Tuesday, June 14, 2005                                               The Daily Battle Against Subjectivity
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Demoiselle
Copyright 2005 Pierre-Paul Feyte



Dual-loyalty bias worries US Jews
Uriel Heilman, THE JERUSALEM POST Jun. 12, 2005

Some Jewish officials are more concerned about the US authorities' apparent interest in snaring two America Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) staffers in an alleged spy scandal than with the future of AIPAC or their own efforts in Capitol Hill.

"There are a lot of questions to ask: Why all this energy, all this effort?" said Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), relating to the disclosures that Pentagon analyst Lawrence Franklin allegedly shared top secret intelligence information with two high-level AIPAC staffers. "It's a very broad investigation in terms of the persons interviewed. Why engage in a sting vis- -vis Jewish institutions? There are a lot of questions unanswered."

Foxman suggested that the FBI's interest in AIPAC may point to underlying bias, and a suspicion among US authorities that Jews in America are more loyal to Israel than to the US. That is especially troubling to the ADL, because the dual-loyalty charge carries with it anti-Semitic overtones for many American Jews.

"One out of three Americans believes that American Jews are more loyal to Israel than the United States. That's a classic anti-Semitic attitude," Foxman said. "Washington is not immune."

Indeed, Foxman and Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations suggested, this might factor into decisions to reject US Jews for foreign-service jobs – something American Jews have complained about for some time.

Hoenlein said he gets complaints all the time from Jews claiming they've been denied access to security-sensitive posts because they are Jewish.

"There have been reports of people being denied security clearance again, and whether it's related to this or not we can't tell," Hoenlein said.

FBI spokeswoman Debbie Weierman said the bureau had no comment.

When AIPAC brought 5,000 supporters to its annual policy conference in Washington three weeks ago, the organization sought to demonstrate publicly that its work would not be hampered by the controversy surrounding the two ex-AIPAC officials caught up in a spy scandal.

And to all outward appearances, it seemed that the group was not suffering much fallout from the disclosure that Franklin allegedly handed over intelligence information to AIPAC research director Steven Rosen and Iran analyst Keith Weissman.

AIPAC moved quickly to fire the two, paid for lawyers to defend them against any possible espionage charges and announced to conference delegates that, in the words of executive director Howard Kohr, "Your presence here today sends a message to every adversary of Israel, AIPAC and the Jewish community that we are here and here to stay."

But behind this veneer of strength, officials at Jewish groups that work with Capitol Hill say they are monitoring closely a situation that could change if Rosen and Weissman are indicted. There is some concern that if they are criminally charged, a high-profile espionage trial, similar to the Johnathan Pollard case, could stoke fears among some in America, including US officials, that American Jews are more loyal to Israel than to the US.

"Things did not turn out exactly as predicted," said Neil Goldstein, executive director of the American Jewish Congress. "They said there is nothing to it; it'll all go away. Clearly, they've taken actions now that belie that, and clearly there are things that are still going on."

"What can I tell you? It has us all nervous," said David Zweibel, executive vice president for government and public affairs at Agudath Israel of America.

"It is in general a time of some nervousness about our relationships on Capitol Hill and, more generally, in federal Washington," Zweibel said. Nevertheless, he allowed, "There has not yet been any tangible sign of pulling back or reluctance or anything in terms of ongoing relationships."

For now, Jewish organizational officials insist that AIPAC's troubles have not really affected them or their work.

"We have not been impacted, to the best of our knowledge," said Foxman. "Nothing has changed vis-a-vis Congress. We meet on many issues, including the Middle East."

Hoenlein echoed that sentiment. "Operationally, I would say that it has not impacted in any way that we can discern," he said. "I think the community should stand by AIPAC and Rosen and Weissman, who have served the community and made great contributions."

Even if the two are indicted – which some news reports based on anonymous sources have suggested is imminent – that should not change anything, he said.

"Indictments are not convictions," Hoenlein said. "From what we know, it would be very hard to convict somebody for what has been said so far."

Underlying Jewish groups' continued support for AIPAC is the conviction many share that Rosen and Weissman were set up in an FBI sting operation that hinged upon the cooperation of a Pentagon analyst who already was in trouble with the law for disclosing top secret information related to America's national defense.

The analyst, Franklin, was arrested in May, posted bond and had a preliminary hearing in his case on Thursday.

He is charged with leaking top secret information to two men – said to be the AIPAC staffers – at an Arlington, Virginia restaurant on June 26, 2003, as well as with breaking FBI rules on the handling of classified documents. The information Franklin allegedly shared with the AIPAC staffers – who are not mentioned by name in any of the indictments against Franklin – related to potential attacks on US and Israeli agents in Iraq by Iranian-backed forces.

While Franklin, a 25-year veteran of the Department of Defense, seems to have broken the law by disclosing classified information that could be used "to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of a foreign nation," it is not at all clear that Rosen and Weissman broke any laws by receiving it.

Even though they reportedly relayed that information to an Israeli Embassy official – so far, the most damning piece of information against them – they also notified the White House and reportedly have said that they were unaware the information was classified.

AIPAC officials say they have been reassured that the organization is not being investigated.

"It's been told consistently it's not a target of this," said Nathan Lewin, the Washington lawyer AIPAC hired to deal with the case. "Whatever the government does with regard to this investigation, it is not directed at AIPAC."

Comment: Ah, tis a hornet's nest in the pyramid of entropy: so many different factions competing for control. Who is at the top?

There is clearly a very strong and powerful Jewish lobby in the United States. No one denies that fact. Jewish publications brag about it, Israeli prime ministers make reference to it, and US politicians know they must adapt their foreign policy to promote Israel as the lone beacon of democracy in the Middle East to accommodate it.

The various Jewish lobby groups and associations in the United States do not deny that their groups have an influence that far outweighs the 2-3% Jewish portion of the US population. In many facets of American life, Jews have made important contributions and have gained positions of power. Many of these people identify very strongly with their background, many identify strongly with Israel, and many contribute financially to support these causes, and because they are successful, they have big bucks to put behind them.

The evolution of US foreign policy since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war shows a significant shift in US support for Israel. It has become an unquestioning support, one that is completely one-sided. During this period, there have been a number of episodes of Israeli spying upon its great friend and benefactor, of which the Franklin case is but the latest. All along the Israelis deny that they are engaged in espionage against the US, but time after time this has been shown to be a lie. Monica Lewinsky, bizarre arrests of Israeli movers and their subsequent deportation to Israel with no charges filed, Jonathan Pollard, and the USS Liberty are a few of the events that come to mind in demonstrating Israel's real activities in the US and towards the US.

Today, in the Bush Administration, the number of policy-makers in key positions who are Jewish is impressive. Many of those who are not Jewish are ardent public supporters of AIPAC positions as well as the political line of the Likud Party in Israel. The parade of US politicians who presented their valentines to Israel at the recent AIPAC conference in Washington well demonstrates this point. A strong argument can be made that the invasion of Iraq was carried out in the interests of Israel, as Saddam was in no way a direct threat to the continental US. Many politicians in Israel and neocons in the US have been proposing the dismemberment of Iraq since the 1997 position paper written for the Likud by current members or former members of the Bush Administration.

Clearly there is a very strong influence of Israel in US foreign policy. The Jewish lobby is doing effective work. The article above suggests that this influence has not been "impacted" by the Franklin revelations.

However, the Jewish lobby is not the only force at work. There are other interests with views that do not always coincide with it. There is a jockeying for position and power in the upper echelons ranging from the use of personal contacts and contributions to political campaigns, to dirty tricks, disinformation, spying, blackmail and other illicit means. The oil industries support for Saudi Arabia appears to be one such bone of contention, and the efforts we have seen attempting to tie the Saudis to 9/11 by the likes of Michael Moore and Daniel Hopsicker may be shots fired by the Jewish lobby against the oil lobby.

The phrase "lobby" has none of the connotations one associates with "conspiracy", and yet when one looks behind the phrase, you realise they are describing pretty much the same thing: a small group of people who have inordinate influence. "Lobby" is the sanitised for mass consumption label that describes a process that has been merchandised and branded as legitimate within the "democratic" process, regardless of the fact that it is by its very nature profoundly undemocratic: the decision-making process is out of the hands of the people and in the hands of those who can buy or blackmail votes or politicians: the oil lobby, the pharmaceutical lobby, the banking lobby, the Jewish lobby, the Christian Zionist lobby, any of the others.

Where there is power, there will also be minions, useful idiots, and various forms of collaboration - be it for survival, power, money, or other forms of material reward driven by our basic motors of fear, sex, and survival. They are collaborators with the enemy because the interests they defend are not their own interests. Americans who collaborate with the Bush regime are not working in the favour of the interests of the American people; they are supporting terror, unjust economics, the expansion of military spending that could be used to provide housing, education, and health for those at home; they are supporting the corporations whose one and only boss is the shareholder -- and even then recent years have seen CEOs and other executives take severance packages that can in no way be justified to shareholders.

As we say, it is a rat's nest. Sorting it out is not easy. The balance of power at any one time may be in one or another group, or an (uneasy) alliance. Our working hypothesis is that there is another power behind all of these, the power at the top of the pyramid. That power is the real puppet master, the one whose aims, whose true aims, may not be known to any of the players we see in the public sphere. This power consists of an alliance between certain members of our realm and denizens of another realm completely, the home of those beings we know in myth and legend as the "gods" or ET.

Yes, it sounds outlandish, impossible, and better suited to the tabloids. However, there is an abundant mass of evidence that points to this hypothesis as being very probable. Many who dismiss such a possibility have never done the research that would qualify them to make a decision one way or another. They dismiss the idea because it is too outlandish, not because of a lack of evidence. Other writings on this site as well as the books of Laura Knight-Jadczyk investigate the probability of our working hypothesis. Works by Gurdjieff, Castaneda, Charles Fort, John Keel, Jacques Vallée, certain Gnostics and writers from the Eastern Orthodox tradition explicitly or implicitly come to similar conclusions. We do not ask our readers to take such assertions at face value. It is necessary to do the research into these questions for yourselves.

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Pentagon analyst indicted on charges of divulging classified information
AFP
June 14, 2005

WASHINGTON - A Pentagon analyst has been indicted on charges of passing classified information and documents about a Middle Eastern country to two employees of a pro-Israel lobbying group and a diplomat from an unnamed country, court documents show.

Lawrence Franklin, who worked on the Pentagon's Iran desk, was charged on four counts of communicating national defense information to persons not entitled or authorized to receive it, and two counts of conspiracy.

The indictment details a series of contacts in 2003 and 2004 in which Franklin allegedly divulged classified information about an unnamed Middle Eastern country to two employees of a Washington lobbying firm and a foreign diplomat.

It gives no names other than Franklin's but officials had previously identified the lobbying firm as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

The indictment did not say what country the diplomat was from. Israel denied any involvement in the case after Franklin's arrest in May.

Franklin conspired and "did deliver, communicate and transmit classified national defense information in an effort to advance his own career, advance his own personal foreign policy agenda, and influence persons within and outside the United States government," the indictment read.

It said Franklin had "reason to believe that such information could be used to the injury of the United States and to the advantage of a foreign nation."

At a June 26, 2003 meeting, he allegedly passed "classified information obtained by the processes of communication intelligence from the communication of a foreign government," according to the indictment.

But it was unclear from the indictment how damaging the leaks were.

Franklin, 58, appeared to have done little to hide his activities.

He faxed classified documents from his office, called his contacts on his office phone, and met in plain view at the Pentagon with the foreign official who received some of the classified information.

His meetings with AIPAC officials have been widely reported. The indictment alleges he provided them with a classified internal policy paper that he had written, discussed with them top secret information related to potential attacks on US forces in
Iraq, and classified information related to the intelligence reporting activities of a foreign nation.

The court documents provide new details about his contacts with a diplomat at an unidentified foreign embassy in Washington between August 15, 2002 and June, 2004.

After an initial meeting at a Washington restaurant on August 15, 2002, Franklin and the diplomat exchanged phone calls at their offices for several months and then met again in person near the embassy on or about January 30, 2003, the indictment said.

"The subject of the discussion at this meeting was a Middle Eastern country's nuclear program," it said.

They met on May 2, 2003 at the Pentagon's Officer's Athletic Club adjacent to the Pentagon, where they discussed foreign policy issues and senior US officials, it said.

On May 23, 2003, they again met at the Pentagon's Officer's Athletic Club.

"At this meeting, the two discussed issues concerning a Middle Eastern country and its nuclear program and the views held by Europe and certain United States government agencies with regard to that issue," the indictment said.

Franklin later drafted an "action memo" to his superiors incorporating suggestions made by the foreign official, it said.

There followed a series of meetings between the two at the Pentagon Officer's Athletic Club and at a sandwich shop near the State Department.

During a meeting February 13, 2004, the foreign official suggested a meeting with someone who had previously been associated with his country's intelligence services. He also gave Franklin a gift card, the indictment said.

Franklin met with the man with intelligence connections a week later in the Pentagon cafeteria "and discussed a Middle Eastern country's nuclear program."

On June 8, 2004, Franklin met with the foreign official at a Washington coffee house.

"At this meeting, the defendant provided the FO (foreign official) with classified information he had learned from a classified United States government document related to a Middle Eastern country's activities in Iraq. The defendant was not authorized to disclose this classified information to the FO," the indictment said.

The indictment also alleges that sometime between December 2003 and June 2004, Franklin disclosed to the foreign officer classified information related to a weapon test conducted by a Middle Eastern country.

Comment: Gee, we wonder which country this mysterious "foreign diplomat" was from... Here's a hint: What country has the US gone out of its way to protect no matter what the cost, including ignoring the mystery country's massive nuclear program?

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US-Israel relations face 'crisis' ahead of Rice visit
AFP
June 14, 2005

JERUSALEM - Israel's usually rock-solid relations with the United States were taking a battering as a row over arms sales to China escalated ahead of a crucial visit to the region by Washington's top diplomat.

Yuval Steinitz, chairman of the Israeli parliament's foreign affairs and defence committee and an ally of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, said ties were now at crisis point but stressed that Israel must fight to retain a measure of independence from its its key ally.

The comments came after the Pentagon confirmed on Monday that the Bush administration had raised concerns with Israel about its sales and transfer of military equipment and technology to China.

The formal indictment of a Pentagon analyst on charges of passing classified information to a pro-Israel lobby group served as a further reminder that all was not well in the relationship.

The support of US President George W. Bush has been vital for Sharon in his efforts to secure approval for his controversial plan to pull troops and settlers out of the Gaza Strip, an issue that will top the agenda of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's visit to Jersualem this weekend.

Sharon has been trying to play down the China sales row, declining to make it a major issue on recent trip to the United States, seemingly fearful of upsetting Washington with the start of the Gaza pullout now just two months away.

But Steinitz said there was no denying the seriousness of the situation.

"There is a crisis. It has been going on for about a year, and to my great regret, even Sharon's visit to Washington didn't resolve this crisis," he said.

"There is no doubt that relationship with the United States is critical to Israel. But, with all the enormous importance of US diplomatic, economic and military help, Israel must keep its independence and also some reciprocity in this relationship," he said.

Two months ago, Washington imposed a series of sanctions on Israel's defence industry following a controversial weapons deal in which Israel was to upgrade a consignment of drones it had sold to China. [...]

The defence ministry would not comment on reports that its director general Amos Yaron was being forced to step down as a result of US pressure, but said there had been no formal request from Washington to remove him.

While acknowledging that Israel cannot simply ignore Washington's views, the Maariv daily said "perhaps the time has come for somebody -- the prime minister for example -- to put a stop to the grovelling which has recently been forced upon the Israeli defense establishment." [...]

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"Frontier Forts," a Bigger "Homeland," Billions More for Pentagon

Neo-Con Unfurls the Big Picture
June 13, 2005
By WINSLOW T. WHEELER

Editors' Note: Thomas Donnelly is a paradigm neo-con. These days he shuttles between the Project for the New American Century and the American Enterprise Institute His CV traces his ascent, from that seedbed of militarism, Sidwell Friends Quaker School, through flack work for Lockheed Martin, a Congressional Committee, the Army Times, The National Interest, and now the AEI and the Project for the NAC. Last Friday, Donnelly, in a talk at the AEI, launched his new pamphlet "The Military We Need". The session was in the appropriately named Wohlstetter Room, named for the Godfather of the Neocons. CounterPunch's Winslow Wheeler was there, to hear the neo-con vision of the shape of things to come. AC / JSC

It was shall we say, an interesting experience. I would not call it mind-expanding, but there definitely were many stretched neurons in the Wohlsetter Conference Room at AEI that day.

The pretext was the coming forth of a pamphlet by Donnelly, "The Military We Need," available for free at http://www.aei.org/books/ The UPI review of this work handed out at the event says Donnelly "transcends easy labels" including "neo-conservative," "nationalist," and "neo-imperialist." While the terminology may seem a bit too polite, it is also incomplete.

In his pamphlet, Donnelly cites his goals for Bush Administration policy. These I see as surrogates for what the neo-conservatives (for lack of a better term, right now) as a group see as the next stage of their policy advocacy. Given what Donnelly called Bush's "rapid success" in Afghanistan and the "last legs" on which Vice President Cheney now sees the insurgents in Iraq so wobbily staggering, what, do you wonder, have these authors of American policy for the last five years mapped out for us in the future?

Donnelly wants five things:

* "Build new alliances," meaning bag Europe, embrace India, which will be needed in the confrontation with China.

* "Expand active duty army by at least 125,000 soldiers," but given the active Army's current shrinkage given its recruitment problems ­ driven by current policy ­ he didn't breath the "d" word, which would seem to be an essential component.

* "Create naval and air forces that reflect a "high-low" mix of capabilities," meaning gun boats (Littoral Combat Ships) for the Navy and more air transports for the "expeditionary land forces."

* "Increase 'baseline' defense spending by $100 billion per year," meaning in excess of $600 billion for DoD per year (baseline plus Iraq) and build on that as unfolding operations pose additional requirements. (They haven't gotten off the percent of GDP measure of defense spending for the Cold War and can't stand it that we're nowhere near 8-10%.)

And, here's my favorite,

"Create new networks of overseas bases," which is explained as a "semipermanent ring of 'frontier forts' along the American security perimeter from West Africa to East Asia." Plus, as Donnelly explained in his verbal comments, the US "homeland" (not to be confused with the above mentioned "American security perimeter" from Morocco to Japan) includes the area defined in the Monroe Doctrine, i.e. the Caribbean and Central America.

While the "frontier fort" terminology may be intended to give this thinking a homey American connotation, I think the use of the term more useful in its being revealing. It invokes not just some of the saddest chapters in domestic American history in the form of the ethnic cleansing of native Americans away from the path of others seeking living space (which Donnelly no doubt recalls as Hollywood, not history) but it also speaks to the messianic, manifest destiny quality ­ a sense of righteous entitlement ­ that these people ooze through every pore. Add to that the Monroe Doctrine, in truth applied to the rest of the world except Europe and Russia, i.e. against almost exclusively non-white races and cultures, and you have it all.

I had only one uplifting moment as I listened to Donnelly preach. Earlier that same week, national newspapers were carrying poll results showing a continuation of the trend toward collapse of American popular support for the war in Iraq, collapse in the belief that that the war "against terror" is being led competently, collapse in support for the President in general. The Democrats didn't do much better either. Small "d" democratic support for Donnelly's strategic vision is nowhere to be found and shrinks the more Americans hear about its impact. If we remain a functioning democracy, it is a plan for action that may bring more regime change to America than to China and other neo-con enemies in the making.

Indeed, neo-con does not even begin to describe the genre. UPI's "nationalist" and even "neo-imperialist" seems completely inadequate. "Lunatic" or even "dangerous menace" comes to mind but falls into the excessive rhetoric of these times. I'll be positive and an optimist and call them "a past embarrassment of the future."

Comment: One more example of the Jewish lobby.

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Possible Strausscon Move on Iran: Mighty Suspicious Bombings in Ahvaz and Tehran
Kurt Nimmo
June 12, 2005

Gore Vidal is certainly correct - the United States of America is more rightly deemed the United States of Amnesia. Our political memory lasts about thirty minutes, or until the next television programming slot. Some of us, however, are elephants when it comes to political memory. Otherwise ephemeral events stick in our craw and emerge later to make sense.

For instance, Richard Perle.

Most Americans have no idea who Richard Perle is, even though he "served" as the chairman of the Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee from 1987 to 2004, that is until he was booted from that Strausscon-infested committee for shady business dealings at the expense of the American people. Although Perle kept a more or less low profile after his sacking, he wandered into the media spotlight briefly last year when he spoke on behalf of Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) at the Washington Convention Center. MEK is an anti-Iranian mullah "opposition group" listed by the State Department as a terrorist organization. "MEK may have an interest in this event or may attempt to use the event to raise funds," the Treasury Department told the Washington Post. Perle claimed innocence, although the keynote speaker at the event was MEK leader Maryam Rajavi, who addressed the audience via videophone from Paris. A few of us paying attention at the time - for this was truly a two minute news item - saw smoke and fire: in essence, Perle was bestowing Strausscon laurels on the terrorist MEK.

As Laura Rozen wrote last December, MEK serves "the political agenda of the Bush administration… it's no wonder that hawks in the Bush administration are lobbying for the MEK as a means to promote their goal of regime change. Some Iran watchers say that a mutual working relationship between Washington and [MEK] has already been agreed to, one which includes the U.S. debriefing of MEK members at Camp Ashraf in Iraq for Iran intelligence information." Dan Byman, a former Middle East analyst at the CIA now affiliated with the Brookings Institution, told Rozen the Bushites "will use them, but not de-list them [as terrorists]… We have control of MEK facilities in Iraq… and we are taking advantage of it, and not shutting them down."

In then, earlier today, bombs mysteriously explode in Ahvaz, Iran, near the Iraqi border, and Tehran, killing nine people a few days ahead of the Iranian elections. "The Ahvaz bombs appeared to be placed outside official buildings or the homes of senior officials, while the Tehran blast was near a public square," reports CBC News. "There is no explanation for the attacks, but an Iranian official suggested the bombs were linked to the presidential elections set for Friday."

"The terrorists of Ahvaz infiltrated Iran from the region of Basra (in southern Iraq)," Ali Agha Mohammadi, a top national security official, told AFP. "These terrorists have been trained under the umbrella of the Americans in Iraq."

"This is a war against terrorism, and Iraq is just one campaign. The Bush administration is looking at this as a huge war zone. Next, we're going to have the Iranian campaign," a former high-level intelligence official told Seymour Hersh and The New Yorker earlier this year. Hersh reported that Bush has already "signed a series of top-secret findings and executive orders authorizing secret commando groups and other Special Forces units to conduct covert operations against suspected terrorist targets in as many as 10 nations in the Middle East and South Asia."

"No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks, the deadliest in the Islamic Republic in more than a decade and a rarity since the Iran-Iraq war ended in 1988," notes Knight Ridder. "But Iranian television, which is controlled by Iran's conservative powerbrokers, accused the bombers of trying to disrupt this coming Friday's presidential elections."

Is it possible the MEK - with a track record for violence against not only Iranians but Americans as well - is responsible for the deadly attacks inside Iran? Nobody knows for sure but with the Strausscon's well-advertised desire to foment chaos and bring down the mullahocracy, it should not be overlooked.

It should also not be overlooked that Scott Ritter and others have predicted something would happen in Iran this month. Ritter, appearing at the Capitol Theater in Olympia, Washington, in February "held up the specter of a day when the Iraq war might be remembered as a relatively minor event that preceded an even greater conflagration."

Is it possible the opening salvos of that conflagration were fired this weekend?

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Former Bush Team Member Says WTC Collapse Likely A Controlled Demolition And 'Inside Job'

Highly recognized former chief economist in Labor Department now doubts official 9/11 story, claiming suspicious facts and evidence cover-up indicate government foul play and possible criminal implications.
June 12, 2005
By Greg Szymanski

A former chief economist in the Labor Department during President Bush's first term now believes the official story about the collapse of the WTC is 'bogus,' saying it is more likely that a controlled demolition destroyed the Twin Towers and adjacent Building No. 7.

"If demolition destroyed three steel skyscrapers at the World Trade Center on 9/11, then the case for an 'inside job' and a government attack on America would be compelling," said Morgan Reynolds, Ph.D, a former member of the Bush team who also served as director of the Criminal Justice Center at the National Center for Policy Analysis headquartered in Dallas, TX.

Reynolds, now a professor emeritus at Texas A&M University, also believes it's 'next to impossible' that 19 Arab Terrorists alone outfoxed the mighty U.S. military, adding the scientific conclusions about the WTC collapse may hold the key to the entire mysterious plot behind 9/11.

"It is hard to exaggerate the importance of a scientific debate over the cause(s) of the collapse of the twin towers and building 7," said Reynolds this week from his offices at Texas A&M. "If the official wisdom on the collapses is wrong, as I believe it is, then policy based on such erroneous engineering analysis is not likely to be correct either. The government's collapse theory is highly vulnerable on its own terms. Only professional demolition appears to account for the full range of facts associated with the collapse of the three buildings.

"More importantly, momentous political and social consequences would follow if impartial observers concluded that professionals imploded the WTC. Meanwhile, the job of scientists, engineers and impartial researchers everywhere is to get the scientific and engineering analysis of 9/11 right."

However, Reynolds said "getting it right in today's security state' remains challenging because he claims explosives and structural experts have been intimidated in their analyses of the collapses of 9/11.

From the beginning, the Bush administration claimed that burning jet fuel caused the collapse of the towers. Although many independent investigators have disagreed, they have been hard pressed to disprove the government theory since most of the evidence was removed by FEMA prior to independent investigation.

Critics claim the Bush administration has tried to cover-up the evidence and the recent 9/11 Commission has failed to address the major evidence contradicting the official version of 9/11.

Some facts demonstrating the flaws in the government jet fuel theory include:

-- Photos showing people walking around in the hole in the North Tower where 10,000 gallons of jet fuel supposedly was burning..

--When the South Tower was hit, most of the North Tower's flames had already vanished, burning for only 16 minutes, making it relatively easy to contain and control without a total collapse.

--The fire did not grow over time, probably because it quickly ran out of fuel and was suffocating, indicating without added explosive devices the firs could have been easily controlled.

--FDNY fire fighters still remain under a tight government gag order to not discuss the explosions they heard, felt and saw. FAA personnel are also under a similar 9/11 gag order.

--Even the flawed 9/11 Commission Report acknowledges that "none of the [fire] chiefs present believed that a total collapse of either tower was possible."

-- Fire had never before caused steel-frame buildings to collapse except for the three buildings on 9/11, nor has fire collapsed any steel high rise since 9/11.

-- The fires, especially in the South Tower and WTC-7, were relatively small.

-- WTC-7 was unharmed by an airplane and had only minor fires on the seventh and twelfth floors of this 47-story steel building yet it collapsed in less than 10 seconds.

-- WTC-5 and WTC-6 had raging fires but did not collapse despite much thinner steel beams.

-- In a PBS documentary, Larry Silverstein, the WTC leaseholder, told the fire department commander on 9/11 about WTC-7 that. "may be the smartest thing to do is pull it," slang for demolish it.

-- It's difficult if not impossible for hydrocarbon fires like those fed by jet fuel (kerosene) to raise the temperature of steel close to melting.

Despite the numerous holes in the government story, the Bush administration has brushed aside or basically ignored any and all critics. Mainstream experts, speaking for the administration, offer a theory essentially arguing that an airplane impact weakened each structure and an intense fire thermally weakened structural components, causing buckling failures while allowing the upper floors to pancake onto the floors below.

One who supports the official account is Thomas Eager, professor of materials engineering and engineering systems at MIT. He argues that the collapse occurred by the extreme heat from the fires, causing the loss of loading-bearing capacity on the structural frame.

Eagar points out the steel in the towers could have collapsed only if heated to the point where it "lost 80 percent of its strength," or around 1,300 degrees Fahrenheit. Critics claim his theory is flawed since the fires did not appear to be intense and widespread enough to reach such high temperatures.

Other experts supporting the official story claim the impact of the airplanes, not the heat, weakened the entire structural system of the towers, but critics contend the beams on floors 94-98 did not appear severely weakened, much less the entire structural system.

Further complicating the matter, hard evidence to fully substantiate either theory since evidence is lacking due to FEMA's quick removal of the structural steel before it could be analyzed. Even though the criminal code requires that crime scene evidence be kept for forensic analysis, FEMA had it destroyed or shipped overseas before a serious investigation could take place.

And even more doubt is cast over why FEMA acted so swiftly since coincidentally officials had arrived the day before the 9/11 attacks at New York's Pier 29 to conduct a war game exercise, named "Tripod II."

Besides FEMA's quick removal of the debris, authorities considered the steel quite valuable as New York City officials had every debris truck tracked on GPS and even fired one truck driver who took an unauthorized lunch break.

In a detailed analysis just released supporting the controlled demolition theory, Reynolds presents a compelling case.

"First, no steel-framed skyscraper, even engulfed in flames hour after hour, had ever collapsed before. Suddenly, three stunning collapses occur within a few city blocks on the same day, two allegedly hit by aircraft, the third not," said Reynolds. "These extraordinary collapses after short-duration minor fires made it all the more important to preserve the evidence, mostly steel girders, to study what had happened.

"On fire intensity, consider this benchmark: A 1991 FEMA report on Philadelphia's Meridian Plaza fire said that the fire was so energetic that 'beams and girders sagged and twisted, but despite this extraordinary exposure, the columns continued to support their loads without obvious damage.' Such an intense fire with consequent sagging and twisting steel beams bears no resemblance to what we observed at the WTC."

After considering both sides of the 9/11 debate and after thoroughly sifting through all the available material, Reynolds concludes the government story regarding all four plane crashes on 9/11 remains highly suspect.

"In fact, the government has failed to produce significant wreckage from any of the four alleged airliners that fateful day. The familiar photo of the Flight 93 crash site in Pennsylvania shows no fuselage, engine or anything recognizable as a plane, just a smoking hole in the ground," said Reynolds. "Photographers reportedly were not allowed near the hole. Neither the FBI nor the National Transportation Safety Board have investigated or produced any report on the alleged airliner crashes."

For more informative articles, go to www.arcticbeacon.com.

Comment: There is an impressive collection of evidence that has been collected by 9/11 researchers since the events of that fateful day that show how the official story promulgated by the Bush administration is full of holes. Certainly, each separate point can be argued. There is no smoking gun, no one event or piece of evidence that will convince the skeptic. It is the entire mass of evidence that weighs so heavily against the official story, from the inaction of US air defence to intercept the hijacked jets, the collapse of three towers of metal from fire, an event never before seen, the removal of the debris before the investigation was complete, the futures trading on United and American in the days prior to 9/11, the shooting down of Flight 93 at the moment the passengers were taking back control, the denial that it was shot down despite the fact that the plane's debris was scattered over eight miles (hard to reconcile with a crash), the lack of debris in front of the Pentagon coupled with the initial eyewitness reports from firefighters that there was no debris inside the Pentagon either, the confiscation of security camera videos of the crash by the FBI, videos that have never been released to the public, the discrepancy between the claim that the fire of the crash at the Pentagon was so intense that it vaporised the plane yet left the remains of the victims enough intact to be subject to DNA identification, and on and on.

Stepping back to a different level, 9/11 was the event that justified the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq and ushered in the new era of the "War on Terror", a battle without end against whoever the US government decides to call its enemy. This war can never be won, yet it is insanely profitable for the war machine: the arms merchants, the security industry, and anyone who makes his living from killing and subjugating another.

For years those who saw through the lie have been crying out, pointing to the holes in the official story. Now that the occupation of Iraq is drawing out, it appears that a goodly number of Americans are beginning to ask themselves questions about their Commander-in-Chief. Asking questions about the lies that got the US into Iraq is not enough. The lies go so much deeper. The Bush Administration carried out an attack against the people it was "elected" to defend. It has been supported in this effort by the Democratic Party, a party that has refused to look at the evidence and face the facts.

Cleaning out the government will not be easy. It may be impossible. But it is important for Americans to stop being afraid to ask the difficult questions. They must be willing to consider possibilities that are out of the realm of the possible for most of them: they were attacked by their own government.

How many Americans will be willing to look that one in the eye and not flinch? What will be the consequences for their country, and the rest of the world, if they do not?

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Some Held at Guantánamo Are Minors, Lawyers Say
By NEIL A. LEWIS
Published: June 13, 2005

WASHINGTON, June 12 - Lawyers representing detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, say that there still may be as many as six prisoners who were captured before their 18th birthday and that the military has sought to conceal the precise number of juveniles at the prison camp.

One lawyer said that his client, a Saudi of Chadian descent, was not yet 15 when he was captured and has told him that he was beaten regularly in his early days at Guantánamo, hanged by his wrists for hours at a time and that an interrogator pressed a burning cigarette into his arm.

The lawyer, Clive A. Stafford Smith, of London, said in an interview that the prisoner, who is now 18 and is identified by the initials M.C. in public documents, told him in a recent interview at Guantánamo that he was seized by local authorities in Pakistan about Oct. 21, 2001, a few months shy of his 15th birthday, and taken to Guantánamo at the beginning of 2002.

Barbara Olshansky, a senior lawyer at the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York, which is coordinating a program to match volunteer lawyers with detainees, said she believed he may be one of six current detainees who were imprisoned at Guantánamo before their 18th birthday.

Military authorities say the only juveniles at the detention center were the three who were kept in a separate facility from the main prison camp with more freedom and activities. They were released in January 2004.

The dispute is clouded by two issues: military authorities define a juvenile as someone younger than 16 years of age, not 18, as do most human rights groups. Further, the ages of the detainees brought to Guantánamo as enemy combatants cannot be determined with certainty, leaving officials to make estimates.

"They don't come with birth certificates," said Col. Brad K. Blackner, the chief public affairs officer at the detention camp. Col. David McWilliams, the chief spokesman for the United States Southern Command in Miami, which runs the prison operation, said that the authorities were fairly confident of their estimates. "We used bone scans in some cases and age was determined by medical evidence as best we could," he said.

As to the mistreatment that M.C. reported, Colonel McWilliams said the military tried to investigate all credible accusations where possible, but he would not discuss the prisoner's specific complaints.

The details of M.C.'s accusations are contained in a 17-page account prepared by Mr. Stafford Smith, in which the prisoner said that he was suspended from hooks in the ceiling for hours at a time with his feet barely missing the floor, and that he was beaten during those sessions. M.C. said a special unit known as the Immediate Reaction Force had knocked out one of his teeth and later an interrogator burned him with a cigarette. Mr. Stafford Smith said he saw the missing tooth and the burn scar.

Some of M.C.'s descriptions match accounts given not only by other detainees, but also by former guards and interrogators who have been interviewed by The New York Times.

He describes being shackled close to the floor in an interrogation room for hours with music blaring and lights in his face. He also said he was shown a room with pictures of naked women and adult videos and told he could have access if he cooperated. His description fits the account of former guards who described such a room and said it was nicknamed "the love shack."

The three detainees released in January 2004 were thought by officials of the International Committee of the Red Cross to have been ages 12 to 14 at the time. [...]

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High court rejects enemy combatant appeal
AP
Monday, June 13, 2005

WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court refused Monday to be drawn into a dispute over President Bush's power to detain American terror suspects and deny them traditional legal rights.

It would have been unusual for the court to take the case of "dirty bomb" suspect Jose Padilla now, because a federal appeals court has not yet ruled on the issue. Arguments are scheduled for July 19 at the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

A year ago, the court ruled the Bush administration was out of line by locking up foreign terrorist suspects at the Navy base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, without access to lawyers and courts.

But justices declined to address a separate issue: whether American citizens arrested on U.S. soil can be designated "enemy combatants" and held without trial.

Padilla has been in custody since 2002 when he was arrested at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport after returning from Pakistan. The government views him as a militant who planned attacks on the United States, including with a dirty bomb radiological device, and has said he received weapons and explosives training from members of al Qaeda.

A federal judge sided with Padilla and ruled that an endorsement of indefinite detentions would be a "betrayal of this nation's commitment to the separation of powers that safeguards our democratic values and individual liberties."

Solicitor General Paul Clement, the Bush administration's top Supreme Court lawyer, said the lower court ruling "marks a substantial judicial intrusion into the core presidential function of determining how best to ensure the nation's security."

Padilla's lawyers had wanted to jump over the appeals court and have the Supreme Court intervene.

"Delay increases the chance that Padilla could be faced with an unconstitutionally coerced choice -- for example, whether to plead guilty to a crime or to give up other rights in order to avoid further months of detention as an enemy combatant," his lawyers told justices in a filing.

The court is already familiar with Padilla's case, which they debated last fall but then threw out on grounds that Padilla's lawsuit had been filed in the wrong jurisdiction.

The latest round comes from South Carolina, where Padilla is in a Navy brig.

Padilla, a New York-born convert to Islam, was one of two U.S. citizens held as enemy combatants, a designation that allows indefinite detention without charges for al Qaeda suspects and their associates.

The other one, Yaser Esam Hamdi, was released last fall after winning a Supreme Court appeal. The justices said Hamdi, a U.S.-born suspected Taliban foot soldier captured in Afghanistan, could use American courts to argue that he was being held illegally.

The Monday case is Padilla v. Commander C.T. Hanft, 04-1342.

Comment: It's a good thing the Supreme Court is playing ball again, because the Bush administration might look like a bunch of criminals if they'd end up detaining two US citizens who were later acquitted and freed.

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They Won't Go
By BOB HERBERT
Published: June 13, 2005

George W. Bush is in no danger of being ranked among the nation's pre-eminent commanders in chief. Not only has he been unable thus far to win the war in Iraq, but on his watch significant sectors of the proud U.S. military have been rapidly deteriorating.

The Army reported on Friday that it had fallen short of its recruitment goals for a fourth consecutive month. The Marines managed to meet their recruitment target for May, but that was their first successful month this year.

Scrambling to fill its ranks, the Army is signing up more high school dropouts and lower-scoring applicants.

With the war in Iraq going badly and allegations of abuse by military personnel widespread, young men and women are increasingly deciding that there's no upside to a career choice in which the most important skills might be ducking bullets and dodging roadside bombs.

The primary reason the U.S. went to an all-volunteer military in 1973 was to ensure that those who did not want to fight wouldn't have to. That option is now being overwhelmingly exercised, discretion being the clear choice over valor. Young people and their parents alike are turning their backs on the military in droves.

The Army is so desperate for even lukewarm bodies that it is reluctant to release even problem soldiers, troops who are seriously out of shape, or pregnant, or abusing alcohol or drugs. And it is lowering standards for admission to the junior officer ranks. For example, minor criminal offenses that previously would have been prohibitive can now be overlooked.

At the same time Army recruiters have been chasing high school kids with such reckless abandon that a backlash is developing among parents who, in many cases, want the recruiters kept out of their children's schools.

"To the extent that we think students are threatened by recruiters, it's our job to intervene," said Amy Hagopian, a co-chair of the Parent-Teacher-Student Association at Garfield High School in Seattle. Ms. Hagopian, who has an 18-year-old son, complained that recruiters too often put the hard sell on impressionable high school youngsters without informing them of the potential dangers of a life in the military.

Recruiters with the gift of gab go into the schools with a glamorous pitch, bags full of goodies for the kids (T-shirts, donuts, key chains) and a litany of promises they often can't keep. The kids don't hear much about their chances of being maimed or killed, or the trauma that often results from killing someone else.

(A soldier's job is to kill. I can still hear the drill sergeants in basic training screaming at us decades ago: "What are you? What are you?" And we'd scream back: "Killers! Killers!" And the sergeants would say, "What is your purpose?" And we would shout: "To kill! To kill!")

The Army, frantically searching for solutions, is offering enlistments as short as 15 months and considering bonuses worth up to $40,000. But it may be facing a problem too difficult for any amount of money to overcome. Americans are catching on to the hideousness and apparent futility of the war in Iraq. Five marines were killed in a single bomb attack in western Iraq on Thursday. On Friday, a front-page Washington Post headline described the effort to rebuild the Iraqi military as "Mission Improbable."

A Washington Post-ABC News poll last week found that nearly three-quarters of Americans believe the number of casualties in Iraq is unacceptable, and 60 percent believe the war was not worth fighting.

There's something frankly embarrassing about a government offering trinkets to children to persuade them to go off and fight - and perhaps die - in a war that their nation should never have started in the first place. It's highly questionable whether most high school kids are equipped to make an informed decision about joining the military, which is exactly why they're targeted. The additional knowledge and maturity gained in the first few years after high school make it easier for a young man or woman to make a wiser, more meaningful choice, pro or con.

The parents of the kids being sought by recruiters to fight this unpopular war are creating a highly vocal and potentially very effective antiwar movement. In effect, they're saying to their own children: hell no, you won't go.

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US army to face draft dilemma
Monday 13 June 2005, 4:30 Makka Time, 1:30 GMT - AFP

The United States will "have to face" a dilemma on restoring the military draft as rising casualties in Iraq result in persistent shortfalls in military recruitment, a top US senator has warned.

Joseph Biden, the top Democrat of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, made the prediction after new data released by the Pentagon showed the US army failing to meet its recruitment targets for four straight months.

"We're going to have to face that question," Biden said on NBC's "Meet the Press" television show when asked if it was realistic to expect restoration of the draft.

"The truth of the matter is, it is going to become a subject, if, in fact, there's a 40% shortfall in recruitment. It's just a reality," he said.

The comment came after the Department of Defence announced on Friday that the army had missed its recruiting goal for May by 1661 recruits, or 25%. Similar losses have been reported by army officials every month since February.

But experts said even that figure was misleading because the army has quietly lowered its May recruitment target from 8050 to 6700 people.

That has prompted charges that the real shortfall was closer to 40%, which in turn has led to questions about the future viability of the army as a force, if it continues to be plagued by lack of new recruits.

Monthly shortfall

Since October, the army has recruited more than 8000 fewer people than it had hoped to, which amounts to a loss of about a modern brigade.

The army, navy and marine corps reserves also fell short of their monthly goals by 18%, 6%and 12% respectively, according to the figures.

Recruitment at the Army National Guard was down 29% while the Air National Guard fell short 22%.

The United States abandoned the military draft in 1973, following mass protest during the Vietnam War, and switched to an all-volunteer force.

Registered draftees

Mandatory registration for the draft was suspended in 1975 but resumed in 1980 after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. About 13.5 million men are currently registered with the US government as potential draftees.

During the 2004 election campaign, Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry repeatedly accused President George Bush of planning to re-instate "a back-door draft," charges the president vehemently denied.

But while admitting that restoring the draft would be politically "very difficult," Senator Patrick Leahy, the ranking Democrat of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said something will have to be done because the situation with recruitment was not likely to improve.

Severe problems ahead

"If you think you have trouble getting recruits today, you're going to have far more trouble six months from now," Leahy predicted on CBS's "Face the Nation" program. "It is not going to get better. That's going to get worse."

Republican Representative Curt Weldon called the recruitment shortfalls "troublesome" and "unacceptable."

But he urged the military "to find ways to fix the current system" and to attract more recruits with the help of new incentives.

Nearly 1900 US troops have been killed in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere since the beginning of the war on terror in the wake of the September 11, 2001, attacks.

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Assault Of Nuclear Whistleblower Latest In Series Of Attacks
Posted on Sunday, June 12 @ 05:20:56 PDT

It had been the worst of blind dates; the no-show. Eventually, just before 2 a.m., Tommy Hook conceded defeat and slunk away from the gaudy strip bar. As he traipsed across the neon-bathed parking lot of Cheeks nightclub, he would have wondered what became of his non-committal partner.

Hours earlier Hook, 52, had received a call from a fellow employee at the Los Alamos National Laboratory imploring him to head to the Santa Fe nightspot and hover by the bar. An excited, hushed voice had promised to corroborate Hook's explosive findings into massive financial irregularities at the birthplace of the nuclear bomb and proposed site for the Bush administration's new generation of atomic weapons.

Instead it is the brutal events that followed Hook's short walk that have plunged the top secret home of the U.S. weapons project into fresh controversy.

The attack was ferocious; a group of up to six men stomped on the head of Hook, a former internal auditor at Los Alamos, with such intensity that footprint marks were still visible on his swollen face days later. A witness claimed that without the intervention of the club's bouncer, Hook would have been murdered. His wife Susan later alleged that the assailants told her husband during the beating that "if you know what's good for you, you'll keep your mouth shut".

The attack last week came 48 hours before U.S. government investigators were scheduled to arrive at Hook's home and scrutinize audits detailing financial irregularities amounting to millions of taxpayer dollars at the New Texas laboratory. Now he has been silenced.

His shattered jaw remained wired shut throughout his 30th wedding anniversary on Friday. The incident at Cheeks has reopened a trail of unsolved murders, harassment and ongoing death threats that continues to plague America's controversial nuclear weapons program.

The Observer has tracked down former whistleblowers and U.S. congressional investigators who claim that people are risking serious harm by exposing flaws in the U.S. atomic project at a time when the Bush administration is intent on resuming nuclear weapons production for the first time in 15 years. The attack has even wider ramifications, coinciding with new evidence revealing Britain's close involvement with the Los Alamos laboratory.

Peter Stockton spent last Thursday scrutinizing the Cheeks car park for clues. Claims of a row over a parking accident and an altercation at the bar were soon dismissed. Neither Hook's wallet nor his red Subaru sedan was stolen. Stockton, a former congressional investigator, was deeply troubled by the similarities of the Hook beating and a case that has haunted him for almost 30 years.

In 1974, he investigated the death of Karen Silkwood, the nuclear company employee who died in an unexplained one-car crash many suspect was deliberately caused by her employers. Having spent months gathering evidence of corruption and contamination at the Kerr McGee site (in Oklahoma), Silkwood drove to meet a New York Times journalist with the proof. She never arrived. Subsequent investigations found that tracks were consistent with her car being forced off the road. The evidence that Silkwood was carrying with her has never been found. Her story became a Hollywood movie.

Hook too, was about to expose allegations of misconduct against the powerful nuclear lobby. He had been scheduled to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee this month on his allegations. A first meeting with government investigators was arranged for last Wednesday.

Stockton said that the public's largely favorable reaction to the recent unveiling of Deep Throat's identity in the Watergate affair was unusual. "Whistleblowers have been harassed or fired. It is still a dangerous game, particularly in the nuclear sector", he told The Observer.

Greg Mellor, who has been leading the Los Alamos Study Group for 13 years, has observed the mood in the remote outpost turning increasingly belligerent against those prepared to speak out about goings-on at the laboratory."

A lot of people have been threatened, including myself," he said. "Los Alamos used to be full of liberal scientists, it was predominantly democratic with a lot of partying. Now it is very conservative. People feel that if you take a swipe at the labs you are taking a swipe at them."

One Los Alamos employee created a political storm recently after being sacked for exposing large-scale theft at the lab. That followed the unsolved death in 1999 of Lee Scott Hall, who had uncovered a serious flaw in the troubled $1 billion (£700 million) weapons testing program at the Lawrence Livermore laboratories, close ally of its Los Alamos counterpart. The 54-year-old had been stabbed 10 times in his bedroom. No motive was established for the murder nor was anything stolen from his home. No one was ever arrested.

This weekend allies of Hook will continue wondering how his attackers remain at large. However, no allegations have been forwarded that anyone connected with the laboratory or the U.S. nuclear program ordered a hit on Hook. A spokesman for the lab denounced the beating as "senseless and brutal". [...]

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Christ Inc.

Faith-Based Fascism
by Leilla Matsui and Stella La Chance
www.dissidentvoice.org
June 10, 2005

When a triumphal George W. Bush declared his intention to cash in on his "political capital" in the days after the election, he was merely reaffirming his commitment to hand over the reins of power to a higher authority than even Dick Cheney. The religious right, with its enormous political stake in the "End Times" outcome of America's latest Imperial misadventures in Iraq and Afghanistan, have seized upon Bush's continued pledge to transform the "Homeland" into a locked down religious theme park with the organizational zeal they had previously reserved for bilking gullible parishioners out of their social security checks.

Like Halliburton, Christ Inc. has become the latest recipient of taxpayer largesse, having won the contract to keep the media out of the news business, and to ensure that power speaks to truth, as opposed to the other way around. Purging the "news" of news is just the latest attempt by religious Brownshirts to stamp their poisonous insignia on every major institution that they don't control lock, stock and barrel.

In recent months the escalating violence in Iraq and mounting evidence of US-run torture chambers has been dutifully ignored by the Christian News Network, a.k.a. "The Missing White Girl Network" who never miss an opportunity, these days, to provide their theo-con masters with a platform to discredit the administration's naysayers and whistleblowers. Instead, news consumers get trumped up coverage of sensational celebrity trials, "heartwarming" tales of rescue and survival (always thanks to Jesus) and "special reports" revolving around the heroic law enforcement figures as they "secure our borders," track down "terrorists", and sniff out the latest Caucasian corpse du jour. The message has become implicitly clear: resistance is useless against an increasingly paranoid and authoritarian state apparatus that has its finger on the trigger, ready to blow away even unruly toddlers.

The endless parade of Christian pundits and security analysts on CNN these days is more than an attempt by the beleaguered cable giant to do one better than rival news corps in "outfoxing" the competition. Not content with FOX's spectacular success as the profit-driven propaganda arm of the US government, the religious right has set out to erase the distinction between the pulpit and the news desk across the media spectrum (never a wide one in the first place) -- a feat they have managed to pull off with the cooperation of the nervous corporate elites.

Just as the American definition of the term "liberal" to mean "far left" is laughingly at odds with its intended targets, i.e. House Democrats, Hollywood celebrities, and anyone who reads the news on air outside of FOX or any of its affiliates, the word "mainstream" is perhaps as much a misnomer when describing America's radically reconfigured media at the hands of bat wielding swastikas like Bill Frist and "Doctor" James Dobson.

The New York Times' recent pledge to "improve" its coverage of topics relating to rural and Heartland American "values" is just another example of dunce-capped elites publicly denouncing themselves in a desperate, last ditch attempt to make nice-nice with the revolutionary zealots ransacking their offices. Similarly, the sacrificial offering of petty plagiarist Jayson Blair wasn't enough to please the "sore winners" of the right, who won't settle for anything less than unfettered control of the medium right down to the wire. Dan Rather's roasting of chickenhawk George Bush's National Guard service merely stoked the theo-con appetite for complete destruction at the personal and political level, and gave them what amounted to a green light to flatten, by any means necessary, every pocket of potential resistance in their path.

Obviously, the suppression of media-based dissent entails the purging if not complete destruction of PBS, and along with it, any remaining standard of integrity remaining in the television and radio broadcast industry. After being forced into resignation by a Bush administration ally who chairs the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the indomitable Bill Moyers remarked:

We're seeing unfold a contemporary example of the age-old ambition of power and ideology to squelch and punish journalists who tell the stories that make princes and priests uncomfortable...One reason I'm in hot water is because my colleagues and I at NOW didn't play by the conventional rules of Beltway journalism. Those rules divide the world into Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, and allow journalists to pretend they have done their job if, instead of reporting the truth behind the news, they merely give each side an opportunity to spin the news.

Moyers was immediately declared "insane" by drug-addled propagandist Rush Limbaugh to his millions of self-described "dittohead" fans. There is no reason to believe that the last remaining example of independent investigative reporting on free television -- PBS' Frontline -- will survive the remainder of Bushtail's term.

With every revelation of corruption and ineptitude at the leadership level, the lavishly funded, state-of-the-art neo-con spin machine goes into warp drive to ensure that anti-war voices are filtered through the rightwing of the Democratic Party, or more recently, stamped out altogether. As a result, the so-called "opposition" has adopted the neo-con rallying cry of "staying the course," as if prolonging and escalating the war would somehow end it sooner rather than later, a strategy recently tested in Vietnam. Talk about a "victory strategy" for the masterminds behind the new and improved "Orwellian" media.

You would think that the Times' support for the invasion of Iraq with fabricated "evidence" of Saddam Hussein's imaginary weapons program would have forced the regime to come up with more creative ways to impugn its potential critics than branding them "biased". Then again, nothing mobilizes the disgruntled many to the cause of defending the wealthy few against the threat of taxes and secularism better than the lame "liberal media" canard. Or to paraphrase Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi Minister of propaganda, "The bigger and steamier your three-coiled whopper is, the likelier it will be swallowed wholesale by the common scum on the ground."

Fascists have always relied on the willingness of so-called moderates on either side of the political aisle to make alliances with them against their common enemies of the Left. Hillary Clinton's recent decision to team up with her former tormentor, Newt Gingrich, on healthcare is another example of the Faustian bargains centrist elites are willing to make with thuggish extremists, hoping to score political points for appearing conciliatory. Similarly, John Kerry's doomed campaign strategy of offering voters a watered down version of White House theology by mildly condemning gay rights and abortion, didn't take into account that the anti-gay, misogynistic, market-worshipping Zionists of the religious right only put forth a pretend ideology based on "values" and "economics". Upon closer inspection, this so-called agenda reveals only emptiness at its core, bereft of any ideas beyond a promise to use force when necessary against those who refuse to "get with the pogrom."

The success of the Christian Right in dismantling all existing institutions and re-shaping them to their exact specifications depends on the ability of its leaders to provoke an exalted state of outraged-tinged euphoria within its rank and file members -- the "Hannitized" hordes who feel a raw emotional need to feel part of an enterprise engaged in exercising supreme power over a despised enemy. This can only be achieved by the full cooperation of the media, who fear their own irrelevance in a highly volatile political atmosphere even more than those who create these conditions in the first place.

After Hitler was elected German Chancellor in 1933, the novelist Thomas Mann noted in his diary that he was witnessing a revolution "without underlying ideas, against ideas, against everything nobler, better, decent, against freedom, truth and justice."

Today's Hannitized hordes are every bit as eager as Hitler's little helpers to sell out their own political and economic interests for the privilege of basking in the reflected glory of those who talk loudest while carrying the biggest stick. Like all factory farmed meat machines, they yield to the voices that carry the most authority. If anything, they don't seem overly alarmed by the absence of "news" in the media, particularly in regard to Iraq, perhaps reassured by inanities like the Jacko trial or Pope-o-Rama. Their "mobilizing passions" are not stirred by any fully articulated philosophy beyond a heightened suspicion that their entitlements are being encroached upon by some demonized minority -- a point that Democrats and their cohorts in the corporate media have yet to grasp as they seek ways to accommodate them by purging their own institutional bases of "offending" doctrine. So far, they have only succeeded in emboldening the cross-bearing Brownshirts to violently upgrade their methods of rooting out dissent.

The "logic" of destroying a village in order to "save" it can be applied to the media at the executive and ownership level. Better to help engineer the takeover of your organization by bible wielding Brownshirts than to risk making enemies with these coup plotters, drunk on their recent successes in subverting every other major institution across the political and cultural landscape. Having looted and pillaged America's crumbling fourth estate, the information highway robbers may have pulled off their biggest heist yet.

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The New Blacklist
By Doug Ireland, LA Weekly. Posted June 13, 2005.

The Christian right has launched a series of boycotts and pressure campaigns aimed at corporate America -- and at its sponsorship of entertainment, programs and activities they don't like.

Spurred on by a biblical injunction evangelicals call "The Great Commission," and emboldened by George W. Bush's re-election, which is perceived as a "mandate from God," the Christian right has launched a series of boycotts and pressure campaigns aimed at corporate America -- and at its sponsorship of entertainment, programs and activities they don't like.

And it's working. Just three weeks ago, the Rev. Donald Wildmon's American Family Association (AFA) announced it was ending its boycott of corporate giant Procter & Gamble -- maker of household staples like Tide and Crest -- for being pro-gay. Why? Because the AFA's boycott (which the organization says enlisted 400,000 families) had succeeded in getting P&G to pull its millions of dollars in advertising from TV shows like "Will & Grace" and "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy." [... Lists numerous successful boycotts]

All across the country, the Christian right and its allies in the culture wars are mobilizing -- sometimes spurred on from the top by the AFA, Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council and similar national groups, but with increasing frequency local pressure campaigns and boycott threats are self-starters. They target everything from local broadcast outlets and local cable operators to libraries, bookstores, playhouses, cinemas and magazine outlets.

"The Christian right is incredibly mobilized," says Joan Bertin, executive director of the National Coalition Against Censorship, a 30-year-old alliance of 50 nonprofit groups. Bertin says, "There's been an explosion of local book and arts censorship -- a lot of activity by an emboldened grassroots, who think they won the last election on moral grounds. They barely need to threaten a boycott to get those they target to back down -- hey, nobody had to threaten to boycott PBS to get them to back off Postcards From Buster." Bertin affirms that "This new threat from below as well as above has already achieved a widespread chill" on creative and entertainment arts throughout the country.

A good example of successful up-from-below pressure in making corporate America bend the knee to the Christian right: the Microsoft Corp. Earlier this year, under pressure from a local protest led by Ken Hutcherson -- a conservative National Football League linebacker turned preacher -- Microsoft made a decision to stay neutral in the fight over legislation in Washington's state Legislature banning discrimination in employment against same-sexers, although many other companies headquartered in the state took positions in favor of the bill. But after an avalanche of counterprotests to Microsoft about their cave-in to Hutcherson, from their own employees (many of whom are gay), gay groups and the blogosphere, Microsoft reversed itself and supported the anti-discrimination bill. Too late: Two weeks earlier, the bill had been defeated by just one vote in the state Senate. Now, Microsoft is being targeted by a new, national conservative Christian protest campaign for having flip-flopped again.

Martin Kaplan, director of the Norman Lear Center at the Annenberg School of Communication at USC, calls the new offensive a drive toward "theocratic oligopoly. The drumbeat of religious fascism has never been as troubling as it is now in this country," adding that "e-mails to the FCC are more worrisome to me than boycotts" in terms of their chilling effect.

Even The New York Times is feeling the chill. At the beginning of May, an internal committee of 19 Times editors and reporters, who'd been asked how to improve the paper's "credibility" with a wider swath of America, came up with a key recommendation: Deliberalize the paper's news columns, especially through more coverage on religion from a sympathetic point of view.

The committee's report, "Preserving Our Readers' Trust," added that "the overall tone of our coverage of gay marriage, as one example, approaches cheerleading. By consistently framing the issue as a civil rights matter -- gays fighting for the right to be treated like everyone else -- we failed to convey how disturbing the issue is in many corners of American social, cultural, and religious life."

Oh, "disturbing" to whom? Why, to the Christian right, of course -- whose email complaint campaigns against the Times are legion: It's the paper the fundamentalists love to hate. So why is the Times -- one of the few newspapers in the latest available study of circulation released earlier this year to significantly increase circulation rather than lose it -- feeling the need to kowtow to the religious opponents of gay marriage? The paper's willingness to do so is about as frightening a testimony to creeping theocracy as one could imagine.

Is the new conservative Christian anti-gay and anti-sex crusade a back-to-the-future nightmare? Remember your history: In the 1950s, the anti-Communist owners of a small chain of supermarkets in upstate New York started threatening the TV and radio networks with boycotts of sponsors' products if they employed any persons listed as supposed Communists or lefties, in a sloppily researched little pamphlet called "Red Channels."

It didn't take long for this small protest to instill fear throughout the broadcast industry, and the result was the Blacklist, a witch-hunt that lasted for years -- even after John Henry Faulk, the blacklisted star CBS-radio host and actor, won his landmark $3.5 million libel suit in 1962 against the blackmailers of AWARE Inc., which -- for a suitable fee -- offered "clearance" services to major media advertisers and radio and television networks, investigating the backgrounds of entertainers for signs of Communist sympathy or affiliation. But Faulk didn't work in national broadcasting for another 13 years, until he landed a spot on the TV series Hee-Haw in 1975. It took that long to end a quarter-century reign of terror in the entertainment industry, 18 years after Senator Joe McCarthy was dead and buried.

Today's Christian right protests are targeting a different kind of subversion. Chip Berlet, senior analyst at the labor-funded Political Research Associates, has spent over 25 years studying the far right and theocratic fundamentalism. He is co-author of "Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort."

Berlet -- who was one of the speakers at a conference last month co-sponsored by the N.Y. Open Center and the City University of New York Graduate Center on "Examining the Real Agenda of the Christian Right" -- says that "What's motivating these people is two things. First, an incredible dread, completely irrational, of a hodgepodge of sexual subversion and social chaos. The response to that fear is genuinely a grassroots response, and it's motivated by fundamentalist Christian doctrines like Triumphalism and Dominionism, which order Christians to take over the secular state and secular institutions. The Christian right frames itself as an oppressed minority battling the secular-humanist liberal homofeminist hordes."

The key to those doctrines is what fundamentalist religious primitives call the Great Commission, which is basically an injunction to convert everyone to Christianity. In the Bible (Matthew 28:19-20), it says, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you . . ." The fundamentalist interpretations of these and other texts can be found on evangelical Web sites like Thegreatcommission.com, Transferableconcepts.com and Gospelcom.net. They have incredible motivating power for the religious right, and help explain the vehemence of the Christian right's intolerance of the freedom of others to think or act differently.

Says Berlet, "The re-election of Bush was a sort of tipping point for these people, who take it as a mandate from God -- they see that the leadership of America is within their grasp, and when you get closer to your goal, it's very energizing. It reaches a critical mass, in which the evangelicals feel they have permission to push their way into public and cultural policy in every walk and expression of life."

All that, says Berlet, is what is motivating the skein of conservative Christian boycotts, protest campaigns and censorship drives bubbling from the bottom up -- which get added emotional and pressure power from the fund-raising-driven crusades launched by political Christian right organizations like AFA at the national level. The confluence of from-above and from-below is a powerful mix.

There's one big problem: Nobody at the national level is tracking these censorship and pressure campaigns in a systematic way, to quantify them or assess their impact, so that strategies to defeat them can be developed.

"People for the American Way used to track this stuff, but they stopped doing so systematically in 1996. We at Political Research Associates would love to do it," says Berlet, "but we don't have the resources. Groups like the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute or Americans United for Separation of Church and State could easily do this sort of work. But none of us has the money to do it, because nobody wants to give it. There used to be three major journalists writing about this stuff -- Sara Diamond, Russ Belant and Fred Clarkson. But none of them could make a living doing it, and they've all dropped out of the game."

Unless Hollywood, and the entertainment and broadcast industries, all want to live through an epoch of increasing content blackmail and blacklists, the wealthy folks who make a lot of money from those industries better wake up and start funding intensive and systematic research on the Christian right and its censorship crusades against sexual subversion and sin in the creative arts -- or soon it will be too late, and the "theocratic oligopoly" of which Martin Kaplan speaks will be so firmly established it cannot be dislodged.

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Could memo sink Bush?
June 13, 2005
By Dave Richardson
Times Herald-Record

What if President Bush lied to Congress and the American people, used those lies to gain congressional approval for military action against Iraq and launched a war that killed 1,700 Americans and tens of thousands of others?

That might have been a hypothetical question a month ago; it might not be hypothetical anymore.

In fact, Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-Hurley, says the answer to the question could lead to the impeachment of President Bush.

The release of an explosive piece of paper called the Downing Street Memo has Hinchey, almost 90 members of Congress and people around the world in an uproar.

The memo provides the closest thing to proof Bush may have lied about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and led the nation into an unnecessary war, Hinchey and others say.

"Attacking Iraq was something the administration focused on from the very beginning," Hinchey said. "Bush made the policy, then altered, twisted and distorted the facts to fit the policy."

According to published reports in Britain, the Downing Street Memo, written in July, 2002 details a conversation in which British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Sir Richard Dearlove, head of British intelligence, and British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw discuss a meeting held with U.S. officials on Iraq.

In the memo, Dearlove warns Blair that Bush had already decided to attack Iraq – months before Bush brought the question to the U.N., and while he continued to deny, both to Congress and publicly, any plans to do so. Dearlove warned that Bush sought to justify that policy by fabricating evidence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and Iraqi links to Al Qaeda and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

"There was a perceptible shift in attitude," the memo quotes Dearlove as saying. "Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD.
"But the intelligence and the facts were being fixed around the policy."

The Times of London made the memo public May 1, and has continued to hammer it in its pages.

High-ranking current and former members of both in the British and U.S. governments have reportedly confirmed the memo's authenticity.

Until now, the story has been largely ignored by the U.S. news media and dismissed by the Bush administration. But it has prompted massive interest and widespread outrage abroad and is a hot topic on internet blogs.

In the U.S., that outrage is also growing.

On May 5, Rep. John Conyers, a Michigan Democrat, sent a letter to Bush demanding answers about the memo.

"If the disclosure is accurate, it raises troubling new questions regarding the legal justifications for the war as well as the integrity of your own administration," Conyers wrote.

The letter was signed by 88 other members of Congress. Conyers has at least 90,000 signatures on a petition demanding the same, and hopes to have more than 500,000 soon.

Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy has a similar petition, and California Rep. Maxine Waters has vowed to introduce daily amendments to pending House legislation demanding Bush answer questions raised by the memo.

Hinchey signed Conyers' letter, and had harsh words for Bush. "The Downing Street Memo confirms a lot of information coming from insiders in the administration and the intelligence agencies, and says clearly that they fixed the facts around the policy," Hinchey said.

So far there has been no official response to Conyers' letter.

"They are trying to ignore the letter, but we will be back to them on this. We will continue to press this," Hinchey said. "It's outrageous. It goes against everything this country stands for."

Representatives of both Sens. Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton declined to comment directly on the memo or on the House response to it.

Still, calls for a congressional inquiry into the questions raised by the memo are growing louder, with some even discussing a Bush impeachment.

"If the president intentionally twisted the facts about the Sept. 11 attacks and the Iraq war, and lied to Congress about it, and then elicited authorization from Congress to launch a war that's caused the deaths of 1,700 U.S. men and women along with tens of thousands of others, that is definitely an impeachable offense," Hinchey said.

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State Dems: Impeach Bush

Cheney, Rumsfeld too
By David Callender
June 13, 2005

Wisconsin Democrats are calling for the impeachment of President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

Loyalists at this weekend's state party convention in Oshkosh passed a resolution calling for Congress to initiate impeachment proceedings against the three officials for their role in the war in Iraq.

The resolution contends that the administration "lied or misled" the United Nations, Congress, and the American public about the justification for the war. It cites the so-called "Downing Street memo" from British Prime Minister Tony Blair's government, as well as reports from U.N. weapons inspectors as evidence of widespread deception.

"Democrats, not only in Wisconsin but throughout the U.S., have been outraged by what we believe has been a clear cover-up of why the U.S. went into Iraq," said newly elected state party Chairman Joe Wineke.

Wineke said the resolution expresses the "the sense of frustration that Democrats in Wisconsin have over fighting a war for the wrong reasons."

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Saddam Back In Court
Rory Carroll in Baghdad and Gary Younge in New York
Tuesday June 14, 2005
The Guardian]

Appearing by turns pensive and quizzical, Saddam Hussein returned to public view yesterday when Iraq's special tribunal released video images of the former president being interrogated.

The first official pictures since his court appearance last July were mute but a tribunal statement said he was being questioned about a 1982 massacre at a Shia village north of Baghdad, one of the cases expected to arise at his trial.

Saddam's chief lawyer, Khalil al-Duleimi, said he would have to view the video before commenting. The tribunal said Mr Duleimi was present during the filming.

However, a London-based member of the defence team, Giovanni di Stefano, said the former president was without legal assistance during the video and that it would be inadmissible in the trial.

The defence team has accused the tribunal of denying it proper access to the ousted dictator, withholding documents and leaking information to the press.

Comment: Each time "Saddam" is dragged out into public view, the evidence mounts that this man is NOT the real Saddam Hussein. Last year at his first court appearance, video and audio recordings of the event were severely restricted by the US military. Now, in his second court appearance, again the world, and even his lawyers, are denied the opportunity to hear "Saddam" give evidence in his own words, and are provided only with short video segments where the former dictator's words are interpreted for us by the US military.

The stageshow that has been the fall of "Saddam" bears all the hall marks of a American Psyops operation and has already become little more than a farce, even before he is officially brought before the courts to answer the accusations against him.

In an interview given to Deborah Moore in July 2004, one of Saddam's "lawyers", Giovanni Di Stefano, stated categorically that Saddam would NOT face execution and would NOT be handed over to Iranian authorities who are seeking his extradition for alleged war crimes during the Iran/Iraq war. When asked how he knew this he stated that he would not say any more on the matter.

Interestingly, Di Stefano claims to have "the greatest respect" for Salem Chalabi, nephew of CIA asset and recently appointed Iraqi Deputy PM and "oil minister", Ahmed Chalabi. An article from the Arab-American Institute tell us that, not long after the "fall of Baghdad" (a misnomer if there ever was one):

Salem Chalabi established the Iraq International Law Group (IILG), which describes itself as "your professional gateway to the new Iraq." Assisting Salem in setting up the IILG was a partner Marc Zell (the IILG's website has been registered in Zell's name). Zell is an Israeli settler of the Gush Emunim (Bloc of the Faithful) stripe. Here the plot thickens.

Zell had for many years been Feith's partner in their Washington-Tel Aviv law firm, Feith and Zell (FANDZ). FANDZ had been set up when Feith left government to pursue the work of a "foreign agent" representing Turkey and some Israeli interests.

Following the Baghdad opening of the IILG, Zell soon opened, in the U.S., an office for Zell, Goldberg & Co., which promises to assist "American companies in their relations with the U.S. government in connection with Iraq's reconstruction projects." It is interesting to note that Zell, Goldberg still uses the website FANDZ, the site of the old Feith and Zell firm. So when Zell boasts his connections to government, businesses know exactly what is meant.

In the relatively short period of time since the fall of the Ba'ath Party regime, IILG and Zell, Goldberg have facilitated contracts in the tens, possibly hundreds of millions of dollars.

Salem Chalabi incidentally has also been appointed by the Coalition Provisional Authority to head the Iraqi tribunal that will investigate and prosecute the crimes Saddam and his cohorts committed against the Iraqi people. His uncle is meanwhile railing against the former regime's corruption and demanding the right to investigate profiteering and kick-backs he alleges occurred in the UN's food for oil program.

Feith and Chalabi were at the forefront of the plundering of Iraq's resources in order to fill the coffers of American and Israeli big business. Feith also promised the Israelis and their U.S. supporters that, not only would post-Saddam Iraq trade with Israel, but it would resurrect the Iraq-Israel pipeline for oil export. Given that Chalabi is clearly in bed with the Neocons - the architects of the illegal Iraq war - AND the chief prosecutor of Saddam, it is a little troubling, although not at all surprising, that one of Saddam's lawyers would have the "greatest respect" for him.

Even less surprising then, is the news that Di Stefano is a convicted fraudster with a client list of mostly mass murderers, and with his praise for a liar and thief like Chalabi who could be shocked to learn that Di Stefano may not actually be a lawyer at all.

Such sordid relationships between repugnant reprobates simply add to our suspicions that the entire ongoing Saddam capture and trial is nothing more than a carefully planned publicity stunt, employing a fake Saddam periodically pulled out on stage in order to maintain the illusion. The producers of this dodgy drama are, however, extremely careful to limit the exposure of their lead actor, lest the truth that he is an imposter should become more apparent than it already is.

See our article The Capture of Saddam Hussein - Another US Intelligence Farce for the full story.

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U.S. Senate apologizes for shame of lynchings
Mon Jun 13, 2005
By Thomas Ferraro

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Senate on Monday formally apologized for having blocked decades of efforts to make lynching a federal crime as victims' descendants watched from the chamber gallery.

On a voice vote and without opposition, the Senate passed a resolution expressing its regrets to the nearly 5,000 Americans -- mostly black males -- who were documented as having been lynched from 1880 to 1960.

These deaths occurred mostly in the South, often with the knowledge of local officials who preached white supremacy, fanned racial hatred and allowed mob lynchings to become picture-taking, public spectacles.

During this period, nearly 200 anti-lynching bills were introduced in Congress, three of which passed the House of Representatives.

But despite the support of the legislation by seven U.S. presidents, the Senate prevented all the measures from becoming law, with much of the opposition coming from southern lawmakers who raised procedural roadblocks.

Such legislation would have made lynching a federal crime and allowed the U.S. government to prosecute those responsible, including local law enforcement officers.

SIGNATURES MISSING

Dan Duster, a descendant of Ida B. Wells, a former slave who became an anti-lynching crusader, praised senators who publicly backed the resolution of apology and scorned those who did not.

No lawmaker opposed the measure, but 20 of the 100 senators had not signed a statement of support of it shortly before a vote was taken on a nearly empty Senate floor. [...]

While most lynching victims were deemed criminal suspects, others had merely gotten into a spat with a white man, perhaps for looking at a white woman. Lynchings refer not only to hangings, but mob executions by beatings, bullets and fire.

Comment: While it is extremely troubling that 20% of US Senators REFUSED to sign a resolution apologising for, and by implication condemning, the killing of innocent blacks, this resolution goes a long way to closing the book on one of the most barbaric episodes of recent US history.

On a broader scale however, any self-righteousness that the US body politic might derive from this official apology is surely cut short by the fact that the Bush regime, and most of both houses, continue to openly sanction the murder of Iraqi civilians by the 185,000 American citizens that make up the US invasion force in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Add to this the $billions in non-repayable loans (grants) that Congress approves each year to the state of Israel which allow it to continue to murder and oppress innocent Palestinians, and you might get the impression that, while the faces have changed, the racist ideology that gripped American politics and society in the first half of the 20th century is still alive and well.

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Europe turmoil as treaty collapses
By Philip Webster, David Charter and Anthony Browne
The Times Online
June 14, 2005

TONY BLAIR and Jacques Chirac are set for an icy Paris showdown today after the Prime Minister accused the French President of living in the past and France lost its fight to save the ill-fated constitutional treaty.

As their dispute over Britain's EU budget rebate and the constitution took relations to their lowest point for years, Mr Blair responded to M Chirac's refusal to hold a joint press conference with him today by letting it be known that he would stage one on his own at the British Embassy in the French capital.

In a fresh twist last night, Mr Blair was told publicly by Peter Mandelson, his close ally, that he must be prepared to reform the British rebate as part of a deeper rethink about the EU budget.

In an intervention that some ministers described as unhelpful, the EU Trade Commissioner and fervent European pre-empted future negotiations by saying that it was wrong to ask the poorer accession states to pay for any part of the British rebate. He also admonished ministers for their "neo-Thatcherite" tone in dealing with Brussels, and said that it should change when Britain assumes the EU presidency next month if it wanted to make progress.

The pressure on Mr Blair mounted last night when Gerhard Schröder, the German Chancellor, called on him to compromise in the budget dispute, but ruled out any big changes in the agricultural budget before 2013. He backed M Chirac's stand that the deal on agriculture done in 2002 could not be reopened, as Mr Blair had suggested.

Herr Schröder said: "We need to get our act together and strike a fair compromise where everybody needs to chip in."

There was, however, a boost for Mr Blair when Herr Schröder backed Britain's desire to see overall spending capped at 1 per cent of the EU's gross national income.

Mr Blair and M Chirac's confrontation comes as the fallout from the French and Dutch rejections of the constitution began threatening EU policies across the board. Ministers shelved plans to press on with the ratification process, Britain intends to use its EU presidency to demand a radical overhaul of the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP), and several member states have begun questioning the pace of EU enlargement before Turkish membership talks.

M Chirac's move over the press briefing was an unprecedented rebuff for a visiting prime minister. But Mr Blair, in Moscow for talks with President Putin, eschewed diplomatic niceties by directly attacking the French leader's intransigence. He accused M Chirac, by focusing attention on the rebate, of closing his ears to the message from his voters when they rejected the constitution.

Mr Blair raised eyebrows on arriving in Berlin last night by going straight into lengthy talks with Angela Merkel, the conservative opposition leader who is well placed to defeat Herr Schröder in the general election in September. The Prime Minister appeared to be heading for victory in his efforts to get the constitution kicked into the longest possible grass. Foreign ministers yesterday abandoned plans to approve the constitution by the end of 2006, and left it to individual countries to decide whether to hold their referendums.

"The context of this discussion is one in which two countries have now voted against the EU constitution," Mr Blair said. "Why? Because people in Europe did not feel that sufficient attention was being paid to their concerns about Europe and its future.

"Now, when we come to discussing the future financing of the EU, let us bear that in mind. And let us realise, therefore, that we cannot discuss the existence of the British rebate unless we discuss the whole of the financiang of the European Union.

"It is not that we approach this simply saying, 'Britain says no and that is an end to the discussion.' We are happy to have this discussion. But it has got to be on a realistic basis and it cannot be on the basis that ignores the unfairness that gave rise to the existence of the British rebate.

"The future financing and reforms of Europe must mean fundamental changes, in particular in respect of the Common Agricultural Policy and the amount of the budget that it takes up each year."

In Paris there was talk of bad blood between the two leaders. Philippe Douste-Blazy, the new French Foreign Minister, said that Britain had no alternative to dropping its refusal to trim the budget rebate that it has enjoyed since 1984.

He said that the crisis in Europe caused by the French and Dutch rejection of the EU Constitution made it vital to show that the Union could settle its next six-year spending plan at this week's summit. "We are more than ever condemned to a compromise. The British must take into consideration the circumstances in which they obtained their 'cheque' in 1984. They were in serious recession at the time. Today, their growth is strong."

Mr Blair is expected to tell M Chirac that he will not hesitate to wield Britain's veto even if all 24 other EU states press him to drop the rebate. He will only consent to reduce it if France accepts cuts to the CAP, which benefits France far more than any other state.

While most other EU states dislike the rebate, M Chirac has made a personal cause out of combating it over the past two weeks. His aggressive approach is seen by diplomats and some French politicians as a diversion from the humiliation that voters inflicted on him in the referendum on May 29.

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Anatomy of a pullout
YNetNews

TEL AVIV – It will start at eight o'clock in the morning.

Hello, my name is Moshe, the police officer who knocks on the door will say. I am here by the force of a Knesset decision and by law, and I'm asking you to accompany me and board the bus that will take you away from here.

If you need help carrying your belongings, he will say, I have a team here with me that would be glad to offer assistance. We can also assist you in carrying young children.

The proposal to begin the evacuation in early morning hours, before sunrise, was rejected by officials in early discussions. In the final briefing, minutes before the forces move in, the senior commanders will remind the troops the people they are about to remove from their homes are Israeli citizens.

"They are not our enemies. We will not surprise them in their beds, we won't take crying babies out of their cribs," the commanders will say. "We have time. Nothing is urgent. If the family asks for another minute, five minutes, fifteen minutes, give it to them. After all, those people planted the trees in their backyard with their own hands."[...]

Comment: The words of the commander above are interesting in that they give a clear example of how the IDF treats innocent Palestinians civilians. Because the troops that he is addressing will have come from months or years of duty in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, the commander obviously felt the need to impress on his men that they should not treat the illegal Israeli settlers with the same disrespect and brutality so often used in the Palestinian occupied territories.

In Rafah, in Ramallah, in Hebron, innocent Palestinians are by now accustomed to being "surprised in their beds" at night, the point of an Israeli rifle shoved in their faces and the trigger often pulled. Likewise, Palestinian children have grown up with the fear of seeing one of their friends deliberately shot through the head while sitting in a ramshackle classroom, or gunned down in the street and finished off, just to make sure. If a Palestinian family asks for "another minute, five minutes, fifteen minutes," to gather together some possessions, they risk being buried along with them, as has occurred so often in the past. Such is the nature of the Israeli tactic of "collective punishment." Such is the value that the Israeli government and military place on a Palestinian life.

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Another suspect package found at Australian parliament as security tightened
AFP
Tuesday June 14, 2:10 PM

A suspicious package was intercepted at Australia's Parliament House, the fourth security scare involving mail posted to the building, authorities said.

Parliamentary speaker David Hawker told the House of Representatives that the package was found in the parliamentary mailroom on Tuesday morning.

He did not specify the nature of the package but said another three letters that sparked security measures over the past two weeks had contained white powder that proved to be harmless.

Hawker said he had ordered procedures for handling parliamentary mail to be tightened and advised political staffers to be on the lookout for suspicious mail.

"I strongly condemn the behaviour that has made this a necessity," he said.

Last week the embassies of the United States, Britain, Japan, South Korea and Italy and the parliament all received powder-filled envelopes, while the Indonesian embassy was targeted the previous week.

Prime Minister John Howard linked the initial attacks to public outrage in Australia at an Indonesian court imposing a 20-year jail term on Australian woman Schapelle Corby for smuggling marijuana into the resort island of Bali.

Police have admitted they have no idea about the motive for the subsequent letters.

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14 killed, 100 injured as car bomb rocks Srinagar
Tuesday June 14 2005 00:00 IST

PULWAMA, India: Fourteen-year-old Raziya Bilal had solved the second of the five problems in her Maths test paper, her classmates Mushtaq Ahmad and Muneer were struggling with the first when a powerful car bomb ripped through their single-storey school building and a row of shops in Pulwama, just 50 m from a CRPF camp, killing eight persons, including three CRPF men instantly and wounding more than 100.

Six more persons, including two students, later succumbed to their injuries raising the toll to 14.

The toll, doctors at Srinagar's SMHS hospital suspected, would rise given the critical condition of many of the injured. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack so far.

The blast comes a day after Hizbul chief Syed Salahuddin said in Pakistan that there was going to be no let-up in militancy in the Valley. But in a faxed statement from Muzaffarabad on Monday evening, the Hizbul condemned the incident.

Just a month ago, suspected militants had tossed a grenade near a city missionary school here killing two children.

Soiled with mud and blood, Raziya's answer book laid scattered among scores of white sheets in the school compound where just an hour ago they had sat on coir mats rolled out on the floor.

A few plastic chairs, for the invigilators, had been tossed hundreds of metres away. Metal shards, smashed glass panes, charred wood, and bricks were scattered all around. Two limbs of a dog and metal shrapnel from the car, believed to be have been fitted with the 45-kg IED were strewn in the compound and the busy market, the row of shops next to the school.

So strong was the blast that eyewitnesses recalled hearing it from a considerable distance. A huge crater on the Pulwama-Shopian highway, two smashed Marutis, a truck reduced to nearly half its size, littered the road almost half a kilometre away.

"I was walking outside the school when I heard a loud bang. At first, I took it for a sonic boom. I thought it came from a plane or a helicopter in the sky," said eyewitness Mansoor Ahmad, a government employee.

"Moments later, I saw smoke rising above, I rushed towards the school. Within minutes, several of us got busy removing people from the road, the school and the shops. In one minute, everything had changed."

At the hospital, crying relatives and friends poured in from across the Valley to check on their dear ones.

The fact that it was exam time in the school helped. Said Ejaz Ahmad, a Class VIII student: "Our seniors were taking their exams in the compound and we were on the right side of the building. Had students been in the rooms on the left side, more than 100 would have got killed."

Ahmad and many witnesses said that at first there was confusion that the bomb was ́air-droppedî by security forces but later when police told the mob that it was a car bomb, people became furious. Raising anti-India slogans, they pelted stones at the police, which retaliated by firing in the air and tear-gas.

"́It was a mere coincidence that there was a sonic boom at the time of the bomb blast. Moreover some people in the crowd wanted to exploit the situation and malign the forces," said Javeed Maqdoomi, Kashmir's Inspector General of Police. He blamed the militants for the act. [...]

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Microsoft helps China censor blogs
Tuesday 14 June 2005

Chinese bloggers, even on foreign-sponsored sites, have been advised to choose their words carefully after Microsoft joined China in censoring web messages.

Users of the MSN Spaces section of Microsoft Corporation's new China-based web portal get a scolding message each time they input words deemed taboo by the communist authorities - such as democracy, freedom and human rights.

"Prohibited language in text, please delete," the message says.

However, the restrictions appear to apply only to the subject line of such entries. Writing them into the text, with a more innocuous subject heading, seems not to be a problem.

Microsoft staff in China could not be reached immediately for comment.

However, a spokesman at the tech giant's headquarters in Seattle acknowledged that the company was cooperating with the Chinese government to censor its Chinese-language web portal.

Comment: Even as Bill Gates writes large cheques to the Republican party and as George Bush proclaims Americas a bastion of Freedom and Democracy, Microsoft, probably the pre-eminent US global corporation, is willingly facilitating the suppression of democracy, freedom and human rights in China. Hypocrisy? Not at all, it's simply globalisation or "the American way".

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Astronomers: Earth's 'bigger cousin' detected
By Michael Schirber
SPACE.com
Monday, June 13, 2005

Astronomers announced Monday the discovery of the smallest planet so far found outside of our solar system.

About seven-and-a-half times as massive as Earth, and about twice as wide, this new extrasolar planet may be the first rocky world ever found orbiting a star similar to our own.

"This is the smallest extrasolar planet yet detected and the first of a new class of rocky terrestrial planets," said team member Paul Butler of the Carnegie Institution of Washington. "It's like Earth's bigger cousin."

Currently around 150 extrasolar planets are known, and the number continues to grow. But most of these far-off worlds are large gas giants like Jupiter. Only recently have astronomers started detecting smaller massed objects. [...]

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Powerful earthquake rattles northern Chile, killing at least 8
11:42 PM EDT Jun 13

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) - A powerful earthquake rattled Chile's remote northern Andes near the Bolivian border Monday, killing at least eight people and causing widespread damage in several mountain villages.

Interior Minister Jorge Correa said there could be more victims in some isolated communities, but added no details were immediately available because of poor communications.

The quake had a preliminary magnitude of 7.9, according to both the U.S. Geological Survey and Chilean officials, making it the world's third strongest temblor since the quake that set off an Asian tsunami in December.

Correa said a boulder fell on an automobile killing all five passengers - three adults and two children - near Iquique, a port city 1,930 kilometres north of Santiago, the capital. The other victims were three elderly men killed in two different Andean villages. One of the victims was a disabled 80-year-old man killed when a wall collapsed at his home.

The government emergency bureau in Iquique, a coastal city 320 kilometres from the epicentre, said several people were injured but did not provide a number or other details.

The quake struck at 6:44 p.m. and was centred in an unpopulated Andean area, about 1,500 kilometres north of Santiago. It was also felt in several cities in southern Peru and Bolivia, but no victims or damage were reported in either neighbouring country. In the Bolivian capital of La Paz, many people took to the streets in panic.

Power supply and communications were interrupted in the port cities of Iquique, and Arica, near Chile's northern border with Peru, but were being gradually restored hours after the quake.

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5.6 quake wakens desert

No injuries or major damage reported as result of temblor
Christine Mahr, Erica Solvig and Benjamin Spillman
The Desert Sun
June 13, 2005

An earthquake along California's most active fault shook shelves and rattled nerves in the Coachella Valley and throughout Southern California on Sunday morning.

The magnitude-5.6 temblor struck at 8:41 a.m. more than eight miles below the ground surface near the mountain community of Anza, about 20 miles south of Palm Springs.

In the Coachella Valley, ground shaking rattled homes, knocked items from some store shelves and disrupted the Sunday morning calm of the quake-prone region.

But there were no reports of serious damage or injuries in the valley or elsewhere in Southern California.

"It felt like something was coming up from under the ground," said Govind Lalani, co-owner of the Indio Village Market. "I was a little nervous."

At the market containers fell to the floor and broke, spilling their contents, he said.

It took about 45 minutes to an hour to clean up the mess, but the store remained open.

Coachella Valley law enforcement agencies and fire departments reported no incidents of injuries or major damage.

"There was broken glass in some businesses, but very minor damage," said Sgt. William Hall of the Indio Police Department.

Capt. Jackie Williams of the Riverside County Fire Department/California Department of Forestry said there were reports of things falling off shelves and some ceiling tiles falling, but no major damage.

It was the second magnitude-3 or greater quake in the Anza area in the last three days. A magnitude-3.1 temblor struck there Thursday.

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Aftershocks detected in the hundreds
Monica Torline and Benjamin Spillman, The Desert Sun
June 14, 2005

Sunday's earthquake rattled homes, business and nerves in the Coachella Valley, but its origin was beneath the mountain town of Anza.

The two greatest quakes with epicenters in the valley occurred in 1948 and 1986.

The magnitude-5.6 Desert Hot Springs quake in 1948 did damage as far away as Los Angeles.

The magnitude-6.0 North Palm Springs earthquake in 1986 injured 29 people and destroyed 51 homes in Palm Springs and Morongo Valley

Scientists say the San Andreas fault, which runs through the valley north of Interstate 10, could unleash an earthquake of magnitude-8 or greater.

Other recent major quakes in the desert near the Coachella Valley include a magnitude-6.0 in Joshua Tree and a magnitude-7.3 in Landers in 1992 and the magnitude-7.1 Hector Mine quake 32 miles north of Joshua Tree in 1999.

For most people, the earthquake that rattled the Coachella Valley on Sunday morning was over seconds after it started.

But for the people charged with watching seismic monitors posted near the quake's epicenter about 20 miles south of Palm Springs, aftershocks from the Sunday temblor are still rolling in by the hundreds.

Seismologists say the volume of aftershocks can vary dramatically depending on the size of the quake.

The fact that Sunday's quake - originally measured as a magnitude-5.6 then downgraded to 5.2 - happened in the middle of a network of sensors also contributes to the high number of recorded aftershocks.

"We've seen 5s with two aftershocks. We've seen 5s with 1,000 aftershocks," said Lucy Jones, scientist in charge for Southern California for the U.S. Geological Survey.

By Monday evening, sensors near Anza, the epicenter of the Sunday-morning quake, had registered 339 quakes, although they were mostly well below a magnitude that would be felt on the surface.

As for whether the quake portends something greater on the horizon, that's anyone's guess.

The likelihood that any given quake is a foreshock to something greater is about 5 percent to 10 percent in the moments after the original temblor.

But that likelihood drops fast. Within 24 hours it is less than 1percent.

The notion that people don't know how severe a quake will be until it's over and the unsettling feeling of the ground moving underfoot makes earthquakes one of nature's more unnerving phenomena.

An online message board at www.thedesertsun.com recorded responses to Sunday's quake from the people who felt it.

"When I made it into my living room things were falling off walls, shelves and my antique free-standing piano was rocking back and forth, thought it was going to fall down," stated one posting attributed to Tracie Jo in Salton City. "

Elisa Nunez Oleary of Palm Desert, in another posting, described how even longtime residents of California can be shaken by earthquakes.

"Growing up and living mostly in earthquake countries and cities is still hard to get (used) to it."

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Earthquake rocks Indonesian island
Monday, June 13, 2005
ABC News

An earthquake measuring 5.7 on the Richter scale has shaken the eastern Indonesian island of Sulawesi, but there are no immediate reports of casualties or property damage.

On March 28, an 8.7-magnitude earthquake killed more than 900 people on the island of Nias, off the south-west coast of Sumatra.

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If big quake hits off coast, tsunami could be gigantic

Geophysicist charts wave heights from Northwest to Baja

David Perlman, Chronicle Science Editor
Monday, June 13, 2005

If a giant magnitude 9 earthquake strikes someday along the coast of the Pacific Northwest, or if, against all odds, an errant asteroid plunges into the ocean many miles off California, a monstrous tsunami could drown low-lying lands all up and down the continent's western edge -- and now a UC Santa Cruz scientist has calculated the sweep of such an event.

Spurred by the tragedy of December's great Sumatra quake and the hundreds of thousands of deaths claimed by the waves that swept across the Indian Ocean, geophysicist Steven Ward has estimated the heights that a similar quake-spawned tsunami would reach, running up along the shores from British Columbia as far south as the tip of Baja California.

"We need to know what the tsunami dangers are along any coastal area," Ward says, "and as our instruments and technology and modeling techniques improve, so we can refine our ability to forecast what might happen."

Using knowledge gleaned from evidence of a magnitude 9 quake in the Cascadia subduction zone some 300 years ago, the behavior of last December's Sumatra quake, careful scrutiny of detailed ocean bottom data all along the Pacific Coast and what he calls "the laws of water physics," Ward has created a hazard map that shows what may happen should another major quake hit the same area in the future. The Cascadia zone is a region where the eastern edge of a great undersea slab of the Earth's crust, called the Juan de Fuca Plate, is continually diving beneath the west edge of the North American Plate and thrusting the continental side of the crust upward.

To model the event's effects, Ward assumes that in a huge quake on the Cascadia subduction zone, the two crustal plates would abruptly slip apart vertically by at least 50 feet in three successive blocks from south to north, generating a 9.2 magnitude quake. Aside from enormous quake damage on land for hundreds of miles, Ward estimates the resulting tsunami would pile a wave more than 20 feet high crashing onto the Oregon-Washington coast, inundating Seattle and the entire Puget Sound region as well as Portland and the mouth of the Columbia River.

Crescent City in California's Del Norte County -- where a smaller tsunami killed 11 people in 1964 after a magnitude 9 Alaska quake -- would see a wave of more than 11 feet, and the tsunami sweeping the coast at the Golden Gate and Monterey Bay would be more than 10 feet . At Santa Barbara, Ward calculates, the wave height would be 6.5 feet, and smaller waves would crash against the shore as far south as the tip of Baja California.

"These calculations are still rough," Ward concedes, "but they do indicate a level of danger that needs to be considered."

The evidence of the great temblor 300 years ago was discovered along the coast of Washington and Oregon by Brian Atwater, a U.S. Geological Survey scientist in Seattle. And Japanese scientists deciphering old tsunami records in their coastal towns calculated that the event had sent a major wave speeding across the Pacific in 10 hours to damage many coastal villages on Honshu, Japan's main island.

Another giant earthquake is nearly a certainty in the unstable coastal regions of Oregon and Washington, but many scientists are also considering the effect of an event that would have no precedent in recorded history -- and have concluded that an even greater tsunami might be generated if an asteroid were ever to plunge into the ocean off the West Coast.

Russell "Rusty" Schweickart, the Apollo 9 lunar module commander who is now a retired businessman in Tiburon, has created a foundation with the intention of persuading government agencies to plan for the possibility of an asteroid impact in the ocean -- admittedly, the astronaut says, no more than a 10,000-to-1 chance, but one that could wreak havoc on coastal communities. The specific asteroid that worries him most has been designated by NASA astronomers as 2004MN4, and it is expected to pass within 26,600 miles of Earth less than 25 years from now.

Scientists at NASA's Near Earth Object Program, which tracks the course of some 70 comets and asteroids that appear to be headed somewhere within thousands of miles of the Earth, calculate that 2004MN4 should make its closest approach to Earth on April 13, 2029, when it will be vividly in sight for everyone on Earth to watch. But a collision with Earth is impossible that year, they have reported -- and, they say, "no subsequent Earth encounters in the 21st century are of concern."

Schweickart, however, has concluded there is a remote possibility that the asteroid would collide with Earth in 2036. He and his foundation are urging Congress to send a spacecraft to the asteroid before 2014 to put a radio transponder on the object, which would define the asteroid's trajectory far more accurately than any other technique.

"While the probability of a highly destructive impact in the immediate future is slight," Schweickart says, "the consequence of such an occurrence is extreme, and mitigation efforts should begin now."

Schweickart enlisted Ward to determine what kind of tsunami might be created if the asteroid did crash in the Pacific in 2036.

And Ward's calculations indicate a tsunami from the crash would be far more devastating than anything known in history: Peak wave heights, he said, would reach 17 feet in southern Alaska, more than 55 feet all along the California coast, 15 feet in Hawaii, and 20 feet at Puerto Vallarta, the Pacific beach resort in Mexico.

Schweickart maintains that if the transponder were to indicate the object's course makes a collision more likely, there could then be time to conceive, plan, design and launch some kind of unspecified "deflection mission."

"Either way, our course of action is clear," he says. "We either plan another series of cocktail parties to watch the asteroid go by in 2036 -- as we will have done in 2029 -- or we mount the most important space mission in human history."

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Cyclone hits eastern Georgia
06/13/2005 - 11:40

A cyclone hit a village in eastern Georgia, tearing roofs off houses, tossing people into the air and injuring 13, emergency response officials said Monday.

Tamaz Apakidze, an official in the emergencies department of the Georgian Interior Ministry, said that the cyclone Sunday in the village of Iormuganlo in the Sagaredzhoisky region, about 80 kilometres (50 miles) north-east of the capital Tbilisi, threw about 40 people several meters (yards) into the air.

Six of the injured were hospitalised. Several dozen domestic animals were killed and houses were severely damaged, he said.

"It happened all of a sudden, and lasted three or four minutes, according to witness accounts," Apakidze said.

Dozens of houses, kilometres (miles) of roads and a bridge were destroyed in a deluge in the same region of Georgia, said Georgy Natsvlishvili, a deputy from the Sagaredzhoisky region.

He said the heavy rains had prevented officials from visiting the affected villages to make a fuller accounting.

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Three killed by flash floods in Taiwan, hundreds evacuated
13 June 2005 2008 hrs - AFP /dt

TAIPEI : Floods caused by torrential rains have claimed three lives and forced authorities to evacuate hundreds of residents from low-lying areas in Taiwan, officials said.

A 65-year-old woman was buried alive by a mudslide at Tsochen, a mountainous town in the southern county of Tainan, the National Fire Agency said Monday. It added that the body of a 24-year-old motorcyclist who was washed away in the southern county of Pingtung on Sunday had been found.

Another man was killed in Pingtung when he tried to disconnect a plug in his flooded home and was electrocuted.

Thousands of homes in Pingtun were cut off by the floods and the military evacuated hundreds of people including an elderly people's home.

Agriculture authorities said dozens of southern mountainous villages were at risk of landslides. The Central Weather Bureau warned of persistent torrential rain over the next few days.

Two airports in Pingtung were closed and landslides blocked roads. Some schools in Pingtung and the nearby county of Kaohsiung were closed.

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The Cover-Up Begins to Unravel
Mad Cow USA
June 13, 2005
By JOHN STAUBER

The US government's elaborate cover-up of mad cow dangers in the United States has begun to unravel. Twenty-four hours after our successful protest with Organic Consumers Association of a US Department of Agriculture mad cow safety stunt in St. Paul, USDA Secretary Johanns was forced to admit that a cow tested last year and declared safe in fact DID have mad cow disease.

I've often charged that the USDA is hiding US cases of mad cow by using the wrong testing procedures and by failing to conduct food safety tests on millions of animals and this announcement proves it. USDA finally used the correct test - the Western Blot test - on this suspect animal and it has proven to be a case of mad cow disease.

Here at the Center for Media and Democracy we will continue to work hard on this issue until the US goes beyond lip-service and does what the EU countries and Japan have done: implement a science-based food-safety testing program that tests millions of cattle a year. And, the US must put in place a REAL "fire-wall feed ban" that would stop the current feeding of billions of pounds of blood, meat, bone meal, animal fat and poultry feces to cattle in the US. These on-going feed practices amplify and spread mad cow disease.

The US news media has mostly failed to expose mad cow risks in the US. Instead, as with so many other issues, the corporate media has become an echo chamber for industry and government, confusing the public into thinking that the correct steps have been taken. [...]

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