Tuesday, July 12, 2005                                               The Daily Battle Against Subjectivity
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GW redefines compassion:

A secure America is an America that is a compassionate America. A secure America is also an America that is willing to hunt down international killers one by one and bring them to justice. (George W. Bush, Jul. 15, 2002)

Listen, when people come after us, we're plenty tough. We're a compassionate nation. And so we're on the hunt. (George W. Bush, Jul. 22, 2002)

If you like music but don't like Bush, then check out the latest Signs of the Times production, You Lied. The words are now translated into French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese.

In case you missed it, check out our first Signs of the Times podcast.

Tough measures favoured after London bombs -poll
Tuesday July 12, 03:54 AM

LONDON (Reuters) - An overwhelming majority of Britons would support tough new measures to reduce the threat of attacks after last week's deadly London bomb blasts, a poll by The Times newspaper showed on Tuesday.

Some 86 percent of those questioned said they supported giving the police new powers to arrest people they suspect of planning attacks and 88 percent said they were in favour of tighter controls on who comes into the country.

Only 21 percent said they would change any plans or normal routines for travel into central London after bombs killed at least 52 people on three underground trains and a double-decker bus in the city last Thursday. Police suspect the bombs were planted by Islamist militants.

Prime Minister Tony Blair said on Monday he may speed up the implementation of new anti-terror laws in the wake of the London bombings.

Comment: The goal of our leaders is complete control over the population. They want everything we do, say, read, buy, and think to be on file. How can society be planned out if there is data missing? How can they protect their population if they do not know where everyone is and what they are doing? It is the logical and mechanical development of the managerial mindset that has replaced diplomacy, dialogue, and compromise. Society is a giant spreadsheet on the table before them, and we are but numbers in the rows and columns, pieces of a formula that is hidden from view but that works its calculation in spite of it being out of sight.

Values and morality are transformed into something tangible, something that can be measured and counted, where at the end of the day, we can clearly see its bottom line: "Ah, we are a moral people today. Londoners showed their grit, and we were back open for business by Monday!" Yes, those billions of dollars lost every day are the ultimate indicator. Don't we remember George Bush telling Americans to go and shop after 9/11 to show those terrorists that America wouldn't be cowed? It's American's lifestyles that they are attacking:

The American people also understand that the object of any terrorist activity is to cause Americans to abandon their lifestyles. (Oct. 29, 2001)

Thanks be to God, Londoners only had to abandon their lifestyles for a few days. But while they are continuing on with their lives, they are calling for "tough new measures" to prevent a recurrence. Nothing like getting the sheep to ask for a new pen. Then politicians like Blair can propose new legislation and say"Hey, they asked for it!"

How convenient.

Blair, being the wonderful fellow that he is, has already called for giving the police more powers:

The government is prepared to introduce new emergency anti-terrorism powers if the police and the security services felt these were needed, he said.

How touching. We are moved by this warm symbiosis between people and their leader, by his ability to sense what preoccupies his flock and respond so quickly.

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Terrorism and the Spectacle of Economic Fundamentalism
And What Does the Market Say?

July 9 / 10, 2005

In a world that really has been turned on its head, truth is a moment of falsehood.

-Guy Debord

The fetishism of commodities takes on heightened meaning during times of acute crisis. Recall the days immediately after 9/11, when various members of our political and business elite implored us to take on the terrorists the best way we knew how: by shopping our way out of the ashes. And was there a more potent symbol of our national revival than the ringing of the opening bell when Wall Street re-upped for business?

Now, with the recent attacks in London, the refrain is less intense, but still audible. Shortly after I tuned in to CNN the morning of the London bombings, a newscaster asked one of the network's financial analysts, "And how are the markets reacting to all of this?" Initially, the news wasn't good: the markets were down; investors were flocking to the safe haven of US treasury bonds; tourism-related stocks were sure to drop in value. But there was also an upside: high tech surveillance outfits would likely get a boost; and the price of oil had dropped a bit. At the end of the day, the financial damage wasn't too severe. As one CNBC commentator put it, "the markets have learned to shrug off these terrorist attacks."

Now, it's stating the obvious to point out that mainstream commentators tend to ascribe human qualities to financial markets. But it's less obvious--and more revealing--that they simultaneously obscure the human underpinnings and ramifications of 'the market.' It's taboo to question the human toll exacted by the financialization of virtually every aspect of life. While anyone with a TV set, radio, or internet hookup is at least vaguely aware of whether Wall Street had a good or bad day, most of us don't have a clue as to exactly what that means. It's not common knowledge that a militant approach to confining inflation--a precondition to caffeinated markets and a hallmark of post 1980 monetary policy" correlates to increased unemployment; or that a publicly-traded company's layoff of its workers or jettisoning of their pension plans tends to sit very well with investors.

If we do truly live in a society of spectacles--or of the spectacle--as Guy Debord said, then the market is the grandest spectacle of them all. Its images are ubiquitous; we know it, but we don't understand it; it defines our reality; yet most of us are wholly detached from it. It is for these reasons that neoliberal and neoconservative policies aimed at increased levels of privatization and financialization can so easily be identified with progress, despite their deleterious impact on most of humanity.

And it is for these reasons that political elites can continue to use the image of the market to align themselves with the ideals of openness and freedom, despite the fact that their policies often have the opposite effect. Witness President Bush, from his perch at the G8 summit, reacting to the bombings in London: "the contrast couldn't be clearer between the intentions and the hearts of those of us who care deeply about human rights and human liberty, and those who kill, those who have got such evil in their hearts that they will take the lives of innocent folks." In other words, the Masters of the Universe, who have presided over steadily increasing rates of global inequality and poverty over the past several decades and have consistently advocated for massive privatization and financialization, are the ones who will deliver on the prospect of human rights.

As many have noted, we live in a world characterized by twin fundamentalisms--that of radical Islamists who care nothing about the collateral damage they inflict on innocents, as long as their political project is furthered; and that of the neoliberal political and business elite, whose mystical belief in the power of the market allows them, conveniently, to come to the conclusion that their collateral damage isn't man-made.

If we're to get outside of this destructive duality and embark on a serious project aimed at realizing human rights and global justice, we'd have to address, head-on, the destruction wrought by decades of neoliberal policy. And we'd have to ask ourselves, 'How would the market react?'

Comment: We rarely watch the idiot box, however, we turned it on after hearing of the London bombings to see was the talking heads had to say. And, sure enough, it didn't take long for one of them to tell us "how the market was reacting". Could they feel its pulse? Maybe it is tickertape running through their veins and arteries instead of blood.

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UK urging e-mail data retention

Home Secretary Charles Clarke says firms across Europe should be ordered to retain phone and e-mail records to help track down terrorists.

A meeting of the EU justice and home affairs council, called by Mr Clarke in the wake of the London bombings, will discuss the plan on Wednesday.

EU security commissioner Franco Frattini told the BBC he believed there should be Europe-wide measures.

But he believed firms should only have to retain details for a limited time.

Mr Frattini told BBC Radio 4's Today: "We should guarantee the full traceability of the movements of terrorists through the stage of phone calls, including unsuccessful phone calls, but of course for the appropriate period of time.

"I think, for example, a period of six months for internet data and about 12 months for phone calls.

"I mean a European standard, because in some member states there are no data retention rules and no data retention possibility at all, and that is a great advantage for terrorists."


At the meeting Mr Clarke will present his European counterparts with a 10-point plan including proposing that records of all private telephone calls, text messages and e-mails be retained by telecommunications firms so they can be passed on to the police and security services if necessary.

"Telecommunications records, whether of telephones or of e-mails, which record what calls were made from what number to another number at what time are of very important use for intelligence," he said.

"I am not talking about the content of any call but the fact that a call was made. And we believe it is important to get a retention of data of what calls were made from some considerable time.

"This is an issue of international agreement and that is what I will be discussing with my European colleagues in Brussels on Wednesday."[...]

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In London mortuary, bomber gets a face

While bodies are reassembled, Europe now needs Big Brother

Tuesday • July 12, 2005

LONDON — The face of a London bomber may be ready to reveal itself. The authorities believe they may have zeroed in on the remains of a person who carried the bomb on Bus No 30.

The body is being reassembled piece by piece in a mortuary, in what could provide investigators with their most significant lead on who was behind the synchronised blasts that killed at least 52 people last Thursday.

As the search gathered steam, the European Union, normally touchy on issues of privacy, was preparing a series of wide-ranging proposals to store millions of personal mobile phone and email records and to share them with police and intelligence services to crack down on potential terrorists.

British Home Secretary Charles Clarke is to propose at an EU summit in Brussels tomorrow that telecommunications data be held for between one and three years — and be open to scrutiny.

The Home Secretary said: "Telecommunications records, whether phone or email, which record what calls were made from what number to another number at what time, are of very important use for intelligence."

At the moment, there is voluntary agreement in Britain for all data to be held for between six months and a year. In Germany and Denmark, however, there is no obligation for telecommunications firms to retain any information.

Terrorism could change all that.

It would allow the police and intelligence agencies access to "traffic" data — details about who has called and messaged whom, with times and locations — and make it possible for security agencies to track individuals across the EU.

For now, however, the focus is on tracking the perpetrators of the London blasts.

The authorities are growing convinced that the explosions on the trains were not suicide attacks, but that the bombs were placed near doors by terrorists who then got off.

That is why the focus of the investigation has shifted to the 13 bodies found on the bus. The police believe that if they can identify the bomber, who may have died when he or she accidentally exploded the device, it could provide a vital link to others who may have been part of the same terrorist cell. The police are now reassembling the remains of people found near the explosion.

These will be examined for the pattern of burning, explosives residue and bomb fragments. Relatives of those who are missing are to provide DNA samples for comparison with the victims.

In the case of the bomber, the DNA can be compared with that held in the national database to see if the person had even been convicted of crime. The face of the bomber may have survived the blast. It is also possible to reconstruct a face from the skull using a cast or by using a computer.

While the search for the bomber goes on, the police yesterday made the first identification of a victim: Ms Susan Levy, 53, of Newgate Street village in Hertfordshire, north of London.

Meanwhile, as talk of storing telecommunications records grew, the Spanish El Mundo newspaper reported that Al Qaeda had ordered attacks on Europe in a May 29 Internet message that the Spanish intelligence agency forwarded to its British counterparts at the weekend. The Arabic-language message — signed by Abu Hafs Al Masri Brigades, European division — called "on the mujahedeen (Muslim warriors) worldwide to launch the expected attack".

While Londoners are putting on a brave face and have returned to work, Britain knows the threat has not passed. The Times ran a front-page report on how the terror alert was its highest level as the police expected fresh attacks. The Daily Express was more sensational. Its headline read: "Bombers will strike again".

Comment: A reader sent this in:

This is the lead article in the "Today" paper in Singapore. So we see who benefits, Israel obviously but also the Bush/Blair agenda of finer and finer control. No doubt the sheeple will feel better knowing that what the government can already get through a warrant will be accessible without any restrictions. After all, if you have nothing to hide then you have nothing to fear, right? It is so clever...drip, drip, drip, drip....drop by drop we creep deeper into the totalitarian nightmare.

When you know how many lies have been told about "terrorism" and terrorists" and weapons of mass destruction and Saddam Hussein over the last four years, you start to question everything you read in the mainstream press. Now they are piecing together body bits in hopes to reconstruct the bomber.

Several questions arise. The article above says:

The police believe that if they can identify the bomber, who may have died when he or she accidentally exploded the device, it could provide a vital link to others who may have been part of the same terrorist cell.

However, yesterday we were treated to headlines saying the bombs went off within seconds of each other, showing that it was a sophisticated and well-planned and timed bombing. So, what is it, an accidental explosion before the bomber had time to get out of the tube, or a precision attack?

How can they be so certain that the body with the particular pattern of burning or explosive residue is in fact the bomber? What if it was some poor soul who sat in the bomber's place after he or she got up and exited the car? If it is a body with Arab DNA will they decide its the bomber, but it is good, Celtic or Norman genes, then they'll say it's a victim?

Another outcome of the bombing has been a rise in attacks on Muslims in the UK.

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Muslim leaders warn of mounting Islamophobia after attacks on mosques
By Ian Herbert, Arifa Akbar and Nigel Morris
Published: 12 July 2005

Abdul Munim sat amid the charred walls and smoky stench of his mosque yesterday and reflected on levels of religious and racial intolerance that are even worse than when he made Britain his home, 40 years ago.

"We've had some hard times and thought they were all in the past," he said. "But now, because of what is happening in the world, it is far less safe. We say to anyone who doubts us, 'The London bombings were wrong'."

The Shajala mosque, in Birkenhead, Wirral, was attacked by two white men who threw petrol through the letterbox and ignited it. The assistant imam, Boshir Ullah, was trapped in his upstairs bedroom, as fire raged on the landing outside. Fire crews pulled him to safety from an upstairs window and extinguished the blaze.

Mr Munim's sense of despair is shared by senior members of Muslim communities across Britain which have suffered an increasing number of attacks since the bombings in London last Thursday. The attacks prompted the country's most senior Muslim leader to write to imams across Britain warning them to guard against a wave of Islamophobia. Iqbal Sacranie, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Great Britain, said racists had firebombed mosques and attacked other Islamic institutions across Britain. Arson and criminal damage have been reported in Tower Hamlets and Merton, both in London, Telford, Leeds, Bristol and Bradford.

Last night, Brian Paddick, the Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, said: "We will not tolerate a small minority of people who are using these tragic events to stir up hatred. We need people from every community to report incidents to the police of any faith-hate crime."

In Birkenhead, Mr Munim said the town's predominantly Bangladeshi Muslim community deserved better. "We are hardworking British citizens and everyone knows us," he said. "My son, Nazmul, went to Leeds University, has a masters degree in computer science and is applying those skills. Yet things are getting worse for us. When we came to Merseyside 40 years ago people were more friendly."

The grilles on the windows outside the mosque indicated that it had been the target of violence before. They were installed after the 11 September attacks, when firebombs were pushed through the letterbox.

The Shajala mosque started to feel the backlash from the London bombings even as religious leaders were making an ecumenical plea for religious tolerance the day after the bombings. Worshippers approaching the mosque from their homes on a estate encountered individuals shouting "Paki, Paki". Then, at 12.35am on Saturday, Mr Ullah heard what seemed to be someone kicking the front door, though judging from the damage, a pickaxe may have been used. He opened his door and saw the flames.

"I was terrified," he said. "There was nowhere to escape and the fire was approaching." Police are hunting for two men, who may have bought the petrol used at a nearby service station.

In east London, the community of Bangladeshi and Pakistani Muslims fears for its safety after vandals damaged the Mazahirul Uloom mosque and school on Mile End Road. The attackers, who struck early on Saturday, used crowbars and a hammer to shatter 19 windows.

Faruk Ahmed, the mosque's general secretary, said: "We did not expect this to happen in our mosque, at the heart of a peace-loving Muslim community.This is a place of worship and all humans should respect that, whether it is a church, a synagogue, a temple or a mosque."

In Nottingham, a 48-year-old man from Pakistan died on Sunday after what police are treating as a racially aggravated attack. Six people were arrested in connection with the attack.

The British National Party was condemned last night for a by-election leaflet, exploiting an aerial photograph of the No 30 bus, after the explosion in Tavistock Square which killed 13 people. "Maybe now it's time to start listening to the BNP" is the headline on the leaflet, intended for the by-election in Barking, east London, on Thursday.

Five days of reprisals


Hayes, west London: Asian woman reports attempted arson attack.

Merton, south London: Five white men arrested after throwing bottles at Sikh temple windows.

Southall, west London: Asian family attacked at their home.


Bristol: Bottles thrown at the Jamia mosque.

Leeds: Arson attack on the Jamiat Tablighul Islam Mosque in Armley. Lighted cloth put through the window.


Mile End, London: 19 windows broken at Mazahirul Uloom mosque.

Tan Bank, Wellington, Shropshire: Firebomb attack on a mosque. West Mercia police step up patrols around places of worship.


Birkenhead: Shajala Mosque is set ablaze with petrol bombs, trapping a cleric inside.


Bradford: Pakistani Consulate in Laisterdyke area of the city attacked by arsonists.

Comment: One of the goals of the neocons is to set all of their enemies one against the other. In Iraq, they are working to set the Sunnis and the Shia at loggerheads while goading the Kurds against them both. In Britain, the US, and France, they seek to pit Christian and Muslim against each other. We see the same thing in Lebanon.

In the US there is an alliance of convenience between the neocons and the Christian Zionists. The Zionists neocons probably consider the Zionist Christian Right to be a bunch of fools believing in the Rapture and the second coming of Jesus. But they deliver the vote and are fierce supporters of Israel. Of course, the Christians support Israel only because they want the Jews to rebuild the Temple and usher in the End Times, at which point the "good" Jews will accept Jesus and be saved while the "bad" Jews, no doubt descended from those that "killed Jesus", will be thrown into Hell where they belong right next to the Muslims. So the alliance is a temporary one as long as the two sides have Muslims left to offer in common sacrifice.

Military power is heavily on the side of the Zionists of whatever religious affiliation. The Muslims have only the super-human Abu Musab al-Zarqawi:

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Abu Musab al-Zarqawi Does London
Kurt Nimmo
Monday July 11th 2005, 5:05 am

Actually, I am surprised it took this long: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi—the stuff of legend and ambiguous news reports based on third-hand information and wild supposition—is responsible for the London attacks last week. “Investigators in London are probing whether Iraqi explosives—possibly provided by Al-Qaeda’s top agent in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi—were used in last week’s terror bombings,” reports Yahoo News. “Al-Zarqawi is a potential source since there’s an unlimited amount of explosives and munitions in Iraq that he controls,” yet another unspecified U.S. official told Time magazine. “It’s just a matter of getting it out of Iraq and to the right people.”

Nobody knows if al-Zarqawi actually did it—same as they don’t know anything else about the mercurial terrorist—but it makes sense to blame him the same way he is blamed for poison attacks in Europe, releasing a chemical cloud in Amman, 700 plus murders in Iraq during the occupation, the Canal Hotel bombing of the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad (killing the UN Secretary-general’s special Iraqi envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello), and various sundry murders, including Laurence Foley, a senior U.S. diplomat working for the U.S. Agency for International Development in Jordan, and the beheading of American-Israeli dual citizen Nicholas Berg. It should be noted there is absolutely no evidence al-Zarqawi had anything to do with any of the above incidents and he is associated with them due to the careless use of adjectives such as “purportedly” and “possibly” habitually employed by the corporate media based on nonsense uttered by “anonymous” and “unnamed” administration officials and other such dissimulators and con artists.

Ministry of Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff added fuel to the Abu did it fire by stating he is “concerned about” a possible al-Zarqawi link to the London bombings. “I want to withhold judgment. We haven’t seen any definitive indication of that. It’s something we obviously want to look to, we’re concerned about,” he told ABC. In other words, al-Zarqawi will become the prime suspect in the bombings and another addition will be added to al-Zarqawi’s notorious Goldstein-like colophon, none of it able to stand-up in a court of law, not that Bush and crew even want to capture al-Zarqawi (impossible since he is dead) and usher him into a courtroom. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is serving quite well as an official hobgoblin and dutiful paradigm of the now stereotypical Muslim terrorist, the reason we will be engaged in an “endless war” against Muslim baddies, as Bruce Hoffman of the RAND Corp. (an American “think tank” formed to provide research and analysis to the U.S. military) sees it. “We know that Zarqawi is a very dangerous and evil terrorist, and there’s no question he’s done things in Iraq which are about as bad as you can do,” said Chertoff. Actually there is no evidence al-Zarqawi has done anything but no sense upsetting the myth-making apple cart.

“Reflecting back, one cannot help but wonder if al-Zarqawi was used as a lure to trap the Americans into taking this action” in Iraq, explains Scott Ritter. “On the surface, the al-Zarqawi organization seems too good to be true. A single Jordanian male is suddenly running an organization that operates in sophisticated cells throughout Iraq. No one man could logically accomplish this.” But logic does not figure in the al-Zarqawi myth anymore than it does in the Emmanuel Goldstein myth in Orwell’s Oceania. Instead, the purpose of al-Zarqawi is to engender widespread fear of Muslims and rally the masses behind the concept of forever war directed against Islam. Chertoff was careful to note there is not a shred of evidence linking the phantom al-Zarqawi to anything, let alone the London terrorist bombings. Even so, from this point onward, the folkloric al-Zarqawi will be unquestionably linked to the carnage in London.

Comment: It had to happen. As Ritter says, Zarqawi is too good to be true, single-handedly taking on the Americans, wooden leg and all.

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‘London, Tel Aviv blasts connected’

German newspaper: Explosive material used by British terrorist who blew himself up on Tel Aviv beachfront in 2003 very likely the same as that used by terrorists who staged London attacks last week, Mossad tells Brits

By Roee Nahmias and Ronen Bodoni

TEL AVIV – The terror attack in London last week may be tied to a suicide bombing on Tel Aviv’s beachfront in April 2003, German newspaper Bild am Sonntag reported Monday.

According to the paper, Mossad officials informed British security authorities that the explosive material used in the Tel Aviv attack on Mike’s Place pub was apparently also utilized to stage the series of bombings in London on Thursday.

Moreover, the Mossad office in London received advance notice about the attacks, but only six minutes before the first blast, the paper reports. As a result, it was impossible to take any action to prevent the blasts.

“They reached us too late for us to do something about it,” a Mossad source is quoted as saying.

‘Very powerful explosive’

According to the German report, the Mossad relayed an analysis of the explosives used in the Mike’s Place attack to British security officials. Mossad sources are quoted as saying there is “high likelihood” the explosives used in Tel Aviv were the same ones used in London.

However, the story makes it unclear whether the Mossad is involved in any way in the investigation into the London bombings.

After analyzing the explosive material used in the Mike’s Place attack, the Mossad concluded it was produced in China and later smuggled into Britain, the paper reports. The explosives were apparently stashed by terrorists connected to al-Qaeda who were able to evade raids by British security forces.

According to the newspaper, Mossad Chief Meir Dagan said the explosive in question is very powerful, and “much more lethal than plastic explosives and can be smuggled undetected due to its composition.

The Mossad was also able to determine the substance was developed and produced at the Chinese ZDF arms factory, located about 65 kilometers (about 40 miles) from Beijing, the paper reports.

3 people murdered at Mike’s Place

The Mike’s Place attack claimed the lives of three people, Yanai Weiss, 46, Ran Baron, 24, and Caroline Dominique Hess, 29. The bombing was carried out by two terrorists, Asif Mohammed Hanif and Omar Khan Sharif, who were recruited by Hamas in Britain.

The two managed to enter Israel using their British passports.

Hanif blew himself up at the pub, but Sharif failed to detonate his explosive belt and fled the scene. A few weeks later, his body was washed ashore in Tel Aviv.

The terrorists’ relatives were detained in Britain in the wake of the attack on suspicion they knew of the plot and did nothing to prevent the attacks. The relatives’ trial ended in July of last year, with the court ordering a retrial for Sharif’s sister and brother.

Meanwhile, Sharif’s wife was cleared of the charges against her.

Comment: So, not only is Zarqawi being brought into the picture, but Mossad is attempting to tie the Chinese into it as well. Will China soon be ranked among the Axis of Evil? Or will WalMart be able to prevent it?

While the US is tying Super Zarqawi to the bombings, the British are saying that it may have been a "home-grown" group, meaning that they could strike again, any time, any place. Notice how the spin given serves the interests of each government. The US needs to continue the promotion of the Iraq occupation while the British need fear and loathing in the UK to keep the population demanding a tighter and tighter noose.

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Explosive used in bombs 'was of military origin'
By Jason Bennetto, Crime Correspondent
Published: 12 July 2005

The bombs used in Thursday's terrorist attacks were of "military origin" , according to a senior French policeman sent to London to help in what has become the biggest criminal investigation in British history.

Christophe Chaboud, head of the French Anti-Terrorism Co-ordination Unit, told Le Monde newspaper that the explosives used in the bombings were of " military origin", which he described as "very worrying". " We're more used to cells making home-made explosives with chemicals," he said. "How did they get them? Either by trafficking, for example, in the Balkans, or they had someone on the inside who enabled them to get out of the military establishment."

He added that the victims' wounds suggested that the explosives, which were " not heavy but powerful", had been placed on the ground, perhaps underneath seats.

Up to 400 extra police are being drafted in to help with the bombing inquiry. Many of the additional officers will be helping with analysis of thousands of hours of video recordings from cameras on and around the Tube lines and bus struck by the terrorists. Police have so far taken 2,500 videotapes and are expected to examine many more during the inquiry.

Senior detectives said that the analysis of images from surveillance cameras was the biggest CCTV trawl ever. Scotland Yard was renting extra video suites to view the tapes. Detectives are hoping that among the tens of thousands of hours of footage will be pictures of the terrorists.

As well as examining cameras on the three Tube trains hit in the blasts, police have been recovering every camera in the stations that the trains travelled through, and cameras outside the entrance of every station. The Tube bombs were on the southbound Piccadilly line and the Circle line, which means that there were 40 Underground stations where the bombers could have got on board.

As well as examining cameras on shops, banks, and other businesses, the police will also look at speed cameras. The camera on board the No 30 bus that was blown up in Tavistock Square is thought to have been faulty.

A police source said of the CCTV task: "It is a massive job that is very time-consuming; it sounds impossible - but it's not." Between 200 and 400 extra officers from the Metropolitan Police are being deployed on the investigation. This comes on top of the 400 officers in the anti-terrorist branch and many of the 800 in the Met's Special Branch.

The important role that CCTV can play in a criminal investigation was highlighted in the case of David Copeland, the "nail bomber" who staged attacks in Soho, Brixton and Brick Lane, east London. A team of police officers had 26,000 hours of surveillance footage from the dozens of cameras in Brixton, south London. They spent 24 hours a day scrutinising busy street scenes in their effort to spot the attacker.

The first sighting of the bomber was made from cameras filming the doorway of an Iceland food store. Copeland was identified by his boss and a cab driver after police released an image taken on the day he planted his first bomb in April 1999.

Forensic science specialists and anti-terrorist officers were continuing yesterday to examine the four crime scenes for traces of the bomb and a possible suicide bomber. This includes X-raying bodies to see if any bomb parts or timing devices, which could be vital clues, are embedded in them. It remains unclear if a terrorist died in the bus bomb, which went off an hour after the Tube explosions.

Detectives are checking all the victims from the bomb scene. An anti-terrorist source said they had recovered useful pieces of evidence, but were keeping an open mind as to whether a suicide bomber had been involved. Sir Ian Blair, commissioner of the Met, described the areas of investigation as "the biggest crime scenes in English history".

James Hart, commissioner of the City of London Police, added: "We can't possibly assume that what happened on Thursday was the last of these events ...We have to be vigilant."

Terror cell 'capable of further attacks'

Security experts point to home-grown group using small explosives which can be easily hidden and detonated

Richard Norton-Taylor and Duncan Campbell
Tuesday July 12, 2005
The Guardian

A small British-based terrorist cell with the ability to strike again placed the bombs on the London underground and bus, intelligence and anti-terrorism officials suggested yesterday.

A senior police officer warned that another attack could be imminent and anti-terrorism officials pointed to the possibility of future bombings.

"It is more difficult to detect home-grown groups," said one anti-terrorism official. "They are less conspicuous and they don't move around."

The task of the security and intelligence agencies was made more difficult, officials said, because local cells do not need to take instructions from abroad. But they said they had no concrete evidence to back up their suspicions.

"People are radicalised and take it on themselves [to carry out terrorist attacks]," a senior anti-terrorism official said.

Another told the Guardian: "It was not necessarily a closely affiliated [al-Qaida] group waiting for the green light. They do it in their own time."

He said it would not have been difficult for a small group of individuals to plant bombs on the underground. No detailed reconnaissance was needed, and there was no complicated access, he said. "It could have been a very self-contained operation".

"If the bombers had got away and live to fight another day, they would do it again," an official said. "If they did not, [the attacks] could be replicated. They have identified a gap in the defences."

Security and intelligence sources said it was not difficult to make small bombs with timers and detonators. Microchips and a small circuit board could explode a device which previously required large and unwieldy equipment.

Christophe Chaboud, the head of the French Anti-Terrorism Coordination Unit and one of five senior officials sent by the French government to London immediately after Thursday's attacks, told Le Monde that the explosives used appeared to be of military origin.

"The charges were not heavy but powerful," said Mr Chaboud. "Among the victims, many of the wounds [lesions] were in the lower limbs, indicating that the explosives were placed on the ground, perhaps under the seats. The type of explosives appear to be military, something which is very worrying. We're more used to cells making home-made explosives with chemicals. How did they get them? Either by trafficking, for example, in the Balkans, or they had someone on the inside who enabled them to get them out of a military establishment."

Asked about his discussions with British anti-terrorism officials, he replied: "I noticed sangfroid but also serious concern. We know the bombings in Madrid would have been the start of a wave of attacks thwarted by the speedy actions of the Spanish police."

The French official said that "for us, the bombings were not a surprise, but the confirmation of something that was inevitable, given the international context, notably the war in Iraq ... The war in Iraq has revived the logic of total conflict against the west."

A senior British anti-terrorism official said it was "entirely possible" the explosives had a military origin, adding that nothing had been ruled out.

The police have said only that the bombs contained less than 10lb (4.5 kg) each of "high explosives" and were small enough to be carried in rucksacks.

A source from a European intelligence agency represented at the meeting in London of 30 countries told Reuters news agency the attacks were most likely carried out by a local cell of Islamist militants with no track record.

"We think the known Islamists who live in Britain are under such close observation that they're limited in their capacity for action. Against that background, the suspicion is that it's a local group," the source said.

Senior police officers continue to warn of the possibility of a further attack. The commissioner of police for the City of London, James Hart, said there was a strong possibility of another attack. Mr Hart said: "We can't possibly assume that what happened on Thursday was the last of these events."

In a bid to get closer to potential home-grown terrorists, newly recruited police officers are being encouraged to plan a terrorist attack. The course is designed by Hertfordshire police.

Comment: Notice that the majority of sources in this article go unnamed. Rumours and scare-mongering can be put into the pages of the press with no accountability. Everyone's agenda is served, except that of the majority of the people in the UK.

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We'll take fight to the enemy, says Bush
By Rupert Cornwell in Washington
Published: 12 July 2005

Pointing to last week's bombings in London, President George Bush vowed to keep on the offensive against international terrorism and to "continue to take this fight to the enemy, and we will fight until this enemy is defeated".

Mr Bush's speech yesterday, at the FBI training centre at Quantico, Virginia, had been scheduled long before the Tube and bus attacks. But he went out of his way to praise the resilience of Londoners. He described the bombings as "an attack on the civilised world" that provided "a clear window into the evil we face". London was currently experiencing great suffering, "but Londoners are resilient. They have faced brutal enemies before. The city that survived the Nazi blitz will not yield in the face of thugs and assassins," he said. The carefully synchronised targeting of the capital of America's closest ally in the war on terror and in Iraq has had an enormous impact here - not least by rekindling fears that a US city might be next in line. It has also produced a flurry of activity in Congress, aimed at providing money for increasing security on the country's vulnerable mass transit system.

While the federal government spends several dollars per passenger per year for air travel security, the equivalent for rail, subway and bus passengers runs at just a few cents. Richard Shelby, the powerful chairman of the Senate banking committee, is pushing a Bill that would allocate some $5 billion (£2.84bn) to correct this imbalance.

Mr Bush told the assembled 1,000 marines, FBI officials and emergency service helpers yesterday that "tough fighting" and "difficult moments" lay ahead before victory could be assured. But neither the US nor its allies would be cowed.

It was still not known who carried out the attacks, Mr Bush declared, but the terrorists would never break the will of the democracies. The only way they could win was "if we lose our nerve, and that isn't going to happen on my watch".

Some political analysts believe that the events in London will have an impact on US domestic politics, boosting Mr Bush's flagging popularity and refocusing national attention back on the war on terror - the issue on which he consistently gets his highest approval ratings, and which was decisive in securing his re-election in November 2004.

Once again, he justified the increasingly unpopular war in Iraq by saying it was "the central front" in the fight against terrorism.

Comment: Once again, we say, how convenient. How convenient for Mr Bush that when his ratings drop another "terrorist" attack comes along to give him a boost. How convenient that after Blair was forced to compromise on his "security measures", there is another attack to scare people into demanding more measures for "protection".

Bush loves to get in front of a hand-picked crowd and play the cowboy. Give him blood and death and he is in his element, as long as he is safe.

We don't know who pulled off the attack in London. Given the rape and pillage of the Middle East by the US, there may actually be genuine"terrorist cells" in Britain and elsewhere. Back people into a corner, put them into a position where they have nothing to lose, and they can go crazy trying to defend themselves. So maybe it was genuine, Arab terrorists.

But we think that the higher probability goes to intelligence agencies in the "civilised" countries themselves, maybe MI5, maybe Mossad, maybe shadowy black ops that are only "loosely affiliated" with official structures. Public opinion in the US is turning against the war. The British announced plans just prior to the attack to begin removing their troops from Iraq. The bombing will only create a desire for revenge, will only boost the war-mongerers.

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"My Brother Went Over There Gung Ho; Now He's Just Bitter"
The Horrors Done in Our Name

July 9 / 10, 2005

The London bombings hit home to me. Only two weeks ago, my wife was in the Kings Cross station while on a visit to that city.

It's easy, and natural, to be upset at the images of carnage in the U.K. What people need to remember now, however, is that what happened in London, and what could just as easily happen in New York or Chicago or San Francisco, is a direct and predictable result of what the U.S. is doing in Iraq.

We recoil at the vicious, random killing of innocent men, women and children when they are our own, or our friends, but where is the outrage at the uncounted mass of innocent men, women and children who have been killed by the American invasion of Iraq, and the invasion of Afghanistan. In both places, thanks to military policies that stress the use of massive firepower, aerial bombardment and gunships in the name of keeping US casualties at a minimum, the toll of civilians is actually significantly higher than the number of actual enemy fighters killed by American forces.

Our leaders call this "collateral damage" but in truth, with this kind of military strategy, one would have to say the killing of an enemy soldier is more appropriately called the collateral damage.

And when a country opts to attack civilian targets as a policy, as our government has done, it must expect the same in return.

I'm not saying this is moral or justified. I'm only stating the reality.

Flying out to Oregon last week, I sat next to a man who travels the country working on repairing railroad track. He said he has a brother who is a Marine tank commander in Iraq, now on his second tour of duty. I asked him how it was over there, and he shook his head sadly. "My brother went over there all gung-ho," he said. "Now, he's just bitter. He says it's not a war; it's a slaughter. He says that the people he and his fellows end up killing are mostly just civilians and he hates the whole thing."

If Americans were to hear this story more often, if our corporate media were to show us daily the civilian victims of American military actions in the same graphic detail that they are showing us the British victims of Al Qaeda terrorist actions, we would likely recoil at the horrors being inflicted in our name and might demand a halt to it.

Instead, we are offered sanitized reports on the war which focus mostly on the American casualties. We turn away from the true horrors of war and let the military do what it does, and try not to think about it too hard about the consequences.

So get ready folks. If the American people are willing to turn a blind eye to the horrors that our government is deliberately inflicting on Iraqis and Afghanis, we need to face the fact that we too will be attacked, not just our soldiers.

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Are The Good Times Really Over For Good?

Bush said he 'preciates folks dyin' for the cause.
By Sheila Samples

Are we rolling downhill like a snowball headed for hell?
With no kind of chance for the flag or the liberty bell...
Is the best of the free life behind us now...
Are the good times really over for good?
~~Merle Haggard

"For thou are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil may not sojourn with thee. The boastful may not stand before thy eyes; thou hatest all evildoers. Thou destroyest those who speak lies; the Lord abhors bloodthirsty and deceitful men." ~~ David, Psalms 5:4

"ICH" - - On Memorial Day, George W. Bush, the world's most bloodthirsty and deceitful man strutted to the podium at our National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, to once again regurgitate his woefully shallow and inappropriate stump speech -- "Across the globe (sly smile), our military is standing directly between our people and the worst dangers in the world (pause, smirk)...the war on terror has brought great costs (no-nonsense head bob)...two terror regimes are gone forever (narrowed eyes darting nervously back and forth across the crowd), freedom is on the march (leaning forward earnestly), and America is more secure."

Unfazed by plummeting poll numbers at home or spiraling fatality numbers abroad, Bush remarked with shudderingly bad taste that all headstones look alike -- a Texan's crude way of saying, "You seen one skull orchard, you seen 'em all," and announced with devilish arrogance that his mission remains unchanged -- he has the terrorists on the run and he isn't going to stop until he has spread God's gifts of freedom and democracy and liberty and neat stuff like that throughout the world. His will will never be broken. His mission is God's mission; together, he and God will rid the world of evil. On behalf of God, Bush said he 'preciates folks dyin' for the cause. Heck, he even honors 'em.

They applauded him. It was astonishing. They applauded, when they should have been wailing in anguish while collapsing under an unbearable sense of national loss. But no. Grinning like cartoon caricatures, they applauded an in-your-face war criminal -- a great deceiver who is openly intent on destroying everything that is, or ever was, good in their lives. Bush's mission will be over when the good times are over; when they're over for good -- when all that remains is broken. Broken families. Broken bodies. Broken societies. Broken cultures. Broken hearts. Broken world.

Where are the Christians? Where is the revulsion at Bush roaming freely on hallowed ground while belching out lies and deceit that have caused the slaughter of more than 100,000 Iraqi's, 1,942 coalition troops -- 1,752 of them American -- more than American 18,000 wounded or maimed; 10,000 striken with lifelong disease? (No figures are available for the number of Iraqi wounded or maimed ) Where is the raw horror that Christians should feel for a charlatan who boasts that he is on a mission from God -- a mission to rule over a world of hate and lies and fear and death and disease?

You'd think the souls of true Christians would surely shrivel when a man who claims Jesus Christ as his "philosopher" murders hundreds of thousands of innocents, abuses and tortures hundreds, maybe even thousands, more and then raises blood-stained fists -- shakes them in the face of the Almighty, and shouts, "Thou Fool!" You'd think, as a minimum, Christians would remember who in the Bible is known as the "Great Deceiver." You'd think. But alas...

Actually, people who claim to speak to, as well as for, God are everywhere. Most are Republicans, members of the Christian Reconstructionist Movement whose lust for power and obsession with Biblical control extends beyond the wildest fantasies of the most radical evangelical. With flags in one hand and Bibles in the other, they are militant, intolerant, boastful -- eaten up with messianic hubris. They proudly call themselves "people of faith," and are brazenly committed to religion, but their religion is politics and vice versa. They're the God people -- George Bush's voting base. Ironically, followers of Jesus are awakening to find themselves in the midst of religious plenty, yet are literally dying of thirst, much like the lone sailor in Coleridge's "Ancient Mariner" who was surrounded by water but dared not drink. They are discovering it is dangerous for Christian love to be surrounded by religious hate.

I wonder if Americans know just how close to the abyss we really are. I hate to sound yet another terror warning, but if we were in theological Vietnam, we'd be in deep, deep spiritual kimche. Bush is the perfect pawn for the Reconstructionists. He owes them, big time, and he's paying them back at dizzying and destructive speed. Never has a more bloodthirsty and vengeful bully so devoid of reason and sanity been given universal free rein to act out his incorrigible delusions. Bush believes -- has been led to believe -- that he has been commissioned by God to slay all those whom he fantasizes might someday oppose him -- and to justify the slaughter by brandishing the double-edged sword of freedom and liberty.

As early as 1994, Frederick Clarkson, author of "Eternal Hostility: The Struggle Between Democracy and Theocracy in the United States," warned Americans about the fundie-fascist danger in a critical, indepth article on Christian Reconstructionists. Clarkson said, "...the movement is Very Disturbing in it's ideology. And if it ever came to political power, it would be disasterous for this civilization. Freedom under a Christian Reconstructionist government would be similar to that of Stalan (sic) or Hitler."

If they need proof, Bush's "freedom-loving Americans" would do well to listen to the mad ravings of Gary North, one of the more frightening Reconstructionist shepherds, who is determined to place people of faith in every political office, in every schoolroom, every church, and in every societal nook and cranny in order to "gain exclusive control over the American franchise." North, from Tyler, Texas, says, "Those who refuse to submit publicly to the eternal sanctions of God by submitting to His Church's public marks of the covenant -- baptism and holy communion -- must be denied citizenship, just as they were in ancient Israel."

It is not by chance that Reconstructionists are Republicans or that their crusade against Democrats and all things liberal mirrors that of Bush's jihad against the Muslim world. Clarkson cites Reconstructionist theologian David Chilton, who very succinctly describes the movement's mission -- "The Christian goal for the world is the universal development of Biblical theocratic republics, in which every area of life is redeemed and placed under the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the rule of God's law."

Nobody has worked harder nor longer to bring this madness to fruition than Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson. For him, the "rule of God's law" does not extend to Liberals and there's no place for gays to hide in a Robertson world. He believes that homosexuals have nothing better to do than to "come into churches and disrupt church services and throw blood all around and try to give people AIDS and spit in the face of ministers."

And, if you're a Democrat, chances are if Robertson and the Reconstructionists have their way, you're going to get your ass kicked. "The strategy against the American Radical Left should be the same as General Douglas MacArthur employed against the Japanese in the Pacific," Robertson said. "...Bypass their strongholds, then surround them, isolate them, bombard them, then blast the individuals out of their power bunkers with hand-to-hand combat..."

Sound like a plan?

Well, listen up, because it gets better. Christian Reconstructionists soar into a divine frenzy at the mere thought of capital punishment. Those of us who do not see things their way will very quickly turn into collateral damage. Clarkson says Reconstructionists "call for the death penalty for a wide range of crimes in addition to such contemporary capital crimes as rape, kidnapping, and murder. Death is also the punishment for apostasy (abandonment of the faith), heresy, blasphemy, witchcraft, astrology, adultery, "sodomy or homosexuality," incest, striking a parent, incorrigible juvenile delinquency, and, in the case of women, "unchastity before marriage."

Like Bush, who stolidly refuses to accept blame for his actions, the Reconstructionists believe that both men and nations must obey God's laws or God must invoke the death penalty against them. According to North, women who have abortions should be publicly executed, "along with those who advised them to abort their children." But, not to worry. Theocracies, according to theologian Rev. Ray Sutton, are "happy" places to which people flock because "capital punishment is one of the best evangelistic tools of a society."

Clarkson said the Biblically approved methods of execution include burning at the stake, stoning, hanging, and "the sword." So, if you slap your mama or do the "wild thaing" before the wedding, a "person of faith" will be happy to behead you... But North says not to worry. He prefers stoning because, among other things, stones are cheap, plentiful, and convenient. Punishments for non-capital crimes generally involve whipping, restitution in the form of indentured servitude, or slavery. Prisons would likely be only temporary holding tanks, prior to imposition of the actual sentence.

In April, Rev. Jim Wallis of "Sojourners" magazine addresed this problem at a Lewisville rally. Wallis said, "Those on the Religious Right are declaring a religious war to give their version of faith religious supremacy in America. And some members of the Republican Party seem ready almost to declare a Christian theocracy in America. It is time," Wallis said firmly, "to take back both our faith and our Constitution."

I agree, but how do we do this? Many of us are weary of feeling like we're the the last person standing -- sloshing around in a Stepford world of hate and fear and blood -- where every man, woman and child we meet has "9-11" tattooed on their foreheads, and they don't even know it.

What can we tell them that is more horrible than what Christians have already accepted without question -- lies, treason, deceit, abuse and torture, body parts of innocents littering the landscape, the slaughter of their own children, and freedom ebbing away? If we tell them what the Great Deceiver and his Christian Reconstructionist God have in store for them, will they continue to stare at us vacantly while waving their flags? Or, when they see that our foreheads do not proclaim the patriotic "9-11," will they skitter fearfully into the shadows?

We have a choice. We can either take our places in line at the tattoo parlor or we can grab a taser in each hand and start walking cross-country, kicking doors down and jolting folks awake. It may already be too late, but before this vast herd of comatose sheep goes plodding blindly over the edge of the cliff; before they pull the rest of us into the morass with them, we have earned the right to see one last collective shock of recognition -- a final terrified realization that they know the good times are over -- really over for good.

And they will know, at long last, it didn't have to be this way.

Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma freelance writer and a former civilian US Army Public Information Officer. She is a regular contributor for a variety of Internet sites. Contact her at: rsamples@sirinet.net. © 2005 Sheila Samples

Copyright: Sheila Samples. All rights reserved. You may republish under the following conditions: An active link to the original publication must be provided. You must not alter, edit or remove any text within the article, including this copyright notice.

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Man jailed for surfing "terrorist" sites
by David Ashenfelter
Detroit Free Press
June 29, 2005

Mohammad Radwan Obeid is a threat to national security because he surfed terrorist Web sites and visited terrorist chat rooms, the FBI claims.

The 33-year-old Jordanian, who came to the United States with his American wife in 2001 and worked at a grocery store in Dayton, Ohio, before his arrest in March on immigration charges, says he was only gathering grist for a book about terrorism and world religions.

He said he volunteered to work for the FBI, but was rejected.

But a federal immigration judge in Detroit last week ordered Obeid jailed pending the outcome of charges that he entered the United States through marriage fraud. He also is being investigated by a federal grand jury.

"When taken altogether, the evidence establishes respondent presents a substantial risk to the national security of the United States," Immigration Judge Robert Newberry said in a June 22 decision denying Obeid's request to be released on bond. He is being held in the Monroe County Jail.

Newberry agreed with the FBI that Obeid's claims of writing a book, his recent conversion to the Jehovah's Witnesses and other activities often are used by terrorists to avoid arrest and deportation.

Obeid's fiancee said Tuesday that the FBI is wrong about him.

"There's no way he could be a terrorist," said Misty Iddings, a 30-year-old nurse's aide of Piqua, Ohio. "He wouldn't hurt anybody. He's a very nice person. He's kind and friendly."

Obeid came to the United States in February 2001 as a conditional resident after marrying a Kansas City woman in Jordan, court papers said. Five months after they arrived, their marriage was annulled.

His lawyer, Najad Mehanna of Dearborn Heights, said her family wouldn't accept him because he was Muslim.

Afterward, Mehanna said, Obeid moved to the Dayton area, worked as a cashier at gas stations and convenience stores, and remarried. But the couple split up around May 2003 and he eventually met and moved in with Iddings.

In mid-2004, he became a Jehovah's Witness, decided to write a book about terrorism, and began surfing terrorism sites on the Internet.

Mehanna said Obeid was stunned by what he found on those sites and called the CIA and FBI. He said they didn't take him seriously.

On March 28, agents searched his home and on April 20, arrested him for immigration fraud.

The government has presented secret evidence at his deportation hearings to show that he is a threat to national security.

Obeid's lawyer said he probably would appeal the denial of bond. He also has requested asylum on grounds that Obeid would be persecuted if returned to Jordan because of the FBI's terrorism claims and his new faith.

But the lawyer concedes that Obeid is fighting a difficult battle, which resumes Sept. 19 in Detroit immigration court.

Comment: The evidence is always secret. Given the numerous lies from the Bush administration and the number of prisoners in the war on terror who are either held indefinitely or released with no explanation after years of rotting away in prison without a fair trial, how can anyone actually believe that so-called "secret evidence" is real? Isn't it likely that the "evidence" is simply more lies? The assumption that the use of secret evidence is different in the US than other fascist regimes is a very dangerous one. It is simply illogical to speak of freedom and democracy in one breath and secret evidence presented in secret trials in the next breath.

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On empathy, suffering, happiness and liberty
by Mark I.
Unknown News
July 5, 2005

I cannot tell you what is right for your life, but I will tell you about some of the things I have learned lately. And this is free of charge to you. :)

Last week I belatedly "rescued" a lizard from our swimming pool, scooping him up with a net and dumping him outside in the bushes. I say "belatedly" because I first thought he was dead, and so, delayed helping him, thinking that he was just another dead lizard killed by chlorine and drowning in the deep end of the pool. I don't know why some lizards jump into the pool, whether it is because they are seeking water or that they are seeking new territory. Their reasons are irrelevant to me though; they jump, I rescue, and that's how it goes.

Now, I do feel badly for the lizard. I wonder if he survived, and if my delay rescuing him was fatal. But, ultimately, the fact is that I walked away and forgot about him. He might have lain in the bushes for hours in pain, gasping for air, having spasmodic convulsions because of the pool chlorine. Just a few feet away from me all day, one lizard in perfect suffering, and I was perfectly oblivious to that fact.

Just a lizard? Sure. But at all times on Planet Earth there are undoubtedly millions upon millions of people in agony, suffering any number of pains and privations. Their suffering is just as easy for me to ignore as the lizard's.

* The little old lady next door might be in horrible pain this morning.

* My neighbor across the street might be suffering extreme mental anguish and despair.

* A million Iraqis might be craving water and a few minutes of air conditioned comfort away from the 120-degree dusty, summer heat.

* One million American political prisoners may be dying in prison because they chose to use a socially unacceptable substance instead of getting loaded the American Way, with sour mash whiskey, beer and Cuban cigars.

I can ignore all of these quite easily. "Out of sight, out of mind", as the saying goes.

The suffering of others is all too easy to disregard. Conversely, my own suffering is of major concern to me. Anyone who has ever suffered a major injury such as a broken bone knows very well that suffering is something that one does alone. No one can do it for you. In theory someone else might be able to help ease the pain, but nine times out of ten no help is forthcoming.

To me, breaking a leg is a major event, but to my neighbor my broken leg is a minor event at most, unless he is counting on me to help him move furniture. Suffering, like dying, is something one has to do for oneself. It is a solitary journey. If I do not actively help the suffering beings around me, O' God, please, let me not be the cause!

Happiness is another intensely individual experience, though others are perhaps more willing to help share the feeling. And, like suffering, happiness is a byproduct, an effect. I cannot directly obtain happiness, it is something that just happens when I do certain things and circumstances are right. American advertising and marketing do not preach that truth however. They're in the business of selling Happiness.

A trip to the grocery store or the shopping mall is a pilgrimage to the Land of Promises. Each product promises happiness! The two liter bottles of Coke promise to make me happy. And the racks of thick steaks promise delight, when properly grilled on the 4th of July -- especially if served with Van de Camps Pork and Beans, with ice cream for the kids and Budweiser for the adults. Even if Happiness does not result, I can expect, at minimum, Satisfaction.

Generally speaking, grocery stores deliver quite well on their promises of Happiness and Satisfaction. Much better than politicians deliver on campaign pledges.

Actually, if I didn't know better, I would guess that the politicians are speaking a different language altogether and their campaign pledges are really to cause pain, suffering and poverty. But of course, they're simply lying, not speaking a different language. They not only cannot deliver on their promises (except accidentally), probability favors them ultimately making things worse.

I am sorry, everyone. I cannot be of much help to you now. I cannot help you lizards. I cannot help you Iraqis. I cannot help you political prisoners in the American gulags. I cannot make your broken bones stop hurting. I cannot fill your belly with delicious food.

Comment: But one can spread the truth about the causes of the suffering of all these people, if one can stand to hear it, think it, and speak it...

But, I promise to do my best to try not to make your life worse. And I am doing my best to build and conserve both resources and capabilities so that when asked I can deliver, that I can help someone in some way, somehow. I don't know when that moment will happen, but I will try to be ready.

And if, some fine day, I actually am of service, a Good-Doer to someone, it will be because I freely choose to act. I will ask for no payment, expect no thanks, and take away nothing except another day in my life. As a Free Man I act as I choose, as it pleases me, and as I live so shall I die.

This is why we celebrate the 4th of July: We are at Liberty to choose and to act as it pleases us individually.

"Liberty" is not about America, the country, being "free", it is about me (and you) being free. The government works for us, not the other way around!

Comment: The author makes a good point at the end of the article. The "freedom" that Bush speaks of, and that his supporters cheer, is clearly not personal freedom. It is instead the freedom of the state to do as it pleases. If US citizens can be detained without charge and without evidence simply because the state declares them "terrorists" or "enemy combatants", then all the people are not free at all.

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BBC edits out the word terrorist
By Tom Leonard

The BBC has re-edited some of its coverage of the London Underground and bus bombings to avoid labelling the perpetrators as "terrorists", it was disclosed yesterday.

Early reporting of the attacks on the BBC's website spoke of terrorists but the same coverage was changed to describe the attackers simply as "bombers".

The BBC's guidelines state that its credibility is undermined by the "careless use of words which carry emotional or value judgments".

Consequently, "the word 'terrorist' itself can be a barrier rather than an aid to understanding" and its use should be "avoided", the guidelines say.

Rod Liddle, a former editor of the Today programme, has accused the BBC of "institutionalised political correctness" in its coverage of British Muslims.

A BBC spokesman said last night: "The word terrorist is not banned from the BBC."

Comment: The damage has already been done - not to the BBC's credibility, but to the minds of the masses.

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God Help God If He Needs Spokesmen Like These

The War of the Colors in Israel
July 11, 2005

A visitor to Israel at this time may get the impression that the country is in the throes of a contest between two football teams: orange and blue.

Thousands of cars are already flying ribbons with these colors, mostly from the antennas. This is very striking on the roads: those who fly different colors are treating each other with hostility, also expressed by their driving, while those who fly the same color exude a civility that is quite foreign to Israeli highways.

The use of colors to symbolize the two sides resembles the War of the Roses 450 years ago.

Then, the red rose was the emblem of the house of Lancaster in their struggle for the English throne, while the white rose signified their adversaries, the house of York. The war went on for 32 years and ended with the victory of the red flower.

In our time, color wars belong in the sports stadium, where blood is only rarely spilled.

But the Israeli war between the orange and the blue is a very serious affair.

On the face of it, this is a struggle about the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and the evacuation of the few settlements there. But in reality, this struggle has assumed a much deeper significance. It concerns the very character and future of Israel.

Those who fly the orange ribbon know this perfectly well. They swear to "paint the country orange" and aim to change its way of life from the bottom up. As they see it, the laws of the Knesset are invalid if they conflict with religious law (the Halakha), as interpreted by the "nationalist Zionist" rabbis, a nationalist-messianic faction with a fascist fringe. Government decisions are null and void if they are opposed to the will of God. And God, as is well known, speaks through the mouths of the settlers' leaders. (One can only say: God help God, if He needs spokesmen like these!)

Those who fly the blue know - some clearly, some vaguely - that they are struggling for a different vision of Israel. Some have a thought-out conception of a democratic, liberal and secular Israel, living at peace with the Arab world. Others have a more general vision of a sane and decent Israel, where the majority decides through the Knesset. Either way, the difference between blue and orange is striking and unmistakable.

Today, 37 days before the planned evacuation, two phenomena are manifest:

First, the vast majority of cars on the roads are not flying any ribbon at all.

Secondly, among those which do fly ribbons, the orange outnumber the blue 2 to 1.

Public opinion polls show that the real ratio is the reverse: two thirds support the Gaza withdrawal. This percentage rose last week, after the appearance on television of the attempted lynching of a wounded Arab boy by Gush Katif settlers. But even before that, there was a solid majority for the withdrawal.

If so, why is there, at this moment, no solid majority of blue ribbons in the streets?

The first reason is unsurprising: a fanatical minority with a high, emotional motivation has an advantage over a "silent majority" that always tends to be passive and weak-willed.

The settlers and their allies also have a distinct logistic advantage. They live in their own communities, and it is therefore easy for them to mobilize thousands of children and youngsters, who disperse throughout the country and attach their ribbons to the cars. The religious Jews, almost all of whom support the settlers, are concentrated in their Yeshivot (seminaries) and separate townships, where they can easily be called to action.

But these advantages would not have been so manifest, were it not for the weaknesses of their opponents.

Many citizens are simply anxious. They are afraid that if they fly the blue ribbon, their precious cars will be vandalized by right-wing hooligans. Here and there cars flying blue ribbons have indeed been damaged. Fear is a typical symptom of a society menaced by a fascist minority: storm-troopers use violence deliberately in order to paralyze the law-abiding majority, which shrinks back and cannot respond in kind. A few well-publicized instances suffice to sow fear.

Another reason springs from the character of the democratic public. Most people just want to be left alone in peace, they do not like to be conspicuous and to demonstrate their convictions in public. They are not concentrated in specific neighborhoods, which would have lent them a sense of security and power. Many feel, therefore, that they are isolated in their thoughts and feelings. And not a few are reluctant to make even the slightest effort to obtain a blue ribbon.

Another phenomenon: while almost all the "orange" fly their ribbons proudly from the antennas on top of their cars, many of the "blues" hang their ribbons lower, from the side mirror or the handle of a door, where they are less conspicuous.

But the struggle of the ribbons is not a game. At this time, it is extremely important, and the settlers know this well.

It is important because the number of orange ribbons creates the impression that the settlers rule the streets, that they are the real majority in Israel, even if the polls say the opposite. This raises their morale in their fight against the Israeli democracy and lowers the morale of the democratic public.

This influences - consciously or unconsciously - the politicians and media people, who, in their turn, mold public opinion. The Israeli media, almost without exception, have already become a mouthpiece for the settlers. Even a liberal paper like Haaretz, which is (erroneously) considered "left-wing", carries news pages (as distinct from the editorial pages) which often look as if they had been lifted straight from one of the settlers' organs.

If the blue ribbon overcomes the orange, it will have a big impact on the entire political system. It will lend new courage to the parties that support the withdrawal and to the security forces that will have to enforce it. The opposite situation would be fraught with danger to the future of the state.

Also, the blue (or blue-white) ribbon is a unifying symbol. Forces of different shades are working together in this campaign, from those who support Ariel Sharon and withdrawal from the Gaza Strip only ("Gaza - First and Only") to those who want to turn this withdrawal into an instrument for the achievement of a general peace ("Gaza - First But Not Last"). To belong to this camp is respectable, for it is a camp with a liberal and peace-loving culture, a camp that believes in equality between the citizens of both genders and of all ethnic and national backgrounds. In short: the opposite of what the settlers believe in.

The victory of the blue ribbon will restore to many people a sense of power. To those who have sunk into despair, who have come to believe that they are few and weak and that "everything is lost", the blue ribbon will give a sense of belonging to a large and influential community.

The struggle is having yet another interesting effect. In recent years, the right-wing has succeeded in securing a near monopoly over the display of the Israeli flag. A part of the left has distanced itself from the blue-and-white banner, because for them it symbolizes the occupation and the settlements. In demonstrations against the occupation, the Israeli flag is seen only on the Gush Shalom signs, which combine the flags of Israel and Palestine. (Palestinians, too, carry these signs willingly.)

Since the settlers have adopted the orange color (swiped from the Ukrainian uprising), their opponents quite naturally adopted the blue color, which is taken from the flag of Israel.

The importance of this is more than symbolic. More and more people are becoming convinced that the current struggle is essentially one between the State of Israel and the "State of the Settlers" - a democratic state on the one side, a nationalist-messianic state on the other. That is an important conception, which may have far-reaching implications for the future. It is the start of the real separation - that between the State of Israel and the settlers.

For that, too, it is important that the blue now win the War of the Colors.

Uri Avnery is an Israeli writer and peace activist with Gush Shalom. He is one of the writers featured in The Other Israel: Voices of Dissent and Refusal. He is also a contributor to CounterPunch's book The Politics of Anti-Semitism. He can be reached at: avnery@counterpunch.org.

Comment: This article could just as well have been written about the fundamentalist Christian leadership in the US versus the majority of the US people who oppose them. As in Israel, many in the US who are against Bush and his policies simply keep their mouths shut to avoid drawing attention to themselves. Perhaps it is time to cast off the blanket of fear that has been pulled over our eyes and let all of our voices be heard in both the US and Israel? If you do not speak for yourself, someone else will speak for you - and you may not like what they have to say.

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Palestinians rage at proposed fence across Jerusalem
By Eric Silver in Jerusalem
Published: 12 July 2005

Israel's decision to press ahead with a barrier that will separate 55,000 Palestinian residents of Jerusalem from the rest of the city has provoked a storm of criticism, prompting the Palestinian Prime Minister to state that the fence will make "a farce" of Ariel Sharon's peace talks with the Palestinian Authority.

The European Union's foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, arriving for talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, said yesterday: "We think that Israel has the right to defend itself, but we think the fence which will stand outside the territory of Israel is not legally proper and it creates also humanitarian problems." The Palestinian Prime Minister, Ahmad Qureia, said the move was "theft in broad daylight" of land Palestinians hope will form part of their future capital.

Israel claims it needs the fence for security reasons. The barrier, which is due to be completed by 1 September, will cut off around one-fifth of Jerusalem's Palestinian residents, most of them in areas annexed to the city after the 1967 war. Israeli authorities have guaranteed crossing points to ease movement. But following Sunday's announcement that the fence will be constructed by the autumn, there was anger among Jerusalem's Arab residents.

Fatimah al Toush, a 44-year-old mother of four lives in Kufr Aqab, a village on the city's northern fringe. She has an Israeli identity card; her husband has a West Bank one. She travels daily to work as a secretary in Arab east Jerusalem. Her 14-year-old son, Firas, goes to a Christian school there, though he too is registered as a West Bank resident. Treatment for her chronic back problem is paid for by her Israeli health insurance.

"If they build the wall," she agonised yesterday, "how will I be sure of getting to my office? Shall I climb the wall? How will Firas get to school? I can't put him in a West Bank school. All his friends are in Jerusalem. He feels he belongs with them." Mrs al Toush said she knew 30 or 40 families in her village who faced similar dilemmas. She worried that eventually Israel would cancel her health insurance.

"Maybe," she sighed, "one day I'll burn my Israeli identity card, but the Palestinian Authority won't give me one of theirs. They want to encourage people to stay in Jerusalem."

Ribhi Shehadeh, a 52-year-old father of 14, faces the problem from the other side of the barrier. He lives in a two-storey stone house in Ras Hamis on the rim of a rocky valley between the cramped Shuafat refugee camp and the high-rise flats of Pisgat Ze'ev, a Jewish suburb built on land captured from Jordan in the Six-Day War. The wall will run down the middle, though both the camp and the suburb will remain in Jerusalem.

Mr Shehadeh gave up his job as a driver in the building trade after he developed diabetes. To feed his family, he grows vegetables on a plot in front of his house and keeps a flock of 30 sheep.

"The wall will suffocate us," he protested over thick Turkish coffee beneath the grapes on his terrace. "I won't be able to graze my sheep in the wadi. Arab building workers won't be able to get to Pisgat Ze'ev."

The Israeli government has allocated a 2005 budget of eight million shekels (£1m) to maintain services for Arab residents affected by the fence.

Israel's decision to press ahead with a barrier that will separate 55,000 Palestinian residents of Jerusalem from the rest of the city has provoked a storm of criticism, prompting the Palestinian Prime Minister to state that the fence will make "a farce" of Ariel Sharon's peace talks with the Palestinian Authority.

The European Union's foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, arriving for talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, said yesterday: "We think that Israel has the right to defend itself, but we think the fence which will stand outside the territory of Israel is not legally proper and it creates also humanitarian problems." The Palestinian Prime Minister, Ahmad Qureia, said the move was "theft in broad daylight" of land Palestinians hope will form part of their future capital.

Israel claims it needs the fence for security reasons. The barrier, which is due to be completed by 1 September, will cut off around one-fifth of Jerusalem's Palestinian residents, most of themin areas annexed to the city after the 1967 war. Israeli authorities have guaranteed crossing points to ease movement. But following Sunday's announcement that the fence will be constructed by the autumn, there was anger among Jerusalem's Arab residents.

Fatimah al Toush, a 44-year-old mother of four lives in Kufr Aqab, a village on the city's northern fringe. She has an Israeli identity card; her husband has a West Bank one. She travels daily to work as a secretary in Arab east Jerusalem. Her 14-year-old son, Firas, goes to a Christian school there, though he too is registered as a West Bank resident. Treatment for her chronic back problem is paid for by her Israeli health insurance.

"If they build the wall," she agonised yesterday, "how will I be sure of getting to my office? Shall I climb the wall? How will Firas get to school? I can't put him in a West Bank school. All his friends are in Jerusalem. He feels he belongs with them." Mrs al Toush said she knew 30 or 40 families in her village who faced similar dilemmas. She worried that eventually Israel would cancel her health insurance.

"Maybe," she sighed, "one day I'll burn my Israeli identity card, but the Palestinian Authority won't give me one of theirs. They want to encourage people to stay in Jerusalem."

Ribhi Shehadeh, a 52-year-old father of 14, faces the problem from the other side of the barrier. He lives in a two-storey stone house in Ras Hamis on the rim of a rocky valley between the cramped Shuafat refugee camp and the high-rise flats of Pisgat Ze'ev, a Jewish suburb built on land captured from Jordan in the Six-Day War. The wall will run down the middle, though both the camp and the suburb will remain in Jerusalem.

Mr Shehadeh gave up his job as a driver in the building trade after he developed diabetes. To feed his family, he grows vegetables on a plot in front of his house and keeps a flock of 30 sheep.

"The wall will suffocate us," he protested over thick Turkish coffee beneath the grapes on his terrace. "I won't be able to graze my sheep in the wadi. Arab building workers won't be able to get to Pisgat Ze'ev."

The Israeli government has allocated a 2005 budget of eight million shekels (£1m) to maintain services for Arab residents affected by the fence.

Comment: Israel is seeking to drive the Palestinians off of their land. After all, God gave it to the Israelis 3,000 years ago. What right does any man have to take it away from them? After the insult of the Wall, the Palestinians will be subjected to a thousand small humiliations that will serve to let them know they are not the "chosen people". They will continue to be shot at by Israeli snipers who will go unpunished. They will be made to wait for hours at the checkpoints into Jerusalem, just as they wait now at other checkpoints along the Wall. The goal is to make it such a bother for them that they will stop trying to pass, that they will give up, that they will leave to try and start elsewhere.

Of course, this is wishful thinking, as much as it would be to imagine the Zionist state would ever accept peace. The rulers of Israel, like the rulers of the US, are absolutists. There is no sharing of power with others. To share is to show weakness, to open the door to the psychopath right below you in the hierarchy, the one watching your every move, ready to pounce.

We can't expect these people to behave any differently than they do. They are who they are, be they settlers in Gaza or the West Bank, Sharon, or Bush and Cheney, or the men who ordered the bomb be dropped on Hiroshima. In our world, the psychopath rises to the top because he is unafraid of doing whatever it takes to get there. He has no moral code other than to do what he needs to feed off of others. He has no conscience, which immediately gives him a jump on those who do. There can be no reasoning with him, no rational dialogue, because if he appears to be talking, it is only to lull you into dropping your guard.

How many times have the Israelis said they will sit down at the table to talk only to call it off for one or another pretext? How many times has Bush said that he listens to others only to go out and do what he said he would do from the start?

Yes, Bush comes across as a clown. He has his folksy charm that works on the walking dead, those who read his smirk as a show of concern, but we all know that Bush is a puppet. Sure, he probably takes himself too seriously and may well believe that he is the one in control. Maybe he has even tried from time to time to do it his way, without listening to any other advisor than the Almighty himself. But if Bush were to really start thinking he was in command, he would probably go the way of JFK. He is a useful idiot who plays well in the Bible Belt, in the red states, easily disposable it need be.

Sharon, on the other hand, appears to be more than a puppet. While Bush went AWOL, Sharon was killing Palestinians without compunction. Bush is the war criminal who doesn't really know war; Sharon is the war criminal who seems to feed off of it, who relishes the blood spilling.

There is no one in power on this planet who is speaking for the Palestinians, no one who is doing anything for them. Their's appears to be a lost cause, but as we said above, beware when you back an opponent into the corner. But perhaps this is the goal? The Zionists have shown before that they are willing to sacrifice Jewish lives for power. Is the goal of all that is occurring in the Middle East a conflagration that will kill not only the Arabs but many of the Jews as well?

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Lebanese defence minister injured in blast that kills 2
Last Updated Tue, 12 Jul 2005 06:50:45 EDT
CBC News

Lebanon's outgoing deputy prime minister was one of a dozen people injured Tuesday in an explosion that killed two others in a northern suburb of Beirut, security officials said.

Elias Murr, a pro-Syrian politician, received slight injuries when a strong explosion hit his motorcade, said police. He was reportedly undergoing surgery.

The injured including an army colonel riding with Murr, the government National News Agency said.

The mid-morning explosion also damaged nearby cars and buildings in the Naqash district on a road from mountains to the coast. It was heard across the capital.

Police have cordoned off part of the area to keep spectators and reporters away, but live television images showed the charred wreck of vehicle and an injured man being helped from another. Fire trucks and ambulances were at the scene.

Murr, also the country's defence minister, is the son-in-law of Lebanon's pro-Syrian president, Emile Lahoud.

During the country's recent election campaign, Murr's father allied himself with Michel Aoun, a Christian and former general who had led a unsuccessful war in 1989 to expel the Syrian military from Lebanon.

Lebanon has been rocked by a string of bombings, although they have targeted anti-Syrian figures, including Rafik Hariri. The former Lebanese prime minister was assassinated on Feb. 14.

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Explosion at Italian cultural institute in Barcelona injures policeman
07:05 AM EDT Jul 12

MADRID, Spain (AP) - A small, rudimentary bomb exploded Tuesday outside the Italian Cultural Institute in Barcelona, injuring a policeman and killing a bomb-sniffing dog, the Italian Embassy said.

A police official in Spain's second-largest city said the blast did not appear to be a terrorist attack. Embassy spokesman Filipo La Rosa said it was too early to say. La Rosa said staff at the institute called police when they arrived for work Tuesday morning and found a suspicious object - a metal coffee pot with wires coming out of it - on the steps leading into the building.

The explosion occurred while police bomb-disposal experts with a bomb-sniffing dog were examining the device, he said.

La Rosa described the explosion, which occurred between 8:00 and 8:15 a.m. as small but said he had no details on damage. He said the policeman was injured and the dog was killed.

"At this point I can't tell you, nor do we think it would be responsible to say it was a terrorist attack," La Rosa. "I can't say I rule it out or don't rule it out because for the time being we don't have information."

Spanish National Radio said the policeman was only slightly injured.

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Canadians not psychologically braced for terrorism, McLellan says
Last Updated Mon, 11 Jul 2005 21:39:54 EDT
CBC News

Canadians who use mass transit systems need to prepare themselves mentally for the possibility of terrorist attacks, the federal public safety minister says.

Public Safety Minister Anne McLellan says only so much can be done to protect the millions of people who use mass transit in Canada.

"I do not believe that Canadians are as psychologically prepared for a terrorist attack as I think probably we all should be," Anne McLellan told the World Conference on Disaster Management in Toronto on Monday.

"I think we have for perhaps too long thought that these were things that happened somewhere else.

"One never wants to unnecessarily scare or panic any individual. However, I think we need to start talking about the fact that we all need to be prepared for all possibilities."

About 1,500 security experts from 50 countries are meeting to brainstorm on how to get ready for large-scale disasters – a quest given added urgency by the July 7 attacks on London's transit system.

Officials said there are several things individuals can do to get ready.

"Psychologically, they have to be prepared that things could happen," said James Young of Emergency Preparedness Canada. "They have to think about evacuation for their own family, keeping their own family safe, where would meeting spots be."

Conference speaker Ty Fairman, who has worked with the FBI investigating bombings and chemical attacks around the world, said Canadians need to wake up to the possibility that they could be targets.

"Osama bin Laden stated that there are five Christian nations that will be attacked," said Fairman, of the National Security & Intelligence Society Inc.

"The United States has been attacked. Spain has been attacked. The United Kingdom has been attacked. Then there's Australia and Canada."

He called many Canadians naïve. "They have an unreasonable expectation of law enforcement and the federal government to protect them against terrorist attacks. There's no way they can. There's not enough law enforcement nor intelligence to do so."

Peter Power, a disaster-response consultant who used to work for Scotland Yard, said Canada hasn't taken the physical precautions that are standard in some other countries.

For example, he said closed-circuit television cameras are common all over London.

Although they didn't stop the recent transit bombings, they could prevent others and are a key investigative tool, he said.

In Canada, most politicians strongly oppose cameras in public places because of privacy concerns. Power said that's a sign that Canadians are not taking their safety seriously.

"You've got to sacrifice. Freedom is not free. ...You've got to pay something to get the dividend back."

The conference has been put on annually for 15 years by the Canadian Centre for Disaster Preparedness, a non-profit organization.

Comment: The scare campaign is being set up a notch in Canada. The right wing chorus about giving up our freedoms in order to be free will no doubt be repeated until the people are brainwashed into believing it. The technique already worked ten years ago when the demon of the month was the deficit.

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British police raid 5 homes
Last Updated Tue, 12 Jul 2005 06:55:47 EDT
CBC News

British police raided five houses in northern England Tuesday in connection with last week's bombings in London.

The searches took place on one street in the city of Leeds, in West Yorkshire county, about 300 km north of London. Police sealed off a small red car at one of the homes and cleared neighbours away.

Leeds has one of Britain's largest Muslim populations. No arrests have been made.

London Police Commissioner Ian Blair told the British Broadcasting Corporation that the raids were "directly connected" to Thursday's four transit blasts that killed at least 52 and injured about 700.

An anti-terrorist police spokeswoman said the searches were "significant," but didn't offer any further explanation.

Police say the investigation into the attacks is moving ahead at a steady pace, but have appealed for patience from families of the victims.

Investigators have positively identified three of the victims killed in the subway and bus blasts.

Rushing the meticulous forensic investigation could run the risk of missing crucial bits of physical evidence that could convict those responsible, police say.

Later in the day, investigators are expected to move the subway train trapped at the King's Cross station where a number of bodies have been since Thursday.

"This is the biggest crime scene in England's history," said the police chief. "They still have to get underneath the carriages, and it is possible they will find more" bodies.

An unsafe tunnel, extreme temperatures and vermin have made the recovery of bodies and search for evidence difficult.

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Vitamin controls backed by Europe

The European Court has decided to tighten rules on the sale of vitamin and minerals.

The proposals will ban around 200 supplements from sale and put restrictions on the upper limits of vitamin doses.

Some health experts wanted to see vitamins and minerals controlled in the same way as conventional medicines.

But critics argued the new rules were unnecessarily restrictive, and would deny consumers choice.

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Toddler dies in pit bull attack

A one-year-old boy has died after being attacked by an American pit bull terrier at his home in Leeds.

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The Pain of Remembering Aug. 6, 1945
Sixty years after the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima, the survivors fear forgetting
David McNeill
Ohmy News International

"The plane came out of a clear blue sky," says Michiko Yamaoka, and you can't help recalling the now iconic video footage of the hijacked Boeing 767 as it sailed into the World Trade Center's north tower.

But Yamaoka is remembering not the horrors of 9/11 but those of Hiroshima 60 years ago, when an atomic bomb detonated as she walked from her house into the city's center on Aug. 6, 1945. The only warning was the familiar drone of a single B-29.

Yamaoka's 15-year-old face was destroyed in an instant. Even today, after over two dozen operations and under heavy make-up, it looks mottled and lumpy, like it has been reconstructed from burnt clay. She rarely looks at interviewers directly.

As she flew through the air from the force of the blast, Yamaoka knew she'd been bombed. "I thought: 'Goodbye Mother' in my heart." It was her mother who helped pull her from the wreckage; face swollen like a balloon, skin hanging from her arms in ribbons.

"I lost all my hair and there was blood when I went to the toilet. My face was so awful I hid for a long time. If I had been alone I probably would have killed myself but my mother was there every day taking care of me, even though she was sick herself. I stayed alive for her. She told me to live."

Her mother died in 1979; when they cremated her body they found shards of glass in the ashes, still embedded deep in her body from the force of the bomb.

Like many of the 270,000 hibakusha or survivors of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Yamaoka lives with constant pain. She has fought breast cancer, thinning bones and depression, and grimaces when she moves around her tiny apartment. "My body hurts, but it is more painful to remember what I saw that day, although I feel I have to."

By the end of Aug. 6, 160,000 people were killed or injured; many more died afterwards from the effects of the bomb. Every year the city adds names to the list of victims, which officially stands today at 237,062, and counting.

In Nagasaki, which was bombed two days after Hiroshima, 74,000 people died within less than a year as the city became, in the famous words of its mayor, a place of death "where not even the sound of insects could be heard."

Survivors who thought they had escaped have been haunted by illness. Hitoshi Takayama developed cancer in his back and hip. Much of the muscle from his back was removed, he says, asking me to touch it. It feels bony and cold. "I don't mind showing people my injuries if it teaches them about what happened."

Suzuko Numata was 20 and days from marriage in Hiroshima when a collapsed building shattered her left leg. Three days later her leg was amputated below the knee, without anesthetic. "I screamed so hard when the saw cut it off," she says.

"We used to chant during the war 'Be united in one mind like a fireball, 100 million people,' she recalls. "Then when the bomb fell the trucks came around and ignored women and children, and just helped the healthy men. We were no use to them. That's when I first understood what war really was."

She later learned that her fiancee had been killed. Like many women injured in the blast, she has never married, victims of what they call 'hibakusha discrimination:' the radiation was believed contagious; many feared they would give birth to deformed children.

Men suffered discrimination too. "Nobody wanted to marry someone who might die in a couple of years," says Sunao Tsuboi, who was burnt from head to toe in the aftermath of the Hiroshima bomb before falling into a coma. When he came to the war was over but he refused to believe it. "I thought it was a trick."

"We were watched very closely to see if we would die." Later he fell in love with a girl whose parents refused to give them permission to marry. "We decided to commit suicide together and took pills but we didn't take enough. When we woke up and cried together we were so happy to be alive."

Deep, unspeakable suffering, said the British writer George Eliot, "can be a baptism, a regeneration; the initiation into a new state." Once a major military hub, Hiroshima is transformed today into an airy, tree-lined city of one million people that nurses its wounds very publicly, with museums, memorial parks, peace boulevards and the famous hollowed-out Dome.

Writer Ian Buruma calls the city the center of 'Japanese victim-hood,' a pilgrimage with the 'atmosphere of a religious center.' "It has martyrs, but no single god. It has prayers and it has a ready-made myth about the fall of man. Hiroshima, says a booklet entitled Hiroshima Peace Reader...'is no longer merely a Japanese city. It has become recognized throughout the world as a Mecca of world peace.'"

Hiroshima for many non-Japanese Asians occupies a similar place in the imagination as New York's Ground Zero does for many Middle-East Arabs: a talisman for selective pain. The Japanese paid into the bank of suffering with the atomic bombing of the city and they've been withdrawing heavily ever since, whitewashing the suffering they inflicted on others in their schools, history books and popular culture.

When the Dome was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996, the U.S. and China objected. America said it was "concerned about the lack of historical perspective" in the nomination. China worried that people who deny the facts of history might "utilized the Dome for harmful purposes."

Official Hiroshima defends against these claims ritually: "We don't intend to play up our victim-hood," says Minoru Hataguchi, Director of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. "But I appreciate it must seem that way to others. We make efforts here to show what Japan did to other Asian countries."

But for ordinary hibakusha, the criticisms are felt personally. "I know what we did to others," says Yamaoka. "I've been to Hawaii, Korea, China, Okinawa and the U.S. and seen for my own eyes what we did so now I can say now what I like. I criticize all governments, including Japan and America. I tell children to come to Hiroshima and see what war means.

"I knew nothing at the time, but that is how we were educated. We were told until the day the bomb fell that we were winning the war. Every day we were told: Die for your country! That's the terrible power of education, so I ask teachers to tell children more about the war to avoid making the same mistakes. I fear people will forget."

In March this year, Paul Tibbets, the pilot of the Enola Gay plane that dropped the 'Little Boy' on Hiroshima was asked again whether he had any regrets. "Hell no, no second thoughts. If you give me the same circumstances, hell yeah, I'd do it again."

But a mea culpa of sorts came in May from his former colleague Robert McNamara, the ex-U.S. Defense Secretary (1960-68) who, as a statistical control officer for the U.S. Air Force helped plan the fire bombings of 57 Japanese cities that proceeded Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

In an essay for Foreign Policy magazine titled "Apocalypse Soon," he called the nuclear legacy of Hiroshima "so bizarre as to be beyond belief."

"To declare war requires an act of congress, but to launch a nuclear holocaust requires 20 minutes' deliberation by the president and his advisors. But that is what we have lived with for 40 years...I have never been more fearful of a nuclear detonation than now," wrote the man who came within a 'hair's breath' of sparking nuclear annihilation during the Cuba Missile Crisis of 1962.

Sixty years after the incineration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the U.S. has about 8,000 'active or operational' warheads, each on average carrying 20 times the destructive power of Hiroshima. The other established nuclear powers of Russia, China, France and Britain have been joined by Israel, Pakistan and India. Iran and North Korea flirt with the nuclear club; politicians in South Korea, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, even Japan, hint that they may one day join too.

In 2003, the Armed Services Committee of the U.S. Senate backed the development of so-called 'usable' nuclear weapons, about one-third the size of the Hiroshima bomb. The city's mayor, Tadatoshi Akiba said in 2004 that Washington was "ignoring the United Nations and international law" and had "turned its back on other nations."

The hibakusha, who thought they could stop the slide into Armageddon by howling their pain and showing their wounds to the world, are enraged, impotent. Many only began to open up after years of soul searching abut whether they could make a difference. "I hated America," says Hiroko Hatakeyama, who lost many of her relatives in the bombing, including her cousin. She says she remembers his blank face as his hair began to fall out, "frightened at this sign of death."

When she was invited by the UN to speak in New York two years ago, she almost didn't go. "I couldn't bear the thought of going to the U.S. But I did because I felt I needed to tell the world what had happened."

"I can't believe the world is still trying to develop nuclear weapons," says Yamaoka, who began to speak publicly after her mother died. "I really didn't want to, but I felt because she had saved me I owed it to her. She had suffered so much. It was my way of thanking her."

Numata is another survivor who did not want to remember. "I only started speaking after I retired. It was too difficult, and even when I did sometimes people didn't understand. I once talked about my experience to some students and got letters from them afterwards saying they felt sorry for me," she says. I was angry because I didn't want sympathy -- I wanted them to know that this should never happen again."

Close to the epicenter of the blast, Kazuko Kojima's exhausted mother lay down in a cellar filled with the dead and dying victims of the bomb and gave birth. Today the child is a 60-year-old owner of a bar in Hiroshima, immortalized by anti-war poet Sadako Kurihara, who was inspired by the prospect of new life among so much death.

Kojima laughs at the idea of being a living symbol of future hope. "I never really wanted to discuss it," she says. "I never even talked about it with my son. Perhaps it is Japanese culture to not want to burden your children with your own pain. But Kurihara-san died this year and I'm almost 60, so I thought now is the time to try to do something."

She says she harbors no bitterness about the bombings. "I'm less resentful about what happened in Hiroshima than I am about America's wars today. Why don't they stop? Aren't there better ways to solve problems? The reason people go to war is because they don't understand the feelings of others."

Michiko Yamaoka: Yamaoka was 15 and worked at the city's telephone exchange when the bomb fell as she was on her way to work. She was badly injured and would have died under a wall that collapsed on her, if her mother had not come to her rescue. Her face was so badly disfigured by the injuries she wanted to die but her mother helped her regain the will to live. Later she went to the U.S. and had 27 operations on her damaged face and body. "I can't believe the world is still trying to develop nuclear weapons," she says. "I wish they could all see me. We were told until the day the bomb fell that we were winning the war. Die for your country. All we could say was yes. We can't change history but we can talk about what happened. Teachers are being told now what to teach about the war, but I remember what we were told."

Hitoshi Takayama: He was 15 years old and training to work at the Nippon Express Company automobile garage in Minami-machi when the bomb fell. Sixteen years later he developed cancer on his hip and back. He remembers the scenes of horror and the suffering of dying people he saw around him. He lifts his shirt to show where much of the muscle from his back was removed in the cancer operation. "I don't mind showing people my injuries if it teaches them about what happened."

Taeko Teramae: On the Aug. 6, 1945 Teramae was a third-year high school student and worked part-time in the telephone exchange. She was at work when the bomb fell and was badly injured by broken glass which destroyed her right eye. She survived by swimming across the river to a safer area, with the help of one of her teachers who later died. .

Sunao Tsuboi: was a 20-year-old university student when he was blown 10 meters into the air by the blast from the bomb and burnt from head to toe. He describes the subsequent scene - "victims wandering around the city with eyeballs dangling out of their sockets and skin hanging from bones" - as a "living hell." He wandered for a week and fell into a coma. When he came to the war was over but he refused to believe it. "I thought it was a trick." He has since suffered three bouts of cancer and tried to commit suicide with his girlfriend when her parents refused to give them permission to marry. "We woke up and cried together we were so happy to be alive."

Kazuko Kojima: was born two days after the bomb fell, in a basement 1.6km from the epicenter. She now runs a bar in Hiroshima and has rarely spoken in public about what happened. She became famous thanks to a poem about the birth of new life by Sadako Kurihara who heard about the baby born in pitch darkness in a basement filled with corpses and dying bomb victims. The poem has been published in English as "We Shall Bring Forth New Life." Kojima-san says since Kurihara's death earlier this year she feels an obligation to speak out. "It is my duty now. "I hardly ever talked about it with my son. If he asks me, I'll tell him. I guess that is Japanese culture: We don't like to burden our children with our pain. I'm less resentful about what happened in Hiroshima than I am about America's wars today. Why don't they stop? Aren't there better ways to solve problems? The reason people go to war is because they don't understand the feelings of others."

Hiroko Hatakeyama: Elementary school student who was four kilometers from the epicenter. She lost many of her relatives in the bombing, including her cousin who was the same age. "One day my cousin confessed that his hair had started falling out. I still vividly remember his blank face, frightened at this sign of death." She still cries when she tells this story and is one of the few survivors who confesses to 'hating' America. When she was invited by the UN to speak in New York two years ago, she almost didn't go. "I couldn't bear the thought of going to the U.S."

Suzuko Numata: Numata was 20 and engaged to be married when the bomb fell and shattered her left leg. Three days later it began to fester and was amputated below the knee, without anesthetic. She later learned that her fiancee had been killed. She never married and spent her life teaching and unable to talk about what happened until she retired twenty years ago. "We used to chant during the war 'Be united in one mind like a fireball, 100 million people.' Then when the bomb fell the trucks came around and ignored women and children, and just helped the healthy men. That's when I first understood what war was."

Minoru Hataguchi: Director of the Hiroshima Peace Museum lost his father in the bombing. His mother was two months pregnant with him when the bomb fell. She went looking for her husband who worked at a railway station. She found his watch, which Hataguchi keeps in a glass case in his office to remind him of what happened. "We worry that children will forget. The number of people visiting our museum has been falling for years."

Comment: While the memory of the London bombs are still fresh, it might be appropriate to look back on the first atomic bomb, set off sixty years ago next month. There was no need to drop the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but rather than being considered war crimes, we are taught they were "necessary", they were needed to "save American lives".

Remember, history is written by the victors.

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DreamWorks Lowers Full-Year Profit Outlook
The Associated Press
Monday, July 11, 2005; 9:05 PM

LOS ANGELES -- Less than a year after going public on the strength of hit films such as "Shrek," DreamWorks Animation Inc. SKG is battling a DVD market slump that forced it to warn Monday of a loss in the second quarter and to lower its full-year outlook.

The Glendale-based company, which badly missed first-quarter profit estimates due to disappointing revenue from home video sales of "Shrek 2," also disclosed that it is the target of a securities probe into the trading of its stock and release of first-quarter results.

The company said it is cooperating with the Securities and Exchange Commission inquiry, adding that the investigation "should not be construed as an indication that any violations of law have occurred."

The firm also said its main shareholders decided to postpone indefinitely a planned $500 million offering of common stock.

The series of disclosures sent DreamWorks shares tumbling $3.54, or 13.2 percent, to close at $23.27 on the New York Stock Exchange. Shares dropped as low as $22.88 earlier in the day.

The stock had climbed as much as 52 percent after its trading debut last October, but it now is about 17 percent below its initial public offering price of $28.

The company blamed the weakened earnings forecast on waning demand for home videos. It cited a review of current sales and inventory that prompted an increase in reserves for returned products.

"What appears to be the case is that over the past several months, retail inventory for titles in catalog is lower than what we have traditionally experienced, both domestically and internationally," Chief Financial Officer Kris Leslie told analysts during a conference call. "This is contributing to a higher level of both actual and expected returns."

DreamWorks is now expecting a loss of 7 cents to 9 cents per share in the second quarter; earlier it said it expected to break even during the period. Annual profit estimates were lowered to 80 cents to 90 cents per share from a previous range of $1 to $1.25 per share.

On average, analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial are looking for quarterly income of 9 cents per share and full-year profit of $1.39 per share.

DreamWorks' home video woes are not unique to the company.

Earlier this month, rival Pixar Animation Studios lowered its earnings projections for the current quarter after sales of home videos of "The Incredibles" were weaker than expected.

But the litany of announcements on Monday from DreamWorks was sobering, given the fanfare and expectation that greeted its IPO in October and the Hollywood heavyweights behind the company that spun it off - Steven Spielberg, David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg.

DreamWorks SKG, which the three entertainment moguls formed in 1994, set out to produce content for music, television, animation and film, generating hits like "Saving Private Ryan" and "Gladiator." But there were also box-office disappointments such as last year's "Surviving Christmas."

"All of these things were highly ambitious, but the cost of making films shot up tremendously," said Harold Vogel, head of Vogel Capital Management in New York. "They had to scale back."

In 2003, DreamWorks sold off its record label to Universal Music Group. Its first animated television series, "Father of the Pride," was canceled after lukewarm ratings on NBC.

And while its animation unit had its share of flops, including "Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas," it proved to be the most consistent moneymaker, with hits like "Shrek" and its sequel, "Shrek 2," and last year's "Shark Tale."

"They've had tremendous ups and downs," Vogel said. "'Shrek' did them a world of good, gave them the cash."

Even powerhouse animated franchises like "Shrek" have not been impervious to the cooling of the once white-hot DVD market, which has been the main source of profitability for movie studios and for animated films in particular.

Still, Vogel suggests DreamWorks Animation appears to be suffering from the growing pains of transitioning into a public company and presenting performance targets to the investment community.

The company is also beset by a series of shareholder lawsuits alleging DreamWorks misrepresented potential DVD sales.

"They're still new to the game," Vogel said. "I don't think they fully understood how that affects their credibility with investors or weakens the confidence in the management."

Comment: Hollywood has recently broken out of a 19-week film industry slump with the release of the movie "Fantastic Four". It seems the slump involves not only movie theatre ticket sales, but also DVD sales. Given America's love of movies, perhaps this downturn is an indicator that all is not well economically in the "Land of the Free"...

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Mysterious Hot Spot Sparks Fire
July 11, 2005 at 7:50 a.m.

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) -- Scientists are puzzled by a mysterious Los Padres National Forest hot spot where 400-degree ground ignited a wildfire.

The hot spot was discovered by fire crews putting out a three-acre fire last summer in the forest's Dick Smith Wilderness.

"They saw fissures in the ground where they could feel a lot of heat coming out," Los Padres geologist Allen King said. "It was not characteristic of a normal fire."

Fire investigators went back to the canyon days later and stuck a candy thermometer into the ground. It hit the top of the scale, at 400 degrees.

A dozen scientists, including University of California, Santa Barbara, mineralogist Jim Boles, have been looking for answers since August. Robert Mariner, a U.S. Geological Survey hydrologist who studies volcanic gas vents at Mt. Shasta, Mt. Hood and Mt. Rainier was also called in.

"When I heard about the candy thermometer, I was amazed," Mariner said, noting that the temperature of the volcanic vents he studies is typically 200 degrees, around the boiling point of water. "I thought these guys were pulling my leg."

With the help of an air reconnaissance flight and thermal infrared imaging, scientists found that the hot spot covers about three acres. The hottest spot was 11 feet underground, at 584 degrees.

They found no oil and gas deposits or vents nearby and no significant deposits of coal. The Geiger counter readings were normal for radioactivity, and there was no evidence of explosions or volcanic activity.

One possible explanation still under study is that an earthquake fault may be the source of the heat.

"We can't rule out anything definitely yet," King said.

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Shake, rattle and roll
Kentucky's big quakes and social upheaval combine in book
By Marty Rosen
Special to The Courier-Journal

The three earthquakes that struck the New Madrid Fault during the winter of 1811-12 caused devastation throughout the Mississippi Valley.

But for journalist and historian Jay Feldman, they also serve as an apt metaphor for the turmoil, upheaval and conflict that already afflicted the United States in those days.

That's not to say that Feldman, who will speak Thursday evening at the Filson Historical Society, isn't fascinated by the sheer power of the earthquakes. His book "When the Mississippi Ran Backwards: Empire, Intrigue, Murder and the New Madrid Earthquakes" documents what is known about the quakes' effects on the humans, animals and geography of the region.

In a phone interview, he was quick to observe that at the time of the New Madrid earthquakes, the population of St. Louis was a mere 2,000. In terms of lives and property, the destruction that would be caused if a similar quake were to strike today is incalculable, he said.

And though there is no way of knowing when another quake will occur on the New Madrid Fault (notwithstanding Iben Browning's infamously wrong-headed forecast that disaster would strike on Dec. 3, 1990), it's inevitable that one will. "It could be tomorrow, or it could be 200 years from now," said Feldman. "But it will happen."

But for Feldman, the story of the earthquakes is an opportunity to explore the complex political, economic, technological and environmental events of the era. And he has a great story to tell: of government corruption, Indian wars, murder and brutality on a lawless frontier, class warfare that pitted rich against poor in the rush for new lands in the West, environmental degradation in the East that drove farmers to settle farther and farther inland, and coincidences almost too strange to credit.

The book weaves together five strands, including the story of the first steamboat to ply the Mississippi and a slave murder that was first covered up and then literally uncovered by the force of the earthquake.

But perhaps one of the most powerful threads has to do with the battle between American Indians and white settlers. Shortly before the earthquakes, Feldman said, the charismatic Shawnee chief (and prophet) Tecumseh passed through the area trying to recruit the Creek nation as allies in his war against the westward expansion of white settlers. Meeting resistance by one of the Creek chiefs, Tecumseh pledged that upon his return to Detroit, he would stomp his feet and knock down all the houses in the Creek village.

The Creek counted the days, estimating when Tecumseh would return to Detroit, and though we now know that he was nowhere near Detroit when the quakes hit, hit they did, making an extraordinary impression on the Creeks and drawing them into what would become first a disastrous civil war among the tribe and then a war against the United States that would catapult Andrew Jackson into military fame and the White House.

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Hurricane season set to be stormy

Hurricane Dennis could be an ominous sign of tempestuous times ahead, with more storms than usual set to pummel the Atlantic, British scientists warn.

Researchers from the Benfield Hazard Research Centre in London used a new model to predict a very active season.

Between July and October, they say, nine hurricanes will probably hit the Atlantic basin as a whole.

The main driving force is likely to be unusually warm sea temperatures in the tropical North Atlantic.

If the predictions come true, this will be the Atlantic's second bumpy year in a row, after 2004 saw hundreds killed and billions of dollars worth of damage caused by Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne.

"Following the ravages of 2004, the current and projected climate signals now suggest that we should prepare for another exceptionally active Atlantic season in 2005, a factor which underlines the ongoing need for vigilance on the part of government and citizens alike," Mark Saunders of the Benfield Hazard Research Centre (BHRC) said.

Hurricane indicators

To predict the ferocity of the forthcoming hurricane season, the team studied the July-September forecasts for wind speed and surface water temperatures through the Caribbean and tropical North Atlantic.

These two factors are important because warm surface waters can trigger hurricanes, while wind speeds dictate how savage they become and whether or not they head inland.

Based on current and projected climate signals, the Tropical Storm Risk (TSR) consortium, which is led by the BHRC, predicts:

  • A 97% probability of an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season
  • 15 tropical storms for the Atlantic basin as a whole, with nine of these being hurricanes and four intense hurricanes
  • Five tropical storm strikes on the US, of which two will be hurricanes
  • Two tropical storm hits, including one hurricane on the Caribbean Lesser Antilles.

Early arrival

The forecast spate of hurricanes in 2005 is part of a multi-decadal cycle of fluctuating sea temperatures.

"It is a natural cycle of a period of about 50 or 60 years," Professor Saunders told the BBC News website.

"The last peak of activity was in the 1950s and scientists have mapped this pattern of warming and cooling of Atlantic sea temperatures back about 150 years, so they have two or three cycles of it."

However, Professor Saunders believes that global warming might be contributing to the problem.

"I think one has to wonder whether at least part of this activity could be due to global warming," he said. "Certainly, sea temperatures where hurricanes form have been the warmest on record over the last year or two."

Indeed, Dennis's early arrival is very irregular, and is yet another indication of the rough ride ahead.

"This year is quite unusual in that there is so much early activity," Professor Saunders said. "Dennis is only the second major hurricane to strike America in July. The other one happened in 1916.

"Often seasons which have high activity in July tend to be active for the whole season."

Comment: When it isn't "terrorists", it is Mother Earth herself towards whom we must be "vigilant". There is danger all around. Be scared. Be very scared.

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