necessary to do what the government said they did? There were no hijackers. And no reason to invade foreign countries.

The time the towers took to fall is what I consider the smoking gun. There is no way structures of that mass and complexity could have free-fallen the way they did without the 47 core columns of each twin tower being expertly severed by explosives. The minimal fires supposedly caused by the plane crashes were neither hot nor widespread enough to cause the buildings to fall at all, never mind the way they did, conveniently and neatly into their own footprints.

No way! No freaking way!

However, it wasn't long before I dared verbally venture into these matters when I ran afoul of people with different opinions as to what actually happened.

And as it stands today, the 9/11 skeptics movement is in total shambles, with the dominant personalities far more interested in pushing their own personal view of things and advancing their own interests than they are in convincing the public they need to focus on the American criminal politicians who were behind the whole caper in the first place.

And this is a truly tragic twist, because now that the American public, weary from the continued flimsiness of government lies about current events, is ready to confront the biggest lie of them all - 9/11 - the 9/11 skeptics movement has deteriorated into trivial bickering that serves no purpose at all other than reveal the shallow, selfish motives of many of its participants.

I receive about 2,000 e-mails per week, most from people who are intensely interested in solving this problem. One recent one from the indefatigable story forwarder Sally Chrisinis in Texas contained a link to a 2004 story by Gerard Holmgren that I consider the single best overall roundup of what really happened on 9/11 that I have ever read, titled "Manufactured Terrorism: The Truth About Sept. 11." Read it here

Holmgren, an award-winning, Australian blues guitarist, has distinguished himself as the 9/11 researcher with probably more amazing discoveries than anyone else (especially that two of the supposedly fatal flights on 9/11 never showed up in FAA records, and that the passenger lists are riddled with inconsistencies).

He is also at the center of, and chief spokesman for, the single issue that most divides the 9/11 skeptics movement - the assertion that there were no planes, or at least no passenger jetliners - used in the attacks.

Just for a moment, savor this enigma. The best researcher says there were no planes. Or, more precisely, not the planes we thought we saw.

Try to view this as a perfect parallel to the overall 9/11 dilemma. A majority of Americans, trapped as they are in media manufactured images for the entirety of their lives, simply cannot bring themselves to believe that their elected officials could ever even contemplate such a dastardly deed, never mind actually commit it.

So imagine how hard it would be to convince the public, which did not want to believe their leaders killed 3,000 of their own people, that on top of that, the whole charade was pulled off without the planes we thought we saw. This was always my chief objection to the no-plane theory. It would be met by guffaws (and has been). No one would believe it. Hell, it was hard enough to try and get people to believe their own government would actually do this (even though I never found it hard to believe, because there are simply too many similar historical precedents of self-inflicted wounds to justify aggression).

But then, from various nooks and crannies of the Internet, reality began to intrude.

First, there was no plane wreckage at the Pentagon, except a couple of apparently seeded parts that may or may not have matched up to the specifications of the plane that was supposed to have hit it. Add on top of this the government's assertion that the DNA of each passenger was later identified after a fire that was so blazingly hot that it vaporized an entire jetliner into complete invisibility. And on top of that, remember that this was the plane that supposedly flew for an hour and 40 minutes in the most secure airspace in the world without being intercepted by our crack Air Force. And finally there was the impossible aerobatic maneuver the pilot of Flight 77 was supposed to have executed - a 270-degree diving turn at 600 mph - that not even Neil Armstrong could have pulled off, and this was done by a guy, a wacked-out Arab terrorist named Hani Hanjour, who from all reports had trouble driving a car.

So you begin to suspect there's something wrong with the Pentagon story (to say the least).

OK, then you consider the crash in Pennsylvania, on which the passengers supposedly staged a valiant attempt to wrest control of the plane from hijackers, and in the ensuing fight, the plane crashed to the ground. It isn't so much the fact that no one actually saw this plane crash, or that there was something curiously anomalous about the wreckage, or that many witnesses recall seeing an unmarked white jet cruising around the area.

My pal Brad sent me an interesting timeline about Flight 93 that included the evocative phone calls Deena Burnett supposedly received from her husband Tom as he struggled with the dire situation fighting the hijackers aboard the doomed jetliner.

Just after 6 a.m. California time, Deena Burnett called 911 (the number, not the day) and said she'd just received a cell phone call from her husband who was on a plane. Deena told the cops: "They just knifed a passenger and there are guns on the plane."

Seven minutes later, or so the story goes, Tom Burnett called Deena again. She says he said: "The guy they knifed is dead."

Greg Gordon's riveting account in the Sacramento Bee of the Burnetts' tragic morning, with Tom furnishing inside details meticulously enunciated to verify the government's story, will bring tears to your eyes. It did to mine.

And then you remember that this was a cellphone call, and the plane at that time was flying at 35,000 feet (and climbing to 41,000). And you remember the words of Professor A.K. Dewdney (among others), who has proved conclusively that cellphones don't work at that altitude. See here for example.

So you begin to suspect that there's something wrong with this Pennsylvania story, and think, hmm, deja vu all over again?

OK, then you begin to think back about the events in New York City, and you remember the famous Naudet video, which showed the first crash of the day, Flight 11 slamming into the north tower of the World Trade Center. It's a crappy video, all fuzzy and jerky, supposedly because the Naudet brothers caught it by serendipitous accident while filming a documentary that day about firefighters.

If you've done any research into these matters, you've watched the blown-up, slowed-down version of that footage over and over, and you can't escape the nagging feeling that that plane's wings are perpendicular to the fuselage - not swept back at an angle like those on a passenger jetliner. And you can't help but begin to wonder - what kind of plane was that? And you remember the initial reports of a small plane hitting the tower.

So you begin to think to there's something wrong with this North Tower story. And by now it's a familiar refrain.

When I put these three thoughts together, I am ready to believe Holmgren's story. If three of the crashes have been grotesquely misrepresented, there no way the fourth one could have happened as reported. If you think it could have, then you have never placed a bet in your entire life, and should never.

But what really nailed it for me was George Nelson, the retired Air Force colonel who recently wrote a story about airplane crashes in general. Nelson said there has never been an example of an airplane crash in which the plane could not be identified because of an innocuous item called replaceable time-change parts, small components in the vastly complex array of machinery necessary to get these big machines off the ground.

Each airplane has numerous time-change parts that are all recorded in their meticulously kept maintenance logs, and each of these parts has serial numbers that are logged in as well, hence providing a certifiable record of part with plane. Many of these parts are too small to be destroyed in a crash. I mean, even in the worst crashes, if a plane is reduced to rubble the size of say, silver dollars, some of these parts are even smaller than that, so they don't get further reduced in size. They turn up in a search of the wreckage, a serial number is found, and the plane is identified by the connection recorded in its maintenance log.

Every crash that has ever happened, Nelson asserts, has been identified in this manner. See here

Except on 9/11. No replaceable part that could link the planes said to have crashed to a piece of rubble that was examined on that day has ever been found.

Nelson's conclusion? "The Bush administration has provided no public evidence to support its claim that the terror attacks were the work of Muslim extremists or even that the aircraft that struck their respective targets on September 11 were as advertised .... it would be a simple matter to confirm that they were - if they were. Until such proof is forthcoming, the opposite claim must be kept in mind as a precaution against rushing to judgment: the 911 hijackings were part of a black operation carried out with the cooperation of elements in our government." (And this guy's a retired colonel.)

At that point, planes or not, I was ready to believe Holmgren's tale (after years of arbitrarily denying it was true, because I just could not believe it).

But one formidable hurdle remained. The major image seared forever into the minds of every person on earth is the crash of what the government says was Flight 175 into the South Tower. We've seen it over and over. It is etched into our dreams.

Holmgren, along with his allies in film analysis, The Webfairy, Scott Loughery, Nico Haupt, Marcus Icke and the whole "no-plane" movement, continue to insist it was done electronically - that there were no planes - because of anomalies they have observed in the videos of the event.

I had occasion to converse with the Webfairy (Rosalee Grable) recently, and I told her I was ready to believe Holmgren's version of events, except for one thing - how do you explain so many different camera angles on that crash all recording essentially the same event, and how could eyewitnesses see it if it were all done with exotic film techniques?

This was the question that had always hung me up in this debate. Sure, most of us had only seen it on TV, but what about all those people who were running from the raining rubble - what had they seen? And what about the people in Queens who watched it on the Von Kleist video. And what were the suspicious Israelis filming from the New Jersey shore - only a video deception?

How could a hologram of jet crash been seen by so many people from so many different angles? I am no technical expert on these matters, but for all the reading I've done on the Internet these past three years, you'd think I would have run across the subject - since I've been looking for it.

Rosalee told me that Gerard and her friends no longer believe it was a hologram, and that they now believe it was all done in the ersatz movie studio of a flight simulator, and then that footage was somehow transmitted to the TV networks.

Holmgren responded forthrightly. "I can't give a definite answer. As with the Pentagon, all I can say for sure is what it was not. That is, it was not the "plane" which we see in the video. The illusory plane masks whatever it was."

So there it was again - the difficulty of the story. In all four events on 9/11, we can't figure out what happened, but the evidence that can be assembled indicates the official story is not true.

The dilemma of a difficult story that cannot be easily conveyed to the public is what made me reject it in the first place, but in the same way that people's attitudes ultimately have no bearing on the veracity of what they're saying, so the difficulties in comprehending a story have no relevance as to whether or not it's true.

Where I began this reconsideration of a contentious dispute was by remembering that you can't determine the veracity of information on the basis of someone's reputation. And the reputation of the no-planers is horrible. They have savaged everyone who dared question their version of events, and left a trail of bad feelings wherever they've gone.

They have intimidated many into frustrated silence with a constant barrage of cantankerous contentions, and a result have attracted all manner of derogatory adjectives, including from me. And yet, we continue to use their information - that two of the flights may never existed, that the passenger list info is very suspicious - in our pursuit of the truth. So perhaps some of us have been too harsh in dismissing them as disruptive. After all, this is a very emotional debate, and the future of the world DOES depend on its outcome.

This emotionalism has spilled over into other principle schisms within the 9/11 skeptics movement. In my clumsy attempts to try and deduce the real story, I've received some of it myself, with the controversial Phil Jayhan (who lately has been saying he is receiving messages from God) accusing me of taking money from the government as well as not caring about the people who died on 9/11.

More recently I have been swept into a public roasting by Holmgren and the no-plane gang of 9/11 personality Karl Schwarz in which neither side has exactly distinguished itself by polite debating tactics. The Holmgren gang has torched Schwarz for specific inaccuracies in his very public attempts to get New York state law enforcement officials to bring legal action against the government for wrongful deaths in the 9/11 attacks. But Schwarz has only feebly defended himself by using empty ad hominem threats against the no-planers, and his apparently inflated claims about himself and his "companies" have taken a major hit with the publication of his background on Portland Indymedia (Karl Schwarz: Unfortunate Son here.)

Again, the upshot of this nagfest was to only drive more people away from the movement, disgusted with the level of personal insults obscuring the merits of the discussion.

The same kind of high-intensity emotion has been embarrassingly evident among Internet radio listeners of late, as they have watched, with increasing confusion and incredulity, the continuing attacks of WING-TV against several of the best radio hosts on the web: Jeff Rense, Alex Jones, and Fintan Dunne.

Miffed that they have been snubbed by their more experienced and more accomplished broadcasting competitors, WING-TV operators Victor Thorn and Lisa Guliani have engaged an embarrassing juvenile tirade against three people who have perhaps brought more people to realistic political consciousness via Web radio than anybody else, especially with regard to 9/11.

It's very difficult for me to write these words, especially since Thorn has published two of my books. More importantly, over the past year he had conducted a string of timely and valuable interviews with some of the most respected voices in the 9/11 skeptics movement, and at great personal sacrifice attempted to shed some light on the decade-old Oklahoma City coverup.

But since that attempt, Thorn and Guliani have ceased interviewing relevant guests and gone on a deceptive and underhanded campaign to ridicule Rense, Jones, and Dunne that culminated in them throwing underwear around their makeshift TV set and holding up a Barbie-doll to the camera in a pathetic attempt to besmirch the sexual proclivities of one of these radio competitors.

Whatever credibility they may have had among many in the alternative news community disappeared forever at that very moment.

A quick scan of their WING-TV website reveals that they made whatever reputation they had by castigating the competition. They started out with easy targets like braindead radio host Mike Gallagher, then graduated to easy target Mike Ruppert, whose blatant oil company propaganda and mutation from top 9/11 critic into just another leftie gatekeeper news outlet has been noted with disappointment by most facets of the genuine 9/11 skeptics movement.

But most people get the feeling that if Rense or Jones or Dunne had merely had them on their shows and let them pitch their own products, none of this would have happened. So their so-called revealing exposés of Rense, Jones, and the Genesis Communications Network, are little more than sour grapes at not being able to crack the big time.

That some of their criticisms are valid are beside the point. That Jones is a bombastic and aggressive Texan with a keen sense of his own profitability doesn't diminish his many achievements in exposing many current events that need to be exposed. That Rense dabbles in arcane topics like UFOs doesn't negate the formidable political guests he's had on his show, nor does his continuing efforts to make clear the evils of Zionism are not perpetrated by all Jews nor all Christians.

That the owner of the Genesis network, Ted Anderson, makes money by selling gold doesn't make him an agent of the Illuminati. Fact is, Genesis, with Rense, Jones and Jack Blood leading the way, provides a news service to the American people that is unmatched for relevance across the media spectrum.

Which brings us to another point about Thorn. His little booklet titled "Christ Killers."

Thorn's decision to align himself with the hardcore Christian right opens him up to legitimate charges of anti-Semitism.

Now I know some of you must be laughing about me using that term, since I have been branded with it myself. Let me make this clear. Jews are human beings, just like everybody else. The fact that many - or even most - of them have chosen to believe the lies told in the Talmud that they are the Chosen are better than everybody is certainly despicable and ridiculous, but no worse than the way Catholics feel about themselves as the only true church, or Muslims as the only true religion, or Hindus being the fathers of us all. It's all hateful BS, and a movement among the Jews is growing that Zionism hurts them as much as it hurts everybody else.

So when I say somebody is anti-Semitic, you can count on it as being true, and not the same attempt at political intimidation as it is when used by fascist bozos like Abe Foxman, Jerry Falwell, or Richard Perle.

After all, I'm the guy who doesn't believe the Germans gassed anyone during World War II (because Eisenhower never mentioned it) and that Israel is an illegal state that should not be allowed to exist because it is simply a mechanism for crime engineered by the Illuminati. Does that mean I hate Jews? No it doesn't. Because I don't. Though I believe that rich Zionist Jews were right at the center of the 9/11 scam and are guilty of treason and mass murder, I believe that Jews hold the key to both the destabilization of the Middle East by Israel and the great 9/11 coverup, because they have the insights and the connections to get to the bottom of both deceptions in the name of honesty and humanity.

Whether they will or not remains to be seen. But the key to accomplishing this incredible feat which is so essential to the continued survival of human society depends both on Jews rejecting the notion that they are superior to other tribes of homo sapiens on the basis of how they have been misled by their evil holy men, and also on non-Jews abandoning the perception by that Jews are out to enslave them because that is what is written in the Talmud.

Both of these things must happen. Both of these things will happen, when people finally realize the real hate crimes are written in the world's holy books for the purpose of pitting one neighbor against another in the name of profit.

This needless arguments are typical of what has happened to the 9/11 skeptics movement. It has been betrayed by people more interested in their own financial fortunes than in unearthing the truth.

The truth is that we all make mistakes, we all believe things that with further study we eventually learn are lies, and we all like to condescend to people who don't share our particular ideas about what is happening.

This is what I meant when I said at the beginning of this screed that honesty is a tricky business. By revealing all these petty grievances, I have probably retarded the search for 9/11 truth more than illuminated it, simply because of the number of people who have not read this story to this point, and abandoned it for some other activity they think is more rewarding.

But you don't solve a problem by skirting its most contentious aspects. We must muddle through them, no matter how complicated or enigmatic they become.

In the case with honesty and the truth, if you don't persevere, and seek it without involving your ego in its discovery, you'll never find it. So those who didn't stick around for the end of this story have missed the best part.

Among the thousands of e-mails I try to comprehend came this gem the other day from someone I seldom hear from, Christopher Brown.

Dissatisfied with what was available in the way of 9/11 sites, Chris constructed his own site, and while it isn't quite accurate throughout (everybody gets bogged down in the debate about the temperature necessary to melt or buckle steel), it nevertheless contains two of the most pertinent modules available on the subject of the massacre at the World Trade Center.

The site is located here, but let me synopsize the two parts I consider the most evocative. If you can read these two little stories and still believe the government's story about what happened on 9/11, than you are either learning disabled or on the payroll of the oinks orchestrating the coverup.

Although there is no supporting link in his narrative, Brown theorizes in the section titled "How the WTC Was Secretly Demolished on 9-11-01" that the thick coatings on the rebar used on the cast concrete support core and foundation were actually made of the plastic explosive C4.

"This would put enough explosive force in direct contact with the most concrete at high enough pressures and enable the instantaneous structural collapse of each floor consecutively to the ground that we saw, as well as the resulting particulate," Brown writes.

"This was technology invented in the Cold War to make self-destruct missile silos and submarine bases, perfect for preplanned demolition. The C4 protected the steel from corrosion before the sea water was evacuated by the incoming concrete into the forms. The C4 was encapsulated in the concrete and its 10 year average shelf life extended by many times."

On to the second story, which Brown clipped from the Danish website: here [1]

Here's the excerpt:

Mike told his co-worker to call upstairs to their Assistant Chief Engineer and find out if everything was all right. His co-worker made the call and reported back to Mike that he was told that the Assistant Chief did not know what happened but that the whole building seemed to shake and there was a loud explosion. They had been told to stay where they were and "sit tight" until the Assistant Chief got back to them.


The two decided to ascend the stairs to the C level, to a small machine shop where Vito Deleo and David Williams were supposed to be working. When the two arrived at the C level, they found the machine shop gone.

"There was nothing there but rubble" Mike said. "We're talking about a 50 ton hydraulic press - gone!" The two began yelling for their co-workers, but there was no answer. They saw a perfect line of smoke streaming through the air. "You could stand here," he said, "and two inches over you couldn't breathe. We couldn't see through the smoke so we started screaming." But there was still no answer.


The two made their way to the parking garage, but found that it, too, was gone. 'There were no walls, there was rubble on the floor, and you can't see anything' he said

No walls, NO WALLS!!! Those were steel reinforced concrete walls, the centralized rebar of the walls coated with C4 removed the walls completely. The surviving engineers were protected by the efficiency of the blast which pulverized the concrete and filled the air with dust and high heat, floating the particles at the top of the room.

Gives you a new perspective on the comment by WTC landlord Larry Silverstein to "pull it," doesn't it? And it takes the planes/no planes brouhaha right out of the equation. Who cares what flew into the towers, or what radio show has what guest on his show, when the towers were built to be demolished, and blown up at their bases?

We can figure out the plane thing, if we like, during the treason and mass murder trials of Bush, Cheney, and thousands of others.

Agents provocateur? We can easily identify the shams posted by establishment shills such as Chertoff in Popular Mechanics, Jasper in the New American, and Shermer in Scientific American, or by other Zionist gatekeepers such as Amy Goodman and Noam Chomsky who refuse to address central questions about 9/11, the Iraq war, and Israel's extermination of the Palestinians and infiltration of the U.S. government.

But inside the 9/11 skeptics movement itself I cannot tell if anyone is deliberately trying to deceive or obfuscate (except for Michael Elliott of, who has suddenly disappeared, leaving a trail of debts and broken promises).

What I do see is people pursuing their objectives so ardently (and I myself am not immune from this) that they castigate competing theories as government subterfuge. When combined with the frustration of trying to defog government smokescreens, and competing theories that disagree with their own, fireworks follow. And they don't help the movement. In fact, they play right into the hands of those who engineered the coverup.

The object of the 9/11 skeptics movement is not to gain personal fame and fortune, nor to disparage those who are not as expert as others in knowing all the trivial details of every aspect of the event.

It is perhaps a legitimate exercise to point out those who are deliberately trying to impede or distort a gathering of the facts. But identifying this activity must be weighed against the higher goal of inspiring a majority of Americans to recognize the capital crimes of their leaders. After all, even Mike Ruppert, before he revealed himself as an oil company shill, was of great value to the movement.

The object, ultimately, is to identify the true perpetrators of the greatest crime in American history, and perhaps on an even higher level, to prevent the world from being destroyed by rich and cunning white men who seek to profit from fomenting wars all over the world.

We need to stop the bickering, and press on in pursuit of the evidence, wherever it leads. Only then can we truly say we have led and are leading honest lives.

John Kaminski < > is a writer who lives on the Gulf Coast of Florida. His essays have been posted on hundreds of websites around the world and have been collected into two anthologies, both of which are available on his website, Also available is the booklet, "The Day America Died: Why You Shouldn't Believe the Official Story of What Happened on September 11, 2001," which is still selling well. Don't you wonder why?

[1] This is not a Danish website. See Comment by Peter Meyer:

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Freeway Chase, Standoff Ends With Charges
June 8, 2005

ALHAMBRA, Calif. - Traffic was backed up for miles and even the commuter rail service was shut off when a suspect in an attempted kidnapping led officers on a 75-mile chase and then held them at bay for hours before he was captured.

With television news helicopters hovering overhead Tuesday, deputies shoved a tear gas grenade into the man's minivan and, when he opened the door, sent a dog to drag him out. But he was buckled in and the dog vainly ripped off his sleeve before deputies finally unbuckled him to end the standoff. [...]

Tuesday's chase began about 8:45 a.m. when a man posing as a delivery courier tried to kidnap a woman in the wealthy Lake Sherwood area, said Ventura County sheriff's spokesman Eric Nishimoto. He abducted her at gunpoint from her porch, Nishimoto said, but when she got away he fled in the van instead, and authorities quickly began their pursuit.

The chase moved from Ventura County into Los Angeles County, past downtown Los Angeles, and into suburban Alhambra. Police vehicles rammed his van three times before getting it to stop around 11:15 a.m.

During the long standoff, he made calls to television stations and at one point told a police dispatcher, "There's only two bullets in this car and they're meant for me." [...]

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GM to idle more plants, slash 25,000 jobs
By Brad Dorfman
Wed Jun 8, 3:23 AM ET

WILMINGTON, Del. - General Motors Corp. expects to close more U.S. assembly and component plants over the next few years, slashing at least 25,000 manufacturing jobs as it battles high costs and shrinking market share, the company's chief executive said on Tuesday.

Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner, addressing shareholders at a contentious annual meeting, said GM expects to save $2.5 billion a year from the cost-cutting measures.

GM, the world's largest automaker, lost $1.1 billion in the first quarter and is riding out its worst financial crisis in more than a decade. It has been closing and idling plants over the past four years and will have cut its annual North American assembly capacity from six million vehicles in 2002 to five million by the end of this year. [...]

Wagoner said GM had been in intense discussions with the
United Auto Workers union about ways to reduce the company's massive health-care costs. But he said it was not certain an agreement would be reached.

Wagoner stressed the company, whose debt was cut to high-yield, or "junk," status last month, had to cut costs promptly. [...]

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SOTT Newshounds

That the American government's Department of Transportation levies a "September 11th Security Fee" of $2.50 on every airline ticket for planes flying in or into the US? The fee is collected "to provide further enhancements to the safety and security programs."

Specifically, the fee will help "pay for the federal government's costs of providing aviation security services such as passenger and baggage screening, security management, and law enforcement personnel at airports."

Given the overwhelming evidence suggesting that the 9/11 attacks were an inside job carried out by a faction of the US government itself, this means that the Bush administration is essentially charging the American people for the costs involved in stripping them of their civil liberties. Now if that doesn't define the word 'despicable', we don't know what does.

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The Subtle Twist: Effective Disinformation
SOTT Commentary

The best disinformation takes the truth and gives it a subtle twist in certain specific and important areas. The argument develops in a seemingly logical way, you find yourself nodding in agreement, and then without knowing it, it goes off on a tangent that undermines the entire process of thought that preceded it.

The following interview with Lisette Larkins, recently published by Phenomena Magazine, is an instructive example. There are many ideas with which we agree. Unfortunately, they are presented in a framework that change the meaning of them by 180°.

We do not mean to imply that Ms Larkin herself is a conscious disinfo artist. She is most likely a sincere seeker who believes that the aliens are here to help. She underwent a traumatic experience, and in attempting to give it meaning, she found a way of making it bearable. We will return to this question below.

The following comments are a mixture of comments from the Signs editors as well as from members of the Quantum Future School.

Learning to Live with Extraterrestrials
An Interview with Lisette Larkins (Part One)
Dateline: Monday, June 6, 2005
By: News Editor
Phenomena Magazine

When Lisette Larkins was contacted by aliens in 1987, her life fell apart. Thinking she was crazy, she sought psychiatric help, losing her marriage and her child in the process. But when the doctors gave her a clean bill of health, Lisette began to consider the possibility that she wasn't crazy after all...

Phenomena News Editor, Stuart Miller (SM) speaks to Lisette Larkins (LL) about her challenging experience.

SM: I read with enormous interest, "Talking to Extraterrestrials" and the book caused me no end of trouble and confusion really. It was very, very well written and yet I didn't want to believe it. And yet I found I had to, if you know what I mean, because you'd written it so well. What kind of reactions are you getting to the three books you've written?

LL: There are all kinds of reactions. I've got lots and lots of really wonderful mail, whether emails to my web site or mails from prisoners in prison. I don't even know how they get my books. I guess family members send them to them. So I've got a lot of different kinds of correspondences, people from different age ranges, teenagers, older people. On the other hand, I've got some of the best hate mail I've ever read and that's been valuable too because it makes me realise that I don't need approval, I'm just offering one other way to look at the world. It's OK with me if people think it's ridiculous. I of course enjoy hearing from people who have found it of value. That's very affirming but by the same token, I grew up in a family where we didn't talk about this kind of thing. I didn't talk about this as a child and didn't consider whether these things were really possible. Like many people, I went to school and there wasn't a class on other worldly communications. I have five siblings and two parents and even today they're not quite sure what to make of all this. And my parents are British on top of it all.

Having spent 3 weeks in a psychiatric hospital after I had these experiences, during which time I really understood how crazy it seems to people, nothing surprises me now. Any kind of reaction cannot possibly surprise me.

SM: Yes, I remember from the book it was a very stressful time for you and there was doubt about whether you would get custody of your son.

LL: I actually lost custody for several months and I was devastated. It's interesting because people from all over the world are having some kind of other worldly experience and many of them have their whole world turn upside-down like mine was initially. There is a process to this business of meeting our otherworldly neighbours. It's like passing through the eye of a needle. There are physical challenges, emotional, psychological, there are many different kinds of challenges that people go through when we start opening to this kind of contact. When I went through it 20 years ago, it was devastating for me. My life did turn upside down. My husband divorced me, I lost custody of my child, I thought maybe I was crazy. I actually got to the point where I said, "You know what? It's OK, I'm just going to go ahead and take some kind of medication. That's not the worst thing in the world."

So I agreed with my then husband that I would admit myself to the psychiatric hospital to see what kind of drug would help me with these illusions. Sometimes it can be a very difficult process but what I came to find out is that it's only as difficult as we think it has to be. Really, this is just such a natural part of our evolution where we're getting to know our neighbours better. A the end of the day, it's all about relationships.

Comment: "It's all about relationships". Ah, that's so true!

QFS Member: My thoughts were that LL fought them in the beginning which accounted for her early problems; i.e. psychiatric hospital, losing her son and husband, etc.

Eventually, the forces were too much for her and she gave her will over to them. They won, at which point her vocabulary changed. A new vocabulary was either implanted or adopted because as long as she had no words for what she was experiencing she resisted. As long as the old words continued to mean what they used to mean she tried to fend off her abductors.

In the first few sentences of the piece she tells us how she "...grew up in a family where we didn't talk about this kind of thing. I didn't talk about this as a child and didn't consider whether these things were really possible."

The point that leads me to think that finding and changing the true meaning of words, the turning point in her earlier battle, was when she admitted, "There's often more comfort in trying to *chronicle* and *label* our universal neighbours."

In my second book I've used the term "metamorph" to describe a human who is being more comfortable and learning to thrive as a result of these other worldly connections rather than living an illusion and believing they are being victimised.

Society has taught us to believe that what's difficult, or what we don't understand, suggests victimization. When it comes to UFO literature, generally, we're racists. There's often more comfort in trying to chronicle and label our universal neighbours. What do they look like? What do you call them? Where are they from? So we get lost in the minutia, instead of contemplating what those relationships might mean to us; what the manner and quality of those we've met might say about ourselves. Remember, like attracts like. That's a hard pill for the ufologists to swallow.

Comment: "Like attracts like". But what exactly is the element that is doing the attraction? Is Ms Larkin really seeing things as they are, or is she subject to deep-seated assumptions that are influencing her experience and interpretation? Let us grant for the moment that Ms Larkin is sincerely attempting to make sense of her experiences. She is a good person, harbouring no ill will to the world or others. She didn't ask for these contacts, and in fact she suffered in the beginning because of them.

But does this experience mean that she has the discernment necessary to see behind the illusion? Not the illusion to which she refers above, that the whole experience was illusory, but rather the illusion that beings such as these can create to give us the impression that they are here to help us, that they have our best interests at heart.

Our world is a mess. Confronted with the thousand and one ways in which we could destroy ourselves or be destroyed due to natural causes (which may well be connected to the character of our inner life on the esoteric level), is it not natural is look to some superior being or beings to get us out of the soup? Some look to government to do it, others are looking to our "space brothers". The dynamic is the same. Rather than finding our own solutions, we want someone to do it for us.

The most important question to be asked when one has such "close encounters" is whether the beings are aligned with the ascending, creative path of spiritual evolution or the descending, entropic path. As we see below, Ms Larkins brushes aside the need for such discernment.

I'm at the point where the constant need to "chronicle and identify" is boring to me. When you get to a certain level of awareness, you realise none of us are from any one place, nor can our behaviours and motives be determined by our physical description. So it really becomes almost impossible to identify someone with a name or a colour because even we humans vary in our personalities, and we do this thing called shape shifting. We do that when we die in one life and then come back. We call that reincarnation. What is that but shape shifting?

But as we evolve and grow, we recognise that we can do that in the moment, when we grasp and utilise this thing called "matter." This is precisely how these enlightened beings function. They can shift shape right in front of our eyes. So in one moment they can be 4 feet tall and gray and people say, "Oh my gosh, those are the evil grays who do the abductions." And in the next moment you might see them shape shift and be 12 feet tall and orange. So I have let go of this need to meet people's expectations where I chronicle and label, and attribute a personality type to a skin tone. In this realm it's called prejudice.

Comment: Fine; don't judge the book by its cover. That is a noble sentiment. "By their fruits ye shall know them," not skin colour nor physical form. But Ms Larkins appears to be refusing to draw any conclusions as to classification. What about non-physical traits?

I challenge contactees world-wide to outgrow this habit we all have of attributing an attribute to the way somebody looks. I just can't buy into that argument that says, "Well if they're the so-called 'grays' and they are abducting you then you're being brainwashed and yet you have a positive feeling about it." I have come to understand that like here, even out there, there are all kinds of people. There are all kinds of beings experiencing all kinds of different levels of spiritual growth. Everybody's at a different stage. So that doesn't worry me anymore and what becomes important is not trying to identify what is the spiritual growth of the person that I'm encountering, because now I understand that Quantum physics says that like attracts like and who we are is what we get.

Comment: We beg to differ. Identifying the "spiritual growth", in the sense of whether or not a being has aligned itself with the Creative principle or the Entropic principle, is the fundamental factor. To not do so is to put in danger the very soul Ms Larkins is claiming is so important.

Ms Larkins is saying something important here when she indicates that "like attracts like" and that who we are will determine what kind of beings we might see or interact with. Unfortunately, she has an unstated assumption: she is a good person, and therefore those with whom she is in contact are good aliens. She wants to help mankind; they want to help mankind. However, if she has yet to see the reality of the descending, entropic path, then she is still living in illusion and is susceptible to manipulation.

If her friends did indeed wish to help mankind, they might well appear as she describes them. However, if they were in fact interested in us as we are in a flock of sheep, with the intent of shearing us later or even turning us into lamb chops, would they be obvious about that intention up front? If the "space neighbours" were to appear as the 4D equivalent of Darth Vador, their true character would be obvious, so they need to put on a disguise, like the robber who offers the watchdog a piece of meat, to return to the animal analogies so loved by Ms Larkins and her alien friends.

If Ms Larkins is unaware of the entropic path, if she reduces everything to our being at different "levels of spiritual growth", then will she have the discernment to distinguish which path her friends represent? On one level, what she says is true. We are all at different points in our growth. But that is the level of the One, and none of us are there yet. If we were, we wouldn't be here. To take that vision and apply it to our situation is to confound stages. If a child with an interest in physics, but who has yet to move beyond learning the multiplication tables, tells you that E=mc2, it is true; however that child does not have the knowledge necessary to apply that formula in any practical way.

We think that we are here to learn to discern the difference between creativity and entropy, between free will and the illusion of free will, the difference between "help" that masks further enslavement and help that will truly aid us to get free.

So then, the focus, instead of being out there and how can I protect myself and surround myself to keep them away from me, becomes more on me and who am I. What is my personality, what are my words, my thoughts and my expressions? Then I start recognising that who I am will determine who I get, whether in this world or another.

SM: So your own personality shapes who you see on the other side, in the shape of ETs. Is that what you're saying?

LL: Yes. How can it be any other way? But it's not limited to the physical shape of the other. This includes the entire breadth of the way we perceive another! When you consider this concept within the realm of UFO phenomena, all of sudden everyone's aghast. We see the world through our own kaleidoscope. In addition, one of the myths in the UFO literature says that if one is experiencing intense trauma that turns your life upside down then surely there's indication you're being victimised. If you're crying and pulling out your hair and you're in a nut house, it would seem it's not working for you. But let me tell you this story. I have a dog, a yellow Labrador retriever and in her particular level of growth, how do I make her understand that when I took her recently to the vet and she had surgery, she had a little lump on her eye lid, she was absolutely traumatised. She remembers being on a table, she remembers knives coming at her, she remembers needles and then when I took her back a week later to get her sutures removed, and as she encounters the other dogs in the waiting room she warns them. As the vet came out in his white lab coat, imagine she would say, "Run for your life, here comes the whites."

So how do we explain to beings of a different kind, and dogs see the world in a different way to the way we do, that this is OK? First of all, many of these procedures that we have misidentified as victimising procedures we've called to ourselves for reasons of our own health maintenance, in many cases like my own dog has. At some level her soul has called that to her.

Comment: Ms Larkins' example of her dog is edifying, although she seems unaware of it. Let's examine it more closely and see what it really says. She took her dog to the vet because the dog needed an operation to remove a lump on its eyelid. The dog is operated on and is traumatised. She wonders how she can explain to her dog that it was necessary for the dog's health. Applying the example to alien "abductions", a word that Ms Larkins feels is loaded (see below), the analogy suggests that the aliens are doing this for our benefit. However, the relationship between Ms Larkins and her dog is somewhat different than that between the aliens and humans. Ms Larkins, having purchased the dog, is responsible for its health. She is the dog's master. Living with Ms Larkins, the dog is unable to feed itself; the dog cannot find the vet on its own when it is sick. The dog does not yet have an individuated soul, and if it has free will, it is certainly of a different sort than ours.

Where is the "master" of Ms Larkins who is making these decisions regarding her health? Where does Ms Larkins' own free will enter into play? Are her "space brothers" the master? That would be an interesting topic for discussion, but she doesn't go there. She suggests in so many words that the master would be our soul, that these agreements have been entered into prior to our incarnations. In such a case, her "free will" is entirely unconscious and unknown to her.

What kind of free will is it that is outside of our awareness? The free will of a dog, perhaps?

If we are here to learn to discern between the upward and downward paths, that must be a conscious process, the result of conscious choices between possibilities. It is up to us to learn to distinguish where each choice will lead us through trial and error but also through gaining knowledge of the true nature of our world. Such knowledge may come from "divine" sources, but if so, it must never be accepted on face value. Information received in that way must be tested in the real world. It must be verified or discarded if the necessary data is available, or it can be put aside while waiting for the data needed to either confirm or deny its validity or give it a ranking of probability. This process of verification makes the information our own; it becomes internalised and incorporated in our knowledge. Even then, we must remain open to the possibility that new data might change our opinion. We may later decide that it is wrong, partially wrong, or a subset of information that can put it in a different context, changing our interpretation and understanding of it.

This process is all part of our application of our free will.

It is what separates subjective understand from objective understanding.

The analogy of humans and animals comes up as well in Larkins book Talking with Extraterrestrials, this time in the context of implants. The aliens mention that they have used implants to facilitate communication with Larkins and others. Look at how they justify it:

The purpose of this book is to confront some of your societal assumptions that do not serve you. One of the main points is that "extraterrestrials" exist and that, gasp, they even have ongoing contact and communication with some of you. In some cases, implants or devices make those communications and contact more effective. You understand this concept when you track and help facilitate the care and nurturing of some of your endangered animal species. You tag birds and sea life, track lions and elephants and even relocate them to more suitable locations. You mark them, put implants in your dogs' ears to better identify them if lost, and generally, have found an altruistic use of physical implants or adjustments. But if we do this with you, you call foul. If these ideas cause you too much discomfort, simply put this book down.

If we take the analogy seriously, we are viewed as an "endangered species". Our "protectors" will tag us so that we can be "located to more suitable locations". But there is a clever psychological game going on in this text with its opening sentence and its ending. We are told at the beginning that the "purpose of this book is to confront some of your societal assumptions that do not serve you". Well, by golly, that's a notable aim. We are all subject to societal programming that we need to shake off, right? Then comes the sandwich filling -- we're being tagged -- followed by the other slice of bread: "If these ideas cause you too much discomfort, simply put this book down." You are given the choice. You can honour your feeling of discomfort (and isn't discomfort an important warning signal?) and stop reading -- but isn't that just another of these societal assumptions you're trying to shake off? Isn't it, really? So the unstated subtext is that by closing the book, you'll stayed mired in societal assumptions, you'll not get the big secret, the low down on the biggest story of the millennium.

Is this honouring free will? We think it is a (not so) subtle form of manipulation.

SM: Are you now talking about general life experience or about abductions?

LL: Both. I'm using it as a metaphor for ET encounter experiences. We have one strike against us whenever we talk about relationships with other worldly beings and that strike against us is that we even have different words to describe the experience. We even call them abductions. It suggests kidnapping so we're already working backwards. So let's just let that go for a moment and assume we haven't been kidnapped, maybe our soul is very much in agreement with these contacts and our worldly social paradigm has disallowed me to embrace it. I'm experiencing traumatic amnesia. I can't remember all the aspects of it and further, I can't even remember the soul agreements I made on the other side before I incarnated. People who are having these relationships with ETs have made these decisions long before this life. These are important and in many cases familial relationships that we are continuing in a conscious state.

Comment: Gee, people are taken out of their homes, cars, or their beds, whisked off to an alien vessel, probed, poked at, given implants, leave tissue samples, and are left with a trauma, and the whole problem is that we see this as "an abduction"! Ms Larkins herself was under psychological surveillance and had to fight to get back custody of her child. But they are doing it to help us!

An alternate reading of her experience might be as follows: tormented by experiences she didn't understand and couldn't deal with, Ms Larkins succumbed to the Stockholm Syndrome; she began identifying with her abductors. Rather than recognise the warning signs of her trauma and finding a way to block the experiences, the abductions, from happening, she gave in. She redefined them as positive rather than negative. She does discuss the question of identifying with abductors in the following:

Now before you argue that there are similarities between someone who has been kidnapped and brainwashed-like Patty Hearst for example-and me, I might add that no one is convincing me to rob a bank, take up an Uzi, kill anyone, or even spread unkind gossip. So what result has brainwashing induced? A feeling of fellowship and camaraderie? A sense of wonder and connection with other foreign beings from "native" tribes? Then the Red Cross and United Way are brainwashed too, and ought to recognize their naiveté and stop spreading messages of brotherly love right now. Would closer examination reveal that theirs is the kind of message that could really destroy you? Love your brother, help your neighbor, and cease your judgments and feelings of superiority. Boy, that's dangerous!

Because she is full of feelings of love, of fellowship, of camaraderie, she is convinced that her experience is not like that of Patty Hearst. She says she is not being asked to carry an Uzi. But if these ideas she is propagating are a cover to justify interventions among us by denizens of the descending path, she is in fact taking up something more powerful than an Uzi. By focusing on the love and the "feelings" she has, by ignoring the intellectual and rational side that can put those feelings in a context of deeper understanding of the nature of reality, she remains in her subjective bubble, filtering all the data she receives to reinforce her explanation of abductions that are not really abductions.

As for the Red Cross, its employees were not abducted, as far as we know, before becoming employed. Yes, the message of "Love your neighbor" is a threat to the powers that be on this planet. There is no doubt of that. However, love comes from knowledge, and the love we have for a psychopath or an organic portal, our complete acceptance that he or she is what he or she is, comes from knowing that they cannot be any other way. They are who they are. But to turn the other cheek to a psychopath is to open the door to ever more attacks. That love carries with it the knowledge that we need to protect ourselves and avoid contact.

Ms Larkins doesn't speak of this, therefore her understanding is lacking and will do more harm than good, irregardless of her sincerity. How many of us have been in relationships where we have stayed and stayed because we were trying to "love our neighbor", to accept them, thinking that it meant we had to stay and put up with abuse, neglect, indifference, or even violence?

Yes, our attitudes towards our experiences play an important role in our understanding of them, of the emotional scars that are left by them. We can change our way of being in the world by choosing to be different. But is this merely a change of our subjectivity, choosing one interpretation over another, a positive interpretation over a negative interpretation, or is it a choice between a subjective interpretation and one that is more objective, one that is closer to the reality, a more accurate description of events? Bouncing ideas off of others or discussing such issues in a group does not guarantee objectivity. If everyone in the group shares common "societal assumptions", you're likely to end up with just another subjective interpretation, albeit one that is shared by more than one person. It could go to reinforce a wrong idea and make it harder to root out. Therefore, it is important to know those to whom you go for counsel.

QFS Member: Here's my take on it. I think she has made a very accurate assessment of her own situation without fully realizing exactly what she is saying. She seems to be rather proficient at saying certain things without really saying it. Basically, in my view, she is saying that at some very fundamental level she has made a choice to give in to her tormentors and establish a relationship with them. She then acts as if this is a "good" choice......for her. Well, it is a choice, and it is her choice, and as such, I guess, she sees this as "good." She said it well when she said "who I am will determine who I get, whether in this world or another."

Her body may have, instinctually, and rightly, responded negatively to her initial "contacts" by reacting them as an outside invasion, but it appears to me that she subsequently calmed down and relinquished her own critical mind and "gave them her mind" instead, which is reminiscent of the Stockholm syndrome.

Her initial experience also makes me think of "scout ants" and how ants first send out scouts to locate a food source. The scouts leave a scent trail enabling them to return to the colony with news of found resources. Then the members of the colony will follow the scent trails to collect resources and bring them back to the colony.

QFS Member: Firstly I agree with the assessment that this very strongly looks like Stockholm Syndrome. "I don't want to feel a victim, therefore the aliens are my family". (!?!?) It never occurred to her that she had the option of not being a hopeless victim AND not embracing her tormentors - she could have the attitude of the warrior that fights for freedom. And her soul-chosen lesson for this life could have been to find a way OUT of the alien-human relationship that she so fondly speaks of. But she didn't think about that.

Second, I find her comments interesting because I have the idea that perhaps what she is saying is exactly the opinion of the 4D STS critters: that they are "helping" us and "saving" us from ourselves. Just like the European colonizers were "civilizing" Africans and Australian aborigines "for their own good". The Cs once mentioned that the lizards were not really against us, and I think that they were referring to the fact that we are STS as well and so the aliens think they have the right of doing what is "best" for "their own". And I think that Ra also said that the aliens sincerely thought they were doing good to us. Just like we think that we do good to our pets by letting them live with us and feeding them.

And third, and perhaps more important, I find disturbing how the contactees have been subtly manipulated throughout the years to accept the aliens as "gods", in spite of our materialism and cynicism and supposed rationality. I've been reading Vallee's "Messengers of Deception" that discusses this point (though Vallee thinks the Manipulators are ultimately human - at least in that book) and he makes some very good observations. And the recent event of the "Prophet Yahweh" summoning UFOs at will on TV is a very bad omen, I think, because now the aliens are linking the idea of UFOs with religion ON TELEVISION for all to see. That looks like a step up on the mind control programme to me.

SM: Why then do you think our memory is erased from that? From what we did before?

LL: First of all, there is some agreement when we come here that we don't remember everything. We'd go nuts. If I remembered every lifetime vividly, it would be very, very difficult. I couldn't get to the business that I came here to do. And of course we do remember many things like if somebody is afraid of heights, perhaps in another life they fell off a cliff. So we do retain certain memories but as far as how to remember the active agreements that we have, if there's been a mutual agreement to forget some things and with other things, the culture has contributed to that. On the other hand, as we grow in spiritual development, we agree to remember our other lives and soul agreements because we're no longer upset by what else and who else we've "been." We grow up and the truth of what's so no longer holds us hostage.

I think there is also a shift as we evolve as a species. As a group we're agreeing to remember more because now we can handle it, collectively speaking. It's like you can't teach a 3 year old physics. Let her first learn how to ties her shoes and how to speak and write. But as spiritual beings, we are fully empowered capable spiritual beings. The problem is, we've forgotten that we're universal beings, capable of very sophisticated, otherworldly relationships. But with the new millennium, as a species we are now growing faster and faster and the veil of forgetfulness is falling away.

Which is why 20 years ago, at least in the States, we didn't have a show like "John Edward Crossing Over". We didn't have shows like that on television that were syndicated. Now, we have a hit show called "The Medium." We are accepting this more, we are accepting that other kinds of so-called paranormal things can happen and they're on television. So we're growing, we're growing up, we're becoming more aware and the more we can tolerate the memories of who we are - including being family members with ETs - then we'll remember them and the nature of our relationship to them.

Comment: We're supposed to take the fact that there are several shows dealing with the paranormal on US television as evidence that we are evolving???? Ms Larkins really has no grasp of the level of conspiracy going on, the ways and uses of mind control. Once again, her discernment is lacking.

The other question that people love to ask is, "Now wait a minute. Are you saying that every experience is good? Surely some people have been truly victimised by the mean old aliens." There are all kinds of beings on this planet, on this level and other levels, and other dimensions. So there are all kinds of relationships. There are all kinds of experiences. If people insist they've been victimised, I'm not suggesting that they haven't but there is another way to look at all experience. In many cases, there's trauma but there's no inherent victimisation going on. For example, some people here on Earth have had some really bad marriages. Some people have been victimised, some have been abused. I'm not suggesting that those kinds of things don't happen. What I am saying is that at the end of the day, we are learning that, metaphysically speaking, we have some level of responsibility in the manner and quality of ALL our relationships.

Comment: Indeed, we do have our part to play, our share of the responsibility. Here we see a truth woven into the fabric to better lead us astray. But our relationships among ourselves are different than relationships we might have with beings from another realm, beings who can manipulate space/time. If they can manipulate space/time, how hard would it be for them to manipulate us? Are we talking about a "level playing field" here?

We also learn, at least some of us do, to get out of these unhealthy relationships; we learn the lesson and move on. We learn that there are such critters as psychopaths, we learn their modus operandi and how to avoid future entanglements.

If I'm responsible for all my relationships, then what kind of relationship does that leave out? Does that mean I only mean the relationships in Los Angeles and not the ones in New York? Or just the ones in Texas and not the ones in the UK? No, it means all our relationships on Earth and off Earth. Whether we're talking about relationships with our parents, our children, our co-workers, our in-laws – or ETs. Spiritual law apples to other worldly relationships as well. It's pure naiveté to leave those out. So if somebody wants to pretend and insist that they have nothing whatsoever to do with the quality and nature of their other worldly relationships, then go for it. But they're living a lie.

Comment: Ms Larkins sees relationships spatially. California/ New York/ Texas/ Outer Space. What's the difference. What about the spiritual character of the relationship? She has already informed us that it is not important to judge its spiritual character. Therefore she doesn't ask whether it is one on the ascending, creative path, or is it on the descending, entropic path? We see here that she gives an 'A' influence interpretation, not a 'B' influence interpretation, even if she couches the description in spiritual terms.

SM: I was very struck by how you have turned what for most abductees is a very terrifying experience into a positive one. That is a theme that runs all the way through, that it is a very positive, enlightening experience. I can't remember if you mentioned this in Calling on Extraterrestrials but initially it must have been a very terrifying experience. How did you turn it round into something positive?

LL: It really is as simple as considering a different idea about it.

Comment: No, it isn't. This statement and solution is completely subjective. There is no question here of finding out the truth, getting as close to an objective assessment as possible. No, one simply changes one's idea.

So when I was in the active stages of trauma, my world turned upside down. I was having lights through the ceiling; it felt like I was being electrocuted, I had the whole gamut. I started seeing not just ETs but I started to see the spirit world. Overnight I developed this second site and I thought I was losing my mind. I was developing some really weird behaviours. My husband would come home and I would be in the closet crying, terrified. For several years, I had no other visual. In other words I saw the lights and felt the electromagnetic energies but I didn't actually see any ET faces. It was like this for years and years and it was because my trauma was so intense, I couldn't go to the next step.

It was after I got out of the psychiatric hospital and I continued with some psychotherapy, and fully submitted to a battery of tests and was told that I was of sound mind. This helped me to continue with my emotional healing. I had a team of clinicians at that point, evaluating me for about a 5 or 6 year period because I had surrendered to the possibility that perhaps I was nuts. After all, I didn't want a crazy woman to raise my child. I figured that if I could take drugs to stop the hallucinations so that my son is not raised by a crackpot, then let me do that. But as it turns out, the cultural illusion of our supposed universal isolation is what is most nuts.

If I was of sound mind, then it begged the question, "What was that?" And here's the interesting thing and this is a symbol for all of life. I shifted from terror to curiosity. Questioning one's own sanity has got to be the most scary thing I've ever experienced. When I made that shift, I said, "I want to know. I'm not crazy, I want to know. Show me what that was." All of a sudden I made a shift and the ET contacts started up, again, wherein they had stopped for a two-year period. The moment I asked to be shown the truth of my experiences, I was shown the way.

You see, our attitude determines our experience at many levels. I was ready to know more, I had grown up a little bit both emotionally and spiritually and I was ready to know the truth of my experiences.

Comment: Again, where is the knowledge, the objectivity? Larkins accepts what the ETs tell her. They give her the explanations. They give her the answers. How can all of this be verified? How can it be viewed critically and assessed? She is being seduced by experience, by phenomenon, not working to expand her knowledge by doing research and investigating the long history of alien interactions on Earth.

So they started up again – the lights through the ceiling, but this time instead of bracing myself and screaming, I adopted a different stance. "Oh, OK. Let me relax into this." Because I wanted to know what was behind those lights. My eyes closed involuntarily, I felt this tremendous surge of movement as though I was on a rollercoaster, my stomach leaped and at some point later my eyes opened and I was on some kind of a craft. I was floating through the air, this portal opens, no one's touching me, and I see about a half a dozen of these four foot tall, gray-skinned ETs. And we started communicating and I was so joyous because I instantaneously understood. "This is what this is? This is what this is about? Alien abduction?" But you know what? In a moment I realised that this wasn't the truth about what this experience was about because instead of trauma as I beheld them, I felt explosions of love. What is that about? That doesn't jibe with what is said in the UFO literature.

So all of a sudden, we're communicating telepathically and it took me some time before I realised our mouths weren't moving. How was I able, without taking any workshop or seminar, how was I able to do that thing? I realised we must be these amazing spiritual beings and we have these abilities that we've suppressed. But when we get around, and meet our family members from other areas of the Universe (who are more evolved than we are), it does something to us. It can trigger spiritual growth, or it can trigger the onset of the huge cultural lie. Our ET encounters can serve to remind us of who we are in relation to them.

SM: At the point that you're talking about now, you experienced enlightenment, so to speak…

LL: No. I don't feel I've had enlightenment.

SM: Sorry, perhaps I phrased that badly. What I meant was, a realization at last as to what was going on with you. I understand that you might say that you needed to go through what you went through before to get to the point that you've arrived at, at this point in the narrative, but what you were put through, what you experienced was very traumatic for you. A lot of people who perhaps undergo or experience a similar journey would be resentful at the other end of it. I mean, look what you were put through. There was a question mark over your sanity - your personal life was put into crisis because of this. OK, some years later you have had something extremely positive come out of it, but look what it did to you at that point.

LL: I understand the question. It's a wonderful question. As kindly as I can. Let me say that the question speaks to a lack of understanding to the way things are in the Universe, including on planet Earth. Have we forgotten the dynamics that determine even our relationships and experiences in this realm? How many of us can look back and know that the worst single thing to have happened to us, whether it was a horrible marriage, a horrible job, a firing, something that left us upside down, that when we look back in 5 or 10 years, we know that there was some hugely important reason that we had to go through that. With hindsight, we recognise that there was some Divine plan in all of it. The problem is, we keep forgetting, we, our souls, are bringing us to experiences, circumstances and events that help our souls to grow. Nothing has been done to us. We have assumed victimization when there's trauma. If it's difficult, then somehow it's been done to us. But that manner of thinking is not for the spiritual initiate. Wake up. Be courageous enough to see one's soul calling all of life's events and experiences to help the soul to grow.

I don't care if you're talking about a bad marriage, a bad job or a bad alien encounter, there's a myth that says, "Look at who did what to you." You know what? It's a big lie. The problem is we still haven't gotten a hang of that idea with this life, with these relationships, with these experiences, so it's almost impossible to have this conversation about the nature of ET relationships until we first discuss this myth. Get out of the illusion. Whatever is going on with your day to day world right now, you have something to do with. Your soul brought you there, your soul has called it to you. Stop pretending that you're just a feather in the wind, blowing around based on somebody else's will of you.

Comment: Here we see how good disinfo is weaved within a pattern of good ideas. "Get out of the illusion." Certainly. But how? By which path?

Yes, as Ms Larkins says, there is a culture of victimisation, especially in the US where the myth exists that anyone can make it rich, anyone can be president, and if you aren't rich, if you aren't successful, it is your own fault. It clearly isn't someone's fault if they are poor and have tried to work their way out but social conditions have made it impossible. People can see this. But they feel entitled to success and can feel victimised when it doesn't arrive. What they are missing is an accurate map of the world in which they live, one against which they can accurately measure themselves. But they also do not know themselves. There is no map of who we can be, and many people are looking for one. Our measures received from society are material, and those measures we are given under the name of spirituality are more refined versions of the same thing. They lead to the same dead ends because they are also illusions.

Yes, many people do not accept responsibility for their lives, they remain in unhealthy relationships, they remain in bad jobs. But each of those relationships, to use a word Ms Larkins is fond of, is between people incarnated in the same realm. Even here in this realm there is evidence that we are not all alike; look at the question of psychopaths and organic portals. How much work is it for us to see through the mask of sanity of the psychopath, to free ourselves of draining relationships with people who have a fundamentally different interface with reality? If one has not yet seen through these illusions, then how can one begin to think that he or she would be able to see through such masks of those such as her space neighbors who are as different from us as we are from our dogs?

The same goes for other-worldly experiences. No alien group put me through anything. First of all, I was the one who processed my experiences as trauma. If in my case there was no inherent harm happening then who is responsible for changing the context of the way in which I perceive my experiences?

OK, let's take a victim of rape or murder or something horrendous that we can all agree is very difficult. We agree that they're really being victimised. What about that? Look, I myself have had some really difficult experiences. As a child, I experienced very, very difficult sexual abuse. But you know what? It's not about being at blame. I'm not suggesting that I'm to blame or that anyone's to blame. It's just what happened. Somehow and some way, my soul has brought me to all kinds of different experiences. To pretend that I only have something to do with the "good" stuff, and not the difficult stuff is naivety in the extreme.

Comment: While it is correct that one can get past the trauma of experiences such as abuse as a child and that there is both good stuff and "difficult" stuff and that we often do not have the choice, sexual abuse involves the abridgement of free will. The adult is using his or her power over the child to do something that the child may not be capable of comprehending and certainly cannot protect him or herself against.

Furthermore, the goal of obtaining knowledge is to protect oneself from the difficult stuff. The bad stuff happens until you learn to see the signs that it is oncoming and take action to get out of the way. A child has not yet developed this ability to protect itself through the application of knowledge.

Horrific experiences such as these can aid us in understanding that there are two paths, they can help us to see that we live in a fallen world. They can also leave emotional scars that atrophy the development of our emotional centres, leaving us incapable of making progress in the Work until the centre has been brought back to life. That process will likely be long and painful. We agree that with knowledge, one is able to move past the blame and accept that a psychopath is a psychopath and can't act otherwise. But if we don't know the psychopath, then we are opening ourselves to more encounters in other guises later. If we find excuses for their behaviour then explain it away without coming to the underlying lesson that there walk among us creatures that look like humans but that do have have the capacity for empathy, we will once again become their victims.

The descending path does exist. It has a right and a need to exist. But we must see it for what it is and not gloss over it with the simple words that it is just another spiritual choice or level. It is that, but here in our realm it is more than that.

There is, at the end of the day, a kind of balancing act with the soul that goes on with the soul's growth. We're not living just one life. We're not even living just one life at a time. The soul is going through so many different expressions and what we experience is all Divinely ordained and planned so that we can balance out our other lives - experiences that we have perpetrated on others so that we can know how that feels. The key is, how do we respond and act as we're going through these growth opportunities? To continue the myth that "abductees" or anyone else are victims doesn't serve us. Yes, there are difficult situations. Yes, nobody's going to go up to the children who were victims of the tsunami and say, "You are at fault. All your family died. Get over it." That's not the point. The point is everything turns out OK in the end. If it's not OK, it's not the end. And our job is to show up day after day and to help ourselves and to help each other that it's all going to be OK, that we are empowered, that we have some say in our relationships and if we don't like what we're getting, then its our responsibility to change what we're getting.

And we can, through our own consciousness and through our own awareness. And that's the beauty of it. If somebody said to me, "Look, I've got these terrible aliens coming into my bedroom, I hate them, I don't want them" I would say fine. I'm not trying to convince anyone to have a relationship they don't want. But you cannot convince me that your soul had nothing to do with it. You did have something to do with it at some level or you wouldn't be having that experience. You may not understand it but you can quickly change the quality and manner of it by recognising your part in it. That's how you can most quickly change anything.

Comment: Once upon a time, back in the days when Richard Dolan was the editor of the Area 51 section of Phenomena Magazine, the publication raised interesting questions about our "relationship" with ET. Dolan's work UFOS and the National Security State, based on access to voluminous materials, documents the governments real concerns about UFOs. The book is an important contribution to our understanding of secret government projects such as MKULTRA as well as establishing without a doubt that the government considers UFOs enough of a security threat that they continue to scramble jets to chase them.

The new material at Phenomena since Dolan's departure, such as this interview with Lisette Larkin, goes in the opposite direction. Their promotion of the book Project Beta is another example. Project Beta purports to be an inside look at the case of Paul Bennewitz, a look that reduces UFOs to mistaken reports of top secret US technology. For a book that has the subtitle "The Story of Paul Bennowitz, National Security, and the Creation of the Modern UFO Myth", there is a very telling omission from the bibliography: Dolan's UFOs and the National Security State.

Coincidence? We think not.

Returning to the case of Lisette Larkins. The introduction to Talking with Extraterrestrials says the following:

[ETs] are here to help. They want to mentor all of us-if we desire it. There's still the matter of free will (the universal prime directive), and could it be that it takes a critical mass of people to ask for help before they are willing to show up and render it more directly?

We notice that this is the same alien talking point that was being passed around in the cosmic spam that circulated almost two years ago, the mental poll that we were asked to take to ask ET for help. Larkins raises the issue of free will, even calling it the "universal prime directive". Of that, we would not disagree, but the real question lies in whether or not these visitors are in fact respecting the free will of those they visit -- abduction is such a loaded term!

Larkins insists that our free will is respected, that it is our soul that has made the agreement to be taken and given the alien upgrades. Who knows, maybe it is true. Maybe Larkins and others are part of a soul group that includes these aliens. The question lies elsewhere: do they have our best interests at heart?

According to the introduction, these beings have come close to destroying themselves in the past and wish to help us avoid the same fate. They will mentor us. They will give us the hand we need to climb out of the hole in which we are stuck.

If enough of us call out to them with an invitation, they will come.

Let us look at this idea in the context of free will. If aliens, be they from a far star system or from some other density or dimension, were to manifest on Earth with a flotilla of ships, the situation on Earth would radically shift. The knowledge that we are in contact with others, far more technologically advanced than ourselves, would immediately transform the dynamic here on Earth. It might well put an end to the wars we fight among ourselves. It might lead to food for all, not to mention changes in our way of life we cannot even begin to imagine.

But what would it have done to our free will, our need to find the solutions for ourselves, to choose consciously between one choice and another, to learn the lessons of this life and of this world so that we can then move on to the next stage?

What would we have really learned?

Nothing. Their mere presence would likely be the cause of the changes, not any lessons learned on our part. We would have in fact given up our free will to these beings, would have effectively thrown our problems in their lap and said "Fix it for us".

She also writes:

I have come to understand that these beings have not "abducted" me, for I have never been kidnapped. I understand that this term has been given by a culture which does not understand, and which greatly fears these otherworldly neighbors of ours. [...]

I now understand that despite the initial trauma related to my early encounters, it did not mean that something bad has happened. Trauma was my initial reaction, based on the way that I have grown up in my culture and the understandings that I had adopted. But I no longer choose trauma as my reaction, and as soon as I made that contextual shift in my perspective of the experiences, I brought curiosity, wonderment, and most of all, an inquiring mind to this whole phenomenon. Now that I have made a shift in the context of how I hold these experiences in my perceptions, I am emotionally free to go to the next step. I decided that it would be most interesting to interview these extraterrestrials and to find out things from their perspective.

Again and again Lisette Markins gives us her subjective appreciation of what happened, a solution that amounts to simply changing one's ideas, one's perspective on what happened. Yes, these aliens take her without her conscious choice or awareness. They implanted devices in her to facilitate communication. But on some level, she was asking for it, her soul had made the deal.

Who can argue with that? Who can confirm or deny it? How can it be objectively tested? There is the Catch-22, the subtle twist used to distort and deform our understanding of free will, to empty it of its real content, the need for us to learn to make conscious choices for our destiny.

QFS Member: With self calming (and others who read her books) and calling the abductions "soul agreements", she is setting up acceptance for those who also fight. Just resign yourselves, and you'll be in a better place.

She is in essence telling the people to stay where they are...the bad marriage, the bad relationships etc. Remain the's good for your soul!

To describe a human who is being victimized and calling it *learning to thrive* is a lie. Equating the "shape shifting" with reincarnation and calling it evolution (spiritual growth), she is telling herself and others, through her books, that we had better see these beings as "enlightened beings" or else we are prejudiced. Another lie.

T.V., one of the biggest lies of our time is mentioned too. The kinds of books LL writes and T.V. shows that are out there are all a big propaganda lie to keep the masses from fighting what's coming.

The kinds of books Laura writes are truth that must be hidden.

I think it is LL who has morphed. Her vocabulary has flip-flopped and she is an agent that has come to see to it that our vocabulary changes too. I say the hell with that!

I had a hard time reading this rubbish.

QFS Member: I also had a hard time keeping focused on this interview.

I cannot imagine giving in to these beings. The analogy of the dog at the vets office doesn't even wash with me. I used to have a Doberman that thoroughly enjoyed his visits to the vet, and knocked people aside just getting in the door. IMO, it's NOT the same thing.

It seems the only reason her books would be promoted by the PTB is so the public would be administered a strong sedative, something to calm them down so they too can have these experiences!

This all seems like one big game where "other" dimensional players weaken us bit by bit. I would ask what kind of stress she was under when she started experiencing these phenomena. At the times I started seeing strange beings and odd things, my life was filled with incredible amounts of stress. One can easily view this as something come to save them if the stress has affected their thought processes enough. But then, what do I really know? Just going on previous experiences, read under a subjective light.

Perhaps they wanted me to think they were there for my benefit, or that they were going to help make things better, after all, no human was listening. Aside from making an appearance, and imparting unimportant bits of information, they only seemed to complicate things. Then there was the fact that I never truly trusted the experience. The accounts can be related, but beyond that, there's not a lot I can tell about them. No earth-shattering revelations, no warnings that would save the planet, just vague hints at unimportant things, that could probably be misinterpreted into any subjective thing that my mind could dream up. All they would have to do at that point is to confirm those speculations and we're off to the races.

I don't doubt these things happen. I think that she is filling in the blanks with her own reasoning. I think that they know our condition and our nature enough that all they have to do is make an appearance. Our minds and our tendency for subjective thinking will do the rest. Seems to work more often than not.

Just my two pennies.

QFS Member: What caught my eye was when she described abductions as encounter experiences. She was obviously trying to soften the negative reactions people have after these 'encounter experiences'.

My impression was that she was trying to say to abductees that instead of fighting, which she kind of implied is futile, they should just change their perception of these abductions and see them as 'good', because anyway their soul must have decided to experience these encounters, right? How convenient that nobody can verify such claims. So, why worry just enjoy the encounter and feel so speshul...

It was really hard to force myself to read even half of it.

Seems to me they are about to shift gears as far as living with ETs is concerned.

QFS Member: I started reading it with a small amount of interest at the start, but soon lost focus when she started to ramble about stuff.

I have, for a while now, felt a sense of repulsion when reading some material and have to stop reading - maybe to my detriment or maybe not?

Basically it leaves a bad-taste in one's mouth so to speak. However, I find this reaction useful in the sense that it reduces the amount of material that I have to wade through to find those 'Gems' of truth/knowledge, thus improving knowledge-transference efficiency perhaps?

To me, knowledge/material has a particular frequency associated with it and we have a mechanism in place which detects synchronisation. This could be the emotional-centre and intellectual-centre being united and acting as a guide, so to speak?

It would be interesting to know how many amongst the group have this reaction/sense.

QFS Member: felt exactly the same sense of repulsion and stop reading it.
I don't why? There was no intellectual fear but emotional repulsion.

Comment: There is now a second part to this article on the Phenomena website. We leave it to the reader to continue the analysis.

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Stockholm syndrome

The Stockholm syndrome is a psychological state in which the victims of a kidnapping, or persons detained against their free will ­ prisoners ­ develop a relationship with their captor(s). This solidarity can sometimes become a real complicity, with prisoners actually helping the captors to achieve their goals or to escape police.

The syndrome develops out of the victim's attempts to relate to his or her captor or gain the kidnapper's sympathy.

The syndrome is named after the famous Norrmalmstorg robbery of Kreditbanken at Norrmalmstorg, Stockholm which lasted from August 23 to August 28, 1973. In this case, the victims kept on defending their captors even after their six-day physical detention was over. They showed a reticent behaviour in the following legal procedures. The term was coined by the criminologist and psychologist Nils Bejerot, who assisted the police during the robbery, and referred to the syndrome in a news broadcast. It was then picked up by many psychologists worldwide.

Other famous cases include those of airplane hostages and kidnapped people, such as Patty Hearst and Elizabeth Smart. After having been a hostage of a politically engaged military organisation (the Symbionese Liberation Army), Patty Hearst joined the group taking part in a bankrobbery. She did not recover for several months after she was arrested with some of her captors. The syndrome is related to bride capture and similar topics in cultural anthropology.

Evolutionary psychological explanation of Stockholm syndrome/capture-bonding

Natural selection has left us with psychological responses to capture as seen in the Kreditbanken robbery and the Patty Hearst kidnapping. Capture-bonding or social reorientation when captured from one warring tribe to another was an essential survival trait (especially for women) for at least a million years. Those who so reoriented often became our ancestors. Those who did not were often killed.

When captured and escape is not possible, giving up short of dying and adjusting to the new is good for genetic survival. Over evolutionary times genes would become more common if the genes built brains/minds able to dump previous emotional attachments when captured and forge new social bonds to the captors.

An evolutionary psychology explanation for Stockholm syndrome stresses the fact that our ancestors are those who gave up and joined the tribe that had captured them (and sometimes had killed most of their relatives). This selection of our ancestors accounts for the extreme forms of capture-bonding seen in the Kreditbanken robbery and the Patty Hearst capture/abuse.

Capture-bonding as an powerful evolved psychological trait in humans may account for the bonding in military basic training ("training is a mildly traumatic experience intended to produce a bond"), sexual bondage practices and fraternity hazing as well as battered wife syndrome, where beatings and abuse are observed to generate seemingly paradoxical bonds between the victim and the abuser.

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Violence rises in occupied Palestinian territory
Middle East Online

JERUSALEM - An Israeli cabinet minister called Wednesday for the planned pullout of settlers from the Gaza Strip to be postponed following an upsurge in violence in the occupied territory.

Health Minister Danny Naveh, a consistent sceptic on the controversial project which is due to begin in mid-August, said the army and police could not uproot the 8,000 Jewish settlers under fire from militants.

"We cannot indefinitely show restraint in the face of Palestinian terrorism, and therefore we must delay the implementation of the disengagement plan for there can be no question that this can take place under enemy fire," Naveh told public radio.

Five Palestinians and a Chinese labourer were killed on Tuesday in the West Bank and Gaza Strip on the deadliest day of violence in the occupied Palestinian territories since the start of a de facto truce by militant groups in January.

Following the fatal shooting of three Palestinians by Israeli forces, Palestinian militants launched a series of attacks on Jewish settlements in southern Gaza.

Two Palestinians and the Chinese worker were killed in one of the attacks on a greenhouse in Ganei Tal settlement.

Naveh said Israel had done its bit to bolster the position of the moderate Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas and that it was high time that he responded by reining in militants such as the Islamist movement Hamas.

"Last week, Israel freed Palestinian 400 prisoners to strengthen Abu Mazen (Abbas), but it is Hamas which has been strengthened ... and the Palestinian Authority is doing nothing or can do nothing to dismantle the Palestinian terrorist organisations," said the hawkish minister.

"Israel cannot remain with its arms crossed. The Tshal (Israeli army) has the necessary means to act," he added.

Minister without portfolio Matan Vilnai, a member of the left-of-centre Labour party in Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's coalition cabinet, however insisted "the disengagement plan must be implemented" but said Palestinian attacks were intolerable.

"We will not allow the violence to continue, and it may be that we need to launch a large-scale military operation which would necessitate a short reoccupation of large parts of the Gaza Strip," he said.

Comment: Note that two Palestinians were killed in one of the attacks on Jewish settlers. The removal of 8,000 illegal Jewish settlers from the Gaza strip can, in theory, only be a good thing for the beleaguered Palestinian population, yet Hamas seems determined to provide the Israeli government with all the justification it needs to either cancel the withdrawal or, as the above article mentions, reinvade after the settlers are gone.

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Israel resumes assassination of Palestinian activists
Wednesday June 08, 2005
Al-Khalil, June 7, IRNA

Israeli occupation troops, backed by armored personnel carriers and helicopter gunships, on Tuesday assassinated a Palestinian resistance activist near Jenin in the northern West Bank.

Zionist troops also killed an unarmed Palestinian policeman during a 4-hour raid on the town of Qabatya, south of Jenin.

Eyewitnesses reported that crack Israeli soldiers surrounded a house in the center of the town around 7:00 a.m. local time and started bombarding it with rockets, killing Muhammed Fawzi Abu al Rub, a prominent Islamic Jihad activist in the northern West Bank.

Israeli army sources said Abu al Rub was an Islamic Jihad commander wanted by Israel for carrying out "terrorist attacks" on Israeli targets.

The Zionist state describes all forms of Palestinian resistance against Israel's occupation of Palestine "terror."

An unarmed Palestinian policeman, Said Nasser Zakarna, was also killed by Israeli soldiers' bullets.

However, the Israeli army claimed the policeman was killed when he shot at the Israeli troops.

A Zionist army spokesman said troops ordered al-Rub to surrender but he refused.

Troops demolished the house in which the resistance fighter was barricaded.

Following the operation, hundreds of angry Palestinians took to the streets in Jenin, calling for revenge.

Moreover, youngsters hurled stones at Israeli troops who responded by firing rubber-coated bullets and live bullets at the protesters, wounding as many as 15 teenagers.

Two of the wounded reportedly sustained serious gunshot wounds, according to hospital sources in Jenin.

In the Gaza Strip, an Islamic Jihad leader vowed to avenge the killing of abu Al-Rub.

"This crime will not pass unpunished," said Muhammed al Hindi, a prominent leader of the group in Gaza.

Earlier, Islamic Jihad leaders predicted that the "calm" with Israel would soon collapse as a result of continued Israeli aggressions.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority has condemned the Israeli operation in Qabatya, near Jenin, describing it as "a deliberate provocation aimed at sabotaging peace efforts."

"This assassination is a brazen violation of the calm being observed by the Palestinians, we hold Israel fully responsible for the ramifications and consequences of this naked provocation," said PA official Ahmed Subh.

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Lebanon: IAF planes fly over Lebanese cities
Jun. 7, 2005 19:05

IAF warplanes flew over southern and eastern parts of Lebanon in an apparent show of force Tuesday, drawing anti-aircraft fire from the Lebanese army a day after Hizbollah scored a major victory in parliamentary elections.

Six Israeli warplanes and two reconnaissance planes flew for more than an hour over the towns of Marjayoun, Nabatiyeh, Tyre, Sidon and Jezzine before heading back to Israel, the Lebanese army said in a statement.

The army's anti-aircraft batteries fired at the planes, the statement said. It did not say if any plane was hit.

Later, two Israeli warplanes also flew over the eastern city of Baalbek, causing a sonic boom and panic among the population, witnesses said.

There was no immediate comment from Israel.

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Three rockets fired at southern Israel

Palestinians fired three Qassam rockets at southern Israel today, hitting one home, while Israeli soldiers traded fire with a Palestinian fugitive hiding in a house in the northern West Bank, the Israeli army said.

The violence came a day after Palestinians and Israeli police scuffled at a contentious holy site in Jerusalem, which has been a flashpoint during the conflict.

Hamas militants claimed responsibility for the rocket attack on the Israeli city of Sderot, which did not injure anyone.

Hamas said the attack was retaliation for a visit by Jews yesterday to the Jerusalem holy site which was home to the biblical Jewish Temples and to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam's third-holiest shrine. A confrontation broke out when Muslim worshippers threw stones at the Jewish visitors and Israeli police responded with stun grenades.

"Any attempt to defile or to harm Al Aqsa mosque means an open turf war in every corner of our homeland, Palestine," the Hamas statement said. [...]

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State of the State Secrets
by Justin Raimondo
The American Conservative

Larry Franklin wanted to sway policy, not just spill intel.

The circumstances surrounding the arrest of Pentagon analyst Lawrence A. Franklin for passing classified information to two employees of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) would make a good thriller. Acted out against a backdrop of war and terrorism, it's a cloak-and-dagger tale swathed in mystery, pregnant with political implications, and hinting at a subtext of hostility beneath the "special relationship" binding the U.S. to Israel. It has all the elements of good fiction-a strong plot, a fascinating set of characters, and a theme that will have the audience buzzing long after they leave the theater. Better yet, it looks like the dramatic climax will come in the form of a courtroom drama in a legal battle pitting the watchdogs of America's vital secrets against a shadowy fifth column.

For years the FBI's counterintelligence unit has been tracking a major espionage cell operating on behalf of Israel. Franklin stumbled into it one summer day in 2003, when he showed up at Tivoli restaurant outside Washington and met with two AIPAC officials-Steve Rosen, AIPAC's longtime foreign-policy director, and Keith Weissman, AIPAC's top Iran specialist. Franklin, described by his colleagues as a naïve ideologue who, as Ha'aretz put it, "believes wholeheartedly in the neo-conservative approach," revealed classified information about possible Iranian-sponsored attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq. Franklin was apparently worried that U.S. policymakers were insufficiently alarmed over the alleged Iranian threat to our interests in Iraq and was looking to enlist AIPAC-and the Israeli government-in pressuring policymakers to take a harder line on Tehran.

What he didn't know, as he spilled U.S. secrets, was that the FBI was recording his every word. It would be a while before he found out. Until then, he was watched, his phone conversations were recorded, and agents observed him trying to pass classified documents to an individual already under surveillance. However, as Newsweek described it, the unidentified Israeli spy was "too smart" for that, and insisted Franklin relate the information verbally.

An analyst with the Defense Intelligence Agency, Franklin served in the Air Force Reserve and did several tours of duty attached to the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv. As Iran desk officer with the Defense Undersecretary for Policy, Near East South Asia, Franklin later moved to Douglas Feith's Office of Special Plans (OSP), where he and his fellow neocons cooked the intelligence on Iraq according to Ahmad Chalabi's special recipe and then served it up piping hot to Dick Cheney's boys, who delivered it straight to the White House. As Seymour Hersh relates, they called themselves "the Cabal"-a bit of self-mockery that, in retrospect, seems all too descriptive. OSP functioned, in effect, as a parallel intelligence agency. Its mission was to bypass the CIA, the DIA, and the mainline intelligence community and give the War Party the answers they wanted. The cabalists did not limit their activities to writing up talking points, however, but also engaged in field operations that caught the attention of the State Department and the CIA.

In December 2001, Franklin, along with Harold Rhode, a Middle East expert and Franklin's colleague in Feith's policy shop, and neoconservative writer Michael Ledeen-at the time working for Feith as a consultant-met with the infamous Manucher Ghorbanifar, of Iran-Contra fame, and a group of Iranians, including a former high official of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. Also in attendance: Nicolo Pollari, head of the Italian intelligence service, and Italian Defense Minister Antonio Martino. As writer Laura Rozen tells it, "Ghorbanifar told me he has had fifty meetings with Michael Ledeen since September 11th, and that he has given Ledeen '4,000 to 5,000 pages of sensitive documents' concerning Iran, Iraq and the Middle East, 'material no one else has received.'"

In trying to discover how Iran had gotten its hands on vital U.S. secrets, including information on how the U.S. was eavesdropping on the Iranian government's encrypted internal communications, the FBI must surely have taken some interest in these activities. Their chief suspect, after all, was Chalabi, whose Iraqi National Congress supplied much of the grist for the OSP's mill.

A raid on Chalabi's Baghdad headquarters brought the whole affair into the open, and the Chalabi investigation has reared its head again in the Franklin affair. The Washington Post reports that the initial stage of the inquiry into Chalabi's activities as a double agent "focused on the activities of a US military reservist who was serving at the US Embassy in Israel."

When the FBI confronted Franklin and searched his home and office-turning up 83 classified documents, spanning three decades-he agreed, at first, to help the investigation, presumably in return for a promise of leniency. By some accounts, notably those by pro-AIPAC writer Edwin Black, Franklin agreed to make a series of monitored phone calls to suspects in the investigation, including neoconservative supporters of Chalabi. They also supposedly planted information via Franklin that Israeli agents operating in the Kurdish area of northern Iraq were in danger of assassination by Iranian agents. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports that Franklin met with Weissman on July 21, 2004 outside Nordstrom's at the Pentagon City mall in Arlington and warned him about Israel's Kurdish problem. Alarmed, Weissman and Rosen passed this on to AIPAC, which raised the matter in meetings with NSC official Eliot Abrams. They also called Naor Gilon, top political officer at the Israeli embassy. This was followed shortly afterward by the FBI's first raid on AIPAC's Washington headquarters. (They would return four months later.)

Whoever leaked details of the case to CBS News, including Franklin's identity, nixed the FBI's efforts to trace the transfer of sensitive materials from the spy nest embedded in our government to Israeli officials. FBI officials were furious: the leaker had effectively sabotaged their investigation, at least for the moment. Franklin stopped co-operating with the authorities, dismissed his court-appointed lawyer, and hired the high-priced law firm of Plato Cacheris.

The recent kickstarting of the prosecution, however, has seen a sea change in AIPAC's defense strategy. Rosen and Weissman have been handed their walking papers, and AIPAC is backpedaling furiously on its previous statements denying any wrongdoing by its employees, although the group is still paying the duo's legal bills. JTA reports indicate they are both to be indicted shortly, and Rosen anticipates the trial may begin as early as January 2006. He has pledged to fight the charges.

When this case comes to trial, it won't be only three spies for Israel who stand accused: the whole nexus of organizations and interests that came together in the War Party will be put in the dock.

When Franklin walked in unexpectedly on that luncheon meeting, he stumbled onto one of the biggest, most far-reaching espionage investigations since the Cold War. The crime committed in this case involves not only the theft of vital U.S. secrets but a concerted effort to influence American foreign policy on behalf of a foreign power. This is indicated, for one example, by the FBI's recent interrogation of Uzi Arad, formerly director of research for the Mossad and now head of the Institute for Policy and Strategy at Israel's Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center. According to The Forward, the FBI wanted to know why he had sent Franklin a research paper by Eran Lerman on how to re-invigorate America's relationship with Israel. Lerman, a former IDF intelligence officer, is the executive director of the American Jewish Committee's office in Israel. They also asked Arad about two conversations he had with Franklin: one at the December 2004 Herzliya Conference, which Franklin attended, and the other in the Pentagon cafeteria.

The Lerman paper argues that the U.S.-Israeli "special relationship" has fallen into "maintenance mode" in recent times and that America's grand democratization project in the Middle East calls for what Lerman dubs "the Special Relations Initiative of 2005." Whether this more assertive policy includes such activities as spying is a matter for conjecture, but the FBI's interest in a top AJC official shows that the scandal is widening.

It is also embracing more than lobbying groups like AIPAC and the AJC. The affidavit supporting Franklin's arrest noted that Franklin may have disclosed classified information to reporters, and the New York Times reports that federal agents have begun questioning journalists who may have written articles based on Franklin's revelations-the Times puts the number so far at four, "among them at least one newspaper journalist and others whose work has been published on the Internet." The JTA has named the newspaper reporter: Glenn Kessler, the State Department correspondent for the Washington Post.

The FBI is said to have taped a July 21, 2004 conversation that Weissman and Rosen had with Kessler. According to the JTA report, they joked about "not getting in trouble" over the exchange of information. "At least we have no Official Secrets Act," said Rosen, referring to laws on the books in Britain and elsewhere prohibiting receipt of classified information. The joke, however, is on them. If the prosecution proves that they knew they were passing on classified information, including to an official of a foreign nation, they could wind up in the next cell over from Jonathan Pollard.

AIPAC's defenders lamely claim "mishandling" classified information is not the same as espionage. Franklin is charged with violating Title 18, Section 793(d) of the Espionage Act, which makes it a crime to pass to unauthorized persons "information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation." But Rosen and Weissman, who handed over classified information to Gilon, could face charges under Section 794, which carries a punishment of either death or life imprisonment for the crime of communicating information relating to the national defense "to any foreign government." According to a report in the New York Sun, the charges are so classified that AIPAC lawyer, Nathan Lewis, was required to get a security clearance to hear them.

The mystery at the heart of this investigation is how and when it began. Warren Strobel of Knight Ridder reported in 2004 that the probe "has been going on for more than two years," and UPI's Richard Sale cites a "former senior U.S. government official" as saying, "In 2001, the FBI discovered new, 'massive' Israeli spying operations in the East Coast, including New York and New Jersey," and they began watching Gilon, who eventually led them to Franklin. The JTA dates the genesis of the inquiry more precisely: "information garnered during the investigation into alleged leaks from a Pentagon analyst to the two former AIPAC staffers suggests the FBI began probing AIPAC officials just before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks."

Like a dorsal fin poking just above the water, the Franklin spy trial promises us a glimpse of a creature much larger than appears at first sight. Whether the trial will draw it up to the surface remains to be seen. In any case, the magnitude of the problem posed by the covert activities of our ally-heretofore ignored or covered up-is all too clear.

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World military spending topped $1 trillion in 2004
Tue Jun 7, 2005
By Peter Starck
STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - World military spending rose for a sixth year running in 2004, growing by 5 percent to $1.04 trillion on the back of "massive" U.S. budgetary allocations for its war on terror, a leading research institute said on Tuesday.

But world military expenditure was still 6 percent below all-time highs recorded in 1987-88 toward the end of the Cold War, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said in its annual yearbook.

With expenditure of $455 billion, the United States accounted for almost half the global figure, more than the combined total of the 32 next most powerful nations, said SIPRI, which is widely recognized for the reliability of its data.

In 2003, U.S. spending stood at $405 billion, SIPRI said.

"The major determinant of the world trend in military expenditure is the change in the United States, with its 47 percent of the world total," the Swedish government-funded institute said.

U.S. spending "has increased rapidly during the period 2002-2004 as a result of massive budgetary allocations for the 'global war on terrorism', primarily for military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq," it added. [...]

The top five -- the United States, Britain, France, Japan and China -- spent 64 percent of the world total.

Measured by region military spending grew most last year, by over 14 percent, in South Asia -- mainly due to "a massive increase" in India's defense budget to $15 billion.

Growth in China's military spending slowed to 7 percent -- to $35 billion -- from on average 11.5 percent per year in the past decade. Russia's 2004 national defense budget increased almost five percent to $19 billion, SIPRI said.

Based on data for the past five years, Russia has overtaken the United States as the world's leading supplier of conventional weapons. Russia, the United States, Britain, France and Germany accounted for 81 percent of all conventional weapons deliveries in 2000-2004.

China and India were the two main recipients of conventional arms in 2004, the institute said.

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Police, killer in child sex ring
June 6, 2005

EDINBURGH: Police were involved in a paedophile ring that covered up abuse allegations against the man responsible for the infamous Dunblane school massacre.

The astonishing claim was made by former paramedic Sandra Uttley, who is going to the European Court of Human Rights to demand a new inquiry into the tragedy.

Sixteen children and their teacher were shot dead by Thomas Hamilton in March 1996 after he burst into the school gym and fired as they began an exercise class. The attack prompted tighter UK gun control.

Ms Uttley alleges that Lord Cullen's inquiry into the massacre was fatally flawed because crucial evidence was withheld from it.

The 45-year-old, who dealt with the aftermath of the killings in her job as a paramedic, said: "There are glaring anomalies in the inquiry, inconsistencies in witness testimony, incorrect information given on oath and the absence of vital witnesses.

"It is also blatantly obvious that Central Scotland Police, who were chosen to investigate the background to the murders, should never have been involved in a so-called independent inquiry.

"They were implicated in the events under scrutiny and continually provided Hamilton with renewals of his gun licence despite long-term and repeated warnings that this should not happen.

"It was known that Hamilton had friends in the police force, including one highly placed officer.

"I believe that Hamilton was a major provider of pornographic photographs and videos to a ring of men prominent in Central Scotland, including police officers who protected him from numerous allegations of physical abuse at boys' camps and clubs he ran.

"They protected themselves after the massacre which conveniently ended in his suicide".

Last year Ms Uttley's former partner, Mick North, whose five-year-old daughter Sophie was killed, said he was "convinced" of a cover-up.

Detective Chief Superintendent John Ogg, who headed the Dunblane investigation, has said of criticism in the past: "I can reassure you that the investigation was absolutely thorough and we covered every angle".

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Woman's mutilated body found in river
June 07 2005 at 05:48PM

The body of a 30-year-old woman, whose elbows and private parts had been removed, was found in the Levubu River near Thohoyandou on Monday, Limpopo police said.

Superintendent Ailwei Mushavhanamadi said members of the community noticed the body and informed police.

"The woman's elbows and private parts were missing. Police suspect a ritual killing."

The victim's name could not be released until her next-of-kin had been informed.

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West Nile research springs a surprise
June 7, 2005, 4:20PM
Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle

UTMB scientists find mosquitoes infect each other, perhaps explaining its deadly spread

The discovery of West Nile virus in New York six years ago divided the scientists who study infectious diseases.

Many believed the virus would spread slowly across America; others thought it wouldn't survive at all. Few predicted a wildfire-like march across the continent that culminated with cases in California just four years later, in 2003.

Now, scientists at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston may have discovered one reason why - their earlier understanding of how mosquitoes become infected was very likely flawed.

Birds, which can have high levels of the virus in their blood, serve as its natural hosts. Certain kinds of mosquitoes, such as Culex, bite the birds and become infected. These mosquitoes, in turn, bite and infect humans. What the UTMB scientists have discovered - to their amazement - is that mosquitoes also can pass the virus to each other without an infected bird.

"We certainly didn't expect this," said Stephen Higgs, an associate professor at UTMB and lead author on the research, to be published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

This kind of transmission has never been seen in mosquitoes, although it has been observed in ticks for other viruses. [...]

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Bush Aide Softened Greenhouse Gas Links to Global Warming
The New York Times
June 8, 2005

A White House official who once led the oil industry's fight against limits on greenhouse gases has repeatedly edited government climate reports in ways that play down links between such emissions and global warming, according to internal documents.

In handwritten notes on drafts of several reports issued in 2002 and 2003, the official, Philip A. Cooney, removed or adjusted descriptions of climate research that government scientists and their supervisors, including some senior Bush administration officials, had already approved. In many cases, the changes appeared in the final reports.

The dozens of changes, while sometimes as subtle as the insertion of the phrase "significant and fundamental" before the word "uncertainties," tend to produce an air of doubt about findings that most climate experts say are robust.

Mr. Cooney is chief of staff for the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the office that helps devise and promote administration policies on environmental issues.

Before going to the White House in 2001, he was the "climate team leader" and a lobbyist at the American Petroleum Institute, the largest trade group representing the interests of the oil industry. A lawyer with a bachelor's degree in economics, he has no scientific training.

The documents were obtained by The New York Times from the Government Accountability Project, a nonprofit legal-assistance group for government whistle-blowers. [...]

But critics said that while all administrations routinely vetted government reports, scientific content in such reports should be reviewed by scientists. Climate experts and representatives of environmental groups, when shown examples of the revisions, said they illustrated the significant if largely invisible influence of Mr. Cooney and other White House officials with ties to energy industries that have long fought greenhouse-gas restrictions. [...]

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It's Not Just Eskimos in Bikinis
By Chip Ward
June 7, 2005

As long as we're talking about ice in distant climes, global warming seems like something that's happening elsewhere and to somebody else -- or some other set of creatures.

When we hear the term "global warming," we usually imagine collapsing Antarctic ice shelves, melting Alaskan glaciers, or perhaps starving polar bears wandering bewildered across an ice-free, alien landscape. Warnings about climate change tend to focus on the Earth's polar regions, in part because they are warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet and the dramatic changes underway there can be easily captured and conveyed.

We may not be able to see the 80% decline in the Antarctic krill population -- the tiny, shrimp-like creatures that are a critical food source for whales, seals, and sea birds -- but we can easily see satellite photos of state-sized chunks of ice shields separating from the continent. We can grasp the enormity of planetary glacial melting simply by comparing photos of glaciers taken just a decade apart.

But as long as we're talking about ice in distant climes, global warming seems like something that's happening elsewhere and to somebody else -- or some other set of creatures.

So when you hear about global warming, the odds are good that you never think of the yellow-bellied marmot. Probably, you've never even heard of the critters, but the big rodents, common not to the distant Arctic but to Rocky Mountain meadows, have been acting like so many canaries lately -- coal-mine canaries, that is. They may be the first among many species in the Lower 48 to die off, thanks to close-to-home global warming effects that we hear little about. They are dying of confusion.

As a term, global warming is so benign-sounding -- we all like "warmth," after all -- that it masks what's actually going on. Yes, temperatures overall are rising, low-lying islands are disappearing under the sea, and epic wildfires are becoming more routine. But some places like Europe could get much colder in a globally "warmed" world, if warm ocean currents shift away from them; while across the planet, however counterintuitive this might seem, floods are likely to be as commonplace as drought.

"Climate disruption" is probably a more accurate description of what we are experiencing than mere "warming." Although the radical break in climate patterns now underway will lead to rising oceans and expanding deserts, the most insidious changes may be more subtle -- and as unnoticed as the disappearance of the marmots may be.

The intricate and precisely timed collaborations of plants, animals, birds, and insects, fine-tuned over endless thousands of years of evolution, is inevitably short-circuited when the weather goes whacky over periods of time that are the geological equivalent of a wink. When environmental events and biological events that once fit together lose their synchronicity, the consequence can be extinction. Even the Pentagon realizes that, if dependable local weather patterns become erratic, chaos can ensue as, for instance, crops begin to fail. Some of the less adaptable wild creatures, great and small, who share our American backyards are already coping with the kind of eco-havoc we can as yet only imagine for ourselves. For them, a more accurate description of what is happening might be Eco-Topsy-Turvy or, perhaps, Climate Helter-Skelter. [...]

A report co-written by University of Texas biologist Camille Parmesan and University of Colorado ecologist Hector Galbraith for the Pew Center for Global Climate recently assessed 40 scientific studies linking climate change with observed ecological changes. A growing body of evidence, they found, shows that sudden climate change is not just about Eskimos in bikinis. Significant changes are underway even in temperate regions. The geographic ranges of many plant and animal species are either contracting altogether or shifting northwards, causing species like the Red Fox to compete with the Arctic Fox for food and territory.

Flowering patterns, breeding behaviors, and the timing of migrations are all undergoing change. The distribution of plants, insects, animals, and even soil bacteria is shifting rapidly in response to recent alterations in weather patterns. The question is: Can plants and creatures adapt fast enough to survive such rapid changes? Can evolution run on "fast-forward"? [...]

Humans are not exempt. If ecosystem relationships become disconnected and ecological processes break down, we will eventually suffer as well. Adaptability and the inclination to take over neighboring yards when ours are used up or fall apart can keep us from consequences for only so long. Although we live in a culture that encourages and enables us to think, feel, and act as if we were above and beyond nature (or, perhaps, beside it -- nature being what we visit by car on weekends), we are, in fact, embedded in the natural/physical world. Like it or not, the fluids that sustain our lives come from watersheds. Our food is a synthesis of soil, sunlight, and rain. We depend on the biological diversity, ecological processes, and powerful global currents of wind and water that are the operating systems of all life on Earth. Signs that these operating systems are faltering should be a wake-up call for us to begin real planning to kick our fossil-fuel addiction, while creating laws, policies, and projects that aim at ecological preservation and restoration.

But we don't act and doubt reigns supreme. The cynical Bushites say they want to make a culture that values life while they sow whatever doubt they can about the reality of global climate disruption. Worse yet, they are intent on obstructing the rest of the world from taking collaborative steps to reduce human influence on the planetary climate that is the very basis of all life, including that of fetuses and persistently vegetative legislators. [...]

If inaction risks drought, flood, monster storms, pestilence, epidemics, extinctions, ecological dysfunction, refugees, war, and more squalor (as even the Pentagon suspects may be the case), not to mention all that potential underwater real estate in Manhattan, Miami, and New Orleans, then we would be prudent and wise to take precautionary actions now. That we continue to ignore the signs all around us is not just a political failure, though it certainly is that. It is undoubtedly also a failure of empathy and awareness. I suspect we will not find the political will to stop the damage we are doing until we begin to see ourselves within the picture frame and realize that it is in our self-evident self-interest to act boldly and soon.

So, get in the picture. Put on those Ray-Bans and stand in the purple mountain meadow next to that yellow-bellied marmot -- the one blinking in the snow-reflected sun. Face the camera. Say "cheese!" Now that's a shot you can show your grandchildren when they ask you, "What's a marmot?" -- or "What's a meadow?"

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Tornado damages East Texas town of Grapeland
June 7, 2005, 12:39PM
Associated Press

GRAPELAND - Residents were cleaning up on Tuesday after a severe thunderstorm spawned a weak tornado that tore through the heart of an East Texas town.

No injuries were reported in the late Monday afternoon tornado. The twister left a damage path six miles long and one-half mile wide from southwest to northeast across the small town of about 1,500 residents, according to the National Weather Service. [...]

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Glenn County sees tornado touch down
Tuesday, June 07, 2005 - 12:01:39 AM PST

ARTOIS, Calif.- A tornado and a funnel cloud were sighted Monday afternoon in central Glenn County, but there were no reports of damage. [...]

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Possible tornado hits
Citizen Staff
June 7, 2005

JUNEAU, Wis. -A possible tornado in the town of LeRoy caused isolated damage to a pole shed and grain silo Sunday evening. [...]

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Tornado hits
Published Monday, June 6, 2005 1:44:22 PM Central Time
By RALPH ANSAMI Globe News Editor and The Associated Press

LAKE GOGEBIC, Mich. -- A tornado touched down on Lake Gogebic Sunday, tossing a pontoon boat 30 feet into the air and depositing it far off shore. [...]

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Jun 6, 2005

Idaho - Wild weather continued to hit parts of Idaho over the weekend, including a report of a tornado Saturday night in Jefferson County. [...]

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Tornado reported over northern Howard County
Monday, 06 June 2005
Odessa American

(Texas) - Howard County officials were busy watching the weather Sunday night after a tornado reportedly touched down in the northern part of the county.

A dispatcher with Howard County Sheriff's Office said they had reported seeing several funnels clouds form with the storm.

The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for Howard County and Borden County through 10 p.m. Sunday. Parts of those counties also reported nickel to golf ball size hail. [...]

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Storm takes out power, trees
By BRUCE A. SCRUTON, Staff writer
Tuesday, June 7, 2005

Saratoga County, N.Y. - It was a bit later than usual, but the summer's first bout of powerful thunderstorms arrived in force Monday, knocking out power, causing some flash floods and creating some firewood in the form of fallen trees. [...]

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Flood warnings issued for southern Alberta News Staff
Tue. Jun. 7 2005 8:40 PM ET

Dire warnings were issued Tuesday for three areas of southern Alberta where communities are bracing for rising river levels -- 10 years to the day that flooding devastated the region.

According to Alberta Environment, heavy rain continues to batter southern Alberta and up to 70 mm of rainfall is expected by the end of the day Tuesday.

"Precipitation totals are between 100 and 170 mm since Sunday night," says a statement released by the department. [...]

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And Finally...

Man's licence revoked... for driving while gay

CATANIA - A Sicilian court has condemned road authorities for suspending the driving licence of a man after finding out he was gay.

The court said being gay was merely "a personality disturbance" and not a psychiatric illness, and had no bearing on a personís ability to drive.

The 23-year-old man, who was identified only as Danilo G, got into trouble with road authorities in the city of Catania after they discovered he had been exempted from military service because he was gay.

The authorities suspended his driving licence ahead of further evaluation of his "suitability" to take the wheel.

The man's lawyer, Giuseppe Lipera, denounced the move as "utterly scandalous and offensive" and has demanded 500,000 ($890,472) in damages.

"Danilo is deeply perturbed by what has happened. He has lost his hair and is suffering shock," Lipera was quoted as saying.

In a written ruling released yesterday, the Sicilian court said: "It is clear that sexual preferences do not in any way influence a person's ability to drive motor cars safely." [...]

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