Tuesday, August 23, 2005                                               The Daily Battle Against Subjectivity
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"You get America out of Iraq and Israel out of Palestine and you'll stop the terrorism." - Cindy Sheehan

P I C T U R E   O F  T H E  D A Y


Gasconny Fog
©2005 Pierre-Paul Feyte


NEW! Signs Commentary Books are Now Available!

For the first time, the Signs Team's most popular and discerning essays have been compiled into book form and thematically organized.

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The six new books, available now at our bookstore, are entitled:

  • 911 Conspiracy
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PENTAGONSTRIKE FLASH IS ONE YEAR OLD!
SOTT

One year ago today, Darren Williams released the Signs of the Times Production Pentagon Strike to the world. A year later, the little tyke has been seen by close to 500 million people. It already speaks ten languages and will soon be speaking Polish.

To hear more about the animation and what inspired him to create it, check out our exclusive Signs Podcast interview with Darren.

The Pentagon Strike is the single most successful piece in bringing the serious questions about the truth of 9/11 to a large public.

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Televangelist Calls for Chavez' Death
Aug 22 11:06 PM US/Eastern
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va.

Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson called on Monday for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, calling him a "terrific danger" to the United States.

Robertson, founder of the Christian Coalition of America and a former presidential candidate, said on "The 700 Club" it was the United States' duty to stop Chavez from making Venezuela a "launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism."

Chavez has emerged as one of the most outspoken critics of President Bush, accusing the United States of conspiring to topple his government and possibly backing plots to assassinate him. U.S. officials have called the accusations ridiculous.

"You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it," Robertson said. "It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war ... and I don't think any oil shipments will stop."

Electronic pages and a message to a Robertson spokeswoman were not immediately returned Monday evening.

Venezuela is the fifth largest oil exporter and a major supplier of oil to the United States. The CIA estimates that U.S. markets absorb almost 59 percent of Venezuela's total exports.

Venezuela's government has demanded in the past that the United States crack down on Cuban and Venezuelan "terrorists" in Florida who they say are conspiring against Chavez.

Robertson accused the United States of failing to act when Chavez was briefly overthrown in 2002.

"We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability," Robertson said.

"We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator," he continued. "It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with."

Comment: Is this the beginning of a new set of right-wing talking points? "Venezuela exports Muslim extremism" and "assassination is cheaper than war"?

We are so appalled at these comments, it hard to know where to start. Let's start with Venezuela is a "launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism." First, Venezuela is only "communist" in that broad, all-encompassing evil kind of way that Americans use the term "communist": you know, the government gives free health care to its poorest citizens; it is attempting to use the profits from its sale of oil to improve the lot of the majority of its people in spite of continuous campaigns by the rich with the backing and blessing of the US to slander and overthrow the democratically elected government of Hugo Chavez; it is attempting to curb the influence of and exploitation of the country by foreign corporations.

It is the second assertion that is so strange and bizarre, that really makes one wonder about the mental health of Robertson and his listeners. Not only is Venezuela a lanuching pad for communism, it is also a launching pad for "Muslim extremism"! Well, according to the CIA World Fact Book entry for Venezuela, the country is 96% Catholic, 2% Protestant, and 2% other. Unfortunately, the different religions that make up the "other" part are not listed, but one can safely assert that Muslims make up less than 2% of the population. We don't know if that is .0005% or 1% or 1.5%, but common sense tells us that Latin American in general is not a hotbed of Islamic extremism.

However, a Google search on "Latin America" and "Islam", and "Venezuela" and "Islam" brings up some interesting finds, interesting from the point of view of propaganda and manipulation. The first return is the following article from WorldNetDaily. Is it any coincidence that Pat Robertson also writes for this site? Are we surpised that today's headline at the site is:

WorldNetDaily Exclusive
Assassinate Chavez,
says Pat Robertson

'700 Club' host, ex-presidential candidate
calls Venezuelan leader imminent danger

But let's see how WorldNetDaily has been preparing the ground for Robertson's shocking revelation:

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Islam on march south of border
Mexico agrees to monitor foreign groups as Muslim recruitment rate skyrockets
Posted: June 7, 2005
1:00 a.m. Eastern
By Joseph Farah
© 2005 WorldNetDaily.com

WASHINGTON – Islam is on the move in Mexico and throughout Latin America, making dramatic gains in converting the native population, increasing immigration, establishing businesses and charities and attracting attention from U.S. government officials who have asked their neighbors to the south to keep an eye on foreign Muslim groups. [...]

Pentagon officials have confirmed human smuggling rings in Latin America are attempting to sneak al-Qaida operatives into the U.S.

In a Defense Department briefing in February 2004 about National Guardsman Ryan Anderson, suspected of trying to give al-Qaida information about U.S. capabilities and weaponry, reporters were also told to expect Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to provide details on two other subjects: Guantanamo Bay prisoners freed only to rejoin al-Qaida and Taliban cells in Afghanistan and al-Qaida's Latin America connection.

No further announcements were ever forthcoming from the Pentagon, prompting some sources to wonder whether the administration was conflicted over this news – given President Bush's political problems with his illegal immigration across a porous Mexican border.

Before the U.S.-led coalition attacked Iraq, the U.S. State Department offered congressional testimony that both al-Qaida and the Shiite terrorist group Hezbollah were taking firm hold in "America's backyard." Mark F. Wong, the State Department's acting coordinator for counterterrorism, told the House International Relations Committee about the threat posed by both groups in Latin America.

Anti-terrorism experts say extremist cells tied to Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and al-Qaida network are operating in Argentina, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay and Uruguay. Although cooperation between al-Qaida and Hezbollah has been known for some time, the two groups have formed a much closer relationship since al-Qaida was evicted from its base in Afghanistan.

Both al-Qaida and Hezbollah were active in the common border area of Colombia, Peru and Ecuador, according to an earlier statement of Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage in hearings before the Foreign Appropriations Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee, cited in a report from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. [...]

Tens of millions of Muslims, mostly of Arabic descent, live in Latin America.

The terrorists even get some official support in Latin America, according to sources. As WorldNetDaily reported, a Venezuelan military defector claims President Hugo Chavez developed ties to terrorist groups such as al-Qaida – even providing it with $1 million in cash after Sept. 11, 2001.

Air Force Maj. Juan Diaz Castillo, who was Chavez's pilot, told WorldNetDaily through an interpreter that "the American people should awaken and be aware of the enemy they have just three hours' flight from the United States."

Diaz said he was part of an operation in which Chavez gave $1 million to al-Qaida for relocation costs, shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States.

Comment: Notice that there is no mention of Venezuela as one of the countries in which the "terrorist organisations" are currently functioning. The only direct reference comes in the final paragraphs and is based upon revelations given to WorldNetDaily from a defector accusing Chavez of giving $1 million to al-Qaeda after September 11, 2001. Sounds like the stories we were fed from "one of Saddam's bodyguards" prior to the invasion of Iraq, stories that later turned out to be Mossad plants. How easy is it for such information to be made up in order to discredit an enemy?

In this case WorldNetDaily reminds us of the Weekly World News.

But let us return to Robertson's idea of assassination.

First, do not forget, Chavez won the election freely, and then, much to the consternation of the US, won the recall referendum held last year with 58% of the vote. As the CIA World Fact Book puts it:

elections: president elected by popular vote for a six-year term; election last held 30 July 2000 (next to be held NA 2006)
election results: Hugo CHAVEZ Frias reelected president; percent of vote - 60%
note: a special presidential recall vote on 15 August 2004 resulted in a victory for CHAVEZ; percent of vote - 58% in favor of CHAVEZ fulfilling the remaining two years of his term, 42% in favor of terminating his presidency immediately

The next elections are in 2006, and Chavez has made no move to cancel them. The democratic process is still in force in the country. He's got more legitimacy than George W. Bush who has yet to win an election, and Venezuelan democracy appears healthier than its American counterpart.

So one might logically conclude from this that Robertson and many people in the US don't care at all about democracy. Not a shocking conclusion for readers of this page, we know, but it is a glaring example of the American need to go to extracurricular activities when the rules of the game go against their interests.

But the larger question is: How can there be any justification for assassination? Robertson gives the utilitarian, bottom line justification so familiar and cozy in this age of cost cutting, the rule of the dollar, and the worship of Mammon: it'll cost less than a war! Yes, friends, kill our enemies the efficient way! One bullet is all it takes.

Doesn't that ring a bell?

From official transcript of White House Press Briefing by Ari Fleischer, 01 October 2002

Q Ari, the CBO has new estimates that the war in Iraq would cost between $9 billion and $13 billion. Does the White House think that's too low?

Mr. Fleischer: Again, the President has not made any decisions about military action or what military option he might pursue. And so I think it's impossible to speculate. I can only say that the cost of a one-way ticket is substantially less than that. The cost of one bullet, if the Iraqi people take it on themselves, is substantially less than that. The cost of war is more than that. But there are many options that the President hopes the world and people of Iraq will exercise themselves of that gets rid of the threat. But it's impossible to say what the President options are militarily from a price tag, because he's made no decisions. [...]

Q You addressed David's question about one-way ticket. What about one-way bullet? Is the White House advocating assassination as a possible option for Saddam Hussein?

MR. FLEISCHER: I think that it's fair to say that the Iraqi regime is not satisfied with Saddam Hussein, that Saddam Hussein has created a great many enemies inside Iraq. And it is impossible to last forever as a brutal dictator who suppresses his own people, who tortures his own people, who deliberately brings women in public to be raped, so it can be witnessed by their families. He has not exactly created goodwill among the Iraqi people.

Q If I could follow on that, would the White House like to see Saddam Hussein dead?

MR. FLEISCHER: The policy is regime change. And that remains -- and that remains the American position. Clearly, in the event that there is any type of military operation, command and control would, of course, be issues that would come up.

Q Is the hope, though, that he ends up dead in all this?

MR. FLEISCHER: Regime change is the policy, in whatever form it takes.

Q I just want to re-ask again then, the question I've been asking for several weeks. Is the administration about to rescind the executive order prohibiting assassination of foreign leaders, and claim that he's an international terrorist, and in fact, put out a hit on him?

MR. FLEISCHER: No. The policy remains in place, per the law.

Q Why is there no consideration to rescinding that executive order?

MR. FLEISCHER: It's just -- because it's not come up as matter that I've heard discussed, Connie. And so I can't tell you why something doesn't get discussed.

Q Could you ask?

MR. FLEISCHER: I don't really think it's an issue. The policy remains regime change, as expressed by the Congress.[...]

Q Ari, could I just clarify the one bullet line -- is the White House from this podium advocating the assassination of Saddam Hussein by his own people, by his military?

MR. FLEISCHER: No, the question was about potential costs and different scenarios for costs. And I just cited the fact that Saddam Hussein has survived as a result of the repression and suppression of his own people, and that's a reality about what life is like inside Iraq.

Q But I'm not asking you a question about costs. I'm asking you if you intend to advocate from that podium that some Iraqis, person put a bullet in his head?

MR. FLEISCHER: Regime change is welcome in whatever form that it takes.

Q So the answer is, yes?

MR. FLEISCHER: Thank you.

Regime change is welcome in whatever form it takes.

END 1:07 P.M. EDT

So ends the official transcript of the press conference, on the rather bizarro repetition of the phrase "Regime change is welcome in whatever form it takes."

Onward Christian Soldiers!

Of course, before calling for one bullet politics, the groundwork must be laid, the population must be softened up and must accept that the intended target is a threat, is a monster, is so evil that only his death can "save us".

That is where the press comes in, the useful propaganda poodles of the political class spewing that day's "truth" in order to manipulate the public. Which leads us to....

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Karl Rove's War Against Cindy Sheehan

To slander opponents so their political positions are discredited -- Karl Rove's doctrine has been immensely effective in defeating Bush's challengers; will it now be effective in defeating grieving mother Cindy Sheehan?

By Stewart Nusbaumer
Intervention Magazine

Dirty fighting is in their political blood. It’s their modus operandi. It’s their crème de menthe. By slandering and lying and thrashing they decimate enemies and capture political office -- they win, which means everything to them. Now they are eyeing Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a soldier tragically killed in Iraq, a grieving mother protesting the war from a ditch near George Bush’s ranch. They want to slaughter the mother lamb to destroy her resonating antiwar message. They want to win again.

Henry Kissinger once joked seriously that “90 percent of politicians give the other 10 percent a bad reputation.” Hunter Thompson once said that Richard Nixon, although this could have been about the 90 percent of politicians, “could shake your hand and stab you in the back at the same time.”

But George Bush and Karl Rove are not just back-stabbers -- they make Richard Nixon look like an angel. Rove and Bush are unique. Their vulgarity is wrenching, their lies are outrageous, their maliciousness is extreme, and their morality is nonexistent. All of which is evident in their sordid thrashing of three honorable military veterans.

Campaigns of Sleaze & Malice toward Three

1) John McCain

In the 2000 presidential primary, shadowy forces spread rumors that John McCain, who had spent six years in a North Vietnamese prisoner of war camp, was mentally unfit to be president. The Bush-Rove attack machine spread stories of McCain’s out-of-control temper and his so-called outrageous behavior; they worked up outrageous stories that McCain had been a stoolie when imprisoned in Vietnam. Innuendoes circulated and vicious attacks cut, leaving McCain dazed and fuming. The Bush-Rove team perpetrated a sleazy e-mail campaign alleging that he had fathered an illegitimate black daughter, alienating conservatives in the crucial state of South Carolina.

A former Enron marketing executive, Karl Rove, discreetly spewed propaganda that crawled and seeped into the media, his attacks were sneaky and relentless, vicious, and his lies mean, all intended to plant in the public’s mind that John McCain’s mind wobbled unstably and his morals had foundered. The cumulative effect of the vicious Rove “marketing campaign,” although impossible to quantify, was a major contribution in the undermining of John McCain’s personal and political credibility.

George Bush won the Republican nomination, John McCain returned to the Senate bitter, and then the Supreme Court appointed Bush to be president. Rove obviously learned some great marketing tricks during his top management tenure at Enron, now the icon for corporate corruption, if not slime.

What Karl Rove started back in Texas, developed in South Carolina, refined in Georgia, and perfected nationally was how to conduct a well coordinated clandestine campaign to discredit an opponent’s integrity in order to destroy his candidacy. Attack the person, then their ideas won’t matter; trash their reputation, then their policies are dead. That is the way to win elections the Enron way.

So politics is character assassination, and everything else is commentary -- or secondary. And Karl Rove directs these malicious, odious personal attacks on honorable people to destroy their politics from behind an iron façade of cowardly secrecy. The Texas style of politics is sneaky and dastardly.

2) Max Cleland

The next noteworthy battle was the 2002 Senatorial race in Georgia. The target was the triple-amputee Vietnam veteran Max Cleland -- a man who certainly sacrificed for his country. But the vile Bush-Rove directed propaganda claimed Cleland never sacrificed for America, giving credibility to the incredulous that his own grenade ripped his three limbs off -- not true, but it didn’t matter. The Cleland campaign was off keel and vulnerable. Again, Rove used the tactics he learned at Enron, our corporate symbol of deceit and fraud. [...]

The conventional political wisdom advised candidates to attack their opponent’s weakest point; Rove disagreed with this central tactic. He said go after your opponent’s strongest attribute. When Vietnam veterans were the opponents, discredit their military record -- McCain was a stoolie for the communists, Cleland blew himself up -- then you will discredit their candidacy. At the same time, Rove was defending his candidate’s greatest vulnerability, a candidate who insisted he was tough and a straight talker-- Bush’s military record.

George Bush joined the Air National Guard to avoid fighting in Vietnam, a war he strongly supported but refused to fight in. In the Guard, he had a shabby record that pointed toward drug abuse and even going AWOL. By immediately lambasting an opponent’s honorable war record, Karl Rove transferred attention away from Bush’s miserable military record, and by continuing to lambaste the honorable veteran, he discredited the candidate. It defeated John McCain and Max Cleland. Sure, there were other reasons for their defeat, but the underlying character assassination of both candidates was crucial.

A veterans’ honorable military service had always been above partisan politics and would have never ended up as campaign fodder; a repugnant public would have given the offending candidate a crushing election defeat. That is the way it has always been in America, but not anymore. Karl Rove and George Bush are different, and they have been central in making repugnancy mainstream in America. They have been crucial in moving the ethics of Enron into the political mainstream.

3) John Kerry

The showcase for Karl Rove’s underhanded prowess to win through slander and lies was the 2004 presidential election. On the floor of the Republican Convention, official delegates held a parade mocking John Kerry’s Purple Heart decorations -- given for combat wounds in Vietnam. The “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” trashed not only Kerry’s medals but everything related to his military experience: his motive for going to Vietnam, his actions in Vietnam, his behavior after the war. He was accused of being a liar and a fake, an untrustworthy candidate, even an unpatriotic American. Not merely accused, but bashed for months up to the election.

Immediately after the Democratic Convention, Kerry was shoved on the defensive and he never recovered as the Swift Boat Veterans did the dirty work that benefited George Bush-- they smeared a veteran with false accusations and outright lies. The combat vet Kerry was destroyed, the candidate Kerry was limping. [...]

4) The Media

From John McCain to Max Cleland to John Kerry, there is a clear pattern that Karl Rove’s strategy is to smear a candidate’s military service and his sacrifices for country to create doubt in voters and to hide the truth that George Bush is the unworthy candidate. The linchpin for dissimilating Rove’s smear campaign is the 4th Estate.

Rich Lowry, admirer and friend of Karl Rove, and editor of the conservative National Review, smugly said that John McCain, Max Cleland and John Kerry “make the smallest caucus in American politics -- Thin-Skinned Vietnam War Veterans Adored by the Media (TSVWVAM).” In fact, the media does not “adore” these veterans; in fact, the media made possible the repulsive, historical thrashing of McCain’s, Cleland’s, and Kerry’s military careers.

Black has now become white, slander is fact, and disservice is adornment -- that is the political world of Enron carried out by unpatriotic Republicans.

But without the compliance of the mainstream media, there would not be the endless repetition of unsubstantiatedl charges that grind the truth down, that eventually make the truth irrelevant in our political campaigns. With the refusal of the media to investigate and report the truth, with history and context shunned for flashy outrageous statements, the bogus took center stage and unsubstantiated accusations replaced facts. The media is Rove’s megaphone to slander character and discredit candidates. Without the media Karl Rove would be ineffective; with the media he is highly effective.

None -- absolute none -- of the Swift Boat Veterans charges have ever been substantiated. Not one. Yet, these charges were crucial in the election defeat of a man running for the presidency. The role of the media as watchdog of government and guardian of the truth is an utter sham today. The media is silly putty in the hands of Rove-type sleaze balls committed to saying the lie to destroy the credible.

Few American institutions have fallen as far and fast as the 4th Estate. It makes all the Enron politics possible.

Campaign of Sleaze and Malice toward Cindy

An angry, yet gentle, broken-hearted mother of a dead soldier killed in Iraq, Cindy Sheehan protests the war just down the road from George Bush’s Texas ranch. She has now returned to California to tend to her ailing mother, but Cindy remains committed to her cause. She stands tall as a courageous American, while Americans watch in fascination. But Karl Rove is not fascinated; he is looking for his weapons to smear her all the way to ill repute.

“You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing,” Bob Dylan sang. And we don’t need a mind reader to know what Karl Rove is thinking.

Already there has been a so-called uncoordinated “citizen outrage” counter-demonstration, just like Rove organized in Florida during the disastrous vote recount. Legal action is being discussed to restrict if not prohibit the mother’s protest -- a rifle shot was fired -- a truck ran over the sacred crosses of our war dead. The humid Texas air is thick with tension and anger. Karl Rove and George Bush are smiling.

There are charges that Cindy is disgracing her dead son’s legacy “by serving as a pawn for well-organized, anti-American activist groups … is a willing poster child for radical left-wing America haters … is using her son’s death ... is cruelly robbing our fallen soldiers of the high honor that they deserve …” -- this in Cindy’s hometown newspaper. The Republican letters brigades are preparing to roast Cindy in public.

The Republican troops are coming together and the guns to smear are being prepared. Some activists are under General Rove’s command, while others are jumping on the bandwagon propelled by the Bush-Rove attack machine. The dirty war has started. Last night the Fox News “fair and balanced” commentators lit into Cindy Sheehan claiming she is running a circus that is dangerous for the U.S. soldiers in Iraq. This is a central Rove tactic. Hide behind the well-being of our troops, even when our troops are dying; honor the troops while denigrating the veterans. That is the voice of a moral vacuum without limits.

There are charges that Cindy receives finances from left organizations, which supposedly taints her message. But those in left-wing organizations are also Americans, and plenty of Americans contribute to right-wing causes and candidates. Yet, the media carries the message, allowing the implication to stand, and the planting in the public’s mind that somehow Cindy is hiding something awful.

There are rumors that Cindy’s husband is divorcing her because she was unfaithful, repeatedly unfaithful the more enthusiastic propagandists claim. Her sexual orientation is questioned; it’s whispered she’s a radical lesbian -- she is mentally unbalanced and getting more unbalanced. Members of her extended family “spontaneously” line up as Republican sheep, denouncing this whacked out woman disgracing America and her own dead son. The dirty war has begun; Enron “reality” is real.

And soon it will happen, the wheels are already turning. I assure you, a “Soldiers Mothers for Truth” type organization will claim that Cindy is a miserable fake and an outlandish liar. It will be the Swift Boating of Cindy Sheehan. The Rove Doctrine is as predictably as it is gutter sleazy.

A Campaign for America?

The question is not what Karl Rove and George Bush want to do about the mother with the potent antiwar message; they want to discredit her reputation and make her anti-Iraq War message impotent. But will they succeed? If Cindy’s personal message -- the Iraq War is wrong so bring the troops home -- is crushed, then the antiwar movement will probably slip back into the doldrums, liberals and concerned citizens will return to their sports and shopping or whatever. And there will be more war, more dead, more grieving mothers -- but grieving in private.

To a large extent, what actually happens depends not on Karl Rove and George Bush, but on us. On students who have been in a deep coma of indifference. On liberal activists who have succumbed to inaction because the antiwar movement is inactive. On sensible citizens who have avoided the effort to think and act upon their thoughtful decisions. The outcome of this historical battle depends much more on whether we change than on what we know the Bush-Rove attack machine does.

Upon exiting the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin was approached by a group of anxious citizens who asked what kind of government the delegates had created for the new country. Franklin replied: “A republic, if you can keep it.”

We can’t keep our democratic republic if Karl Rove and George Bush define our politics -- bring down soldiers who sacrificed for America and disrespect mothers whose sons died in the name of America. We can’t keep America if we are ruled by the Enron philosophy that says immoral attacks are patriotic. More than ever, we need courageous citizens. We need Cindy Sheehan. It’s time to fight.

Comment: Character assassination precedes assassination. The enemy is demonised, portrayed as being sub-human. Look at the characterisation of Saddam Hussein by Ari Fleischer in the transcript above for one example. Note that US relations with Saddam during the years he was such a butcher are not mentioned; Rumsfeld's trip to Baghdad in 1983 to do business with Saddam is not mentioned; that Saddam was a US ally against Iran when he "gassed the Kurds" is not mentioned.

No, he is simply portrayed as a beast who needs to be eliminated.

And the rhetoric of the right-wing pundits is now turning ideas of "they should be shot" towards "liberals" in the US itself, all those who do not support the glorious commander-in-chief, appointed by God himself, should be rounded up.

Of course, they say they are just joking. They are exaggerating to make a point. They don't really mean that Americans who disagree with the president should be killed. They just say it.

Until one day soon when they forget it is all in good fun. Until one day soon when another "al Qaeda" attack hits an American city and the "war on terror" comes home. Then they'll get serious about "liberals" giving aid to the enemy. Do you support Venezuela? Do you think that just because Hugo Chavez was elected and then supported in a referendum that he should remain in office? Do you think that Israel has no business in the occupied territories? Do you think the US has no business in Iraq?

Then you are giving moral support to the enemy.

You are a traitor.

You're a target.

You can see it coming, can't you? You can smell it, that awful stench of self-righteousness. When you close your eyes, it smells like 1933, doesn't it?

We ran a long article yesterday by Jeffrey Steinberg from the Executive Intelligence Review. It discussed the use of the US military and US intelligence of ideas and people from within the New Age movement in order to create a class of super soldiers, as well for the purpose of using media and new technologies for what they call "MindWar".

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Flashback

Cheney's 'Spoon-Benders' Pushing Nuclear Armageddon

by Jeffrey Steinberg

Sometime in late 1980, then-Col. Paul E. Vallely, the Commander of the 7th Psychological Operations Group, United States Army Reserve, Presidio of San Francisco, Ca., co-authored a discussion paper, which received wide and controversial attention within the U.S. military, particularly within the Special Operations community. The paper was titled "From PSYOP to MindWar: The Psychology of Victory," and it presented a Nietzschean scheme for waging perpetual psychological warfare against friend and enemy populations alike, and even against the American people.

The "MindWar" paper was provoked by an article by Lt. Col. John Alexander, which appeared in the December 1980 edition of Military Review, advocating the introduction of ESP (extra-sensory perception), "tele-pathetic behavior modification," para-psychology, psychokinesis ("mind over matter"), remote viewing, out of body experiences, and other New Age and occult practices into U.S. military intelligence. Alexander's paper was titled "The New Mental Battlefield: Beam Me Up, Spock."

But the subsequent paper co-authored by Vallely went way beyond ESP and the other paranormal techniques advocated by Alexander: "Strategic MindWar must begin the moment war is considered to be inevitable," the document stated. "It must seek out the attention of the enemy nation through every available medium, and it must strike at the nation's potential soldiers before they put on their uniforms. It is in their homes and their communities that they are most vulnerable to MindWar....

"To this end," Vallely and co-author continued, "MindWar must be strategic in emphasis, with tactical applications playing a reinforcing, supplementary role. In its strategic context, MindWar must reach out to friends, enemies, and neutrals alike across the globe—neither through primitive 'battlefield' leaflets and loudspeakers of PSYOP nor through the weak, imprecise, and narrow effort of psychotronics—but through the media possessed by the United States which have the capabilities to reach virtually all people on the face of the Earth. These media are, of course the electronic media—television and radio. State of the art developments in satellite communication, video recording techniques, and laser and optical transmission of broadcasts make possible a penetration of the minds of the world such as would have been inconceivable just a few years ago. Like the sword Excalibur [King Arthur's magical sword—ed.], we have but to reach out and seize this tool; and it can transform the world for us if we have the courage and the integrity to enhance civilization with it. If we do not accept Excalibur, then we relinquish our ability to inspire foreign cultures with our morality. If they can then desire moralities unsatisfactory to us, we have no choice but to fight them on a more brutish level.

"MindWar must target all participants to be effective. It must not only weaken the enemy; it must strengthen the United States. It strengthens the United States by denying enemy propaganda access to our people, and by explaining and emphasizing to our people the rationale for our national interest in a specific war."

Leaving nothing to the imagination, the document concluded by emphasizing that MindWar should employ subliminal brainwashing technologies, and weapons that directly attack the targetted population's central nervous system and brain functioning: "There are some purely natural conditions under which minds may become more or less receptive to ideas, and MindWar should take full advantage of such phenomena as atmospheric electromagnetic activity, air ionization, and extremely low frequency waves," the paper concluded. [...]

Comment: So, as part of fashioning the weapons of our new era, the media play a central role. They:

"make possible a penetration of the minds of the world such as would have been inconceivable just a few years ago. Like the sword Excalibur, we have but to reach out and seize this tool; and it can transform the world for us if we have the courage and the integrity to enhance civilization with it. If we do not accept Excalibur, then we relinquish our ability to inspire foreign cultures with our morality. If they can then desire moralities unsatisfactory to us, we have no choice but to fight them on a more brutish level."

This is a really sick bit of work given the morality that inspires these people, but it also gives us an insight, perhaps, on why the neocons thought that the Iraqis would treat the US troops as liberators: they truly believed that the Iraqis had been "inspired by our morality".

That didn't happen and now they've resorted to "a more brutish level".

We know something about how these people operate because we have been victims of their campaigns of character assassination ourselves. The heavy-duty slander began soon after September 11, 2001. Grifters within the New Age movement, who claimed to have contacts with Dr. Andrija Puharich and Michael A. Aquino, began to attack the work of Laura Knight-Jadczyk with a ferocity that was shocking. No lie was too big or too base to send out across the Internet in order to carry out this work of character assassination, including reporting Laura and Ark to the local authorities with trumped up charges of child abuse. The experience, however, was fruitful in the sense that it brought home the importance of the issue of pyschopathy. The entire episode is documented in the series Adventures with Cassiopaea.

When Laura and Ark moved to France, the same attacks continued as these agents in the US hooked up with people in France to continue the slander. The child abuse accusation came up again. They were accused of leading a cult. Obviously, after checking out the facts, nothing came of these vile attempts to dirty their names and their work.

One year ago today, the Pentagon Strike flash was released. It caught on like the proverbial wildfire, spreading across the globe through websites and email distribution. According to our calculations, close to 500 million people have seen the animation by now. It was such a phenomenon that The Washington Post did an article about it in early October, including an interview with Laura. If The White House hadn't heard of it before then, they had now.

Then, some very curious things started to happen.

First, shortly after the article, Bush made a hastily scheduled campaign stop in the small Florida town where Laura had lived for many years before leaving the US.

Second, the campaign in France by the local agents took up again with renewed force.

Coincidence? We think not.

Our work is having an effect. It is reaching hundreds of millions of people. Our Pentagon flash turned the tables of MindWar on the intelligence agencies by putting the truth out in a form that captured the attention of people who had never thought about the real story of 9/11. In other words, it was something they couldn't control, and that is unthinkable for groups that wish to bring down total control on the planet.

We know, that is, those of us here as well as you, the reader, that the 9/11 movement and alternative news sites are full of agents working to sow discord and spread disinformation. That is a given. It is certain that intelligence agencies use the Internet to wage the MindWar described in Steinberg's article.

The other thing that we have noticed is that Signs of the Times, in spite of our speaking openly about the implication of rogue groups in the US government in league with Israeli intelligence being behind the 9/11 attacks, in spite of our continuing coverage of false flag operations by the same cast of characters, in spite of the Pentagon Strike, in spite of the background work we have done about the real issues behind 9/11, is not listed on most 9/11 "Truth" movement sites. We said "in spite" above, but it really comes down to "because of". We go places where most sites refuse to tread.

The spite emerges in other areas.

We do not bring this up because we are upset or bothered by a lack of recognition. We know that the hypotheses that we put forward are too strange and weird for many people, including those who seek the usual "unorthodox" explanations (we are thinking of people for whom "conspiracy" is tied to the City of London or the Illuminati, but goes no further up the hierarchy because they deny the possibility that the hierarchy extends any further).

Our focus on hyperdimensional realities cuts too close to the quick. It puts conspiracy theory on a whole new footing, and people with a vested interest in years of research that goes no further than material explanations can't come to grips with the possibility that we are cattle, that we aren't the top of the pyramid. They can't even entertain the idea as a working hypothesis.

So, right there, they are blinded. They are prejudging the outcome.

On some level, they identify too strongly with the special nature of mankind.

Then there are those who openly and freely admit the existence of aliens, but here, again, their ideas diverge from our own. They see ET as a material being like us, from a material planet, like us, flying around in vehicles that are made of the same things we use to make our cars, planes, and rockets; they simply have a higher level of technology than we have. But if the hyperdimensional hypothesis is true, then it pays the rulers of our little blue ball to keep the population focused on the material, ET, answer. It keeps people fascinated with a bogus explanation, and one that is denied for all the wrong reasons to make it all the more attractive. People fall into the mechanical reaction "If the government denies it, it must be true", while ignoring that the whole thing may well be a giant charade to keep us ignorant of our true situation, of the very dire possibility that we are being raised to be harvested.

We would like to end this comment by coming back to John Alexander. We have recently learned from a reader that one loose end has been recently tied up, if you will. Two years ago, a long text appeared on the Internet asking humanity to mentally say yes or no to alien intervention in order to save ourselves from destruction. We commented on the text at the time, calling it cosmic spam. We have been informed by a reader that the author of this text, Eric Julien, also known as Jean Ederman, has a newfound connection to Mr Alexander through the Exopolitics Institute, founded by Michael Salla. Julien is on the board of this organisation, and we have learned that he met John Alexander at a recent meeting. Readers who have been following the career of Alexander should know that the connection of either Julien or Alexander puts into question the character of the Expolitics Institute.

Eric Julien, two years ago, fabricated an elaborate hoax. After spreading the good word about the helpful intervention of his alien friends, he disappeared, claiming to have ascended into his own personal spacecraft, specially designed for him by his alien friends. Unhappily for all those who responded "yes" to his cosmic spam, Julien was somewhat prosaically later found to have simply returned home to his wife and family.

For more on the antics of people like John Alexander, Dr. Andrija Puharich and Michael A. Aquino, see our report on The Star of Sorcerers, a look at the interconnections between a small group of people in the UFO and paranormal communities.

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Israeli settler eviction complete
BBC

Israeli troops have completed the evacuation of settlers from Gaza and West Bank in line with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's withdrawal plan.

Comment: Oh, woe is me! Oh, woe is me! The End is Nigh! Why did Yahweh not protect his Chosen Ones!

Yada, yada, yada.

We all saw the pictures, the anguished faces of people being forcibly removed from their homes. The media made certain of that. We were encouraged to share their pain, to suffer with them as they were evicted from their illegal homes on stolen land, to be resettled in new illegal homes on more stolen land.

What doesn't get talked about much in all these heart-rending stories about the Gaza Pullout is the fact that the Israeli settlers stole the land from Palestinians. What is also neglected is an in-depth at who these settlers really are and what they believe. We hope the following exerpt from the book The End of Days by Gershom Gorenberg will help in shedding some light on these issues:

The war ended on Saturday, June 10. That night the bulldozers of the combat engineers entered the Old City. Twenty trucks waited outside Dung Gate to evacuate the Arab families of the Mughrabi quarter, a warren of tumbledown buildings that surrounded the Western Wall courtyard. An Israeli officer, the deputy military governor of East Jerusalem, told the mukhtar, the neighborhood leader, that the residents had to leave their homes - they'd be given the houses of other East Jerusalemites who'd fled. When the residents refused, the officer ordered a driver to start demolishing the first house. Minutes later, medics were treating the wounded, and the other residents were packing bundles to go. The bulldozers worked all night. By morning, they'd carved a wide field in front of the Wall and lengthened the exposed stretch of Herodian stones to 200 feet. Three days later was the holiday of Shauvuot - in ancient times, one of the three annual pilgrimages to the Temple. On Savuot 1967, an estimated 200,000 Israelis came to the Wall...

Who gave the orders to raze the Mughrabi neighborhood? The mayor of Jewish Jerusaldm, Teddy Kollek - a political ally of Dayan - has claimed he thought of it. Warhaftig switches the emphasis - Dayan initiated the operation, in coordination with Kollek - and criticizes them for acting too quickly, "without any consideration for the residents." There were legal means to reach the same goal, with proper compensation, even if it would have taken longer, he argues.

Notice that the Jewish settlers are offered compensation. Seems that the Palestinians were just bulldozed out and offered nothing but genocide.

A young man carries a younger goat. He cradles it in his arms - a small, brown, gently bleating, long-faced beast. The goat's got no idea what's coming.

We're standing on a hilltop behind Abu Tor, a Jerusalem neighborhood where artsy couples with comfortable cash flows have moved into sixty-year-old stone houses [that formerly belonged to Palestinians who were summarily evicted] with arched windows and have redone the insides with lofts and oak bookshelves. [...] A flock of children, the girls in flowered dresses, the boys wearing baggy corduroy pants and checked shirts and wide skullcaps, skims over the weeds and rocks oblivious to the cameramen shouldering raven- black cameras and the soundmen with boom mikes next to the strange metal structure that looks like a rust-colored water heater on legs and is actually a custom built oven for roasting animal sacrifice.

Besides journalists, there are a couple of dozen adults and as many children. It's noonish; the holiday of Passover begins at sunset and nearly everyone in the country, especially anyone religious, is in the fine-tuned panic that comes before the annual clan feast. To be here you have to believe that when you sit tonight in your living room with once-a-year silver on the table and recite the story of how the Israelites left slavery for freedom, the festival is a broken imitation of what it should be because the blood of your family's lamg or kid wasn't dashed on the altar today.

The goat is on the ground with its legs tied. Yahudah Etzion and another man hold it down. A few children run off, yelling, "I don't want to see." Others push to get a good view. The slaughterer has a two-foot-long knife; he recites a blessing and makes a quick motion and the goat gies one dark low bleat. "May it be Your will that we will onde day be privileged to slaughter it in its place, in the sanctuary, next to the altar," Etzion pronounces.

The goat's blood gathers in a burgundy puddle. The slaughterer slits its belly from the gonads up to its head. Boys lean over him, wathing. One says, "Dad, is he still alive?" A girl, much smaller, has a quicker grasp: "It's not nice, Mommy," she says.

Off to one side stands Gershom Salomon, siler-haired, face shaved glass- smooth except for his full mustache. His hand rests on his cane, reminder of the injury he suffered decades ago in a skirmish with Syrian forces. Salomon, leader of the Temple Mount Faithrul, the man best known for publicly demanding that the Muslims be thrown out of the sacred site, isn't looking at the goat. What drives him is nationalism - the nearly extinct messianic nationalism of the secular far right. "The Supreme Court should be on the Temple Mount," he once told me. "The Israeli army sould parade there." ...

The goat hangs by two hooks from a metal frame as the slaughterer and his assistant strip its skin. Etzion lectures on how it was done once: The whole Temple couryard was full of small groups, each with an offering. I think of the bleating, the smell. The slaughterer pulls out the pink intestines and drops them on the ground. "The internal organs were burned on the altar, Which we can't do today," Etzion says. "We live in a warped reality." Boys try touching the guts with their fingerstips. The goat is mounted whole on a spit of pomegranate wood and lifted into the roaring fire in the oven. A settler from Kiryat Arba tells a TV camera that Jews should be doing this on the Mount, that they should remove the Muslim shrines "just like the Arab houses [that stood] next to the Western Wall." [...]

Etzion still believes the Dome [of the Rock] must be removed. But first must come "the lengthy stage of preparing the public." Once there's a wide desire, "A group will arise that will know how to translate the desire into action." Who knows, he once told me, if the support is wide enough, maybe there will be some way other than an explosion to get rid of the Dome. ...

This much is true: A group of people gathered on a Jerusalem hillside to sacrifice a goat is out of sync with Israeli society. They and other Jews who regard building the Temple as a pressing necessity are on the fringe. But it is a dangerous mistake to dismiss them as harmless kooks.

The size of that fringe has grown... They have not turned such ideas into mainstream opinions, but they have won some converts and sympathizers. Messianism drove the West Bank settlement movement. Those Jews who speak of building the Temple are the people who take the messianic interpretation of Israel's existence most literally. [...] Precisely because they are extreme, they present a clear picture of the logic of messianism and millennialism.

For more on where these people are leading us, because you shouldn't fool yourselves into thinking that because they are a lunatic fringe, they have no power, have a look at Laura Knight-Jadczyk's article The Most Dangerous Cult in the World.

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Author no longer ’in love with the Zionist narrative’
By: Deaglan de Breadun
Irish Times
Tuesday 2 August 2005

** Israeli activist Susan Nathan who recently visited Ireland was interviewed by the Irish Times July 28. On August 2, the foreign editor of the paper gave permission to post the following article:

The most accurate description of Susan Nathan comes from herself: "What I do is that I live what comes out of my mouth." She is the only Jew among 25,000 Arabs in the northern Israeli town of Tamra and has taken up the cause of the Palestinians who remained inside the borders of Israel after the state was set up in 1948.

Her harshest critics could not say she has chosen a comfortable path. Friends and even some relatives have turned against her, she says, but she is standing by her controversial claim that the Palestinians in Israel are victims of apartheid-style discrimination and mistreatment.

Now she’s written a book to tell her story and make her case, The Other Side of Israel: My Journey Across the Jewish-Arab Divide (HarperCollins). The writing style is direct and simple: she wanted "Joe Bloggs on the street" to be able to read it and say, "I didn’t understand that it was like that". In person, too, Nathan is direct and to the point. As far as she is concerned, the issue itself is a simple one. Her Jewish co-religionists took the land from the Palestinians, who have been severely oppressed and treated as second-class citizens ever since.

She only came to this conclusion in her 50s, having been an ardent Zionist all her life. It took a long time for the penny to drop but there is now no self-doubt or hesitation.

Nathan says that initially she was "brainwashed and in love with the Zionist narrative". Very few non-Jewish people understood the power of Zionist propaganda.

"You are brought up to believe that you are outside of society, that you are forever persecuted, that Israel is your safe haven . . . It is like being part of a cult." The Zionist claim that Israel exists for the salvation of the Jews in case of another Holocaust was "a very cynical misuse of people’s fears and the Holocaust".

She is the daughter of a Harley Street physician. Her father, Samuel Levy, studied in South Africa and then Trinity College Dublin in the late 1920s and early 1930s. "He used to spend Friday night and all Saturday with the family of Chaim Herzog [future president of Israel, whose father was Ireland’s chief rabbi]."

The family came from the Baltic region. Fleeing anti-Semitic pogroms, they made their way to Odessa on the Black Sea. Family lore has it that they wanted to go to Hamburg but the ship was full so they had to sail for South Africa instead. "And that’s how we escaped the Holocaust."

Born in 1949, she grew up in South Africa and England. She got married, reared a family and got divorced when she was 50. Initially she was an avid supporter of the Israeli state. Having worked as a teacher and HIV/Aids therapist, Nathan decided at last to realise her lifelong Zionist dream of emigrating to Israel. "I applied under the Right of Return," she says. Under Israeli law, anyone with a Jewish grandparent can emigrate to Israel and become a citizen.

"It was a wonderful homecoming. I believed the Zionist ideology, I really believed this was ’a land without a people for a people without a land’. Palestinians were not on the map for me in any shape or form." She was offered "a very good job" teaching business English in Tel Aviv. Around the time of her arrival, the latest intifada rebellion erupted at the end of 2000. She saw "the wonderful achievements of our forces" being extolled on Israeli television.

"I really fell for that line," she says. But then she became very ill and had to be hospitalized and this brought her into close regular contact with Palestinians. She began to ask herself, "Where am I in this society, what is my role?" She became involved with a Palestinian-Jewish NGO dealing with deprived communities, and worked on a project in Tamra. "I started to understand the enormous similarities between Arab-Israeli society and black society during the apartheid years in South Africa."

But it’s not as if Israel adopts petty measures such as having separate Arab and Jewish toilets the way South Africa had separate toilets for blacks and whites. "In Israel it’s far more sophisticated than that, because it’s all heavily veiled. It’s very important for Israel to be seen to be democratic, Western, accepted by the US and Europe." But as far as she is concerned: "Israeli society in its current form really equals a half democracy, a democracy for Jews only."

Nathan’s version of Israeli history would not find favour in Zionist circles: "The major form of discrimination comes in the confiscation and appropriation of Arab land. All of the state of Israel is built on Palestinian land. Around 480 to 500 villages were totally destroyed during the battle of Israeli independence in 1948. And this discrimination and dispossession goes on and on and on.

"Israel is the only country in the world where you can be an eternal refugee, where you can be present but absent by law from your property, being deprived of the right of return to your property and your land, even though you own the deeds for that property and that land, and to be without compensation. It is appalling.

"And once I had seen the comparison with South Africa, I decided that I could no longer keep my mouth closed." Nathan decided to go and live among the Arabs in Israel and "help to activate change".

She vigorously rejects any allegation that she is an anti-Semitic or "self-hating" Jew. "One is not called anti-British if one criticizes the policies of the British government." This is "just a rather nasty political ploy".

But she knows there is a price to be paid for the stand she has taken. "Everything in life comes with a price." Taking a phrase from the late Edward Said, she says: "What I do with my life is the politics of embarrassment." Predicting there will be another intifada uprising soon, she adds: "Israel should have been the safest place in the world for Jews to be and actually . . . now, ironically, it has turned out to be the most dangerous." Nathan’s "personal dream" is that Israel will ultimately be a bi-national state."

Her sympathy for the Palestinians is largely unqualified and she sharply rebukes a member of the audience at a Dublin meeting who raises a question about the rights of gays and lesbians in the Palestinian Territories. The question is "incredibly offensive", she says, warning of the "moral superiority of the West".

"As far as I know, you’re not a Muslim, you don’t live in the Muslim world. The Arab world is perfectly capable of dealing with those issues in its own time and in its own way."

Speaking to her afterwards, I said many people would regard gay and lesbian rights as universal human rights, so why couldn’t outsiders raise them? "Because I don’t think people from other cultures should interfere."

As for suicide bombing, she says: "I don’t condone it. I don’t say it’s right. But I think we have to say, ’How does this come about? Why do we have this phenomenon?’" When I put it to her that the Irish were oppressed but didn’t use suicide bombers, she responds: "Yes, but did you have the entire army unleashed on you? Did you have jet-fighters bombing your homes? Did you have your homes demolished while you were in them? Did you have 40 years of brutal occupation and conniving to come to some sort of artificial peace process? Did you have that?"

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Bush Supporters, Anti-War Activists Clash
By KATHLEEN HENNESSEY
Associated Press
August 23, 2005

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Supporters of President Bush clashed with anti-war activists as they wound their way through California after rallying in the hometown of Cindy Sheehan, the mother who started a protest camp outside Bush's Texas ranch.

Conservative activists and military families embarked on the tour Monday, calling it "You don't speak for me, Cindy!" A verbal confrontation erupted when the caravan arrived in Sacramento and was met by anti-war protesters chanting for Bush to bring home the troops.

Sheehan supporter Dan Elliott, 71, confronted caravan members by waving a sign reading "Death is not support" and heckling one of the tour's organizers as she addressed the crowd.

"You are ruining the morale over there," responded Greg Parkinson, a Bush supporter.

Sheehan began her protest vigil Aug. 6 on the road leading to Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas, an act that has encouraged anti-war activists to join her and prompted peace vigils nationwide. Sheehan's 24-year-old son, Army Spc. Casey Sheehan, was killed last year in
Iraq.

The pro-Bush caravan planned rallies in several California cities before heading to Crawford, where Sheehan opponents have formed their own camp.

"It's time to lay down the anger. We need to continue to uphold those people over there, to uphold those men and women with their boots on the ground," said Deborah Johns of the Northern California Marine Moms, who helped organize the caravan and addressed supporters outside the Vacaville Reporter newspaper in Sheehan's hometown.

Some caravan members called the anti-war protesters communists and said they were "aiding and abetting the enemy." Those comments enraged Sheehan supporter Dee Ann Heath, who said she has two sons serving in Iraq and another preparing to leave.

"I don't support the war, but I support my sons," she said. "I simply want them to come home."

In Vacaville, Toni Colip, 50, said her son, David, went to high school with Casey Sheehan and is now in the Marines, although not in Iraq. She said her son opposes Sheehan's activities and has asked her to support his military service even if he is injured or killed.

"He said, 'Don't dishonor me, don't walk on my grave,'" Colip said.

Sheehan vowed to remain in Texas until Bush agreed to meet with her or until his monthlong vacation ended Sept. 3, but she flew to Los Angeles last week after her 74-year-old mother had a stroke. She is expected to return to Texas in a few days.

On Monday, Bush was in Salt Lake City, where he spoke to a national veterans group to rally support for the war. Bush has said he sympathizes with Sheehan, but a White House spokeswoman said he did not plan to change his schedule and meet with her.

Comment: Don't have anything intelligent or factual to use in a debate with your opponent? Why, just label them communists and traitors!

So, what does Ms. Sheehan think about all of this?

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Hypocrites and Liars
By Cindy Sheehan
08/20/05

"ICH" -- The media are wrong. The people who have come out to Camp Casey to help coordinate the press and events with me are not putting words in my mouth, they are taking words out of my mouth. I have been known for sometime as a person who speaks the truth and speaks it strongly. I have always called a liar a liar and a hypocrite a hypocrite. Now I am urged to use softer language to appeal to a wider audience. Why do my friends at Camp Casey think they are there? Why did such a big movement occur from such a small action on August 6, 2005?

I haven't had much time to analyze the Camp Casey phenomena. I just read that I gave 250 interviews in less than a week's time. I believe it. I would go to bed with a raw throat every night. I got pretty tired of answering some questions, like: "What do you want to say to the President?" and "Do you really think he will meet with you?" However, since my mom has been sick I have had a chance to step back and ponder the flood gates that I opened in Crawford, Tx.

I just read an article posted today on LewRockwell.com by artist Robert Shetterly who painted my portrait. The article reminded me of something I said at the Veteran's for Peace Convention the night before I set out to Bush's ranch in my probably futile quest for the truth. This is what I said:

I got an email the other day and it said, "Cindy if you didn't use so much profanity ... there's people on the fence that get offended. And you know what I said? "You know what? You know what, god damn it? How in the world is anybody still sitting on that fence?

If you fall on the side that is pro-George and pro-war, you get your ass over to Iraq, and take the place of somebody who wants to come home. And if you fall on the side that is against this war and against George Bush, stand up and speak out.

This is what the Camp Casey miracle is all about. American citizens who oppose the war but never had a conduit for their disgust and dismay are dropping everything and traveling to Crawford to stand in solidarity with us who have made a commitment to sit outside of George's ranch for the duration of the miserable Texan August. If they can't come to Texas, they are attending vigils, writing letters to their elected officials and to their local newspapers; they are setting up Camp Casey branches in their hometowns; they are sending flowers, cards, letters, gifts, and donations here to us at Camp Casey. We are so grateful for all of the support, but I think pro-peace Americans are grateful for something to do, finally.

One thing I haven't noticed or become aware of though is an increased number of pro-war, pro-Bush people on the other side of the fence enlisting to go and fight George Bush's war for imperialism and insatiable greed. The pro-peace side has gotten off their apathetic butts to be warriors for peace and justice. Where are the pro-war people? Everyday at Camp Casey we have a couple of anti-peace people on the other side of the road holding up signs that remind me that "Freedom isn't Free" but I don't see them putting their money where their mouths are. I don't think they are willing to pay even a small down payment for freedom by sacrificing their own blood or the flesh of their children. I still challenge them to go to Iraq and let another soldier come home. Perhaps a soldier that is on his/her third tour of duty, or one that has been stop-lossed after serving his/her country nobly and selflessly, only to be held hostage in Iraq by power mad hypocrites who have a long history of avoiding putting their own skin in the game.

Contrary to what the main stream media thinks, I did not just fall off a pumpkin truck in Crawford, Tx. on that scorchingly hot day two weeks ago. I have been writing, speaking, testifying in front of Congressional committees, lobbying Congress, and doing interviews for over a year now. I have been pretty well known in the progressive, peace community and I had many, many supporters before I even left California. The people who supported me did so because they know that I uncompromisingly tell the truth about this war. I have stood up and said: "My son died for NOTHING, and George Bush and his evil cabal and their reckless policies killed him. My son was sent to fight in a war that had no basis in reality and was killed for it." I have never said "pretty please" or "thank you." I have never said anything wishy-washy like he uses "Patriotic Rhetoric." I say my son died for LIES. George Bush LIED to us and he knew he was LYING. The Downing Street Memos dated 23 July, 2002 prove that he knew that Saddam didn't have WMD's or any ties to Al Qaeda. I believe that George lied and he knew he was lying. He didn't use patriotic rhetoric. He lied and made us afraid of ghosts that weren't there. Now he is using patriotic rhetoric to keep the US military presence in Iraq: Patriotic rhetoric that is based on greed and nothing else.

Now I am being vilified and dragged through the mud by the righties and so-called "fair and balanced" main stream media who are afraid of the truth and can't face someone who tells it by telling any truth of their own. Now they have to twist, distort, lie, and scrutinize anything I have ever said when they never scrutinize anything that George Bush said or is saying. Instead of asking George or Scotty McClellan if he will meet with me, why aren't they asking the questions they should have been asking all along: "Why are our young people fighting, dying, and killing in Iraq? What is this noble cause you are sending our young people to Iraq for? What do you hope to accomplish there? Why did you tell us there were WMD's and ties to Al Qaeda when you knew there weren't? Why did you lie to us? Why did you lie to the American people? Why did you lie to the world? Why are our nation's children still in harm's way and dying everyday when we all know you lied? Why do you continually say we have to "complete the mission" when you know damn well you have no idea what that mission is and you can change it at will like you change your cowboy shirts?"

Camp Casey has grown and prospered and survived all attacks and challenges because America is sick and tired of liars and hypocrites and we want the answers to the tough questions that I was the first to dare ask. THIS is George Bush's accountability moment and he is failing ... miserably. George Bush and his advisers seriously "misunderestimated" me when they thought they could intimidate me into leaving before I had the answers, or before the end of August. I can take anything they throw at me, or Camp Casey. If it shortens the war by a minute or saves one life, it is worth it. I think they seriously "misunderestimated" all mothers. I wonder if any of them had authentic mother-child relationships and if they are surprised that there are so many mothers in this country who are bear-like when it comes to wanting the truth and who want to make meaning of their child's needless and seemingly meaningless deaths?

The Camp Casey movement will not die until we have a genuine accounting of the truth and until our troops are brought home. Get used to it George, we are not going away.

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Iraq al-Qaeda claims Jordan rocket attack
CBC News
Tue, 23 Aug 2005 07:20:28 EDT

Iraq's al-Qaeda claimed responsibility Tuesday for last week's rocket attack on U.S. Navy ships in Jordan's Red Sea port of Aqaba. On Friday, three rockets were fired in Aqaba, a usually quiet Red Sea resort frequented by Western and Israeli tourists.

A Jordanian soldier was killed when one rocket flew across the bow of a U.S. Navy amphibious assault ship and crashed into a warehouse.

Two other missiles flew in another direction, toward Israel. One landed near a Jordanian hospital, the other on the outskirts of an Israeli airport in the city of Eilat.

According to an internet statement, Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi said those who carried out the strike had fled to safety.

"Your brothers in the al-Qaeda organization in Iraq have been planning the Aqaba raid for a while," the group said in a statement posted on an Islamist Internet site.

"The rockets were fired at their targets -- a group of ships belonging to the crusader American forces -- in Aqaba and Eliat.

"We would like to tell you that we delayed claiming this attack so that our brothers could complete their withdrawal ... and they returned safely to their base."

Jordanian television said three attackers had escaped across the border into Iraq but that police had arrested a Syrian who is accused of helping them.

Zarqawi, has threatened to punish Jordan's rulers for "aiding the treacherous enemy America."

Comment: Of course it was all Zarqawi's doing... Remember when everything was blamed on Osama bin Laden?

Say, what ever happened to old Osama? Didn't Bush say that US forces would capture him dead or alive...?

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The next World War starts in Iran
By Mike Whitney
08/22/05

"ICH" -- "We consider that it would be counter-productive and dangerous to use force, the serious consequences of which would be barely predictable." - warning from the Russian Foreign Ministry to the Bush Administration about prospective plans to attack Iran

There's only one thing that Americans need to remember when they read about the standoff between the Bush administration and Iran. There is no evidence whatsoever that Iran has a nuclear weapons program. But, don't take my word for it. That is the conclusion of Mohammed El Baradei, the chief of the UN's watchdog agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency; the most respected nuclear investigative agency in the world today.

After conducting 2 years of the most rigorous "go anywhere, see anything" investigations, the agency gave Iran a clean bill of health.

No nukes! Not now, not ever!

We should recall that it was the IAEA headed by El Baradei that warned the US that Saddam did not have a nuclear weapons program, and tried to save the Bush administration the embarrassment of attacking an unarmed country. That didn't work. As we know now the intelligence was "fixed" to fit the policy, and the policy was aggression.

With that tragedy in mind, we should not allow ourselves to be duped by the propaganda that passes as news in the US. We must continue to remind ourselves over and over again; there is no evidence that Iran has a nuclear weapons program.

None, Nada, Zippo!

This is not a detail that you should expect to see in the western media. Of the hundreds of articles I've combed through on Iran only 1% to 2% even casually mention this salient fact. The reasons for this are fairly obvious to those who watched the media carefully build the case for war with Iraq based entirely on false information. We don't need to go over that appalling story here. We simply need to recognize that the media to large extent has been successfully "embedded" into the political establishment and operates in the interests of ownership. If the elites who control our "privately" owned media want war, you can bet that there will be a torrent of cleverly-written articles supporting that effort.

That, in fact, is what is happening with Iran today.

Two major stories appeared this week connecting Iran to the IED (roadside bombs) that are killing American servicemen in Iraq. One story was in Time magazine by Michael Ware and seemed reasonably credible except that none of the information could be reliably proved.

Is this simply more disinformation used to pave the way for war? It certainly merges nicely with Rumsfeld's claims that Iran is involved in the insurgency, but it, in many respects, it completely defies logic.

Why would Iranian Shi'ites support Sunnis in their quest to retake power?

Iran already has "their guy" al Jaffari in the top spot so why rock the boat?

This question is never seriously addressed in either article, which leads us to suspect that there may be ulterior motives.

The Bush Administration has never backed away from its original goal of "regime change" in Iran, so we must assume that the reports of ethnic disturbances in Iran's Ahwaz province are probably instigated by either the CIA or surrogates in the various Iranian dissident groups acting on behalf of the Bush administration. The Iranian government claims to have captured suspects of these regional uprisings and have said that they have solid proof that they are supported by the US.

The most prominent of these groups is the Mujahidin Klaq (MEK) a group that is still on the US State Depts. list of terrorist organizations even though they receive direct funding and support from the US government. According to Seymour Hersh the MEK and other organizations have been sent back into Iran to foment revolution or carry out covert operations.

Certainly no one is surprised by this given the administration's open hostility towards the current Islamic regime. The fact that the "ethnic strife" is taking place in oil-rich Ahwaz province, however, is interesting. We can be reasonably certain that the US does not plan to occupy all of Iran if there is a war.

Can we be equally certain that the administration strategy isn't simply to annex the primary oil producing region and bomb the main chemical, biological and conventional weapons sites across the country at the same time?

That way, the US would control the oil, eliminate Iran as a regional-military rival to Israel, and avoid the pitfalls of a massive occupation.

There are potential hazards to Washington's prospective plan. For one thing, Iran has violated none of its agreements under the current NPT (Nuclear Nonproliferation treaty) so, there is no reason for the IAEA to refer the case to the UN Security Council and no cause for punitive action. Iran is allowed to convert uranium under the NPT if it is carefully monitored by the watchdog agency and if it is used strictly for peaceful purposes. The conversion process does not produce weapons-grade enriched uranium, which can be used in nuclear weapons, but a milder form that can be used in nuclear power plants. If there are any violations to this regimen, the IAEA is required to report them immediately to the Security Council.

So, we can see that the US is just ratcheting up the pressure in the media to make it appear as though the EU supports the hard-line policies of the Bush administration and is willing to support their position before the UNSC.

The EU, of course, is simply being bullied by the administration and trying to avoid the impending conflict.

Another possible drawback to the Bush strategy is the sudden and unexpected insertion of Russia into the standoff. Last week Russia cautioned the US against considering the use of force with Iran. The Russian foreign ministry issued a statement saying, "We consider that it would be counter-productive and dangerous to use force, the serious consequences of which would be barely predictable."

Russia's statement was predictably oblique, but the message is clear; Russia will not allow Iran to go the way of Iraq. Not surprisingly, this veiled-threat of Russian retaliation did not appear in any newspaper in the United States. It simply wouldn't due to have the American public know that the administration was risking nuclear holocaust to further its interests in the region.

When I wrote my first article on this topic 2 weeks ago ("Why Iran will lead to World War 3) very few readers took the possibility seriously. Since then, the more-insightful political analyst Paul Craig Roberts added his voice to the fray with his article "Get Ready for WW 3". This new statement from the Russian foreign ministry should demonstrate that we may be closer to the brink then anyone had imagined.

The UN and the EU need to convene meetings immediately on the likelihood of an American attack on Iran and issue an unambiguous statement that any military action taken on the part of the United States or Israel without Security Council approval will be taken as a direct assault on the rest of the international community an a tacit declaration of world war. This is no time for equivocating or backpedaling. World leaders need to rise to the occasion and perform their duties. As we know from Iraq, if Washington is planning for war, it won't be easily deterred.

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Talk Host Fired Over Controversial Comments About Islam
RadioandRecords.com
Monday, Aug. 22, 2005

Michael Graham's suspension by management at ABC Radio's WMAL/Washington for recent on-air comments in which he characterized Islam as a terrorist organization has turned into a permanent furlough for the controversial midday talker. The Council on American-Islamic Relations have continued to denounce Graham's comments as "hate-filled" and have called for the talk host's ouster ever since he made the comments on his program in late July.

In a statement released by Graham regarding his firing, the talk host said, "The First Amendment and I have been evicted from ABC Radio in Washington, DC. It appears that ABC Radio has caved to an organization that condemns Talk radio hosts like me but has never condemned Hamas, Hezbollah and wouldn't specifically condemn Al Qaeda for three months after 9/11. As a fan of Talk radio, I find it absolutely outrageous that pressure from a special interest group like CAIR can result in the abandonment of free speech and open discourse on a talk radio show."

Asked to comment on Graham's accusations, WMAL President/GM Chris Berry told R&R, "Typically we don't comment on personnel matters, but given the misstatements being communicated, I want to set the record straight. Some of Michael's statements about Islam went over the line - and this isn't the first time that he has been reprimanded for insensitive language and comments. I asked Michael for an on-air acknowledgement that some of his remarks were overly broad and inexplicably he refused. Michael has also tried to position this by saying that we were pressured into taking disciplinary action against him. For the record, we make our decisions independent of external pressures or third parties. We will not permit an employee to willfully violate our policies or disregard management direction."

Berry also noted that although WMAL PD Randall Bloomquist was out of the station this week on a long-planned vacation, he was "in the loop" on the decision to terminate Graham.

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Online Thesaurus Pulls Listing for 'Arab'
By JOHN CURRAN
Associated Press Writer
Aug 22 6:45 PM US/Eastern

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. - An online thesaurus struck a listing Monday for the word "Arab" after Arab-American groups complained the entry listed derogatory synonyms.

The entry, which appeared on thesaurus.com, listed the word ["Arab"] as a noun meaning "beggar," and gave 16 pejorative synonyms including "homeless person" and "welfare bum."

The American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee contacted the synonym book's online publisher Friday to complain about the entry; the American Arab Forum also criticized the listing on Monday.

"I looked it up and I couldn't believe what I was seeing," said Aref Assaf, president of the American Arab Forum, which is based in Paterson.

Several hours after Roget's Thesaurus was called by The Associated Press, all entries for "Arab" had been pulled from the site.

Barbara Ann Kipfer, editor of the third edition of Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, said the entry had likely been on the site for years, but never made it into printed versions of the thesaurus.

"We're simply going to take it out," she said on Monday. "The last thing you want with a thesaurus is to offend anyone."

Kipfer said an 18th-century term "street arab" had appeared in other thesauruses, referring to a homeless child who has been abandoned and roams through the streets.

The Internet publishing group that produces the thesaurus.com Web site also said it was surprised to learn of the entry.

"We got together and tried to resolve it as soon as possible," said Jasper Chou, director for marketing for Lexico Group.

Assaf said he was satisfied that the listing had been removed.

"We look forward to working with them, should they need a proper definition of the word. The easier definition is 'anyone who is Arabic,' which would have been more than sufficient," he said.

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U.S. Says Terrorists May Pose As Vagrants
By MARK SHERMAN
Associated Press
Mon Aug 22,10:59 PM ET

WASHINGTON - Asking for increased vigilance in the wake of the London bombings, the government is warning that terrorists may pose as vagrants to conduct surveillance of buildings and mass transit stations to plot future attacks.

"In light of the recent bombings in London, it is crucial that police, fire and emergency medical personnel take notice of their surroundings, and be aware of 'vagrants' who seem out of place or unfamiliar," said the message, distributed via e-mail to some federal employees in Washington by the U.S. Attorney's office.

It is based on a State Department report that was issued last week. The State Department had no immediate comment Monday.

The warning is similar to one issued by the FBI before July 4, 2004 that said terrorists may attempt surveillance disguised as homeless people, shoe shiners, street vendors or street sweepers.

The e-mail stresses that there is no threat of an attack and that it is intended to be "informative, not alarming."

Homeless people easily blend into urban landscapes, the message said.

"This is particularly true of our mass transit systems, where homeless people tend to loiter unnoticed," the e-mail said.

It referred to a recent incident in Somerville, Mass., in which a police officer became suspicious about someone dressed as a street person. The officer questioned the man, discovered he had a passport from a "country of interest" - typically a Middle Eastern or South Asian nation - and a checkbook with a questionable address, the e-mail said. The investigation is continuing, it said.

The incident happened in early July, Somerville city spokesman Mark Horan said, when the man walked back and forth in front of the
Social Security office in Somerville's Davis Square and kept looking in the windows.

"This was right after one of the London bombings," Horan said. "There was an even higher degree of sensitivity."

The man was evasive about what he was doing but wasn't arrested. Somerville police didn't investigate further but passed the information on to the FBI, Horan said. There haven't been any similar incidents in Somerville, he said.

FBI spokeswoman Gail Marcinkiewicz would not comment on whether an investigation is ongoing.

Three British citizens were indicted in the United States earlier this year on charges they conducted surveillance of the New York Stock Exchange and other East Coast financial institutions in 2000 and 2001.

Discovery of the alleged terrorist plan last year prompted the
Homeland Security Department to raise the terror alert for the targeted buildings, located in New York, Washington and Newark, N.J. Security in those cities also was tightened.

Homeland Security also raised the terror alert for mass transit following the July 7 bombings in London. The alert was lowered on Aug. 12.

Comment: What was it that Roget's thesaurus included as synonyms of the word "Arab"?

The entry, which appeared on thesaurus.com, listed the word ["Arab"] as a noun meaning "beggar," and gave 16 pejorative synonyms including "homeless person" and "welfare bum."

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Air Force hit with security breach
By Dawn Kawamoto
Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Published: August 22, 2005, 2:54 PM PDT

Air Force officials are busy notifying more than 33,000 airmen that a security breach has occurred with the Air Force's online assignment and career management system. Officials with the Air Force Personnel Center noticed "unusually high activity on a single user's Assignment Management System account in June," according to an Air Force announcement released on Friday. The attacker accessed and downloaded such personal information as birthdates and social security numbers via a user's legitimate log-in information.

The incident occurred at the Randolph Air Force Base in Texas. Officials at the base have contacted the Air Force and federal investigators and an investigation is ongoing, according to a military spokeswoman.

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Police and Tube firm at odds over CCTV footage of innocent Brazilian's shooting
By Nigel Morris, Jason Bennetto and Barrie Clement
The Independent
Published: 23 August 2005

None of the cameras at the scene of the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes at Stockwell Tube station on 22 July were working, a police document revealed.

Cameras on the platform and the train were not operational, officers told the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). The submission by the Metropolitan Police, obtained by ITV News, puts officers at odds with a statement from Tube Lines, the company operating the station.

The police document says: "Stockwell station and environs has been surveyed and all existing CCTV has been seized.

"During the course of this it has been established that although there was onboard CCTV in the train, due to previous incidents the harddrive has been removed and not replaced.

"It has also been established that there has been a technical problem with the CCTV equipment on the relevant platform and no footage exists."

However in a statement to The Mail on Sunday, Tube Lines said: "We are not aware of any faults on CCTV cameras at that station on that day. Nothing of that nature has been reported to us." Yesterday the company refused to elaborate.

While some sources denied police had deliberately wiped the tapes, others remained convinced there was a cover-up.

One union official argued however that the on-board cameras may have been empty.

Employees' representatives said Met officers emptied the cameras the day before police killed Mr de Menezes as part of their investigation into the failed bombings on 21 July.

According to a report he would have passed eight cameras, two in the station entrance pointing at the barriers, another aimed at the Northern Line escalator and another on the way down.

When Mr de Menezes reached the bottom of the escalator, another camera would have captured him. And as he turned on to the platform one above the track and three more at each end of the platform would have caught him on film, the reports say.

This information should have been sent to a control room and passed to video tape. Yet there is apparently no footage of him in and around the platform.

The source, who is close to the investigation, said reports of a cover-up were "absolute rubbish''. The source said reports that the tapes had been handed back to London Underground staff were "nonsense'' because such material would have been kept as evidence in the ongoing inquiry.

A spokesman for the IPCC said: "We are not willing to comment about every story that comes up.''

But confusion still surrounds the contents of surveillance tapes taken from Stockwell station. Sources have suggested that the tapes had been recovered from the station booking hall, which had shown images of Mr de Menezes and that there was limited footage from cameras inside the carriage where the shooting took place.

All Northern Line Tube trains are equipped with CCTV - at either end of the carriages, but the only photograph published of the incident seems to have been taken from a doorway.

The confusion deepened as two senior Brazilian officials flew into London to examine the background to Mr de Menezes' death. The officials will want to know if CCTV footage of the incident exists. The Brazilian government has expressed "shock and bewilderment" over the death and has said it wants answers to "a number of matters".

Wagner Goncalves, of the federal prosecutor's office, and Marcio Pereira Pinto Garcia, of the ministry of justice, went from Heathrow airport to Scotland Yard, where they met senior officers led by deputy assistant commissioner John Yates. They are also due to meet members of the IPCC tomorrow.

Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, has faced unrelenting pressure since it emerged last week that initial police accounts of the killing were at variance with the facts.

Members of the Metropolitan Police Authority yesterday said Sir Ian still had their full confidence, but admitted that a public inquiry into the death appeared inevitable.

For the second time in two days, Downing Street issued a statement declaring the Prime Minister's complete confidence in the Commissioner.

A spokeswoman said Mr Blair, who is on holiday in Barbados, had been kept fully up to speed with the matter. She added: "The Prime Minister recognises that the Metropolitan Police, led by Sir Ian Blair, do a very difficult job and they do it very well."

Clare Short, the former Cabinet Minister, said it was now clear that the public had been misled over the death of Mr de Menezes. She told ITV News: "We've been lied to. This should be bigger than just calling for Sir Ian Blair to go. We need to find out exactly what happened. Who was telling the lies?"

As relatives and supporters of Mr de Menezes began a vigil outside Downing Street, his mother, Maria de Menezes, demanded justice for her son.

She said of the officers who shot: "They took my son's life. I am suffering because of that."

Speaking from Brazil, she told the BBC: "I want the policeman who did that punished. They ended not only my son's life but mine as well."

Mr de Menezes' cousin, Alessandro Pereira, handed a letter to Downing Street demanding a public inquiry.

The unanswered questions

* If the CCTV cameras showed Mr de Menezes using his Oyster card to open the ticket barrier, why did police sources suggest he vaulted it?

* Were cameras trained on the platform in full working order? Police and Tube sources contradict each other.

* How could all four cameras around the platform have failed at the same time?

* If the cameras had failed, why did the station log book contain no details of the fault?

* Why had CCTV onboard the train been removed?

Comment: A QFS member writes:

I have another case of the state of Britain I'd like to share. I spoke to one of my friends in London this week, he's Arab. He told me stories of what's been happening to him following the London bombings, one was particularily chilling.

He was in a tube station when out of nowhere 4 police officers suddenly grabbed him, forced him down on the floor, forced his hands behind his back and put handcuffs on him! They took his backpack, started to search his person. My friend calmly told the officer to look in his pocket. "What do you have in there??!" the office had screamed back at him. My friend said that at that moment he was tempted to make a joke and say "A mousetrap" just to try to diffuse the tense situation, but then thought better of it and responded
that it was his passport and that he was not a British citizen. "And thank God for *that*" the officer had said, and took his passport.

They take him into a holding room, still handcuffed, and as he sits down he askes them to remove the cuffs. Police officers aren't allowed to just go around and cuff people, they're only allowed to do it if the person is resisting restraint or is being officially arrested and charged...neither was the case here.

Then the interrogations start. The contents of his backpack were completely emptied. They had found a handmade map with a phone number on it and seemingly took it as a terrorist plot and they questioned him harshly about that piece of "evidence". My friend explained that that's where he took martial arts classes, and asked them to just call the number and verify it. They did finally and it checked out.

In the end, they revealed that it was because of a "citizen tip" that they had detained him. A citizen tip! I imagine that the tip went something like this "There's an Arab looking man in a tube station with a backpack over there". Maybe adding "looking suspicious" for good measure. If that's all it takes these days then my first thought was of shades of Nazi Germany and 1984.

I was shocked after he had told me the story, to say the least. I told him to consider moving, and that this level of Arab-phobia was probably just the beginning of things to come.

He wouldn't for now and said that it was understandable that emotions were running high in the wake of the London bombings. I objected that Everything is "understandable", but that doesn't make it right that such things should happen. I think I was more angry about it than he was!

Welcome to the new world?

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Pig disease claims 40th human life in China
AFP
Tue Aug 23, 3:44 AM ET

BEIJING - A pig-borne disease has claimed a 40th human life in China, and the first in southern Guangdong province, days after the government said it had brought the disease under control elsewhere.

Three other people in Guangdong were also found to be infected with the streptococosis suis bacteria, provincial health bureau Wei Jiafen said.

"The lone fatality occurred in Yangjiang (city)," he told AFP.

All the other fatalities from the disease were recorded in Sichuan province, further west, which also has about 200 infections.

The latest announcement came two days after the nation's health and agricultural ministries said the outbreak in Sichuan province had been brought under control.

All the victims from Sichuan were found to have had direct contact with sick or dead pigs or infected pork. It was not clear how the Guangdong infections were spread.

Medical teams have been sent to the affected areas in the province to investigate the cases and help locals take protective measures, Xinhua news agency reported.

The provincial government also mobilized health and agriculture departments to take emergency measures to prevent the disease from spreading, it said.

No new human cases have been reported in Sichuan province since August 6. Twenty people there remain hospitalised with the disease.

Nowhere in the world have more people been struck down by the streptococcus suis bacteria -- which usually affects pigs, not humans -- since the first human case was recorded in Denmark in 1968.

China's central government has ordered local governments across the country to tighten supervision of pork markets and has banned the butchering, transport and sale of dead or sick pigs to prevent the disease from spreading.

At least eight government officials were sacked for failing to prevent farmers from butchering sick pigs or fabricating reports saying infected pigs had been disposed of hygienically, Xinhua said.

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European farmers act to halt spread of bird flu
By our International Staff
Financial Times
August 22 2005 19:03

European farmers on Monday began taking action to prevent the spread of a deadly strain of bird flu from Asia, amid fears it could devastate the poultry sector and infect humans.

Dutch farmers were ordered to bring all 5.5m free-range poultry indoors and the German government said it might take similar action within days. The moves came amid renewed calls for an international effort to contain the disease as concern grew that it could be spread by wild birds migrating from Siberia.

“All countries of the world must unite in the struggle against bird flu,” said Yevgeny Nepokhlonov, a senior Russian government veterinary official.

The discovery of the H5N1 virus in Siberia in July has prompted fears the lethal flu strain which has killed more than 60 people in south-east Asia and ravaged the region's poultry industry could spread across the Ural mountains into Europe.

Veterinary experts from the 25 European Union member states meet on Thursday to discuss what further action, if any, should be taken. The European Commission said yesterday it saw no need at the moment for other European countries to follow the Dutch lead. The EU has already banned live poultry and feather imports from Russia and Kazakhstan.

“Our assessment of the risk is that it is relatively low but not non-existent,” said a spokesman.

The commission argues that Australia and New Zealand also receive migratory birds from Asian countries affected by the virus, but that neither country had reported cases of bird flu in the last two years.

The UK also played down the threat posed by migratory birds. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said it was not planning any measures to keep poultry indoors. However, fears of a global epidemic have prompted calls for a cull of migratory birds in areas like Siberia, south-east Asia and South Africa.

Mr Nepokhlonov warned that since flying birds were thought to be susceptible to the virus “the disease could now crop up in any corner of the planet”.

Russian authorities said yesterday the outbreak of bird flu had been contained and that no big industrial poultry farms had been contaminated.

Some 120,000 birds have been culled in Russia since the disease broke out in July. Bird flu has killed more than 11,000 more, but there have been no reported human cases.

Japanese authorities yesterday said they had detected another outbreak of bird flu at a poultry farm near Tokyo, although the strain involved is less virulent that the H5N1 variety.

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Update: N.Y. Water Park Illnesses Grow to 2,202
AP
Aug 22, 9:44 PM EDT

ALBANY, N.Y. -- A New York state assemblyman is launching an inquiry into the state-run water playground that may have spread more than 2,000 cases of gastrointestinal illnesses.

"All visitors to New York State Parks should be confident that they will have a healthy and safe experience," State Assemblyman Joseph Morelle said in a statement.

The number of reported gastrointestinal illnesses possibly spread by the water playground at Seneca Lake Park has grown to 2,202 cases across 24 counties in western and central New York as of Monday.

So far, 13 cases in four different counties have been confirmed as cryptosporidiosis, a common waterborne disease.

Tests conducted by the Health Department have found the presence of cryptosporidium in two storage tanks that supply water for the spray park.

The Health Department initially shut down the Sprayground temporarily last week after receiving more than 100 reported cases of illness dating back to early July.

Morelle, a Democrat from Irondequoit, chairs the Assembly Committee on Tourism, Arts and Sports Development that oversees the state park system and tourism attractions in New York.

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Panelist Who Dissents on Climate Change Quits
By ANDREW C. REVKIN
New York Times
August 23, 2005

A scientist who has long disagreed with the dominant view that global warming stems mainly from human activity has resigned from a panel that is completing a report for the Bush administration on temperature trends in the atmosphere.

The scientist, Roger A. Pielke Sr., a climatologist at Colorado State University, said most of the other scientists working on the report were too deeply wedded to particular views and were discounting minority opinions on the quality of climate records and possible causes of warming.

"When you appoint people to a committee who are experts in an area but evaluating their own work," he said in an interview, "it's very difficult for them to think outside the box of their research."

Administration officials said the resignation would not affect the quality or credibility of the report, a draft of which is being finished in the next few weeks.

The report, the first product of President Bush's 10-year climate change research program, is likely to be closely scrutinized by climate scientists and environmental and industry groups for any sign of bias or distortion.

Its main focus is to explore why thermometers at the earth's surface, especially in the tropics, have measured more warming than has been detected by satellites and weather balloons in the troposphere, the layer of the atmosphere up to where jetliners cruise.

Dr. Pielke contends that changes in landscapes like the spread of agriculture and cities could explain many of the surface climate trends, while most climate experts now see a clear link to accumulating emissions of heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide.

James R. Mahoney, an assistant secretary of commerce and the director of the federal climate research program, said the scientists involved in generating the report were "representative of the broad views" on the questions.

Mr. Mahoney noted that drafts of the climate report would be reviewed by the National Academy of Sciences and were subject to public comment.

"I'm disappointed that Dr. Pielke has chosen to resign over this," Mr. Mahoney said.

Dr. Pielke said he decided to resign after three papers on the troposphere trends were published online on Aug. 11 by the journal Science. The papers said errors in satellite and balloon studies in the tropics explained why earlier analyses failed to find warming in the troposphere.

Several authors of those papers, who are also authors of the coming government report, said at the time that the new findings would be discussed in the report.

Dr. Pielke said those statements were an effort to influence the shape of the final report.

Several authors of those papers denied this, saying the process of creating the reports is intended to be public, while the contents remain confidential for now.

John R. Christy, another author of the coming report who like Dr. Pielke doubts that human-caused warming poses a serious threat, said that while disagreements were normal, the effort to generate the report was improving understanding.

"This process is the worst way to generate scientific information," said Dr. Christy, who teaches at the University of Alabama, Huntsville. "Except for all the others."

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Carbon emissions from US autos on the rise - report
Reuters
Wed Aug 10, 2005 03:55 PM ET

WASHINGTON - Emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide from U.S. cars and trucks soared 25 percent between 1990 and 2003 as more vehicles hit the roads and consumers flocked to gas-guzzling sport utility vehicles, a U.S. environmental group said on Wednesday.

Despite efforts to introduce cleaner hybrid vehicles, the biggest U.S. automakers have failed to reverse growing greenhouse gas emissions, Environmental Defense said.

"Emissions keep rising despite factors that many people think should lower them," said John DeCicco of the group.

Vehicles made by General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. led the increase in gases linked to global warming. Carbon dioxide emissions from GM's 2003 model year vehicles rose 6.3 percent to 6.4 million metric tons, while Ford's increased 7.7 percent to 5 million metric tons, Environmental Defense said.

In 2003, emissions from cars and light trucks topped 317 million metric tons, up 25 percent from 1990, the group said, based on federal government data.

Part of the 13-year increase is due to more vehicles on the road. However, Americans also bought more sport utility vehicles and mini-vans during that period, and they get fewer miles per gallon of gasoline.

Automakers say they are doing their part by offering consumers new high-tech vehicles powered by cleaner hybrid, diesel and fuel cell engines.

"The auto industry is offering a vast array of highly fuel-efficient, low-emission vehicles to the public, and those are available on dealer lots today," said Eron Shosteck at the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which represents Detroit automakers and some foreign firms.

The United States is the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases, which are linked to rising ocean tides, melting glaciers and wildlife extinction.

The majority of American carbon emissions are from coal-fired utilities and plants, but cars and light trucks accounted for about 20 percent of the total.

Comment: Only one fifth of the carbon emissions are the result of US automobiles. In other words, the underlying problem of increased emissions lies elsewhere...

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Wildlife moves to stay cool in a warmer world
By Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent
Reuters
Thu Aug 11, 2005 1:02 PM BST15

OSLO, Norway - Salmon swim north into Arctic seas, locusts plague northern Italy and two heat-loving bee-eater birds nest in a hedge in Britain.

Signs of global warming fed by greenhouse gases produced by human activity, or just summertime oddities?

In the United States, some warblers are flying north to Canada. In Costa Rica, toucans are moving higher up into the mountains, apparently because of rising temperatures.

In July, a Norwegian man fishing in a fjord had a shock when he landed a John Dory, a fish more usually found in temperate waters off southern Europe or Africa.

"There's a long list of migratory species ending up further north. It's certainly a sign of warmer temperatures," said Steve Sawyer, climate policy director at the Greenpeace environmental group.

He said salmon had been swimming through the Bering Strait between Alaska and Russia into the Chukchi Sea, apparently because the frigid water had warmed up.

Such shifts could have vast long-term implications for farmers and fishing fleets.

However, some experts are skeptical that unusual sightings of everything from bears to butterflies support theories that temperatures are rising because of a build-up of heat-trapping gases emitted by cars, factories and power plants.

"If you want to measure temperatures, you use a thermometer, not a bird," said Fred Singer, who heads the U.S. Science and Environmental Policy Project. "Birds have all sorts of reasons for moving north, south, sideways or whatever."

Singer says people and creatures have adapted to unexplained changes in temperature, linked to natural variation, throughout history. Some species simply move in unexpected directions or unwittingly stow away on trucks, planes or ships.

ROBINS IN ARCTIC

However, U.N. data show that the warmest year since records began in the 1860s was 1998, followed by 2002, 2003 and 2004. Most scientists link the rise in temperatures to human emissions of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels, rather than natural change.

The panel that advises the United Nations says that rising temperatures may drive thousands of species to extinction and cause more storms, floods and deserts while raising sea levels, perhaps by 3 feet by 2100.

Inuit peoples have noted southerly species of wildlife reaching the Arctic in summertime in recent years, including robins, hornets and barn owls.

Anecdotal evidence from further south is piling up.

Two yellow, green and brown bee-eater birds, usually found in southern Europe, have nested in a hedge in southern England -- the fourth time a bee-eater nest has been found in Britain.

"It looks as if it's linked to climate change," John Lanchbery, head of climate policy at Britain's Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, said of a general shift northwards of birds in Europe.

Growing seasons have extended and seas have become warmer, he said.

However, some examples are misleading.

In the Piedmont region of northern Italy this summer, residents were surprised by swarms of locusts, suspecting they had flown over from Africa.

Insect experts said they were an Italian species and did not migrate over long distances. Still, an exceptionally hot summer in 2003 has meant more parched ground, ideal conditions for the pests to lay their eggs.

"Global warming could also be a reason," said Vincenzo Girolami, an entomologist at Padua University. If there were more hotter, drier summers, there were likely to be more swarms of locusts in Italy, he said.

HEADACHE FOR RANGERS

In the United States, birds such as the Cape May warbler and Blackburnian warbler are moving north into Canada, causing a headache for forest rangers.

If the birds leave, spruce forests in the United States could be vulnerable to attacks by spruce budworm caterpillars, normally eaten by the birds. If the caterpillars are left to thrive they will eat, and dry out, the trees.

"The trees could be more stressed which could lead to more fires," said Terry Root, a professor at Stanford University in the United States. "We could really have a difficult situation."

In Costa Rica's Monteverde cloud forest, toucans, with their brightly-colored, banana-shaped bills, are threatening another species, the spectacular green quetzal, by moving to higher altitudes where the quetzals nest, she said.

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Deaths of sea birds have wildlife officials puzzled
By JON W. GLASS, The Virginian-Pilot
© July 2, 2005

VIRGINIA BEACH — Wildlife officials are investigating the mysterious deaths of hundreds of sea birds that have washed up on beaches along the Atlantic coast since mid-June, including south of Sandbridge and on the Outer Banks.

Most of the birds have been greater shearwaters , which are now migrating north from their breeding grounds in the South Atlantic. The birds, while fairly common, are rarely seen by beachgoers because they typically stay 30 to 100 miles offshore, where they feed on small fish and squid.

Some of the birds have washed up alive, unable to fly and appearing weak, and later died. The number of dead birds has alarmed wildlife officials, who are scrambling to pinpoint a cause.

More than 500 dead sea birds have been reported from Maryland to Florida since June 12, said Emi Saito, a wildlife disease specialist with the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wis.

Wildlife pathologists are examining the carcasses for exposure to toxins, pollutants such as heavy metals and infections that might indicate a broader environmental concern, she said.

During the past week, staffers at the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia Beach have found about a dozen dead greater shearwaters on the beach, said Dorie Stolley, a wildlife biologist.

Only a few remained in good enough condition to be examined, and the others were incinerated by city animal control officers, she said.

Staffers used rubber gloves and took other precautions while collecting the birds. People are advised not to touch dead birds they find on the beach.

Reports of dead birds also have come from Ocracoke and Hatteras Island on the Outer Banks.

Diane Duncan, an ecologist with the federal wildlife agency’s Ecological Services Office in Charleston, S.C., said the first reports came from Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head and several nearby islands.

Nearly 200 birds have washed up since then in South Carolina, Duncan said.

“In 20 years here, I have never seen this kind of mortality event,” Duncan said. “It certainly is a concern to us, and we’d like to know the cause.”

Tests on two of the birds ruled out toxins found in red tide, a type of algal bloom that biologists initially suspected as a culprit, Duncan said.

Will Post, an ornithologist and curator at The Charleston Museum, said he had dissected six greater shearwaters that had washed up alive, unable to fly, and later died.

The birds’ stomachs were empty, but they had varying levels of fat reserves, suggesting that they did not die of starvation, Post said.

“They were below normal weight, but that’s normal when they’re in migration,” he said.

The shearwaters fly nearly 5,000 miles during their annual migrations to and from their nesting grounds on Tristan da Cunha, a chain of volcanic islands in the South Atlantic, Post said. The cold-water birds breed in April and May and then fly to their summer grounds off New England and points north, he said.

Islanders in the South Atlantic are allowed to harvest about 50,000 of the young birds a year for food, which is controversial, Post said. There’s an estimated 5 million breeding pairs, he added.

The birds resemble gulls in appearance and size, with brown to gray heads and white undersides. They have webbed feet and dark, tube like bills.

Since they spend their lives at sea, Post said, they are able to drink salt water, excreting excess salt through special glands in their heads.

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Avoid contact with sea birds
Officials issue warning as several dead shearwaters wash up on Assateague beach
By Jay Hodgkins
Staff Writer

OCEAN CITY -- Wildlife officials are warning the public to avoid contact with dead sea birds that have washed up on Maryland's Eastern Shore recently, following reports of mystery deaths of greater shearwaters that have washed ashore since mid-June from Florida to Virginia.

Jack Kumer of the Assateague Island National Seashore said Assateague employees have discovered an unusual amount of the dead or dying birds on the park's shores starting three weeks ago.

"So far there have been 12 birds, most of which were dead and a couple living that we were monitoring. There were two in the first week and eight the second week," Kumer said.

Most of the dead birds are the pelagic -- or sea going -- greater shearwater and the number of dead birds washed ashore throughout the eastern seaboard is reported to be approaching 1,000 during the past few weeks.

Kumer warned the public to avoid contact with the dead birds.

"What I like to tell people when I see the public interacting with an animal that is dead is that animal died from something, there's a good chance it died from a disease and they have diseases that humans can contract," he said.

"I want no visitor to Ocean City or Assateague to touch any animal that has died because something killed that animal and you don't want to find out what did it."

According to Maryland DNR associate director Mark Hoffman the shearwaters are "very common visitors to Maryland waters. They're fairly common summer visitors here with peak months in May and June. They breed in the South Atlantic and migrate to the North Atlantic off the coast of Newfoundland most commonly."

Department of Natural Resources veterinarian, Dr. Cindy Driscoll, said since the dead birds found on Assateague "are pelagic, we rarely see them on shore so that number is above normal."

Driscoll said she called Ocean City beach clean up last week and they hadn't reported any dead shearwaters, but said she had everyone alerted to the situation and had them on the lookout with rehabilitators ready in the event of any live cases.

As the situation worsened in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas weeks ago and cases climbed to the hundreds, dead shearwaters were shipped for testing at the National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wis., but diagnostic tests still have not revealed an answer as to the cause of the bird's deaths.

Kumer said theories include a possible bird virus, harmful bacteria, harmful algal bloom such as the "red tide," a problem with the bird's food sources or something as simple as a change in the birds migratory path.

"It could be something quite natural," Kumer said. "The population of the birds is fairly sizeable and there could be any number of the birds that die every day. If the population shifted closer to North America this year, it could explain the mortality because there could have always been this many dying and we'd never know because they were further out in the Atlantic."

Official word on the cause of the mass shearwater deaths is expected in the coming weeks from diagnostic tests performed in Madison. Until that time Driscoll and Kumer said numbers of shearwater cases will continue to mount in Maryland, but they do not predict the numbers will reach into the hundreds of cases like in the Southern states.

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Warmer Oceans May Be Killing West Coast Marine Life
7/14/2005 5:15:00 AM
(c) 2005, The Seattle Times. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service.

SEATTLE - Scientists suspect that rising ocean temperatures and dwindling plankton populations are behind a growing number of seabird deaths, reports of fewer salmon and other anomalies along the West Coast.

Coastal ocean temperatures are 2 to 5 degrees above normal, apparently caused by a lack of upwelling - a process that brings cold, nutrient-rich water to the surface and jump-starts the marine food chain.

Upwelling fuels algae and shrimplike krill populations that feed small fish, which provide an important food source for a variety of sea life, from salmon to sea birds and marine mammals.

"Something big is going on out there," said Julia Parrish, an associate professor in the School of Aquatic Fisheries and Sciences at the University of Washington. "I'm left with no obvious smoking gun, but birds are a good signal because they feed high up on the food chain."

This spring, scientists reported a record number of dead seabirds washed up on beaches along the Pacific Coast, from central California to British Columbia.

In Washington state, the highest numbers of dead seabirds - particularly Brandt's cormorants and common murres - were found along the southern coast at Ocean Shores.

Bird surveyors in May typically find an average of one dead Brandt's cormorant every 34 miles of beach. But this year, cormorant deaths averaged one every eight-tenths of a mile, according to data gathered by volunteers with the Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team, which Parrish has directed since 2000.

"This is somewhere between five and 10 times the highest number of bird deaths we've seen before," she said.

Parrish expects June figures to show a similar trend.

Upwelling is fueled by northerly winds that sweep out near-shore waters and bring cold water to the surface.

"You can think of it like a cup of coffee," Parrish explained. "When you pour in cold cream and then blow across the cup, the cream rises up from the bottom."

But this spring's cool, wet weather brought southwesterly winds to coastal areas and very little northerly winds, said Nathan Mantua, a research scientist with the Climate Impacts Group at the University of Washington.

And without upwelling, high-fat plankton such as krill stay at lower depths.

"In 50 years, this has never happened," said Bill Peterson, an oceanographer with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Newport, Ore. "If this continues, we will have a food chain that is basically impoverished from the very lowest levels."

NOAA's June and July surveys of juvenile salmon off the coasts of Oregon, Washington and British Columbia indicate a 20 to 30 percent drop in populations, compared with surveys from 1998-2004, especially coho and chinook.

"We don't really know that this will cause bad returns. The runs this year haven't been horrible, but below average," said Ed Casillas, program manager of Estuarine and Ocean Ecology at NOAA's Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle.

"The take-away message is that we are seeing unusual conditions so we need to be cautious with returns for the next one to four years," he said. "Managers need to put enough time, people and money on the ocean side of the question."

This spring, scientists began tracking anomalies along Washington's coast, from the appearance of warm-water plankton species to scores of jellyfish piling up on beaches. A Guadalupe fur seal, native to South America, was found dead in Ocean Shores.

Parrish is documenting unusual breeding behavior among common murres on Tatoosh Island off the Olympic Peninsula. In 15 years of monitoring the murre colony, this is the latest the birds have initiated breeding.

"They are starting very, very late and then just giving up," she said.

Seabirds are also showing signs of stress in California, said Bill Sydeman, director of marine ecology at Point Reyes Bird Observatory.

Sydeman monitors a colony of Cassin's auklets in the Farallon Islands, west of San Francisco. This spring's breeding season was a month late, Sydeman said. Less than half the colony tried to nest in April and then abandoned the colony by June.

"We have been monitoring this colony for 35 years. Never before have we seen colony abandonment," he said. "Nobody saw this coming."

Sydeman and Parrish point to starvation stress as the cause for decreased breeding and increased bird deaths, especially among the cormorants, murres and auklets.

Studies of dead birds in May on California beaches found emaciated bodies, with atrophied muscles and empty stomachs, said Hannah Nevins, a beached-bird survey coordinator at the Moss Landing Marine Lab in Northern California.

"Spring is when the food comes in," Nevins said. "When you have a really strong, persistent upwelling wind, it creates a conveyor belt of food, but the wind is slacking this year."

Mantua, the University of Washington research scientist, tracks ocean temperatures and climate conditions to understand changes in currents and wind patterns. This year he found temperatures 2 to 5 degrees above normal - readings typically seen during an El Nino. But this is not an El Nino year, he said.

The trend toward warmer temperatures began in fall 2002, said Peterson, the NOAA oceanographer. No one is pointing to one direct cause for the warmer waters, but many scientists suspect climate change may be involved.

While Peterson is concerned about the unusual ocean conditions, he is more worried that people will not take notice.

"People have to realize that things are connected - the state of coastal temperatures and plankton populations are connected to larger issues like Pacific salmon populations," he said.

Scientists say animals along the Pacific Coast have managed to overcome changing environmental conditions for many years.

"All of these species are very long-lived," Parrish said. "They can die in big numbers for a year or two without severe impact to the populations."

But, she cautioned, human activity could jeopardize the survival of animals already stressed by environmental changes.

"This, for instance, would be a truly bad year for an oil spill."

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