Tuesday, July 26, 2005                                               The Daily Battle Against Subjectivity
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Save Me From Myself
By Julian Sanchez, Reason
Posted July 23, 2005

Are we truly responsible for our own actions? One writer's exploration of 'parentalism' -- the fear of personal freedom -- and learning how to celebrate our choices, both good and bad.

I recently went out for a bout of activist carousing with Ban the Ban, a group opposed to the District of Columbia's proposed ban on smoking in bars and restaurants. I had expected to see plenty of heated arguments about the merits of the ban between smokers and non-smokers, and I did. I had not expected to see non-smokers attacking the ban on principle locked in debate with smokers who, between languorous puffs and grey exhalations, welcomed it as a means of reducing their own smoking.

If the argument--one I heard more than once from D.C. barflies--sounds strange, it is not, at any rate, rare. When New York City was mulling its own smoking ban, one young "man on the street" interviewee told the Village Voice: "I'd actually be all for it, which is odd since I am a smoker myself. I think it might make me smoke less. The increase in the cost of a pack of cigarettes hasn't stopped me from smoking. I just have friends who come up to visit from Florida bring cartons for me."

If we ignore for a moment the morality of endorsing a public restriction as a means to a personal self-help project, this is in one sense a perfectly ordinary thought. We are all, sometimes, afflicted with akrasia, those attacks of weak will that lead us to satisfy fleeting desires at the expense of our own acknowledged long-term interests.

Like Ulysses lashed to the mast, we empty the pantry of sweets, hire pricey personal trainers, join rehab groups, or loudly announce an intention to start working on that novel, knowing how embarrassed we'll feel if there's no progress to report when a friend asks how it's coming. Markets duly respond to our demand for self-restraint: Virgin Mobile recently introduced an anti-drunk dialing feature that allows users embarking on a pub crawl to block themselves from calling up that ex until the following morning.

There may even be ways for government to help us combat akrasia without overly restricting our freedoms. In his recent book The Ethics of Identity, philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah offers (as a thought experiment more than a serious policy proposal) the example of the "self management card." When we go shopping for smokes or fatty foods or alcohol or a dose of heroin, Appiah imagines, the store is required to swipe our cards to ensure we haven't gone over a self-imposed limit, set by logging on to a special website set up for that purpose. An actual card of that sort would, of course, be a privacy nightmare, but it shows that attempts to help people make sound decisions need not be paternalistic.

Normal and necessary as these akrasia-countering mechanisms may be, though, they may also be symptoms of what Nobel laureate economist James Buchanan has dubbed "parentalism." Buchanan's term is not to be confused with paternalism, the familiar idea that sometimes people--other people--need to be restrained for their own protection from making poor choices. (In some cases, as with children or the severely mentally handicapped, this may well be right.) Parentalism is in a sense more insidious: It emerges when we begin to suspect that we ourselves are not competent to make our own choices, to yearn for someone to relieve us of the burden of choice. As Buchanan puts it:

[Economists and political theorists] have assumed that, other things being equal, persons want to be at liberty to make their own choices, to be free from coercion by others, including indirect coercion through means of persuasion. They have failed to emphasize sufficiently, and to examine the implications of, the fact that liberty carries with it responsibility. And it seems evident that many persons do not want to shoulder the final responsibility for their own actions..[They] want to be told what to do and when to do it; they seek order rather than uncertainty, and order comes at an opportunity cost they seem willing to bear.

The thought is not novel to Buchanan. Jean-Paul Sartre described the "anguish" that comes with our realization that we are "condemned to be free." Marxist psychologist Erich Fromm diagnosed the totalitarian movements of the 20th century as symptoms of an urge to "escape from freedom," from the displacement of a feudal world in which identities were given--a place for everyone, and everyone in his place--with a capitalist order that made who we were and what we were to become seem dizzyingly contingent.

How much more true is that when the lodestones by which we navigated that sea of choices--religious communities, or localities with their own longstanding mores--are themselves objects of choice on the market, in an increasingly interconnected and mobile world that arrays communities and faiths before us like so many cans of soup on a Whole Foods shelf.

Contemporary theorists of choice paralysis sometimes talk as though the problem with abundant freedom of choice were merely that the cognitive demands of navigating modern markets' plenitude are uncomfortably high. Yet if that were so, then adaptive mechanisms to filter our choices--and, as described above, winnow out some of the tempting but destructive ones--would be the simple solution.

For the true parentalist, though, this will be unsatisfying, for the true parentalist wants to escape not just the burdens of the act of choosing, but the responsibility for making a poor choice. Voluntary market mechanisms for filtering or restraining choice will always, ultimately, have an escape clause: We can fire the personal trainer or tell our friends we've changed our minds about that diet or quitting smoking after all. And, in the final analysis, they allow us only to defer responsibility, not avoid it. The expert I consulted may have given me bad advice, yet I may still blame myself for a poor choice of experts.

There are plenty of practical problems with the parentalist impulse. As economist Glen Whitman notes in a forthcoming Cato Institute paper, we cannot assume we always help people by giving preference to their "long term" over their "short term" interests. Imagine an aging man in ill-health lamenting his sybaritic youth. We are tempted to say that his younger self, seeing the pleasures immediately available to him and giving short shrift to their long term consequences, exhibited a foolish bias toward the present. But surely it's also possible that his older self, faced with the proximate pains and inconveniences of poor health, discounts the pleasures past he'd have forsaken had he been more health-conscious. If we're prone to the first form of cognitive bias, why not the second?

Whitman also argues that, just as simple Pigovian taxes on pollution may be less efficient than allowing market negotiation to determine how much pollution will be produced in what location, sin taxes, smoking bans, and other parentalist attempts to spare our future selves the costs of our present choices may displace a rich variety of mechanisms for self-restraint that would match the rich variety of risk profiles and time-discount rates we find among members of a pluralistic society.

And as the young man interviewed by the Village Voice demonstrated, we can be ingenious at outwitting imposed restraints--even those we welcome in principle. We may find ourselves running up bigger credit card bills to buy more sin-taxed Twinkies and cigarettes, or traveling inconvenient distances to find a smoke friendly bar.

But perhaps a more important problem with parentalism is that it licenses what Sartre called "bad faith," the attempt to avoid the burdens of responsibility by denying our own freedom. Classical liberals may even inadvertently encourage this by speaking of responsibility as "the other side" of freedom, as though it were the spinach that had to be cleared away before getting to desert. But is that really so?

When we make trivial choices--what to have for dinner, what movie to see, which CD to buy--what we most value is the freedom to select without constraint from many options. Yet when it comes to our most central choices--what kind of person am I to be, what work will I find rewarding?--we may take as least as much satisfaction in the feeling of responsibility for our choices, in knowing that we have shaped a life that is ours even when we have chosen badly.

Classical liberals have become good at explaining how the market order they favor promotes freedom and happiness. They have been less adept at explaining why--at least past a certain point--people ought to want that freedom, which when genuine is always at least a little frightening. In the face of the parentalist impulse, we may need to develop the case that our bad choices, the choices that make us unhappy, are as vital and precious as the ones that bring us joy.

Julian Sanchez is an assistant editor at Reason. He lives in Washington, D.C.

Comment: Reread the following excerpt:

Marxist psychologist Erich Fromm diagnosed the totalitarian movements of the 20th century as symptoms of an urge to "escape from freedom," from the displacement of a feudal world in which identities were given--a place for everyone, and everyone in his place--with a capitalist order that made who we were and what we were to become seem dizzyingly contingent.

Today, we see the inhabitants of many nations trying to escape from freedom. While we often point out the absurdity of the creeping fascism promoted in the war on terror by our psychopathic leaders, the fact remains that many people seem to want that very fascism to bloom. The idea of terrorists crashing airliners into buildings terrifies people. The idea of terrorists bombing public transportation terrifies people. Losing our material comforts terrifies people. The simple act of dying terrifies people.

The simple solution - the one which requires no effort on our part - is to go along with the implementation of fascist governments. We think that our leaders wouldn't lie to us, so we can trust them to protect us and our families. If those governments believe that the removal of civil liberties and the use of torture is what it is going to take to keep us all safe, well so be it - as long as we don't have to take responsibility. If something goes wrong, we can blame the authorities.

"The torture of prisoners by US forces wasn't my fault! I was lied to by the government!"

The problem is, it doesn't seem to work that way. If we refuse to accept responsibility for our own actions and choices, someone else will act and choose for us. The refusal to make a choice and to allow Big Brother to do all the work for us is an explicit statement that we are handing over the responsibility to choose to our leaders. In giving up our choice - our free will - we are siding with our leaders. As such, we are just as guilty of whatever crimes they commit because they have acted in our name and with our explicit consent.

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Vanishing bombers and the mystery 'safe house'
By Dominic Kennedy, Adam Luck and Daniel McGrory
Times Online
July 26, 2005

DETECTIVES leading Britain's biggest manhunt made a desperate plea for public help last night as it emerged that there have been no sightings of the four suicide bombers since they fled five days ago.

Police named two of the men and released new pictures. Five people are being questioned but none is believed to figure strongly in the investigation.

None of the four main suspects has been seen since 1.05pm on Thursday, minutes after the bungled attacks. It emerged last night that the four attended Finsbury Park mosque, North London and that two received benefits to rent a council flat.

A Populus poll for The Times showed that 74 per cent of the public believe that terrorist bombings and scares are likely to be part of life in London in future. There is support for deporting foreign Muslims who encourage extremism while 70 per cent favour police powers to hold terrorist suspects for up to 90 days without charge.

Police know that three of the bombers assembled at Stockwell Underground station before 12.25pm last Thursday. Scotland Yard released a remarkable photograph of an unnamed suspect staring up as he stands on a Tube train waiting for his bomb to blow up.

The device made a harmless pop like a champagne cork before the train pulled into Oval station. At 12.35pm the man ran towards the exit, pursued by members of the public.

He ran towards the centre of Brixton, throwing away his top with the "New York" logo in Gosling Way, and was last seen in Tindall Street at 12.45pm. Hundreds of officers have been checking the bombers' known addresses and questioning associates. Police believe that they are at a prearranged safe house in London and fear that they could be preparing more attacks.

Officers spent last night searching the flat at Curtis House, a 13-storey block on a council estate in Bounds Green, North London, used by two of the bombers.

Police believe that this is where the devices were assembled. They were packed in clear plastic 6.25-litre food canisters made in India, which are sold at only 100 outlets in Britain.

Scotland Yard named two of the suspects after previous appeals for help drew a disappointing response.

They are the bus bomber, Muktar Said-Ibrahim, 27, thought to be Eritrean and who also uses the name Muktar Mohammed-Said, and Yasin Hassan Omar, a Somali, the Warren Street bomber. Both are thought to be asylum-seekers.

Omar, who was last seen vaulting a barrier at Warren Street station, has been the registered occupant of the flat since 1999.

Ibrahim, who was last seen in Hackney Road, East London, after his failed attempt to blow up a No 26 bus, shared it with him for the past two years.

Omar, received £88 a week in housing benefit to pay for the council property and also received income support, immigration officials say. Police are close to confirming the identity of the other two suspects and are trying to discover whether any of them attended any overseas training camps.

Officers were also understood last night to be interviewing Ibrahim's father, who lives in Stanmore, North London.

Sammy Jones, a mother of two, said that she recognised the men from photographs shown to her by detectives. "The man who I now know is called Muktar used to have a big bushy beard but he then shaved that off," she said.

Mrs Jones, 33, said that the group were seen carrying heavy cardboard boxes into Flat 58 on the ninth floor. Police are understood to have removed a fridge, possibly used to store the explosives.

Another neighbour, Vance Noor, 18, said that the bombers used to play for a Sunday football team of fellow Somalis.

Comment: Oh no! Not heavy cardboard boxes!! They could have contained...well...anything, really.

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London-Bound Flight Diverted to Boston
July 26, 2005

BOSTON - A flight from Los Angeles to London was diverted to Boston early Tuesday after three Pakistani passengers were reported acting suspiciously, but nothing amiss was found and the three were released after questioning, authorities said.

Comment: Maybe they were carrying a heavy cardboard box?

Flight 934 landed at Logan International Airport at 2:52 a.m. The three Pakistani citizens were taken into custody and questioned after other passengers complained that they were moving about the cabin, an FBI spokeswoman said.

Comment: Okay, so far this week we have:

  1. Don't run from the police
  2. Don't wear baggy clothing
  3. Don't keep anything large in your pockets that could be mistaken for a bomb, a boxcutter, or a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile
  4. Don't carry heavy cardboard boxes into your residence
  5. When flying, never move about the cabin

"Some of the individuals were in first class and another was in coach," spokeswoman Gail Marcinkiewicz said, and they were walking between the two sections of the plane.

Comment: Gee, do you think they might have been friends or relatives who wanted to talk to each other? Nah! Terrorists, for sure...

All three were later released and no charges were filed, she said.

"It's all being resolved," she said.

The three passengers were cleared to continue on to London's Heathrow Airport. Flight 934 was to depart Logan around 11 a.m., airport spokesman Phil Orlandella said.

Comment: What a surprise... Actually, it is kind of surprising. After all, the CIA could have just shipped them off to Egypt to be tortured to death in order to save face.

He said police searched the aircraft and found nothing suspicious.

State trooper Veronica Dalton said the three passengers had been "acting suspiciously and making the passengers nervous."

"The crew made the determination that they were going to land the plane in Boston," she said.

The three passengers were not identified.

A call to a United Airlines spokesman was not immediately returned.

Comment: It's good to know that the fear conditioning is working as planned...

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Italian court issues arrest warrants for more CIA agents
Last Updated Mon, 25 Jul 2005 13:54:29 EDT
CBC News

An Italian court has issued arrest warrants for six more alleged CIA agents, accusing them of helping kidnap an Egyptian Muslim cleric in 2003, a court official says.

In June, a judge issued warrants for 13 alleged CIA operatives, but turned down the requests for six others accused of involvement in the abduction of Osama Mustafa Hassan Nasr. Prosecutors appealed last week.

On Monday, a three-judge panel in Milan granted the warrants, a court official told the Associated Press, requesting anonymity.

The prosecutors allege that CIA agents snatched the radical cleric, also known as Abu Omar, from a Milan street in February 2003 and sent him to Egypt, where he says he was tortured.

The cleric was already being investigated in Italy as part of a terrorism inquiry.

The abduction was reportedly part of the Central Intelligence Agency's "extraordinary rendition" program that transfers suspects without any court approval to a third country, where they could be questioned and possibly tortured.

A report published in the Washington Post on June 30 said CIA chiefs in Rome briefed Italian officials prior to the purported operation. Italian and American officials agreed to deny any knowledge of the operation if it were ever made public, said the report.

Italy's government has denied any knowledge of the alleged operation.

Italian prosecutors have asked Interpol to help find the suspects and are preparing extradition requests.

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Fear in the city

After the July 7 bombings, much was made of London's defiance towards the terrorists. But today, following another anxious week, the capital's mood seems less sure. Can things ever return to normal, wonders Tim Dowling.

Tuesday July 26, 2005
The Guardian

I can pretty well pinpoint the moment when my own spirit of defiance started to fade. It was on Saturday morning. I was with the dog in the park opposite our house, chatting to a woman with a boxer while watching two uniformed policeman comb the undergrowth. It's not unusual to see police in Little Wormwood Scrubs; the place has of late become something of a centre of excellence for delinquents. It is unusual, however, to be ordered to leave the area by a plainclothes officer citing the presence of a suspicious device. It is strange to watch the whole park being festooned in police tape, to see cops with machine-guns and earpieces standing on the corner. A huge security cordon was thrown up, with our house inside it. At this point I was still feeling rather reassured by what I assumed was a ridiculous, if understandable, overreaction on the part of the police. People set fire to stolen scooters in our park, but they do not plants bombs there. We stood out on the front step in order to see what was happening, only to be told by a policeman that we must remain indoors. He was clearly looking for a phrase to describe the seriousness of the situation without telling us any more than he needed to. The words he chose were: "It's got nails in." That was when my defiance evaporated.

The spirit of the Blitz was invoked shortly after the bombings of Thursday July 7, and it seemed to resonate immediately. Those directly affected by the attacks - the injured, the emergency services, the families of those killed or hurt - did indeed behave with courageous stoicism, and Londoners took a little reflected pride in their dignity. Mayor Ken Livingstone, a divisive figure at the best of times, made an emotional statement which perfectly captured the mood of the capital, even though he was in Singapore. "Londoners will not be divided by the cowardly attack," he said, his voice angry and raw. "They will stand together in solidarity ... and that is why I'm proud to be the mayor of that city."

The next day people made their way to work, an act that was to become imbued with meaning. In different circumstances a business-as-usual approach to such a tragedy might have seemed callous, but those deeply affected by the bombings and those who were merely inconvenienced (I count myself firmly among the latter; I was in Paris) were united behind the idea that getting on with life sent the terrorists the right message. The buses filled up again. On Monday, Livingstone took the tube to work as normal, elevating the grim grind of the daily commute into a provocative political statement.

At the same time, the hastily set-up website Werenotafraid.com became a clearinghouse for various expressions of defiance, an almost direct response to the terrorists' online claim of responsibility, which asserted that "Britain is now burning with fear". Some of the postings on werenotafraid.com were moving, some were mawkish, a few strayed into reckless bravado, but the overall tone was one of simple solidarity, amplified by the huge number of respondents.

And in London things certainly seemed to be getting back to normal. Tourist numbers began to recover. Some 20,000 people turned up to the National Gallery's Stubbs exhibition last Wednesday. Despite stern warnings from the security services about the possibility of more attacks, it seemed like it would be a good long while before terrorists dared to test our vigilance again.

The second attack changed all that. While the display of defiance probably peaked at the impromptu street party in Shepherds Bush Green, which was brought to a halt after a bomb failed to go off on a nearby tube train, in retrospect this seemed like a slightly giddy reaction to what turned out to be an extremely close call. The half-certainties we had let ourselves adopt were shattered. We had hoped that Britain contained a fairly limited supply of home-grown suicide bombers; it was even possible that the first four had been tricked into sacrificing their lives. We can discount that idea now.

Since Thursday, carrying on as normal has become rather more difficult. No one was injured in the attacks, but I know people in Shepherds Bush who weren't allowed to go home for two days. In Kilburn, in Tulse Hill and Stockwell - parts of London previously enveloped in the safety of shaggy anonymity - residents found the anti-terrorist operation had arrived on their doorsteps. If most of us have thus far escaped tragedy, few Londoners remain untouched by fear. On Friday, the police shot an innocent Brazilian man in Stockwell station, and the potential for disaster expanded. It's not enough to spot terrorists on the tube, you must take active steps to avoid looking like one. Watching events unfold on television (interspersed with long, defiant stretches of cricket) I had the sense of things getting unpleasantly close to home, and that was before someone left a nail bomb in the park where my children play. I know this hardly compares to the Blitz, in which 43,000 Londoners perished, but I still find the idea of exhibiting pluck in the circumstances oddly draining. I feel lucky, but I don't feel plucky.

When Inter Milan tried to cancel its UK tour last week, Livingstone's outraged response rang curiously hollow. "The terrorists, I am sure, will be celebrating their decision," he said. "We cannot allow the terrorists to change the way we live or they will be very close to their aim." Who in London hasn't changed the way they live, or had it changed for them? I don't know about you, but yesterday I had to go through a police checkpoint to buy milk. People have stopped taking rucksacks out with them. They've stopped riding on the top deck of the bus. When it was first reported that bicycle sales had doubled in the capital, the statistic was interpreted as a plucky response to a badly damaged transport network - people were getting to and from work any way they could - but it may well turn out that a certain percentage of commuters have forsaken the tube permanently.

On Sunday morning, we were woken by the muffled crump of a controlled explosion. Although the bomb has been taken away, as I write this the police are still here and the park is still closed. I don't know whether I want them to stay or not. For the moment I live in unprecedented safety - a veritable gated community - but I must admit I'm now afraid; afraid that another attack is imminent, afraid of the idea of 3,000 armed police on the streets, afraid that London will never quite be the same again, afraid that my children will find out how afraid I am (don't worry, they'll never read this far). Carrying on as normal seems less politically freighted than it did two weeks ago, not least because it's no longer really possible, but you can't say that the terrorists have won just because the cops won't let the postman deliver my Amazon order.

'People even think pie-and-mash shops are a potential target'.
Londoners recount the many small ways in which their lives have been changed.

I haven't been into London since it happened. I'm not going to for two years. That's enough time for it to calm down.
Rodney Odai, 17, sports science student

My great aunt - with whom I never speak - called me from up north. She said, "Is everyone in the family still alive?" I said, "Yes". She said, "Grand", and put the phone down.
Lisa Morgan, 31, legal secretary

I'm a cyclist and the roads are a lot more crowded. The traffic's gone a bit mad. A friend of mine owns a bike shop and he's advertising bikes on Thursday and they're gone by Friday.
Alex Constantina, 42, carpenter and joiner

We have been where we intended but we have kept away from dark environments and we look for where your policemen are.
Mirko and partner, German tourists

An Indian friend of mine - English, but Indian parentage - always carries a rucksack and won't use the tube now. He says it's been the first time in years he's felt really aware of his colour.
Pippa Leech, social worker

This morning I travelled from Waterloo to Canary Wharf in the rush hour with 10 days' worth of clothes in a large rucksack. Nobody gave me a funny look or asked to search my bag, but I felt very self-conscious. I didn't do what I would normally do on the tube - abandon my bag at the end of the line of seats and sit in the nearest free one. Instead, I stood up for the five stops in order not to cause panicky "Whose bag is this?" type questions - and to avoid summary execution. I also find myself doing that awful bien-pensant thing of smiling reassuringly at all head-scarfed Muslims, so they know I don't blame them, extending the patronising white woman's hand of friendship across the racial and religious divide. Or something.
Grace Drummond, 30, doctor

I'm getting buses not tubes when travelling alone, getting cabs if I'm in a group and regularly - almost too regularly - checking the news. And I'm feeling irrational anger with people who I feel aren't playing by the rules - playing music loudly out of car stereos, shouting in the street and generally being a non-specific nuisance.
Alan, actor

I won't go in the front carriage of a tube train.
Lisa McEvoy, 42

I'm doing my best to carry on exactly as before. From what I've seen of people's reactions within London, they are the ones who are most determined to carry on as normal, whereas those who live outside London are the ones who are most concerned - so, ironically, those most directly affected are the most resilient, while those furthest away seem to be most fearful. But that's typical of all such scenarios - my brother spent five years living in Jerusalem with little fear of attacks, while all those outside the country assume it is a 24 hour warzone.
Adam Hoffman, 31, investment banker

I went shopping in yucky Brent Cross rather than Oxford Street today. I want my husband to leave in the morning so he's at work by 8.30, whereas before I'd want him to see the baby more in the morning as she's in bed when he gets home.
Emily Smith, 38, teacher

My housemate got off a train at London Bridge and took a cab home last week as there was someone acting strangely in his carriage. He was furious with himself, but what can you do?
Tom James

People even think that pie-and-mash shops are potential targets. I had lunch in one in Greenwich and a builder left his bag behind. People in the queue stopped talking and looked at it. The builder came back 20 seconds later looking red-faced. I heard people muttering, "Well, you just don't know, do you?" and "You can't be too careful." And that's a pie-and-mash shop.
Ben Farey, 28, journalist

This morning, I found myself walking on the inside of the pavement rather than on the roadside edge, to put some distance between myself and the buses. How ridiculous is that?
Jennifer Stone, 30, stylist

Interviews by Lucy Mangan

Comment: The psychological effects of the bombs are seen here. It is affecting people even if they don't want to be affected. For some people, it may take another bomb, and yet another, but the fear will come and settle. That is the goal of the real "terrorists", the one's in power in the US, in the UK, in Israel, to cow the population, to prepare them for any sacrifice necessary for "security".

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Two-thirds of Muslims consider leaving UK
Vikram Dodd
Tuesday July 26, 2005
The Guardian

Download today's poll in full (pdf)

Hundreds of thousands of Muslims have thought about leaving Britain after the London bombings, according to a new Guardian/ICM poll.

The figure illustrates how widespread fears are of an anti-Muslim backlash following the July 7 bombings which were carried out by British born suicide bombers.

The poll also shows that tens of thousands of Muslims have suffered from increased Islamophobia, with one in five saying they or a family member have faced abuse or hostility since the attacks.

Police have recorded more than 1,200 suspected Islamophobic incidents across the country ranging from verbal abuse to one murder in the past three weeks. The poll suggests the headline figure is a large underestimate.

The poll came as British Islamic leaders and police met to try to boost recruitment of Muslim officers, improve efforts to protect Muslims from a backlash, and improve the flow of information from Muslims to the police about suspected terrorist activity.

Nearly two-thirds of Muslims told pollsters that they had thought about their future in Britain after the attacks, with 63% saying they had considered whether they wanted to remain in the UK. Older Muslims were more uneasy about their future, with 67% of those 35 or over having contemplated their future home country compared to 61% among those 34 or under.

Britain's Muslim population is estimated at 1.6 million, with 1.1 million over 18, meaning more than half a million may have considered the possibility of leaving.

Three in 10 are pessimistic about their children's future in Britain, while 56% said they were optimistic.

Nearly eight in 10 Muslims believe Britain's participation in invading Iraq was a factor leading to the bombings, compared to nearly two-thirds of all Britons surveyed for the Guardian earlier this month. Tony Blair has repeatedly denied such a link.

Muslim clerics' and leaders' failure to root out extremists is a factor behind the attacks identified by 57% of Muslims, compared to 68% of all Britons, and nearly two-thirds of Muslims identify racist and Islamophobic behaviour as a cause compared to 57% of all Britons.

The general population and Muslims apportion virtually the same amount of blame to the bombers and their handlers, with eight in 10 or more citing these as factors.

The poll finds a huge rejection of violence by Muslims with nine in 10 believing it has no place in a political struggle. Nearly nine out of 10 said they should help the police tackle extremists in the Islamic communities in Britain.

A small rump, potentially running into thousands, told ICM of their support for the attacks on July 7 which killed 56 and left hundreds wounded - and 5% said that more attacks would be justified. Those findings are troubling for those urgently trying to assess the pool of potential suicide bombers.

One in five polled said Muslim communities had integrated with society too much already, while 40% said more was needed and a third said the level was about right.

More than half wanted foreign Muslim clerics barred or thrown out of Britain, but a very sizeable minority, 38%, opposed that.

Half of Muslims thought that they needed to do more to prevent extremists infiltrating their community.

· ICM interviewed a random sample of 1,005 adults aged 18 by telephone on July 15-17 2005. Interviews were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults. ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

Comment: Talking about whether or not the bombings are related to British involvement in the occupation of Iraq is difficult because the assumption behind it is that it was "Islamic terrorists" who planned and carried out the bombings. So if you say yes, then you are falling into the trap of believing the "Muslim = terrorist" lie. If you answer "No, they aren't related", then you fall into a trap because the polls don't hae a answer "It was the intelligence service of one of three countries: the US, the UK, or Israel". And the bombings are related to the war in Iraq because it is part of an international campaign of terror being unleashed upon the Muslin world and now the Western world by the real power that guides the planet towards ever greater chaos.

But we somehow doubt that there is a question or answer on the poll sheet that touches this aspect.

The polls exist to shape public opinion. The questions they ask and the answers they permit define the issues. They can even create an issue by asking a poll about it in order to plant it into people's minds.

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UK and France announce joint anti-terror measures

LONDON, July 25 (AFP) - Britain and France are to co-operate more closely on anti-terrorism following the London bombings, exchanging names of suspected Islamic extremists and other information, the countries' prime ministers said Monday.

"I think there was a great deal of common ground both in how we analyse and perceive this problem and also how we can best deal with it," British Prime Minister Tony Blair said following talks with French counterpart Dominique de Villepin.

The world was facing "difficult times", the French prime minister told a joint press conference at Downing Street with Blair.

France stood together with Britain following the July 7 London bombings in which 56 people died, and a botched follow up attack last Thursday, he added.

"I want to express to you, Tony, and to all the British people, the solidarity and the friendship of the French people," Villepin told reporters.

One part of the co-operation would be to "exchange the names of people we believe, in either of our countries, have been trying to incite or foment this type of extremism," Blair said.

Additionally, telecommunications records would be kept for longer and the countries would swap data on protecting vulnerable targets such as public transport and on combating radicalisation among young Muslims

British police are desperately hunting for four men -- two of whom they named on Monday -- suspected of trying to blow up three London subway trains and a bus on Thursday.

The men fled after their rucksack-carried bombs appeared to not detonate fully, causing no injuries.

"There will be people who know information about those that have participated or we believed have participated in this attack...," Blair said.

"There will be people who know something. It's part of our duty in order to protect our country that people come forward and give the police the information that they can," he said.

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Sharon seeks to open new chapter with France

JERUSALEM, July 25 (AFP) - Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will look to open a new chapter in frequently troubled ties with France during a visit to Paris this week, with President Jacques Chirac eager to help advance Middle East peace.

Relations have been blighted by past Israeli claims that Paris is pro-Palestinian and France anti-Semitic, and most recently by French medical care given to the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat before his death.

But Sharon aides were confident Monday that oil was being poured on troubled waters.

In what will be his first meeting with the French president in four years, Sharon's stay in Paris from Tuesday to Friday heralds a better dawn just weeks before Israel is to end its occupation of the Gaza Strip.

One aide was sufficiently upbeat to talk about "fresh air blowing through the Elysee", even going so far as to welcome "a much more active French role in solving the (Israeli-Palestinian) conflict".

"The time has come to turn a new chapter with Paris... We want to strengthen bilateral relations," said the official.

Improvements have been brewing since the March visit by Jean-Pierre Raffarin, when the then French prime minister called for both countries to "breathe new life" into their relationship.

It is a far cry from a July 2004 nadir when Sharon encouraged French Jews to flee "the wildest anti-Semitism". An icy Chirac said the Israeli premier was not welcome in France until Paris received an explanation.

Faced with a ban and speculation that he was merely trying to sideline a country often seen as sympathetic to the Palestinians, Sharon has since hailed Chirac's efforts to combat anti-Semitism as an example to others.

Tensions lingered on until later in the year when Israel criticised the French welcome and send-off laid on for Arafat who was rushed to a top Paris hospital for treatment before his death last November.

"France is no longer seen as the most hostile European country to Israel," said political analyst Akiva Eldar.

Instead he said such dubious honour has passed to Ireland, which officials saw as unduly critical during its rotating EU presidency last year.

In France, Chirac used an interview last week with Israel's leading liberal newspaper, Haaretz, to hail Sharon's "courageous" decision to disengage from the Gaza Strip and France's "strong relationship" with the Jewish state.

"In welcoming the prime minister to Paris, France sends a message of confidence to its friend, the conviction that peace is possible and the willingness to contribute," Chirac was quoted as saying.

Israel also welcomed the French- and US-sponsored UN Security Council resolution 1559 that called for the departure of all foreign troops, namely Syrian, and the disarming of militias groups, namely Hezbollah, in neighbouring Lebanon.

The Jewish state has also been publicly appreciative of an unequivocal denunciation by the French government of anti-Semitism in France.

A senior official at the Israeli foreign ministry said this week's visit would coincide with the publication of a French report detailing a dramatic drop in instances of anti-Semitism.

"Sharon is very sensitive about needing to recognise and thank Chirac's accomplishments on this matter," said the source close to Sharon.

Meanwhile the French interior ministry said that attacks and insults directed at Jewish targets in France fell by nearly 50 percent over the last year.

In the six months to June, 290 anti-Semitic acts were recorded in France compared with 561 in the same period in 2004 -- for a drop of 48.31 percent, the ministry said.

However three youths were arrested after bottles of acid were thrown against the wall of a Jewish school in Paris on Saturday, police said.

"There is no such thing as an anti-Semitic or racist act of minor importance. Whether it is a word or a gesture, whether or not there are victims, it is always serious," Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy said on a visit to the scene Monday.

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Dead Soldier's Family Hit by Vandals
July 26, 2005

FAIRFIELD, Ohio - Vandals tore American flags out of the yard of a dead soldier's family the day after his funeral, then set a car on fire, authorities said.

Army Pfc. Tim Hines died July 14 of complications of injuries he suffered last month in a roadside bombing in Baghdad. His funeral was Friday.

On Saturday, someone pulled the flags out of the family's yard, stuffed them under a car in the driveway and set the whole thing on fire. Firefighters doused the blaze and no one was injured, but the car was destroyed.

No arrests had been made by early Tuesday. Authorities offered a $5,000 reward for tips.

"As we get into this, we feel it was more of a crime of opportunity as opposed to a planned act," Police Chief Mike Dickey told CNN Tuesday morning.

Lt. Ken Colburn, a police spokesman, said authorities hope "that anyone stupid enough to do something like this will be stupid enough to talk about it and someone else will come forward."

Neighbors bought the family new flags. "I went by later that morning, Saturday morning, and there must have been 200 flags that had been brought in and reposted," Dickey said.

The car belonged to the sister-in-law of Hines. Fairfield is in Butler County, 13 miles north of Cincinnati.

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Islam to decide Iraq law as Sunni Arabs end boycott
Tue Jul 26, 6:22 AM ET

BAGHDAD - Sunni Arabs ended their boycott of a panel drafting
Iraq's constitution as a Baghdad newspaper published an early draft of the charter suggesting Islam will play a key role in the country's basic law.

Sunni Arabs said they could return to work on the constitution as early as Tuesday after ending a boycott called in protest at the killing of two of their colleagues last week.

Iraqi government leaders Monday agreed to several of their demands -- including allowing them to monitor a judicial investigation into the murders -- in an effort to get them back on board ahead of an August 1 deadline for the committee to hand over the draft to parliament.

The boycott had threatened to derail the constitutional talks and undermine their credibility with Iraq's Sunni minority which accounts for about one-fifth of the 27-million population.

The community, dominant under Saddam Hussein's regime and all previous Iraqi governments, is also under-represented in parliament as many of them boycotted the January elections.

Meanwhile, the Iraqi section of Al-Qaeda slammed as un-Islamic the drafting of Iraq's constitution.

"Drawing up the constitution is the worst of the initiatives against Islam," said a statement put out by an Islamist website.

"To say that the elections are the best solution to save Sunnis from the current crisis is an unfounded lie," said an unauthenticated statement from the judicial commission of Al-Qaeda's Iraq branch.

The government mouthpiece, Al-Sabah, published what it described as an early draft of the proposed constitution which specifies that: "Islam is the official religion of the State" and "the main source of legislation".

"No law that contradicts the universally agreed tenets of Islam may be enacted," specifies the draft text, which is still under discussion.

The draft's article 11 asserts that "fundamentalist" and "terrorist" ideology will be banned, along with the former Baath party of ousted dictator Saddam Hussein.

Under the current transitional legislation, put in place by US forces in March 2004, Islam was to be considered only "a source of legislation", and laws could not contradict "the principles of democracy" and civil rights.

But there was no reference in the new draft to having to take account of democracy or civil rights.

The Iraqi parliament is due to vote on a draft constitution by August 15, before it is put to a national referendum in October.

The present draft specifies that while "Islam defines the identity of the Iraqi people ... other religions must be respected".

"The Iraqi state belongs to two worlds -- Arab and Muslim," the draft also says, to take account of the non-Arab Kurdish minority.

Arabic is to be the country's official language, while Kurdish and Arabic will be the official languages spoken in the Kurdish north of the country and the two official languages used by the federal administration.

The name of the state would either be the "Republic of Iraq", or "Islamic Republic of Iraq" or "Federal Republic of Iraq", according to the draft.

Meanwhile, Polish Prime Minister Marek Belka and several of his ministers visited Baghdad Tuesday for talks with Iraqi premier Ibrahim Jaafari.

Poland has the third largest military contingent in the US-led coalition in Iraq, with 1,400 troops and commands a multinational force of around 4,000.

Belka's visit comes a day after Australian Prime Minister John Howard made a surprise landing in the Iraqi capital and promised to keep the 900 Australian soldiers in Iraq as long as Baghdad needed them.

In a violent incident late Monday, Pakistani truck driver Farman Allah was killed when his truck hit a roadside bomb near Balad, north of Baghdad, police said.

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Poland determined to keep troops in Iraq: PM
July 26, 2005

BAGHDAD - Visiting Polish Prime Minister Marek Belka said his country was determined to keep its military contingent of around 1,400 troops in Iraq.

"We are determined to maintain our military contingent in Iraq," Belka told reporters in Baghdad after meeting with Iraqi premier Ibrahim Jaafari.

He said in the future troops might focus on training missions, once stability returns to the war-torn country.

"The characterisation of the military may change from the present stabilisation mission to a training mission," he said.

Poland has the third largest contingent in the US-led coalition, with 1,400 troops in Iraq, and commands a multinational force of some 4,000.

Jaafari, who also addressed reporters, said he wanted Polish forces to stay in Iraq.

"We emphasised the need for Polish forces to be here ... to train our forces though we are progressing in handling security in various provinces without help from the multinational forces," Jaafari said.

Belka, who is accompanied by a Polish ministerial delegation, said his talks also touched on bilateral issues, including "economic development" of Iraq and other defence-related issues.

"We in Poland know what challenges are ahead in Iraq and we are proud to contribute (to the) stabilisation of Iraq," Belka said.

"We are determined to participate in the economic development of Iraq and our meeting today was mostly devoted to this issue."

He said the two leaders discussed a need to set up a mechanism between the two countries' defence ministries.

"As far as weapon sales or purchases are concerned, we discussed how our defence ministries can exchange information and coordinate and clear up any misunderstandings that may happen in inter-state relations," Belka added.

"We discussed a need to set up a mechanism between the two ministries to clear up any problems that may appear."

There have been reports of trouble involving the recent sale of Polish helicopters to Iraq.

Jaafari said he briefed Balek on the previous military contracts that Iraq had with Poland under ousted dictator Saddam Hussein.

"We also asked Poland to help support our services sector," the Iraqi premier said.

Belka said the two also discussed debt-related issues.

"We would not like to bring up this issue as Poland is in the middle of an electoral campaign, but we will recommend to the upcoming government to help Iraq as per international standards," he said.

Comment: Coalition of the Billing, indeed...

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Pope terror 'snub' angers Israel

Pope Benedict has yet to address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Monday, 25 July, 2005, 18:01 GMT 19:01 UK

Israel has summoned the Vatican's ambassador to explain why the Pope left the country off a list of those recently hit by terrorism.

Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday deplored attacks in "countries including Egypt, Turkey, Iraq and Britain".

Israel said he had failed to mention a 12 July suicide bombing in Netanya that killed five Israelis.

The foreign ministry said it would be interpreted as "granting legitimacy to... terrorist attacks against Jews".

"We expected that the new Pope, who on taking office emphasised the importance he places on relations between the Church and the Jewish people, would behave differently," the ministry said in a statement.

The Vatican embassy declined to comment.

Pope Benedict has accepted an invitation to visit Israel but has yet to comment on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in public since taking office in April.

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Court nominee does well in poll; Rove does not
By Susan Page
Tue Jul 26, 7:14 AM ET

Less than a week after President Bush chose a little-known federal appeals judge for the Supreme Court, nominee John Roberts can claim favorability ratings that many politicians would savor.

Bush strategist Karl Rove might envy them, too.

A USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll taken Friday through Sunday finds that 51% of Americans expect "a major fight" over Roberts in the Senate. But by 59% to 22%, those surveyed say he should be confirmed for the job.

Roberts' favorable-unfavorable ratings are a muscular 46%-13%; 19% haven't heard of him.

In contrast, by 34% to 25%, Americans have an unfavorable view of Rove; 25% have never heard of him. Seen by many as Bush's most powerful White House adviser, Rove has been in the news lately because of an investigation into whether administration officials illegally leaked the name of a CIA operative to reporters.

The controversy hasn't gripped the public's attention. Just half of those surveyed say they are following the story closely; one in five aren't following it at all.

Even so, 25% think Rove broke the law in the case. An additional 37% suspect that he did something unethical but not illegal. Just 15% say they think he didn't do anything seriously wrong.

Those surveyed are split almost evenly, 40%-39%, over whether Bush should fire him. By 49% to 31%, a plurality says he should resign. [...]

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Some Roberts Documents Being Released
Associated Press
Tue Jul 26, 2:25 AM ET

WASHINGTON - The White House won't release documents that Supreme Court nominee John Roberts prepared while working in the solicitor general's office from 1989-1993, even if senators who will judge his nomination request them, a senior administration official said.

Some documents from Roberts' work for two previous Republican presidents were being released Tuesday by the National Archives, and at the urging of Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., the White House was asking the Reagan presidential library to expedite the review of other Roberts records to determine what can be released.

But the White House will claim privilege for the work Roberts performed while serving as principal deputy solicitor general in the administration of former President George H.W. Bush.

"The Department of Justice will retain the confidentiality of those internal memos," said the official, who was not authorized to speak on the record.

With President Bush's first chance to shape the Supreme Court at stake, the White House is hoping to avoid the kind of showdown with Democrats over document requests that has stymied Senate confirmation of some of the president's other high-profile nominees.

Asked repeatedly to say whether the administration was open to making Roberts' writings as a former administration lawyer available, White House press secretary Scott McClellan avoided saying "no" outright on Monday.

"We want to work with the members of the Senate to make sure that they have the appropriate information so that they can do their job," McClellan said.

The documents issue could be critical as the Senate prepares to decide whether to confirm Roberts as Bush's replacement for retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

The documents being released Tuesday were from Roberts' tenure as special assistant to Attorney General William French Smith during the Reagan administration. For the first President Bush, Roberts held a key position in the solicitor general's office, which argues cases before the Supreme Court on behalf of the administration.

Some of Roberts' records already are publicly available at the Reagan library. Others still need clearance from representatives of the current president and former administrations, as required by law, and archivists.

Democrats have offered no indication that they plan an all-out battle against Roberts. But since his two-year tenure on the federal bench has left him with a limited public record, they have hinted they may seek memos, briefs and other documents he wrote while working for Reagan and the first President Bush to shed more light on his stands on such issues as abortion, the environment and federal jurisdiction.

Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., one of the centrists who stopped an earlier Senate fight over Bush's judicial nominees, urged the White House to be flexible with document requests.

"I'd hate to see us get into a battle over whether the administration was going to share documents instead of the basic question of is Judge Roberts deserving of confirmation to be a justice of the United States Supreme Court," Lieberman said Monday after meeting with the nominee.

No Democrats have said publicly they will fight the Roberts nomination. But Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., last week called for the White House to release all of Roberts' working papers from his time during the Reagan and George H.W. Bush years.

Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee have not yet revealed which documents they will ask for. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., suggested Monday she didn't think his solicitor general memos would be very important "unless it relates to confirming something that becomes a major question."

Sen. Patrick Leahy, top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, said material written in confidence while serving in an administration has been provided in the past - for instance by Reagan when he nominated William H. Rehnquist for chief justice.

The Senate's majority Republicans are expected to support the White House's decision. "I don't think it is appropriate for a lawyer to release documents they've produced for their clients," Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., said Monday.

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GOP Senators Push Detainee Treatment Rules
Associated Press
Mon Jul 25,11:29 PM ET

WASHINGTON - Senate Republicans pushed ahead Monday with legislation that would set rules for the treatment and interrogation of terrorism suspects in U.S. custody, despite a White House veto threat.

The Bush administration, led by Vice President Dick Cheney, is working to kill the amendments that GOP Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina want to tack onto a bill setting Defense Department policy for next year.

McCain, a former prisoner of war in Vietnam, and Graham, who spent 20 years as an Air Force lawyer, introduced the legislation Monday.
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner, R-Va., has endorsed the effort.

"What we're trying to do here is make sure there are clear and exact standards set for interrogation of prisoners," McCain said on the Senate floor.

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., shot back, "I reject the idea that this Defense Department and our Army and our military is out of control, is confused about what their powers and duties and responsibilities are."

Republicans said the measures were not toned down even though White House lobbying against them intensified late last week.

Cheney met with the three Republican lawmakers just off the Senate floor for about 30 minutes Thursday evening to object to detainee legislation. McCain said the meeting was the second in as many weeks between Cheney and top Armed Services members over administration concerns about the defense bill.

The administration said in a statement last week that President Bush's advisers would recommend a veto of the overall bill if amendments were added that restricted the president's ability to conduct the war on terrorism and protect Americans.

"They don't think congressional involvement is necessary," McCain said in an interview.

Senate aides estimate that nearly a dozen Republicans could be on board - which would be more than enough for the amendments to pass if Democrats support them as well.

Democrats have long criticized the administration on detainee treatment and have put forth their own amendments, including one by Sen. Carl Levin, the top Democrat on Armed Services, that would set up an independent commission to review detention and interrogation practices.

The White House opposes it, and Senate Republicans say they are pushing their detainee legislation in part as an alternative to the creation of such an independent panel.

"I think it's important to those who want to consider that commission to see that some members are taking very affirmative steps" on the detainee issue, Warner told reporters.

Talk of legislation regulating U.S. treatment of terror suspects has percolated on Capitol Hill since last year, when the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal in Iraq surfaced.

But the effort by leading Republicans to standardize treatment of terror suspects has gained steam over the past few months. Criticism by human-rights groups and lawmakers over the military's detainee camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, reached a fever pitch this spring amid fresh allegations of abuse and torture there.

One of McCain's amendments would make interrogation techniques outlined in the Army field manual - and any future versions of it - the standard for treatment of all detainees in the Defense Department's custody. The United States also would have to register all detainees in Defense Department facilities with the Red Cross to ensure all are accounted for.

Warner introduced a watered-down version of McCain's amendment that would give the defense secretary the authority to set standardized rules over detention and interrogation of terror suspects, but he denied that he offered the alternative because of administration pressure.

Another McCain amendment would expressly prohibit cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment of prisoners in U.S. custody no matter where they are held.

Graham's amendment would define "enemy combatant" and put into law the procedures the Bush administration already has in place for prosecuting detainees at Guantanamo. That framework includes the existance of military tribunals to determine who qualifies as an "enemy combatant" and parole-like boards to judge annually whether detainees continue to pose threats to the United States.

The amendment would, in effect, provide a congressional stamp of approval to the Bush administration's legal policies, including those for holding detainees indefinitely.

"This legitimizes what the courts have been telling us to do," Graham said.

McCain's amendments have the support of 14 retired military officers, including former Rep. Douglas "Pete" Peterson, D-Fla., a Vietnam veteran and prisoner of war.

Comment: Historically, Bush and gang haven't needed Congress' approval to do anything, but it seems they're going to get it anyway. It's fascism and it's perfectly legal, just like in Nazi Germany.

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McKinney reopens 9/11

Conspiracy theories implicating president aired at 8-hour hearing
By Bob Kemper
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Mon, 25 Jul 2005 03:13:37 -0700

The eight-hour hearing, timed to mark the first anniversary of the release of the Sept. 11 commission's report on the attacks, drew dozens of contrarians and conspiracy theorists who suggest President Bush purposely ignored warnings or may even have had a hand in the attack - claims participants said the commission ignored.

Washington - Revisiting the issue that helped spur her ouster from Congress three years ago, Rep. Cynthia Mc­Kinney led a Capitol Hill hearing Friday on whether the Bush administration was involved in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The eight-hour hearing, timed to mark the first anniversary of the release of the Sept. 11 commission's report on the attacks, drew dozens of contrarians and conspiracy theorists who suggest President Bush purposely ignored warnings or may even have had a hand in the attack - claims participants said the commission ignored.

"The commission's report was not a rush to judgment, it was a rush to exoneration," said John Judge, a member of Mc­Kinney's staff and a representative of a Web site dedicated to raising questions about the Sept. 11 commission's report.

The White House and the commission have dismissed such questions as unfounded conspiracy theories.

McKinney first raised questions about Bush's involvement shortly after the attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, generating a furious response from fellow Democrats in Washington and voters in Georgia, who ousted her in 2002.

"What we are doing is asking the unanswered questions of the 9/11 families," McKinney, a DeKalb County Democrat who won back her seat in 2004, said during the proceedings.

She rebuffed a reporter's repeated attempts to ask her why she would so boldly embrace the same claims that led to her downfall.

"Congresswoman McKinney is viewed as a contrarian," panelist Melvin Goodman, a former CIA official, said. "And I hope someday her views will be considered conventional wisdom."

Though she left the testimony and questioning of panelists to others, McKinney was the main attraction, presiding over more than two dozen participants, including the author of a book that claims the U.S. government had advance knowledge of the Pearl Harbor attack and allowed it to happen, and Peter Dale Scott, who wrote three books on President John F. Kennedy's assassination.

Georgia peanuts, Cokes and coffee were available to more than 50 attendees, whose casual dress was a decided change from the gangs of blue-suited lobbyists who usually crowd Capitol Hill hearings.

McKinney herself offered witnesses bottled water and found additional trash cans to place around the room.

Nearly a dozen 9/11 enthusiasts lined one side of the room, camcorders at the ready, broadcasting the hearing live over the Internet or recording it for later release. C-SPAN cameras documented the hearing, and a DVD recording of the proceedings will soon be available.

Ten people sat in a section reserved for family members of 9/11 victims.

"Nine-eleven could have been prevented," said Marilyn Rosenthal, a University of Michigan professor who lost a son in the attacks, echoing the premise of the hearing.

Panelists maintained that Bush ignored numerous warnings from the CIA, the Federal Aviation Administration, foreign governments and others who told him before 9/11 that Osama bin Laden was planning to attack the United States and that terrorists were likely to use hijacked airliners as weapons.

But why would the president or his administration want the 9/11 attacks to occur? Power, the panelists agreed.

In the wake of the attacks, the administration was able to greatly expand the president's power and the reach of the federal government, they said, but whistle-blowers and other potential witnesses who could have testified to the Sept. 11 commission about such things were either prevented from speaking or ignored in the commission's final report. Panelists called the commission's report "a cover-up."

"The American people have been seriously misled," said Scott.

Comment: For more information, start here and then read this article.

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Meet the New McCarthyites

Return of the Academic Witch Hunts
July 24, 2005

McCarthy-style witch hunts are coming back, and the first place we'll be seeing them is at Pennsylvania's public colleges and universities.

Under the innocent-sounding name "Academic Bill of Rights," a gaggle of right-wing "culture warriors" in the Republican-led Pennsylvania House recently passed HR 177, a resolution authorizing them to invade public colleges and universities armed with subpoenas to grill faculty on curricula, reading lists, exams, homework assignments, grading and teaching styles, and to take testimony from students, allegedly to determine whether their professors are fair or "biased."

The underlying assumption of the resolution--part of a nationwide campaign spearheaded by one-time SDS lefty and now rabid right-wing activist David Horowitz--is that America's colleges and universities have been overrun by leftist fanatics intent on banishing conservative ideas and punishing conservative or Christian students who dare to speak out.

The notion that leftists are in charge in academia, is as bogus as the notion that the media are dominated by liberals. The political mix on most campus faculties across the country is not much different from what you'd find in the broader community. Moreover, leftist teachers are no more likely to impose their ideas on students or to punish those who disagree than are rightists (maybe less), and in either case such behavior should and would likely be roundly condemned. (Any decent school has a mechanism for students to challenge political bias by a professor, and indeed Horowitz and his minions have been hard-pressed to show any hard evidence of such abuses.) Add to this the reality that at the higher you look in university administrations, through chairs to deans and provosts on up to presidents, the more conservative officials tend to be politically. At Pennsylvania's Temple University, for example, the University Senate voted resoundingly to oppose HR177 as a threat to academic freedom and free speech, yet the university president, David Adamany-technically an ex-officio member of the Senate--was quoted publicly as not seeing anything troubling about the legislative intrusion into academic affairs.

In my own limited experience in academia (which has included teaching at Alfred University, a small liberal arts institution, Ithaca College, a rather mainstream private institution with an emphasis on the arts, and Ivy League Cornell University), being overtly on the left was seen as a bit edgy, and perhaps even dangerous to one's tenure aspirations.

The Horowitzniks and Pennsylvania's HR177 backers also misunderstand, or deliberately misrepresent, the role of a university professor, particularly in the liberal arts fields like literature, political science, philosophy, sociology, etc., which is where their attention is focused.

University teaching, unlike elementary and high school instruction, should not be so much a "covering of the field" as an introduction to the idea of self-instruction and independent thinking. At its best, a college course should teach students how to pursue knowledge on their own, how to research and express their own ideas, and how to defend and, as needed, amend or even reject those ideas on the basis of free intellectual debate.

There is nothing wrong with having a teacher who presents a point of view, as long as that teacher is honest about it, and open to challenge. My favorite teachers when I was an undergraduate in the late '60s were precisely those professors who held strong views with which I disagreed vehemently, because they forced me to clarify my own thinking and to defend my own contrarian positions.

What Howoritz and the HR177 resolution backers seek is a bland, neutral academy where everyone keeps her or his ideas to her or himself. By bringing a legislative inquisition to campus, these people are really pursuing an agenda of intimidation and conformity, hoping to silence those in academe who may hold views out of synch with the national consensus. I taught once at a school that was like that: Fudan University in the People's Republic of China.

Pennsylvania is the first state where they've succeeded in passing a version of Howoritz's insidious redbaiting legislation. The anti-intellectual crew in Harrisburg was aided in its efforts by a state media that ignored their campaign until the measure had already passed. Pennsylvania's main newspaper, the Philadelphia Inquirer, ran no reports on House hearings on the resolution or even on the final vote. In fact, the Inquirer's first mention of the resolution-run after the measure had already passed--was an op-ed rant by a right-wing Penn State education professor who claimed, with no supporting evidence, that the state's public higher education institutions were under the tyrannical grip of minority and feminist professors.

In the 1950s, academics were attacked by Sen. Joe McCarthy and a gang of right-wing zealots who equated liberals and free thinkers with Communist fifth columnists and hounded many honorable teachers out of their jobs. Most Americans now recall that era in embarrassment. Horowitz and a bunch of right-wing legislative yahoos in Harrisburg, PA seem hell-bent on reviving that anti-intellectual witch-hunt.

Dave Lindorff is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His new book of CounterPunch columns titled "This Can't be Happening!" is published by Common Courage Press. Information about both books and other work by Lindorff can be found at www.thiscantbehappening.net.

He can be reached at: dlindorff@yahoo.com

Comment: The fact that Horowitz is pushing for penalties for those university professors who aren't conservative enough is obvious evidence that he does not seek a balance, but rather the implementation of a new form of McCarthyism that associates "liberals" with "terrorists". In true psychopathic fashion, he is accusing his opponents of committing the very acts that he himself is promoting.

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Only 13% of voters register for Haitian elections
www.chinaview.cn 2005-07-26 12:49:17

HAVANA, July 25 (Xinhuanet) -- Only 13 percent of eligible voters in Haiti have registered for the country's general elections due at the end of this year, official reports reaching here said on Monday.

To date, only 600,000 people have signed up for the vote, out of a total of 4.5 million eligible voters, due to the prevailing violence in large cities across Haiti, the reports said.

The low percentage of registrations has made the Haitian acting government consider the possibility of extending until September the deadline for registrations, originally scheduled for completion by August 9.

However, sympathizers of ex-president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who is living in exile in South Africa after being ousted in 2004, said many citizens are not interested in voting.

Since the ouster of Aristide, over 1,000 people have died due to violence and clashes between police and followers of Aristide.

Former ruling Lavalas Party has refused to participate in the elections unless Aristide is allowed to return to Haiti before the elections.

In spite of the existing chaos, Gerard Latortue, acting prime minister of Haiti, said that the elections will take place in October or November as planned.

Comment: Ever since the US-backed coup in Haiti that overthrw the democratically elected Aristide, you don't hear much about Haiti in the mainstream news: the deaths of Aristide supporters, the dire poverty. Remember this figure of how many Haitians are registered to vote when the media circus procleims that democracy has been restored there.

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Saddam Hussein's request for trial in Sweden turned down
www.chinaview.cn 2005-07-26 00:15:17

STOCKHOLM, July 25 (Xinhuanet) -- Deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, who faces trial on charges of crimes against humanity, will not be permitted to stand trial or serve his sentence in Sweden, Radio Sweden reported on Monday.

An official from the justice ministry said that Sweden has turned down a request by one of Hussein's lawyers for him to come here, and for the time being, Swedish authorities were unlikely to change their minds.

"We have said 'no'," justice ministry director Ann Marie Bolin Pennegaard said, referring to a request from one of Hussein's lawyers for him to either await trial, stand trial or serve his sentence in Sweden.

Pennegaard has sent the Swedish government's answer to Hussein's attorney Giovanni di Stefano, according to Radio Sweden.

"Sweden has no intention of filing a request to the competent authorities in Iraq for a transfer of Saddam Hussein to Sweden before his trial," Pennegaard said.

Giovanni di Stefano has said that Iraq's insurgency has made Baghdad far too dangerous a venue for the former leader's trial, and that the proceeding should be moved to another country.

"Baghdad couldn't even prevent the recent kidnapping and killing of the Egyptian ambassador. There are also many Iraqis whowant to see Saddam executed and many others who want to see him freed. That means the defense and prosecution would both be in danger there," di Stefano said.

He said Saddam's defense team has contacted the Swedish government about the possibility of holding such a trial in Sweden

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New Yorkers witness third bomb scares in two days
www.chinaview.cn 2005-07-26 03:10:42

NEW YORK, July 25 (Xinhuanet) --A day after two terror scares caused disruptions at Penn Station and Times Square, a suspicious package in downtown Brooklyn led to some real tense moment Monday.

Eyewitnesses say a black canvas attach case was found chained to a fire hydrant at the corner of Montague and Court streets across from Borough Hall Monday morning, and a police bomb unit was immediately called in to investigate the package.

An officer with the New York Police Department said the case was detonated by the bomb squad, and witnesses reported hearing what sounded like firecrackers and seeing smoke. However, police will not confirm the bag was exploded.

Law enforcement officials would only say the bag contained personal belongings.

According to people who work in the area, several buildings along Court Street were evacuated and a nearby court house was cordoned off while the investigation was being conducted. Subway service was also temporarily shut down at the Court Street station.

The incident comes just one day after there was a large police response to two separate terror scares in Times Square and at PennStation Sunday that turned out to be false alarms.

In the first event, a man put a suitcase on the counter of the station and claimed he had a bomb inside. The bomb threat forced the evacuation of the station, the Amtrak, commuter rails and subway trains were all stopped for about an hour.

Prosecutors said on Monday that the man, identified as Raul Claudio of the Bronx, was arraigned on charges of making a terrorist threat and falsely reporting an incident.

In another instance, police swarmed a double-decker tour bus inTimes Square when its driver reported that several passengers withbackpacks on board were acting suspiciously.

The passengers were all checked out, and the men in question were handcuffed, but no threat was found and the men were released.

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US corporal admits guilt in killing Iraqi officer
www.chinaview.cn 2005-07-26 05:40:44

WASHINGTON, July 25 (Xinhuanet) -- A young US soldier admitted on Monday that he was guilty of killing an Iraqi officer two years ago in Iraq and had tried to cover up the case by injuring himself.

Dustin Berg, a member of the Indiana National Guard, told the court at the military base of Fort Knox, Kentucky, that he felt guilty about shooting Hussein Kamel Hadi Dawood al-Zubeidi, a Iraqi security officer while they were on patrol together in November 2003.

A young US soldier Dustin Berg is facing court martial July 25 in the fatal shooting of an Iraqi police officer. Berg admitted that he shot the Iraqi officer, but said the November 2003 shooting was in self-defense.

The 22-year old corporal is facing a 18-month jail term and will be expelled by the Army for bad conduct.

In earlier investigations of the case, Berg had insisted that he shot Zubeidi in self defense, saying the Iraqi had pointed a rifle towards him and warned him not to report insurgent activities to the superiors.

In a hearing in May, the US soldier said he thought his life was threatened by Zubeidi at the time and denied any wrongdoing.

But on Monday, Berg pleaded guilty, admitting that he had invented the whole story and may have "acted too quickly".

After killing the Iraqi officer, Berg confessed, he shot himself with the dead man's rifle in an attempt to cover up the crime.

He was then sent to a hospital and was even awarded a Purple Heart medal from the military for "heroic acts" in Iraq.

Eventually, prosecutors found loopholes in his story and began the investigation.

The case is the latest of over a dozen court-martials of US soldiers for killing innocent Iraqis.

So far, at least eight US soldiers have been convicted or have pleaded guilty to charges related to deaths of Iraqis.

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Third group claims Sharm el-Sheikh bombings
www.chinaview.cn 2005-07-26 20:07:46

CAIRO, July 26 (Xinhuanet) -- A third group on Tuesday claimed in an Internet statement deadly bombings that rocked the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

The group, calling itself Egyptian Tawhid and Jihad, said the attacks were in response to US military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Three bombings hit a luxury hotel and a shopping area in Sharm el-Sheikh last Saturday, killing at least 64 people and injuring more than 100.

Soon after the attacks, an al-Qaida linked group claimed responsibility in an Internet statement. The group, calling itself the al-Qaida Organization in the Levant and Egypt, said the attacks were against "crimes committed against Muslims."

A second militant group, Mujahedeen Egypt, said it had carried out the attacks to drive Jews and Christians out of the country.

The authenticity of all three claims could not be verified.

Comment: More proof those Muslim terrorists are just plain crazy. They can't even get straight which of them were responsible.

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China Floats, America Sinks

Yuan kicks dollar butt by rejecting "free market"
By Greg Palast
Fri, 22 Jul 2005 10:48:07 -0700

In case you haven't the least idea what the heck it means for China to "float" its currency, let me put it in the language we economists use: China's float don't mean squat.

Yet our President, a guy whose marks in Economics 101 are too embarrassing to publish here, ran out to hail the fact that buying Chinese money will now cost more dollars.

The White House line to the media, swallowed whole, is that by making Chinese money (yuan) more expensive to buy with dollars, Americans will buy fewer computers and toys from China - and US employment will rise.

This will happen when we find Saddam's Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Economics Lesson #1: You can't change the value of goods by changing the value of the currency on the price tag. As my comrade Art Laffer wrote me, "If cheap currency makes your products more competitive, all automobiles would be made in Russia." Driven a Lada lately?

Economics Lesson #2: Don't take economics lessons from George Bush. Or Milton Friedman. Or Thomas Friedman. What that means, class, is don't believe the big, hot pile of hype that China's zooming economy is the result of that Red nation's adopting free market economic policies.

If China is now a capitalist free-market state, then I'm Mariah Carey. China's economy has soared because it stubbornly refused the Free and Friedman-Market mumbo-jumbo that government should stop controlling, owning and regulating the industry.

China's announcement that it would raise the cost of the yuan covered over a more important notice: China would bar foreign control of its steel sector. China's leaders have built a powerhouse steel industry larger than ours by directing the funding, output, location and ownership of all factories. And rather than "freeing" the industry through opening their borders to foreign competition, the Chinese, for steel and every other product, have shut their borders tight to foreigners except as it suits China's own industries.

China won't join NAFTA or CAFTA or any of those free-trade clubs. In China, Chinese industry comes first. And it's still, Mssrs. Friedman, the Peoples' republic. Those Wal-Mart fashion designs called, chillingly, "New Order," are made in factories owned by the PLA, the Chinese Peoples' Liberation Army.

In an interview just before he won the Nobel Prize in economics, Joe Stiglitz explained to me that China's huge financial surge - a stunning 9.5% jump in GDP this year - began with the government's funding and nurturing rural cooperatives, fledgling agricultural and industry protected behind high, high trade barriers.

It is true that China's growth got a boost from ending the bloodsoaked self-flagellating madness of Mao's Cultural Revolution. And China, when it chooses, makes use of markets and market pricing to distribute resources. The truth is, Chinese markets are as free as my kids: they can do whatever they want unless I say they can't.

Yes, China is adopting elements of "capitalism." And that's the ugly part: real estate speculation in Shanghai making millionaires of Communist party boss relatives and bank shenanigans worthy of a Neil Bush.

It is not the Guangdong skyscrapers and speculative bubble which allows China to sell us $162 billion more goods a year than we sell them. It is that China's government, by rejecting free-market fundamentalism, can easily conquer American markets where protection is now deemed passé.

And that is why the yuan has kicked the dollar's butt.

America's only response is to have Alan Greenspan push up real interest rates so we can buy back our own dollars the Chinese won in the export game. The domestic result: US wages drifting down to Mexican maquiladora levels.

Am I praising China? Forget about it. This is one evil dictatorship which jails union organizers and beats, shackles and tortures those who don't kowtow to the wishes of Chairman Rob - Wal-Mart chief Robson Walton. (Funny how Mr. Bush never mentions the D-word, Democracy, to our Chinese suppliers.)

Class dismissed.

GNN contributor Greg Palast, winner of the Financial Times David Thomas Prize for his writings on regulation, is author of The New York Times bestseller, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. Read and watch his interview with Nobelist Joseph Stiglitz for BBC Television at www.GregPalast.com.

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Flu mutates quicker than thought

Flu viruses can swap many genes rapidly to make new resistant strains, US researchers have found.

Scientists previously believed that gene swapping progressed gradually from season to season.

The National Institutes of Health team found instead, influenza A exchanged several genes at once, causing sudden and major changes to the virus.

The findings in PLOS Biology suggest strains could vary widely each season, making it potentially harder to treat.

Sudden mutations

They also increase concerns about bird flu mutating to spread readily between humans.

Each year, experts must predict which strains will be most common and design new vaccines to fight them.

Dr David Lipman and colleagues looked at strains of influenza A that had circulated between 1999 and 2004 in New York.

These strains had given rise to the so-called Fujian strain H3N2 that caused a troublesome outbreak in the 2003-2004 flu season because the vaccine made that winter was a poor match for the virus.

Dr Lipman's team found wide variations in the 156 strains that they analysed.

Some of the strains had at least four gene swaps that had occurred in a short time period.

"The genetic diversity of influenza A virus is therefore not as restricted as previously suggested," said the researchers.

This suggests that scientists need to study circulating flu viruses more carefully because important mutations can occur suddenly and without warning, they said.

Threat of an outbreak

Scientists have been particularly worried recently about avian flu mutating and acquiring the ability to spread from human to human.

If it does, it could kill millions worldwide.

Last week, the UK government announced it would stockpile two million doses of vaccine to combat the H5N1 strain of bird flu currently circulating in Asia to protect key medical and emergency workers across Britain against a possible global pandemic.

Dr Maria Zambon, flu expert at the Health Protection Agency said: "This research confirms the genetic diversity of influenza viruses and underscores potential for reassortment."

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Death toll in China's mystery illness rises to 19; 17 in critical condition
07:31 AM EDT Jul 26

BEIJING (AP) - Of the 80 people infected with a pig-borne disease in southwestern China in the past month, nearly a quarter have died and another 17 are in critical condition, the Health Ministry said Tuesday.

At least 19 people are now known to have died in Sichuan province, the ministry said. None of the infections was transmitted through human-human contact, it said. Victims of the disease suffer high fever, bleeding under the skin and poisoning-related shock, the ministry said.

"According to research and lab test results, experts believe the disease is caused by streptococcus suis," a disease commonly carried by pigs, the ministry said in a statement. "People were infected because they slaughtered and processed sick and dead pigs."

The deaths sparked fears of another outbreak of SARS or avian flu, or of a new sickness emerging from China's south, which has been the breeding ground for diseases that jump between animals and humans because of their close proximity.

The latest infections were spread throughout 75 villages and 40 towns near the cities of Ziyang and Neijiang, the ministry said.

"We are looking at not just a bacteria being active in one herd of pigs but over a fairly wide area, with isolated villages," said Bob Dietz, a spokesman for the World Health Organization's regional office in Manila. "Gathering information in that sort of situation is difficult."

While China has been open with information on the outbreak so far, WHO was keeping watch on the situation.

"We see this as a serious situation which bears close monitoring," Dietz said. "This is a disconcertingly high mortality rate."

China and Hong Kong have seen similar outbreaks in the past but the scales were unknown because surveillance systems weren't as active before, he said.

"Our review of the literature says this appears to be bigger than in the past," Dietz said.

Government officials have been "destroying infected pigs, eradicating contagious channels and treating patients," the China Daily newspaper said.

Farmers have been forbidden to slaughter and process infected pigs, the Health Ministry said.

State television showed masked doctors at a hospital examining patients who were on intravenous drips.

On Tuesday, health officials in Sichuan wouldn't release details about the outbreak beyond confirming the number of dead and sick.

A woman who answered the telephone at the Ziyang No.1 People's Hospital, where most of the patients were being treated, said they were not allowed to speak to the media.

China was criticized during its outbreak of severe acute respiratory disease for its slow response to pleas for information. The epidemic killed nearly 800 people worldwide before subsiding in July 2003.

The government is also trying to contain an outbreak of avian flu in its west, where thousands of migratory birds have died in recent weeks.

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Blistering heat wave causes more misery across the U.S. Midwest and East
07:31 AM EDT Jul 26

(AP) - A large swath of the U.S. suffered through another miserable day of sizzling temperatures and steamy humidity Monday - a deadly heat wave that had people cranking up air conditioners, scrambling to cooling shelters and running through sprinklers in the park.

Temperatures neared 40 C in several cities, and the National Weather Service posted excessive heat warnings and advisories from Illinois to Louisiana and from Nebraska to the District of Columbia.

"It feels like basically just walking around in an oven," said 20-year-old McDarren Paschal as he mowed grass at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio.

The heat has caused numerous deaths. In the Phoenix area alone, 24 people, most of them homeless, have died.

City workers in Chicago checked on elderly residents and shuttled people to cooling centres Monday, hoping to avoid a repeat of a disastrous 1995 heat wave that killed 700 people. Wilmington, Del., set up sprinklers in city parks so people could run through the spray to cool off. A social service agency in Oklahoma City handed out fans to elderly people who didn't have air conditioning.

Sherri Ball went to a cooling centre in Peoria, Ill., because her window air conditioner couldn't keep up with the heat, a day after the mercury hit 38 C in the central Illinois city for the first time in a decade.

"It's hot and I can't breathe when it's real hot outside," said the 46-year-old Ball.

In other states, at least three deaths have been blamed on the heat in Missouri this summer, and authorities were looking into the death of a woman found Sunday in a home without air conditioning. Four people have died of the heat in Oklahoma, two of them young children left in cars, and at least three heat deaths have been tallied in New Jersey.

Some 200 cities in the West hit daily record highs last week, including Las Vegas, Nev., at 117, and Death Valley soared to 129, the weather service said.

A break in the heat was on the way, at least for the Midwest.

A cold front brought rain Monday to parts of Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin, and was on its way to crossing Illinois, Missouri and Indiana on Tuesday, said Ed Shimmon, a weather service meteorologist in Lincoln, Ill. He said rainfall will likely be scattered, but still welcome in the drought-stricken region.

Demand for electricity to run air conditioners has hit near-record peaks from Southern California to the region served by the Tennessee Valley Authority. The load on generators caused a power outage in St. Louis County, Ill., where more than 900 customers were still without electricity Monday.

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Ancient phallus unearthed in cave
By Jonathan Amos
BBC News science reporter

It may also have been used to knap, or split, flints

A sculpted and polished phallus found in a German cave is among the earliest representations of male sexuality ever uncovered, researchers say.

The 20cm-long, 3cm-wide stone object, which is dated to be about 28,000 years old, was buried in the famous Hohle Fels Cave near Ulm in the Swabian Jura.

The prehistoric "tool" was reassembled from 14 fragments of siltstone.

Its life size suggests it may well have been used as a sex aid by its Ice Age makers, scientists report.

"In addition to being a symbolic representation of male genitalia, it was also at times used for knapping flints," explained Professor Nicholas Conard, from the department of Early Prehistory and Quaternary Ecology, at Tübingen University.

"There are some areas where it has some very typical scars from that," he told the BBC News website.

Researchers believe the object's distinctive form and etched rings around one end mean there can be little doubt as to its symbolic nature.

"It's highly polished; it's clearly recognisable," said Professor Conard.

The Tübingen team working Hohle Fels already had 13 fractured parts of the phallus in storage, but it was only with the discovery of a 14th fragment last year that the team was able finally to put the "jigsaw" together.

The different stone sections were all recovered from a well-dated ash layer in the cave complex associated with the activities of modern humans (not their pre-historic "cousins", the Neanderthals).

The dig site is one of the most remarkable in central Europe. Hohle Fels stands more than 500m above sea level in the Ach River Valley and has produced thousands of Upper Palaeolithic items.

Some have been truly exquisite in their sophistication and detail, such as a 30,000-year-old avian figurine crafted from mammoth ivory. It is believed to be one of the earliest representations of a bird in the archaeological record.

There are other stone objects known to science that are obviously phallic symbols and are slightly older - from France and Morocco, of particular note. But to have any representation of male genitalia from this time period is highly unusual.

"Female representations with highly accentuated sexual attributes are very well documented at many sites, but male representations are very, very rare," explained Professor Conard.

Current evidence indicates that the Swabian Jura of southwestern Germany was one of the central regions of cultural innovation after the arrival of modern humans in Europe some 40,000 years ago.

The Hohle Fels phallus will go on show at Blaubeuren prehistoric museum in an exhibition called Ice Art - Clearly Male.

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Tropical Storm on Path Toward Bermuda
Tue Jul 26, 6:32 AM ET

MIAMI - Tropical Storm Franklin was continuing its slow, erratic path toward Bermuda early Tuesday.

A tropical storm watch was issued for the western Atlantic islands, where forecasters said Franklin could drop 2 to 4 inches of rain.

"The erratic motion is not unusual for a weak and small tropical storm that is not very well organized," said Richard Knabb, a hurricane specialist at the
National Hurricane Center in Miami.

Franklin also could soon weaken to a tropical depression, Knabb said.

At 5 a.m., the storm was about 200 miles west-southwest of Bermuda, crawling north-northeast at 5 mph with top sustained winds near 40 mph.

Tropical storms have top sustained winds of at least 39 mph.

On Monday, the National Hurricane Center discontinued advisories on the former Tropical Storm Gert, which had faded to a tropical depression as it moved over Mexico.

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Russia's Biggest Spammer Brutally Murdered in Apartment
Created: 25.07.2005 16:29 MSK

Vardan Kushnir, notorious for sending spam to each and every citizen of Russia who appeared to have an e-mail, was found dead in his Moscow apartment on Sunday, Interfax reported Monday. He died after suffering repeated blows to the head.

Kushnir, 35, headed the English learning centers the Center for American English, the New York English Centre and the Centre for Spoken English, all known to have aggressive Internet advertising policies in which millions of e-mails were sent every day.

In the past angry Internet users have targeted the American English centre by publishing the Center's telephone numbers anywhere on the Web to provoke telephone calls. The Center's telephone was advertised as a contact number for cheap sex services, or bargain real estate sales.

Another attack involved hundreds of people making phone calls to the American English Center and sending it numerous e-mails back, but Vardan Kushnir remained sure of his right to spam, saying it was what e-mails were for.

Under Russian law, spamming is not considered illegal, although lawmakers are working on legal projects that could protect Russian Internet users like they do in Europe and the U.S.

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Magnitude 5.6 Earthquake - WESTERN MONTANA
2005 July 26 04:08:35 UTC

A moderate earthquake occurred at 04:08:35 (UTC) on Tuesday, July 26, 2005. The magnitude 5.6 event has been located in WESTERN MONTANA. (This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.)

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