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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

©2005 Pierre-Paul Feyte


The Great Green Scare

The Cancer Agents of the FBI
October 3, 2005

With nothing much better to do and an unlimited budget to burn, the FBI is turning its mighty inquisitorial arsenal on environmental groups across the country. Even now the feds are scouring green outfits from Moscow, Idaho to Cancer Alley Parish, Louisiana, looking to round up bands of eco-terrorists, the Osama Bin Ladens of the American outback.

Back in Reagantime the rightwingers smeared environmentalists as watermelons: green on the outside, red on the inside. In those halcyon days, economist John Baden, major domo of a rightwing think tank called FREE and the Svengali of the Sagebrush Rebels, made a small fortune hawking watermelon ties, woven of the finest petro-polyester, to his retinue of oil execs, federal judges and range lords. Now that cap-C Communism has faded into the oblivion of high school history text books, the corporate world's PR mavens have had to concoct a new spine-tingling metaphor to evoke the threat environmentalism poses to their bottom line: eco-terrorism.

Apparently, it's just a short step from al Qaeda to PETA. That's right, the money you save from not buying fur may be going to finance terrorist raids to liberate condemned mink from their isolation cages on rodent death row in Corvallis, Oregon.

Of course, the feds haven't had much luck finding Bin Laden. And our mean-spirited Clouseaus didn't stop any of his kamikazes, even though their own agents shouted out repeated internal alarums. And when the whistleblowing agents went public, the FBI brass cracked down on them, gagged some and gave others, such as the courageous Sibel Edmunds, the boot.

Several of the feds' biggest terrorism arrests have blown up in their faces. In Portland, Oregon, the FBI dramatically seized attorney Brandon Mayfield, trumpeting to the press that the mild-mannered immigration lawyer was a long-distance mastermind behind the Madrid train bombings, a kind of Fu Manchu in Birkenstocks. The feds said the technicians in their crime lab had detected Mayfield's fingerprints on a bag found near the bomb site that supposedly was linked to the terrorists. After several harrowing weeks, he was released by a disgusted federal judge, over the FBI's virulent objections, after Spanish investigators revealed that the fatal fingerprint bore not the faintest resemblance to Mayfield's and, in fact, belonged to an Algerian. Yet another crushing blow to the FBI crime lab.

And after four years, the FBI's snark hunt for the anthrax killer has also come up empty.

So perhaps tree huggers shouldn't sweat these menacing invigilations from the big heat.

Then again perhaps they should worry.

What the FBI is truly proficient at is destroying the lives of innocent people, such as Brandon Mayfield, Judi Bari and Wen Ho Lee. That's when they don't simply kill you outright, as they did to Fred Hampton, the blameless men, women and kids in that house of flames in Waco and Randy Weaver's wife, Vicki, as she held an infant in her arms on the front porch of their cabin at Ruby Ridge.

Armed with the bulging array of new police and surveillance powers handed the agency in the wake of 9/11, the FBI is now free to prowl unfettered by even the thinnest strands of constitutional due process through the lives, email and bank accounts of activists trying to stop chemical plants from flushing toxins into their water or logging companies from slaughtering 800-year old trees on lands that are purportedly part of the public estate.

In other words, the FBI is acting as a federally-funded paramilitary force for the cancer industry and Extinction, Incorporated, as the Pinkerton Agency and National Guard once did for Anaconda Copper and Standard Oil.

Apparently, no one has told Robert Mueller that the corpse of Edward Abbey has been moldering in the Arizona desert for 15 years, his place taken by touchy-feely greens funded by organic body products companies, such as Julia Butterfly, who would rather talk to trees than drive spikes into them for their own good.

Of course, this kind of glaring nuance won't deter an agency that persists in peddling the repeatedly discredited slur that Judi Bari bombed herself.

Over on FoxNews, blinking eco-terrorist alerts have replaced Tom Ridge's color-coded threat level as the latest alarmist metronome to distract viewer attention from the plight of Karl Rove, the convictions of corporate tycoons and the deepening bloodbath in Iraq.

FoxNews devoted extensive coverage to congressional testimony earlier this summer by John Lewis, the FBI's Deputy Director for Counterterrorism. Deftly sidestepping border vigilantes, anti-abortion zealots, and white supremacists, Lewis pointed to environmentalists as the great looming internal threat to the security of the nation. Lewis breathlessly claimed that the FBI had documented more than 1,200 acts of eco-terrorism over the last 15 years, inflicting $110 million in property damage-or about the same amount that timber companies steal from the national forests each year. Oddly, executives at the Weyerhaeuser Company--a repeat offender--haven't done any time in Pelican Bay lately.

Once again these hotly reported stories have mostly fizzled out, with the supposed acts of eco-terrorism turning to be insurance scams, disputes between neighbors or angry employees venting their rage with a match and a gallon of gasoline.

In December of 2004, more than a dozen homes in a Maryland subdivision near a wildlife reserve were torched. Before the embers from the smoldering houses had cooled, the FBI publicly fingered eco-terrorists for the arson. But it soon emerged that the fires in the largely middle-class black neighborhood had been committed by a drunken gang of white power pyromaniacs called The Family. Close, boys, but no cigar.

Meanwhile, the Reverend Pat Robertson broadcasts assassination proclamations on national television. Praise the lord and pay the hit man. Operation Rescue's Randal Terry publicly threatened federal judges during the national trauma over Terri Schiavo. One of David Horowitz's featured writers on Frontpage, a certain Michael Calderon, called for "Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Michael Parenti, Michael Moore, Ward Churchill, and [Justin] Raimondos to be found shot full of holes." Another group of beer-gutted ultra-Patriots in Chicago openly pleads online for the execution of Stan Goff, Alexander Cockburn and your humble scribe.

None of these would-be terrorists is currently deemed a public menace by the FBI. Rev. Robertson's notoriously corrupt Operation Blessing is even sanctioned to receive FEMA money.

Over the past quarter of a century, only abortion providers and Muslim clerics have been on the receiving end of more death threats than environmental organizers. It comes with the territory. But these virulent acts of harassment--messages often driven home with dead spotted owls, bullet casings, and rocks through the front window--rarely rouse the interest of the FBI or even local cops. Apparently, the agency doesn't consider the violent suppression of political speech a terrorist act.

The environmental movement hasn't issued any fatwahs lately. (Although there may have been discussions at the crusty League of Conservation Voters of taking some kind of preemptive action against Ralph Nader on the eve of the last election.) Indeed, the greens haven't had many successes at all, since Clinton and Gore drained the spinal fluid out of the big greens back in the mid-90s. With a few feisty exceptions in Montana, Oregon and Louisiana, the movement is a paper tiger these days. Paper tigers are easily intimidated into turning on their own, which may be the point.

The lack of a body count from green sleeper cells hasn't stopped the FBI from amassing robust files on dozens of environmental organizers and environmental groups. Of course, this is an agency that harbored files on Sinatra, Liberace and Louis Armstrong. Satchmo, though, certainly posed a greater threat to the nation's ruling elite than has ever been evinced by the National Audubon Society. In these tremulous times, it's the environmental activist who doesn't have an FBI file who should bear the greatest scrutiny--there's your potential infiltrator. So perhaps the FBI had done the environmental movement a service. The next time you're thinking about giving a green group a contribution, ask to see their FBI file. If it's thinner than 100 pages, donate to another group.

The feds seem to have a special fetish for Greenpeace. A recent lawsuit filed by the ACLU forced the FBI to reveal that it had accumulated more than 2,400 pages of information on Greenpeace. While Greenpeace may be the Bush administration's most visible environmental critic, this isn't your grandfather's Greenpeace, which has largely abandoned the flashy direct actions of yore for glossy direct mailings and run-of-the-mill lobbying efforts--think National Wildlife Federation with tongue-piercings.

And let us never forget that while Greenpeace has never been charged with any terrorist act, it has been the victim of a lethal terrorist bombing. In 1985, two French secret agents detonated three limpet mines on the hull of the Rainbow Warrior while it was docked in Auckland Harbor. The explosions killed Fernando Pereira, a Portuguese photographer.

Even the feds can't cite a single death resulting from an alleged act of eco-terrorism. But that doesn't matter. After the horrors of New Orleans, it should be clear to all that it's the protection of property, not people, that really gets the feds going.

Destruction of property in the name of a political cause is now deemed an act of terrorism that can carry with it prison terms equivalent to first-degree murder and allows the FBI to deploy the extra-constitutional powers granted by the Patriot Act and other anti-terrorism laws.

Take the strange ordeal of Tre Arrow, who faces a life-sentence on federal charges of burning a cement truck and logging equipment in the ancient forests of Oregon. Today, Mr. Arrow, who denies the allegations against him, is being held in Canada, where he is fighting extradition. Those machines torched in the Oregon forests were valued at less than $500,000 combined. Yet Arrow, still in his twenties, is looking at 70 years hard time in federal prison. Compare that to the Nero of Tyco, Dennis Kozlowski, convicted, along with his partner in crime Mark Swartz, of stealing $600 million from his company. Kozlowski will be eligible for parole in seven years. Enron's Meyer Lansky (AKA Andrew Fastow), the numbers man responsible for engineering an accounting scheme that resulted in the largest bankruptcy in US history, got 10 years in Club Fed--and he almost certainly won't serve all of that. They never do.

As disclosed by former UPI editor Kelly Hearn in an excellent recent piece for Alternet, under several state laws, and a bill currently being shepherded through the US congress, you don't even have to destroy property to be considered an eco-terrorist. All you have to do is block access to an animal research facility. Chain yourself to the door of entry into a Dachau of the chimp world and you might find yourself staring down a 20-year prison term, with all of your personal and organizational assests seized, as if you were a Colombian drug kingpin. Here the barbaric RICO statutes are being cast out as the agency's prosecutorial driftnet.

The crackdown on greens is happening at a time when legally sanctioned avenues of dissent against polluters and pillagers of nature are being foreclosed daily, as congress and the administration curtail abilities to appeal and litigate federal rulings threatening the environment. It's even getting tougher and tougher to find out what is actually going on. With 9/11 as the inevitable rationale, the Bush administration has shuttered the Toxic Release Inventory, which disclosed the kinds and amounts of pollutants spew into the water and air by chemical plants, and squeezed the Freedom of Information Act in the name of national security (read: corporate wet dream). What was once a fundamental right of remonstrance against governmental and corporate outrages is now considered an act of sedition.

So this FBI witchhunt is already well underway and will soon be coming to a community group near you. The lives of part-time activists, mothers, nurses, students, will be turned upside down. They will be harassed, bullied and encouraged to inform on their colleagues. Organizations will be infiltrated and wrecked from the inside. False stories will be planted in the press. Environmental funders will be scared off. Foundations will be audited, hauled before hostile congressional committees and threatened with revocation of their tax status. It's a creepy new twist in an old narrative.

They got it all wrong, you say? Tough luck.

Being an FBI agent means never having to say you're sorry. Just ask Richard Jewel, the man they wrongly fingered for the Olympic Park bombings.

Jeffrey St. Clair is the author of Been Brown So Long It Looked Like Green to Me: the Politics of Nature and Grand Theft Pentagon: Tales of Corruption and Profiteering in the War on Terror.

Comment: Historically, the FBI has often been used against the American people. The targeting of "eco-terrorists" is indeed just the latest installment of the drama. Unfortunately, it comes at a time that has seen a series of unprecedented moves by those in power to solidify their authority at the expense of the freedoms of the average citizen. Environmentalists are a small part of a growing list of those who are "unfriendly" to the Bush regime:

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FBI, Michigan Police Tag Peace, Affirmative Actions Groups as 'Terrorists'
By Matthew Rothschild
Republished from The Progressive
29 August 2005

FBI document reveals extensive monitoring of a whole bunch of organizations

An FBI document, released on August 29 by the ACLU, shows extensive monitoring of a whole bunch of organizations, ranging from the Aryan World Church and the Christian Identity movement to animal rights groups, an anti-war collective, and a leading pro-affirmative action coalition.

The document, dated January 29, 2002, is a summary of a domestic terrorism symposium that was held six days previously.

In attendance were the FBI, the Secret Service, the Michigan State Police, the Michigan State University police, and Michigan National Guard.

"The purpose of the meeting was to keep the local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies apprised of the activities of the various groups and individuals within the state of Michigan who are thought to be involved in terrorist activities," the document states.

One of those "terrorist groups" is By Any Means Necessary, which says its aim is "to defend affirmative action, integration, and fight for equality."

The FBI document said a detective, whose last name was blotted out, "presented information on a protest from February 8-10, 2002, in Ann Arbor, Michigan," by the group.

That "protest" was actually the Second National Conference of the New Civil Rights Movement, which was co-sponsored by the Reverend Jesse Jackson's Rainbow/PUSH, with keynote speaker Jonathan Kozol.

Comment: The Rainbow/PUSH Coalition's purpose is essentially the same as that of By Any Means Necessary. Therefore, the FBI must also think that the Rev. Jesse Jackson is a terrorist...

"We're standing up for education equity, and the American government is spying on us? That's an outrage," says Luke Massie, one of the national co-chairs of By Any Means Necessary. "This is palpable proof of what a lot of progressive people have worried about since 9/11: The Bush Administration is shredding our Bill of Rights before our eyes."

The February 8-10 conference was designed to build public support for affirmative action just as the Supreme Court was deciding two Michigan affirmative action cases.

"The timing of this shows the political motivation of the Bush Administration," says Shanta Driver, the group's other national co-chair. "We're completely nonviolent. But it's no surprise to us that people who are devoted to a new civil rights movement and the cause of equality would be targeted for this kind of surveillance and attack."

The FBI document acknowledged that the group was not violent. "Michigan State Police has information that in the past demonstrations by this group have been peaceful," the document states.

The FBI and Michigan law enforcement also discussed the Animal Liberation Front, as well as a local group. "Michigan State University (MSU) Public Safety . . . presented information on a group called East Lansing Animal Rights Movement," the document states. Then, after blotting out information about a student at Michigan State, the document adds: "MSU Public Safety feels that this group has approximately 12-15 members at this time."

On the web, ELARM identifies itself as a 'grassroots animal rights advocacy group' that 'believes strongly in the value of all animals, human or non-human, and therefore opposes any and all forms of animal exploitation. Our purpose is to educate the public regarding animal rights issues, and to expose and oppose animal abuse wherever it is found.'

The group actually is defunct now, according to Julie Hartman, who says she revived it in 2001 only to see it fold two years later.

"We did a couple of circus protests and that kind of thing," she says.

She got a copy of the FBI document last week.

"I was really surprised, considering we never once broke the law, that they would spend the time investigating us," she says.

The fact that the Michigan State University police estimated that there were twelve to fifteen members in her group creeps her out, she says.

"That seems to indicate that they would have to have come to a meeting to find out how many people were involved," she notes. "That actually made me start thinking, who was coming to our meetings?"

She believes the university police department has skewed priorities.

"It's certainly a waste of their resources," she says. "This is a large university. The number of rapes on this campus is astounding. The police always complain they don't have enough resources to do their job, but they're spending their resources to spy on peaceful groups! That's really just sickening."

The Michigan State University police gave no comment.

Another local group that law enforcement linked to ELARM is called Direct Action. Interestingly, the document notes that both groups had demonstrated against the FBI local office because of "perceived injustices by law enforcement." Included as an attachment to the FBI document was a clipping from the Lansing State Journal of January 19, 2002, about the protest, which was ironically entitled: "Dozens march against terrorism." The first sentence reads: "Dozens of students and others marched Friday to protest racial profiling and terrorism - which they say includes United States military action in Afghanistan."

On its website Direct Action says, 'We desire to challenge the calls for retribution, endless war, and destruction of civil liberties. Direct Action also wants to defend the gains made by the movement against corporate power that was birthed in this country on the streets of Seattle.'

Primarily a youth-based group, Direct Action is now focusing a lot of its work on counter-recruitment efforts.

Tommy Simon, a member of Direct Action, dismisses the terrorist label.

"What is a terrorist? The word is just a propaganda tool used to dissuade people from getting involved in activism - especially young people," he says. The group has never been violent, unlike the Bush Administration, he adds.

"We've organized protests and spoken out against the government, but that does not make us a threat in any way," he says. "We're working for peace here."

Sarah Mcdonald, a longtime member of Direct Action, was taken aback by the designation of her group.

"I was shocked," she says. "I was really disturbed that the FBI is misusing its power this way. They're trying to squash dissent, and they're doing that by monitoring anti-war groups and other groups against the Bush Administration."

The ACLU also condemns the police surveillance and the use of the label "terrorist" to describe the peace group and the affirmative action group.

"This document confirms our fears that federal and state counterterrorism officers have turned their attention to groups and individuals engaged in peaceful protest activities," said Ben Wizner, an ACLU staff attorney. "When the FBI and local law enforcement identify affirmative action advocates as potential terrorists, every American has cause for concern."

Wasn't me, says the FBI.

"A plain reading of the document clearly notes that there were presentations at the symposium by someone outside the FBI that discussed the groups By Any Means Necessary and Direct Action," says an FBI press office statement of August 29. "The FBI does not make any representation about these groups in the document other than to note they were discussed during the symposium."

Kary Moss, executive director of the ACLU of Michigan, is not impressed with that statement. "What else can they say, other than we didn't do it, someone else did?" The point is, she says, law enforcement, including the FBI, were discussing these political groups on the assumption that they were "involved in terrorist activities," as the document states.

"Whenever you give police increasing powers, there's going to be confusion about where to begin and where to end," Moss says. "And that's what we're seeing here."

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Protest is criminalised and the huffers and puffers say nothing

The police abuse terror and harassment laws to penalise dissent while we insist civil liberties are our gift to the world
George Monbiot
Tuesday October 4, 2005
The Guardian

'We are trying to fight 21st-century crime - antisocial behaviour, drug dealing, binge drinking, organised crime - with 19th-century methods, as if we still lived in the time of Dickens."
- Tony Blair, September 27 2005.

"Down poured the wine like oil on blazing fire. And still the riot went on - the debauchery gained its height - glasses were dashed upon the floor by hands that could not carry them to lips, oaths were shouted out by lips which could scarcely form the words to vent them in; drunken losers cursed and roared; some mounted on the tables, waving bottles above their heads and bidding defiance to the rest; some danced, some sang, some tore the cards and raved. Tumult and frenzy reigned supreme ..." Nicholas Nickleby, by Charles Dickens, 1839.

All politicians who seek to justify repressive legislation claim that they are responding to an unprecedented threat to public order. And all politicians who cite such a threat draft measures in response which can just as easily be used against democratic protest. No act has been passed over the past 20 years with the aim of preventing antisocial behaviour, disorderly conduct, trespass, harassment and terrorism that has not also been deployed to criminalise a peaceful public engagement in politics. When Walter Wolfgang was briefly detained by the police after heckling the foreign secretary last week, the public caught a glimpse of something that a few of us have been vainly banging on about for years.

On Friday, six students and graduates of Lancaster University were convicted of aggravated trespass. Their crime was to have entered a lecture theatre and handed out leaflets to the audience. Staff at the university were meeting people from BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce, Shell, the Carlyle Group, GlaxoSmithKline, DuPont, Unilever and Diageo, to learn how to "commercialise university research". The students were hoping to persuade the researchers not to sell their work. They were in the theatre for three minutes. As the judge conceded, they tried neither to intimidate anyone nor to stop the conference from proceeding.

They were prosecuted under the 1994 Criminal Justice Act, passed when Michael Howard was the Conservative home secretary. But the university was able to use it only because Labour amended the act in 2003 to ensure that it could be applied anywhere, rather than just "in the open air".

Had Mr Wolfgang said "nonsense" twice during the foreign secretary's speech, the police could have charged him under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. Harassment, the act says, "must involve conduct on at least two occasions ... conduct includes speech". Parliament was told that its purpose was to protect women from stalkers, but the first people to be arrested were three peaceful protesters. Since then it has been used by the arms manufacturer EDO to keep demonstrators away from its factory gates, and by Kent police to arrest a woman who sent an executive at a drugs company two polite emails, begging him not to test his products on animals. In 2001 the peace campaigners Lindis Percy and Anni Rainbow were prosecuted for causing "harassment, alarm or distress" to American servicemen at the Menwith Hill military intelligence base in Yorkshire, by standing at the gate holding the Stars and Stripes and a placard reading "George W Bush? Oh dear!" In Hull a protester was arrested under the act for "staring at a building".

Had Mr Wolfgang said "nonsense" to one of the goons who dragged him out of the conference, he could have been charged under section 125 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005, which came into force in August. Section 125 added a new definition of harassment to the 1997 act, "a course of conduct ... which involves harassment of two or more persons". What this means is that you need only address someone once to be considered to be harassing them, as long as you have also addressed someone else in the same manner. This provision, in other words, can be used to criminalise any protest anywhere. But when the bill passed through the Commons and the Lords, no member contested or even noticed it.

Section 125 hasn't yet been exercised, but section 132 of the act is already becoming an effective weapon against democracy. This bans people from demonstrating in an area "designated" by the government. One of these areas is the square kilometre around parliament. Since the act came into force, democracy campaigners have been holding a picnic in Parliament Square every Sunday afternoon (see Seventeen people have been arrested so far.

But the law that has proved most useful to the police is the one under which Mr Wolfgang was held: section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000. This allows them to stop and search people without the need to show that they have "reasonable suspicion" that a criminal offence is being committed. They have used it to put peaceful protesters through hell. At the beginning of 2003, demonstrators against the impending war with Iraq set up a peace camp outside the military base at Fairford in Gloucestershire, from which US B52s would launch their bombing raids. Every day - sometimes several times a day - the protesters were stopped and searched under section 44. The police, according to a parliamentary answer, used the act 995 times, though they knew that no one at the camp was a terrorist. The constant harassment and detention pretty well broke the protesters' resolve. Since then the police have used the same section to pin down demonstrators outside the bomb depot at Welford in Berkshire, at the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston, at Menwith Hill and at the annual arms fair in London's Docklands.

The police are also rediscovering the benefits of some of our more venerable instruments. On September 10, Keith Richardson, one of the six students convicted of aggravated trespass on Friday, had his stall in Lancaster city centre confiscated under the 1824 Vagrancy Act. "Every Person wandering abroad and endeavouring by the Exposure of Wounds and Deformities to obtain or gather Alms ... shall be deemed a Rogue and Vagabond... " The act was intended to prevent the veterans of the Napoleonic wars from begging, but the police decided that pictures of the wounds on this man's anti-vivisection leaflets put him on the wrong side of the law. In two recent cases, protesters have been arrested under the 1361 Justices of the Peace Act. So much for Mr Blair's 21st century methods.

What is most remarkable is that until Mr Wolfgang was held, neither parliamentarians nor the press were interested. The pressure group Liberty, the Green party, a couple of alternative comedians, the Indymedia network and the alternative magazine Schnews have been left to defend our civil liberties almost unassisted. Even after "Wolfie" was thrown out of the conference, public criticism concentrated on the suppression of dissent within the Labour party, rather than the suppression of dissent throughout the country. As the parliamentary opposition falls apart, the extra-parliamentary one is being closed down with hardly a rumble of protest from the huffers and puffers who insist that civil liberties are Britain's gift to the world. Perhaps they're afraid they'll be arrested.

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The "Ist" Du Jour

An Interview with Cindy Sheehan
October 3, 2005

Cindy Sheehan is the mother of Spc. Casey Austin Sheehan, KIA 04/04/04. She is co-founder of Gold Star Families for Peace.

Joshua Frank: Cindy, why did you decide to hook up with the "antiwar" movement? Do you think that it would have been more powerful to continue building a family-in-mourning movement of mothers, fathers, wives and husbands of the maimed and the slain in Iraq?

Cindy Sheehan: I think those go together, actually. I founded an organization called Gold Star Families for Peace; people can visit us at We are an antiwar group allied with Military Families Speak Out, Veterans for Peace, and Iraq Veteran Against the War. We are antiwar and for the immediate withdrawal of all troops from Iraq. Any group that supports our position is welcome to join with us.

JF: Many war supporters have furiously denied any link between our foreign policy and the risk soldiers are at in Iraq and Afghanistan. Tony Blair has denied any link between foreign policy and the summer bombings over in London. What do you see?

CS: I think that US foreign policy is totally responsible for 9/11, as well as the recent bombings in London. Our policies of killing innocent Iraqis; Afghanis; supporting the occupation of Palestine; our permanent bases in Saudi Arabia; our presence in Lebanon; our support of the Shah; supporting Saddam and giving him the WMDs used on his own people. I think this sort of behavior drives hatred toward the US. This is just all my opinion, of course. I am not a politician or a military strategist. I am just a citizen voicing my opinions.

JF: What fuels the war in Iraq today is central to our geopolitical interests: oil. How do you think this affects our chances as a movement to end the current war, compared to what it took to end the Vietnam War?

CS: I think even more than oil, it has to do with the industrial military complex that Eisenhower warned us about. They have to keep us afraid of something or someone. During the 1950s and 60s it was the Communists. We lost that focus in the 1970s – so the evil Rumsfeld, Cheney and Perle, along with the rest of the neocons, kept that alive. With the fall of the Berlin Wall, we needed a new enemy; so now it is terrorists … they are the "ist" du jour. It really is impossible to fight "ists" and "isms." You just can't do it. All we get in the end is prolonged, evil, and unnecessary war and death.

JF: The 2006 mid-term elections are right around the corner, and there are a few pro-war Democrats up for reelection. The most popular among them, Hillary Clinton in New York and Nancy Pelosi out in California. There is a bit of speculation rumbling in activist circles that you may be planning to take on one or the other in the Democratic primaries coming up. Is this true?

CS: I think Nancy Pelosi is changing her tune, but not nearly fast enough. I have met with her a couple of times lately. I am not thinking of running against Hillary, or Nancy, or Dianne Feinstein, for that matter. If it were anyone, though, it would be Feinstein because I am a Californian and I believe she is a despicable warmonger. People have been begging me to run, but I think I can do more good on the outside of Washington than the inside.

JF: If the Democrats continue to take the stance they have on the Iraq war, mainly supporting the invasion and subsequent occupation -- will you support a Democrat in 2008 for President? Or will you stick to your cause and support a candidate along the lines of Ralph Nader or an anti-war Libertarian or Green Party candidate?

CS: No, I will not support a pro-war Democrat. I will support any anti-war candidate, even if [laughter] it is a Republican. There are some, Josh, really, it could happen! I regret supporting John Kerry in 2004. The movement gained nothing from his candidacy. However, I do think Kerry may be changing his tune on the war. The next few weeks will be telling.

JF: Kerry certainly was a warmonger along the campaign trail. What do you think is going to change in Kerry's Iraq position, if anything? You've met with both Senators Clinton and Kerry recently; do you think either would ever endorse bringing the troops home immediately?

CS: As I said, I think Kerry may be changing, but I don't think Clinton ever will. This is just my own speculation, though.

JF: What are the most important pressure points you see coming up in the next few months for the antiwar movement?

CS: The Iraq referendum and elections are at the forefront. We really want the referendum to be successful, but we are not hopeful that it will be. We still need to expose the failures of the Bush administration along with those of Congress and the media. We'll need to keep pushing for the full withdrawal of troops "now." That is paramount.

JF: How do you think anti-war activists can translate their protest and passion against the war into more than marching in circles at a weekend rally?

CS: A lot of people sacrificed a lot to be in Washington on the 24th of September. If peace activists really want to make changes they have to start putting intense pressure on their elected officials. Of course, everything should be non-violent, because we are trying to create a peaceful world and violence can't produce peace – no matter what George W. Bush and his buddies say.

JF: What ultimate outcome to your work -- for the war in Iraq, and beyond that in America's role in the world -- do you think would be a fitting monument to your son Casey?

CS: We need to bring our troops home ASAP. We can't allow any war for imperialism or greed to be fought in our names. This is what we need to keep fighting for. Not just for Casey, but for all, on both sides, who have perished in this illegal, immoral war.

Joshua Frank is the author of brand new book Left Out! How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush, published by Common Courage Press. To learn more please visit

Comment: Boy, with her promotion of speaking out and exercising one's supposed freedom of speech and her insistence that the peace movement should only use nonviolent tactics, that Cindy Sheehan probably has an FBI file three feet thick...

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The Greatest Strategic Disaster in US History

Condoleezza the Gun Slinger
October 3, 2005

Capitol Hill Blue, the Washington DC publication that cultivates relationships with White House staffers, reports (September 28) one White House aide saying: "It's like working in an insane asylum. People walk around like they're in a trance. We're the dance band on the Titanic, playing out our last songs to people who know the ship is sinking and none of us are going to make it."

"If POTUS is on the road, you can breathe a little easier," says an aide. Otherwise it is one temper tantrum after another from Bush, whose "cakewalk war" has turned into interminable conflict, whose idiocy in diverting funding for New Orleans' levees to war in Iraq was disastrous for the famous city, and whose Social Security privatization has been rejected by the electorate.

Even rah-rah Republican Newt Gingrich says the White House is surrounded by failure.

No member of the White House staff wants to deliver news to Bush, because the news is bad. Bush demands sycophancy and equates bad news with disagreement and disloyalty.

Little wonder that Republican minority token Condi Rice was dispatched to Princeton last week to inform the university that democracy comes out of the barrel of a gun. US military force, said the secretary of state with a straight face, is required to force democracy down the throats of the Muslims in order to save future American generations from "insecurity and fear."

Condi obviously doesn't want Bush to put her in the "against us" camp. She told Princeton that she agreed with Bush "that the root cause of September 11 was the violent expression of a global extremist ideology, an ideology rooted in the oppression and despair of the modern Middle East."

Every American should be scared to death that a secretary of state can make such an ignorant and propagandistic statement.

Many Middle Eastern countries are ruled by puppets on the American payroll. Even the Saudis are under American protection. If there is oppression in the Middle East, it is because US puppets and protectorates are doing what the US government wants, not what the people they rule want.

The Middle East is in despair because almost a century after the First World War freed Arabs from Turkish occupation, they still cannot get free of US and British occupation. [...]

What kind of fool believes that the way to bring democracy to a country is to invade, destroy cities and infrastructure, and kill and maim tens of thousands of civilians, while creating every possible animosity by aligning with some members of the society against the others?

Condi Rice's speech at Princeton has branded her as the greatest fool ever to be appointed Secretary of State. The same day that she declared, Mao-like, that democracy comes out of the barrel of a gun, Lt. Gen. William Odom, Director of the National Security Agency during President Reagan's second term, a scholar with a distinguished career in military intelligence, declared Bush's invasion of Iraq to be the "greatest strategic disaster in United States history."

No one can impugn Gen. Odom's patriotism. When I wrote on April 1, 2003, that "the U.S. invasion of Iraq is a strategic blunder," the hate mail poured in from bloody-minded Bush supporters, who assured me that the war would be over in one week. Only a liberal pinko Bush-hating commie could fail to see that the war was won, they jeered.

Two and one-half years later with rising casualties and instability, no one can dispute Gen. Odom. As all news reports make clear, there is no trained Iraqi army. Consequently, says the US commander in Iraq, the hopes that some US troops could be withdrawn next spring is forlorn.

The Democratic Party is no help. Its warmongers are pushing legislation to increase the available US troops by 80,000 in order that the US can keep the war going in Iraq.

These troops, too, will perish in the interminable conflict.

Meanwhile the US, which cannot occupy Baghdad or control the road to the airport, is making more threats against Syria. The Bush administration is blaming Syria and Iran for its failure in Iraq. "Our patience is running out," declared US ambassador to Iraq Zaimay Khalilzad.

The Israelis have told their US puppet that if the US doesn't use force to destroy Iran's nuclear energy programs, then Israel will undertake to bomb Iran. This despite the announcement by the director of the International Atomic Energy Agency that two years of unfettered access to Iran's nuclear programs has failed to turn up any sign of a weapons program.

When will Americans notice that the threats flow from the US to the Middle East? No Middle Eastern government has made any threat against the US or initiated any hostile action. In contrast, the US has invaded two Middle Eastern countries and is threatening to attack two more.

Terrorism is not an activity of Muslim states. Osama bin Laden is a Saudi who dares not return to his homeland.

Most Muslim states are too impotent to stamp out independent terrorists and too fearful that terrorist networks will be organized against them. Ignorant US officials equate weakness with intention and demonize Middle Eastern governments, including our own puppets and protectorates, as "state sponsors of terrorism." Isn't it ironic? The US damns vulnerable Middle Eastern rulers for not stamping out terrorism when all the troops and violence the US can muster cannot stamp out terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The implication of a recent CIA report is that the US itself is a state sponsor of terrorism. According to the CIA, the US invasion of Iraq has created a terrorist training ground for al Qaeda where no previous terrorists existed. The US is creating more terrorists in Iraq than the rest of the Middle East together. Why is President Bush spending $300 billion running a terrorist training ground in Iraq?

Why does Condi Rice think that democracy would wipe away the hatreds that the US and Israel have created in the Middle East? How does she know that Middle Eastern democracy would not uphold terrorism against Israel and the US? In the US democracy is upholding an illegal war based on deceit. In Israel democracy is upholding genocidal practices against the Palestinians. Does Condi Rice really believe that democracy, a mere political form, insures that people and their governments never behave wrongly, immorally, or violently?

If America is going to preach democracy, shouldn't it lead by example? According to all the polls, the vast majority of Americans do not agree with Bush and Rice that democracy comes out of the barrel of an American gun. They do not support Bush's goal of using American blood and treasure to coerce democracy on the Middle East or anywhere else. The majority of Americans want the war over and the troops home. Why do Bush and Condi Rice oppose the will of the majority? Why don't these two who preach democracy practice it?

The Bush administration is the administration of deceit and hypocrisy. It is the antithesis of democracy. All democracy rests on persuasion, which implies disagreement. Yet, Bush and Condi regard dissent as disloyalty. They glorify coercion.

They believe in their will alone. Where have we seen that before?

Comment: In an earlier article, Roberts outlined the new push to expand the "war on terror" into Iran and North Korea:

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Bush Is Cooking Up Two More Wars
by Paul Craig Roberts
October 1, 2005

Mired in interminable conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Bush administration is moving toward initiating two more wars, one with Iran and one with North Korea. With no US troops available, the Bush administration is revamping US war doctrine to allow for "preventative nuclear attack." In short, the Bush administration is planning to make the US the first country in history to initiate war with nuclear weapons. The Pentagon document, "Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations," calls for the use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear adversaries in order "to ensure success of US and multinational operations."

In the case of Iran and North Korea, the Bush administration is using diplomacy not for diplomatic purposes of reaching agreements, but in order to set the two countries up for nuclear attack. In the case of Iran, the Bush administration's plan is now obvious. The Bush administration is leveling false charges against Iran, just as it did against Iraq, of conspiring to make nuclear weapons. These charges are known to be false by the Bush administration and by the entire world.

For the past two years the International Atomic Energy Agency has had unfettered access to inspect Iran for any sign of a nuclear weapons program. The head of the IAEA has announced that there is no sign of a weapons program. The Bush administration nevertheless insists that Iran is making weapons, but can produce no evidence. As in the case of Iraq, the Bush administration substitutes allegations for facts.

Gordon Prather, an expert on the subject, has reported the straight facts in fine detail. Readers can become familiar with them by consulting his archive at

By bullying the 35 members of the IAEA, the Bush administration last week managed to get 22 votes that could lead to the referral of Iran to the UN Security Council. The Bush administration will now lobby for the referral. Once it has the referral, even if the Security Council does not act on it, the Bush administration can use it as an excuse to attack Iran. The Bush administration knows that few Americans have any knowledge of international law and procedures and will simply believe whatever President Bush says. The highly concentrated US media is a proven walkover for the war-mongering Bush administration.

As Dr. Prather has shown, Iran has gone beyond compliance to propose that new additional safeguards be established to monitor its nuclear energy program. The bad intentions are on the part of the Bush administration.

The Bush administration's plan is to create Iranian intransigence in place of cooperation by forcing the Iranian government to stand up to the bullying by reducing its cooperation. The goal of the Bush administration is to attack Iran, not to create cooperative relationships.

Needless to say, Iranians are angry at the Bush administration's manipulation of the IAEA members. Last Wednesday protesters in Tehran attacked the British embassy, which serves as a proxy for the non-existent US embassy, and legislation was introduced that, if it passes, will scale back Iran's cooperation with the IAEA. Iran has also threatened to cut off oil deliveries to some of the countries that caved in to US pressure, thereby permitting the US to increase tensions and escalate the conflict.

The Bush administration is betting that it can demonize Iran the way it did Iraq. As both Congress and the American public have failed to hold Bush accountable for deceiving them about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, the administration assumes that its tactics will work a second time.

However, a nuclear attack on Iran would leave the Bush administration isolated. The US would instantly become a pariah nation, loathed and hated everywhere else.

Moreover, it would leave our battered troops in Iraq in a perilous situation. The only reason our army in Iraq has not been destroyed is that the Shi'ites, who comprise the vast majority of the population, have not taken up arms against us, expecting the US to turn over Iraq to them. As the Iraqi Shi'ites are allied with the Iranians, who also are Shi'ite, the US cannot attack Iran without destroying its position in Iraq.

The Bush administration, filled with hubris and delusion, is too stupid to know this.

The American people need to ask themselves why of all the countries in the world, only the US and Israel believe that it is imperative to attack Iran. If Iran is such a threat to the world, why isn't Russia, for example, concerned and ready to invade?

Americans need to ask themselves the same question about North Korea. Why is the US, half a world away, so concerned about North Korea? If North Korea is such a threat, would not China, sitting on its border, know it? Wouldn't Japan know it? South Korea? Wouldn't some other country besides the US see the problem and take action? According to the Voice of America (August 11, 2005), "Senior South Korean officials on Thursday defended what they say is North Korea's ‘natural right' to pursue civilian nuclear power. The move may cause friction with the United States, which has expressed firm opposition to the North having any nuclear facilities whatsoever."

If the US doesn't want other countries to develop nuclear weapons, the US must stop bombing, invading and threatening invasions and nuclear attacks. How does President Bush serve the cause of peace by making countries paranoid by declaring them to be our enemies?

For there to be peace, the US must drop its belligerent role. The proper function of diplomacy is to build trust by drawing countries into economic and cultural relationships, not to isolate them for attack. It is past time for the US to give up its quarter century feud with Iran. US interference in Iranian internal affairs was the source of the feud. We need to acknowledge it and get over it.

The Korean war ended a half century ago. Isn't it time the US acknowledged the war's end and signed a treaty with North Korea? The Korean war was essentially a war between the US and China. It was Chinese troops that prevented American victory. Yet we are getting on with China, a much greater potential threat to the US than North Korea or Iran could ever be.

By creating instability in the Middle East, the US undermines Israel's security. As a few thousand Iraqi insurgents have proven, American armies are not going to be able to sit over the oil in the Middle East. If we can't produce enough valuable goods or maintain a strong currency, we won't have access to the oil. There is no possibility whatsoever of the US pushing around powers like China, India, or Russia.

Bush's hubris makes him unrealistic. He greatly overestimates America's power. Congress and the American people must find a way to supply the judgment that is missing in the executive branch.

There would be no terrorism if the US would stop interfering in the internal affairs of Middle Eastern countries and if Israel stopped stealing the West Bank from the Palestinians. The Bush administration knows this, and that is why the administration spreads the propagandistic lie that "they" (Muslims) hate us and our way of life. This lie is the excuse for American aggression.

Comment: There may be one way to get the world to back off if the US nukes Iran: a false flag operation targeting Israel. Given the worldwide influence of the Zionists, any "attack" on Israel could very well be responded to with a huge level of force, and most world leaders would probably keep their mouths shut for fear of being labeled "anti-Semitic". Another "terrorist attack" or two in key countries before the Big Event in Iran might be enough to herd the population into standing behind their fearful leaders. It worked in the US, it worked in the UK, and it worked in Australia - and the last case didn't even require an attack on the nation itself. When it comes right down to it, the invasion and occupation of Iraq was no small event - yet how many nations stepped forward and did anything more than voice their concern about US imperialism in as nice a way as possible?

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Media, media everywhere, and no time left to think?
Oct 04 2:07 AM US/Eastern

The average American is a ravenous media junkie, consuming up to nine hours a day of television, web time or cellphone minutes, according to new research which raises fresh questions about how technology is revolutionising society.

From iPods filling commuters' ears, the screens scrolling headlines in the elevator at work to proliferating on-the-move tools like cellphones and Blackberry handhelds, media is everywhere in the United States, like much of the rest of the developed world.

As information technology marches on, and search engine giant Google even raises the prospect of free wireless Internet access for whole cities, media in all its forms is almost impossible to escape.

"What does this mean for society?" said Professor Bob Papper, co-author of a study at Ball State University in Indiana, which charted mass media use by Americans.

There has been plenty of speculation on the impact on daily life of fast expanding media. One theory for instance has it that as people become more and more connected electronically, they are becoming less and less connected personally.

Some experts question whether as consumers are swamped by information, they lose the ability to decipher fact from rumor, or find it hard to think through what they hear.

Academic research has yet to prove or disprove such theories, said Papper, who is launching a series of companion studies, including one probing why people are spending so much time online, on the cellphone, or watching television, and how their personalities are affected.

Comment: The fact that the US is in Iraq right now is a testament to just how effectively the media can make the average person lose the ability to discern between fact and rumor. The proof is in the pudding.

"The average person spends about nine hours per day using some type of media, which is arguably in excess of anything we would have envisaged 10 years ago," Papper told AFP.

The Ball State survey found that while television was still the most dominant media device used by the average American, computers were catching up fast.

"When we combine time spent on the Web, using e-mail, instant messaging and software such as word processing, the computer eclipses all other media with the single exception of television," Papper said.

The Ball State study partially confirms findings of a major look into growing Internet use among Americans published in January of this year by the Pew Internet and American Life project.

On a typical day at the end of 2004, 70 million Americans went online to use email, get news, find health and medical information, book travel or countless other activities, a figure 37 percent higher than four years before, the survey found.

That figure looks set to grow, as new low cost technologies spread the benefits of the world wide web to social groups so far cut out of the information revolution.

Google has announced a proposal for free wireless Internet access for the whole of San Francisco, and a new project from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology envisages a 100 dollar laptop, to be handed out first to poor children in developing countries.

The Ball State study among 400 people over the last few months charting 5,000 hours of media use, tracked 15 different media and gadgets including television, books, magazines, cellphones, the Internet, instant messenging and e-mail.

Among the most interesting conclusions was that 30 percent of 'media time' is spent on one or more device, as people perhaps have on eye on the latest reality show on tv while shuffling through their email.

Another suprising find is that 18 to 24-year-olds spend less time online than any other age group except for the over 65s, giving the lie to the idea that young adults are the most computer literate.

The survey, which found Fridays have the heaviest web and mobile phone traffic, is a minefield of data for advertisers keen to find out who is watching, when.

"If media usage increases on Fridays based on the assumption that people are planning social activities, then this would be potentially the best day to advertise movies, drink and food specials and other products," said Mike Bloxam, a member of the Ball State research team.

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Pentagon late on reimbursing troops for Iraq gear
By Will Dunham
Mon Oct 3, 4:40 PM ET

WASHINGTON - The Pentagon has not devised rules for reimbursing U.S. troops for body armor and other gear bought with their own money for duty in Iraq and Afghanistan despite a law that required such guidelines seven months ago.

Defense Department spokesman Bryan Whitman said on Monday Pentagon staff had been working hard on the issue.

"And my sense is that they are pretty close to finalizing what the policies and procedures will be for that," Whitman said, though he declined to predict when the rules would be ready.

Some troops and their families have bought body armor and other equipment after the Pentagon failed to provide the gear they felt was necessary. Critics of the Bush administration have periodically seized on this as an illustration of what they see as poor planning for the wars.

President George W. Bush last October signed into law legislation requiring the Pentagon to set rules by last February 25 for reimbursing U.S. troops, their families and charities up to $1,100 for the purchase of protective, health and safety gear to use in those war zones.

Pentagon officials did not offer an explanation for why they had not complied with the deadline set in the law.

The law allowed claims to be filed by troops and evaluated and approved by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

In light of the Pentagon's tardiness, Democratic Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, sponsor of the legislation, has drafted a new bill to take the program away from Rumsfeld and permit individual military commanders to decide on the equipment eligible for reimbursement.

The law signed by Bush permitted reimbursements for purchases starting on September 11, 2001, the date of the attacks on the United States, through July 31, 2004. Because of signs of continuing equipment problems, Dodd's new bill would lift that cut-off date and cover purchases made since then for troops deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Some critics have accused the Pentagon of unnecessarily putting U.S. troops at risk by giving them inadequate body and vehicle armor. A U.S. soldier won applause from fellow troops during a question-and-answer session with Rumsfeld in Kuwait last December when he asked the secretary why soldiers had to dig through landfills for pieces of scrap metal to use as improvised vehicle armor in Iraq.

Rumsfeld responded, "As you know, you go to war with the Army you have, not the Army you might want or wish to have at a later time."

Comment: A year after Bush approved the reimbursement plan, his administration is still dragging its feet. It's not a matter of poor planning; it is a matter of the ruling elite not actually caring one way or the other about the members of the armed forces that they so often praise. No wonder Bush weaseled his way out of his military service...

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Group: Iraqi Insurgents Commit War Crimes
Associated Press
Sun Oct 2, 8:05 PM ET

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Insurgent groups in Iraq are committing war crimes by targeting civilians in mass killings, abductions and beheadings, a human rights group said Monday.

Human Rights Watch, which often has criticized alleged abuses by U.S. forces in Iraq, turned its attention in its latest report to insurgent groups like al-Qaida in Iraq and Ansar al-Sunnah that have claimed responsibility for attacks in mosques, markets, bus stations and other civilian areas in Iraq.

The group also said the disregard for the lives of civilians in the mostly Muslim country was backfiring in terms of popular support for the insurgency elsewhere in the Arab world.

"People we have spoken with in the Middle East are increasingly repulsed by the behavior of insurgent groups in Iraq, even if they support a withdrawal of U.S. troops," said Sara Leah Whitson, the region's Human Rights Watch director.

"There are no justifications for targeting civilians, in Iraq or anywhere else," Whitson said. "Armed groups as well as governments must respect the laws of war."

Iraq's courts have convicted some insurgents, but there is no sign of a major push for an international war crimes trial against the militants, even if al-Qaida in Iraq's leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, is caught.

The Shiite-dominated interim government is focusing on what it considers a higher-priority case: the trial of ousted leader Saddam Hussein for alleged war crimes during his time in power. Saddam's first trial is due to begin Oct. 19, and if convicted, he could be sentenced to death.

In the meantime, Iraqi and U.S. forces are trying to put down the Sunni-led insurgency amid stepped up attacks ahead of an Oct. 15 vote on a new constitution.

Al-Zarqawi's group has declared "all-out war" on Shiites, and suicide bombers have killed at least 1,345 people since the government took power on April 28, according to an Associated Press count. Last week alone, car bombings hit markets in two Shiite towns, killing more than 110 people, one-fifth of them women and children.

In its report, Human Rights Watch listed 73 insurgent attacks between August 2003 and Sept. 17 this year in which at least 10 civilians were killed. The most deaths came Sept. 14-15, when a series of car bombs in Baghdad killed nearly 200.

The group dismissed the arguments that insurgent groups and their supporters often use to justify attacks on civilians - including that their victims are legitimate targets because they support foreign forces in Iraq. Those rationales "have no basis in international law, which requires the protection of any civilian who is not actively participating in the hostilities."

Comment: In invasion and occupation of Iraq had no basis in international law either...

The laws of war do not outlaw insurgent groups or ban attacks on legitimate military targets, but they do oblige all forces in a conflict to protect civilians and other noncombatants, it said.

Mass killings with suicide car bombs in public places "are war crimes and in some cases may constitute crimes against humanity, which are defined as serious crimes committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population," Human Rights Watch said.

Iraq's courts have prosecuted some suspected insurgents, including Ayman Sabawi, a nephew of Saddam's, who was sentenced last month to life in prison for funding Iraq's insurgency and bombmaking. About 12,300 detainees also are being held without charge at U.S.-run prisons in Iraq.

Crimes against humanity can be prosecuted in any court in the world, Human Rights Watch said. The International Criminal Court, based in the Netherlands, also can try cases of war crimes.

However, Iraq has not signed or ratified the court's treaty, so the court has no jurisdiction there. Iraq considered joining the court, but Washington's opposition to the ICC appeared to quash that option.

The United States opposes the International Criminal Court, which 99 nations have ratified.

Comment: Human Rights Watch, a group that previously criticised harshly the tactics and torture of the Bush administration, has now changed its tune rather dramatically. Apparently, the idea of a false flag operation has never occurred to HRW's leadership. If anything, the group's condemnation of the Iraqi "insurgents" has bolstered the Bush administration's bogus claims that the US is battling terrorists in Iraq - not to mention the fact that it is now widely recognised that the entire operation in the Middle Eastern nation was based on nothing more than a pack of lies created in the halls of power in the US.

Two days after Human Rights Watch's statement, the US launched another major operation to crush the "terrorists":

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US troops launch big assault on al Qaeda in Iraq
October 4, 2005

BAGHDAD - U.S. forces launched their biggest offensive so far this year against al Qaeda guerrillas in western Iraq when 2,500 troops moved on Tuesday against militants around Haditha, the military said in a statement.

Two months after a previous bid to push Islamist fighters out of the area, Operation River Gate was intended to stop al Qaeda operating in the city and two nearby towns, Haqlaniya and Barwana, and to "free the local citizens from the terrorists' campaign of murder and intimidation," it added.

The towns are among several in the Euphrates valley where local people have said fighters have taken control and imposed Taliban-style Islamic rule, despite frequent offensives by U.S. forces.

During Operation Sword in August, about 1,000 U.S. troops fought militants in Haditha and its neighboring towns, 200 km (125 miles) northwest of Baghdad.

Some 2,500 U.S. troops with some Iraqi soldiers were taking part in the latest crackdown, making it the biggest of the year in Anbar, the sprawling desert province of western Iraq, the military said in its statement.

Separately, about 1,000 troops have been fighting Qaeda militants near Qaim on the Syrian border, a further 120 km (75 miles) to the west, since Saturday in Operation Iron Fist.

"There are now two major operations going on simultaneously," a U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad said.

In its statement on Haditha, the military said: "The operation's goal is to deny al Qaeda in Iraq the ability to operate in the three Euphrates River Valley cities and to free the local citizens from the terrorists' campaign of murder and intimidation of innocent women, children and men.

"Haditha is an important crossroads for al Qaeda in Iraq's smuggling activities from the Syrian border. Once in Haditha, smugglers can go north to Mosul or continue on to Ramadi, Falluja or Baghdad. The city is home to approximately 75,000 Iraqis, a vital hydro-electric power plant, and 28 schools.

"Coalition and Iraqi forces located in western al Anbar province have seen a recent increase of al Qaeda in Iraq violence in Haditha."

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Nationwide strikes test Villepin's resolve on reforms

PARIS, Oct 4 (AFP) - A nationwide one-day strike gripped France Tuesday, disrupting travel and business and dealing the first major challenge from the street to the economic programme of prime minister Dominique de Villepin.

Figures at midday showed a solid if unspectacular turn-out from the public sector, with some 30 percent of railway staff and teachers, 23 percent of electricity workers and between 15 and 30 percent of post-office staff joining the stoppages.

Demonstrations were staged in cities from Marseille in the south to Le Havre in the north, with the largest planned in Paris for the afternoon. Unions were predicting an overall participation of more than one million people in some 140 rallies.

Clashes broke out between police and protesters at a rally in the Corsican port of Ajaccio, where tensions have been running high over the planned privatisation of a state-owned ferry company.

Commuter transport problems in Paris were less serious than feared, with only around a third of suburban trains running but limited cancellations on metro and bus services.

The capital's transport authority last year put in place a system of "guaranteed service" in case of strikes, which appeared to be working.

The situation was worse in other cities such as Marseille and Bordeaux, where most public transport was out of action.

There were delays of up to two hours at Paris's two airports and nearly 400 short- and medium-haul flights were cancelled. No disruptions were reported on long-haul flights.

The SNCF national rail company said that 40 percent of regional services were up and running as well as 60 percent of high-speed TGV intercity lines.

Some hospital staff and government office workers were also on strike, but the private sector appeared mainly unaffected. Most national newspapers failed to go on sale because of action by print-workers.

Five of the country's biggest trade unions called the stoppage to protest against the cautious reform policies of de Villepin's centre-right government and to push for pay rises.

Their main target was a new labour contract -- introduced recently by government decree -- that makes it easier for companies with fewer than 20 staff to hire and fire workers in their first two years of employment.

The unions have been backed by a rare show of unity from the country's left and far-left parties, still smarting from their bitter internecine rift over the EU constitution which was rejected in a referendum in May.

The Socialist, Green, Communist and Communist Revolutionary League parties said in a statement that action was necessary "to break with the reactionary and ultra-liberal (economic) logic of the government."

The strike came at a sensitive time for de Villepin, who has been rocked onto the back foot by a crisis over the privatisation of the National Corsica Mediterranean Company (SNCM) which serves Corsica and north Africa from ports on the Mediterranean coast.

Plans to sell off the heavily indebted concern sparked days of violence in Corsica, a near-blockade of the island, and the shut-down of the France's largest port of Marseille. Though action was taken over the weekend to re-open communications, the situation remained highly volatile.

A loyal ally of president Jacques Chirac who was appointed after the May referndum debacle, de Villepin, 51, has won cautious praise for his first four months in office.

He has been rewarded with a gradual fall in the number of jobless to under ten percent of the workforce, while last week saw his poll ratings overtake for the first time those of interior minister Nicolas Sarkozy -- the radical rightwinger who is also a likely challenger in France's 2007 presidential race.

But he has been widely criticised for his handling of the SNCM crisis, and commentators said that much will ride on his reaction to the latest wave of social unrest.

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Asia Scrambles to Contain Dengue Virus
The Associated Press
Saturday, October 1, 2005; 1:16 AM

SINGAPORE -- The dengue virus-carrying Aedes mosquito has adapted to urbanized human environments and traditional methods used in most Asian countries to control their breeding may no longer be as effective, a panel of experts meeting in Singapore said Saturday.

"It's a global pandemic," said Dr. Duane Gubler, director at the Asia-Pacific Institute of Tropical Diseases in Hawaii. "It's quite clear that the disease...has evolved. There just is more dengue in the world."

All across Asia, governments are scrambling to contain the virus, which is only carried by the Aedes mosquito.

Singapore has already recorded more than 11,000 cases this year alone, far more than the then-record of 9,459 set in 2004. Neighboring Malaysia meanwhile, has reported close to 28,000 human infections - more than 25 percent compared to a year ago.

Philippines and Thailand are also battling a rash of infections.

The world is no longer battling "a war with armies but a war with guerillas" in dealing with mosquitoes, said Dr. Paul Reiter, an infectious diseases expert from the Pasteur Institute in France.

Both Reiter and Gubler were part of the panel of experts asked by Singapore's Ministry of Health to help find a reason for its current spike.

Dengue is sometimes called bone-breaker's disease because it causes severe joint pain. Other symptoms include high fever, nausea, and a rash. In the worst cases it causes internal bleeding. There is no known cure or vaccine.

"The increase in dengue cases in Singapore may include the importation of new strains of the virus with greater epidemic potential," the panel said in its report.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers dengue the "most important mosquito-borne viral disease affecting humans" this year - ahead of malaria and encephalitis - with an estimated 2.5 billion people at risk worldwide.

"It's a mosquito that used to breed in tree holes, but it has adapted to the human environment," said Reiter.

"The bottom line is that you are as successful as Singapore, you've (also) become vulnerable," said Reiter, referring to a possibility that the population now has a lower threshold to such infections.

Singapore, a highly-urbanized Southeast Asian city-state of 4.2 million, has relied on mass aerosol spraying, or fogging, to bring down mosquito numbers for decades, a method which researchers say have worked. It's also widely used in a number of other countries, including the United States.

But Gubler said such methods may now be less effective than before, and are also dependent on a number of factors, including wind and the concentration of the chemical mix.

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High Hurricane Activity Foreseen in Oct.
Mon Oct 3, 9:18 PM ET

FORT COLLINS, Colo. - Hurricane researcher William Gray on Monday forecast two hurricanes, one of them one major, for the rest of October - nearly double the long-term average for the month.

Gray and fellow researcher Philip Klotzbach of Colorado State University said the likelihood of a major hurricane crossing the U.S. coastline is 15 percent, more than double the long-term average of 6 percent.

"Unfortunately, the very active season we have seen to this point is not yet over," Gray said.

Gray and Klotzbach said the likelihood of a named storm hitting the U.S. coast in October is 49 percent, compared with an average of 29 percent from 1950 to 2000. The probability of a hurricane making landfall in the U.S. is 21 percent, compared with the long-term average of 15 percent, they said.

Through the end of September, the 2005 season has had nine hurricanes, five of them major, and 17 named storms. The 50-year average is 5.9 hurricanes, 2.3 of them major, and 9.6 named storms for an entire season.

Three of this year's major hurricanes - Dennis, Katrina and Rita - made landfall. Ophelia hit the North Carolina coast as a Category 1 hurricane although its eye remained just offshore.

Gray and Klotzbach said factors behind this year's active season include warmer-than-average Atlantic Ocean surface temperatures and lower-than-normal sea level pressures, lower-than-average vertical wind shears and moister conditions in the lower and middle atmosphere.

They said they do not attribute the active season to human-induced global warming. Instead, they cited "long-period natural climate alterations that historical and paleo-climate records show to have occurred many times in the past."

Comment: You see, it's not global warming - it's "long-period natural climate alterations". It sounds so much less threatening, doesn't it? We feel much better now.

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Green light in sky was likely a meteor
By Tim Wright
Tuesday, October 4, 2005
PENNSYLVANIA - The blazing green light that shot across the region's sky early Monday likely was a meteor, Air Force Space Command officials said.

The streak appeared about 5:45 a.m. and lasted for about 10 seconds, said Carnegie Science Center Buhl Planetarium presenter Jean Philpott. KDKA Radio reported that the object was seen from Indiana to Virginia, triggering several early morning phone calls to the station.

The object likely was "a large piece of space rock" called a bolide meteor -- an especially bright meteor that might leave a smoke trail as it plunges earthward at 40 miles per second, Philpott said. The meteor likely fell from the asteroid belt, a region between Mars and Jupiter where asteroids orbit the sun in the same direction as other planets in the solar system, she said.

"When they fall down into the atmosphere they burn, which was the green color that people saw," Philpott said.

Greenish light can indicate the re-entry of a booster rocket, but that likely was not the case yesterday, said officials at the Air Force Space Command in Colorado Springs, Colo.

"We don't know what it was at this point," Capt. Joe Macri of the Air Force Space Command said. "It could have been a meteor because there was some activity in the area."

Smaller meteors fall every night, Philpott said.

"We call them shooting stars, which are no larger than a grain of sand," she said. "A large piece is a lot less common. I'd estimate that it occurs once every 10 years or so."

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Green fireball across sky likely a meteor, experts say
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
By Pete Zapadka, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A bright green object that blazed from north to south over the region in the predawn hours yesterday likely was a meteor and not the re-entry of space debris, an Air Force Space Command official said.

The sighting of the object caused numerous phone calls to local radio and television stations when it appeared around 5:40 a.m. KDKA Radio reported the object was seen from Indiana to Virginia, but would have been visible for less than 10 seconds before it burned up in the atmosphere.

An object's greenish appearance normally is the signature of a rocket re-entry, which apparently was not the case.

"I talked to our guys at the First Space Control squadron who look at that kind of thing. They did not see anything as far as orbital debris or rocket debris," said Capt. Joe Macri of the Air Force Space Command in Colorado. "It could have been meteor activity, but I can't say for sure."

Astronomer John Radzilowicz, director of visitor experience at the Carnegie Science Center, said he did not see the object. He heard about it from numerous phone calls. "We've been getting calls, not from the public which we usually get, but from the media," he said. He said the object "was big, bright and green ... just a large, bright meteor."

Occasionally, chunks of space rock are caught by Earth's gravity, enter the atmosphere at high speeds, encounter friction with air molecules, then burn up long before they reach the ground.

Comment: It seems Pennsylvania is the place to be these days:

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Lake Erie burps and nearby residents smell it
Friday, September 30, 2005

ERIE, Pa. -- State and federal environmental officials are trying to determine the cause of a big stink reported along Lake Erie.

Hundreds of residents called authorities or the National Weather Service yesterday to report the smell, which has been variously described as like gasoline, natural gas or even decaying garbage and rotten eggs. The smell was strongest yesterday morning when a cold front swept through the area, churning up larger than normal waves from Erie to Dunkirk, N.Y., officials said.

Scientists said tests run so far aren't conclusive, but they believe the churning waters may have released some naturally occurring gases that are normally trapped beneath the lake's deeper waters. Decaying plants and fish washed ashore by the waves could also be contributing to the stench.

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection biologist Jim Grazio said the wave-churning theory makes sense because the smell lessened when the waves diminished.

"It's like the lake burped, and then the burp passed by us," Grazio said.

Comment: More "burping" occurred in Canada:

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Strange smell in Longlac
Thunder Bay TV
9/27/2005 8:14:54 PM

CANADA - Municipal officials are urging Longlac residents to exercise caution as they investigate reports of 'gasoline-type' odours in the towns sewer system.

The problem first cropped up about ten days ago in a variety of homes and businesses...and is reportedly most noticeable in basement areas. The Municipality of Greenstone says it still doesn't know if the smell is from sewer gases, natural gas or an industrial solvent.

But it's called in both the Ministry of Environment and the District Health Unit to try and track down the problem.

In the meantime, residents who do notice a gasoline smell in their basements are being advised to open windows and doors to ventilate the area...and to contact the Municipality so their home can be tested.

They're also advising those who notice an odour and then begin feeling unwell with symptoms of dizziness , headaches of nausea to seek medical attention.

Comment: From the February 6, 2004 Signs page:

Mystery as dead birds rain down

Beijing, China
05 February 2004 11:38

More than 10,000 birds died mysteriously in eastern China's Jiangsu province, dropping like rain from the sky, state media reported on Thursday.

Farmers and other witnesses in Sangongdian village in Taizhou city saw flocks of bramble finch suddenly fall from the sky on Tuesday, the Beijing Youth Daily said.

Most of the birds were dead when they hit the ground and some were injured, it said. The birds look like sparrows and are small in size.

Officials from the local centre for disease prevention and control rushed to the scene. Samples from the birds were taken to a laboratory in nearby Nanjing city for testing to determine the cause of death. [...]

To increase the fear regarding the flu, naturally they would toss in the reference to a viral infection. We have posted stories of similar incidents in the recent past. From the November 4, 2003 Signs page:

Mass starling suicide baffles experts


Wildlife experts in the German city of Stuttgart are baffled after a flock of starlings made a mass suicide attempt leaving dozens of birds dead.

Pedestrians watched as hundreds of birds flew over the city before suddenly nose-diving to the ground from a height of 65 feet.

Bird expert Guenther Schleussner, from the Wilhelma Zoological and Botanical Gardens in Stuttgart, said the scenes were like something from a horror film.

"I've never seen anything like it in my life," he added.

Around 100 dead and injured birds covered the busy Steinhalden Street. Residents out for a Sunday stroll reporting a loud "thud" as the flock of kamikaze starlings hit the pavement.

The ornithologist added: "It's unbelievable, I'm stunned. This kind of behaviour in birds is very, very unusual."

Schleussner said the incident could have been down to a sudden squall or simply a "freak accident".

And then this report from Oregon:

Bird Die-Off in Ore. Puzzles Experts

Fri Dec 5, 2003 12:39 PM ET

LINCOLN CITY, Ore. - Thousands of dead birds have washed up on West Coast beaches this fall in a die-off that has stumped experts.

The birds are northern fulmars (a smaller cousin of the Albatross) and beachgoers in Lincoln County have counted more than 400 dead ones this fall. [...]

And experts don't know why. Some worry that man-made causes, such as plastic or toxins are to blame. Others dismiss the die-off as cyclical.

But this year's death toll dwarfs any other on record in Oregon. [...]

One of the stranger reports of mysterious bird deaths, occurred in Hartsville, Tennessee:

[A] mysterious, destructive power surge killed dozens of birds and damaged transmitter, phone lines and computer equipment at country music radio station WJKM (1090 AM) on Friday, July 6, 2001 at 10:45 a.m. CST.

WKRM Nashville TN carries a video news report establishing the fact that the Franklin mystery boom registered as seismic activity at 1005hrs on July 7. The epicenter was pinpinted to four miles SE of the community. In spite of this, authorities could not confirm it was due to an earthquake, or even a underground cave collapse. However, a sonic boom has definitely been ruled out. To view the newscast click: News 2 - Franklin Boom Clue Uncovered. See also a similar story of the TVA report from The Review Appeal & Brentwood Journal of July 18 2001. G-fs.

Folks in Franklin felt a boom on July 7th. Now, there's a new clue in the mystery. Was it an earthquake? Or an explosion? Or an underground cave collapse? Whatever it was, it was strong enough to register 2.6 on the Richter scale. News 2's Jay Korff brought you the details live from Franklin.

Some Williamson County residents are all shook up and everyone is asking what happened. It was around 10:20 Saturday night when people living near Franklin got quite a scare. It has been described as a blast, a tremor or a rumble, and right now it has the experts stumped.

The officer at TEMA was flooded with phone calls starting at about 10:30 Saturday night. People wanted to know if they were in danger. The good news is there have been no reports of injury, and damage is minimal. What esactly caused the boom is still unknown.

"I was watching a movie and all of a sudden the house shook and my son comes running out and he just went what was that?"

Rebecca Duval is like many Franklin residents whose quite neighborhoods came to life Saturday.

"I was just playing then everything shook. I heard glass rattling then it stopped," said Dylan Duval.

"Well I felt a deep boom and I came out and said to my husband, 'What was that,'" said Scarlett Pierce.

Neighbors filled the streets. Everyone was wondering what was going on.

"Everybody was kinda congregating out in the street going what in the world was that," said Jon Coggins.

TEMA says damage has been reported at homes in the Polk Place subdivision. Neigbors say it felt very close by.

"I mean not a real big shake and it didn't last a long time, but there was definitly a rumble and it was like what was that," said Todd Carter. [...]

At one point the Air Force was blamed for this "surge": U.S. Air Force Linked to Electronic Warfare Attack in Tennessee

Let's take a look at other natural phenomena that may help us in further examination of some of these mysterious bird deaths. Apparently our planet and its oceans occasionally "belch":

Geologists have now noted that there is a widespread occurrence of a layer of gas hydrate can contain 180 cubic centimeters of methane gas. Geologists have now noted that there is a widespread occurrence of a layer of gas hydrate beneath some hundreds of metres of ocean deposit. [...] It would seem that there is actual potential for release into the atmosphere of large quantities of gas from the ocean floor; all we may need is some tectonic movement as a trigger. [...] [Exodus to Arthur: Catastrophic Encounters With Comets, Mike Baillie, London 1999, p. 150]

[October 4, 2005 Comment: There has certainly been an extraordinary amount of seismic activity lately. There was even a recent earthquake in Maine in the northeastern US...]

The chapter continues with potential examples of ocean outgassing:

[O]n 1 November 1755, A British Ship was crossing the Atlantic. The captain felt a strange agitation as if the ship had been jerked and suspended by a string from the masthead. He dashed up on deck and observed 'within a league three craggy pointed rocks of various colours resembling liquid fire. This phenomenon ended in about two minutes with a black cloud which ascended very quickly.

[I]n 1986 a crater lake in Cameroon, Lake Nyos belched out a cloud of hydrogen sulphide gas which sat close to the ground and ran downhill for some 15 kilometres. It poisoned/asphyxiated thousands of people and animals.[...]

Imagine a cloud of H2S or a mixture of these gases blowing onshore. What surviving description might there be? Or perhaps there is no description, simply an area 'where people die'. [...] For example, there is a record of just such an occurrence in the 1920's off the African coast. An entire fishing fleet was killed by H2S outgassing from the sea around them. Reconstruction of the event suggested that everyone had jumped into the sea and were either poisoned or drowned; the boats were empty. We know that it was H2S because, apart from being poisonous, it is highly corrosive and the paint was stripped off the metal boats.[...]

Browsing through ancient descriptions of earthquakes, it is easy to find a couple of other possible outgassings. In Ad 526, there was a terrible earthquake at Antioch where ancient sources refer to fire coming down from the sky like rain, or fire issuing from the earth and more coming down from the heavens 'like a shower of sparks'.[...]

In another description of this earthquake there is talk of liquid mud (sea sand as it were) boiling and bubbling up from the nether regions. [...]Is this a direct description of an outgassing associated with the great earthquake? It certainly would appear to be. The contemporary estimate by John Malalas puts the death toll at Antioch at about 250,000 persons. [...]

We posted an article on the January 30th Signs page about a "boiling sea" in Panarea off the coast of Italy. Don't worry, "experts" declared it a "normal phenomenon". Although, "the boiling surface, which started in November 2002, seemed to have become more so ..." Meanwhile, Italy is paying people to move away from the long shadow of Vesuvius. Back to Exodus to Arthur:

Moving up to the fourteenth century [...]. One source specifically states that the 'fire falling from heaven consumed the land of the Turks for 16 days.' This latter statement fits well with one of Ziegler's references to events on neighbouring Cyprus, where in 1347:

While the plague was just beginning a particularly severe earthquake came to complete the work of destruction. A tidal wave swept over large parts of the island ... A pestiferous wind spread so poisonous an odour that many ... fell down suddenly and expired in dreadful agonies ...

Rosemary Horrox has translated a German scholar writing in the generation after the Black Death. [...] He describes in some detail his belief that the cause of the Black Death was the 'corrupt and poisonous earthy exhalation'[...] He thought the pestilence was actually a poison cloud from an earthquake on a specific day, 25 January 1347. For all we know, he could have been right. [Exodus to Arthur: Catastrophic Encounters With Comets, Mike Baillie, London 1999, pp. 150-152]

In New Zealand, home of the originating stories of "duck muck", we posted this strange story:

Geothermal blowout covers Rotorua house with mud and ash

03 July 2003

A Rotorua house has been covered in mud and ash after a bore blew within 10 metres of its front doorstep. [...]

Could poisonous gases be responsible for some of these mass bird deaths? Birds are much more susceptible than humans to toxic fumes. Are these examples the "canary in the coal mine", warning us of what we could possibly expect in the future? In these times of earth upheaval, what else could the earth cough up?

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Quake shakes city
By Melinda Mawdsley, Staff Reporter
Saturday, October 1, 2005

A magnitude 4.1 earthquake shook Steamboat Springs near midnight

According to the U.S. Geological Survey Web site,, an earthquake originating 15 miles
northeast of Steamboat and 3.1 miles underground was registered at
11:57 p.m. Friday.

Dan Blakeman, a geophysicist with the Denver-based USGS National
Earthquake Information Center, said seismographs detected the

"We definitely had an earthquake," Blakeman said. "I'm certain quite a
few people felt it."

It wasn't immediately known how far the earthquake's tremors reached
in the region, though they were reported from the east side of town to
the west side in Steamboat II.

Local dispatchers reported receiving more than 300 phone calls from
area residents late Friday and early Saturday.

Moffat County dispatchers didn't report any earthquake-related phone

It wasn't immediately known whether the earthquake caused damage or

A magnitude 4.1 earthquake is considered light by USGS standards, and
damage is minimal to none.

"It can give you a pretty big shake, but it generally doesn't cause
much damage," Blakeman said. "But you never know what might happen. It
might knock stuff off of shelves."

Colorado is considered a light earthquake activity zone.

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Strong quake rocks Aceh 2005-10-04 16:22:00

JAKARTA, Oct. 4 (Xinhuanet) -- An earthquake measuring 5.5 on the Richter scale jolted the Indonesian province of Aceh on Tuesday morning, frightening residents who were making preparations for the Islamic fasting month beginning Wednesday.

Local meteorological and geophysics agency head Syahnan said Tuesday the tremor rattled the provincial capital of Banda Aceh for two minutes, but the people could feel the quake for only 40 seconds.

The quake's epicenter was traced at 5.6 degrees north latitude and 94.7 degrees east longitude, located 68 km west of Banda Aceh and 60 km below the sea.

The quake is the second strongest tremor in October following the first one which jolted Banda Aceh on Oct. 3, Syahnan was quoted by the Antara news agency as saying.

He said more than 270 aftershocks shook Banda Aceh following a gigantic earthquake and subsequent tsunami, which devastated western part of Aceh on Dec. 26, 2004, killing about 200,000 people.

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Huge Alaska landslide gets attention of seismologists
By The Associated Press

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- A huge landslide down a remote peak in Alaska caught the attention of scientists because it registered on seismographs around the world.

"The rock slide is indeed enormous, but I think the thing that's really unusual is the seismic signal is much larger than what you'd expect," said seismologist Jackie Caplan-Auerbach with the Alaska Volcano Observatory. "We're still trying to figure out why."

The slide shook the earth with as much vigor as a magnitude 3.8 quake and dumped an estimated 65 million cubic yards of rock and ice from the south face of 10,500-foot Mount Steller on Sept. 14. The mountain is about 240 miles east of Anchorage south of Wrangell-Saint Elias National Park in the eastern Chugach Mountains.

The landslide registered on instruments across the world, said seismologist Natasha Ruppert with the Alaska Earthquake Information Center in Fairbanks.

"I've never seen anything like this, and what surprised me is how huge it was," Ruppert said. "It's more like an explosion, I would say, than an earthquake. It hit the ground and seismic waves traveled in all directions."

It's not clear what triggered the release, the scientists said. It wasn't caused by an earthquake. No one knows if warming climate could have weakened ice holding the mountain together -- blamed for several landslides in the Alps.

"Someone would have to go there and see what kind of rocks were involved in this slide, if they were water saturated," Ruppert said.

Mountain ranges like the Chugach are perpetually crumbling, near a "state of failure" anyway, noted research geologist Peter Haeussler, with the U.S. Geological Survey in Anchorage.

"This was a big slide, but the rocks are weak, the slopes are steep, so I don't see that you need to invoke a climate change origin to this one," he said in an e-mail message.

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Armed and dangerous - Flipper the firing dolphin let loose by Katrina
Mark Townsend in Houston
The Observer
Sunday September 25, 2005
It may be the oddest tale to emerge from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Armed dolphins, trained by the US military to shoot terrorists and pinpoint spies underwater, may be missing in the Gulf of Mexico.

Experts who have studied the US navy's cetacean training exercises claim the 36 mammals could be carrying 'toxic dart' guns. Divers and surfers risk attack, they claim, from a species considered to be among the planet's smartest. The US navy admits it has been training dolphins for military purposes, but has refused to confirm that any are missing.

Dolphins have been trained in attack-and-kill missions since the Cold War. The US Atlantic bottlenose dolphins have apparently been taught to shoot terrorists attacking military vessels. Their coastal compound was breached during the storm, sweeping them out to sea. But those who have studied the controversial use of dolphins in the US defence programme claim it is vital they are caught quickly.

Leo Sheridan, 72, a respected accident investigator who has worked for government and industry, said he had received intelligence from sources close to the US government's marine fisheries service confirming dolphins had escaped.

'My concern is that they have learnt to shoot at divers in wetsuits who have simulated terrorists in exercises. If divers or windsurfers are mistaken for a spy or suicide bomber and if equipped with special harnesses carrying toxic darts, they could fire,' he said. 'The darts are designed to put the target to sleep so they can be interrogated later, but what happens if the victim is not found for hours?'

Usually dolphins were controlled via signals transmitted through a neck harness. 'The question is, were these dolphins made secure before Katrina struck?' said Sheridan.

The mystery surfaced when a separate group of dolphins was washed from a commercial oceanarium on the Mississippi coast during Katrina. Eight were found with the navy's help, but the dolphins were not returned until US navy scientists had examined them.

Sheridan is convinced the scientists were keen to ensure the dolphins were not the navy's, understood to be kept in training ponds in a sound in Louisiana, close to Lake Pontchartrain, whose waters devastated New Orleans.

The navy launched the classified Cetacean Intelligence Mission in San Diego in 1989, where dolphins, fitted with harnesses and small electrodes planted under their skin, were taught to patrol and protect Trident submarines in harbour and stationary warships at sea.

Criticism from animal rights groups ensured the use of dolphins became more secretive. But the project gained impetus after the Yemen terror attack on the USS Cole in 2000. Dolphins have also been used to detect mines near an Iraqi port.

Comment: Well, we don't have to worry about animal rights groups anymore, since they are now regarded as terrorists by the FBI...

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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 in October 2005, readers can pre-order the book today at our bookstore.

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