Tuesday, September 20, 2005                                               The Daily Battle Against Subjectivity
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"You get America out of Iraq and Israel out of Palestine and you'll stop the terrorism." - Cindy Sheehan

P I C T U R E   O F  T H E  D A Y

Gathering Storm Clouds
Copyright 2005 Pierre-Paul Feyte

British Government's Agent Provocateurs Exposed

There is a saying of sorts that "if you are going to do something, do it well", and given the serious consequences, nowhere is that more true than when you plan to engage in criminal activity. Today in Basra, Southern Iraq, two members of the British SAS (Special Ops) were caught, 'in flagrante' as it were, dressed in full "Arab garb", driving a car full of explosives and shooting and killing two official Iraqi policemen.

This fact, finally reported by the mainstream press, goes to the very heart of and proves accurate much of what we have been saying on the Signs of the Times page for several years.

The following are facts, indisputable by all but the most self-deluded:

Number 1:

The US and British invasion of Iraq was NOT for the purpose of bringing "freedom and democracy" to the Iraqi people, but rather for the purpose of securing Iraq's oil resources for the US and British governments and expanding their control over the greater Middle East.

Number 2:

Both the Bush and Blair governments deliberately fabricated evidence (lied) about the threat the Saddam posed to the west and his links to the mythical 'al-Qaeda' in order to justify their invasion.

Number 3:

Dressed as Arabs, British (and CIA and Israeli) 'special forces' have been carrying out fake "insurgent" attacks, including 'car suicide bombings' against Iraqi policemen and Iraqi civilians (both Sunni and Shia) for the past two years. Evidence would suggest that these tactics are designed to provide continued justification for a US and British military presence in Iraq and to ultimately embroil the country in a civil war that will lead to the breakup of Iraq into more manageable statelets, much to the joy of the Israeli right and their long-held desire for the establishment of biblical 'greater Israel'

Coming not long after the botched London bombings carried out by British MI5 where an eyewitness reported that the floor of one of the trains had been blown inwards (how can a bomb in a backpack or on a "suicide bomber" INSIDE the train ever produce such an effect), more than anything else today's event in Basra highlights the desperation that is driving the policy-makers in the British government.

British intelligence would do well to think twice about carrying out any more 'false flag' operations until they can achieve the 'professionalism' of the Israeli Mossad - they always make it look convincing and rarely suffer the ignominy of being caught in the act and having the faces of their erstwhile "terrorists" plastered across the pages of the mainstream media.

The REAL face of "Islamic Terror" - Two SAS agents caught carrying out a false flag terror attack in Basra, Iraq September 20th 2005.

Official: British troops freed in jailbreak


BAGHDAD, Iraq -- A British armored vehicle escorted by a tank crashed into a detention center Monday in Basra and rescued two undercover troops held by police, an Iraqi Interior Ministry official told CNN.

British Defense Ministry Secretary John Reid confirmed two British military personnel were "released," but he gave no details on how they were freed.

In a statement released in London, Reid did not say why the two had been taken into custody. But the Iraqi official, who spoke to CNN on condition of anonymity, said their arrests stemmed from an incident earlier in the day.

The official said two unknown gunmen in full Arabic dress began firing on civilians in central Basra, wounding several, including a traffic police officer. There were no fatalities, the official said.

The two gunmen fled the scene but were captured and taken in for questioning, admitting they were British marines carrying out a "special security task," the official said.

British troops launched the rescue about three hours after Iraqi authorities informed British commanders the men were being held at the police department's major crime unit, the official said.

Iraqi police said members of Iraq's Mehdi Army militia engaged the British forces around the facility, burning one personnel carrier and an armored vehicle.

Video showed dozens of Iraqis surrounding British armored vehicles and tossing gasoline bombs, rocks and other debris at them.

With one vehicle engulfed in flames, a soldier opened the hatch and bailed out as rocks were thrown at him. Another photograph showed a British soldier on fire on top of a tank.

"Many of those present were clearly prepared well in advance to cause trouble, and we believe that the majority of Iraq people would deplore this violence," Reid said. [...]

From the Washington Post

Iraqi security officials on Monday variously accused the two Britons they detained of shooting at Iraqi forces or trying to plant explosives. Photographs of the two men in custody showed them in civilian clothes.

When British officials apparently sought to secure their release, riots erupted. Iraqi police cars circulated downtown, calling through loudspeakers for the public to help stop British forces from releasing the two. Heavy gunfire broke out and fighting raged for hours, as crowds swarmed British forces and set at least one armored vehicle on fire.

Witnesses said they saw Basra police exchanging fire with British forces. Sadr's Mahdi Army militia joined in the fighting late in the day, witnesses said. A British military spokesman, Darren Moss, denied that British troops were fighting Basra police.

From China View (orginally pooled from the BBC)

Iraqi police detained two British soldiers in civilian clothes in the southern city Basra for firing on a police station on Monday, police said.

"Two persons wearing Arab uniforms opened fire at a police station in Basra. A police patrol followed the attackers and captured them to discover they were two British soldiers," an Interior Ministry source told Xinhua.

The two soldiers were using a civilian car packed with explosives, the source said. He added that the two were being interrogated in the police headquarters of Basra.

The British forces informed the Iraqi authorities that the two soldiers were performing an official duty, the source said. British military authorities said they could not confirm the incident but investigations were underway.

Interestingly, on the same day as this botched covert operation, the CIA and Mossad's number two bogeyman, al-Zawahri, pipes up and reminds the world that 'al-Qaeda' was responsible for the London bombings. How very decent of him.

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Al-Qaeda claims responsibility for London bombings
20 September 2005

Al-Qaeda deputy Ayman al-Zawahri said his terror network carried out the July 7 London bombings in a statement broadcast on an Arab satellite television station, marking the group's first direct claim of responsibility for the attacks that killed 52 people.

The Egyptian-born militant also criticised the legitimacy of Sunday's Afghanistan parliamentary elections and condemned Pakistan -- the one-time ally of Afghanistan's deposed Taliban regime -- for forging strong ties with the United States.

"The blessed London attack was one which al-Qaeda was honoured to launch against the British Crusader's arrogance and against the American Crusader aggression on the Islamic nation for 100 years," al-Zawahri said in the tape aired on Monday on Qatar-based al-Jazeera TV.

"In their final testament, the heroic brothers in the London attacks ... provided great lessons to the Islamic nation and Muslims in Pakistan to oppose the infidels," said al-Zawahri, who wore a black turban and white shirt and spoke to someone off-camera who was interviewing him.

In another tape aired on September 2, al-Zawahri, who is thought to be hiding along the rugged Afghan-Pakistani border, issued a veiled claim of responsibility for the attacks that also killed the four bombers.

"This blessed attack revealed the real hypocritical face of the West," said the gray-bearded al-Zawahri in his latest tape, which included English subtitles and credits saying it was produced and translated by al-Sahab Media Production House, a shadowy purported al-Qaeda media organisation.

While there was no immediate way to verify al-Zawahri's claim, the coordinated attacks on three London underground stations and a double-decker bus bore all the hallmarks of the group that has claimed responsibility for numerous bombings, including the September 11 2001 attacks.

Shortly after the London bombings, which were carried out by four bombers including two of Pakistani descent, two militant Islamic groups said they were responsible, but both had made dubious claims in the past.

A spokesperson for London's metropolitan police had no immediate comment on al-Zawahri's latest tape.

Comment: Of course, we don't doubt that 'al-Qaeda' really was responsible for the London bombings, but the crucial question as always is: who and what IS 'al-Qaeda'...

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Translation of Bin Laden Speeches Released
Associated Press
Mon Sep 19,10:08 PM ET

LOS ANGELES - The only way to defeat the enemy is to know the enemy. But in the case of Osama bin Laden, the public doesn't know enough, says the author of a new book on America's No. 1 nemesis.

In "Osama Bin Laden: America's Enemy In His Own Words," San Diego civil rights attorney Randy Hamud tries to shed light on bin Laden by translating 20 of his statements and letters from 1994 to 2004.

The book, released Monday, is the first comprehensive compilation of statements that are rarely presented in full by the English-language media. It's also the first of several works on bin Laden due out in the coming months.

Hamud said the translations are critical to defeating bin Laden.

"What I mean by defeat is the complete discrediting of his message," he wrote in the book.

The third-generation Lebanese-American spent the past two years working with Arab scholars on the translations. His self-published book also offers an annotated biography of bin Laden and a history of Islam.

It sparked concerns among academics - none of whom have seen the book - because it does not disclose the names of his collaborators and only says they are mostly Middle East immigrants who fear repercussions for their involvement.

"In order for me to trust a text, I need to know who the translator is," said Khaled Abou El Fadl, a University of California, Los Angeles law professor.

Abou El Fadl, who focuses on Islamic law, said he was surprised to learn about Hamud's book because the lawyer is not known as a specialist or scholar in Middle Eastern affairs or Islamic studies.

"In my perspective bin Laden is a criminal," Abou El Fadl said. "Is there value in publishing the diaries of a serial killer? Yes there's a value, and there's a danger."

Richard Dekmejian, a professor of political science at the University of Southern California, also said he would prefer such translations be done by recognized Arab scholars, then reviewed by peers.

"It's very essential to do the translation correctly and reflect the context in which these things are said," Dekmejian said.

Still, Dekmejian is interested in using Hamud's text in his classes as a way to understand bin Laden's anger at the West and how he gained traction among Muslims worldwide.

Comment: Dekmejian is going to use the book even though he's concerned about improper translation?

Hamud defended his decision to withhold the names.

"Sadly, in today's America, Muslim immigrants do not enjoy the freedom of speech that those of us who are native-born enjoy in discussing subjects like Mr. bin Laden, political Islam and the subject of terrorism," wrote Hamud, who has represented a number of Muslims and Arabs detained by federal authorities since Sept. 11, 2001.

In November, Verso Books in England will publish "Messages to the World: The Statements of Osama bin Laden," a compilation 24 bin Laden speeches dating back to 1994. It was edited by Duke University political science professor Bruce Lawrence.

In January, Simon & Schuster's Free Press will publish former CNN analyst Peter Bergen's "The Osama bin Laden I Know: An Oral History of the Making of a Global Terrorist," with interviews from people who know bin Laden.

Lawrence, who had not seen Hamud's book, applauded his effort to make bin Laden's words more accessible. He said finding some of bin Laden's speeches, which are often blocked on Internet sites or reproduced only in snippets, involved major detective work.

Comment: Now, why might that be? Why are the speeches of "The Most Evil Man on Earth" so difficult to find? Is it because they really are so dangerous, or is it because - given the numerous lies told by the Bush administration - there are vast sections of Osama's speeches that we are not meant to read? Furthermore, we have to question why a book written by a lawyer who is not an expert in Middle Eastern studies and who did not submit his translations for any kind of review would be promoted by the mainstream US media...

"It's an aspect of Osama bin Laden that has not only been neglected, it has been totally overlooked in the war on terror," Lawrence said.

The speeches and letters show bin Laden's evolution from political attacks against corruption in the Saudi Arabian government to a declaration of war on the United States. There's also a critique of U.S. military contractors.

"The Iraq war generates billions of dollars for big corporations, either munitions makers or those working reconstruction, such as Haliburton and its sister companies," bin Laden said in an April 15, 2004 address originally broadcast by Al-Jazeera in which he offered a truce with European nations that agreed not to attack Muslims.

Throughout his speeches, bin Laden also returns to Israel's treatment of the Palestinians and what he calls the "Jewish enemy."

According to Hamud's translation, bin Laden's anger at the West stems mostly from its support of the repressive Saudi Arabian regime and the idea of a Christian military occupying Muslim lands.

"It is unconscionable to allow the country to become an American colony," bin Laden wrote in 1994 to King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, "for no other reason than to protect your throne and the oil resources."

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Police forcibly break up Cindy Sheehan rally
By Pete Dolack
September 19, 2005

The New York City Police Department forcibly broke up this afternoon's rally for Cindy Sheehan, moving in as Cindy was speaking at about 3 p.m. in Union Square.

The New York City Police Department forcibly broke up this afternoon's rally for Cindy Sheehan, moving in as Cindy was speaking at about 3 p.m. in Union Square. The rally had been underway for about an hour, and was about to conclude as Cindy spoke following several other speakers, including a few who are traveling with her on her caravan.

As Cindy was speaking, a large platoon of police massed behind from the interior of the park, then formed a circle behind her, the speakers' area and a few dozen people who were deployed in an arc behind her. Overall, about 200 people were in attendance, with the crowd steadily increasing in size as the rally progressed. As the police formed their arc just behind, the men and women immediately behind Cindy linked arms. A captain made a cutting motion at his throat, signalling he wanted no more free speech. He waited about 30 seconds, then the police moved in. They didn't dare arrest Cindy, but they immediately moved in and grabbed zool, the event's organizer and one of the main organizers of Camp Casey-NYC, pulling him away and arresting him. I do not believe anyone else was arrested; at least I didn't see any other arrests. I was nearby, and there was no hesitation on the part of the police in specifically targetting zool.

The police also took the microphone and sound system. The crowd shouted "Shame! Shame!" at the police and asked what they were so afrraid of, but made no response. There was a moderate press presence, even a bit of corporate media there, although the only television crew covering the rally was RTV from Russia.

No warning of any kind was given, and this was a permitted rally. Other than the captain making his cut motion, 30 seconds before forcibly breaking up the rally, there was no warning, verbal or in any other fashion. The police had massed perhaps three or four minutes before moving in. Until then, the rally had gone smoothly, starting just after 2 p.m. as scheduled. Cindy and the rest of the caravan arrived sometime after 2:30; the rest of the rally was comprised of speakers from the caravan. Many groups were in attendence besides Camp Casey-NYC, including Military Families Speak Out, Gold Star Families for Peace, the Troops Out Now Coalition, the No Police State Coalition and the Green Party, among others.

As several people confronted the police in the minutes following the arrest of zool and the stealing of the sound equipment, a woman from the caravan said they had done more than 100 events in 51 cities, and nothing like this had ever happened to them. There is no free speech in Crawford, Texas -- Camp Casey has been under attack there -- and there is no free speech in New York City. The police have attacked Camp Casey-NYC on at least two previous Mondays, have taken the camps's tents, confiscated banners and made arrests. This is merely the latest example of Bloomberg's contempt for opinions that challenge the authorities, particularly Republican Party authorities. And where are our supposed political leaders? Nothing but silence.

Comment: And where was the presence from the "liberal and free" mainstream media outlets? The following articles provide an interesting answer:

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Flashback: ABC News Anchor Peter Jennings Dies at 67
AP Television Writer
Mon Aug 8,11:47 AM ET

NEW YORK - Peter Jennings, the urbane, Canadian-born broadcaster who delivered the news to Americans each night in five separate decades, died Sunday. He was 67.

Jennings, who announced in April that he had lung cancer, died at his New York home, ABC News President David Westin said late Sunday.

"Peter has been our colleague, our friend, and our leader in so many ways. None of us will be the same without him," Westin said.

With Tom Brokaw and Dan Rather, Jennings was part of a triumvirate that dominated network news for more than two decades, through the birth of cable news and the Internet. His smooth delivery and years of international reporting experience made him particularly popular among urban dwellers. [...]

Jennings was the face of ABC News whenever a big story broke. He logged more than 60 hours on the air during the week of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, offering a soothing sense of continuity during a troubled time. [...]

Jennings' announcement four months ago that the longtime smoker would begin treatment for lung cancer came as a shock.

"I will continue to do the broadcast," he said, his voice husky, in a taped message that night. "On good days, my voice will not always be like this."

But although Jennings occasionally came to the office between chemotherapy treatments, he never again appeared on the air. [...]

Jennings returned to the evening news a decade after his unceremonious departure. In 1978, ABC renamed its broadcast "World News Tonight," and instituted a three-person anchor team: Frank Reynolds based in Washington, Max Robinson from Chicago and Jennings, by then ABC's chief foreign correspondent, from London.

Following Reynolds' death from cancer, ABC abandoned the multi-anchor format and Jennings became sole anchor on Sept. 5, 1983. Brokaw became solo anchor at NBC just days later. Rather had taken the CBS anchor job in 1981.

Starting in 1986, Jennings began a decade on top of the ratings. His international experience served him well explaining stories like the collapse of European communism, the first Gulf War and the terrorist bombing of an airplane over Lockerbie, Scotland. He took pride that "World News Tonight," as its name suggested, took a more worldly view than its rivals. Fans responded to his smart, controlled style. [...]

With Americans looking more inward in the mid to late-1990s, NBC's Tom Brokaw surpassed Jennings in the ratings. ABC was still a close No. 2, however. When Brokaw stepped down in December 2004, followed shortly by Rather, ABC began an advertising campaign stressing Jennings' experience - an ironic twist given how his ABC News career began.

But ABC was never able to learn whether Jennings could take advantage of his role as an elder statesman; his cancer diagnosis came only a month after Rather left the anchor chair. [...]

Jennings also led a documentary team at ABC News, which struck a chord in 2000 with the high-rated spiritual special "The Search for Jesus." [...]

Comment: Jennings also did a recent special on the UFO phenomenon. It is a bit curious that one month after the "Rather Scandal" and the departure of Tom Brokaw from NBC, the one remaining "superanchor" who did not intend to step down is diagnosed with lung cancer...

Now, Brokaw and Rather are speaking out against the current state of the US mainstream media and the power of the Bush administration:

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Brokaw urges Montanans: Seek common ground
Independent Record

MONTANA - Newsman and part-time Montana resident Tom Brokaw was in a Minneapolis airport recently, and told the woman at the ticket counter that he had to get to Great Falls in the worst possible way.

"That would be Northwest Airlines," Brokaw said the clerk told him.

And with that quip, the world-renowned former anchor of NBC Nightly News looked out on the attorneys gathered in Helena Thursday night for the annual State Bar of Montana meeting, and asked them to make their best effort to help limit the bitter divisiveness that permeates not only national politics but also some attitudes in the Treasure State.

"Our national leaders and their hired guns create fears and exploit them," Brokaw said. "Politics always has been a rough business, but now it's a cold, take-no-prisoners attitude.

" … I suggest that's divisive to our common purpose in the long run and is happening at a time when the challenges we face need more common ground, not less."

He stepped down from anchoring the evening broadcasts last December - but that doesn't mean he's not involved in the nightly news. Brokaw said he contacts the news desk just about every day.

"When they said I retired, that was always the wrong word to let slip out," Brokaw said before his speech. "I was just shifting gears. I just didn't want to have to be somewhere every night at 6:30.

"I get great pleasure in being an editor-at-large and just watching everything." His new 10-year agreement with NBC involves producing documentaries, which is a task he's readily undertaken. As part of that work, he's been to New York and New Orleans, New Zealand and Chile - and that's just in the past few months.

Comment: In other words, he hasn't retired at all...

But even as he travels, Brokaw said the Big Sky is always near him.

"I may only be in Montana part time, but it's full-time in my heart," Brokaw said.

Comment: Dan Rather was even more specific:

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Emotional Rather blasts 'new journalism order'
By Paul J. Gough
Reuters/Hollywood Reporter
Sep 19 11:03 PM US/Eastern

NEW YORK - Former CBS News anchor Dan Rather said Monday that there is a climate of fear running through newsrooms stronger than he has ever seen in his more than four-decade career.

Rather famously tangled with President Nixon and his aides during the Watergate years while Rather was a hard-charging White House correspondent.

Addressing the Fordham University School of Law in Manhattan, occasionally forcing back tears, he said that in the intervening years, politicians "of every persuasion" had gotten better at applying pressure on the conglomerates that own the broadcast networks. He called it a "new journalism order."

He said this pressure -- along with the "dumbed-down, tarted-up" coverage, the advent of 24-hour cable competition and the chase for ratings and demographics -- has taken its toll on the news business. "All of this creates a bigger atmosphere of fear in newsrooms," Rather said.

Rather was accompanied by HBO Documentary and Family president Sheila Nevins, both of whom were due to receive lifetime achievement awards at the News and Documentary Emmy Awards on Monday evening.

Nevins said that even in the documentary world, there's a certain kind of intimidation brought to bear these days, particularly from the religious right.

"If you made a movie about (evolutionary biologist Charles) Darwin now, it would be revolutionary," Nevins said. "If we did a documentary on Darwin, I'd get a thousand hate e-mails."

Nevin asked Rather if he felt the same type of repressive forces in the Nixon administration as in the current Bush administration.

"No, I do not," Rather said. That's not to say there weren't forces trying to remove him from the White House beat while reporting on Watergate; but Rather said he felt supported by everyone above him, from Washington bureau chief Bill Small to then-news president Dick Salant and CBS chief William S. Paley.

"There was a connection between the leadership and the led . . . a sense of, 'we're in this together,"' Rather said. It's not that the then-leadership of CBS wasn't interested in shareholder value and profits, Rather said, but they also saw news as a public service. Rather said he knew very little of the intense pressure to remove him in the early 1970s because of his bosses' support.

Comment: The obvious implication is that there was intense pressure to remove Rather this time around - and it worked.

Nevins took up the cause for Rather, who was emotional several times during the event.

"When a man is close to tears discussing his work and his lip quivers, he deserves bosses who punch back. I feel I would punch back for Dan," Nevins said.

Rather praised the coverage of Hurricane Katrina by the new generation of TV journalists and acknowledged that he would have liked to have reported from the Gulf Coast. "Covering hurricanes is something I know something about," he said.

"It's been one of television news' finest moments," Rather said of the Katrina coverage. He likened it to the coverage of President Kennedy's assassination in 1963.

"They were willing to speak truth to power," Rather said of the coverage.

Rather sidestepped the question of what should happen to the evening news in the expected makeover. "Not my call," he said. And he said he hadn't been asked, either.

"I gave it everything I had, I didn't hold anything back. I did the best newscast we were capable of doing," Rather said. [...]

Comment: One of the three former main news anchors in the US died of lung cancer, and the remaining two appear to have been pushed out, and are now speaking out about the current state of the broadcast networks. They are even going so far as to comment on the "hired guns" of national officials who "create fears and exploit them".

Still, why didn't they speak out when they were anchors? Perhaps they were afraid of ending up like Peter Jennings...

In any case, there is a great deal of evidence to suggest that the mainstream news outlets in the US have always been biased to some extent. CIA infiltration of the media in the US has happened in the past, and no doubt continues to this day. Since the Bush coup, however, it seems the rules of the game have taken a turn for the worse.

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Tons of British aid donated to help Hurricane Katrina victims to be BURNED by Americans
From Ryan Parry, US Correspondent in New York
The Mirror
19 September 2005

HUNDREDS of tons of British food aid shipped to America for starving Hurricane Katrina survivors is to be burned.

US red tape is stopping it from reaching hungry evacuees.

Instead tons of the badly needed Nato ration packs, the same as those eaten by British troops in Iraq, has been condemned as unfit for human consumption.

And unless the bureaucratic mess is cleared up soon it could be sent for incineration.

One British aid worker last night called the move "sickening senselessness" and said furious colleagues were "spitting blood".

The food, which cost British taxpayers millions, is sitting idle in a huge warehouse after the Food and Drug Agency recalled it when it had already left to be distributed.

Scores of lorries headed back to a warehouse in Little Rock, Arkansas, to dump it at an FDA incineration plant.

The Ministry of Defence in London said last night that 400,000 operational ration packs had been shipped to the US.

But officials blamed the US Department of Agriculture, which impounded the shipment under regulations relating to the import and export of meat.

The aid worker, who would not be named, said: "This is the most appalling act of sickening senselessness while people starve.

"The FDA has recalled aid from Britain because it has been condemned as unfit for human consumption, despite the fact that these are Nato approved rations of exactly the same type fed to British soldiers in Iraq.

"Under Nato, American soldiers are also entitled to eat such rations, yet the starving of the American South will see them go up in smoke because of FDA red tape madness." [...]

"Everyone is revolted by the chaotic shambles the US is making of this crisis. Guys from Unicef are walking around spitting blood.

"This is utter madness. People have worked their socks off to get food into the region.

"It is perfectly good Nato approved food of the type British servicemen have. Yet the FDA are saying that because there is a meat content and it has come from Britain it must be destroyed.

"If they are trying to argue there is a BSE reason then that is ludicrously out of date. There is more BSE in the States than there ever was in Britain and UK meat has been safe for years."

The Ministry of Defence said: "We understand there was a glitch and these packs have been impounded by the US Department of Agriculture under regulations relating to the import and export of meat.

"The situation is changing all the time and at our last meeting on Friday we were told progress was being made in relation to the release of these packs. The Americans certainly haven't indicated to us that there are any more problems and they haven't asked us to take them back."

Food from Spain and Italy is also being held because it fails to meet US standards and has been judged unfit for human consumption.

And Israeli relief agencies are furious that thousands of gallons of pear juice are to be destroyed because it has been judged unfit.

The FDA said: "We did inspect some MREs (meals ready to eat) on September 13. They are the only MREs we looked at. There were 70 huge pallets of vegetarian MREs.

"They were from a foreign nation. We inspected them and then released them for distribution."

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Why We Can't Believe Our Eyes

In a September 3rd press release, Louisiana's Senator Mary Landrieu said the following about the Bush administration and the "relief effort":

But perhaps the greatest disappointment stands at the breached 17th Street levee. Touring this critical site yesterday with the President, I saw what I believed to be a real and significant effort to get a handle on a major cause of this catastrophe. Flying over this critical spot again this morning, less than 24 hours later, it became apparent that yesterday we witnessed a hastily prepared stage set for a Presidential photo opportunity; and the desperately needed resources we saw were this morning reduced to a single, lonely piece of equipment.

It seems that Landrieu was a first hand witness to the extreme cynicism of the Bush administration when it comes to honesty and respect for human life. What is patently obvious is that people like Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rove care only for appearances and ensuring that the public continues to think their leaders are decent human beings when in fact nothing could be further from the truth.

How many more acts of unmitigated callousness will it take before people start to accept the fact that the idea that our leaders actually give a damn about the life of the average citizen is simply not true, and never was.

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Automakers shift from bad to worse
By Tom Brown
Mon Sep 19, 2:43 PM ET

DETROIT - A miserable year for U.S. automakers General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. looks set to turn even worse in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Sales of Detroit's most profitable models, full-sized sport utility vehicles, were already falling earlier this year, before the impact of the hurricane on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

But a spike in gasoline prices to more than $3 per gallon after the storm threatens a sea change in the way American drivers make vehicle purchase decisions, ending a love affair with gas-guzzling SUVs that dates back to the late 1980s.

The run-up in U.S. fuel prices, and collateral damage to automakers, is an issue that will come under the spotlight at the second annual Reuters Autos Summit in Detroit, which begins on Tuesday.

The summit comes as the two U.S. automakers have been groaning under a pile of bad news and are trying, with limited success, to pull their money-losing North American operations out of the ditch.

"After gorging on faddish, oversized SUVs for years, while studiously avoiding more rational vehicle choices, drivers in this country have woken up with a relentless hangover from Katrina made up of the double-whammy of tight supplies and jaw-dropping prices," said industry observer Peter DeLorenzo, who runs a closely-watched Web site called Autoextremist.com.

"SUV sales aren't just slowing -- they're crashing to a halt," he told Reuters, referring to traditional truck-based SUVs, not the "crossover" car-based variety that deliver better highway performance and fuel economy.

Japanese carmakers, which have been pouring billions into new light truck models for the U.S. market, may also be vulnerable to the shift in sentiment. However, their dominance of the small and mid-sized car segment, together with a focus on crossovers and increasingly popular gas-electric hybrid cars, should limit the impact of a sharp decline in SUV sales.

The most serious problems are foreseeable at GM and Ford. GM is due to launch a new lineup of full-sized SUVs in January, and Ford has just introduced its new Explorer, America's perennial best-selling SUV.

Analyst David Healy of Burnham Securities told Reuters in an interview last week that neither company is likely to return to profitability in North America before 2008.

"The whole segment is in a state of long-term decline," Healy said of SUVs.

U.S. carmakers' heavy dependence on big SUVs amid stalling demand was a factor cited by the Standard & Poor's ratings agency when it downgraded the debt of GM and Ford to high-yield, or "junk," status in May.

The auto giants, weakened by their seeming inability to sell enough cars without the use of profit-eroding discounts, have also been struggling under the burden of soaring costs for everything from health care to raw materials.


No one is seriously predicting that GM or Ford will follow the lead of Delta Airlines Inc. and Northwest Airlines Corp., which both filed for bankruptcy last week. [...]

Delphi Corp., the largest U.S. auto parts supplier, has said it could file for Chapter 11 protection as early as next month, unless it wins a deal with GM and the United Auto Workers union to cut billions in wages and benefit costs. [...]

Lee Iacocca, who led Ford in the 1970s and is credited with saving Chrysler from extinction in the 1980s, summed up the grim mood in Detroit when he visited his adopted hometown last week and chided its automakers for lagging the Japanese in developing fuel-sipping hybrids.

"They should get off their asses and build more hybrids," he told The Detroit News.

"Something's got to happen in this town to turn it around, or we're all going down the tubes," Iacocca said.

Comment: Now there are fears that hurricane Rita could deal another blow to the oil infrastructure in the Gulf of Mexico...

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Tropical Storm Rita Heads Toward the Keys
Associated Press Writer
September 20, 2005

KEY WEST, Fla. - Thousands of residents fled the Florida Keys as Tropical Storm Rita barreled toward the island chain, poised to grow into a hurricane with a potential 9-foot storm surge and sparking fears it could eventually ravage the hobbled Gulf Coast.

South Floridians kept a wary eye on Rita, which threatened to arrive Tuesday and drop up to 15 inches of rain on some parts of the low-lying Keys. Oil prices surged on the possibility that oil and gas production would be interrupted once again.

"I've lived in Florida all my life," said James Swindell, 37, who shopped along a cleared-out Miami Beach on Monday. "You always have to be worried about a storm, because they are too unpredictable and they can shift on you at the last minute. Nobody knows what they are going to do."

In New Orleans, the mayor suspended his plan to start bringing residents back to the city after forecasters warned that Rita could follow Hurricane Katrina's course into the Gulf of Mexico and shatter his city's already weakened levees.

The storm had top sustained winds of 70 mph early Tuesday, and it was expected to strengthen into a Category 1 hurricane, with winds of at least 74 mph, as it approached the Keys. The storm's outer rain bands began drenching the Keys and Miami-Dade County early Tuesday after felling trees in the Bahamas.

"The main concern now is the Florida Keys," said Max Mayfield, director of the National Hurricane Center in Miami. "It's moving over very warm water and that's extremely favorable for development."

Hurricane warnings were posted for the Keys and Miami-Dade County, the hurricane center said. Residents and visitors were ordered to clear out of the Keys, and voluntary evacuation orders were posted for some 134,000 Miami-Dade residents of coastal areas such as Miami Beach.

"We're just trying to get enough gas to get home," said Andres Sweeting, 29, of Miami, as he stopped at a Coconut Grove gas station with his family. Long lines of customers had depleted two of the station's four gasoline tanks. [...]

At 5 a.m. EDT, Rita was centered about 160 miles east-southeast of Key West. It was moving west-northwest near 15 mph, according to the hurricane center.

In the Bahamas, no serious damage was reported after Rita passed to the south. However, fishermen had dragged their boats to dry land and some people shuttered their windows - a sign that normally laid-back islanders had been concerned about the storm.

Officials in Galveston, Texas - nearly 900 miles from Key West - were already calling for a voluntary evacuation. Forecasters said Rita could make landfall in Mexico or Texas by the weekend, with a possibility that it could turn toward Louisiana.

Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco urged everyone in the southwest part of the state to prepare to evacuate. "If Rita passes us by, we will thank the Lord for our blessings," Blanco told the state's storm-weary residents in a televised address. [...]

Crude-oil futures rose above $67 a barrel Monday, in part because of worries about Rita. About 56 percent of the Gulf's oil production was already out of operation Monday because of Katrina's damage, the federal Minerals Management Service said.

Elsewhere in the Atlantic, Hurricane Philippe was far out at sea and posed no immediate threat to land. The hurricane season started June 1 and ends Nov. 30.

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This year's fast-forming hurricanes buck trend, puzzle meteorologists
By Robert Nolin
The Sun-Sentinel
Posted September 20 2005

This year, hurricanes just aren't acting like they used to.

The major storms are bucking traditional patterns by forming in the western, rather than eastern, Atlantic Ocean. Instead of taunting worried residents for days, they materialize, it seems, overnight.

The trend has baffled scientists and ratcheted up panic levels for South Floridians.

"It's crazy," said Robin Wagner, 45, of Hollywood. "They come so quick. With Katrina, before we knew it, it was on us."

Hurricane Katrina swept through Broward and Miami-Dade counties last month as a Category 1 storm -- a scant two days after developing in the Caribbean. Storms typically come to life in the far eastern Atlantic Ocean, often near Cape Verde, then pinwheel westward for several days, their ultimate course studied with dread speculation by those in its path.

This year's nine hurricanes have formed west of 55 degrees longitude, said meteorologist Jim Lushine of the National Weather Service in Miami-Dade County. Rita, for example, was but a soggy blob hardly worthy of notice on Saturday night. Sunday morning, it was a threat.

A speedy arrival can bedevil nervous homeowners, but overall it's a good thing.

"By forming farther west, they don't have quite the potential for strength as if they came all the way across" the ocean, Lushine said. "It hasn't had enough time to build up."

Hurricanes feed on warm water, but West Atlantic storms don't stick around long enough to be energized by the Caribbean's tepid currents. Like Katrina -- and Rita's expected track -- they can brush by or through Florida as weaklings, then spin into the Gulf of Mexico and bulk up into highly destructive Category 4 or 5 storms.

Why this season's storms are appearing so far west is a matter of speculation for forecasters.

Chris Landsea, a meteorologist with the National Hurricane Center in Miami-Dade, said, "It's not something we predicted, and I'm not sure it's something we can anticipate way in advance."

One comparable year was 1969, Landsea said, when 10 of 12 hurricanes formed west of 55 degrees longitude.

The ingredients needed for a hurricane -- warm water, an unstable atmosphere and lack of wind shear -- have been present in the western, not eastern, Atlantic this year. "Why further west? We don't know," Landsea said. [...]

Still, the appearance of an "instant hurricane" can unnerve homeowners used to having days to prepare.

"It makes people frantic," said Holly Markert, 28, a county employee from Fort Lauderdale. "We need more notice than this."

Besides compressing prep time, pop-up storms mean supplies come up short because stores don't have time to re-stock. More residents in the target zone lack the goods they need to endure floods or power outages.

"All of a sudden, all you've got is a day to prepare," complained Del Dacks, 37, of Fort Lauderdale. Broward emergency manager Tony Carper said: "Anytime you have less time to react and operationally to respond, it's a problem."

Not for Doreen Gargano, 61, who has a home in Fort Lauderdale and a boat in Islamorada.

"Once it's coming, you're moving quickly, you don't have time to think about it," she said. "When you watch it for days and days, I think it's really more nerve-racking."

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Report: Russia to Freeze Gasoline Prices
Sep 19 1:43 PM US/Eastern

MOSCOW - Russia's major oil producers agreed Monday to freeze their gasoline prices in the country until the end of the year, the Interfax news agency said, citing the Industry and Energy Ministry.

The oil companies made the decision at a meeting with Industry and Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko, Interfax quoted ministry spokesman Stas Naumov as saying. The ministry could not immediately be contacted Monday.

"The result of the meeting was a voluntary decision by the management of Russia's largest companies; prices won't rise any further on the domestic market until the end of the year," the official said, according to Interfax.

Surging oil prices worldwide have boosted the cost of gasoline in Russia, the world's second-largest oil exporter after Saudi Arabia, provoking criticism from Kremlin-loyal politicians. Gas prices rose by a ruble in the space of a week as of Tuesday, to 18 rubles ($0.63) per liter (0.26 gallon).

The biggest Russian crude oil producer, Lukoil, announced a unilateral cap on gasoline prices Monday with immediate effect. Another major oil company, TNK-BP, which is a 50-percent joint venture with British oil giant BP, declined to confirm the price freeze, but said it would make an announcement Tuesday.

"We support the government's efforts to ease up tensions on the fuel market," TNK-BP spokeswoman Marina Dracheva told The Associated Press.

In a statement, Lukoil blamed high mineral-resource taxes that are pegged to world prices, as well as under-investment in domestic refineries.

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Transcript: Hugo Chavez Interview

Venezuelan President On Rocky Relations with Washington
ABC News
Sep. 16, 2005

In his first American broadcast interview since the Rev. Pat Robertson called for his assassination last month, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez told ABC News' Ted Koppel today that he has evidence of a United States plan to invade Venezuela. In New York for the U.N. Summit, Chavez discussed his strained relationship with the United States government, Robertson's comments and the United States' dependence on Venezuela's oil supply.

Following is a rush transcript of the interview, which airs tonight on "Nightline" at 11:35 p.m. ET:

KOPPEL: Tell me a little bit -- most Americans don't know very much about you. Tell me a little bit about your youth, when you were a young man.

CHAVEZ (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): I would like to welcome you. And I would like to greet all of the people who are watching this program and who are listening to it. I was a farm kid from the plains of South Venezuela, from a very poor family. I grew up in a palm tree house with an earthen floor.

And later, we were lucky enough, my brothers and I, to be able to study. There were six of us. My father and my mother were both teachers. They inculcated to us the importance of studies. But out of every 100 children from my town, 99 didn't get to study. That was poverty, the poorest of the farmers.

Later, I was a young athlete. I was telling this friend here from San Francisco so that one of my greatest dreams was to be a pitcher for the San Francisco Giants. I played a lot of baseball. It was a passion of mine.

I painted. I wanted to be a painter. I sang. I still sing a little bit. I still paint a little bit. And I can still bat a bit.

But afterwards, when I was 16, I became a soldier. But I became a soldier, not because I had a military vocation initially, but because it was the only way that that young, poor-class child from the provinces could go to the center of the country: through baseball, which was my dream.

But I liked the army. And I became a patriotic soldier. And that's what I am, essentially, a patriotic soldier.

KOPPEL: I read that you discovered later in your life that your grandfather or your great grandfather was a guerrilla fighter. Is that correct?

CHAVEZ:That was from a previous time, a hundred years ago. Yes, he was a great grandfather of mine.

But the point is that when I was a kid, I would hear stories from my grandmother and my great grandmother -- you know, when they talk -- grandmothers tell stories.

And when I was a kid, I heard that I had a murderous grandfather. And that stuck with me.

But later, when I became a man, and I was reading the history of my fatherland, a history that starts in the 20th century, I conciliated myself to the fact that he was not a murderer; he was a guerrilla. He was one of the last men on horseback. This was the time of Pancho Villa. This was the time of Emiliano Zapata. This was the time of San Dino (ph). This was the time of (inaudible) the gentleman of hope in Brazil (inaudible). He was one of those last horsemen who took on imperialism.

My great grandfather was one of them. I discovered the truth.

KOPPEL: You're a man who loves language. You're a man of many words. I'm going to put you to a test now.

Give me three words that describe you.

CHAVEZ: A soldier-esque man. I would add the word "patriot." I would add the word "revolutionary."

KOPPEL: A revolutionary has to be in revolt against something. What are you revolting against?

CHAVEZ: I've been in revolt for years against ignominy, against injustice, against inequality, against immorality, against the exploitation of human beings.

One of the greatest rebels, who I really admire: Christ. He was a rebel. He ended up being crucified. He was a great rebel. He rebelled against the established power that subjugated. That is what rebellion is; it's rebellion out of love for human beings. In truth, that is the cause, the cause of love: love for every human being, for every women, for every child, for every man, for every brother.

I believe you to be a brother. I don't see you as above or below. I don't feel superior or inferior to you. We're on an equal basis. Your cameraman, your photograph are equal. The men and women who are seeing you, who are seeing us are equal. They're true brothers.

KOPPEL: Well, maybe the photographer; not the cameraman.


No, no, I'm just teasing. He's an old friend.

CHAVEZ: It's really hot here in New York.

KOPPEL: It's very hot here in New York.

I appreciate what you say and I think I understand that you don't feel that same way; you don't have that same love for the government of the United States.

CHAVEZ: Yes. There are profound differences, very profound with this government, this administration since Mr. Bush came into power. We have been subjected -- Venezuela has been subjected to permanent aggression against us and against me personally.

There has been no respect for the sovereignty of Venezuelans, for the chief of state (inaudible) Venezuela.

On the other hand, I remind you that last night I gathered here with some Democrats and Republicans. Tomorrow, I'm going to be with some others.

Recently, Jackson was there and I'm going to see him tomorrow.

This morning, I saw Danny Grover (ph). We're good friends. And I said to them, and I say to everyone, that it was different with Clinton.

With President Clinton, I sat down just like we are now on at least three occasions. There was no occasion for disrespect on either side.

Now, this administration has truly broken with all protocols of democracy and respect for people. The coup d'etat against Venezuela was manufactured in Washington. My death was ordered. And it was ordered recently.

Reverend Pat Robertson, who is very close to the president, asked for me to be physically eliminated, for me to be killed.

And so perhaps Christ recommends that when we get a slap in our cheek, we turn the other cheek. We have both cheeks red and blue because we've turned the cheek so many times. But we never (inaudible) because we do love the people of the United States. We want to be brothers and sisters of the people of the United States, independently of their government.

KOPPEL: I'm going to perhaps shock you a little, but these are your words. You called President Bush an asshole.

CHAVEZ: I've said various things about him. I don't know if I actually used that word. But I have been really hard on him.

But I have always responded to things that I was termed. I was termed a threat, a threat to the continent. It was said of me that I harbor terrorists.

There have been official reports issued from the State Department. The secretary of state has gone through South America saying publicly that I have to be isolated; that I am a threat; that I am using oil to subvert order in Latin America. Some secretaries of state -- other secretaries of state, that I am allied with drug traffickers -- a series of lies and aggressionists that sometimes I respond to. And sometimes we raise the tone.

We wait to get signals, and we respond to signals we receive from Washington.

KOPPEL: So you haven't got any -- you haven't received any good signals lately?

CHAVEZ: Really good signals? No. You know where right now my medical team is? In the presidential plane, 200 kilometers from here. The government of the United States, in violation of the laws of the United States and conventions, prevented my doctors from coming to New York. Where is the chief of staff of my military detachment and my chief of security? On the plane. They've been locked into the plane, two days. They can't come out of the plane.

Those are the signals we're receiving. Yesterday they issued a report saying that Venezuela does not cooperate in the fight against drugs. Absolutely false. We have broken records this year in confiscation of cocaine in the fight against drug trafficking. Those are the false aggressions, the false signals we've been receiving.

KOPPEL: I've been told by contacts of mine in the U.S. intelligence community that you have members of Al Qaida, you have members of other terrorist groups who are allowed to operate within Venezuela. Not true?

CHAVEZ: It's absolutely false. And one time someone said that bin Laden -- did anyone ever say bin Laden could be in Venezuela?

KOPPEL: Not to my knowledge.

CHAVEZ: Those are part of the lies that are circulating. So the lies haven't reached that point, but it's absolutely false.

But it's part of the whole chain of rumors in this campaign to even justify my death, because recently Pat Robertson and an ex-CIA agent added that I should already be dead because, since I'm a threat, you have to liquidate the threats, you have to wipe them out, you have to kill them. That would justify any greater (inaudible) aggression against us.

KOPPEL: It was a foolish thing to say, and Pat Robertson admitted later that it was a foolish thing to say. And certainly no one from the government condoned what he said.

Why do you take what a private citizen says, foolish as it may have been, and ascribe it to the U.S. government?

CHAVEZ: Well, take a look at this.

The U.S. administration has to reject -- should have rejected the term of terrorist that Robertson used. The U.S. administration seriously sinned with respect to international and national laws, because the call to murder a chief of state is, in accordance with international law, terrorism.

So this gentleman, Robertson, should be under arrest by the government of the United States -- silence.

Consequently, harboring a terrorist, but not only Robertson -- there have been television channels in Miami, various people, including some Venezuelan terrorists who participated in the coup d'etat and who lived here in the United States freely -- went to request my death, and the government of this country does absolutely nothing.

So they are harboring terrorism, independently of whether or not Robertson (inaudible) of a personality. But that is not the main issue. The main issue is that on television, in front of millions of people, he justified my assassination.

And later, he said, no, it was not assassination. It was kidnapping. But that's also terrorism.

KOPPEL: If one looks at your record, one could easily come to the conclusion that you would like to put pressure on the United States.

You have spoken in the past of cutting off Venezuelan oil to the United States. You have signed new agreements with China. You have visited India. There is a sense that you want to be able to bring the United States to its knees.

CHAVEZ: It's very difficult for someone to bring the empire to its knees. That is not my pretension. That would be something totally disproportional.

What we do want to do is have both of us on our feet -- both of us standing up or both of us sitting down. Or, if we kneel, let both of us kneel. That would be to pray -- to pray, as we Christians pray.

Now, there's the matter of oil. Look, let me clarify. And I would like to clarify this for the people of the United States. The people of the United States should know that we are the owners in a U.S. territory of a great oil (inaudible) which has eight major refineries. That company has a value in near $10 billion.

We're one of the biggest investors of Latin America. I think we're the prime investor of Latin America in the United States. We are giving employment to more than 2,000 U.S. workers and their families. We are paying taxes to the government of the United States. We cooperate with many cities, with mayoralties, Houston.

And now with Katrina, this awful drama that the United States is living through, from the very first day I ordered a group -- a coordinating a group of support being sent to where one of our refineries is located. We've been helping. And we've been even rescuing people.

Practically no one in the United States knows that we've donated millions of dollars to the governorship of Louisiana, to the New Orleans Red Cross. We're now giving care to more than 5,000 victims, and now we're going to supply gasoline, freely in some cases, and with discounts in other cases, to the poorest of communities, starting with New Orleans and its surroundings.

The people of the United States should know that.

The only time that I have said where Venezuela would not supply oil to the United States, it was no threat. It's rather to respond to a threat, the threat of invasion. We have obtained evidence of something which would be absolutely foolhardy, the invasion of Venezuela. That's where we said that under those circumstances...

KOPPEL: Let me stop you.

CHAVEZ: ...there would be no oil.

KOPPEL: Are you saying you have discovered evidence of an invasion plan against Venezuela or are you saying "if" you discovered a plan?

CHAVEZ: I'm telling you that I have evidence that there are plans to invade Venezuela. Furthermore, we have documentation: how many bombers to overfly Venezuela on the day of the invasion, how many trans-Atlantic carriers, how many aircraft carriers need to be sent to (inaudible) even during (inaudible).

Recently, an aircraft carrier went to Curacao (inaudible) the fact that the soldiers were on leave.

That's a lie. They were doing movements. They were doing maneuvers. All on documentation. The plan is called Balboa, where Venezuela is indicated as an objective.

And in the face of that scenario, I said that if that actually happens, the United States should just forget the million and a half barrels of oil. Because everyday since I've been in power for seven years, we haven't missed it even one single day -- just one day, when we were overthrown. We were overthrown by that coup -- oil sabotage -- which was supported by Washington...

KOPPEL: If I may, Mr. President, you say you have documentation of this plan. Can I ask you now, on camera, will you make that documentation available to me?

CHAVEZ: I can send to you -- I can't send it all, but I can make sure I can send part of it to you. I can send it to you.

KOPPEL: Please.

CHAVEZ: I can send you maps and everything, and you can show it to the United States citizens. What I can't tell you his how we got it, to protect the sources, how we got it through military intelligence.

But nobody can deny it, because (inaudible) the Balboa plan. We are coming up with the counter-Balboa plan. That is to say if the government of the United States attempts to commit the foolhardy enterprise of attacking us, it would be embarked on a 100-year war. We are prepared.

They would not manage to control Venezuela, the same way they haven't been able to control Iraq. (inaudible) Venezuela, my impression is that there would be a movement of a resistance in other parts of this continent. Oil could reach $100 or $120 a barrel, among other things.

KOPPEL: Can you understand why people think that you are unfriendly toward the government of the United States?

Among your closest friends: Cuba, Syria, Iran, Libya. These are all countries that the United States regards as unfriendly, if not terrorist countries themselves.

CHAVEZ: Well, Cuba is much more than a friend. The people of Cuba and its leader, Fidel Castro, are much more than friends. We are joined in a battle which is described in the plans of each country and described in the roots of our history.

Now, Cuba is being attacked -- assaulted by the United States, by the government of the United States, and that has been the case for more than 40 years. This inhumane blockade, this unjustified blockade, the United Nations has gotten tired of issuing pronouncements asking the United States to cease the blockade. And Pope John Paul II -- and the undignified, unjust, accusative, arbitrary blockade is being maintained.

The assaulted party is Cuba. We are brothers of Cuba.

We are also friends of Gadhafi. We are part of the petroleum producing companies. This morning I met with the president of Iran. We are members of OPEC.

And I'm also very close to Lula. I'm very close to (inaudible). I'm a very good friend of the prime minister of Jamaica. I'm very close to the representatives who came here last night, Delahunt from Massachusetts, Burton, a Republican. Good friends. I have a lot of friends (inaudible).

Now, you can't say -- nobody can say that Venezuela is a country that commits aggression against the United States or is an enemy of the United States because it has open relations with (inaudible) world. We have open relations with China (inaudible). With Colombia we have very good relations. We have good relations with everyone.

The only country, the only administration with whom we don't have good relations on the face of the earth is the administration of Mr. Bush. That's the only example (inaudible). We are friends of the king of Spain. As we say in Venezuela, he is a good guy. The king of Malaysia (inaudible). The emir of Qatar is my brother.

I have friends throughout the entire world, kings, princes, presidents, prime ministers. Only with Washington is where the relationship doesn't work.

KOPPEL: Let me put it very simply.


KOPPEL: If the United States doesn't invade Venezuela, can the people of the United States assume that Venezuela will continue supplying as much oil to the United States as it has in the past?

CHAVEZ: Of course. Let me tell you something further.

If you give me a map, I'll show it to you very simply, very quickly. Most all the U.S. companies work in Venezuela -- ChevronTexaco, ExxonMobil (inaudible) Venezuela. And they are producing oil.

And let me tell you that I meet very frequently with the managers and the administrators, the leaders. Recently, the world director of Chevron came to announce to me that they want to invest more than $5 billion in (inaudible). They just won a gas license, ChevronTexaco. They are operating (inaudible) Shell, from England.

What's the name -- the Norwegian (inaudible), but especially the U.S. companies. They are developing plans to continue to invest in Venezuela in gas and oil.

Pay attention. In these days of Katrina, today or tomorrow, a Venezuelan ship with 300,000 barrels of gasoline should be arriving. It's the first of four or five additional ships that we have sent to help to palliate the (inaudible) and put the breaks on the (inaudible). That's what we're doing. (inaudible) You hit me on one cheek, and I'll try to respond by helping you. I don't care. We're not doing this for the administration. We're doing it for the people of the United States. So that's how I respond.

We have no plans to alter in any way the supply of oil to the United States.

Furthermore, I would say that Venezuela has the chief, most important oil reserves in the world. Do you know how much oil is left in the United States reserve? Barely 20 billion barrels, with 20 million barrels a day being consumed.

Venezuela has 300 billion barrels for the reserve. We have the second-most important reserve of gas in this continent of the United States or in the world.

Now we want to share that oil and that gas with the United States, but also with the Caribbean, but also with China and also with India and also with Argentina and Brazil.

Now we are (inaudible) in the Orinoco River. I hope you could visit the Orinoco and do a special program on oil, because what I must confirm is that we offer the United States every guarantee for oil supply for 150 (ph) years more, when both of us will be pushing up daisies.

KOPPEL: Mr. President, on that happy note, let me thank you. You've been most generous with your time and it's been a pleasure talking to you.

Thank you very much indeed.

CHAVEZ: Let me thank you. I would like to greet you, and I hope you can come to Venezuela. Let me invite you and let us greet the entire people of the United States.

Tomorrow I'm going to take a walk through some of the neighborhoods of New York. We're going to a church to see Jesse Jackson (inaudible). And then I'm going to play a baseball game on the field with some Yankees (ph).

We love the people of the United States, and our desire is to have a world of brothers in peace. God grant that that be the case.

Thank you.

KOPPEL: Thank you, sir.


Copyright © 2005 ABC News Internet Ventures

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Gold ends at new 17-year peak
September 19, 2005

NEW YORK - U.S. gold futures rocketed to a fresh 17-year high on Monday, boosted by jitters over inflation and a new storm brewing in the Gulf of Mexico that could threaten U.S. energy output amid already-towering oil prices, analysts and traders said.

In other precious metals, platinum shot to an eight-month and life-of-contract high, while palladium scaled a five-month peak and silver rose to its highest mark since June.

December delivery gold on the New York Mercantile Exchange's COMEX division settled at $470.40 an ounce, up $7.10 on the day, after moving between $462 and $472.40, which surpassed the prior life-of-contract high of $471 an ounce.

The session peak was the loftiest level for futures since January 1988, when prices reached nearly $490, and it was gold's third-straight 17-year peak on a daily basis since it first rallied last week. [...]

Gold is a classic harbor for investors in turbulent times and investors are known to shift some assets into the precious metal when other financial markets are volatile.

The market continued to shrug off a firmer dollar, which most of the time makes gold less attractive to investors.

Also stoking gold's rally were strong bullion demand and a lack of selling by European central banks, which have reached the annual limit of a five-year pact to cap sales, analysts said. [...]

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U.S. Michigan September Consumer Sentiment Falls to 76.9
Sept. 16, 2005

U.S. consumer confidence fell to the lowest since 1992 after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast and pushed gasoline prices to a record high.

The University of Michigan's preliminary index of consumer sentiment fell to 76.9 from 89.1 in August. The reading compares with the median forecast of 85 in a Bloomberg News survey of 53 economists.

"People are understandably more concerned about economic conditions because of the hurricane and the spike in energy prices,'' Stephen Stanley, chief economist at RBS Greenwich Capital in Greenwich, Connecticut, said in an interview before the report. "We'll see weakness in September consumer spending, but things will start to turn around in the fall.''

Katrina hit Aug. 29, causing an estimated $100 billion in damage across 90,000 square miles. It killed hundreds, displaced hundreds of thousands and shuttered hundreds of workplaces. The storm shut vital oil and gas production and refining facilities, pushing gasoline prices to more than $3 a gallon. High gas prices are hurting sales at retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Best Buy Co.

Economists' estimates for the Michigan report ranged from 78 to 90.5. The preliminary reading is based on a phone survey of about 300 households. The university will release a final report with a sample size of 500 on Sept. 30.

The current conditions index, which reflects Americans' perception of their financial situation and whether it's a good time to buy big-ticket items, fell to 97.7 from 108.2 in August. The expectations index, based on optimism about the next one to five years, fell to 63.6 from 76.9 last month.

Jobs Lost

Hurricane Katrina may cost the economy 400,000 lost jobs and cut economic growth by a percentage point in the second half of the year, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The storm helped push initial claims for unemployment benefits up by 71,000 last week, the most in more than nine years, the Labor Department said yesterday. [...]

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World has slim chance to stop flu pandemic
By Michael Perry
Sep 20 1:48 AM US/Eastern

NOUMEA, New Caledonia - The initial outbreak of what could explode into a bird flu pandemic may affect only a few people, but the world will have just weeks to contain the deadly virus before it spreads and kills millions.

Chances of containment are limited because the potentially catastrophic infection may not be detected until it has already spread to several countries, like the SARS virus in 2003. Avian flu vaccines developed in advance will have little impact on the pandemic virus.

It will take scientists four to six months to develop a vaccine that protects against the pandemic virus, by which time thousands could have died. There is little likelihood a vaccine will even reach the country where the pandemic starts.

That is the scenario outlined on Tuesday by Dr Hitoshi Oshitani, the man who was on the frontline in the battle against SARS and now leads the fight against avian flu in Asia. [...]


When a pandemic is first detected, health authorities will need to carry out a massive anti-viral inoculation campaign within two to three weeks to have any chance of containment, said Oshitani.

"Theoretically it is possible to contain the virus if we have early signs of a pandemic detected at the source," he said.

Scientists estimate that between 300,000 and one million people will immediately need anti-virals, but there are only limited stocks. WHO will receive one million doses by the end of 2005 and a further two million by mid-2006.

Even when an avian flu vaccine is fully developed, production limitations will mean there will not be enough vaccine.

"Right now we have a timeframe of four to six months to develop and produce a certain quantity of vaccine and that may not be fast enough," said Oshitani. [...]

Oshitani said the early vaccines were unlikely to protect against the pandemic virus. "The vaccine should match the pandemic strain. So a vaccine developed for the virus in Vietnam now may not protect you from another virus," he said.

But Oshitani fears that once a pandemic occurs, the world's rich nations may dominate vaccine supply.

"The distribution of a vaccine will be a major issue when a pandemic starts. There is no mechanism for distribution," he said. Asked whether poorer Asian nations such as Cambodia and Vietnam would get a vaccine, Oshitani said "probably not." [...]

Oshitani said that the successful containment measures used against SARS, such as quarantining those infected and cross-border checks, would fail against an avian pandemic, as people spreading bird flu may not show early symptoms.

"The pandemic is likely to be like the seasonal influenza, which is much more infectious than the SARS virus," he said.

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Many people report symptoms of electromagnetic radiation sickness, WHO
Frans van Velden
12 Sep 2005

"A lot of people report symptoms similar to yours, and there is even a name for it, electrical hypersensitivity (EHS)", writes Chiyoji Ohkubo of the EMF- radiation project of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in an e-mail to a patient. Though the WHO confirms the problem is serious, there will be a 'fact sheet' by the EMF-project within a few weeks, totally denying the existence of radiation sickness. The information is based on instructions by a working group of five people in Prague, 2004. It reads like a political manifesto, to hush up the epidemic and leave the patients behind without any care.

Symptoms of electromagnetic radiation sickness are for example sleep disturbances, dizziness, heart palpitations, headache, blurry sight, swelling, nausea, a burning skin, vibrations, electrical currents in the body, pressure on the breast, cramps, high blood pressure and general unwell-being. According to many testimonies of victims the symptoms appear in the vicinity of sources of electromagnetic radiation, like GSM and 3G (UMTS) antennas, cellphones, DECT wireless telephones and WIFI wireless networks. Many times the experiences are blind. Radiation measurements taken afterwards and investigations show, that the radiation density indeed is increased. Many sufferers find out the relationship with the radiation, when they stay for a while elsewhere, where the symptoms diminish or disappear. When they return home the symptoms immediately appear again. Many of the patients decide to move to another place. Others try to shield themselves against the radiation, for example building a Faraday cage of fine wire mesh.

Canary bird sings again

In one documented case a canary bird did not sing anymore and lost his feathers. The cage was at fifty metres distance from a GSM-antenna. After his owner had put a Faraday cage of fine wire mesh around the cage, shielding against part of the radiation, the bird started singing again and did not pick his skin anymore. So, the symptoms are real and not imaginative. That is confirmed by the co-ordinator of the EMF-radiation project, Michael Repacholi. He says, he has met many people who suffer from radiation sickness and electrical hypersensitivity. "I know how much it affects people and that the symptoms are real", he writes. But the EMF- project refuses to comment the many thrustworthy and verifiable testimonies. Repacholi says it is his responsibility, to tell the public that the problems do not exist, since science can not find 'electrosensitivity' in people. Of course not. Humans do not have a sense for the electromagnetic radiation of the relevant frequencies.

Secretariat only

The World Health Organisation does nothing at all to recognize and take care of the many sufferers reporting electromagnetic radiation sickness. Nothing is done to prevent future victims, nothing to map the epidemic and assess the high risks. The reports are not checked by anybody, not even on a national or local scale. The EMF-radiation project does not even answer highly relevant questions about individual and collected cases. Repacholi: "WHO does not make conclusions. WHO gets its information, conclusions and recommendations from experts worldwide. WHO staff only act as the secretariat to facilitate this process and then to promote the results through normal channels of communication. WHO staff do not make the conclusions and recommendations on any issue. They are merely the administrators of the project." However, that is in contradiction with the 'fact sheet'. The instructions for this information leaflet were formulated in Prague, October 2004, by a group of five people, including Emilie van Deventer of the EMF-project. These are more than recommendations - they are instructions of a political character. [...]

Swiss study

Politicians should play the ball now. A growing amount of municipalities takes the anxiousness of citizens seriously, but they don't register or investigate the reports of electromagnetic radiation sickness. Politicians are not much interested in this part of public health. They wait for the results of a study in Switzerland, about 3G (UMTS) and well-being. Coordinator Peter Achermann: "we are currently in the process of analyzing the data. We hope to have a publication ready by the end of 2005." Before he warned the politicians that whatever are the results of the study, it does not say anything about postponed effects and the consequences of permanent radiation. It has been established already, that these effects exist. In a report for T-Mobile by the Jülich Institute of May 9 2005, the experts report effects on the central nervous system, cerebral bloodflow, neuronal activity, EEG, working of the brain and cognitive function. The European Reflex study found damage to DNA, which is an confirmation of earlier research and has been confirmed afterwards. [...]

- correspondence with Chiyoji Ohkubo, Michael Repacholi of the EMF-project, WHO, Geneva
- correspondence with Peter Achermann of the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Zürich
- 'Bobje zingt weer' (canary bird sings again) in Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, August 19 2005
- sauvonsleon.fr (42 testimonies in French around one antenna installation)
- stopumts.nl (questions about health and radiation: email info@stopumts.nl)
- who.int/peh-emf/meetings/hypersens_wgrep_oct04.pdf (page 8)
- http://www.feb.se and many other websites, like microwavenews.com
- unizh.ch/phar/sleep/handy/tnostatement.htm

Comment: From the August 15, 1998 Cassiopaean transcripts:

A: So many kids and kids-at-heart are thunderstruck by techno-
  sensory toys.  Those cellular phones, those pagers and the
  Christmas toy computers... They are like, so cool!
Q: So what are you implying about these techno toys?
A: Ponder.
Q: Give me a clue.  A word, something to point me in the
  right direction.
A: Fuzzy jello-brained kids.
Q: Are you saying that pagers and cell phones, and techno
  toys that kids get for Christmas can have effects on them
  that turn their brains to jello?
In a figurative sense.  All this technology represents a
  Brave New World.  Like Huxley said: Woe is to those who
  have been led to eat their brains for lunch.
Q: My kids have pagers.  Are pagers, in particular...
A: What do you think comprises the signal content?
Q: I don't know.  What does comprise the signal content?
A: Microwaves.
Q: What do these microwaves do to the individual?
A: Contour brain cell structure.
Q: Do they emit a signal continuously, or only when they
  are being used?
A: Wave cycle low to high.
Q: Well, that's not good. How close does the pager have
  to be to you to have this effect?
A: Four meters.  Cell phones too and television and computer
  screens can be transmitted through thusly.
Q: Is there any kind of device that we can build or
  purchase that can emit a blocking signal?
A: Knowledge protects.
Q: When you say 'contouring brain cell structure,' what
  would be evidence or results of such effects?
Increasingly narrow outlooks and being unable to employ
  discriminatory thinking.

Q: Confusion?
A: No.  
Just lack of depth and breadth to one's mental and
  psychic abilities.

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And Finally...

Shot back and sides
11:27 Monday 19th September 2005

A Polish man held up a hair dressers at gunpoint demanding a free hair cut for his girlfriend.

And he brought her back to the salon the next day demanding they do a better job.

The man, who has not been caught, stormed into the Tschenstochau Salon in the southern Polish town of Czestochowa and forced the owner at gunpoint to dye and cut his girlfriend's hair for free.

But the gunman was obviously unhappy with the result as he brought his girlfriend back the next day and again at gunpoint demanded the hairdresser redo the job, even insisting on hair extensions to fix the length.

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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.

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