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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

Simon, a Red Panda, plays in a tree at Jerusalem's Biblical Zoo.



NEW! 9/11: The Ultimate Truth is Available for Pre-Order!

On the fourth anniversary of the September 11th attacks, Laura Knight-Jadczyk announces the availability of her latest book:

In the years since the 9/11 attacks, dozens of books have sought to explore the truth behind the official version of events that day - yet to date, none of these publications has provided a satisfactory answer as to WHY the attacks occurred and who was ultimately responsible for carrying them out.

Taking a broad, millennia-long perspective, Laura Knight-Jadczyk's 9/11: The Ultimate Truth uncovers the true nature of the ruling elite on our planet and presents new and ground-breaking insights into just how the 9/11 attacks played out.

9/11: The Ultimate Truth makes a strong case for the idea that September 11, 2001 marked the moment when our planet entered the final phase of a diabolical plan that has been many, many years in the making. It is a plan developed and nurtured by successive generations of ruthless individuals who relentlessly exploit the negative aspects of basic human nature to entrap humanity as a whole in endless wars and suffering in order to keep us confused and distracted to the reality of the man behind the curtain.

Drawing on historical and genealogical sources, Knight-Jadczyk eloquently links the 9/11 event to the modern-day Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She also cites the clear evidence that our planet undergoes periodic natural cataclysms, a cycle that has arguably brought humanity to the brink of destruction in the present day.

For its no nonsense style in cutting to the core of the issue and its sheer audacity in refusing to be swayed or distracted by the morass of disinformation that has been employed by the Powers that Be to cover their tracks, 9/11: The Ultimate Truth can rightly claim to be THE definitive book on 9/11 - and what that fateful day's true implications are for the future of mankind.

Published by Red Pill Press

Scheduled for release on October 1, 2005, readers can pre-order the book today at our bookstore.

Click here to comment on this article

Signs Economic Commentary
Donald Hunt
September 12, 2005

The U.S. stock market rose last week in response to the disaster of Hurricane Katrina. Oil prices pulled back as well. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed on Friday at 10,678.56, up 2.2% from the previous Friday's close of 10,447.37. The NASDAQ closed at 2,175.51, up 1.6% from 2141.07 last week. The yield on the ten-year U.S. Treasury Note was 4.12% at Friday's close, up 9 basis points from 4.03 a week earlier. Oil closed at 64.08 dollars a barrel, down 5.4% from $67.57, which is even lower than it was pre-Katrina (down 3.2% over two weeks from $66.13). The U.S. dollar even gained ground after Katrina, closing at 0.8058 euros, up 1.3% from 0.7954 euros the week before. The euro, then, closed at $1.2410 down from 1.2573 dollars at the previous Friday's close. That puts oil in euros at 51.64 euros a barrel, down 4.1% from the previous week's close of 53.74 euros a barrel. Gold closed at $453.40 an ounce, up 1.3% from last week's close of $447.80. Gold in euros would be 365.35 euros an ounce up 2.6% from 356.16 on the previous Friday. The gold/oil ratio closed at 7.08 barrels of oil per ounce of gold, up sharply (6.7%) from 6.63 a week before.

So why the strength in the dollar and U.S. stocks given the real economic threat posed by Hurricane Katrina? According to Wall Street observers, it was the thought that maybe, given what happened, the Federal Reserve Board might not raise interest rates again. No one mentioned the fact that many corporations (especially Bush-connected ones) stand to make a lot of money on reconstruction and that oil companies have made out like bandits from the sharp rise in gasoline prices.

Firms with Bush ties snag Katrina deals

Sat Sep 10,11:03 AM ET

Companies with ties to the Bush White House and the former head of FEMA are clinching some of the administration's first disaster relief and reconstruction contracts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

At least two major corporate clients of lobbyist Joe Allbaugh, President George W. Bush's former campaign manager and a former head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, have already been tapped to start recovery work along the battered Gulf Coast.

One is Shaw Group Inc. and the other is Halliburton Co. subsidiary Kellogg Brown and Root. Vice President Dick Cheney is a former head of Halliburton.

Bechtel National Inc., a unit of San Francisco-based Bechtel Corp., has also been selected by FEMA to provide short-term housing for people displaced by the hurricane. Bush named Bechtel's CEO to his Export Council and put the former CEO of Bechtel Energy in charge of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.

Experts say it has been common practice in both Republican and Democratic administrations for policy makers to take lobbying jobs once they leave office, and many of the same companies seeking contracts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina have already received billions of dollars for work in Iraq.

Halliburton alone has earned more than $9 billion. Pentagon audits released by Democrats in June showed $1.03 billion in "questioned" costs and $422 million in "unsupported" costs for Halliburton's work in Iraq.

But the web of Bush administration connections is attracting renewed attention from watchdog groups in the post-Katrina reconstruction rush. Congress has already appropriated more than $60 billion in emergency funding as a down payment on recovery efforts projected to cost well over $100 billion.

"The government has got to stop stacking senior positions with people who are repeatedly cashing in on the public trust in order to further private commercial interests," said Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project on Government Oversight.

For the most part, though, the economic news related to Katrina was bad. Increased budget deficits, higher prices, and lower consumer confidence will probably be the main consequences of the disaster. Take a look at the airline industry, for example. In some ways that industry is emblematic: it was already teetering on the brink of multiple bankruptcies before Katrina:

US airline losses could hit $10 billion

Fri Sep 9,10:11 PM ET

U.S. airline losses in 2005 could reach $10 billion, due mainly to soaring fuel prices made worse by Hurricane Katrina, the industry's chief trade group estimated on Friday.

To try and stem the red ink, major carriers plan to ask Congress next week for a one-year holiday from the federal tax on jet fuel to save $600 million, the Air Transport Association said.

"There simply is no rational business plan we can continue to operate under with fuel at the price it is today," Jim May, the association's chief executive, said in an interview with CNBC.

Estimated losses for the year rose from $7 billion to between $9 billion and $10 billion, the association said.

…Mike Boyd, a Colorado-based industry consultant, said fuel and fuel alone is driving substantial industry losses just as traffic returned this spring and summer to levels not seen since before the September 11, 2001, hijacked aircraft attacks.

"If oil prices had stayed where they were in 2004 we would be talking about how profitable the airlines are," Boyd said.

Two carriers, United Airlines and US Airways, are in bankruptcy while Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines are weighing Chapter 11 filings. All have cited high fuel prices for their woes. Battered by fuel increases, low fare carrier Independence Air, a unit of FLYi Inc., could also seek court protection.

The insurance industry will also be hit hard:

Katrina may cost insurers $60 bln

Hurricane Katrina, already the most expensive storm in U.S. history, may have gotten costlier.

Risk Management Solutions on Friday raised its estimate of total damages caused by the hurricane to $125 billion and said it expects insured losses of $40 billion to $60 billion.

Previous estimates of economic costs of Katrina by federal and state agencies had hovered around $100 billion, while expectations for the costs borne by private insurers had been in the range of $25 billion. Previously, the most expensive hurricane had been Andrew, with $21 billion of insured losses in 1992.

RMS, based in Newark, California, assesses disasters for more than 400 insurance firms, trading companies and financial institutions. It now has the highest estimate of any of the major catastrophe modeling firms. It had expected $20 billion to $35 billion of insured damages just last week.

In addition to these purely economic effects, the United States also faces the prospect of bitter conflict within the elite and between the elite and the public at large. George Bush has been attacked surprisingly hard by the elite media. Scathing editorials and newly sceptical and outraged reporters seem to have the green light to question Bush officials like never before. Bush's overall approval rating has now fallen below 40% -- a level that usually foreshadows downfall and a change of regime. Large segments of the population have lost what little confidence in the government they had. There is a sense of depression and powerlessness among the people. The problem in this case is that the 35% or so of the public that supports Bush still supports him strongly and that the elements of the ruling class that have thrown their lot in with the Bush gang are particularly ruthless and Machiavellian. Political instability like this has never been good news economically.

A certain bellwether of conventional moderate elite opinion, the senior and well-respected columnist David Broder, published the following last week in the Washington Post:

A Price To Be Paid For Folly

By David S. Broder
Sunday, September 11, 2005; B07

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, credible private experts are forecasting a federal budget deficit of $500 billion for this year, a sharp reminder of the government's fiscal folly.

For all the deserved criticism the Bush administration has received for its tardy and ragged response to the storm's ravages on New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, the long-term costs to the nation of the reckless disregard both the president and Congress have shown toward paying the nation's bills may be even greater.

In time those forced from their homes in Louisiana and Mississippi will be returned, and a degree of order will be restored to their communities. Business will recover. Mardi Gras will again be celebrated in the French Quarter. But our children and grandchildren will pay a continuing price for the refusal of our leaders to face the reality of an out-of-control budget.

The scale of the failure is measured by a set of numbers that Rep. John Spratt of South Carolina, the senior Democrat on the House Budget Committee, carries with him. They chart the annual increases passed by Congress in the national debt limit. In 2002 it was $450 billion; in 2003, $984 billion; in 2004, $800 billion; and this year, the House has passed an increase of another $781 billion, on which the Senate has yet to act. That totals a stunning $3 trillion in additional debt in four years -- a 50 percent increase in the cumulative debt from all of America's previous history.

When you look at that record, the self-congratulatory tone of the Republicans who have been running Washington seems absurdly unjustified. In July, when the White House Office of Management and Budget said the deficit for this year would decline to $333 billion from $412 billion in 2004, President Bush said, "It's a sign that our economy is strong, and it's a sign that our tax relief plan, our pro-growth policies are working."

In August, when the Congressional Budget Office lowered the deficit forecast to $331 billion, Republican Rep. Jim Nussle of Iowa, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, said, "We're clearly on the right track. The strong economy, higher revenues and falling deficit projections are all results of the successful leadership and policies of the Congress and the president."

These judgments were faulty at the time. They made no provision for the continuing costs of the war in Iraq, or for the Republican plan to end the estate tax and make all the previous Bush tax cuts permanent. And, most of all, they did not realistically calculate the costs of the new Medicare prescription drug benefit and the looming obligations to the millions of baby boomers who are nearing retirement age.

Now those pre-Katrina estimates have been rendered even more ridiculous. In the first 10 days since the storm hit, the president asked Congress for emergency appropriations of $62 billion -- and the bills are just starting to come in.

The question is whether this will force the president and congressional Republicans to suspend their obsessive drive to reduce the revenue base of the federal government, or whether they will finally start paying the bills their government is incurring.

It is hard to be optimistic on that score. This president may not literally be incapable of reversing directions, but we have yet to see him do that on any significant matter. Treasury Secretary John Snow reportedly told congressional Republicans in a closed meeting that Katrina strengthens the case for making the Bush tax cuts permanent. Some Republicans in Congress are appalled at the fiscal wreckage, but the leadership on Capitol Hill has yet to assert its constitutional power of the purse or do anything but increase the damage by cutting taxes while simultaneously boosting spending.

The warning signs of impending economic calamity are every bit as evident as the forecasts of ruin for New Orleans when a major hurricane hit.

The runaway budget deficits are compounded by the persistent and growing imbalance in our trade accounts -- jeopardizing the inflow of foreign funds we have used to finance our debt.

At a private dinner the other evening where many of the men and women who have steered economic and fiscal policy during the past two decades were expressing their alarm about this situation, one speaker summarized the feelings of the group:

"I think it's 1925," he said, "and we're headed for 1929."

Phrases like "economic calamity" and "we're headed for 1929" are not the type of alarmist language you would normally ever hear from David Broder. He is telling us that the economic policy insiders in private conversation are telling him that we are headed for complete economic collapse. And the fact that Broder published this makes it more likely to take place. Just last year the elite were united in presenting an optimistic view of the economy to the public. The public may not have bought it, but just the seeming confidence with which that optimism was universally expressed by the official culture helped prop up an adequate level of consumer confidence. Any confidence and optimism is now gone, however. Here is Newsweek:

Eye of the Political Storm

A new NEWSWEEK poll suggests President Bush could become Katrina's next casualty.

By Marcus Mabry
Updated: 1:31 p.m. ET Sept. 10, 2005

Sept. 10, 2005 - Hurricane Katrina claimed her first political casualty Friday. Michael Brown, the head of FEMA, the federal disaster readiness and response agency, was sidelined from the largest disaster relief project in the nation's history. Brown was recalled to Washington by his boss, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. But a new NEWSWEEK Poll suggests the post-Katrina political storm may just be rising. And her ultimate casualty could be President George W. Bush.

In Katrina's wake, the president's popularity and job-approval ratings have dropped across the board. Only 38 percent of Americans approve of the way Bush is doing his job overall, a record-low for this president in the NEWSWEEK poll. (Fifty-five percent of Americans disapprove of his overall job performance.) And only 28 percent of Americans say they are "satisfied with the way things are going" in the country, down from 36 percent in August and 46 percent in December, after the president's re-election. This is another record low and two points below the satisfaction level recorded immediately after the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal came to light. Fully two-thirds of Americans are not satisfied with the direction of the country.

But Katrina's most costly impact could be a loss of faith in government generally, and the president, in particular. A majority of Americans (57 percent) say "government's slow response to what happened in New Orleans" has made them lose confidence in government's ability to deal with another major natural disaster. Forty-seven percent say it has made them lose confidence in the government's ability to prevent another terrorist attack like 9/11, but 50 percent say is has not. (Note: our question asked about "government" in general, so we cannot say whether respondents meant state, local, federal or a combo of any of the three.)

More critical to President Bush - and the GOP's future as the nation's majority party: most Americans, 52 percent, say they do not trust the president "to make the right decisions during a domestic crisis" (45 percent do). The numbers are exactly the same when the subject is trust of the president to make the right decisions during an international crisis.

Why the gloom? Forty percent of Americans say the federal government's response to the crisis in New Orleans was poor. Thirty-two percent say it was fair; 21 percent say it was good and five percent believe it was excellent. Americans don't think much of the local and state governments' responses either: 35 percent say state and local officials did a poor job and 34 percent say they did a fair job; 20 percent say they did a good job and five percent say an excellent job after the storm hit.

The Katrina effect is evident in how Americans rate the president personally. In every category, the view of the president is at all-time lows for the NEWSWEEK poll. Only 49 percent of Americans now believe the president has strong leadership qualities. The same percentage of registered voters feel that way, 49 percent - down from 63 percent the week before Bush's reelection. Only 42 percent of Americans believe the president cares about people like them; 44 percent of registered voters feel that way - down from 50 percent the week before the election. And only 49 percent of Americans and the same percentage of registered voters believe Bush is intelligent and well-informed - down from 59 percent before the election.

Similarly, public approval of the president's policies on issues from the economy (35 percent) to the war in Iraq (36 percent) to terrorism and homeland security (46 percent) have suffered. Demonstrating the widespread havoc that Katrina has wrought on the president's political fortunes - even far from issues of disaster response - for the first time in the four years since 9/11, more Americans disapprove of Bush's handling of terrorism and homeland security than approve of it.

Reflecting the tarnished view of the administration, only 38 percent of registered voters say they would vote for a Republican for Congress if the Congressional elections were held today, while 50 say they would vote for a Democrat.

The president and the GOP's greatest hope may be, ironically, how deeply divided the nation remains, even after national tragedy. The president's Republican base, in particular, remains extremely loyal. For instance, 53 percent of Democrats say the federal government did a poor job in getting help to people in New Orleans after Katrina. But just 19 percent of Republicans feel that way. In fact, almost half of Republicans (48 percent) either believes the federal government did a good job (37 percent) or an excellent job (11 percent) helping those stuck in New Orleans.

…The deep partisan divide, evident in whom Americans blame for the slow relief effort, could act to brake any further fall in the president's support levels, particularly if Bush's base feels the Democrats or the media are piling on the president.

A more troubling finding of the NEWSWEEK Poll is that as divided as we are by party, Americans are even more divided by race. For instance, 66 percent of those polled say a "major reason" for government's slow response to the crisis in New Orleans was poor communication between federal, state and local officials. Fifty-seven percent say a major reason was that the destruction was more than expected and overwhelmed officials. Fifty-five percent believe that the incompetence of federal officials was to blame and 57 percent believe state and local officials' incompetence led to the slow response.

But whites and non-whites disagree sharply on the role of race and class in the tragedy. Fully 65 percent of non-whites believe that government was slow to rescue those trapped in New Orleans because they were black, while 64 percent of whites say race was not a cause at all of the government's slow response.

Overall, 22 percent of those polled say a "major reason" government action was slow was that New Orleans was "not a priority because the people affected were mostly African-American." But 47 percent of non-whites believe race was a "major reason;" only 13 percent of whites do. Meanwhile, 20 percent of whites and 53 percent of non-whites believe a "major reason" the response was slow was that most of those trapped were poor. (Overall, 29 percent of Americans believe the poverty of those affected was a major reason for the slow response.)

In general, 35 percent say that the heads of federal agencies such as FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security are most to blame for not getting help quickly enough to the people in New Orleans; just 17 percent say President Bush himself is to blame.

The question now is whether any of this will matter come the Congressional mid-term elections more than a year from now. The White House is hoping it won't.

So Bush's survival strategy is clear: rally the fascist, fundamentalist and white supremacist popular base (why else would they send Barbara Bush out there but as a wink and a nod to the racist base, just as Laura Bush and Condolleeza Rice were presenting a different face?) to provide enough of a safe haven to conduct smear campaigns against critics, then implement creeping martial law. Amazingly, a new disaster might help Bush more than hurt him. As Jeff Wells noted, Bush governs from disaster to disaster and each new disaster blots out memory of previous ones. How many people talk about Enron any more? Even ongoing ones can get shoved aside. How many conversations have people had about the Iraq War in the last week? And, with each disaster, the rights of the people get weakened or eliminated and the control of an unaccountable power over the public grows stronger.

What has been most depressing in the last two weeks for people in the United States is the sick feeling you get watching the footage of whole cities laid waste, of federal troops taking a U.S. city by force and people relocated to camps to serve as cheap, indentured labor and to lose any property they may have had or, with martial law declared, any civil rights they may have had, and that this may be a foretaste of things to come - that these people will stop at nothing to maintain control.

The term "ethnic cleansing" has even been used to describe plans within the borders of the United States. Here's Xymphora:

If most of the victims weren't black, it simply wouldn't be possible to do what Bush is now doing to New Orleans. I've written about the ethnic cleansing of New Orleans, and some people laugh. Here is a report from the Wall Street Journal on the plans of the white elites of New Orleans for the rebuilding (my emphasis in bold; we all know what he means by 'poor people'):

The power elite of New Orleans - whether they are still in the city or have moved temporarily to enclaves such as Destin, Fla., and Vail, Colo. - insist the remade city won't simply restore the old order. New Orleans before the flood was burdened by a teeming underclass, substandard schools and a high crime rate. The city has few corporate headquarters.

The new city must be something very different, Mr. Reiss says, with better services and fewer poor people. 'Those who want to see this city rebuilt want to see it done in a completely different way: demographically, geographically and politically,' he says. 'I'm not just speaking for myself here. The way we've been living is not going to happen again, or we're out.'

The plan is to use the ethnic cleansing to return the city to Republican party control. Remember these rebuilding plans when you keep hearing how 'uninhabitable' the city will be. Apparently, it will only be uninhabitable for blacks. With all the money that is going to be pouring into the pockets of local bigwigs to realize their grandiose white plans, it should be possible for the government to fund the return of all displaced residents. As Glen Ford states:

"Displacement based on race is a form of genocide, as recognized under the Geneva Conventions. Destruction of a people's culture, by official action or depraved inaction, is an offense against humanity, under international law. New Orleans – the whole city, and its people – is an indispensable component of African American culture and history. It is clear that the displaced people of New Orleans are being outsourced – to everywhere, and nowhere. They are not nowhere people. They are citizens of the United States, which is obligated to right the wrongs of the Bush regime, and its unnatural disaster. Charity is fine. Rights are better. The people of New Orleans have the Right to Return – on Uncle Sam's tab."

It would be a real shame if, on top of all the corruption, negligence, stupidity and malfeasance, the Bush regime also got away with destroying the culture of New Orleans in order to ethnically cleanse it into a Dixieland theme park that votes Republican. The Right of Return is not only for Palestinians!

Commenting on the same article, Kurt Nimmo wrote:

Christopher Cooper's War Street Journal article (Old-line families plot the future) is worth excerpting at length because it so shamelessly reveals how the rich elite "business" sociopaths of New Orleans think and operate:

…A few blocks from Mr. O'Dwyer, in an exclusive gated community known as Audubon Place, is the home of James Reiss, descendent of an old-line Uptown family. He fled Hurricane Katrina just before the storm and returned soon afterward by private helicopter. Mr. Reiss became wealthy as a supplier of electronic systems to shipbuilders, and he serves in Mayor Nagin's administration as chairman of the city's Regional Transit Authority. When New Orleans descended into a spiral of looting and anarchy, Mr. Reiss helicoptered in an Israeli security company to guard his Audubon Place house and those of his neighbors.

Obviously, if you're going to hire ruthless killers to protect your property from people driven insane by hunger and thirst, you may as well hire the best - and for killing people, the Israelis are right up at the top of the list, having spent the last fifty years or so killing desperately poor Palestinians.

…In short, rich sociopaths such as Mr. Reiss are fed up with poor people, even though they profitably exploit them as janitors and food servers and cashiers at Wal-Marts. Reiss believes there should be a manageable number of poor minimum wage workers in the new New Orleans - just enough to clean the toilets and sweep the floors at the new casinos and luxury hotels he envisions. Incidentally, Bush has set the tone by suspending the minimum pay scale requirements for federal contractors in New Orleans under the Davis-Bacon Act. It appears Reiss and the "business elite" would like to set up isolated Bantustans of impoverished workers and have them shipped in to serve tourists and middle class fun seekers. Sort of reminds you of South Africa under apartheid.

Is it possible the "business elite" in New Orleans deliberately sabotaged the levees, thus flooding poor areas of the city and ethnically cleansing thousands of poor people, most of them African-American? It wouldn't be the first time.

In 1927, the so-called Great Mississippi Flood was used to ethnically cleanse African-Americans. "As the flood approached New Orleans, Louisiana 30 tons of dynamite were set off on the levee at Caernarvon, Louisiana," explains Wikipedia. "This prevented New Orleans from experiencing serious damage but destroyed much of the marsh below the city and flooded all of St. Bernard Parish… During the disaster 700,000 people were displaced, including 330,000 African-Americans who were moved to 154 relief camps. Over 13,000 refugees near Greenville, Mississippi were gathered from area farms and evacuated to the crest of an unbroken levee, and stranded there for days without food or clean water, while boats arrived to evacuate white women and children. Many African-Americans were detained and forced to labor at gunpoint during flood relief efforts… The aftermath of the flood was one factor in the Great Migration of African-Americans to northern cities." (Emphasis added.)

It is becoming clear that dominant elements in the ruling class are out to make the United States a military dictatorship. The techniques developed in Iraq are now being used on citizens of the United States!

New Orleans: the specter of military dictatorship

Statement of the World Socialist Web Site Editorial Board

10 September 2005

The appalling incompetence and negligence that characterized the government's response at the outset of the human tragedy unleashed by Hurricane Katrina have now given way to ruthlessly efficient methods of military occupation and repression in the ravaged city of New Orleans.

For four critical days, Washington proved incapable of mounting any credible effort to rescue the tens of thousands of largely poor and working class New Orleaneans who were left to their fate in the city's flooded streets, many of them losing their lives not to the surging waters, but to the lack of food, water or medicine.

Now the city has been inundated with troops, federal agents and cops of all descriptions, turning it into one of the most heavily armed camps on the face of the globe. Combat-equipped soldiers and police wearing helmets and flak jackets are going door to door in the city to enforce a mandatory evacuation at the point of a gun.

City authorities claimed Friday that they have yet to order forced removal of residents and would do so only with "minimum force." In many cases, demands by armed troops have proven sufficient to drive people from their homes. "When you get 15 M16s pointed at you and they line you up against the wall, it's kind of scary," one New Orleans resident told the Washington Post, explaining why she was leaving.

In other cases, however, the official assertions are belied by televised images of cops and troops kicking in the doors of homes and dragging people away in plastic cuffs. The New Orleans Police Department acknowledged Friday that it had arrested 200 people that day.

With an estimated 10,000 residents still in the city, far worse is yet to come. Many justifiably fear that if they leave they will have no homes to come back to. "They are trying to get this neighborhood for the rich people," one man told the New Orleans Times-Picayune Thursday.

The first 11 days of the disaster have revealed two political truths about present-day America. First, for all the talk about beefing up "homeland security" against an alleged terrorist threat, the US government has developed no serious civil defense plans to protect the American people from mass disasters, either natural or man-made.

Second, in the wake of September 11, 2001, Washington has exploited the terrorist attacks to concentrate ever-growing power in its military-police apparatus, while elaborating extensive preparations for martial law nationwide.

…Confronted with the inability of FEMA and other civilian agencies to organize a relief effort, the government had no option but a military one. Once it decided to use it, there were definite consequences.

While there was no adequate planning for disaster relief, the military and the Homeland Security Department had well developed and rehearsed blueprints for imposing martial law and the suppression of civil unrest. These have been the key focus of planning at both the Pentagon and the Homeland Security Department in the four years since the September 11 attacks.

Once these plans were taken off the shelf and the military was called in, its own protocols and doctrines drove the intervention, with deadly consequences.

First, the city was effectively sealed off, with residents seeking to flee the disaster turned back at gunpoint and those trying to bring in relief supplies turned back. The Red Cross, which has played the leading role in countless previous disasters, was never allowed to enter the city. This took place as a horrified world watched people dying in the hungry crowds that waited outside the New Orleans Convention Center and amid the squalor of the Superdome.

The order for the military to go in came only after the Pentagon was assured that it could intervene with overwhelming force. Senior commanders spoke in terms of a "combat operation" and "storming" the convention center, where people were waiting to be evacuated.

Now the city is bristling with automatic weapons and is patrolled by troops in armored vehicles fresh from Iraq. The obvious question is what is this massive armed force doing in New Orleans, a city that is largely submerged under water and nearly deserted? This level of military occupation is on its face absurd, but it has been executed according to existing plans for martial law that are the product of protracted secret deliberations.

The central focus of this military operation has been the establishment of law and order, the protection of private property and, to those ends, the forced evacuation of the remaining residents of the city.

The most chilling revelation coming out of New Orleans is that for America's ruling elite and its state apparatus, the lives of ordinary Americans count for nothing. This has found its most grotesque expression in the failure of the authorities for a full 10 days to make any effort to recover the bodies of the storm's victims, which lie rotting in the streets.

The storm's survivors complained bitterly about the media's referring to them as "refugees," understandably bridling over a term that suggests that the largely poor and black masses of newly homeless are foreigners in their own land. Yet, the reality is that many of them have been treated more as criminals than victims.

Those loaded onto trucks in the mandatory evacuation are not told where they are going. As the Salt Lake Tribune reported, one planeload of evacuees was informed that they were being shipped off to Utah only after their plane had taken off from New Orleans International Airport. There also were multiple reports that those being dispersed across the country are in many cases subjected to restrictions on their movements and behavior that come close to penal confinement.

Both the lack of preparation in terms of civil defense or humanitarian relief and the turn towards martial law have deep roots in the social structure and political system of the United States.

For more than a quarter century, both Democratic and Republican administrations have pursued a policy designed to transfer wealth from the vast majority of working people to the financial elite. They have systematically slashed every program aimed at ameliorating conditions of poverty in order to award ever fatter tax cuts to those at the top of the economic pyramid. In the process, the ruling elite has created conditions of profound social inequality and instability that have erupted to the surface with the disaster in New Orleans.

The deepening of social inequality has been accompanied by an unprecedented attack on basic democratic rights - conducted under the pretext of a "war on terrorism" and "homeland security" - and an increasing reliance on military force, both at home and abroad.

The events in New Orleans provide a sobering warning of the immense dangers posed by these developments. The assumption of extraordinary and unconstitutional powers by the president, the development of a secret shadow government, revealed in the aftermath of September 11, the passage of the Patriot Act, the establishment of the Homeland Security Department, and the creation of a US Northern Command, the first such military command to prepare and conduct nationwide operations on US soil, have together established the framework for a police-military dictatorship. In New Orleans, such a regime is being given a dry run.

What all this tells us is that the driving force now is not economics or politics; it is pure military power. It tells us that they have been developing techniques to deal with the consequences of an economic collapse or true political opposition, and they will have no reluctance to use these techniques in the most ruthless manner on anyone.

These people do not care about "markets" or "economic growth." They care only about their own power. Economic growth has served its purpose and now only destroys their environment and crowds their planet with undesirables.

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Could Katrina kill the SUV?
Sun Sep 11, 6:52 PM ET

DETROIT, United States - Even before Hurricane Katrina tore through the southern United States, hampering a big chunk of the US oil industry, consumers were having second thoughts about gas-guzzling sport utility vehicles.

Katrina could now hasten the demise of the SUV, at least in its current guise, after years in which it has ruled the roost over the world's biggest auto market, analysts believe.

With gasoline prices surpassing three dollars a gallon (3.78 liters), it now costs 100 dollars to fill up the tanks of large SUVs such as the Chevrolet Suburban used by President George W. Bush's Secret Service escort.

"Potentially, Katrina could signal the death knell of the SUV in as much as consumers are going to find themselves once burned, twice shy to buy such vehicles," Wachovia economist Jason Schenker said.

"High gas prices and the perceived fragility of the US energy sector are all likely to weigh on consumers' choices for years," he said.

Sales of big SUVs dropped dramatically in August, hurting both American and Japanese manufacturers, which have been trying to edge into the segment over the past five years.

The decrease came despite a fierce price war among the Detroit Big Three -- General Motors, Ford and Chrysler -- which have offered customers the same price on autos that their own employees pay.

"Hurricane Katrina was definitely a catalyst for gas prices but even before that we were facing an upward trend in prices," said Mike Chung, market analyst at auto website

"In response to that, consumers were beginning to look at other vehicles outside of large SUVs. The SUV boom has definitely changed. The whole segment has thinned out into several different segments," he said.

GM reported that despite its elite credentials, the Chevrolet Suburban saw sales drop 28 percent during August. Ford said sales of the full-size Ford Expedition plunged 40 percent.

Toyota Motor said sales of its heavily promoted Sequoia dropped 32 percent in August. Nissan reported sales of the Armada, which is built in a portion of Mississippi spared by Hurricane Katrina, fell seven percent.

Reviewing the August sales figures, analysts at Merrill Lynch said that Katrina could accelerate "consumers' natural migration away from large SUVs".

The big auto makers can see the writing on the wall. Ford plans to halt production of the giant Ford Excursion at the end of September.

"There is no question that the demand for traditional sport utility vehicles has been affected by rising gas prices," Steve Lyons, group vice president in charge of Ford sales and marketing in North America, said recently. [...]

Comment: There is another possible facet to the slowdown in SUV sales: many in the US may be realising that the economy really isn't in great shape as the Bush administration claims. When consumer spending falters, the fragile economy will follow.

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The Power of FEMA
Sunday, September 11, 2005

Some people have referred to it as the "secret government" of the United States. It is not an elected body, it does not involve itself in public disclosures, and it even has a quasi-secret budget in the billions of dollars. [...]

Not only is it the most powerful entity in the United States, but it was not even created under Constitutional law by the Congress. It was a product of a Presidential Executive Order. No, it is not the U.S. military nor the Central Intelligence Agency, they are subject to Congress.

The organization is called FEMA, which stands for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Originally conceived in the Richard Nixon Administration, it was refined by President Jimmy Carter and given teeth in the Ronald Reagan and George Bush Administrations.

FEMA had one original concept when it was created, to assure the survivability of the United States government in the event of a nuclear attack on this nation. It was also provided with the task of being a federal coordinating body during times of domestic disasters, such as earthquakes, floods and hurricanes. Its awesome powers grow under the tutelage of people like Lt. Col. Oliver North and General Richard Secord, the architects on the Iran-Contra scandal and the looting of America's savings and loan institutions. FEMA has even been given control of the State Defense Forces, a rag-tag, often considered neo-Nazi, civilian army that will substitute for the National Guard, if the Guard is called to duty overseas.

The Most Powerful Organization In The United States

Though it may be the most powerful organization in the United States, few people know it even exists. But it has crept into our private lives. Even mortgage papers contain FEMA's name in small print if the property in question is near a flood plain. [...]

FEMA was created in a series of Executive Orders. A Presidential Executive Order, whether Constitutional or not, becomes law simply by its publication in the Federal Registry. Congress is by-passed. Executive Order Number 12148 created the Federal Emergency Management Agency that is to interface with the Department of Defense for civil defense planning and funding. An "emergency czar" was appointed. FEMA has only spent about 6 percent of its budget on national emergencies, the bulk of their funding has been used for the construction of secret underground facilities to assure continuity of government in case of a major emergency, foreign or domestic. Executive Order Number 12656 appointed the National Security Council as the principal body that should consider emergency powers. This allows the government to increase domestic intelligence and surveillance of U.S. citizens and would restrict the freedom of movement within the United States and grant the government the right to isolate large groups of civilians. The National Guard could be federalized to seal all borders and take control of U.S. air space and all ports of entry.

Here are just a few Executive Orders associated with FEMA that would suspend the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. These Executive Orders have been on record for nearly 30 years and could be enacted by the stroke of a Presidential pen:

* EXECUTIVE ORDER 10990 allows the government to take over all modes of transportation and control of highways and seaports.

* EXECUTIVE ORDER 10995 allows the government to seize and control the communication media.

* EXECUTIVE ORDER 10997 allows the government to take over all electrical power, gas, petroleum, fuels and minerals.

* EXECUTIVE ORDER 10998 allows the government to take over all food resources and farms.

* EXECUTIVE ORDER 11000 allows the government to mobilize civilians into work brigades under government supervision.

* EXECUTIVE ORDER 11001 allows the government to take over all health, education and welfare functions.

* EXECUTIVE ORDER 11002 designates the Postmaster General to operate a national registration of all persons.

* EXECUTIVE ORDER 11003 allows the government to take over all airports and aircraft, including commercial aircraft.

* EXECUTIVE ORDER 11004 allows the Housing and Finance Authority to relocate communities, build new housing with public funds, designate areas to be abandoned, and establish new locations for populations.

* EXECUTIVE ORDER 11005 allows the government to take over railroads, inland waterways and public storage facilities.

* EXECUTIVE ORDER 11051 specifies the responsibility of the Office of Emergency Planning and gives authorization to put all Executive Orders into effect in times of increased international tensions and economic or financial crisis.

* EXECUTIVE ORDER 11310 grants authority to the Department of Justice to enforce the plans set out in Executive Orders, to institute industrial support, to establish judicial and legislative liaison, to control all aliens, to operate penal and correctional institutions, and to advise and assist the President.

* EXECUTIVE ORDER 11049 assigns emergency preparedness function to federal departments and agencies, consolidating 21 operative Executive Orders issued over a fifteen year period.

* EXECUTIVE ORDER 11921 allows the Federal Emergency Preparedness Agency to develop plans to establish control over the mechanisms of production and distribution, of energy sources, wages, salaries, credit and the flow of money in U.S. financial institution in any undefined national emergency. It also provides that when a state of emergency is declared by the President, Congress cannot review the action for six months.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has broad powers in every aspect of the nation. General Frank Salzedo, chief of FEMA's Civil Security Division stated in a 1983 conference that he saw FEMA's role as a "new frontier in the protection of individual and governmental leaders from assassination, and of civil and military installations from sabotage and/or attack, as well as prevention of dissident groups from gaining access to U.S. opinion, or a global audience in times of crisis."

FEMA's powers were consolidated by President Carter to incorporate:

* the National Security Act of 1947, which allows for the strategic relocation of industries, services, government and other essential economic activities, and to rationalize the requirements for manpower, resources and production facilities;

* the 1950 Defense Production Act, which gives the President sweeping powers over all aspects of the economy;

* the Act of August 29, 1916, which authorizes the Secretary of the Army, in time of war, to take possession of any transportation system for transporting troops, material, or any other purpose related to the emergency; and

* the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which enables the President to seize the property of a foreign country or national.

These powers were transferred to FEMA in a sweeping consolidation in 1979.

Hurricane Andrew Focused Attention On FEMA

FEMA's deceptive role really did not come to light with much of the public until Hurricane Andrew smashed into the U.S. mainland. As Russell R. Dynes, director of the Disaster Research Center of the University of Delaware, wrote in The World and I, "...The eye of the political storm hovered over the Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA became a convenient target for criticism." Because FEMA was accused of dropping the ball in Florida, the media and Congress commenced to study this agency. What came out of the critical look was that FEMA was spending 12 times more for "black operations" than for disaster relief. It spent $1.3 billion building secret bunkers throughout the United States in anticipation of government disruption by foreign or domestic upheaval. Yet fewer than 20 members of Congress , only members with top security clearance, know of the $1.3 billion expenditure by FEMA for non-natural disaster situations. These few Congressional leaders state that FEMA has a "black curtain" around its operations. FEMA has worked on National Security programs since 1979, and its predecessor, the Federal Emergency Preparedness Agency, has secretly spent millions of dollars before being merged into FEMA by President Carter in 1979.

FEMA has developed 300 sophisticated mobile units that are capable of sustaining themselves for a month. The vehicles are located in five areas of the United States. They have tremendous communication systems and each contains a generator that would provide power to 120 homes each, but have never been used for disaster relief.

FEMA's enormous powers can be triggered easily. In any form of domestic or foreign problem, perceived and not always actual, emergency powers can be enacted. The President of the United States now has broader powers to declare martial law, which activates FEMA's extraordinary powers. Martial law can be declared during time of increased tension overseas, economic problems within the United States, such as a depression, civil unrest, such as demonstrations or scenes like the Los Angeles riots, and in a drug crisis. These Presidential powers have increased with successive Crime Bills, particularly the 1991 and 1993 Crime Bills, which increase the power to suspend the rights guaranteed under the Constitution and to seize property of those suspected of being drug dealers, to individuals who participate in a public protest or demonstration. Under emergency plans already in existence, the power exists to suspend the Constitution and turn over the reigns of government to FEMA and appointing military commanders to run state and local governments. FEMA then would have the right to order the detention of anyone whom there is reasonable ground to believe...will engage in, or probably conspire with others to engage in acts of espionage or sabotage. The plan also authorized the establishment of concentration camps for detaining the accused, but no trial.

Three times since 1984, FEMA stood on the threshold of taking control of the nation. Once under President Reagan in 1984, and twice under President Bush in 1990 and 1992. But under those three scenarios, there was not a sufficient crisis to warrant risking martial law. Most experts on the subject of FEMA and Martial Law insisted that a crisis has to appear dangerous enough for the people of the United States before they would tolerate or accept complete government takeover. The typical crisis needed would be threat of imminent nuclear war, rioting in several U.S. cities simultaneously, a series of national disasters that affect widespread danger to the populous, massive terrorist attacks, a depression in which tens of millions are unemployed and without financial resources, or a major environmental disaster. [...]

On July 5, 1987, the Miami Herald published reports on FEMA's new goals. The goal was to suspend the Constitution in the event of a national crisis, such as nuclear war, violent and widespread internal dissent, or national opposition to a U.S. military invasion abroad. Lt. Col. North was the architect. National Security Directive Number 52 issued in August 1982, pertains to the "Use of National Guard Troops to Quell Disturbances."

The crux of the problem is that FEMA has the power to turn the United States into a police state in time of a real crisis or a manufactured crisis. Lt. Col. North virtually established the apparatus for dictatorship. Only the criticism of the Attorney General prevented the plans from being adopted. But intelligence reports indicate that FEMA has a folder with 22 Executive Orders for the President to sign in case of an emergency. It is believed those Executive Orders contain the framework of North's concepts, delayed by criticism but never truly abandoned. [...]

Comment: With all the post-9/11 powers given to Bush, we doubt any secret Executive Orders would even be necessary...

The first targets in any FEMA emergency would be Hispanics and Blacks, the FEMA orders call for them to be rounded up and detained. Tax protesters, demonstrators against government military intervention outside U.S. borders, and people who maintain weapons in their homes are also targets. Operation Trojan Horse is a program designed to learn the identity of potential opponents to martial law. The program lures potential protesters into public forums, conducted by a "hero" of the people who advocates survival training. The list of names gathered at such meetings and rallies are computerized and then targeted in case of an emergency.

The most shining example of America to the world has been its peaceful transition of government from one administration to another. Despite crises of great magnitude, the United States has maintained its freedom and liberty. This nation now stands on the threshold of rule by non-elected people asserting non-Constitutional powers. Even Congress cannot review a Martial Law action until six months after it has been declared. For the first time in American history, the reigns of government would not be transferred from one elected element to another, but the Constitution, itself, can be suspended.

The scenarios established to trigger FEMA into action are generally found in the society today, economic collapse, civil unrest, drug problems, terrorist attacks, and protests against American intervention in a foreign country. All these premises exist, it could only be a matter of time in which one of these triggers the entire emergency necessary to bring FEMA into action, and then it may be too late, because under the FEMA plan, there is no contingency by which Constitutional power is restored.

Written by Harry V. Martin with research assistance from David Caul

Comment: While don't think that FEMA is necessarily the "secret government", this article does provide a nice summary of the powers held by the shadowy agency. Given the response to hurricane Katrina, it seems highly likely that a future emergency - real or manufactured - will be used by the Bush gang to invoke FEMA's powers and establish the dictatorship that Bush has dreamed of for so long. As the article notes, however, the takeover would be far more effective if the "emergency" is such that the majority of the people willingly accept the move.

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Blackwater Mercenaries Deploy in New Orleans
By Jeremy Scahill and Daniela Crespo
t r u t h o u t
Saturday 10 September 2005

New Orleans - Heavily armed paramilitary mercenaries from the Blackwater private security firm, infamous for their work in Iraq, are openly patrolling the streets of New Orleans. Some of the mercenaries say they have been "deputized" by the Louisiana governor; indeed some are wearing gold Louisiana state law enforcement badges on their chests and Blackwater photo identification cards on their arms. They say they are on contract with the Department of Homeland Security and have been given the authority to use lethal force. Several mercenaries we spoke with said they had served in Iraq on the personal security details of the former head of the US occupation, L. Paul Bremer and the former US ambassador to Iraq, John Negroponte.

"This is a totally new thing to have guys like us working CONUS (Continental United States)," a heavily armed Blackwater mercenary told us as we stood on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter. "We're much better equipped to deal with the situation in Iraq."

Blackwater mercenaries are some of the most feared professional killers in the world and they are accustomed to operating without worry of legal consequences. Their presence on the streets of New Orleans should be a cause for serious concern for the remaining residents of the city and raises alarming questions about why the government would allow men trained to kill with impunity in places like Iraq and Afghanistan to operate here. Some of the men now patrolling the streets of New Orleans returned from Iraq as recently as 2 weeks ago.

What is most disturbing is the claim of several Blackwater mercenaries we spoke with that they are here under contract from the federal and Louisiana state governments.

Blackwater is one of the leading private "security" firms servicing the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. It has several US government contracts and has provided security for many senior US diplomats, foreign dignitaries and corporations. The company rose to international prominence after 4 of its men were killed in Fallujah and two of their charred bodies were hung from a bridge in March 2004. Those killings sparked the massive US retaliation against the civilian population of Fallujah that resulted in scores of deaths and tens of thousands of refugees.

As the threat of forced evictions now looms in New Orleans and the city confiscates even legally registered weapons from civilians, the private mercenaries of Blackwater patrol the streets openly wielding M-16s and other assault weapons. This despite Police Commissioner Eddie Compass' claim that "Only law enforcement are allowed to have weapons."

Officially, Blackwater says its forces are in New Orleans to "join the Hurricane Relief Effort." A statement on the company's website, dated September 1, advertises airlift services, security services and crowd control. The company, according to news reports, has since begun taking private contracts to guard hotels, businesses and other properties. But what has not been publicly acknowledged is the claim, made to us by 2 Blackwater mercenaries, that they are actually engaged in general law enforcement activities including "securing neighborhoods" and "confronting criminals."

That raises a key question: under what authority are Blackwater's men operating? A spokesperson for the Homeland Security Department, Russ Knocke, told the Washington Post he knows of no federal plans to hire Blackwater or other private security. "We believe we've got the right mix of personnel in law enforcement for the federal government to meet the demands of public safety." he said.

But in an hour-long conversation with several Blackwater mercenaries, we heard a different story. The men we spoke with said they are indeed on contract with the Department of Homeland Security and the Louisiana governor's office and that some of them are sleeping in camps organized by Homeland Security in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. One of them wore a gold Louisiana state law enforcement badge and said he had been "deputized" by the governor. They told us they not only had authority to make arrests but also to use lethal force. We encountered the Blackwater forces as we walked through the streets of the largely deserted French Quarter. We were talking with 2 New York Police officers when an unmarked car without license plates sped up next to us and stopped. Inside were 3 men, dressed in khaki uniforms, flak jackets and wielding automatic weapons. "Y'all know where the Blackwater guys are?" they asked. One of the police officers responded, "There are a bunch of them around here," and pointed down the road.

"Blackwater?" we asked. "The guys who are in Iraq?"

"Yeah," said the officer. "They're all over the place."

A short while later, as we continued down Bourbon Street, we ran into the men from the car. They wore Blackwater ID badges on their arms.

"When they told me New Orleans, I said, 'What country is that in?,'" said one of the Blackwater men. He was wearing his company ID around his neck in a carrying case with the phrase "Operation Iraqi Freedom" printed on it. After bragging about how he drives around Iraq in a "State Department issued level 5, explosion proof BMW," he said he was "just trying to get back to Kirkuk (in the north of Iraq) where the real action is." Later we overheard him on his cell phone complaining that Blackwater was only paying $350 a day plus per diem. That is much less than the men make serving in more dangerous conditions in Iraq. Two men we spoke with said they plan on returning to Iraq in October. But, as one mercenary said, they've been told they could be in New Orleans for up to 6 months. "This is a trend," he told us. "You're going to see a lot more guys like us in these situations."

If Blackwater's reputation and record in Iraq are any indication of the kind of "services" the company offers, the people of New Orleans have much to fear.

Jeremy Scahill, a correspondent for the national radio and TV program Democracy Now!, and Daniela Crespo are in New Orleans. Visit for in-depth, independent, investigative reporting on Hurricane Katrina. Email:

Comment: It appears the Bush administration does care quite a bit about the city of New Orleans. After all, they wouldn't have sent in the best psychopathic mercenaries money can buy unless they had a very good reason to do so...

In any case, the idea that such individuals could be replacing the National Guard after future catastrophes or terrorist attacks does not bode well for the future of the US.

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La., Miss. Bases Require $1B in Repairs
Associated Press
Fri Sep 9,10:25 AM ET

WASHINGTON - Military housing, airport hangars, equipment and power lines were heavily damaged at six military bases across Louisiana and Mississippi, forcing nearly $1 billion in emergency repairs, according to base personnel and other defense officials.

A Navy facility in New Orleans is partially flooded and all but essential personnel are still evacuated. Hurricane winds and heavy rain slammed other bases, but many are up and running now.

Several bases in the region - particularly in Florida - received little to moderate damage, and did not have to evacuate. There have been no reported military casualties.

A federal base closing commission had voted earlier to shut down one of the damaged bases, Naval Station Pascagoula, as well as the inpatient care facility at the hard-hit Keesler Air Force Base. It is unclear how possible future closure of those facilities, both in Mississippi, would affect any repair plans.

Although Defense Department officials say they still have no exact estimates of damage for most of the facilities, the Pentagon is getting $1.9 billion in the two supplemental budget packages for Hurricane Katrina relief. Of that, $960 million is for initial emergency repairs, engineering assessments and power restoration at the bases.

Meanwhile, members of Louisiana's 256th Brigade Combat Team who were most affected by the hurricane are beginning to arrive home from Iraq, and most of the unit should be home in the next two weeks. Army Brig. Gen. John Basilica Jr., commander of the unit, said Friday about 800 of the troops volunteered to work with the relief effort in the region, while about 1,500 will return to their civilian jobs.

The brigade, which numbers about 2,500, had finished its duties in Iraq but the return flights have been expedited, particularly for those most needy, he said.

At Gulfport Naval Station in Mississippi, one of the hardest hit bases, about 400 Seabees - members of naval construction battalions - were brought in immediately after the storm to remove debris, clear road, get generators working and begin repairing roofs and other building damage. [...]

Two New Orleans naval facilities were heavily damaged, but sailors at Naval Air Station New Orleans got the airfield cleared and flights have been going in and out of the base all week with supplies. Most of the planes were flown out before the storm, but some aircraft and equipment that remained at the base were damaged, according to Navy spokesman Lt. j.g. Sean Robertson.

The east side of the Naval Support Activity base in New Orleans, however, is still underwater, and the west side was torn up by heavy winds and rain. There is still no power and only essential personnel are on the base.

In addition to the $1.9 billion, the Pentagon is expected to get about $2.5 billion to cover orders that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has made through the Defense Department, such as contracts to use several ships as emergency housing for evacuees. [...]

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September 11-style probe needed for Katrina: Giuliani
Sun Sep 11,12:33 PM ET

NEW YORK - Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani said an inquiry like that which probed the September 11 attacks may need to investigate the slow official response to Hurricane Katrina.

But Giuliani, who was widely hailed for his handling of the attack on New York's World Trade Center, quickly added that any probe should be deferred until after rescue and recovery operations end.

"Plenty of people have had their opportunity to explain what they think went wrong. People responding are in the middle of it and they need all the help we can get," the former New York Mayor told NBC's "Today Show" on the fourth anniversary of the September 11 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people.

"We're going to learn alot from Katrina ... That'll be the key thing that comes out of this, which is maybe we'll figure out how to respond to these things better," Giuliani said.

He added that unlike the current barrage of criticism of the federal government, the public and politicians, for the most part, held their fire after 9/11.

"The criticisms came later and many of them were correct ones, many of the things that were done right on September 11, things that were done wrong, and the September 11 Commission ...gave us a very, very interesting and helpful critique. That's what we should do here," Giuliani said.

Comment: Given that the September 11th probe was a joke, that is indeed exactly the kind of probe required by the Bush administration to ensure that all the blame for the response to Katrina is placed elsewhere.

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Al-Qaeda threatens attacks on Los Angeles and Melbourne
Sun Sep 11,10:34 AM ET

WASHINGTON - A suspected American member of Al-Qaeda threatened attacks against Los Angeles and the Australian city of Melbourne in a videotape shown by ABC television on the fourth anniversary of September 11.

The threat was made by Adam Gadahn, a US national who converted to Islam and became a radical supporter of Osama bin Laden, ABC said Sunday.

It said the 11-minute tape was sent to the network's office in Pakistan.

"Yesterday, London and Madrid. Tomorrow, Los Angeles and Melbourne, God willing," said the warning.

"At this time, don't count on us demonstrating restraint or compassion," the speaker added.

"We are Muslims. We love peace, but peace on our terms, peace as laid down by Islam, not the so-called peace of occupiers and dictators."

As in other recent Al-Qaeda tapes, the main threats were made against the United States and Britain.

Comment: Um, Melbourne is in Australia, not Britain...

"Don't believe the lies of the liars at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and 10 Downing Street," the speaker said. "They have dispatched your sons and daughters to die lonely deaths in the burning deserts of
Iraq and the unforgiving mountains of Afghanistan."

ABC said US intelligence believed the man who appears on the tape is Gadahn, who comes from Orange County, California. He made a similar tape last year that US intelligence said was authentic.

Comment: Once again, a terrorist threat is spread at exactly the right time to stir up the emotions of the US people - and once again it is an "American terrorist". Who benefits?

LA's police chief has dismissed the tape as "just rhetoric"...

What strikes us as particularly curious is the recent story about how FEMA accurately predicted the New York terror attacks and a hurricane devastating New Orleans, and the final prediction on the August 2001 list was a major earthquake on the San Andreas fault in California. The Los Angeles area would be heavily damaged in such a quake.

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Attacks' Legacy: Simmering Fear

Nagging Feelings of Vulnerability and Unease About the Future Remain
By Michael E. Ruane
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, September 11, 2005; C01

Diane Rokos of Rosslyn still eyeballs inbound jetliners to make sure their landing gear are down. The hijacked airplanes, she seems to recall, were bound for destruction with their wheels up.

Scott Smit of Falls Church still has a two-week stash of food and water in his garage, an escape plan and a family rendezvous point in the Blue Ridge mountains.

Dawn Caskie of McLean still checks out every person boarding the airplane when she flies and keeps a road atlas in her car in case she has to flee an attack.

Four years and multiple catastrophes after Sept. 11, 2001, mental health experts and area residents say that although 9/11 might seem eclipsed by other events and forgotten by the public, its complex of fear remains just beneath the surface -- ready to trigger instantly.

Shoes still must come off in airport security lines, although booties often are available for those who don't want their feet to get dirty.

Metro riders who once abided by an unspoken code to keep their eyes straight ahead now scan one another warily, urged by disembodied announcements to watch, mostly in vain, for sinister activity and packages.

"I hate it," said Sandy Green of the District. "It is very un-Metro. Everybody [usually] sticks to themselves very, very carefully. And we have to be nosy now."

Signs along the interstates command: "Report Suspicious Activity." False alarms proliferate. Fighters are scrambled to pursue stray Cessnas. The Capitol is evacuated. The threat level is adjusted up, then down.

And real disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina, seem to trigger the anxiety anew.

Forty-eight months after terrorists hijacked four airliners and crashed them into the Pentagon, the World Trade Center and a field in rural Pennsylvania, the Washington area remains haunted by calamity, experts say -- reminded of its possibility and still struggling to find context for something that is unresolved.

Four years seems like a fitting span for a human event to run its course, to have a start, a middle and an end. It's the time it takes to get a degree, serve a term in public office. World War I and the Civil War lasted four years. Michelangelo painted the majestic ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in four years.

Indeed, so much else has happened in the past four years. Anthrax. The snipers. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The tsunami. The London and Madrid train bombings. The hurricane.

Memorials to Sept. 11 have been built, pledged and sometimes even vandalized. The Pentagon, where 184 died, was repaired three years ago.

Ground was broken last week on the first reconstruction project at the World Trade Center, where about 2,750 people perished. And a design was unveiled Wednesday to memorialize the plane that was crashed in Pennsylvania, killing 40 passengers and crew members.

Comment: Say it with us now: the plane was shot down over Pennsylvania...

In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, many a commentator suggested that the nation had been "changed forever."

Whether the national psyche was permanently altered is a matter for future historians, but experts say there is no question that the imprint of that day remains vivid in the minds of Americans four years later.

"Americans can't ever know that it's going to be over," said Alan Lipman, a clinical psychologist at George Washington University. "And so it creates a kind of continuing low level of threat for which there is no clear answer. And I think we see that bubbling under American society over the last four years."

Arie W. Kruglanski, a professor of psychology at the University of Maryland, said Sept. 11 anxiety might be temporarily "buried under the barrage of events that assert their priority" -- such as the war in Iraq, the price of gas and now the hurricane.

People cannot worry about all these things all the time, he said. "We would go insane."

But the anxiety is there and ready for reactivation by events such as the recent London train bombings.

After that, Kruglanski said, "we thought: 'How about us? Is Washington next? What about the Metro? Are we doing all we can?' " [...]

Comment: "Americans can't ever know that it's going to be over"... Isn't that the whole point? Wasn't that the point of the Reichstag fire and the ever-present threat of terrorism by Communists and other "undesirables" in Nazi Germany? Wasn't that the point of the demonisation of the Jews? The only solution to this manufactured problem is to annihilate everyone and everything that is not "American" and "free".

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Pentagon Revises Nuclear Strike Plan

Strategy Includes Preemptive Use Against Banned Weapons
By Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, September 11, 2005; A01

The Pentagon has drafted a revised doctrine for the use of nuclear weapons that envisions commanders requesting presidential approval to use them to preempt an attack by a nation or a terrorist group using weapons of mass destruction. The draft also includes the option of using nuclear arms to destroy known enemy stockpiles of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons.

The document, written by the Pentagon's Joint Chiefs staff but not yet finally approved by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, would update rules and procedures governing use of nuclear weapons to reflect a preemption strategy first announced by the Bush White House in December 2002. The strategy was outlined in more detail at the time in classified national security directives.

At a White House briefing that year, a spokesman said the United States would "respond with overwhelming force" to the use of weapons of mass destruction against the United States, its forces or allies, and said "all options" would be available to the president.

The draft, dated March 15, would provide authoritative guidance for commanders to request presidential approval for using nuclear weapons, and represents the Pentagon's first attempt to revise procedures to reflect the Bush preemption doctrine. A previous version, completed in 1995 during the Clinton administration, contains no mention of using nuclear weapons preemptively or specifically against threats from weapons of mass destruction.

Titled "Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations" and written under the direction of Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the draft document is unclassified and available on a Pentagon Web site. It is expected to be signed within a few weeks by Air Force Lt. Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, director of the Joint Staff, according to Navy Cmdr. Dawn Cutler, a public affairs officer in Myers's office. Meanwhile, the draft is going through final coordination with the military services, the combatant commanders, Pentagon legal authorities and Rumsfeld's office, Cutler said in a written statement.

A "summary of changes" included in the draft identifies differences from the 1995 doctrine, and says the new document "revises the discussion of nuclear weapons use across the range of military operations."

The first example for potential nuclear weapon use listed in the draft is against an enemy that is using "or intending to use WMD" against U.S. or allied, multinational military forces or civilian populations.

Another scenario for a possible nuclear preemptive strike is in case of an "imminent attack from adversary biological weapons that only effects from nuclear weapons can safely destroy."

That and other provisions in the document appear to refer to nuclear initiatives proposed by the administration that Congress has thus far declined to fully support.

Last year, for example, Congress refused to fund research toward development of nuclear weapons that could destroy biological or chemical weapons materials without dispersing them into the atmosphere.

The draft document also envisions the use of atomic weapons for "attacks on adversary installations including WMD, deep, hardened bunkers containing chemical or biological weapons."

But Congress last year halted funding of a study to determine the viability of the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator warhead (RNEP) -- commonly called the bunker buster -- that the Pentagon has said is needed to attack hardened, deeply buried weapons sites.

The Joint Staff draft doctrine explains that despite the end of the Cold War, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction "raises the danger of nuclear weapons use." It says that there are "about thirty nations with WMD programs" along with "nonstate actors [terrorists] either independently or as sponsored by an adversarial state."

To meet that situation, the document says that "responsible security planning requires preparation for threats that are possible, though perhaps unlikely today."

To deter the use of weapons of mass destruction against the United States, the Pentagon paper says preparations must be made to use nuclear weapons and show determination to use them "if necessary to prevent or retaliate against WMD use."

The draft says that to deter a potential adversary from using such weapons, that adversary's leadership must "believe the United States has both the ability and will to pre-empt or retaliate promptly with responses that are credible and effective." The draft also notes that U.S. policy in the past has "repeatedly rejected calls for adoption of 'no first use' policy of nuclear weapons since this policy could undermine deterrence." [...]

Kristensen, who has specialized for more than a decade in nuclear weapons research, said a final version of the doctrine was due in August but has not yet appeared. [...]

Comment: Ah, the hypocrisy. The US can and will use nuclear weapons even if the "enemy" is only intending to use their weapons against the USA. Other nations such as Iran must completely disarm, of course, if the US says so.

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Explosions in Karachi's KFC, McDonald's injure two
Fri Sep 9, 2:21 AM ET

KARACHI - Two bombs exploded within minutes of each other at two international fast food franchises in Pakistan's southern city of Karachi late on Thursday, injuring at least two people, police said.

The first blast occurred at the mezzanine floor of a KFC franchise in the city's upscale Defense area, injuring at least two people and damaging three cars, police said. The blast also inflicted a considerable damage to the franchise.

Minutes later, another explosion hit outside a McDonald's outlet, a franchise of the U.S. restaurant chain, in the same neighbourhood, but caused no injuries.

Karachi police chief Tariq Jameel said the devices used in both the incidents were locally made.

The blasts came ahead of a strike call made by the country's opposition parties, who are urging President Pervez Musharraf to step down.

Earlier this year, six KFC employees were killed when their restaurant was burned down in riots following a suicide attack on a Shi'ite mosque.

Comment: Signs roving reporter Ignacious O'Reilly has more on this story from Pakistan:

It was a scene from a horror film: the charred remains of Big Macs and deep-fried genetically engineered chicken-product limbs litter the streets of Karachi.

Countless Pakistanis wander aimlessly with looks of stunned desperation as they realise that today, there will be nothing to satisfy their Big Mac Attacks. The Pentagon reportedly sent military grief counselors and a C-130 full of two-day-old fast food to the area.

In Washington, President Bush reasserted his administration's determination to seek out and bring to justice any and all terrorists - and those that support them.

"Al-Qaeda has to understand one thing: The American peoples can't get fooled again. This is a terrorist act. These evildoers have striked at the heart of America, at the heart of -- they attack a symbol of American ingeniousnuity. They attack our culture, our fine cuisine. Know why? Because they hate our freedoms. And we will not rest until every last one of these hateful haters are brought to justice -- and their helpers, too," remarked the Leader of the Free World.

President Bush may already be playing up the terrorism connection - but ultimately, we have to ask: Who benefits?

Why would so-called terrorists want to obliterate two American fast food joints, spreading genetically engineered, semi-synthetic, and often radioactive "food product" all over their own people?

From the September 27, 2004 Signs page:

Pearl Slaying Suspect Killed in Pakistan

Monday September 27, 2004
Associated Press Writer

KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) - Police stepped up patrols around foreign consulates and government offices in this volatile city on Monday, fearing a backlash after Pakistani forces killed a suspected top al-Qaida operative wanted for his alleged role in the 2002 kidnapping and beheading of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.

Amjad Hussain Farooqi, also accused in two attempts on the life of President Gen. Pervez Musharraf in December 2003, died in a four-hour shootout Sunday at a house in the southern town of Nawabshah. Two or three other men, one of them an Islamic cleric, were arrested. Like Farooqi, they are all Pakistanis.

Authorities hailed the operation as a breakthrough and on Monday the investigation expanded to include the arrest of three other suspected Islamic militants, all brothers, in Sukkur, a town not far from Nawabshah. One was identified as Khalid Ansari, alleged to have ties to the Sunni Muslim group Jaish-e-Mohammed.

Police said the men were blindfolded and led away by intelligence officials as security forces using loudspeakers warned residents to stay indoors.

Fayyaz Leghari, deputy chief of police in Karachi, a hotbed for Islamic militants, said the city was on ``red alert.'' As well as stepping up patrols around foreign consulates and key government offices, police posted more plainclothes officers at sensitive locations.

Pakistan is a key U.S. ally in the war against terrorism and has arrested more than 600 al-Qaida suspects, including several senior figures in the terror network. Many have been handed over to U.S. authorities.

In Washington, a U.S. official who described Farooqi as a key al-Qaida figure said the government could not yet confirm he had been killed but that appeared to be the case. Pakistani officials said they were awaiting the results of DNA tests but had little doubt the body was that of Farooqi.

Farooqi was believed to have been an associate of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the reputed al-Qaida No. 3 captured in Pakistan last year. He had been missing since Pearl was abducted in Karachi in January 2002.

Pearl's captors beheaded the journalist and released a videotape of the killing. Four Islamic militants have been convicted of his kidnapping but seven other suspects - including those who allegedly slit his throat - remain at large.

Farooqi, thought to be 32, was born in a village in eastern Punjab province. His family says he was radicalized by a visit to Kashmir, where he trained with Islamic militants fighting against Indian security forces. He later visited Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.

In May, security officials identified him as an organizer, with Libyan al-Qaida suspect Abu Faraj al-Libbi, of two attempts to assassinate Musharraf last December by blowing up his motorcade in Rawalpindi, a city near the capital, Islamabad. Musharraf, who has enraged Islamic militants with his support for Washington's campaign against terrorism, escaped injury both times but several other people were killed. Al-Libbi remains at large. [...]

Pakistan says it has arrested at least 70 terror suspects since mid-July, including Mohammed Naeem Noor Khan, an alleged al-Qaida computer expert, and Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, a Tanzanian suspect in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in east Africa that killed more than 200 people.

Comment: And the lies and manipulations just keep coming. How convenient that the "suspect" died in a "shootout" and his identity will be "confirmed" by DNA analysis. The process of information dissemination to the public has now got to the stage where 100% faith must be placed in the authorities that they are telling us the truth, despite the fact that, by their very nature, people who hold positions of power are extremely susceptible to corruption by that power.

The list of past crimes that the now dead man is being accused of includes the "assassination" attempt on Pakistani PM Musharraf at the end of last year, yet the Times of India reported that Musharraf himself orchestrated the attack in an attempt to retain the support of Washington. Of course, it is likely that Musharraf knew very well that the US government would see through his little false flag operation, being well versed in such tactics themselves, but perhaps it sufficed to show the boys in the Pentagon that Musharraf was on the same page, so to speak.

The above Guardian report is rather surprising, given the fact that the paper also ran the following story just a few months ago, in which a former British MP showed that, in all likelihood, the real killers of Pearl are still unknown (at least to the general public) and that the main suspect in the killing of Pearl, Omar Sheikh, is most definitely innocent, a fact which even Pearl's wife agrees with. Most interesting of all is the fact that, Omar Sheikh was an agent of the Pakistani intelligence services and was responsible for wiring $100,000 to the chief alleged hijacker on September 11th 2001...

Flashback: The Pakistan connection

Michael Meacher
Thursday July 22, 2004
The Guardian

There is evidence of foreign intelligence backing for the 9/11 hijackers. Why is the US government so keen to cover it up?

Omar Sheikh, a British-born Islamist militant, is waiting to be hanged in Pakistan for a murder he almost certainly didn't commit - of the Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in 2002. Both the US government and Pearl's wife have since acknowledged that Sheikh was not responsible. Yet the Pakistani government is refusing to try other suspects newly implicated in Pearl's kidnap and murder for fear the evidence they produce in court might acquit Sheikh and reveal too much.

Significantly, Sheikh is also the man who, on the instructions of General Mahmoud Ahmed, the then head of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), wired $100,000 before the 9/11 attacks to Mohammed Atta, the lead hijacker. It is extraordinary that neither Ahmed nor Sheikh have been charged and brought to trial on this count. Why not?

Ahmed, the paymaster for the hijackers, was actually in Washington on 9/11, and had a series of pre-9/11 top-level meetings in the White House, the Pentagon, the national security council, and with George Tenet, then head of the CIA, and Marc Grossman, the under-secretary of state for political affairs. When Ahmed was exposed by the Wall Street Journal as having sent the money to the hijackers, he was forced to "retire" by President Pervez Musharraf. Why hasn't the US demanded that he be questioned and tried in court? [...]

The New CIA Chief, Breakfast in Florida and the Pakistani ISI

Apr 8 2004
Asia Times

If the 9-11 Commission is really looking for a smoking gun, it should look no further than at Lieutenant-General Mahmoud Ahmad, the director of the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) at the time. In early October 2001, Indian intelligence learned that Mahmoud had ordered flamboyant Saeed Sheikh - the convicted mastermind of the kidnapping and killing of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl - to wire US$100,000 from Dubai to one of hijacker Mohamed Atta's two bank accounts in Florida.

A juicy direct connection was also established between Mahmoud and Republican Congressman Porter Goss and Democratic Senator Bob Graham. They were all in Washington together discussing Osama bin Laden over breakfast when the attacks of September 11, 2001, happened.

Mahmoud's involvement in September 11 might be dismissed as only Indian propaganda. But Indian intelligence swears by it, and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has confirmed the whole story: Indian intelligence even supplied Saeed's cellular-phone numbers. Nobody has bothered to check what really happened

As we commented on the Signs page that day:

Many roads do indeed lead to Pakistan, but it is only the first stop on a longer journey. Pakistan and its intelligence agency the ISI have played a high profile role in the events surrounding 9/11. As we have already stated, the British born and educated Pakistani Ahmed Omar Sheikh wired $100,000 to Mohammed Atta, the alleged 9/11 hijacker, on the instructions of the former head of the Pakistani ISI, Lieutenant General Mahmoud Ahmed. General Mahmood Ahmed was actually in Washington on Sept. 11, and had a series of pre-Sept. 11, top-level meetings in the White House, the Pentagon, the National Security Council, an with George Tenet, then head of the CIA, Marc Grossman, the under-secretary of state for political affairs and Porter Goss, the man who, very recently, has replaced Tenet. Isn't that strange... Appearances change, but the script stays the same it seems.

All of this linked Ahmed Omar Sheikh to the 9/11 attacks, but, again as we have stated, he was NOT arrested for any involvement in the 9/11 attacks, but for the murder of Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter who was, at the time of his death, believed to have been investigating the ISI, an arm of the Pakistani government long known for its well established links with the CIA. No one, least of all the US or British governments, seem to care about his connection to 9/11, obviously because it would expose other connections that would, without doubt, blow the whole 9/11 case wide open and prove that it was indeed an inside job.

See also Laura Knight-Jadczyk's article Mahmoud Ahmad and The Secret Cult of 9-11.

And so, it seems that with these latest attacks in Pakistan on US cuisine, there is certainly more to it all than meets the eye.

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Bombs almost topple main power supply tower in Pakistan
September 11, 2005

Islamabad - Two blasts in the main power supply tower in the Pakistani port city of Karachi has caused partial damage to the tower, which may cause power suspension in the city for the next ten days, a spokesman for Karachi Electricity Supply Corporation (KESC) said on Sunday.

One kilo explosive was used under the high voltage power line between the night of Saturday and Sunday, KESC spokesman Sultan Hasan said.

He said the experts are of the view that it was an act of sabotage to destroy the tower and that the tower fell down on the main highway to block the main traffic, Hasan said.

Luckily the tower did not fell down but they bent a large parts of the tower, he said.

No one was injured in the blasts.

He said it will take eight to ten days to erect the tower and there is possibility of power supply problem during this period.

There was no other objective of the blasts but to destroy it and cause power suspension in the city as well as block traffic, the spokesman said.

Non one has claimed responsibility for the blasts.

Two blasts rocked American fast food restaurants in Karachi on Thursday, injuring eight people.

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Tension high in Belfast after worst violence in years
September 12, 2005

BELFAST - Tension remained high in Belfast on Sunday as Northern Ireland's police chief blamed a Protestant group loyal to British rule for the worst violence to hit the province in many years.

Thirty-two police officers were injured, at least four seriously, while two civilians found themselves in hospital, after a night in which shots were fired at police and soldiers, firebombs thrown, and cars stolen then set alight.

The trouble grew out of Saturday's annual Whiterock parade, part of a series of processions held in Northern Ireland every year during the so-called "marching season" by members of the Protestant Orange Order.

"Police officers and soldiers have come under sustained attack," said Hugh Orde, chief of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, who said seven weapons and a bomb factory were discovered during raids Sunday.

"They have been attacked with missiles, petrol bombs, blast bombs, and pipe bombs. They have been shot at."

Orde added: "The Orange Order must bear substantial responsibility for this. They publicly called people onto the streets. I think if you do that you cannot then abdicate responsibility. That is simply not good enough."

In Belfast on Sunday, burnt-out car wrecks and rubble were strewn over roads in a chilling reminder of Northern Ireland's darkest days, which many thought ended with the 1998 Good Friday peace accords.

While a big clear-up operation got under way, police stood ready for any further outbreaks of trouble, with a stretch of the West Circular Road sealed off at one point after a suspicious object was found.

The Orange Order's Belfast grand lodge rejected what it called Orde's "intemperate, inflammatory and inaccurate remarks", saying its members and supporters had been victims of "brutal and heavy-handed police action".

"At this stage, all we would say is that if what we saw today was policing, it was policing at its worst."

Britain's Secretary for Northern Ireland affairs, Peter Hain, called the violence "totally unacceptable... Attempted murder cannot in any way be justified. There can be no ambiguity or excuse for breaking the law."

Police on Sunday showed reporters video images, taken from the air, clearly showing two men with handguns firing as many as 15 shots. They also put on show two police Land Rovers riddled with 20 and 30 bullet holes respectively.

Orde said police and soldiers fired 450 plastic bullets, and seven live rounds, before order was restored.

"This was more like the violence of 20 or 30 years ago, although I wasn't here then," he said.

The Orange Order -- which takes its name from Protestant King William of Orange, who defeated James II's Catholics in Ireland in 1690 -- represents hardline opinion in the Northern Ireland's Protestant, or loyalist, community, which wants to keep British rule.

Marchers were angered by a decision by Northern Ireland's Parades Commission to reroute the Whiterock march to keep it out of areas dominated by Catholics, who generally favour a united Ireland.

The Orange Order responded by calling on Protestants to take to the streets to protest at the decision.

Catholic activists and marchers taunted each other as the march passed near the sectarian divide, before demonstrators clashed with police.

Veteran Protestant politician Ian Paisley, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, while appealing for calm, blamed the parades commission for "the mess that has been created".

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Japan will propose cutting UN contributions
Sat Sep 10,11:03 PM ET

TOKYO - Japan plans to demand a cut in its contributions to the United Nations budget from 2007 after the failure of its high-profile campaign to win a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council, a leading newspaper said on Sunday.

Tokyo had stepped up a decades-old drive for a permanent seat in recent months, but met with lukewarm support from the United States and hostility from China, which cites what it perceives as Japan's failure to atone for its wartime past.

With little prospect of a seat, the government believes it will no longer be able to ensure public support for shouldering almost 20 percent of the UN budget, the Yomiuri Shimbun said, citing government sources.

Japan is set to demand that permanent Security Council members should make financial contributions to match their status, an argument that is likely to face opposition from China and Russia, whose contributions would rise, the paper said.

Assuming that Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi wins Sunday's election, which polls indicate he is likely to do, his foreign minister, Nobutaka Machimura, would make a speech on the need to review U.N. contributions at a General Assembly meeting in New York starting on September 19, the Yomiuri said.

The government plans to submit a formal resolution on U.N. contributions in the spring, and to try to enlist the support of other countries that contribute relatively large amounts, such as
South Korea and Germany, the report said.

The U.N.'s total 2005 budget was $1.83 billion, of which Japan provided 19.47 percent and the United States 22 percent, the Yomiuri said.

Assuming an election win, Koizumi is likely to attend a U.N. summit beginning on September 14, which is set to discuss expansion of the Security Council, among a range of other topics.

The director for United Nations policy at the Foreign Ministry, Kazutoshi Aikawa, told Reuters in an interview on Friday that Japan would forge ahead with its bid for a permanent seat, but might need to find a new approach.

Comment: The US seems so determined to control the UN that it won't even support its "ally" in obtaining a permanent seat in the Security Council.

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Israel pulls out of Gaza, Palestinians rush in
By Nidal al-Mughrabi
September 12, 2005

NEVE DEKALIM, Gaza Strip - Jubilant Palestinians planted flags on the rubble of Jewish settlements and set synagogues ablaze on Monday as Israeli troops pulled out of the Gaza Strip after 38 years of occupation.

"This is a day of happiness and joy that the Palestinian people have not witnessed for a century," President Mahmoud Abbas told reporters in Gaza City.

Palestinian forces waving victory signs took over while tanks and armored vehicles trundled out in the dark, for the first time giving up settlements on land claimed by Palestinians and leaving them a volatile testing ground for statehood.

"The mission has been completed," said Brigadier Aviv Kochavi after the gates closed at the main crossing point. "Israel's presence of 38 years has come to an end."

But rancor over the fate of synagogues clouded hopes the pullout would help revive peacemaking as Washington wants.

Attacking what they saw as symbols of hated occupation, youths set ablaze several of the houses of worship left behind in 21 settlements evacuated last month under Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan to disengage from conflict.

Palestinians were furious when Sharon's cabinet decided to leave synagogues intact, under pressure from rabbis whose support could be key in a power struggle. Adding to tensions, Israel demanded on Monday that the buildings be preserved.


Removing Gaza's 8,500 settlers has won Sharon international accolades. The final stage of the pullout was compressed into less than 24 hours instead of the four days officials predicted.

But while Palestinians welcome the withdrawal, they fear Sharon is trading Gaza, home to 1.4 million Palestinians, for a permanent hold on larger areas of the occupied West Bank where 245,000 Jewish settlers live isolated from 2.4 million Arabs.

Palestinians were also angry that Israel, citing security reasons, will continue to control Gaza's border crossings, air space and waters and say the occupation is far from over.

Celebratory gunfire overnight gave way to festive scenes. Thousands of Palestinians brought their families to nose around former settlements, licking ice creams and sucking on sweets.

"Before, this was a symbol of fear and evil. Today it's a place to visit and a source of happiness," said building worker Abdullah Salah, 35, in the biggest settlement of Neve Dekalim.

In demolished enclaves in north Gaza, Palestinians scavenged for everything from roof tiles to bathtubs, carrying away their finds by car, bicycle and cart.


Israeli troops cheered and hugged one another as they crossed out of Gaza, scene of some of the worst bloodshed since the uprising blew up in 2000 after peace talks failed.

Israeli commanders had first planned to bypass poor and densely populated Gaza in the 1967 war. Even after capturing it, some Israeli leaders expressed reservations about ruling a territory seen by many Israelis as a costly liability.

President Abbas's first task will be to enforce order and rein in militant groups which refuse to disarm. Israel has threatened massive retaliation if attacks from Gaza continue.

"They can wave any flag they want, but we expect the
Palestinian Authority to take full responsibility," said the general commanding the pullout, Dan Harel.

Abbas told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera that by year end: "I will be able to control the chaos in Gaza."

Militants were among the first to scramble into the settlements, trying to plant their faction's flags on the highest ground. At Abbas's behest, militants kept to a seven-month-old ceasefire to smooth the Israeli pullout.

"Four years of our resistance have done more than 10 years of negotiations," said one masked militant from the Islamic Hamas group, posing a growing political challenge to Abbas.

Rightist Israeli opponents of the withdrawal had called the evacuation of Gaza's 8,500 settlers a capitulation to the militants. Many settlers saw Gaza as a biblical birthright, but most Israelis were happy to see the back of it.

"There is no doubt our stay in Gaza was a historic error, and I am proud we found the strength to rectify this error," said Israeli Vice-Premier Shimon Peres.

But settlers said they hoped to return one day and build on the ruins.

Only synagogues and public buildings were left standing. Palestinians were angry at Israel's decision to leave the synagogues, torn between wanting to erase emblems of Israel and uncomfortable at being seen destroying places of worship.

Israelis expressed anger at the destruction of the synagogues. A Sharon adviser, Dore Gold, said: "Setting them on fire isn't a way of creating a new environment for a hopeful future."

Palestinian officials said all would be demolished. But David Baker, an official in Sharon's office, said: "We expect the Palestinians to leave the structures intact, untouched and preserved."

Comment: All it will take to shatter the peace is a few false flag operations, and Sharon will have his "massive retaliation"...

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Israeli Gov't Strives to Develop AIDS Vaccine
By Ezra HaLevi
Arutz Sheva
18:44 August 31, 2005

The Israeli government is embarking on an effort to develop an AIDS vaccine using patented biological material in the state's possession.

According to a report in Red Herring, Israel's Finance Ministry has set up a tender committee to select a scientific institution to charge with the task of developing an AIDS vaccine based on an active pharmaceutical ingredient discovered in Israel several years ago by a team in the Agriculture Ministry's Veterinary Institute.

At the time, researchers working on another project found that the ingredient showed promising results in repairing the immunological system and helping in the fight against AIDS. After animal tests, the researchers claimed the agent protected cells against penetration by the HIV virus, while blocking its propagation.

The Finance Ministry, operating under a new strategy aiming to utilize intellectual property rights held by the Israeli government, wants to promote research on the ingredient to develop an effective drug. The ingredient is registered as property of the Israeli government in both Israel and the United States.

"There is tremendous significance to regulating intellectual property rights in the government sector in order to better utilize the unique patents and assets," Finance Ministry Accountant General Yaron Zalika told Red Herring, adding that the initiative will hopefully lead to greater foreign investment in Israeli research and development.

Institutions both in Israel and abroad wishing to perform the research and development mission are supposed to apply with the Finance Ministry's tender committee by October 6th.

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Typhoon Khanun Nears Shanghai; Evacuations Ordered
Sept. 11, 2005

Shanghai's Meteorological Bureau issued a warning and said it expects Typhoon Khanun to hit the nation's biggest commercial city tonight as more than 900,000 people in the region were evacuated or asked to seek safety.

Khanun, moving northwest at a speed of 25 kph (16 mph) with winds gusting as high as 144 kph, made landfall at Taizhou in Zhejiang Province at 2:50 p.m. local time and will bring heavy rain as it approaches Shanghai, the bureau said today in a statement on its Web site. The typhoon will probably head northeast tomorrow morning, the bureau said.

Chinese authorities evacuated 814,267 people in Zhejiang and asked that more than 100,000 working outdoors in Shanghai move to safety as coastal towns and cities prepared for the typhoon, the official Xinhua News Agency said, citing local governments.

Both the Shanghai and Zhejiang meteorological bureaus issued warnings and recommended that people stay home. Khanun, the 15th typhoon of the year, is named after a fruit in the Thai language.

Typhoon Talim, which hit mainland China early this month, left 82 people dead and 28 missing, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs. The storm caused about $1.3 billion of damage.

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Hurricane Ophelia Still Idling Off Coast
Sep 12, 8:44 AM (ET)

WILMINGTON, N.C. - Coastal residents took precautions as Hurricane Ophelia sat nearly stationary off the coast on Monday, its outer bands of rain not quite reaching land. Ophelia was more than 200 miles from Wilmington on Monday with sustained wind of 75 mph, strong enough to be classified a hurricane. A tropical storm warning and a hurricane watch were in effect from Cape Lookout south to Edisto Beach, S.C., the National Hurricane Center said.

At 8 a.m. EDT, Ophelia was centered 215 miles east-southeast of Charleston, S.C., and 275 miles south-southwest of Cape Hatteras, the hurricane center said. The storm was nearly stationary but a very slow turn toward the northwest was expected later Monday, forecasters said.

Concerned about possible coastal flooding, Gov. Mike Easley ordered 200 National Guard soldiers to report to staging centers in eastern North Carolina. The governor also ordered a mandatory evacuation of nonresidents from fragile Ocracoke Island on the Outer Banks, reachable only by ferry.

At Wrightsville Beach, lifeguards ordered swimmers out of the surf Sunday.

"They are saying they don't want anyone to even touch the water," said Kathy Carroll, 37, of Wilmington. "Now I know how a flounder feels. I was getting tossed all over the place."

Despite the warnings, there were no long lines at Roberts Grocery in Wrightsville Beach, where customers bought chips and beer - not bottled water and batteries.

"Usually, they are buying all the bread and milk," said store manager Teresa Hines. "Some of the regulars have told me they have their hammers and nails ready just in case."

With a history of destructive storms, New Hanover County has a well-rehearsed disaster plan. But Katrina, which was a powerful Category 4 hurricane before it made landfall in Louisiana and Mississippi, was on residents' minds even though Ophelia was only Category 1 and had been waxing and waning in strength.

"If it was a Category 4 barreling down here, I would get out if I had a chance," Lee said. "The structures just can't take that kind of wind. We're cautiously watching (Ophelia). We're not giving up until it's north of us."

Ophelia has been following a wandering course since it became a tropical storm Wednesday off the coast of Florida.

It is the 15th named storm and seventh hurricane in this year's busy Atlantic hurricane season, which began June 1 and ends Nov. 30. Peak storm activity typically occurs from the end of August through mid-September.

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Rains kill nine in Karachi
By Tanveer Sher
Daily Times
September 12, 2005

KARACHI: Another nine people were killed in weather-related accidents on Sunday as heavy rains lashed Karachi for a third consecutive day.

Five people died in the wake of rains on Saturday.

Khadim Hussain, 40, died of electric shock when he touched the main gate of the National Institute of Cardio-Vascular Diseases. A 30-year-old man died of electrocution in North Karachi Industrial Area, and an unidentified man died of electrocution in Pirabad. The driver of a dumper was electrocuted in Razzakabad when his truck hit an electric pole. Mohammed Sadiq died of electric shock in Al-Falah.

A girl who was injured when the roof of her house collapsed died at Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC). An unidentified man drowned in the Lyari river in New Karachi.

Many families were shifted from their houses in the Lyari river bed on Sunday as the river’s water level continued to rise.

On Sunday, 56mm of rain was recorded at University Road, 30mm at the airport, 7mm at Baldia, 24mm at North Karachi and 2mm at Masoor airbase.

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High Solar Activity
Space Weather News
12 Sep 2005

AURORA WATCH: A strong geomagnetic storm sparked beautiful auroras on Sept. 11th. "I saw them from my bedroom window--without my contacts," says Chris Schierer...

Elsewhere, in Park City, Utah, "the auroras were so intense, everyone at our star party was jumping and cheering," says Brian Jolley.

September 11th Aurora Gallery

Although the storm is subsiding, it could be re-energized at any time by coronal mass ejections (CMEs) propelled in our direction from active sunspot 798. Sky watchers everywhere should remain alert for auroras tonight.

ACTIVE SUN: Solar activity is high. Earth-orbiting satelites have detected seven X-class solar flares since Sept. 7th, including an X17-class monster-flare. NOAA forecasters say there's a 75% chance of more X-flares during the next 24 hours, possibly causing radio blackouts and radiation storms.

The source of all this activity is giant sunspot 798, shown above flaring brightly on Sept. 9th. The sunspot has grown so large, you can now see it with the unaided eye--but never look directly at the sun. Try these safe solar observing tips.

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Scientists develop molecule machine
Alok Jha
The Guardian
Thursday September 8, 2005

Scientists have built a molecular machine that can move objects millions of times larger than itself. The machine, 80,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair, is a world first.

The new nanomachine could control the movement of drugs around the body so that they reached the exact point where they were needed. Or it could be employed in smart materials that could change their size or electrical conductivity at the flick of a switch.

David Leigh, a chemist at the University of Edinburgh, built the machine by covering a gold surface with engineered rod-like molecules with rings that slide up and down on them.

When bathed in UV light, the ring changes its position on the rod, affecting the surface tension of a droplet of water on the gold surface enough to move the droplet.

"That's the equivalent of a piston moving a millimetre in the macroscopic world but being able to lift an object more than twice the height of the CN tower," said Professor Leigh, speaking yesterday at the festival of science.

Every single biological process from photosynthesis to replication is controlled by mechanical movements at the molecular level.

"Learning how to do that with artificial molecules is really difficult because the way machines work at the molecular level is completely different to the way that machines work in the macroscopic world," said Prof Leigh.

"If you connected these rings in series so that they moved when you shine a light on them, you could produce a material that changes its shape and size," he said.

"It would be a muscle-like material."

Looking ahead, Prof Leigh said his technology could be used to perform all sorts of physical tasks.

"You could imagine in the future being able to move objects around using surfaces coated with molecular machines."

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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.

These books contain hard hitting exposés into human nature, propaganda, psyop activities and insights into the world events that shape our future and our understanding of the world.

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

  • 911 Conspiracy
  • The Human Condition
  • The Media
  • Religion
  • The Work
  • U.S. Freedom

Read them today - before the book burning starts!

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