Monday, August 08, 2005                                               The Daily Battle Against Subjectivity
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'Thoughts read' via brain scans
BBC

Scientists say they have been able to monitor people's thoughts via scans of their brains.

Teams at University College London and University of California in LA could tell what images people were looking at or what sounds they were listening to.

The US team say their study proves brain scans do relate to brain cell electrical activity.

The UK team say such research might help paralysed people communicate, using a "thought-reading" computer.

In their Current Biology study, funded by the Wellcome Trust, people were shown two different images at the same time - a red stripy pattern in front of the right eye and a blue stripy pattern in front of the left.

The volunteers wore special goggles which meant each eye saw only what was put in front of it.

In that situation, the brain then switches awareness between both images, sometimes seeing one image and sometimes the other.

While people's attention switched between the two images, the researchers used fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) brain scanning to monitor activity in the visual cortex.

It was found that focusing on the red or the blue patterns led to specific, and noticeably different, patterns of brain activity.

The fMRI scans could reliably be used to predict which of the images the volunteer was looking at, the researchers found.

Thought-provoking?

The US study, published in Science, took the same theory and applied it to a more everyday example.

They used electrodes placed inside the skull to monitor the responses of brain cells in the auditory cortex of two surgical patients as they watched a clip of "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly".

They used this data to accurately predict the fMRI signals from the brains of another 11 healthy patients who watched the clip while lying in a scanner.

Professor Itzhak Fried, the neurosurgeon who led the research, said: "We were able to tell one part of a scene from another, and we could tell one type of sound from another."

Dr John-Dylan Haynes of the UCL Institute of Neurology, who led the research, told the BBC News website: "What we need to do now is create something like speech-recognition software, and look at which parts of the brain are specifically active in a person."

He said the study's findings proved the principle that fMRI scans could "read thoughts", but he said it was a very long way from creating a machine which could read anyone's mind.

But Dr Haynes said: "We could tell from a very limited subset of possible things the person is possibly seeing."

"One day, someone will come up with a machine in a baseball cap.

"Then it really could be helpful in everyday applications."

He added: "Our study represents an important but very early stage step towards eventually building a machine that can track a person's consciousness on a second-by-second basis.

"These findings could be used to help develop or improve devices that help paralyzed people communicate through measurements of their brain activity.

But he stressed: "We are still a long way off from developing a universal mind-reading machine."

Dr Fried said: "It has been known that different areas of the temporal lobe are activated by faces, or houses.

"This UCL finding means it is not necessary to use strikingly different stimuli to tell what is activating areas of the brain."

Comment: The first thought that comes to mind in reading this article is that if this is what is being made public, then they are probably much further along in the military and intelligence applications of this technology. We are well aware that much research is condiucted in above top secret programmes that are never made public. Floating a story such as this serves as a form of disinformation because it allows the average citizen to be made aware that such research is underway but boxes in their awareness because"we are still a long way off from developing a universal mind-reading machine".

The second thought is that they are admitting that at the present time "We could tell from a very limited subset of possible things the person is possibly seeing." Let's look at this admission.

If one were attempting to control an individual for a certain task or within a limited range of ideas, then being able to read "from a very limited subset of possible things" is all you would need.

In the study, subjects were shown scenes from Sergio Leone's epic masterpiece The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, an interesting choice of film from the point of view that Leone eschewed the simple dichotomy of good/bad and added a third term, "the Ugly". The Third Force? Having established the reaction of one subject to the scenes, the researchers were able to predict the fMRI signals from others, not difficult in a mechanical world of mechanical beings. But if they could do this for a spaghetti western, couldn't they also do this for a scene of a jetliner crashing into a tall office building?

Of course, reading reactions is one thing. Sending a message the other way is something else.

According to declassified financial records and the testimony of retired C.I.A. officers, the C.I.A. had by 1961 developed implant devices for dogs, making it possible for their handlers to guide them through various courses by remote control. During this same time frame they also developed techniques for disrupting bodily functions with radio waves. By the mid-1960's they had successfully developed and field-tested nonaural voice communications with both radio and micro waves; and by 1977 they had developed and field-tested a rudimentary form of electromechanical "mind reading." But despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, they have steadfastly maintained that they failed entirely in their quest to control the human mind. [Cited in Mass Mind Control by Laura Knight-Jadczyk]

Richard Dolan writes in his well-documented book UFOs and the National Security State:

The most noteworthy feature of the American national security state during the late 1960s was its covert pervasiveness throughout American society. First, Hoover's FBI. In 1968, the bureau initiated a COINTEL program [...]

Next to the bureau, the military intelligence services became the most important component of the domestic intelligence scene. Army intelligence had nearly unlimited funds, extensive manpower, specialized personnel, deep planning and training resources, and the most sophisticated communications and data processing capability. [...] The army's intelligence surveillance did not focus on tactical and reconnaissance data, but on political and ideological intelligence within the United States. (This was wholly illegal.) [...]

Then there was the CIA. By the late 1960s, there were more spies than diplomats in the State Department, or employees in the Department of Labor. [...] When the Weather Underground, a radical splinter of the SDS, had an "acid test" to detect agents provocateurs, they had no idea that the CIA had been tripping on LSD throughout the 1950s, creating a special caste of "enlightened agents" for precisely these occasions. [Based on this, we wonder about "agents provocateur" in the New Age and UFO community who are "specially trained?"]

The agency continued its work on mind control. Following the work of Dr. Jose Delgado [experiments in] Electrical Stimulation of the Brain [were conducted.] This involves implanting electrodes into the brain and body, with the result that the subject's memory, impulses, and feelings could all be controlled. Moreover, ESB could evoke hallucinations, as well as fear and pleasure. "It could literally manipulate the human will at will," [said Dr. Rober Keefe, a neurosurgeon at Tulane University.]

In 1968, George Estabrooks, another spook scientist, spoke indiscreetly to a reporter for the Providence Evening Bulletin. "The key to creating an effective spy or assassin, rests in creating a multiple personality with the aid of hypnosis," a procedure which he described as "child's play."

By early 1969, teams within the CIA were running a number of bizarre experiments in mind control under the name Operation Often. In addition to the normal assortment of chemists, biologists, and conventional scientists, the operation employed psychics and experts in demonology.

Over at the NSA, all one can say with certainty is that its budget dwarfed all others within the intelligence community.

So mind control is not just something from the movies. It works on many levels, from the control of the media in shaping acceptable beliefs and defining what is "unthinkable", to more active technology that can beam thoughts and sounds into people's heads.

Looking at the sorry state of people's awareness in the United States today, we wonder how much of this is being used to keep the population docile and convinced that it can do nothing in the face of two stolen presidential elections, the 9/11 hoax and its subsequent neo-con expansionist agenda, and imminent economic collapse and flu epidemic?

Because let's get one thing straight: the people in power will stop at nothing to implement their plans. For decades, billions of dollars have been funneled into secret projects, many of which are staffed, or were, by scientists who were brought over from the "defeated" Nazi Germany, people whose scruples and moral character were apparent from the nature of the regime under which they honed their skills. If in the early sixties, these people were able to control dogs through implants, given the advance in technological sophistication in the intervening years, can we even imagine what they might be able to do today?

We look at the US today and we see a citizenry that largely accepts its fate. Politics is reduced to voting for two look-alike parties every few years, two parties beholden to corporate interests. There is no labour movement that can sound the call to take to the streets and show one's opposition to the Bush Reich politics. There is no organised opposition on any level. You might even go so far as to suggest that the US population has lost the ability to think. Certainly, it is a skill that is no longer taught in the US public school system.

Compare the situation in the USA to that in France. The French just defeated the proposal to approve the proposed European Constitution. When the government makes plans to cut social services, the workers go to the streets. When the government makes plans to change the educational system to bring it more in line with the "needs of business", the students go into the streets. While there are historical and cultural reasons that might explain this difference, we do not think that it is enough. We think that the US population as a whole may well be subjected to certain forms of "mind control". For more on how this might work, we refer you to Laura's article Something Wicked This Way Comes, as well as her book The Secret History of the World.

Whether the forms of mind control, or thought control, are limited to the control of the mass media, or whether they extend to include the technological means discussed above, the solution for individuals is the same: knowledge and awareness. If you know yourself, you can sense when a thought is not your own. Have you ever thought something, been surprised that you would think such a thing, and then wondered where that came from? It may simply be the effect of hearing the idea repeated around you: after hearing your colleagues at work making rascist remarks about Arabs, you might find yourself having the same thought the next time you see a news report on "Islamic terrorists". But if you are conscious of your thoughts, you can catch yourself. You can reject it, see that it is not "your" thought, and discard it.

This is the basis of that quality that Americans value so highly in the abstract while appearing incapable of putting into practice: independent thinking.

But it is never too late. All it takes is a moment of awareness, that flash of conscience that throws reality into relief. Seize that feeling, grab it and hold onto it dearly. Take that light and shine it on all of your thoughts and ideas, your preconceptions and assumptions. Begin to look down the rabbit hole and start the quest to make your mind your own.

Click here to comment on this article


Signs Economic Commentary
Donald Hunt
August 8, 2005

The dollar closed at 0.8099 euros last week, down 1.3% from last week's close of 0.8208 euros. That puts the euro at 1.2348 dollars compared to 1.2184 dollars the previous Friday. Oil closed at 62.31 dollars a barrel on Friday, a record weekly close, and up 2.4% from the close of $60.83 a barrel the previous Friday. Looking at oil in euros, a barrel of oil would cost 50.46 euros, up from 49.93 euros a week earlier. Gold closed at 442.90 dollars an ounce, up 1.6% from $435.80 on the previous Friday. Gold in euros would be 358.68 euros an ounce, up 0.3% from 357.68 on the previous Friday. The gold/oil ratio closed at 7.11 down 0.7% from 7.16 last week, meaning the price of oil rose faster than the price of gold. In the U.S. stock market last week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 10,561.14 down 0.8% from last week's close of 10,640.91. The NASDAQ closed at 2.178.92, down 0.3% from last week's close of 2184.83. The yield on the ten-year U.S. Treasury Bond was 4.39%, up ten basis points from the previous Friday's close of 4.29% continuing a steady climb in long-term U.S. interest rates.

While the sharp drop in the dollar and U.S. stocks and the sharp increase in the price of gold and oil would seem to be ominous signs for the U.S. economy, the media was taking it in stride, at least, attributing the fall in stocks to the strong U.S. employment report for July and the rise in oil to a lack of refining capacity:

Oil nears record on US refinery snags

Oil climbed within pennies of its all-time high on Friday as U.S. refinery outages hampered efforts to meet strong demand in the world's biggest consumer.

U.S. light sweet crude settled up 93 cents at $62.31 a barrel - the highest settlement on record - after climbing as high as $62.45, which was 5 cents shy of the all-time record set just Wednesday.

London Brent crude gained 95 cents to $61.07 a barrel.

"It's no secret that refineries are the problem. There wouldn't be a problem if there was any slack in the system," said Tony Nunan, a manager at Mitsubishi Corp.'s international energy business in Tokyo.

A half-dozen refineries in the United States have been forced into unplanned shutdowns since late July and some have had to delay planned restarts, leaving the market on edge after U.S. gasoline stocks fell a sharp 4 million barrels last week.

Gasoline inventories have fallen into the lower half of their seasonal average, while demand is running 1.1 percent stronger than last year with a month left in the summer season.

U.S. supplies of distillates, which include heating oil, rose 1.5 million barrels last week to stand almost 3 percent higher than a year ago, but even stronger demand growth for these fuels coupled with refinery trip-ups could dent supplies before winter.

"Demand is so high and capacity is so low, we can go from comfortable to uncomfortable inventories within a month," Nunan said.

Adding to concerns was news of a pipe bomb attack at PDVSA's Maracaibo headquarters in Venezuela, the world's No. 5 oil exporter. PDVSA said the three pipe bombs that exploded caused no damage or injuries.

Additional disruptions could come from an unusually active Atlantic hurricane season, which has already produced eight named storms and could culminate in as many as 21 tropical storms and 11 hurricanes, U.S. government weather forecasters have said.

OPEC PUMPS MORE

Prices have rallied more than 40 percent this year despite OPEC pumping at its highest rate in more than 25 years, with traders fearing the cartel's thinned cushion of spare production capacity may be insufficient to compensate for any unexpected outages.

Total OPEC production rose 290,000 bpd to 30.24 million bpd in July, the highest since December 1979, as Iraq boosted exports and the United Arab Emirates restored output at oilfields after maintenance, a Reuters survey showed.

OPEC is due to meet next month to discuss its output policy, where some members favor suspending quotas to allow a production free-for-all, Nigeria's top oil official Edmund Daukoru said on Thursday.

Most members, aside from Saudi Arabia, are already pumping flat out.

Daukoru said OPEC might decide to keep production quotas unchanged or raise them, but would not cut output.

What was that about a pipe bomb attack in Venezuela? Who would order an attack on the headquarters of Venezuela's national oil company except CIA backed rebels? Why were the refineries shut down in the United States? Why isn't Saudi Arabia pumping "flat out" like the article says the rest of OPEC countries are? Could it be that the United States wants high oil prices? High oil prices certainly have helped Bush-connected oil sector corporations. Something to keep in mind when listening to the Peak Oil chorus.

The consensus about the July U.S. jobs report which showed a rise of 207,000 jobs was that it showed the U.S. economy is growing at a healthy rate and that it will lead the U.S. Federal Reserve Board to keep raising interest rates.

Jobs growth unexpectedly strong in July

By Tim Ahmann
Fri Aug 5,12:10 PM

U.S. job growth picked up last month as employers added 207,000 workers to their payrolls, a healthy gain that led Wall Street to increase bets on rate hikes from the Federal Reserve.

The unemployment rate held steady at the 5 percent reached in June, the lowest level since September 2001, the Labor Department said on Friday.

"This is a crystal clear indication that the labor markets are very healthy and it reinforces the notion that the economy is growing in a healthy, sustainable way," said Dana Johnson, chief economist at Comerica in Detroit.

The Fed, which has raised the benchmark overnight lending rate at each of its last nine meetings, is widely expected to bump it up another quarter-percentage point to 3.5 percent when officials gather on Tuesday.

"The Fed is going to keep chugging along," said Robert MacIntosh, chief economist at Eaton Vance Management in Boston.

Financial markets see the rate hitting 4 percent by year end, although the jobs report had some betting it could move even higher.

The payrolls gain, spurred on by service-sector hiring, was stronger than expected by economists who had looked for an increase of 183,000 with the jobless rate steady.

Prices for U.S. government bonds fell sharply on the data, pushing yields higher, the dollar strengthened and stock prices fell as markets braced for further Fed interest rate increases.

The Bush administration hailed the report as a sign of the economy's vigor. "This shows that the fundamentals of our economy are strong and that we are continuing on a positive path of growth and prosperity," U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow said in a statement.

While some economists thought the report might be skewed by Hurricane Dennis, which battered the Florida panhandle in mid-July, the department said the storm appeared to have no discernible impact on the figures.

A net upward revision of 42,000 to the combined job count for May and June contributed to the report's solid tenor. U.S. employers added 166,000 workers in June and 126,000 in May.

The pickup in job growth last month pushed this year's average monthly payroll gain to 191,000, a pace economists see as strong enough to slowly tighten the labor market.

The factory sector, which shed 4,000 workers last month, was one of the only weak spots. However, the Labor Department noted that an 11,000-job drop in auto manufacturing reflected larger-than-normal temporary plant shutdowns for retooling.

STRONG ECONOMY = HIGHER RATES

The report was the latest in a string of strong data and the last significant piece of economic news before Fed policy-makers meet next week.

Average hourly earnings shot up six cents, or 0.4 percent, in July -- the biggest rise in a year. However, earnings are up just 2.7 percent over the past 12 months, suggesting wages have yet to become a big inflationary concern.

"As far as the Fed is concerned, payrolls growth is probably just about right -- not too hot and not too cold," Paul Ashworth of Capital Economics told clients in a research note.

Job growth was tepid at construction firms, which brought on just 7,000 new workers, but was strong on the service side of the economy.

Retailers added 50,000 workers, the biggest gain in that sector since April 2000. The strong retail hiring in part reflected job growth at automobile dealers coping with a surge of shoppers enticed by special incentives.

Professional and business service firms, education and health service employers and the leisure and hospitality industry all exhibited robust hiring.

In another spot of bright economic news, the independent Economic Cycle Research Institute said on Friday its leading index of the U.S. economy rose to a 12-week last week. ECRI said the index suggested prospects for U.S. economic growth were improving gradually.

The long-term interest rates which have been rising steadily lately have started to affect the mortgage rates which have also risen lately. If the United States economy were a closed system, these interest rate hikes would be nothing to worry about, but given the unpegging of the Chinese Yuan from the dollar, which will add considerable upward pressure on U.S. interest rates, this is bad news which could lead to the bursting of the housing bubble, thereby bringing down the world economy. Notice in the above article that the rise in the construction sector was very small, only 7,000 jobs. Notice also that the strongest sector was retailing - people spending money they shouldn't on new cars, having been lured by incentives for 2005 models that have hurt profits for auto companies while calling into question the sales for 2006 models which will be introduced soon.

Mortgage rates continue upward climb

30-year benchmark rises to 5.82 percent, Freddie Mac reports

The Associated Press
Updated: 1:21 p.m. ET Aug. 4, 2005

WASHINGTON - Mortgage rates continued their upward climb this week, with rates on 30-year mortgages rising to their highest point since the middle of April.

In its weekly survey, mortgage giant Freddie Mac reported Thursday that rates on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages rose to a nationwide average of 5.82 percent, up from 5.77 percent last week.

It marked the fifth week in a row that rates on 30-year mortgages went up. This week's increase left rates on 30-year mortgages at their highest since they averaged 5.91 percent for the week ending April 14.

Yet rates on 30-year mortgages are still considered good and have stayed below 6 percent for all but two weeks this year. That has helped to propel home sales to record levels in June.

Rates on 15-year, fixed-rate mortgages, a popular choice for refinancing a home mortgage, averaged 5.38 percent this week, compared with 5.34 percent last week. This week's rate also was the highest since the middle of April.

"Long-term mortgage rates will more than likely rise over the next few months, albeit modestly compared to shorter-term rates," predicted Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac's chief economist.

Given all this supposedly great economic news in the United States, why do polls show that most people think the economy is in bad shape? The following wire service article provides a clue:

US workers struggle to cope in new economic reality

By Alister Bull
Thu Aug 4, 2005 1:58 PM ET

ST. LOUIS (Reuters) - Laid off from an auto factory assembly line two weeks before Christmas, Gary Asnell is still jobless and doesn't care to hear about the virtues of retraining as he struggles to keep a roof over his family's head.

"They say it's a great opportunity to go back to school. But I've got to juggle to find a job to pay the bills, make the house payments and feed the children," said Asnell, a 44-year-old father of three.

In the face of rabid global competition and outsourcing of work to cheap-labor countries like China, nearly three million American manufacturing jobs have been lost since 2000.

Those at the sharp end of this process now often face serious pay cuts or retraining to qualify for jobs in industries that have vacancies which may still not pay as much as they were making before.

In the heart of the U.S. Midwest, St. Louis, Missouri was an archetypal factory town. Twenty five years ago, 40 percent of all of its high-paying jobs were in manufacturing, according to a March study by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

But in the last 10 years, it has lost 63,000 manufacturing jobs. Today, the industry provides just 3 percent of all job vacancies, a recent Job Openings Survey from the University of Missouri found, while health care, social assistance and the hospitality industry deliver 60 percent.

Getting a well-paid position in any of these areas could easily demand a trip back to the classroom. Even for the young, the process is tough.

Jessica Fitter was lucky. Just 22 years old, she worked at the same plant as Asnell. She is now taking a two-year accounting course and expresses optimism about her future.

Yet even once she graduates, Fitter said the pay will only just match what she made before, at least until she gains more experience. Meanwhile, the loss of income has been hard.

"Our budget took a big hit. We have to move, we can't afford our place anymore," she said. Her partner was laid off with her and is now making much less building houses.

They were among 237 workers cut at Lear Corp. in St. Louis when the company, which makes seats for Ford and Lincoln SUVs, halved the assembly line shifts last Dec. 17 as Ford slashed demand from a nearby plant. As it happens, Ford Motor Co. is in the process of shedding another 900 St. Louis workers.

Everyone who lost their job at Lear was offered the chance to retrain. But this option does not appeal to everyone.

"The curriculum, you need to do it, you just don't have it anymore," said Asnell. "I had the prerequisites 15-20 years ago, but I don't now."

With his schooling a distant memory and bills to pay right now, Asnell knows his well-paid union job has vanished and the work that remains will pay barely half as much.

"We were up to $19 an hour (at Lear), but most of the jobs now pay $7-$8 an hour. Ten bucks is considered the upper limit and if you make $12 you're on top of the world," he said.

Of the 8,000 entry-level jobs identified in the University of Missouri study, 45 percent paid less than $8 an hour and the next 25 percent paid less than $15 an hour.

Even if he wanted to take a lower-paid job, Asnell finds that prospective employers don't want to take the chance of hiring. He said they usually look at how much he earned before, inform him that he wouldn't be happy making less and close the interview.

NATIONAL CRISIS

Officials from President Bush on down somberly acknowledge the process of globalization is sometimes painful and demands a national effort to improve education and skill development.

But among people dealing directly with the fallout of this upheaval in the U.S. industrial base, the truth for older workers is that their standards of living may never recover.

At the state level, dedicated teams are working hard to ease the transition back to work and can claim some success.

"It really is walking someone through a grieving process," said Donald Holt, executive director in the St. Charles County, Missouri career center, where many of the state's job losses from the and auto industry have fallen.

His staff offer all manner of support for displaced workers and will also pay for retraining up to a point.

Yet even with jobs available in the St. Louis area, high demands for math and English literacy means that workers who left school several decades ago often have problems.

"It's an issue and we have to deal with it. You run into it with your older clients... who went in (to the factory) aged 18 and stayed for years. It is very hard for them to go into just about any occupation now without computer skills," Holt said.

Any new job in modern manufacturing demands some level of math and computing skills that many older workers just do not possess. Not that there are many manufacturing jobs out there.

Well-paid opportunities exist, particularly in health care, but they demand a solid grasp of math, physics and biology.

"In Kansas City, we had a pilot who went into radiology -- we paid for the retraining -- and he's started at $24 an hour. That's compared with $20 an hour as a pilot," said Don Rahm, a work force development specialist with the Missouri Department of Economic Development.

Still for those who see little prospect of making such a transition, there is a powerful sense of abandonment and anger at a culture that has chewed them up and spat them out.

"How much money do you have to make to make you happy?" demanded Asnell. "Sure, I understand how our economy works, but how many people do you have to crush for your company to be happy with what it is making?"

And, lest you think that these displaced workers don't know as much as the experts, here is an expert with his eye on the big picture:

Strength and Subjectivity

Max Fraad Wolff is a Doctoral Candidate in Economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

August 4, 2005

As second quarter numbers are digested and expectations are ratcheted up, selective focus reigns supreme. The Peoples Bank of China (PBoC) decision to delink exclusively from the US Dollar, and the most recent profit and personal income numbers have gone unexamined and largely unpriced. Despite all this, our dominant three indexes have all underperformed our sub-accurate leading inflation measures. That must be why so many are so confident in their up revised prognostication. Just in case major macro events still interest you, I have cobbled together some thoughts on epic making recent developments that are particularly hard to spot through rose colored glasses and froth.

Personal income data, reported by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) on August 02, 2005 was terrifying. No, I don't mean that we have valiantly reached a national savings rate of 0%, although that is truly frightening. I mean that what everyone thinks of as personal income went up .2% not .5% in June. Wage and Salary disbursements went up a whopping .2% and supplemental income went up an astonishing .3%. Ouch! Where did the feds get that .5% headline number? Proprietors' income with inventory valuation and capital compensation adjustment was up a strong 2.0% in June. Proprietor's income grew at 400% its three year average rate while wage and salary income grew at 50% its anemic three year growth rate. Buckle up American Business the public is flush. Well, perhaps the next best thing, they spent like they were. Perennially undeterred by affordability, America went shopping for expensive durable goods. June spending on these expensive items came in just under 300% of its three year average growth rate. I guess folks are bullish given housing's great returns. Adjusted rental income was down 5.5%.

Now that the usual reports of beating expectations are in for better than three quarters of the S&P500 we can do some taking of stock. Yes, most firms (60%) beat expectations as they now do every quarter. Although earnings growth was strong in the second quarter, profit growth rates are decelerating and are expected to continue to slow for the rest of this year.

No one is talking about an ominous but interesting series of recent reports and polls on Brand America. Business for Diplomatic Action, a consortium of concerned business leaders, has been raising concern and warning about a global turning away. Several recent polls reveal a growing hostility toward the US and this seems to be beginning to affect the perception of our businesses. The Anholt-GMI National Brands Index shows declining regard for the US outside simply our foreign policy. Most recently the US ranked 11th for overall perception thanks to low opinions of our culture and populace. A recent poll of 1004 Americans conducted by Foreign Affairs and Public Agenda discovered that a clear majority of Americans have become worried about the way America and her citizens are perceived around the world. Will earnings estimates remain immune to such sentiments?

Last but not least, the prestige and position of the US dollar declined last month. The much anticipated and quantitatively anti-climactic revaluation of the Yuan slipped into the past tense on July 21, 2005. While a modest 2.1% revaluation against the dollar failed to impress many, the real story is China's delinking, rapidly followed by Malaysia's decision to follow suit. Although China's move was much trumpeted as beneficial and a sign of our influence, I beg to differ. China is almost as influential an importer of raw materials as it is an exporter of finished goods. I see no reason brutal internal competition and the mortal need to grow exports may not result in the pass through of import cost savings to lower export prices. Where is that discussion? China and other nations must now change the composition of their currency reserves. They and Malaysia clearly need to reallocate reserves away from the dollar. Who else will follow? In addition, following on the rancorous dispute- with much political involvement in both nations- over Unocal, China's desire for contested global assets and acquisition currency will only grow. What does that portend?

In short, with just shy of the 70% of 2005 in the history books, the consensus is that all is well and getting better. Will this subjective view soon be subject to revision?

Wolf has put his finger on the crucial issue: subjectivity versus objectivity. People, cultures, and empires come to grief if they remain in the grip of subjective thinking. One symptom of this is the focus on oneself and the ignoring of others. Subjective thinking can also lead to wishful thinking, where bad news is discounted and power leads one to conclude that things are the way one wants them to be. The Thomas Friedman-type globalization cheerleading is a good example. James Howard Kunstler points out that 21st century globalization depends on peace and cheap energy. Steel and cars are very heavy. Transporting them halfway across the world used to cost more than it did to produce the goods. According to Kunstler, taking either leg of globalization away would eliminate it:

Globalisation is an anomaly and its time is running out

Cheap energy and relative peace helped create a false doctrine

James Howard Kunstler
Thursday August 4, 2005

The big yammer these days in the United States is to the effect that globalisation is here to stay: it's wonderful, get used to it. The chief cheerleader for this point of view is Thomas Friedman, columnist for the New York Times and author of The World Is Flat. The seemingly unanimous embrace of this idea in the power circles of America is a marvelous illustration of the madness of crowds, for nothing could be further from the truth than the idea that globalisation is now a permanent fixture of the human condition.

Today's transient global economic relations are a product of very special transient circumstances, namely relative world peace and absolutely reliable supplies of cheap energy. Subtract either of these elements from the equation and you will see globalisation evaporate so quickly it will suck the air out of your lungs. It is significant that none of the cheerleaders for globalisation takes this equation into account. In fact, the American power elite is sleepwalking into a crisis so severe that the blowback may put both major political parties out of business.

The world saw an earlier phase of robust global trade run from the 1870s to a dead stop in 1914. This was the boom period of railroad construction and the advent of the ocean-going steamship. The great powers had existed in relative peace since Napoleon's last stand. The Crimean war was a minor episode that took place in backwaters of Eurasia, and the Franco-Prussian war was a comic opera that lasted less than a year - most of it the static siege of Paris. The American civil war hardly affected the rest of the world.

This first phase of globalisation then took off under coal-and-steam power. There was no shortage of fuel, the colonial boundaries were stable, and the pipeline of raw materials from them to the factories of western Europe ran smoothly. The rise of a middle class running the many stages of the production process provided markets for all the new production. Innovations in finance gave legitimacy to all kinds of tradable paper. Life was very good for Europe and America, notwithstanding a few sharp cyclical depressions and recoveries. Trade boomed between the great powers. The belle époque represented the high tide of hopeful expectations. In America, it was called the progressive era. The 20th century looked golden.

It all fell apart in 1914. Historians are still baffled about what really brought on the first world war. What did France or Britain really care about Austrian archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of a country already in deep eclipse? There were no active contests over territory at the time, not even in the Asian or African colonies. And yet the diplomatic failures of that fateful summer led to the great slaughter of the trenches, the death of a substantial portion of the younger generation, and a virtual nervous breakdown of authority in politics and culture. It would take a depression, fascism, and a second world war to resolve these issues and a new round of globalisation did not ramp up again until the mid-1960s.

It may be significant that the first collapse of globalisation occurred as the coal economy was transitioning into an oil economy, with deep geo-political implications for who had oil (America) and those who might seek to control the other major region closest to Europe that possessed it (then the Caspian, since Arabian oil was as yet undiscovered). The first world war was settled by those nations (Britain and France) that were friendly with the greatest producer of oil most readily accessed. Germany was the loser and again in the reprise for its poor access to oil. Japan suffered similarly.

We are now due for another folding up of the periodic global trade fair as the industrial nations enter the tumultuous era beyond the global oil production peak, which I have named the long emergency. The economic distortions and perversities that have built up in the current era are not hard to see, though our leaders dread to acknowledge them. The dirty secret of the US economy for at least a decade now is that it has come to be based on the ceaseless elaboration of a car-dependent suburban infrastructure - McHousing estates, eight-lane highways, big-box chain stores, hamburger stands - that has no future as a living arrangement in an oil-short future.

The American suburban juggernaut can be described succinctly as the greatest misallocation of resources in the history of the world. The mortgages, bonds, real estate investment trusts and derivative financial instruments associated with this tragic enterprise must make the judicious goggle with wonder and nausea.

Add to this grim economic picture a far-flung military contest, already under way, really, for control of the world's remaining oil, and the scene grows darker. Two-thirds of that oil is in the possession of people who resent the west (America in particular), many of whom have vowed to destroy it. Both America and Britain have felt the sting of freelance asymmetrical war-makers not associated with a particular state but with a transnational religious cause that uses potent small arms and explosives to unravel western societies and confound their defences.

China, a supposed beneficiary of globalisation, will be as desperate for oil as all the other players, and perhaps more ruthless in seeking control of the supplies, some of which they can walk to. Of course, it is hard to imagine the continuation of American chain stores' manufacturing supply lines with China, given the potential for friction. Even on its own terms, China faces issues of environmental havoc, population overshoot, and political turmoil - orders of magnitude greater than anything known in Europe or America.

Viewed through this lens, the sunset of the current phase of globalisation seems dreadfully close to the horizon. The American public has enjoyed the fiesta, but the blue-light special orgy of easy motoring, limitless air-conditioning, and super-cheap products made by factory slaves far far away is about to close down. Globalisation is finished. The world is about to become a larger place again.

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Crude Oil Prices Hit New Record
By GILLIAN WONG
Associated Press
Mon Aug 8, 1:07 AM ET

SINGAPORE - Crude futures rose to a new high of $62.69 in Asian trading Monday as the U.S. government announced the closure of its embassy and consulates in Saudi Arabia due to security threats and on continued concerns that earlier shutdowns of U.S. oil refineries would reduce supply.

Midmorning in Singapore, light, sweet crude for September delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose as high as $62.69 in Asian electronic trading before slipping back to $62.51. On Friday, crude settled at U$62.31 a barrel, a record close for crude since Nymex trading began in 1983.

That's 42 percent higher than a year ago, though crude prices would have to surpass $90 to reach the inflation-adjusted high set in 1980.

Gasoline edged up slightly to $1.8415 a gallon while heating oil rose marginally to $1.7390 a gallon.

The market was on edge as traders closely monitored geopolitical developments in Saudi Arabia following Sunday's announcement of a security threat against U.S. government buildings. A week ago, the death of the country's king also rocked markets, even though many analysts believe there will be little long-term change in the oil policies of Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest petroleum producer.

The planned closure Monday and Tuesday of the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh and consulates in Jiddah and Dhahran was "in response to a threat against U.S. government buildings" in the kingdom, the embassy said, adding it would also limit nonofficial travel of its mission personnel.

In a statement, it urged Americans residing in the world's largest oil producing and exporting country to keep "a high level of vigilance," but did not elaborate on the nature of the threat.

Hours after the announcement, a Saudi Interior Ministry spokesman, Maj. Gen. Mansour al-Turki, said his government had no information about a possible threat. [...]

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Was He Taken Out?
Truthseeker News Brief
Last updated 08/08/2005

Former Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, who quit government over the Iraq war, has collapsed on a Scottish mountainside.

Thereafter he was flown by coastguard helicopter to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness, where he died on Saturday evening, police said.

However, the idea is already being mooted that he was, like Dr David Kelly, 'taken out' by covert assassination.

Robin Cook had quit as Commons leader in March 2003, in protest over the war in Iraq. He had been one of the most outspoken and prominent critics of Blair's stance on Iraq.

The Scottish MP, who lived in Edinburgh, was a keen walker and cyclist and until now his health was said to have been in good health.

Mr Cook, who first became an MP for Edinburgh Central in 1974, was appointed the shadow health secretary in 1989 and became the shadow trade and industry secretary in 1992.

In 1997 he became foreign secretary, a position he held until 2001 when he was replaced by Jack Straw after openly oppossing Blair's stance on Iraq.

He had been an outspoken critic of the government's foreign policy from the backbench and speculation is growing that he was seen as an impediment to further moves in the "War on Terror", in particular an expansion of the war into Iran or Syria.

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Post mortem tests over Cook death
icRenfrewshire
Aug 8 2005

A post mortem examination is expected to be carried out to determine the cause of the death of former Foreign Secretary Robin Cook.

Mr Cook, 59, collapsed while on a walking holiday with wife Gaynor in northern Scotland on Saturday and was pronounced dead after being airlifted to hospital some 90 minutes later.

It is thought that the Livingston MP may have collapsed with a heart attack and then injured himself as he fell.

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Straight-shootin' George Galloway
by Mike Whitney
08/06/05

"ICH" -- "I am utterly against the punishing of innocent people for the crimes of the guilty, whether it is done on the underground of London or the streets of Falluja by George Bush's air force". George Galloway MP

George Galloway is quite a guy.

His trip to the Middle East is causing a ruckus back in London, where his criticism of Bush and Blair is appearing like a spread-sheet on the front-page of the tabloids.

Congrats, George; those two deserve a good lambasting.

Yesterday he fired-off another barrage, landing a direct hit on Prime Minister Milquetoast and his Texas-twin. He said, "There's far more blood on the hands of George Bush and Tony Blair than there is on the hands of the murderers who killed those people in London."

Ka-boom! Right on target.

Galloway was stellar; praising the Iraqi resistance as "martyrs" and telling them that they "are not just defending Iraq, but defending the whole world against American hegemony."

Bulls-eye.

Galloway's comments drew attention to the young men who are swarming to Iraq to fight what he calls the "foreign invaders". They're normally disparaged by the pro-war crowd in the press like Tom Friedman who calls them a "jihadist death-cult"

What rubbish. Friedman should skip the name-calling and try to figure out who these guys really are. Men don't simply throw away their lives for no reason. It is the injustice of the American occupation that has the swollen the ranks of the Iraqi resistance.

Galloway knows that and so does Friedman when he's not shoveling manure into the "paper of record".

Imagine, for a moment, that the US was invaded by an army from Saudi Arabia for the transparent purpose of securing America's great natural wealth. And, imagine that tens of thousands of American people were killed in that invasion, entire cities were leveled as reprisal for resisting, and scores of Americans were tortured and humiliated in the most despicable manner.

What type of man would risk his own life to travel to the United States to fight for the liberation of the American people from Saudi oppression?

A terrorist or a martyr?

Forget the media hype about suicide bombers targeting innocent Iraqis. Communiqués from the resistance have repeatedly refuted those claims saying they do not attack Iraqi civilians, only the occupiers and their collaborators in the Iraqi security services.

Who're we going to believe; the Pentagon?

Galloway nailed it when he said, "These poor Iraqis, ragged people with their sandals, with their Kalashnikovs, with the lightest most basic weapons-are writing the names of their cities and towns in the stars, with 145 military operations every day which has made the country ungovernable."

Game; Set; Match.

Galloway can expect to be roundly throttled for his remarks, but the truth is out and can't be undone. The Iraqi resistance is the frontlines in the war against American global domination. They're doing the fighting in the trenches while Americans continue to stumble around in their perpetual state of amnesia.

Can't Americans see their civil liberties being methodically savaged by Bush's rubber-stamp Congress? Will it take a decree of martial law to wake them up to this "gathering threat" emerging from the Bush White House? We should applaud Galloway's willingness to state the obvious; that the men who have taken up arms in Iraq are engaged in a life-or-death struggle against a neo-liberal cancer that is menacing the entire world.

Those who doubt what I say should consider Blair's news conference yesterday, where he rattled-off a whole new list of repressive measures to be directed at Muslims. Mimicking his Crawford mentor, Blair has decided that he has the right to unilaterally make law from his perch at 10 Downing St. without the consent of Parliament. The fatuous PM now claims the power to close down mosques, deport, clerics and shut down web sites where the views don't meet the dubious standards of the state. Additionally, Israeli trained police-units have been deployed on London's streets with orders to "shoot to kill" terror suspects (or fleeing Brazilians) if there is a perceived risk to public safety.

Who gave this unctuous, lying politician the right to declare martial law on Muslims?

Who gave this foppish phony the license to issue Nazi-type edicts that eviscerate basic civil liberties?

The British people would be foolish to let the wildly-unpopular Blair get away with this monumental power-grab.

85% of the British people already agree that the London bombings were the direct result of Blair's involvement in Iraq. Similarly, every terrorist-expert on the planet; including analysts at M15, the CIA, and the Israeli Mossad, have supported that very same conclusion. So, why should the victims of Blair's bungled aggression be the same one's who are collectively punished?

Comment: Let's stop and think about this for a minute. 85% of the British people believe that the London bombings were the direct result of Blair's involvement in Iraq as Bush's lapdog. MI5, the CIA, and the Mossad all agree with this assessment. Given that the train bombings in Madrid had all the "fingerprints" of Mossad, and that the CIA has been rendering prisoners to countries that practice torture since 1995, why should we listen to them at all? Aren't such agencies a huge part of the problem in the so-called War on Terror?

It makes one wonder just how much of a roll MI5 might have played in the London bombings. The London bombings were sloppy compared to the 9/11 attacks. If 9/11 was a false-flag operation carried out primarily by the Mossad, MI5 could certainly have crafted the London bombings at the particular time that Blair needed a boost to pass his new fascist laws. Then, after the attacks, they come out in support of the 85% that think the bombings were acts committed by Arab terrorists, of course. They don't want anyone pointing the finger their way...

It's Blair who should be manacled and led away to the stocks, not the Muslims who already are suffering the blowback from his apocryphal war on terror.

No one in their right mind believes that Blair conjured up these new restrictions. His job is to simply recite his lines for the teleprompter and make sure his eye-shadow and silk-shirt are in order.

It's the big-money elites behind Blair that have their sights on personal liberty, just as they do in America and Australia. (Australia's Howard is trying to enact similar legislation right now) These are the 3 stooges of the international corporate-banking cabal; the tawdry courtesans of the global parasite-class.

Just listen to Zbigniew Brzezinski, founder of the Trilateral Commission, former board-member of the Council on Foreign Relations, former Co-Chair of the Bush National Security Task Force, and all-around foot-soldier for American elites. Brzezinski is comfortably lodged at the very center of an elite cadre of nutcases who have been pushing for the New World Order (One world government) for over 20 years. His comments reflect the prevailing views of the main actors in the Bush-Blair-Howard governments.

"It is also a fact that America is too democratic at home to be autocratic abroad. This limits the use of America's power, especially its capacity for military intimidation. Never before has a populist democracy attained international supremacy. But the pursuit of power is not a goal that commands popular passion, except in conditions of a sudden threat or challenge to the public's sense of domestic well-being. The economic self-denial (that is, defense spending) and the human sacrifice (casualties, even among professional soldiers) required in the effort are uncongenial to democratic instincts. Democracy is inimical to imperial mobilization." ("The Grand Chessboard; p.35)

"Too democratic"? "Democracy is inimical to imperial mobilization."? Brzezinski hates democracy every bit as much as the men who back Blair. They've concluded that they can pretty well dispose of personal liberty in a few years by taking advantage terrorist attacks, exploiting public hysteria, and crafting a media narrative that supports the crushing of individual freedom. That's why we should take these new anti-Islam laws for what they really are; a forerunner to the repressive measures that will be applied to everyone without discrimination in the very near future.

Can anyone seriously doubt this after seeing the pattern of the last 5 years?

That's why we need guys like Galloway who'll stand up and take a few hardy swings at the scoundrels in power. His words put a little steel in everyone's spine; and we're going to need it, too. There's plenty of bad road ahead.

Comment: There are a number of people in the US and Britain who are standing up to the Bush and Blair regimes, but their numbers are pitifully small. It seems that the fear tactics and stories of torture have worked well to shut up the rest of the population...

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Mom Protesting Iraq War Meets Bush Aides
By DEB RIECHMANN
Associated Press
August 7, 2005

CRAWFORD, Texas - The angry mother of a fallen U.S. soldier staged a protest near President Bush's ranch Saturday, demanding an accounting from Bush of how he has conducted the war in
Iraq.

Supported by more than 50 demonstrators who chanted, "W. killed her son!" Cindy Sheehan told reporters: "I want to ask the president, 'Why did you kill my son? What did my son die for?'" Sheehan, 48, didn't get to see Bush, but did talk about 45 minutes with national security adviser Steve Hadley and deputy White House chief of staff Joe Hagin, who went out to hear her concerns.

Appreciative of their attention, yet undaunted, Sheehan said she planned to continue her roadside vigil, except for a few breaks, until she gets to talk to Bush. Her son, Casey, 24, was killed in Sadr City, Iraq, on April 4, 2004. He was an Army specialist, a Humvee mechanic.

"They (the advisers) said we are in Iraq because they believed
Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, that the world's a better place with Saddam gone and that we're making the world a safer place with what we're doing over there," Sheehan said in a telephone interview after the meeting.

"They were very respectful. They were nice men. I told them Iraq was not a threat to the United States and that now people are dead for nothing. I told them I wouldn't leave until I talked to George Bush."

She said Hagin told her, "I want to assure you that he (Bush) really does care."

"And I said if he does care, why doesn't he come out and talk to me."

Sheehan arrived in Crawford aboard a bus painted red, white and blue and emblazoned with the words, "Impeachment Tour." Sheehan, from Vacaville, Calif., had been attending a Veterans for Peace convention in Dallas.

The bus, trailed by about 20 cars of protesters and reporters, drove at about 15 mph toward Bush's ranch. After several miles, they parked the vehicles and began to march, in stifling heat, farther down the narrow country road.

Flanked by miles of pasture, Sheehan spoke with reporters while clutching two photographs, one of her son in uniform, and the other, a baby picture, when he was seven months old.

She said she decided to come to Crawford a few days ago after Bush said that fallen U.S. troops had died for a noble cause and that the mission must be completed.

"I want to ask the president, 'Why did you kill my son? What did my son die for?" she said, her voice cracking with emotion. "Last week, you said my son died for a noble cause' and I want to ask him what that noble cause is?"

White House spokesman Trent Duffy said response that Bush also wants the troops to return home safely.

"Many of the hundreds of families the president has met with know their loved one died for a noble cause and that the best way to honor their sacrifice is to complete the mission," Duffy said.

"It is a message the president has heard time and again from those he has met with and comforted. Like all Americans, he wants the troops home as soon as possible."

The group marched about a half-mile before local law enforcement officials stopped them at a bend in the road, still four to five miles from the ranch's entrance. Capt. Kenneth Vanek of the McLennan County Sheriff's Office said the group was stopped because some marchers ignored instructions to walk in the ditch beside the road, not on the road.

"If they won't cooperate, we won't," Vanek said.

Comment: Somehow, we doubt that Sheehan will get her meeting with Bush - especially considering the US president's recent low popularity ratings.

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The Radical Middle

It’s no longer Zionized Left vs. Armageddon Right
— the new political Feather of Truth is honesty

By John Kaminski
skylax@comcast.net

I am a citizen of the world first, and of this country at a later and more convenient hour.
— Henry David Thoreau

"We are each one of us responsible for every war because of the aggressiveness of our own lives, because of our nationalism, our selfishness, our gods, our prejudices, our ideals, all of which divide us. And only when we realise, not intellectually but actually, as actually as we would recognise that we are hungry or in pain, that you and I are responsible for all this existing chaos, for all the misery throughout the entire world because we have contributed to it in our daily lives and are part of this monstrous society with its wars, divisions, its ugliness, brutality and greed — only then will we act.
— Jiddu Krishnamurti

Nobody predicted this one — not Orwell, not Huxley, not H.G. Wells.

I couldn’t believe the words that appeared on my screen in an e-mail:

Overthrow
all the governments
all at once

International criminal syndicate
has taken control of world’s money;
honest citizens must prevent
them from destroying the world;
Lennon was right:
all borders are bogus.
Is there any reason
we can’t have an honest world?

What a radical idea! Isn’t that what decent people want? But is that the world we have? We have massive numbers of dead people turning up in strange and suspicious mortality categories. Shall I tell you Americans some of the causes of death inflicted by your sons and daughters on innocent children in Iraq, or will you turn your face away and return silently to your polite political dogma and the cringing ugliness of your own suppressed private nightmares? Hmm?

We haven’t had enough radicals. America was founded by radicals (though some were surreptitious scoundrels, too). Jefferson, even Adams, Madison and Franklin were radicals, and we Americans would definitely not have the good deal we have without the intrepid efforts of these intelligent men.

Franklin, you remember Franklin, the guy with the kite. “A republic,” he said, “if you can keep it.”

And Jefferson, perhaps you recall, said:

"Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established, should not be changed for light and transient causes; and, accordingly, all experience [has] shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But, when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce [the people] under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security."

In our lifetimes and in fact ever since World War I, we’ve seen precious few hints of radicalism: left wing radicals like Abbie Hoffman in the ’60s challenged perceptions and changed them enough to stop a war; right wing radical Gordon Kahl had his hands cut off by federal agents; way out radicals like David Koresh got to watch his babies burn because he said the new messiah was from Iran; and, of course, Eugene Debs was the most successful socialist radical in American history; he got 6 percent of the vote in a presidential election (1912) and actually raised the hourly pay rate for many Americans before he wound up in jail.

Do you ever wonder who exactly it was who brought the hammer down on these radicals? Or why what they said elicited such disproportionate punishment?

Today I guess you could say radicals include Kathy Kelly, the Voices for Peace lady doing time for insisting on assisting victims of America’s Iraq genocide, and some of the honorable soldiers like Kevin Benderman who chose jail over crimes against humanity. Also are the Roman Catholic nuns who doing three-year vacations in a Colorado prison.

But the most tragic radicals were all the black people who have been crushed in the dust over two centuries of our bloodthirsty European Protestant genocidal history. Quit blaming Jews and Catholics. Take a long look at the White Anglo Saxon Protestants who pay attention to their church once a week, smile at their neighbors, and then build a gigantic empire on the unpaid backs of black cottonpickers. Of course this came after those refined White Europeans utilized every method possible to exterminate the hapless red man first, and later got rich selling drugs to the Chinese.

In my lifetime, a young articulate black man named Fred Hampton sticks in my mind. A charismatic and sincere community organizer as a teen, Fred was gunned down in a fusillade of bullets from murderous COINTELPRO cops — while lying in bed with no weapon. Of course in the newspapers the next day we learned our brave cops removed a dangerous radical from our streets. Another martyr to bogus American justice is Native American inspiration Leonard Peltier, jailed in Leavenworth for more than 30 years now for a crime he didn’t commit.

Given the brief glimpse of the abbreviated political trajectory of Fred Hampton I have to think he would have made a wonderful president someday. Same could be said of Leonard. These remarks make America’s nasty white supremacists squirm. Good.

For all you effete intellectual snobs (Spiro Agnew’s famous phrase), the radical to beat all was the cantankerous French Situationist Guy Debord, who argued that we were trapped in our own abstractions and had lost all meaningful contact with the world around us, before one sad day he put a bullet in his own head because no one could hear what he was saying.

“Imagine there’s no countries,” John Lennon sang shortly before he was taken out by a Bush family religious program mind-trained assassin with six shots to the back of the head, mmm yes, Mossad style. Can you say Hinckley Dinckley? Oh no, that was Chapman. Same school, though. Did I ever tell you about the time Hinckley’s brother had dinner with Bush? Another time, perhaps ....

“All you need is love,” Lennon prominently sang. Now how can you argue with that, even as you contemplate that a lot of this good will was generated as a social experiment by (even then) Zionized social scientists in a place called the Tavistock Institute in London, where a bomb went off the other day, incidentally. Isn’t that interesting?

What has always interested me about the 9/11 skeptics movement is the almost complete absence of political dogma among its participants. I mean, there are people from all over the political spectrum: the Trap Rock Peace Center to the American Patriot Friends Network. That’s good market coverage, my friend.

But in the exact middle of the American heart in this incredible poison: a totally locked down establishment media monster regurgitating the twisted and clumsy lies of sociopathic misanthropes who are butchering and poisoning half the world while hiding behind flags and bibles. No. I take that back. They’ve already destroyed both of them, too.

Yes, our president, the one who OKs overnight visits from a well-known homosexual prostitute and then puts him in the press corps to throw gopher ball questions at him, yes, that president, says he gets his orders from God!

This is the best news I’ve heard about religion in years. It tells you all exactly what religion is. Remember: the best Bible passage is Deuteronomy 28:56-58. Look it up. It says everything.

Thanks to George Bush and Tom Brokaw. And Charles F****** Krauthammer (the perfect Jewish name). American politics has evolved to Howdy Doody meets Bride of Chucky, and the most astounding thing is — obviously we can’t seem to figure it out — is that the American people have ACCEPTED IT!!!

They’ve accepted the destruction of the Constitution, the routine use of torture, the total falsification of elections, and the needless mass murders of hundreds of thousands of South Asians in the past two years alone.

So needless to say, I’ve looked for signs of hope that there were still actual human beings on this planet, and certainly have found that and more in both the 9/11 skeptics movement, and especially in the wonderful people I’ve met on the Internet, many of whom are much smarter than me and just as concerned about the apparently imminent destruction of most of the things we hold dear.

But the most amazing thing I have found is that virtually all of the people rising up and being willing to consider the frightening reality that 9/11 was an operation executed by our government ...

... wanna buy an Arab terrorist? They’re for sale, you know, and the CIA uses a lot of them; you occasionally see their case files on TV for a few weeks; then a new one is chosen as this week’s excuse for continuing the carnage by our multi-trillion dollar war machine ....

... the most amazing thing is that all these people, upset about government lies and needless killing, ARE FROM THE MIDDLE OF THE POLITICAL SPECTRUM. Most are not really political at all.

And their issues are not about godless communists or soulless capitalists. Their issues are not about foreign intrigues or Washington sexcapades. Their issue is about living a good life and not having their money stolen by criminal demagogues posing as sanctimonious philosophers.

Their issue is honesty.

The middle of the American political spectrum, totally ignored by the corporate spin machine under the assumption that “to go along to get along” is the political philosophy of choice for most of its listeners, is becoming radicalized over the issue of honesty. Under the media’s very noses. That’s delicious.

Look under that rock in the middle of the road. Why it’s Bill Moyers, sonafagun, and he’s saying the president should be in jail. Naw, I must not have heard that right.

Mothers with sons dead in Iraq are at the center of this community cyclone. They are surrounded by many millions of thoughtful Americans who question why President Bush didn’t permit a thoroughly and openly professional investigation — just what they’d do for any routine airplane crash in which people were killed — on September 11, 2001.

Who question why the evidence was carted away unexamined, and why New York firemen were told to clam up, or they would lose their jobs.

Who question why the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq seem to have been planned BEFORE 9/11 — yet later explained away as being conducted BECAUSE of 9/11.

Who question why their sons and daughters conducted the most horribly demented sexual experiments on their Iraqi prisoners, including little boys, some of whom were raped and killed. Did you see where Donald Rumsfeld testified before Congress that the new pictures from Abu Ghraib prison, where U.S. troops torture Iraqi captives with electrical wires in their anuses, were simply too terrible to look at, and we should just forget the whole thing?

Who question why Donald Rumsfeld created his own terror squads to go into Iraq and foment violence, in order, he said, to identify who the REAL TERRORISTS really are. The imbedded press, of course, forgot to keep of track of what they were doing. How many American adolescents have been killed by Rumsfeld’s special fomenting squads, trying to draw those rascally terrorists out of their hideouts? That’s exactly how the Fallujah massacre began.

Who question why Fallujah, the most hellacious and despicable war crime of the new century, was allowed to happen, and then the American people were prevented from seeing it or from hearing about it. We got to see Michael Jackson instead.

The people asking the right questions are ordinary people, with no particular political persuasion except live and let live.

I’ve been waiting for a long time for someone to come along and produce what I call (and the phrase is an important one to remember, in this age of spin) a COHERENT MEME about 9/11, which is the key to really understanding America’s role in the devolution of society and its plundering of the planet.

A coherent meme.

And wouldn’t you know, two average citizens — one a retired Bush administration official, for God’s sake; and the other, a shy professor of theology at an obscure West Coast college — were, amid the American public’s terrified silence during 2002 and the following years, able to logically and dispassionately ferret out the significant facts from among the panicky shrieks and emotional invective of the first wave of 9/11 skeptics, and state clearly and unambiguously to the general public that — well, I hope this isn’t the first time you’ve heard this, because it surely will not be the last — 9/11 was an inside job.

Same story with 7/7 and all those terror bombings in between.

What is the coherent meme in all this, you ask?

Well, let’s listen to what these two unprepossessing men, both accomplished professionals recognized in their fields with what you might say are national reputations, or at least as respectable high-achievers in their jobs, actually had to say.

They are Morgan Reynolds and David Ray Griffin.

Reynolds is so Republican he was chief economist in the Bush the Lamer’s first term. But we should never make the mistake of thinking everybody in the government is a money grubbing perv — even though the topmost leaders all may be that, and worse. Listen to Reynolds ....

It is hard to exaggerate the importance of a scientific debate over the cause(s) of the collapse of the twin towers and building 7. If the official wisdom on the collapses is wrong, as I believe it is, then policy based on such erroneous engineering analysis will not likely prove to be sound. Revised engineering and construction practices, for example, based on the belief that the twin towers collapsed through airplane damage and subsequent fires is premature, to say the least.

More importantly, momentous political and social consequences would follow if impartial observers concluded that professionals imploded the WTC. If demolition destroyed three steel skyscrapers at the World Trade Center on 9/11, then the case for an "inside job" and a government attack on America would be compelling. Meanwhile, the job of scientists, engineers and impartial researchers everywhere is to get the scientific and engineering analysis of 9/11 right, "though heaven should fall." Unfortunately, getting it right in today’s "security state" demands daring because explosives and structural experts have been intimidated in their analyses of the collapses of 9/11.

If you’re really interested in what really happened on 9/11/2001, you should savor Reynolds’ entire latest take on the subject at http://www.lewrockwell.com/reynolds/reynolds12.html

So what is the coherent meme that ordinary people can whisper to their neighbors that was stated unequivocally by this retired professor from Texas A&M? This radical!

Erroneous engineering analysis. Experts intimidated. Planes and fires couldn’t have knocked down the towers. Likely conclusion? Inside job.

Maybe the paranoid and corrupt U.S. government should begin targeting respectable white-haired college professors instead of innocent Muslim men, because Griffin, another retired professor (from Claremont School of Theology) has done more damage to the criminal syndicate in Washington than any Islamic enthusiast could ever hope to do.

Griffin’s book ....

The New Pearl Harbor reported evidence that at least six of the alleged hijackers are still alive. David Harrison of the Telegraph interviewed two of the men who supposedly died on Flight 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania, one of whom said that he "had never even heard of Pennsylvania," let alone died there. The Associated Press reported that Waleed al-Shehri, supposedly on Flight 11, contacted the U.S. embassy in Morocco about two weeks after 9/11. The 9/11 Commission Report, nevertheless, suggested that al-Shehri was responsible for stabbing one of the flight attendants shortly before Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower.

The New Pearl Harbor cited reports that although Mohamed Atta, the supposed ringleader, had been portrayed as a devout Muslim ready to meet his maker, he actually loved alcohol, pork, and lap dances. Zelikow’s commission, however, said that Atta had become "fanatically" religious. They also claimed that they could find no credible explanation as to why Atta and the other hijackers went to Las Vegas. The mainstream press has let the Commission get away with these obvious contradictions ....

Another big question created by the official story is how the hijackers, by crashing planes into the Twin Towers, caused them and Building 7 to collapse. One problem is that Building 7 was not struck by an airplane, and steel-frame buildings had never before been caused to collapse by fire alone, even when the fires had been much bigger, hotter, and longer-lasting. The Commission avoided this problem by simply not mentioning this fact or even, incredibly, that Building 7 collapsed.

The 9/11 Commission Report failed to mention that WTC7 collapsed. Hmm.

Another problem, which I mentioned earlier, is that the collapses had all the standard features of controlled demolitions. For example, all three buildings came down at virtually free-fall speed. The Commission even alluded to this feature, saying that the "South Tower collapsed in 10 seconds." But it never explained how fire plus the impact of an airplane could have produced such a collapse.

Controlled demolition was also suggested by the fact that the collapses were total, with the 110-story Twin Towers collapsing into a pile of rubble only a few stories high. The core of each tower had consisted of 47 massive steel columns, which extended from the basements through the roofs. Even if we ignore all the other problems in the official "pancake" theory of the collapses, those massive steel columns should have still been sticking up a thousand feet in the air. Zelikow’s commission handled this problem with the audacious claim that "[t]he interior core of the buildings was a hollow steel shaft."

The Commission said the WTC cores were hollow. Hmm.

Another example: Breaking those massive steel columns would have required very powerful explosives. Many survivors of the towers have reported hearing and feeling explosions. But the 9/11 Commission failed to mention any of these reports. William Rodriguez told the 9/11 Commission behind closed doors about feeling and hearing a huge explosion in the sub-basement of the North Tower, then rescuing people from its effects, but neither his name nor any of his testimony is found in Zelikow’s final report

In any case, as these illustrations show, the 9/11 Commission, which had the opportunity to rebut the prima facie case against the Bush administration, failed to do so. This means that the publication of The 9/11 Commission Report needs to be recognized as a decisive event, because it was the moment at which the prima facie case against the Bush administration became a conclusive case.

What we need now is a press that will let the American people in on this development---which is most important, given the fact that the official story about 9/11 has provided the pretext for virtually every other horrible thing this administration has done.

Do I hear a coherent meme?

The government and corporate media are covering up the truth. The so-called hijackers remain unidentified and unconfirmed. The Commission didn’t conduct a real investigation. Why do you think that was?

Hmm. Reynolds and Griffin. Old guys. Members of the establishment.

These guys are radicals, and you know why? They’re trying to tell you the truth, and most of you refuse to hear it. You’re so enamored of your so-called security, and so terrified of losing your meager income, that you will permit all manner of depravity and false witness. You will go to sleep at night counting your money, but you won’t count the innocent dead bodies who have been murdered in your name. That’s about the size of it.

Except for one more quintessential, sterling example of radical. Of people we should emulate.

Cindy Sheehan. Whose son Casey died in Iraq. Who has been at the forefront of trying to alert the American people that her son died for a lie, for a whole series of lies, and people are still dying for these lies.

Once she was just an ordinary mom. Then Bush’s lies took her son away, along with the lives of some 10,000 Americans and 140,000 Iraqi women and children in only two years. Plus ruining countless other lives. That’s Dubya’s legacy, along with a host of other barbaric and inhumane deeds, including the theft of trillions of dollars stolen from you and me and funneled to his corrupt corporate cronies. (It really is an effective formula for radicalizing the middle class.)

At this moment as I write, Cindy Sheehan is standing by the side of the road in Crawford, Texas, demanding to speak to President Bush. I just saw her on CNN, interviewed by Wolf Blitzer, CNN’s Israeli anchorman.

She told Blitzer about the first meeting she had with Bush, when the jovial president came into the room telling jokes and then consoling Cindy for the loss of “her loved one.”

“He didn’t even know my son’s name,” Cindy told the squirming Blitzer. “And I’m here until he comes out and talks to me.” Sheehan told CNN that Bush’s “misguided policy” is going to cost a lot more mothers their sons unless the war is stopped now.

The call has gone out around the world for ordinary people, musicians, and the news media to converge on Crawford to hear Cindy’s story and witness Bush’s response. For more information check out http://bellaciao.org/en/article.php3?id_article=7418 and check the other stories on that delightful site while you’re there.

So ... now you know that Homeland Security should be concentrating on suppressing American mothers who have lost their sons to lies in Iraq.

White-haired college professors and ordinary middle-class mothers .... these are the new radicals. Will Bush and his criminal sycophants come up with a new policy to make corporate America safe from them, because they are the real threat to the people in power?

Ah, the new America. Imprisoned minds exploited by unscrupulous killers. But the middle class radicals are emerging. And their single overriding issue is honesty.

So I looked at that bizarre e-mail again ...

Overthrow
all the governments
all at once

International criminal syndicate
has taken control of world’s money;
honest citizens must prevent
them from destroying the world;
Lennon was right:
all borders are bogus.
Is there any reason
we can’t have an honest world?

... and suddenly it didn’t seem so radical to me anymore.

Oh, I know, it’s presumptuous of me to speak for people in other nations of the world, yammering Yankee dog that I am. And for sure Americans seem to be unable to clean up their own act, their unstoppable murder machine sweeping around the world.

But Bush, repulsive and without redeeming social value as he is, is still only a symptom. The real disease is systemic.

And until that truth is addressed, Cindy will be left crying on the side of the road, principled white-haired grandfathers and grandmothers will become the new targets of persecution, and young boys and girls will keep dying needlessly.

Unless, of course, we take the advice of that strange e-mail, and stop this self-destructive foolishness right now.

Any chance you can honestly respond, or are you too scared? Remember the coherent memes. It’s up to you now.

As I said almost two years ago, arrest the president now, and along with him his hellish herd of homicidal harlots. You clearly see what the future holds if we don’t.

John Kaminski is a writer who lives on the Gulf Coast of Florida whose Internet essays are seen on hundreds of websites around the world. They have been collected into two anthologies, “America’s Autopsy Report” and “The Perfect Enemy.” In addition, he has written “The Day America Died: Why You Shouldn’t Believe the Official Story of What Happened on September 11, 2001,” which explains why the government’s version of that tragic day is a lie. Due out soon are a third collection of essays, titled “Recipe for Extinction,” and a new chapbook on belief systems, titled “The Prison of God.” For more information and announcement of release dates, keep track of http://www.johnkaminski.com/

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Casualties in Iraq hit Bush's standing
AFP
August 7, 2005

WASHINGTON - US President George W. Bush took a political beating this weekend after a second opinion poll, taken after a spike in US casualties in Iraq, showed a sharp drop in public support for his Iraq policy.

The survey by Newsweek magazine indicated only 34 percent of Americans approved of the way Bush was handling the situation in Iraq while 61 percent expressed their disapproval.

The findings, made public Saturday, represented the president's lowest rating on Iraq ever, which thus far has hovered above the 40-percent mark.

They echoed a sampling conducted this past week by Ipsos-Public Affairs for the Associated Press, which indicated that just 38 percent of respondents approved of what Bush is doing in Iraq while 59 percent disapproved of the policies and two percent had mixed feelings about them.

At least 38 US military personnel have died in Iraq in the last 10 days -- in one of the deadliest outbreaks of insurgent violence since the March 2003 US-led invasion of the country.

Iraqi insurgents mounted one of their most spectacular attacks on Wednesday when a powerful roadside bomb blew up a US armored personnel carrier near the northwest town of Haditha, killing 14 marines on board.

As of Saturday, the overall death toll for the US military in Iraq stood at 1,823, according to the Pentagon tally.

The count did not include two US soldiers killed later in the day in a bomb attack near Samarra.

Bush moved on Wednesday to cushion an anticipated backlash against his policies as he assured in a speech in Grapevine, Texas, that his administration had "a strategy for success" in Iraq.

"And the families can know that we will honor their loved one's sacrifice by completing the mission, by laying the foundations for peace for generations to come," the president said.

The Newsweek survey showed the plea may have fallen on deaf ears.

Reflecting a gloomy mood setting in in the country, half of those polled said the United States was losing ground in its efforts to establish security and democracy in Iraq. Only 40 percent had the opposite point of view.

The previously rock-solid commitment to maintaining a US military presence in the country for as long as it would be necessary to establish a stable and democratic government there also appears to have been shaken.

Just 26 percent of those polled now said they supported keeping large numbers of US military personnel in Iraq for as long as it takes to achieve US goals.

Thirty-eight percent argued they would support keeping troops there less than a year while 13 percent were willing to maintain that commitment for up to two years, according to the survey.

As much as 12 percent said troops should be brought home now.

Even prominent supporters of the president are now expressing concern how the mounting US death toll in Iraq will affect next year's congressional elections.

"When you wake up in the morning and lose 14 marines, people say, 'What's going on?'" Newt Gingrich, a former speaker of the House of Representatives and now a prominent Republican ideologue told The New York Times. "This is a very complicated equation."

Overall, a 51-percent majority now disapproves of the way Bush is handling his job as president, up from 48 percent registered in the March, the Newsweek survey showed.

The president's job disapproval rating in the Ipsos-Public Affairs poll was even higher -- 55 percent.

The Newsweek poll of 1,004 adults conducted on August 2-4 had a margin of error is plus or minus four percentage points. The margin of error for the Ipsos-Public Affairs survey conducted August 1-3 was 3.1 percent.

Comment: Note that the real concern of lawmakers is not that the American people are unhappy with Bush's crusade, but rather that congressional elections are coming up next year. Bush's handlers will no doubt pull some strings here and there and kick the propaganda machine up a notch, and all will be well. Worst case, a "terrorist attack" or "close call" should work wonders for the Bush Reich...

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Army Whistleblower Draws Fire
By DEBORAH HASTINGS
AP National Writer
Sun Aug 7,12:17 PM ET

WASHINGTON - In the world as Bunnatine Greenhouse sees it, people do the right thing. They stand up for the greater good and they speak up when things go wrong. She believes God has a purpose for each life and she prays every day for that purpose to be made evident. These days she is praying her heart out, because she is in a great deal of trouble.

Bunnatine "Bunny" Greenhouse is the Principal Assistant Responsible for Contracting ("PARC" in the alphabet soup of military acronyms) in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Lest the title fool, she is responsible for awarding billions upon billions in taxpayers' money to private companies hired to resurrect war-torn Iraq and to feed, clothe, shelter and do the laundry of American troops stationed there.

She has rained a mighty storm upon herself for standing up, before members of Congress and live on C-SPAN to proclaim things are just not right in this staggeringly profitable business.

She has asked many questions: Why is Halliburton - a giant Texas firm that holds more than 50 percent of all rebuilding efforts in Iraq - getting billions in contracts without competitive bidding? Do the durations of those contracts make sense? Have there been violations of federal laws regulating how the government can spend its money?

Halliburton denies any wrongdoing. "These false allegations have been recycled in the media ad nauseam," the company said in response to a list of e-mailed questions from The Associated Press.

Now Bunny Greenhouse may lose her job - and her reputation, which she spent a lifetime building.

She is a black woman in a world of mostly white men; a 60-year-old workaholic who abides neither fools nor frauds. But she is out of her element in this fight, her former boss said.

"What Bunny is caught up in is politics of the highest damn order," said retired Gen. Joe Ballard, who hired Greenhouse and headed the Corps until 2000. "This is real hardball they're playing here. Bunny is a procurement officer, she's not a politician. She's not trained to do this."

Greenhouse has known for a long time that her days may be numbered. Her needling of contracts awarded to Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown & Root (KBR) predated the war in Iraq, beginning with costs she said were spiraling "out of control" from a 2000 Bosnia contract to service U.S. troops. From 1995 to 2000, Halliburton's CEO was Dick Cheney, who left to run for vice president. He maintains his former company has not received preferential treatment from the government.

Since then, she had questioned both the amounts and the reasons for giving KBR tremendous contracts in the buildup to invading Iraq. At first she was ignored, she said. Then she was cut out of the decision-making process.

Last October 6, she was summoned to the office of her boss. Major Gen. Robert Griffin, the Corps' deputy commander, was demoting her, he told her, taking away her Senior Executive Service status and sending her to midlevel management. Not unlike being cast out of the office of bank president into the cubicle of branch manager. Griffin declined to be interviewed by the AP.

Her performance was poor, said a letter he presented. This was a surprise. Her previous job evaluations had been exemplary, she said. The basic theme was that she was "difficult," and "nobody likes you," she said.

If she didn't want the new position, she could always retire with full benefits, the letter noted.

Over my dead body, said Greenhouse.

"I took an oath of office. I took those words that I was going to protect the interests of my government and my country. So help me God," she says. "And nobody. Has the right. To take away my privilege. To serve my government. Nobody."

She has hired lawyer Michael Kohn, who successfully represented Linda Tripp in her claim that the Pentagon leaked personal information after she secretly taped Monica Lewinsky's confessions of a sexual affair with President Bill Clinton.

Two weeks after Greenhouse's trip to the woodshed, Kohn wrote an 11-page letter to the acting Secretary of the Army, requesting an independent investigation of "improper action that favored KBR's interests."

He also asked that his client be protected against retaliation under whistleblower statutes.

Then he reminded the Army secretary of Federal Acquisition Requirement 3.101: "Government business shall be conducted in a manner above reproach ... with complete impartiality and with preferential treatment for none."

The status of an independent investigation by the Defense Department is unclear. "As a matter of policy, we do not comment on open and ongoing investigations," said Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col. Rose-Ann Lynch.

Halliburton is also under federal investigation for alleged favoritism by the Bush administration.

FBI agents questioned Greenhouse for nine hours last November about that probe. In March, a former employee was indicted for taking bribes while working for KBR in Iraq.

Company spokeswoman Melissa Norcross said KBR has "delivered vital services for U.S. troops and the Iraqi people at a fair and reasonable cost, given the circumstances."

Meanwhile, Greenhouse has been placed under a 3-month performance review ending in September.

When Gen. Ballard hired her in 1997 she was overqualified - three master's degrees and more than 20 years of contracting experience in private industry, the Army and the Pentagon.

"She is probably the most professional person I've ever met, " Ballard said. "And she plays it straight. That created problems for her after I left."

Ballard used her, he said, to help him revolutionize the Corps - by ending the old-boys practice of awarding contracts to a favored few, and by imposing private industry standards on a mammoth, 230-year-old government agency with 35,000 workers. He felt the Corps, which had overseen everything from building hydroelectric dams to the Soo Locks to the Manhattan Project, needed a hard boot into the new age of contracting.

"The Corps is a tough organization. And I'll tell you, it's not easy to be a woman in this organization, and a black one at that," said Ballard, who was the first black leader of the Corps.

He is not optimistic about her future.

"I think you can put a fork in it," he said. "Her career is done."

At Corps headquarters, few speak to her, she said, and her bosses write down what she says at departmental meetings.

Sometimes, as she walks down a hall, someone will mutter, "Go for it, Bunny," or "Give 'em hell," she said. "They pass by saying this while they're looking straight ahead," she recounted, and chuckled.

In a city where politics is everything, including blood sport, she refuses to play. Right down to her clothes.

Bunny Greenhouse does not subscribe to the Capitol chic of a dowdy
Janet Reno jacket and skirt or a boxy Hillary Clinton suit with buttons the size of quarters. On a sweltering summer day, seated in her lawyer's Georgetown office, Greenhouse wears a vibrant pink-and-black shirt, tight-fitting trousers with creases that could cut butter, and a blazer with a shredded-fabric flower.

Her bag - overflowing with files, papers, pens, wallet, cell phone - rivals the weight of a bound copy of the federal budget.

Underestimate her at your peril.

"I have never gone along to get along. And I'm willing to suffer the consequences," she said.

Her contracting staff was sharply reduced, she said, and her superiors have gone behind her back, most notably in issuing an emergency waiver - on a day she was out of the office - that allowed KBR to ignore requests from Department of Defense auditors who issued a draft report in 2003 concluding KBR overcharged the government $61 million for fuel in Iraq.

"They knew I would never have signed it," she said.

The Army Corps of Engineers declined to comment on Greenhouse's complaints. "It's a personnel matter," said Corps spokeswoman Carol Sanders. "We're not going to go point-by-point with Ms. Greenhouse's accusations.

"They want me out," Greenhouse said.

In her job, Greenhouse is mandated by Congress to get the best quality at the cheapest price from the most qualified supplier. Over her objections, KBR was awarded three multibillion-dollar war-related contracts, two of them without competitive bidding.

Together, they are worth as much as $20 billion - the entire cost of the Manhattan Project, adjusted to today's dollars.

Greenhouse's most strenuous complaints were over the Restore Iraqi Oil contract, estimated at $7 billion, originally planned to handle oil field fires that might be started by Saddam Hussein's troops. When that failed to happen, it morphed into an agreement to repair oil fields and import fuel for civilians and soldiers.

The contract was given to KBR in March 2003. In Greenhouse's view, that process violated federal regulations concerning fair and open bidding. Halliburton denies that.

A month before KBR got the contract - and three weeks before the U.S. invaded Iraq - she had demanded KBR officials be ejected from a Pentagon meeting attended by high-ranking officials from the Corps and the Defense Department. "They should not have been there," she said. "We were discussing the terms of the contract."

Later, she would tell Democratic members of Congress: "The abuse related to contracts awarded to KBR represents the most blatant and improper contract abuse I have ever witnessed during the course of my professional career."

At the Corps, Greenhouse said she was told KBR was the only qualified firm.

With the country on the brink of war, she reluctantly signed the RIO contract. But next to her signature, she boldly wrote an objection to the only thing she felt she could challenge - the contract's length, five years. One year would have been more than fair, she said. After that, it should have been put out for bid among contractors with top security clearances.

"I caution that extending this sole source contract beyond a one-year period could convey an invalid perception that there is not strong intent for a limited competition," she penned in neat cursive.

In June, she was asked to testify before the Democratic Policy Committee - formed by Democrats who said their efforts to get the Republican-controlled Congress to investigate alleged war profiteering had been repeatedly denied.

She was joined by a former Halliburton employee who said KBR fed spoiled food to American troops and charged the government for thousands of meals it never served.

Halliburton would not specifically address the former employee's claims. Norcross said taking care of troops is "our priority."

"I thought she was very courageous to come forward and blow the whistle," Rep. Henry Waxman of California said of Greenhouse. "The administration ran around her and ignored her. We owe her a debt of gratitude."

And if she is forced out?

"I would find that outrageous," Waxman replied. "They should be promoting her."

Greenhouse is a registered independent. Her husband, Aloyisus Greenhouse, is retired after a long Army career as a senior procurement officer. They have three grown children.

Bunny grew up in the segregated South, where her parents taught her and her siblings to be proud and hardworking. Her brother is Elvin Hayes, the Hall of Fame basketball player. She followed her husband's military postings, moving and moving and then moving again. In each place she found her own way, and her own job.

Her husband watches what is happening to her and tries to bite his lip.

"Bunny has a lot of faith. She really believes that someone will stand up and say, 'This is wrong.' But I don't think a person exists like that in the Department of Defense."

But in her world, Bunny Greenhouse's faith still beams.

"I simply believe that we have callings and purposes in this life. I walk through this life for a purpose. I wake up every day for a purpose. And every day I say, 'Here I am. Send me.' "

Comment: It's too bad there aren't more people like Bunny Greenhouse in the halls of power...

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Man Kills Another in Dispute Over War -- Press Calls It a First
By E&P Staff
August 06, 2005 6:30 PM ET

NEW YORK - It was bound to happen sooner or later, and in what newspapers in Kentucky are calling a first, one American has killed another in a dispute over the Iraq war.

It happened at Floyd County flea market on Thursday, when two friends, who were firearms vendors there, drew guns after quarreling about the war. Douglas Moore, 65, of Martin, who backs the war, shot and killed Harold Wayne Smith, 56, of Manchester, who opposed it, according to investigators.

Moore was released without being charged after he convinced police he had acted in self-defense. A grand jury may yet hear evidence in the case.

Commonwealth's Attorney Brent Turner said the episode might mark the first death in the U.S. due to a dispute over the war.

One witness, Sam Hamman of Prestonsburg, told the Lexington Herald-Leader, "Harold was talking about the 14 people that were killed in Iraq the other day and Doug said that just as many people were killed on the highways here."

This quickly escalated into an argument, then to a scuffle, and finally both men drew pistols outside a snack shed. The dead man was apparently just a little slower in firing. Witnesses said he stood for about five seconds before toppling on the walkway.

In a telephone interview with the Lexington paper yesterday, Moore said police had told him not to discuss his feelings about the Iraq war.

"I'm sorry this has happened," Moore, a retired railroad worker, said. "But then what's done can't be undone." Moore told the Lexington reporter he thinks Smith and his family knew him well enough "to know what my thoughts are, his family does, because me and Harold was friends. That's all I'll say."

The daughter of the dead man said the two men were friends and had discussed Iraq before. She said her father "had different opinions than everybody. He felt it was wrong that all of these young people were losing their lives over what was going on. It was just a political disagreement, like a whole lot of people have."

Comment: Well, it's happened: the pro-Bush and anti-Bush crowds have started shooting at each other. While the American populace is busy arguing with and shooting at each other, Bush and the gang will just slither onward with their plans.

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War Plans Drafted To Counter Terror Attacks in U.S.

Domestic Effort Is Big Shift for Military
By Bradley Graham
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, August 8, 2005; A01

COLORADO SPRINGS -- The U.S. military has devised its first-ever war plans for guarding against and responding to terrorist attacks in the United States, envisioning 15 potential crisis scenarios and anticipating several simultaneous strikes around the country, according to officers who drafted the plans.

The classified plans, developed here at Northern Command headquarters, outline a variety of possible roles for quick-reaction forces estimated at as many as 3,000 ground troops per attack, a number that could easily grow depending on the extent of the damage and the abilities of civilian response teams.

The possible scenarios range from "low end," relatively modest crowd-control missions to "high-end," full-scale disaster management after catastrophic attacks such as the release of a deadly biological agent or the explosion of a radiological device, several officers said.

Some of the worst-case scenarios involve three attacks at the same time, in keeping with a Pentagon directive earlier this year ordering Northcom, as the command is called, to plan for multiple simultaneous attacks.

The war plans represent a historic shift for the Pentagon, which has been reluctant to become involved in domestic operations and is legally constrained from engaging in law enforcement. Indeed, defense officials continue to stress that they intend for the troops to play largely a supporting role in homeland emergencies, bolstering police, firefighters and other civilian response groups.

But the new plans provide for what several senior officers acknowledged is the likelihood that the military will have to take charge in some situations, especially when dealing with mass-casualty attacks that could quickly overwhelm civilian resources.

"In my estimation, [in the event of] a biological, a chemical or nuclear attack in any of the 50 states, the Department of Defense is best positioned -- of the various eight federal agencies that would be involved -- to take the lead," said Adm. Timothy J. Keating, the head of Northcom, which coordinates military involvement in homeland security operations.

The plans present the Pentagon with a clearer idea of the kinds and numbers of troops and the training that may be required to build a more credible homeland defense force. They come at a time when senior Pentagon officials are engaged in an internal, year-long review of force levels and weapons systems, attempting to balance the heightened requirements of homeland defense against the heavy demands of overseas deployments in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Keating expressed confidence that existing military assets are sufficient to meet homeland security needs. Maj. Gen. Richard J. Rowe, Northcom's chief operations officer, agreed, but he added that "stress points" in some military capabilities probably would result if troops were called on to deal with multiple homeland attacks.

Debate and Analysis

Several people on the staff here and at the Pentagon said in interviews that the debate and analysis within the U.S. government regarding the extent of the homeland threat and the resources necessary to guard against it remain far from resolved.

The command's plans consist of two main documents. One, designated CONPLAN 2002 and consisting of more than 1,000 pages, is said to be a sort of umbrella document that draws together previously issued orders for homeland missions and covers air, sea and land operations. It addresses not only post-attack responses but also prevention and deterrence actions aimed at intercepting threats before they reach the United States.

The other, identified as CONPLAN 0500, deals specifically with managing the consequences of attacks represented by the 15 scenarios.

CONPLAN 2002 has passed a review by the Pentagon's Joint Staff and is due to go soon to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and top aides for further study and approval, the officers said. CONPLAN 0500 is still undergoing final drafting here. (CONPLAN stands for "concept plan" and tends to be an abbreviated version of an OPLAN, or "operations plan," which specifies forces and timelines for movement into a combat zone.)

The plans, like much else about Northcom, mark a new venture by a U.S. military establishment still trying to find its comfort level with the idea of a greater homeland defense role after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Military officers and civilian Pentagon policymakers say they recognize, on one hand, that the armed forces have much to offer not only in numbers of troops but also in experience managing crises and responding to emergencies. On the other hand, they worry that too much involvement in homeland missions would diminish the military's ability to deal with threats abroad.

The Pentagon's new homeland defense strategy, issued in June, emphasized in boldface type that "domestic security is primarily a civilian law enforcement function." Still, it noted the possibility that ground troops might be sent into action on U.S. soil to counter security threats and deal with major emergencies.

"For the Pentagon to acknowledge that it would have to respond to catastrophic attack and needs a plan was a big step," said James Carafano, who follows homeland security issues for the Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington think tank.

William M. Arkin, a defense specialist who has reported on Northcom's war planning, said the evolution of the Pentagon's thinking reflects the recognition of an obvious gap in civilian resources.

Since Northcom's inception in October 2002, its headquarters staff has grown to about 640 members, making it larger than the Southern Command, which oversees operations in Latin America, but smaller than the regional commands for Europe, the Middle East and the Pacific. A brief tour late last month of Northcom's operations center at Peterson Air Force Base found officers monitoring not only aircraft and ship traffic around the United States but also the Discovery space shuttle mission, the National Scout Jamboree in Virginia, several border surveillance operations and a few forest firefighting efforts.

'Dual-Use' Approach

Pentagon authorities have rejected the idea of creating large standing units dedicated to homeland missions. Instead, they favor a "dual-use" approach, drawing on a common pool of troops trained both for homeland and overseas assignments.

Particular reliance is being placed on the National Guard, which is expanding a network of 22-member civil support teams to all states and forming about a dozen 120-member regional response units. Congress last year also gave the Guard expanded authority under Title 32 of the U.S. Code to perform such homeland missions as securing power plants and other critical facilities.

But the Northcom commander can quickly call on active-duty forces as well. On top of previous powers to send fighter jets into the air, Keating earlier this year gained the authority to dispatch Navy and Coast Guard ships to deal with suspected threats off U.S. coasts. He also has immediate access to four active-duty Army battalions based around the country, officers here said.

Nonetheless, when it comes to ground forces possibly taking a lead role in homeland operations, senior Northcom officers remain reluctant to discuss specifics. Keating said such situations, if they arise, probably would be temporary, with lead responsibility passing back to civilian authorities.

Military exercises code-named Vital Archer, which involve troops in lead roles, are shrouded in secrecy. By contrast, other homeland exercises featuring troops in supporting roles are widely publicized.

Legal Questions

Civil liberties groups have warned that the military's expanded involvement in homeland defense could bump up against the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, which restricts the use of troops in domestic law enforcement. But Pentagon authorities have told Congress they see no need to change the law.

According to military lawyers here, the dispatch of ground troops would most likely be justified on the basis of the president's authority under Article 2 of the Constitution to serve as commander in chief and protect the nation. The Posse Comitatus Act exempts actions authorized by the Constitution.

"That would be the place we would start from" in making the legal case, said Col. John Gereski, a senior Northcom lawyer.

But Gereski also said he knew of no court test of this legal argument, and Keating left the door open to seeking an amendment of the Posse Comitatus Act.

One potentially tricky area, the admiral said, involves National Guard officers who are put in command of task forces that include active-duty as well as Guard units -- an approach first used last year at the Group of Eight summit in Georgia. Guard troops, acting under state control, are exempt from Posse Comitatus prohibitions.

"It could be a challenge for the commander who's a Guardsman, if we end up in a fairly complex, dynamic scenario," Keating said. He cited a potential situation in which Guard units might begin rounding up people while regular forces could not.

The command's sensitivity to legal issues, Gereski said, is reflected in the unusually large number of lawyers on staff here -- 14 compared with 10 or fewer at other commands. One lawyer serves full time at the command's Combined Intelligence and Fusion Center, which joins military analysts with law enforcement and counterintelligence specialists from such civilian agencies as the FBI, the CIA and the Secret Service.

A senior supervisor at the facility said the staff there does no intelligence collection, only analysis.

He also said the military operates under long-standing rules intended to protect civilian liberties. The rules, for instance, block military access to intelligence information on political dissent or purely criminal activity.

Even so, the center's lawyer is called on periodically to rule on the appropriateness of some kinds of information-sharing. Asked how frequently such cases arise, the supervisor recalled two in the previous 10 days, but he declined to provide specifics.

Comment: Note the comment that the current planning is for military intervention for everything from a catastrophic attack on US soil all the way down to basic crowd control. In other words, the military will have an increasing roll in civilian law enforcement. All that will be required is Bush's approval, and the troops will be deployed.

US borders are being tightened as the populace is scared into avoiding travel outside the country. The Patriot Act has been renewed for ten years. Now Bush will have the power to deploy the military on US soil whenever he wishes.

And all of this is occurring even as Bush's popularity among the American people plummets...

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General warns of long mission in Afghanistan
Last Updated Mon, 08 Aug 2005 06:32:18 EDT
CBC News

One of Canada's top generals predicts Canadian troops will likely have to stay in Afghanistan for at least a generation to help that country break out of "a cycle of warlords and tribalism."

The remarks came from Maj.-Gen. Andrew Leslie to the Couchiching Summer Conference on Sunday in Orillia, Ont., north of Toronto.

"Afghanistan is a 20-year venture," Leslie said.

But, he said, the commitment is a necessary one.

'Worth fighting for'

"There are things worth fighting for. There are things worth dying for. There are things worth killing for," Leslie said, in remarks reported in Monday's Toronto Star newspaper.

Still, he warned that Canadians should be prepared for a long mission, that could cost lives.

"Every time you kill an angry young man overseas, you're creating 15 more who will come after you," he said.

Leslie's remarks echo comments made earlier this summer by Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Rick Hillier.

He, too, warned that Canadians should prepare for military casualties.

By sending troops to Afghanistan, Canada is actually protecting itself, at least in the long run, he said in July.

As many as 1,250 Canadian soldiers will be serving in the country by February 2006.

About 250 Canadian soldiers will be sent to the volatile Kandahar region this month. Some have already begun patrolling the streets of Kandahar, getting to know the Afghan city before taking on their new mission in the southern provinces.

American officials have warned of al-Qaeda attacks in the region.

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How Can I Make a Difference?
By Donville Myrie
Awareness Alert! article
phi-spiral.com

There used to be "happiness" in the world.

While acknowledging the stark subjectivity of this statement, a practical understanding could be gained from the fact that most people remember a time when the future did NOT seem so clear. Optimism for a 'good' future was the underpinning of one's waking consciousness in the accepted world of socio-economical struggles, no matter what side of the coin you stood. Over one-hundred years of steady technological progress has led to numerous economic opportunities, creating in-roads that touch the lives of every human being alive today. As seductive as it's addictive, it inspired dreams of new possibilities, and promised new achievements for the individual unheard of by their predecessors.

The 'American Dream' of picket fences, two car garages, tree-lined neighborhoods, and 2.5 children, does not seem so entirely attainable anymore. The 'Pursuit of Happiness' as has become understood by most of the world's population as an inalienable right, has degenerated somehow into a strangely perplexing, futile mental exercise. Something profound is happening; ..there seems to be a new element introduced into the equation - an anomalous weed has taken root in the garden. The collective psyche of the average human being seem to be suffering from something akin to a traumatic criminal assault. A crime so heinous and unimaginable, that almost everyone is still reeling from its resulting dementia.

General optimism has been replaced by a pervasive and nebulous din. An ever-present background radiation of unsettlement, that contrasts sharply against all personal enjoyments. Even the upbeat imagery of commercials, and the mind numbing panacea of popular entertainment has lost it's edge to completely hold our focus. Moreover, even such tried and true spoon fed placebos as 'easy credit' and over optimistic economic forecasts cannot overwrite this awareness of a creeping shadow drawing near. What in the world is this "thing", and what could've caused its appearance? For those of us who're able to think this deeply, these are logical and sensible questions. However the answers should not be expected without preparation, because they could be firmly entrenched in areas where the light of imagination may not have shone.

The public mind as it is conditioned to be, is a very fragile thing. Easily whipped into a state of disorienting mass frenzy, its natural tendency will be to frantically look for a point of focus to regain its balance. It will look for rational explanations, and will accept a solid lie if presented with an air of plausibility. If blame is inserted at the optimal time after the shock of a national tragedy for example, the mind will focus and imprint on this idea. Even if evidence is not forthcoming, this idea could be developed further into what would be in effect, a phantom or bogeyman. It is important to know that many of these occurrences are quite deliberate and used throughout history to effect change. Random acts of terror are usually not what they appear to be - random. Targets are carefully chosen to maximize public horror and outrage. The public mind has been carefully conditioned by twisted truth and truncated histories, to believe that 'terroristic acts against humanity' is a crime committed by radicals, and OTHER governments against OTHER peoples. Conditioning prevents the public from ever conceptualizing the resolve and lengths THEIR OWN GOVERNMENT would go to institute a policy.

Before World War II, the burning of the Reichstag in Nazi Germany is a good example, and is said to be the defining incident which incited the German population to embrace war. How would this historical event seem to us now, if proof suddenly came to light incriminating the NAZIS themselves of orchestrating this fraud against its own people? Why would they do this you ask? Maybe a clue was revealed after the war, from the testimony of Nazi General, Herman Goering during his trial at Nuremberg in 1946:

"Of course the people don't want war... That is understood. But... it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."

Since 9/11, the Madrid bombings, and now the recent carnage in London, our collective focus has been manipulated to imagine a monster. A shadowy and vastly superior entity of unlimited resolve, unimaginably hell bent on destroying you, your family, and modern civilization. With tentacles reaching under every bed, this monster is so huge... but strangely cannot be seen; so infinitely wealthy... but illogically finances in a manner that cannot be traced. So omnipresent, it's offspring is spawned behind every wall, and amidst all defenses against it. So smart is this beast, it out thinks the combined intelligence of the world's top analysts. Its lair can be located with some effort by an astute reporter, but fades in the desert like a lit candle held up to the sun when subjected to the multi-trillion dollar gaze of the all powerful American war machine.

Tangible evidence is never needed because fear is not dependent on proof, so terror from helplessness results and will remain the underlying presence felt by everyone. This all consuming misdirected terror of an imaginary phantom, is redirected to its "nothingness" by the clever manipulations of the REAL MONSTERS themselves. These are the works of truly nefarious and cowardly persons in our leadership, being influenced and supported by other dark forces with a specific agenda. An agenda requiring the orchestration of the systematic disempowerment of the world's peoples while it clandestinely installs it's diabolical order. An order where the rules of civilized behavior is turned upside down in favor of open conquest, destruction, genocide, dehumanization, rape, and theft. An order of treachery, created by swindling power from the people by deceiving them into giving up their Rights, thus placing 'public stewardship' firmly into the hands of these cowardly few. This is in fact what is happening in the United States and other Allied Nations as we speak. Have you ever wondered how such an "invisible and bloodless coup" can be accomplished? Through loopholes and ambiguities built into law, designed to provide plausible footholds to manipulative interests. What is now needed is the proper crisis situation, and this is where Pschological Operations has its forte. The utilization of deeply emotional staged crisises provide the necessary diversionary measure needed to fabricate plausible blame, of which public acceptance is the 'Trojan Horse' for unleashing draconian laws.

The American Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) laws, are designed in such a way to allow the authorities to maximize aid to an afflicted area. It does this by in effect, suspending Constitutional Rights in the region afflicted by catastrophic disaster so that ALL resources can be legally utilized to rapidly return normalcy to the region. Sometimes it takes extreme measures such as 'martial law' and the utilization of the armed forces and such to accomplish this work. Constitutional Rights are then returned to the region when its 'Federal Emergency' status is lifted. Since September 11th, 2001, a state of 'Federal Emergency' has been enacted over the entire United States, and has not been lifted since. This single act effectively turns the country into a national security state, secretly disconnecting the government from all obligations and binds to Constitutional Law. It allows those in power to pursue their own interests at the tremendous expense of the American People under the guise of national security measures with inspiring names like "Patriot Act" and "Homeland Security", and cloaked in false pursuits of "Spreading Democracy" and "Fighting Terrorism".

The blind acceptance of the message triggered by these powerfully subjective patriotic phrases, increases the palatability of our changing objective reality. A reality of eroded rights, where Reporters cannot report the truth, being different is equal to being a terrorist, being monitored by the government for no reason is now standard practice, five-year olds are being arrested like adults, books disappearing from libraries, soldiers appearing in the streets, random police searches, creation of 'free speech' zones for protesters, torture being used as official policy, indefinite detention with no legal counsel, children encouraged to spy on parents, not to mention the straight out lying by the President leading to illegal war leaving hundreds of thousands dead, the deafening silence of non-opposition from other elected officials, the unchallenged conflicts of interests allowing officials in the Executive branch to personally profit in their illegal war and so on.

You may ask; "Is it too late to do something? How can I make a difference?" Taking a stand is the first step to making a difference, and the most important step to this position is the KNOWING that it is not contingent on the opinions of others. This simple heretical stance is firmly among the things feared the most by the ruling classes. The fact of the matter is that most people have not chosen. They only THINK they've made choices, responding instead like mindless machines to hugely subjective image/idea laden rhetoric disguised as truth, such as patriotic/nationalistic speech, ideas suggesting close affinity with the Divine, ideas of imminent domain or supreme right, ideas of racial/idealistic/religio supremacy, and so on.

The power to effect change comes down to the level of INDIVIDUAL choice. The ability for the individual to see TRUTH, is arguably the most sublimely liberating personal experience that is humanly possible, so persuasion from the masses should be recognized and guarded against. What needs to change is the individual's perspective and inward response to the situation at hand. On the one hand, the deception you see may seem so far gone, so huge of an issue that nothing can be done. A slightly different perspective may shed more light on this personal issue.

Here are three ways of looking at it:

1. I accept everything that's happening as a normal, unavoidable progression of life.

2. I see questionable things happening but I accept this, for what is the use to try and fight it?

3. I CHOOSE the stance that the stronger must dominate the weak, and what I see is just a manifestation of natural law.

4. I CHOOSE to make a stand on the side of TRUTH based on objective evidence, no matter what this is, and not be manipulated into how to think or feel based on subjectivity.

I personally have chosen the fourth option because I am fed up with being lied to. Everywhere I look, I see people dying, starving, stolen from, and I KNOW that I'm being lied to about it. I see our troops returning home with horrible injuries and radiation poisoning from Depleted Uranium ordinance, and on the other side I see an administration so smug and confident in its lying, that it didn't even bother to FAKE evidence to justify its murderous rampage.

I ask ALL of you to sincerely ask yourselves, when is it going to be enough?

"The loss of liberty at home is to be charged to the provisions against danger, real or imagined, from abroad."

.."If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy." ..

-James Madison

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Tokyo, Yokohama Shaken by Magnitude 5.6 Quake, U.S. Survey Says
Bloomberg

Aug. 8 (Bloomberg) -- An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.6 shook Tokyo and Yokohama at 1:06 a.m. today, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The quake registered a maximum of 4 on the seven-level Japanese intensity scale in Yokohama and a level of 3 in Tokyo and parts of nearby Chiba prefecture, the Japan Meteorological Agency said on its Web site.

The earthquake was centered about 40 kilometers (25 miles) underground, near the east coast of Honshu, Japan's biggest island, about 100 miles northeast of Tokyo, the U.S. organization reported on its Web site.

A tremor that registers in the 4 range on the meteorological agency's intensity scale rattles shelves and can topple loose objects. It isn't strong enough to cause major damage or casualties.

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Did a giant meteor kill dinosaurs?
By BILL VOGRIN - THE GAZETTE
August 08, 2005

A team of scientists and volunteers will descend on Colorado Springs this month to search for evidence of a monster asteroid they believe smashed into Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula about 65.5 million years ago.

Many scientists believe the asteroid caused an eruption of ash that blanketed the planet and created an environmental holocaust that wiped out most life on the planet, including dinosaurs.

The ash, with its unique space dust, crystals and soot from global fires, is said to have eventually compressed into a layer of clay that circled the Earth and now lies buried beneath 65 million years of sedimentary rock.

A team from the Denver Museum of Nature and Science says it has found evidence of the clay and its asteroid ash in Colorado Springs and the surrounding region. They hope a three-day dig this month will produce more proof.

“We are studying all the rock underlying the city,” said Kirk Johnson, chief curator of paleontology at the Denver museum.

Scientists believe the asteroid was about six miles in diameter — imagine a space rock the size of the Air Force Academy grounds — moving at 20,000 mph.

When the asteroid hit, scientists believe, the impact was catastrophic, superheating the Earth’s atmosphere and incinerating all large forms of animal life including dinosaurs, large mammals and 50 percent of all insect and plant life.

“It really kind of wrecked the planet,” Johnson said.

The asteroid’s impact left a crater upward of 100 miles wide — about the distance from Denver to Pueblo. Scientists believe they have discovered the crater 200 miles west of Cancun beneath millions of years of sediment on the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula and in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

The impact also caused an eruption of ash and debris that, according to theory, swept across the Earth, eventually choking out sunlight, lowering the global temperature, contributing to acid rain and other dramatic climatic changes.

It’s only a theory; many scientists dismiss it in favor of a theory that volcanic eruptions are to blame for the cataclysmic loss of animal and plant life and disruption of the global climate.

But Johnson believes it was an asteroid, and he’s among a large number of scientists who search the globe for the layer of clay with its unique space dust, quartz crystals fractured by massive force and soot from fires that resulted from the impact.

That’s what Johnson and a team of a dozen or so scientists, students and volunteers will be searching for in Colorado Springs.

The key is finding the layer laced with iridium, an extremely rare metallic chemical element similar to platinum.

Two sources of iridium exist. It is found in the Earth’s core, brought to the surface in eruptions of certain types of volcanoes. And it is found in space rock, like meteors and asteroids, and the cosmic dust that constantly showers Earth’s atmosphere.

The theory is difficult to prove because, generally, the layer of clay is buried deep below the Earth’s surface.

Except in Colorado Springs and other places where the Earth’s crust has been disturbed by uplift and erosion.

Here, the clay can be found at the surface or just below. It’s often unearthed by construction of roads, buildings and homes.

That’s because the uplift that created the Rocky Mountains pushed layers of prehistoric rock to the surface, especially in places such as Garden of the Gods and the Pulpit Rock area of the Austin Bluffs Open Space.

The Springs’ topography gives scientists access to rock as deep as the Pierre Shale formation, which dates to 70 million years ago, and Fox Hills, a layer of ancient beach deposits from a time when Colorado was covered by an ocean.

Then comes the distinctive iridium-laced clay, which is 65.5 million years old and separates the Cretaceous period — the last age of dinosaurs — from the Tertiary/Paleocene, when mammals became the dominant species on Earth.

Above those layers are the Laramie and Dawson formations, which are only about 55 million years old.

In recent years, Johnson’s team discovered the clay in an outcropping east of Kiowa in Elbert County.

“We actually found the layer where the dinosaurs went extinct,” said Beth Ellis, project manager of Johnson’s team. “You could put your finger on it. It was really cool.”

There have been specific discoveries in the Springs, Ellis said.

For example, a student working on private property got “within a few feet” of pinpointing the clay layer at a site near the proposed Jimmy Camp Creek reservoir northeast of the Colorado Springs Airport. The student found rock from the thicker layers above and below the thin clay layer. But more work is needed to unearth the clay, Ellis said.

Previous expeditions to Colorado Springs have led scientists back to the Pulpit Rock area, as well.

“It takes a couple years to get a good understanding of an area,” Ellis said. “Then we go back and look hard. That’s when it gets fun.”

The fun will start Aug. 28 when the team returns, Ellis said. It will visit Pulpit Rock, a road construction site near Garden of the Gods Road and, perhaps, the Jimmy Camp Creek site.

Along the way, scientists expect to unearth other fossils, like they did a few years ago when a prehistoric crocodile skull was found.

“We’ve been doing work in Colorado Springs since 1991,” Johnson said. “We amped that work up in the late 1990s. It’s a really interesting project. We’ve found some pretty interesting, cool fossils there. We’re excited about it.”

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