Printer Friendly Version
Fixed link to latest Page


"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

Picture of the Day
©2005 Pierre-Paul Feyte


Maxwell Smart in Iraq
Sunday, October 16, 2005

Don Adams, who recently died, was most famous for playing Agent Maxwell Smart in the early television James Bond spoof 'Get Smart'. He had a number of catchphrases, including 'Would you believe . . .?', used at the beginning of each of a series of preposterous lies. The increasingly preposterous stories told by the British government to explain what recently happened in Basra are starting to sound like Maxwell Smart. Two SAS soldiers were found dressed in Arab clothes with a car trunk full of mayhem, hanging around an area where there was to be a protest against the British kidnapping of a local religious leader. When accosted, they managed to kill an Iraqi policeman, and the ensuing 'rescue' of these two SAS men led to the destruction of the local jail as well as a riot. The British initially denied everything, and then were gradually forced to admit some of the truth, which has culminated in an actual offer to pay for the damage done.

After the initial series of denials, the next official British explanation for what these men were up to was to claim that they were working on a mission to stop the smuggling into Iraq of Iranian munitions which were being used by the insurgency against British soldiers. This isn't an original story, but is just a copy of the same claim made by the Americans. The British have even elaborated on the story (Iran denies it). This story had a number of problems:

  • there is not one shred of evidence for it;

  • given the ongoing neocon propaganda war against Iran, the story seems too conveniently to attack the usual neocon target;

  • the insurgents who are supposed to be using these weapons were not allies of Iran;

  • it is not in the interests of Iran to promote the insurgency, as Iranian interests are doing splendidly in Iraq; and

  • the insurgents, many trained in Saddam's military, are capable of manufacturing their own sophisticated weapons.

All that was bad enough, but the latest revelation puts the insurgents' bombs in a whole new perspective. From The Independent on Sunday (or here):

"Eight British soldiers killed during ambushes in Iraq were the victims of a highly sophisticated bomb first used by the IRA, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.

The soldiers, who were targeted by insurgents as they travelled through the country, died after being attacked with bombs triggered by infra-red beams. The bombs were developed by the IRA using technology passed on by the security services in a botched 'sting' operation more than a decade ago.

This contradicts the British government's claims that Iran's Revolutionary Guard is helping Shia insurgents to make the devices.

The Independent on Sunday can also reveal that the bombs and the firing devices used to kill the soldiers, as well as two private security guards, were initially created by the UK security services as part of a counter-terrorism strategy at the height of the troubles in the early 1990s.

According to security sources, the technology for the bombs used in the attacks, which were developed using technology from photographic flash units, was employed by the IRA some 15 years ago after Irish terrorists were given advice by British agents."

Oh, oh! Don't you hate it when your lies come back and bite you on the ass? The insurgents aren't using Iranian technology. They are using IRA technology initially supplied by the British government itself in a botched intelligence operation!

It's 'Would you believe . . . ' time. The latest story is from the bastion of British official lies, the Telegraph:

"Two SAS soldiers imprisoned by Iraqis last month had been spying on a senior police commander who was torturing prisoners with an electric drill, The Sunday Telegraph can reveal."

Not 'Abdul the Driller'! This story is another twofer, as the SAS men were supposed to be monitoring the Driller, and the Driller operated out of the same jail that the British knocked down! This is an even more preposterous story than the first one.

Someone ought to tell the head of the SAS that if you tell a preposterous porkie pie and get caught, coming up with an even more preposterous lie won't fix the problem. Sorry about that Chief!

Comment: And in the same line, here is a story that didn't make it onto Fox News...

Click here to comment on this article

Iraqis apprehend two Americans disguised as Arabs trying to detonate car bomb
Muhammad Abu Nasr on: 13.10.2005 [04:28 ]

Iraqis apprehend two Americans disguised as Arabs trying to detonate a car bomb in a residential neighborhood of western Baghdad's al-Ghazaliyah district on Tuesday.

A number of Iraqis apprehended two Americans disguised in Arab dress as they tried to blow up a booby-trapped car in the middle of a residential area in western Baghdad on Tuesday.

Residents of western Baghdad's al-Ghazaliyah district told Quds Press that the people had apprehended the Americans as they left their Caprice car near a residential neighborhood in al-Ghazaliyah on Tuesday afternoon (11 October 2005). Local people found they looked suspicious so they detained the men before they could get away. That was when they discovered that they were Americans and called the Iraqi puppet police.

Five minutes after the arrival of the Iraqi puppet police on the scene a large force of US troops showed up and surrounded the area. They put the two Americans in one of their Humvees and drove away at high speed to the astonishment of the residents of the area.

Quds Press spoke by telephone with a member of the al-Ghazaliyah puppet police who confirmed the incident, saying that the two men were non-Arab foreigners but declined to be more precise about their nationality.

Quds Press pointed out that about a month ago, the Iraqi puppet police in the southern Iraqi city of al-Basrah arrested two Britons whom they accused of attempting to cause an explosion in the city. The Britons were taken into custody by the Iraqi puppet police only to be broken out of prison by an assault of British occupation troops. That incident has created a tense relationship between the British and the local puppet authorities in al-Basrah, Quds Press noted.

Comment: Elsewhere on today's page we have an article about the Bali bombings of 2002. The former Indonesian president believes that his country's intelligence services or military were involved.

It would be naive to think that governments do not infiltrate and influence militant groups. It would be naive to think that they do not finance or even form groups in order to divide a militant or opposition movement.

Click here to comment on this article

Iraqis Probe 'Unusually High' Yes Tally
Associated Press Writer
Oct 18 12:54 AM US/Eastern

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Iraq's election commission announced Monday that officials were investigating "unusually high" numbers of "yes" votes in about a dozen provinces during Iraq's landmark referendum on a new constitution, raising questions about irregularities in the balloting.

Word of the review came as Sunni Arab leaders repeated accusations of fraud after initial reports from the provinces suggested the constitution had passed. Among the Sunni allegations are that police took ballot boxes from heavily "no" districts, and that some "yes" areas had more votes than registered voters.

The Electoral Commission made no mention of fraud, and an official with knowledge of the election process cautioned that it was too early to say whether the unusual numbers were incorrect or if they would affect the outcome.

But questions about the numbers raised tensions over Saturday's referendum, which has already sharply divided Iraqis. Most of the Shiite majority and the Kurds - the coalition which controls the government - support the charter, while most Sunni Arabs sharply opposed a document they fear will tear Iraq to pieces and leave them weak and out of power.

Irregularities in Shiite and Kurdish areas, expected to vote strongly "yes," may not affect the outcome. The main electoral battlegrounds were provinces with mixed populations, two of which went strongly "yes." There were conflicting reports whether those two provinces were among those with questionable figures.

In new violence, the U.S. military said that its warplanes and helicopters bombed two western villages Sunday, killing an estimated 70 militants near a site where five American soldiers died in a roadside blast. Residents said at least 39 of the dead were civilians, including children.

In the vote count, a sandstorm also became a factor, preventing many tallies from being flown from the provinces to Baghdad, where they are to be compiled and checked. The Electoral Commission said it needed "a few more days" to produce final results, citing the need for the audit.

At Baghdad's counting center, election workers cut open plastic bags of tally sheets sent from stations in the capital and its surroundings - the only ones to have arrived so far. Nearby, more workers, dressed in white T-shirts and caps bearing the election commission's slogan, sat behind computer screens punching in the numbers.

Election officials in many provinces have released their initial counts, indicating that Sunni attempts to defeat the charter failed.

But the commission found that the number of "yes" votes in most provinces appeared "unusually high" and would be audited, with random samples taken from ballot boxes to test them, said the commission's head, Adil al-Lami.

The high numbers were seen among the nine Shiite provinces of the south and the three Kurdish ones in the north, al-Lami told The Associated Press.

Those provinces reported to AP "yes" votes above 90 percent, with some as high as 97 and 98 percent.

Two provinces that are crucial to the results - Ninevah and Diyala, which have mixed Sunni, Shiite and Kurd populations - were not among those that appeared unusual, al-Lami said. He said their results "were reasonable and balanced according to the nature of the population in those areas."

But the official with knowledge of the counting process said the unexpected results were not isolated to the Shiite and Kurdish provinces and were "all around the country." The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the count.

Sunni opponents needed to win over either Diyala or Ninevah to veto the constitution. Sunnis had to get a two-thirds "no" vote in any three of Iraq's 18 provinces to defeat the charter, and they appeared to have gotten it in western Anbar and central Salahuddin, both heavily Sunni.

Ninevah and Diyala are each believed to have a slight Sunni Arab majority. But results reported by provincial electoral officials showed startlingly powerful "yes" votes of up to 70 percent in each.

Allegations of fraud in those areas could throw into question the final outcome. But questions of whether the reported strong "yes" vote there is unusual are complicated by the fact that Iraq has not had a proper census in some 15 years, meaning the sectarian balance is not firmly known.

A prominent Sunni Arab politician, Saleh al-Mutlaq, claimed Diyala in particular had seen vote rigging. He said he was told by the manager of a polling station in a Kurdish district of Diyala that 39,000 votes were cast although only 36,000 voters were registered there.

Al-Mutlaq said soldiers broke into a polling station in a Sunni district of the Diyala city of Baqouba and took ballot boxes heavy with "no" votes and that later results showed a "yes" majority. His claims could not be independently verified.

"Bottom line, we can say that the whole operation witnessed interference from government forces," he said.

Al-Mutlaq and Sunni Arab parliament member Meshaan al-Jubouri said polling officials in Ninevah had informed them that the provincial capital, Mosul, voted predominantly "no" - as high as 80 percent - while the Electoral Commission reported a 50-50 split.

Ninevah's deputy governor, Khesro Goran, a Kurd, dismissed the claims. "These declarations are excuses to justify the loss, and we did not receive any complaint from the (Electoral Commission) about such fears. Besides, the whole operation was under the supervision of the United Nations ... so no fraud occurred."

Sunni Arab turnout appeared to have been strong - in contrast to January parliamentary elections that the community largely boycotted.

President Bush said Monday that the vote was an indication that Iraqis want to settle disputes peacefully.

"I was pleased to see that the Sunnis have participated in the process," Bush said. "The idea of deciding to go into a ballot box is a positive development.

Many Sunnis fear the new decentralized government outlined in the constitution will deprive them of their fair share of the country's vast oil wealth by creating virtually independent mini-states of Kurds in the north and Shiites in the south, while leaving Sunnis isolated in central and western Iraq.

If the constitution indeed passed, the first full-term parliament since Saddam Hussein's fall in 2003 will install a new government by Dec. 31 following Dec. 15 elections. If the charter failed, the parliament elected that month will be temporary, tasked with drawing up a new draft constitution.

On Monday, former Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi and other secular leaders announced a new coalition they said unites moderate Sunnis, Shiites and other political groups - an appearent effort to strike a middle ground in Iraq's sharply divided political scene.

Click here to comment on this article

Voting Tallies Provoke Investigation
Juan Cole

As US Jets Kill 70

The US military launched air strikes around Ramadi on Monday, killing 70 persons. Iraqi police maintained that 20 of them were innocent civilians, including some children. The US military said it had received no such reports. Five US GIs were killed at Ramadi this weekend, and the city largely refused to have anything to do with the constitutional referendum. Whatever the reality, Sunni Arabs, whose nerves are raw from losing in their attempt to stop the constitution, will likely believe the story about the US bombing children. The guerrilla war is set to go on a long time.

Suspicions of irregularities in the voting tallies being reported in some provinces in Iraq have provoked the Higher Electoral Commission to conduct an investigation. In six Shiite-majority provinces in the South, 95 percent or more of voters are reported as having cast votes favoring the constitution. The proportion of those voting "yes" was not in and of itself suspicious in those provinces, but the commission felt that anything over 90 percent should be looked at again.

The provinces affected seem largely to be in the hands of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, and it seems to me possible that SCIRI ballot counters may have been overly enthusiastic about the constitution. Personally, I think this phenomenon is a harbinger of things to come in the Dec. 15 parliamentary elections.

Sunni Arab leaders warned of serious consequences if fraud were proved with regard to the vote in Ninevah. Aljazeera is reporting that there are contradictory reports for Ninevah, the third possible province in which Sunni Arabs might hope to defeat the constitution by a 2/3s margin. One report said that the "no" vote there was 55 percent, not enough to cause the 3-province veto to kick in (Sunni Arabs in Anbar and Salahuddin had already rejected it by a 2/3s majority). But Abd al-Razzaq al-Juburi, the secretary general of the Independent Iraqi Front, told the correspondent for al-Zaman that the "no" vote in Ninevah exceeded 75 percent, according to his conversations with election workers. He said that they were under enormous pressure not to speak about this issue from unidentified higher-ups. (My guess is that al-Juburi is himself exaggerating-- a 75 percent rejection is too high for Ninevah.) Another official said that out of 778,000 votes cast in Ninevah, 442,000 were "no" votes, and 353,000 were "yes" votes.

It does seem likely that all three Sunni Arab-majority provinces have rejected the constitution, even if not by the margin required to defeat it, and that this outcome is the worst possible one. For the rejection to be consistent within a single bloc is a very bad sign for the future of the country.

The Washington spinmeisters who are trying to say that the mere fact of the Sunnis voting is a good thing, even if they voted against the constitution, do no know what they are talking about.
Political participation is not always a positive thing. The Nazis after all were elected to the Reichstag. And Serbs consistently voted for Milosevic and other ultra-nationalists. Nobody in Washington thought it positive that Iranian hardliners came out in some numbers to vote for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Some elections are tragedies for a nation. This constitutional referendum was one of them.

Even without a hint of fraud, the new constitution is provocation enough. It probably reduces the Sunni Arab share of national petroleum resources to 5 or 10 percent. The Association of Muslim Scholars was hopping mad. AP says, ' "If the constitution was passed, the attacks will definitely rise against the occupation forces and the security situation is going to get worse," said Sheik Abdul-Salam al-Kubaisi, a prominent cleric.'

Comment: What?! You mean that, as a result of these most recent, and yet again clearly forged, Iraq elections, the security situation will get worse and require that US troops stay in Iraq for a loooong time? Oh no! The Neocons and the Israeli right-wingers must be SO disappointed!

Click here to comment on this article

Police 'had role in' Bali blasts
October 12, 2005
The Australian

INDONESIAN police or military officers may have played a role in the 2002 Bali bombing, the country's former president, Abdurrahman Wahid has said.

In an interview with SBS's Dateline program to be aired tonight, on the third anniversary of the bombing that killed 202 people, Mr Wahid says he has grave concerns about links between Indonesian authorities and terrorist groups.

While he believed terrorists were involved in planting one of the Kuta night club bombs, the second, which destroyed Bali's Sari Club, had been organised by authorities.

Asked who he thought planted the second bomb, Mr Wahid said: "Maybe the police ... or the armed forces."

"The orders to do this or that came from within our armed forces, not from the fundamentalist people," he says.

The program also claims a key figure behind the formation of terror group Jemaah Islamiah was an Indonesian spy.

Former terrorist Umar Abduh, who is now a researcher and writer, told Dateline Indonesian authorities had a hand in many terror groups.

"There is not a single Islamic group either in the movement or the political groups that is not controlled by (Indonesian) intelligence," he said.

Abduh has written a book on Teungku Fauzi Hasbi, a key figure in Jemaah Islamiah (JI) who had close contact with JI operations chief Hambali and lived next door to Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Bashir.

He says Hasbi was a secret agent for Indonesia's military intelligence while at the same time a key player in creating JI.

Documents cited by SBS showed the Indonesian chief of military intelligence in 1990 authorised Hasbi to undertake a "special job".

A 1995 internal memo from the military intelligence headquarters in Jakarta included a request to use "Brother Fauzi Hasbi" to spy on Acehnese separatists in Indonesia, Malaysia and Sweden.

And a 2002 document assigned Hasbi the job of special agent for BIN, the Indonesian national intelligence agency.

Security analyst John Mempi told SBS that Hasbi, who was also known as Abu Jihad, had played a key role in JI in its early years.

"The first Jemaah Islamiah congress in Bogor was facilitated by Abu Jihad, after Abu Bakar Bashir returned from Malaysia," Mr Mempi said.

"We can see that Abu Jihad played an important role. He was later found to be an intelligence agent. So an intelligence agent has been facilitating the radical Islamic movement."

Hasbi was disembowelled in a mysterious murder in 2003 after he was exposed as a military agent and his son Lamkaruna Putra died in a plane crash last month.

Another convicted terrorist, Timsar Zubil, who set off three bombs in Sumatra in 1978, told the program intelligence agents had given his group a provocative name – Komando Jihad – and encouraged members to commit illegal acts.

"We may have deliberately been allowed to grow," he said.

Abduh also told the program his terrorist organisation, the Imron Movement, was incited to a range of violent action in the 1980s when the Indonesian military told the group that the assassination of several Muslim clerics was imminent.

Another terrorism expert, George Aditjondro, said a bombing in May this year that killed 23 people in the Christian village of Tentena, in central Sulawesi, had been organised by senior military and police officers.

"This is a strategy of depopulating an area and when an area has been depopulated – both becoming refugees or becoming paramilitary fighters – then that is the time when they can invest their money in major resource exploitation there," he said.

Comment: What?! An intelligence agency facilitating the radical Islamic movement??!! What a crazy idea!

Click here to comment on this article

Flashback: Claims military involved in Jakarta blast
08/08/2003 12:50:39
ABC Radio Australia News

An advisor to the Indonesian government claims the armed forces may have been involved in the recent car bomb attack on the Marriott Hotel in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta. A car bomb killed at least 10 people and injured scores more at the luxury hotel.

The advisor, Jawanda, has told our South East Asia correspondent Peter Lloyd that attempts to blame Muslim extremists for the suicide bombing may be premature.

He says Indonesia's naval intelligence has launched an informal investigation into the possibility the attack may have been part of a campaign to undermine the president, Megawati Sukarnoputri.

"That is already in the works," he said. When asked if there are people who want to undermine President Megawati, Jawanda said yes. "Undermine, but at the same time to make a path for them taking the power, so, creating the political tension," he said.

Comment: The Marriott Hotel attack was an operation straight out of the CIA's "how to overthrow a government" manual. Perhaps the Indonesian president had not been "playing ball" with the US interests in the region, and this was a shot across the bow to either get in line or have the forces of "the land of the free" come and show the Indonesian government and people what democracy is all about. More likely however is that the CIA was merely providing the Indonesian government with fuel for their "fight against terrorism" and also providing further evidence to the world that "Islamic terrorism" is real. At the time, the Indonesian police said that the bombing in Jakarta bore several similarities to the Bali attack in October 2002 which killed 202 people, which means that it wasn't a "terrorist attack"

Of course, when waging a phony terror war, not only do you have to carry out the terror attacks, but you have to groom the Islamic fundamentalists on whom the blame must fall. In the case of Indonesian Islamic terror, alleged terror group chief Abu Bakar Bashir was the CIA's and Mossad's point man. In this case however, it appears they made a bad choice...

Click here to comment on this article

Flashback: CIA behind Jakarta, Bali blasts, alleged Islamic militant leader says
Tuesday August 12, 1:38 PM
Yahoo News

Indonesian prosecutors were due later to recommend a sentence for alleged terror group chief Abu Bakar Bashir, as the Muslim cleric accused US intelligence of carrying out deadly bombings in Bali and Jakarta.

Bashir, a Muslim cleric who allegedly leads the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), faces 20 years if convicted of trying to topple the government through terrorism and to establish an Islamic state.

In a radio interview before the hearing, he said his trial has produced no proof of his guilt. "The issue now is the extremely high likelihood that foreigners have intervened in it," Bashir told Elshinta radio.

The 64-year-old cleric alleged that the US Central Intelligence Agency was behind last week's car bombing of the American-run JW Marriott hotel, which killed 11 people. [...]

Comment: Not only was Bashir throwing around dangerous allegations, the evidence against him was less than convincing...

Click here to comment on this article

Flashback: Terrorism charges filed against Bashir
Friday 15 October 2004

Indonesian prosecutors have filed terrorism charges against cleric Abu Bakar Bashir in a major step towards a new trial of the accused leader of South-east Asia's Jemaah Islamiya network.

"It has been submitted to the south Jakarta court today," Didik Istiyanta, south Jakarta state prosecutor, said on Friday.

Asked whether the charges related to terrorism, he said, "Something like that," adding, "but for details, wait until the trial".

Another prosecutor, Andi Herman, confirmed the charges were related to terrorism. "Yes they are," he said, but declined to elaborate.

Herman said normally a trial would be convened within two weeks of the charges being submitted.

The attorney general's office had said earlier Bashir would face charges of helping to plot the August 2003 blast at the JW Marriott hotel in Jakarta which killed 12 people and of involvement in a conspiracy to hide large amounts of explosives in central Java.

Charges denied

Authorities believe Bashir inspired fighters who bombed nightclubs on the tourist island of Bali in 2002 and who carried out the Marriott bombing and other attacks.

Bashir, who denies any connections with Jemaah Islamiya or terrorism, was first arrested days after the Bali blasts that killed 202 people, amid suspicions he led Jemaah Islamiya and had links to violent acts.

However, following a trial using the ordinary criminal code, the court said there was not enough evidence to prove Bashir led the group, and ultimately only convictions related to immigration violations were upheld in appeals courts.

After he had served time on those convictions, Indonesian police detained Bashir under a tough anti-terror law passed
in the wake of the Bali bombings.

Click here to comment on this article

Flashback: Profile: Abu Bakar Ba'asyir
Thursday, 29 April, 2004
BBC Newss

Abu Bakar Ba'asyir does not cut the terrifying figure expected of a man accused of being a leading figure in the murky world of international terrorism.

He is a frail, 65-year-old man with a wispy beard, embroidered white skull cap and heavy glasses perched on his aquiline nose.

Before his arrest a week after the 2002 Bali bombings, Mr Ba'asyir was a teacher at an Islamic school in Solo, central Java. He still insists he is just a simple preacher.

But according to the Indonesian and foreign governments, Mr Ba'asyir was also the spiritual leader of Jemaah Islamiah (JI), a shadowy group accused of the 2002 Bali bombings.

Prosecutors accused Mr Ba'asyir of plotting to assassinate Indonesian leader Megawati Sukarnoputri when she was vice-president in a bid to turn the country - the world's most populous Muslim nation - into a hardline Islamic state.

He was also accused of orchestrating a series of church bombings on Christmas Eve 2000.

The problem for the authorities is that Indonesia's courts have not found the evidence compelling.

First the courts acquitted him of being JI's spiritual leader, after judges said there was not enough proof. Then an appeal court overturned a subversion conviction, cutting his original jail term from four years to 18 months, since his only remaining offence was immigration-related.


Despite his outspoken support for Osama Bin Laden, Mr Ba'asyir denies having personal links with him or with terrorism in general.

The cleric has repeatedly denied all the charges against him, and condemned the Bali bombing as a "brutal act".

Most of the case against Mr Ba'asyir has been based on statements made by a Kuwaiti man, Omar al-Faruq, who was arrested in Indonesia last June and is now in US custody.

Comment: Today as he sits in his detention cell of over 3 years, the charges against Bashir over involvement in the 2003 bombing of the US-owned Marriott Hotel in Jakarta have been dropped due to lack of evidence, but was found guilty in March of this year for "conspiracy" in the Bali bombing in 2002 and sentenced to 30 months in jail.

The strange thing about is that, for an "crazed Islamic fundamentalist" he tends to condemn terror attacks rather than support them...

Click here to comment on this article

Flashback: Bashir condemns embassy bombing
September 18, 2004 - 5:37PM
The jailed cleric accused of heading a militant group blamed for last week's Australian embassy bombing condemned the attack today, while accusing Indonesian authorities of trying to frame him.

Nine people died on September 9 when a car bomb detonated outside the Australian mission in the Kuningan district of central Jakarta. About 180 people were wounded in the attack blamed on Jemaah Islamiah, a South-East Asian militant network allegedly linked to al-Qaeda.

"I personally condemn the bombing (and) I am deeply sorry and express my condolences to the victims," Abu Bakar Bashir said according to his lawyer Wirawan Adnan who had visited the cleric in his cell in Cipinang Prison.

Bashir has been in jail since 2002, when he was convicted for minor immigration infractions. Prosecutors say they now plan to charge him with heading Jemaah Islamiah, and for a deadly bombing last year at the JW Marriott Hotel in Jakarta that killed 12.

There has been speculation that he could also be charged over the latest embassy attack.

Bashir has repeatedly denied any involvement in terrorism and claimed that Jakarta buckled under pressure from Washington to arrest him as part of a crackdown on Islamic activists in the world's most populous Muslim nation.

"I deny all accusations that connect the bombing with me," Bashir said. "I had nothing to do with the Kuningan bombing, the Marriott bombing or any other bombing."

"Terrorists must be punished and eliminated for good," he said.

Adnan told reporters that Bashir was convinced that the police were trying to make him a scapegoat to cover up their failure to prevent terrorist attacks.

"At the time of the Marriott bombing I was locked up for eight months. How can that be?" Bashir said, according to his attorney.

Comment: It might be important here to note a few things about the bombing of the US-owned Marriott hotel in Jakarta in August 2003 for which Bashir was tried and then acquitted.

At the time, every Western news source blithely parroted the official story that a "suicide car bomber" has caused the blast which killed 12 people, yet according to eyewitnesses there were 4 blasts, two of them in upper stories INSIDE the hotel...

Click here to comment on this article

Flashback: Jakarta hotel bombing kills 13, injures 149
Asian Political News
Aug. 5 2003
[...] Although initially only one blast had been reported, a Japanese woman who was taking lunch at a restaurant in an adjacent building at the time of the attack told Kyodo News there a second explosion followed the first, and shattered the restaurant's windows.

The Jakarta Post quoted an eyewitness as describing four separate blasts at the hotel, including two smaller explosions on the upper floors of the hotel.

''I was going to take some pictures after the first blast when suddenly the second blast hit after about 10 minutes. The second was the largest of four,'' the eyewitness, a journalist, reportedly told the daily. He said the second blast was the one that caused a crater in the hotel's Sailendra Restaurant.

Earlier, Jakarta Gov. Sutiyoso had told reporters it appeared that a suicide bomber drove a car to the entrance of the hotel and detonated an explosive device. Antara quoted a source as saying the bomb or bombs were brought by a taxi.

Comment: Furthermore, a hotel employee claimed that a booking for the hotel by the US embassy was cancelled just a short time before the attack. Just really good luck perhaps?...

Click here to comment on this article

Flashback: US Embassy cancelled the booking of Marriott Hotel 4.5 hours before the explosion.
Translated from:

There was something interesting happened just hours before the explosion shocked the JW Marriott Hotel, Mega Kuningan, South
Jakarta. The US Embassy cancelled the booking of 10-20 rooms in that hotel. The cancellation was on 8.00 West Indonesian Time, Tuesday, or only 4.5 hours before the explosion.

This information is from employee of Marriot Hotel who refused to be identified. He explained that the booking was made several days ago.
The US Embassy's guests were planned to stay for 3 days. And the ceremony was planned on Wednesday.

For information, when there was the explosion, the security of US Embassy directly came to the Marriot Hotel in Mega Kuningan. JW
Marriot Hotel is known to be used frequently by US Embassy. On 4 July 2003, the Independent Day of US was celebrated on this hotel. Last year, it was also celebrated there.

Comment: Not only that, but it seems that Indonesian police knew in advance that the hotel would be a target...

Click here to comment on this article

Flashback: Jakarta police 'knew hotel was a target'
06/08/2003 - 08:04:43

Jakarta police seized documents last month showing terrorists were planning an attack in the area around the Marriott Hotel, where 14 people died yesterday in suicide car bombing. [...]

Comment: ...but for some reason the police decided (or were told) not to take any preventative action. Luckily for them, they had the Australian foreign minister to intervene and deny to the world that anyone knew anything...

Click here to comment on this article

Flashback: Downer denies Marriott on hit list

FOREIGN Minister Alexander Downer today rejected claims that Indonesian police had discovered a list of terrorist targets, including the JW Marriott Hotel, in recent raids on terror suspects.

Mr Downer said he had heard such media reports and immediately checked with Australian authorities to see what was known.

"I understand now more recently that there wasn't information that was so specific that would identify the Marriott Hotel," he said on ABC radio.

"It was just more general information of possible terrorist attacks and plans to develop terrorist operations. I have been told that it wasn't specific to the Marriott Hotel.

"There wasn't a list which included the Marriott Hotel."

Comment: And it seems that Mr Downer is no stranger to denials...

Downer Denies Vanuatu Spying

Downer Denies Receiving Bali Warning

Downer Denies Police Spying

Downer Denies Knowledge of Indonesian Summit

Downer Denies Butler Report Damages Case For War

Downer Denies Intel Clash

Downer Denies Hicks Move An Election Ploy

Getting back then to the Muslim cleric in question, Bashir has made no secret of his anti-Israel anti-US opinions and his goal to promote Islam throughout South East Asia.

Over the course of many years, US intelligence agencies and their controllers have learned that as they pursue their goal of global economic and political control, there is little or no chance of negotiating the take over of a country with any but the most amoral of leaders. As such, any moral opposition must be taken out before any taking over can be achieved. The "opposition" includes any religious or political leaders who are wise to the game that is being played and are no inclined to play along.

In the present climate, as the US and Israel go about the task of demonising Islam in the minds of all westerners (and in the minds of Islamic people themselves), there is certainly no room for anyone attempting to unite Arabs or Asians and, god or allah forbid, present a moderate face of Islam!

The goal of Israel then, in conjunction with US intelligence agencies, is to continue to provide "evidence" of the need to continue the "war on terror". Naturally, this "evidence" will involve the use of false flag "terror attacks" on Western targets. The blame is then assigned to some Islamic or Arab "terror" group, which can be invented if needed, as a way to divert attention from the real perpetrators and to provide justification for the subsequent targeting of specific countries or regimes. It is a self perpetuating dynamic, or a positive feedback loop, although, from the point of view of the world public, there is certainly nothing positive in such acts.

Evidence for the fact that at least some faction of the US government is aware of and sanctions such covert operations, is to be found in the public pressure that is subsequently put on governments of Islamic countries who are victims of these attacks to make greater efforts to "stamp out the menace of terrorism".

As the above BBC article notes, most of the previous cases against Bashir are based on the testimony of Omar al-Faruq, who was arrested for the Bali bombing and turned over to the CIA. A former Indonesian intelligence officer has some interesting ideas on al-Faruq and his role with the CIA

Click here to comment on this article

Omar Al-Faruq Recruited by The CIA
19 Sep 2002

TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta: Former State Intelligence Coordinating Board (BAKIN) chief A.C. Manulang has said that Kuwaitd citizen Omar Al-Faruq, a terrorist suspect who was arrested in Bogor, West Java, on June 5, 2002 and handed over to the US three days later, is a CIA-recruited agent.

Al Faruq was assigned to infiltrate Islamic radical groups and recruit local agents within these groups.

"When Al Faruq finished his assignments, the CIA created a scenario that he had been arrested," Manulang told Tempo News Room in Jakarta on Thursday afternoon (19/9).

Manulang made this analysis based on the pattern used by Al Faruq, that of having Kuwait citizenship but holding a Pakistani passport, entering Indonesia as a refugee and marrying an Indonesian woman.

This kind of operation is aimed at starting conflicts in Indonesia and creating the image that Indonesia is a land of terrorists.

"After the CIA obtained complete data on this matter, they then made Al-Faruq disappear. It's common in intelligence world," said Manulang.

Manulang said he considered several matters in the arrest of Al Faruq last July to be odd, such as the denial of National Police chief Gen. Da'i Bachtiar over the police's involvement in Al Faruq's arrest, and the lack of official documents in Al Faruq's handing over to the US.

"In the handing over of a detainee to other country, there should be an announcement or deportation document. Al Faruq's case indicated a lack of coordination between the Indonesian police and intelligence agencies," said Manulang.

As for Al Faruq's testimony in Time magazine that he had masterminded the plan to murder Indonesian President Megawati and several bombings in Indonesia, Manulang considered this as an attempt to making Islamic groups the scapegoats for all terrorism incidents.

"Anti-Islam intelligence agencies committed the bombings in Indonesia. They have been trained for this and they are very organized," said Manulang.

Therefore, he added, it was useless to arrest the bombers.

"We must arrest the mastermind of the bombings in Indonesia," stated Manulang.

According to Manulang, it's possible that Al Faruq recruited radical people from Islamic groups for his plan.

In regards to the murder attempt on Megawati, Manulang did not consider this as a serious matter.

"Megawati does not need to be worried. She's not the real target in this matter," said Manulang.

Manulang requested the government immediately verify the CIA report on Al Faruq.

"Such a report could only be a dummy or false intelligence information that is aimed at misleading the public," stated Manulang. (Sapto Pradityo-Tempo News Room)

Comment: The story of Al-Faruq is an interesting one, and gives us an insight into how the CIA and Mossad go about recruiting, and perhaps even mind programming, their "terrorist" patsies. For those who balk at the idea of mind-programming, we remind you of the publicly admitted US government program "MK Ultra"

From a March 9 2003 New York Times article:

Omar al-Faruq, a confidant of Mr. bin Laden and one of Al Qaeda's senior operatives in Southeast Asia, was captured last June by Indonesian agents acting on a tip from the C.I.A. Agents familiar with the case said a black hood was dropped over his head and he was loaded onto a C.I.A. aircraft. When he arrived at his destination several hours later, the hood was removed. On the wall in front of him were the seals of the New York City Police and Fire Departments, a Western official said.

It was, said a former senior C.I.A. officer who took part in similar sessions, a mind game called false flag, intended to leave the captive disoriented, isolated and vulnerable. Sometimes the décor is faked to make it seem as though the suspect has been taken to a country with a reputation for brutal interrogation.

In this case, officials said, Mr. Faruq was in the C.I.A. interrogation center at the Bagram air base (Afghanistan). American officials were convinced that he knew a lot about pending attacks and the Qaeda network in Southeast Asia, which Mr. bin Laden sent him to set up in 1998.

The details of the interrogation are unknown, though one intelligence official briefed on the sessions said Mr. Faruq initially provided useless scraps of information.

What is known is that the questioning was prolonged, extending day and night for weeks. It is likely, experts say, that the proceedings followed a pattern, with Mr. Faruq left naked most of the time, his hands and feet bound. While international law requires prisoners to be allowed eight hours' sleep a day, interrogators do not necessarily let them sleep for eight consecutive hours.

Mr. Faruq may also have been hooked up to sensors, then asked questions to which interrogators knew the answers, so they could gauge his truthfulness, officials said.

The Western intelligence official described Mr. Faruq's interrogation as "not quite torture, but about as close as you can get." The official said that over a three-month period, the suspect was fed very little, while being subjected to sleep and light deprivation, prolonged isolation and room temperatures that varied from 100 degrees to 10 degrees. In the end he began to cooperate.

And we have to wonder just what the nature of Faruq's cooperation with the CIA was. Given the now overwhelming amount of evidence to show very, very clearly that Western intelligence agencies are in fact the real masterminds of global terror, we wonder just how much longer the facade can be kept in place. More importantly, what will happen when the facade (or part of it) collapses, as it surely must.

Click here to comment on this article

Tony Blair – Former MI5 Informant?
News Brief – October 18, 2005

Ex-MI5 officer David Shayler alleged so at a public meeting in Bristol last week, as was reported in the Bristol Evening Post. Money quote:

Mr Shayler believes Dr David Kelly was an MI6 agent who was murdered and he alleged that Tony Blair worked for MI5 before he became Labour leader.

Unfortunately, Shayler's exact words were not reported, making it difficult to assess the claim. Luckily, I found a recording of his words...

Shayler was speaking to 9/11 sceptics in Bristol. They showed a video, then he spoke and took questions. The topic moved from 9/11 to the July 7th bombings in London. Shayler suspects the British security services might have had a hand in 7/7. An audience member asked about MI5's possible complicity in 7/7, and, if so, whether Tony Blair's government was involved or were kept in the dark. This was Shayler's response [my transcription]:

Yeah, I mean, I don't know how involved Blair is – it's a difficult question to answer. I mean, certainly I know, as I say, the intelligence services do things behind the backs of government, the cabinet and parliament – it's very easy in this country to do that, as there's no oversight of the services. And, in some ways, they don't want the government to know, so, when they are sent out to deny these things, as Robin Cook was, they can do it looking honest, basically.

But I think the only way we can explain Blair's behaviour is that he is blackmailable by the intelligence services. I know that the intelligence services have files on most of the Labour government because I saw some of the files while I was there. In fact ... [inaudible audience interjections, laughter] ...Well, one of the things I want to tell you is that – I actually, I didn't see this myself, I must admit – but somebody who was reviewing Blair's file, this was when Blair was unknown really, in 1992, not particularly well known, told me that Blair was an MI5 agent. In the 1980s he'd reported on members of CND and the so-called Trotskyists in the Labour Party.

Now, I've tried to get to the bottom of this, it's very difficult. But it would in some way explain why he does what he does, basically, because he's actually a stooge, he's one of them, basically.

Shayler may be wrong about many things, but he's right that the Blair-as-MI5-agent report has much explanatory value. But whether Blair needed to be blackmailed to act for MI5 is another matter - Blair's naivity, vanity and ambition, coupled with the state of the Labour Party in the 80s – may have been sufficient motivation for him to inform on "left-wing extremists" to his MI5 contacts. (But then that act of informing might itself become a blackmailable vulnerability, so perhaps Shayler's right after all.)

I dread to think what might be in Gordon Brown's file.

Editor's comment: We received the above from an individual who will remain anonymous. Nonetheless, it is plausible and explains why Blair went to war in Iraq, despite massive public opposition. Quite simply, he was ordered to go to war by those who effectively controlled his political fortunes. Had he not done so his past as a former informant might have been revealed, putting an end to his career in politics once and for all.

As to what secrets they might have on Blair’s likely successor Gordon Brown? We are reliably informed that photos exist of Blair’s deputy with a male prostitute – which obviously also makes him eminently blackmailable and a prime figure for manipulation.

Click here to comment on this article

Millions to Receive Social Security Boost
AP Economics Writer
Fri Oct 14, 7:41 PM ET

WASHINGTON - Social Security checks for nearly 50 million Americans are going up next year an average of $39 a month, the biggest boost in 15 years, although rising energy bills and higher Medicare premiums will erase a big chunk of the gain for many.

The 4.1 percent cost of living adjustment announced Friday by the Social Security Administration is the biggest increase since a 5.4 percent gain in 1991. Last year's increase was 2.7 percent.

The average Social Security check will increase from $963 to $1,002 in January.

Rising energy prices, including a record-breaking surge in September, were the driving force behind the big cost of living increase, which is based on changes in the government's Consumer Price Index. The inflation figure rose 1.2 percent in September, the biggest monthly increase in a quarter-century, mostly because of a huge hurricane-linked rise in energy costs.

About one-fourth of the monthly Social Security gain will be eaten up by a rise in Medicare premiums, which will grow by $10.30 per month starting in January.

Still, with gas prices high and home heating oil and natural gas prices following suit, seniors across the country were thankful for anything.

"It's something. It's going to pay for probably the telephone bill," said Murray Levine, 86, as he maneuvered a shopping cart full of groceries in downtown Philadelphia.

That sentiment was echoed by Grace Bryan, 75, of Monroe, Ind., who was waiting with her husband for a train at Union Station in Chicago. "We've cut back," she said. "I think a lot on how much we drive - making our trips count."

The government estimated this week that natural gas bills will rise by 48 percent this winter over last winter and heating oil bills will go up by 32 percent, reflecting energy prices that have soared higher in the aftermath of the Gulf Coast production shutdowns caused by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Dean Swafford, 92, a retired farmer in Rayville, Mo., said the additional Social Security money would go to paying his heating bills.

"Everything that we buy has gone up so fast," he said. "The extra money will be spent, that's for sure."

In addition to the higher premium for Medicare Part B, Medicare recipients who decide to take advantage of the new prescription drug benefit will start paying a premium of around $32 per month in January. The amount will vary depending on which plan they choose.

Bill Novelli, head of AARP, formerly the American Association of Retired Persons, said that without the Social Security cost of living adjustments, inflation over the past decade would have reduced beneficiaries' incomes by more than 25 percent. He said the eight out of 10 Americans 65 and older who rely on Social Security as the largest part of their incomes see the COLAS as a critical lifeline.

President Bush had hoped to get Congress this year to pass a Social Security overhaul he viewed as the centerpiece of his second term. It would have bolstered Social Security finances to deal with a looming funding crisis when 78 million baby boomers begin retiring and it would have allowed younger workers to create personal accounts. However, the measure has failed to attract widespread support in Congress.

The cost of living adjustment announced Friday will go to more than 52 million people. More than 48 million receive Social Security benefits and the rest Supplemental Security Income payments, aimed at the poor.

The average retired couple, both receiving Social Security benefits, will see their monthly check go from $1,583 to $1,648.

The standard SSI payment will go from $579 to $603 per month for an individual and $869 to $904 for a couple.

The average monthly check for a disabled worker will go from $902 to $939.

The Social Security Administration also announced Friday that 11.3 million workers will pay higher taxes next year because the maximum amount of Social Security earnings subject to the payroll tax will rise from $90,000 to $94,200 next year. In all, an estimated 159 million workers will pay Social Security taxes next year.

By law, the monthly increase in Medicare premiums cannot be higher than an individual's cost of living adjustment. Social Security recipients whose cost of living increase will be less than the $10.30 premium increase next year will not be forced to pay the entire $10.30.

Comment: No matter how the press has tries to spin the increase in Social Security benefits, two things remain obvious. The first is that the timing of the increase is rather convenient given the "rough time" the Bush administration is going through at the moment. The second is that the increases are nowhere near enough.

Medicare premiums are increasing along with fuel costs and many other basic necessities. Wages for the average working are generally not increasing enough to match the higher cost of living.

It is also interesting that the 11.3 million workers who will be saddled with high taxes to fund Social Security are those who probably fall into the upper middle class. The people with the huge incomes - i.e. the millionaires and billionaires who are quite often linked to politicians like Bush - will certainly not be hurt at all by the higher taxes. In the end, the middle and lower economic groups will be hurt the most, and the economy will continue to teeter on the edge of the abyss.

To make matters worse, the new bankruptcy laws took effect in the US yesterday, making it harder for the average American to erase their debts and start over. The following AP chart says it all:

Click here to comment on this article

Industrial output down 1.3 percent
Fri Oct 14, 9:20 AM ET

WASHINGTON - Output from U.S. factories, mines and utilities tumbled by a surprisingly sharp 1.3 percent in September due to a big drop in oil and gas output after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, a Federal Reserve report showed on Friday.

It was the largest decline in industrial production since January 1982, when output fell 1.9 percent, the Federal Reserve said.

Analysts polled by Reuters were expecting production to fall 0.3 percent in September.

Manufacturing production fell 0.5 percent in September as mining output, which includes oil and natural gas extraction, plunged 9.1 percent, the report said.

Businesses ran at an operating rate of 78.6 percent in September, slower than forecast. Analysts were expecting capacity utilization at 79.6 percent.

Click here to comment on this article

Sleep Deprivation Driving Drug Use and Cost: New Research Finds Increased Use of Prescription Sleeping Aids
Monday October 17, 6:00 am ET

FRANKLIN LAKES, N.J. -- For many Americans a good night sleep is just a pillow away, but the number of people -- including children -- who find themselves tossing and turning the night away is increasing. A nationwide analysis released today by Medco Health Solutions, Inc. finds that the most dramatic increases in the use of prescription sleeping aids are among younger adults and school-age children.

According to the research, the number of adults aged 20-44 using sleeping medications doubled from 2000 to 2004, and rose by 85 percent for children from 10-19. The increase in spending on these medications was highest for 10-19 year olds -- up 223 percent; younger adults showed a 190 percent spending spike over the four-year period. The analysis reviewed prescription drug claims of 2.4 million Americans between 2000 and 2004.

"Although the elderly are still the most frequent users of sleeping aids, the evidence found in this study shows that younger adults and children are starting to use these medications with even greater frequency," said Dr. Robert Epstein, chief medical officer for Medco. "With several new medications that treat sleep disorders coming to the marketplace in the next three years, we anticipate that this trend will continue to accelerate."

A supplemental analysis of the same patients looked at the concurrent use of both prescription sleeping aid medications and drugs used to treat attention deficit/antihyperactivity disorder (ADHD) during the first six months of 2004. Children ages 10-19 showed the highest dual usage in these two therapeutic categories at 15 percent, followed by the 20-44 age-category at nearly 4 percent.

"One of the potential side-effects of drugs to treat ADHD is insomnia. Therefore, for some, the additional use of medications to assist in sleeping is something one might anticipate," said Epstein. "The number of people in our analysis that have concomitant use in these two therapeutic classes is significant and warrants continued research, especially since these two conditions are accelerating at similar rates and among similar demographic audiences."

Additional Research Findings:

* Females are far more likely to use sleeping aids than males. In 2004, there were 37 percent more girls ages 19 and under, 58 percent more women ages 20-64, and 36 percent more women 65 and over taking sleeping medications than their male counterparts.

* In 2004, the highest prevalence of adults under 65 on sleep medications was seen in a portion of the central region of the U.S., which includes Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi, while higher percentages of children (19 and under) were prescribed sleeping pills in the mountain states including Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico than in any other area of the nation.

* Although adults over 64 have the highest rate of sleeping-medication use, they showed the lowest increase in prevalence from 2000 to 2004 -- only a 16.5 percent change over that time, 84 percent lower than the increase seen in adults 20-44.

A Sleepless Nation

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), more than 70 million people in the U.S. may be affected by a sleep problem and, for 60 percent of them, it's a chronic disorder. There are significant gender differences when it comes to sleeping problems, with women being twice as likely as men to have trouble sleeping, which is reflected in the prescription data.

Common sleep disorders include insomnia, sleep apnea, and restless leg syndrome. Menopause and perimenopause are also frequently associated with sleep impairment in women. Sleep deprivation and disorders cost the nation $15 billion in health care expenses and $50 billion in lost productivity each year, according to United States Surgeon General.

Treatments for sleep disorders include both over-the-counter and prescription medications, as well as behavioral interventions. Americans filled more than 35 million prescriptions for sleeping pills in 2004, spending $2.1 billion on these medications. Although drug therapy may be beneficial for short-term improvement and long term use may be needed in some cases, the American Academy of Family Physicians cautions that long-term use of many psychotropic or sedative-hypnotic drugs may cause adverse reactions and may actually impair return to normal sleep. A combination of medication and behavioral interventions is often more effective than either approach alone for those with chronic insomnia.

A 2003 study published in the Journal of Pediatrics found that 75 percent of practitioners surveyed reported recommending a non-prescription sleeping aid and 50 percent had actually prescribed one for their pediatric patients during a six-month period. In addition, the study found that the likelihood of prescribing sleep medications was two-to-four times greater for those physicians who treated children with ADHD.

Managing Cost in Sleeping Medication Use

Three new sleep medications introduced in 2005 are the first of other additional hypnotics that will be coming to market in the next few years. These new products, some with better data supporting long-term use and improved safety profiles, are expected to address some of the problems associated with older sleep aids and as a result are being approved for longer-term use. These single source products could significantly increase costs of hypnotics. T. Rowe Price Health Sciences Fund predicts that the market for sleep drugs will more than double to $5 billion by 2010.

One factor that may help keep costs down despite these new products is that the most popular sleep medication currently on the market (zolpidem) is expected to be available as a generic in late 2006. [...]

Comment: While the sleeping aid statistics are certainly very interesting, we have to wonder why no one is doing a study to determine exactly why so many Americans are having trouble sleeping? Not to worry though, because soon everyone will be able to pop their favorite hypnotic before getting into bed and sleep like a baby.

Click here to comment on this article

Rape Up, While Murders Down in 2004
The Associated Press
Monday, October 17, 2005; 4:36 PM

WASHINGTON -- Murders across the United States fell for the first time in five years, while rapes increased slightly last year, the FBI reported Monday.

Overall, the number of violent crimes, which also include aggravated assaults and robberies, fell by 1.2 percent last year. Property crimes - burglaries, larceny/theft and car theft - dropped 1.1 percent in 2004, compared to 2003.

There were 16,137 murders in the United States in 2004, the last full year for which statistics are available. That was about 350 fewer than in 2003, according to the FBI data. The decrease is the first since 1999, although smaller than what the FBI reported in June. Chicago was largely responsible for the drop, recording 150 fewer murders in 2004 than in 2003.

The number of rapes, however, has increased in three of the past four years, according to the FBI data. In all, rapes increased by .8 percent to 94,635 rapes, or about 750 more than in 2003.

Rapes are up nearly 5 percent since 2000, while murders have increased by 3.5 percent, FBI data show.

At the same time, the rates of all violent crimes, measured as the number of crimes for every 100,000 people, have dropped over that same period. Indeed, the crime rate is at a 30-year low, government data have shown.

Despite the historical trend, the FBI included a "crime clock" in its report that shows a violent crime is committed every 23.1 seconds. A murder occurs roughly every half-hour, according to the clock.

Click here to comment on this article

Police blotter: Patriot Act wins a round
By Declan McCullagh
Staff Writer, CNET
Published: October 14, 2005, 7:00 AM PDT

"Police blotter" is a weekly report on the intersection of technology and the law. This episode: The U.S. Supreme Court rejects an emergency appeal from a library organization regarding the Patriot Act.

What: A library organization asks the U.S. Supreme Court to grant an emergency appeal to lift a gag order related to the FBI's request for Internet records under the Patriot Act.

When: Decided on Oct. 7 by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who hears emergency appeals from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York.

Outcome: Ginsburg refuses to step in, saying the Second Circuit should handle the case for now.

What happened: When Congress approved the Patriot Act in the frenzied legislative response to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the FBI received new powers to send secret National Security Letters (NSLs) that demand business records (view related PDF).

Until that time, NSLs could be sent only when an investigation was directly related to international terrorism. Thanks to Section 505 of the Patriot Act, NSLs now can be used more broadly (view related PDF), and individual FBI agents received the power to issue them.

Recipients are prohibited by law from disclosing that they received an NSL, even to their attorney: "No wire or electronic communication service provider...shall disclose to any person that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has sought or obtained access to information." One court has already ruled such a law is an unlawful gag order.

An unnamed member of the American Library Association received an NSL (view PDF of the NSL) demanding "any and all subscriber information, billing information, and access logs of any person or entity" using a specific Internet Protocol address during a certain time.

In response, the organization filed a lawsuit claiming it had the right to describe its experience to Congress in general terms--without disclosing details of the NSL. A federal district court agreed that the First Amendment permitted such general disclosure, but the Second Circuit didn't.

Ginsburg rejected the library group's request to lift its gag order, saying that the Second Circuit was moving quickly--oral arguments are set for Nov. 2--and that it was premature to intervene. (The Bush administration has urged Congress to keep Section 505 of the Patriot Act and further expand police powers.)

Excerpt from Ginsburg's opinion: "Although the (library organization's) arguments are cogent, I have taken into account several countervailing considerations in declining to vacate the stay kept in place by the Second Circuit pending its disposition of the appeal. I am mindful, first, that interference with an interim order of a court of appeals cannot be justified solely because a circuit justice disagrees about the harm a party may suffer. Respect for the assessment of the court of appeals is especially warranted when that court is proceeding to adjudication on the merits with due expedition."

Comment: Prosecutors can indict away the entire Bush administration, but laws like the Patriot Act are obviously not going anywhere.

Click here to comment on this article

Acquiescence and Conformity
by Scott L. Fields
October 13, 2005

In 1967, a middle school history teacher found himself being asked the following kinds of questions by his students in regards to the atrocities committed by the Nazi regime during World War II.

How could the German populace claim ignorance of the slaughter of the Jewish people?

How could the townspeople, railroad conductors, teachers, doctors, etc., claim they knew nothing about concentration camps and human carnage?

How can people who were neighbors and maybe even friends of the Jewish citizens say they weren't there when it happened?

His answer was to try a social experiment with his students, unbeknownst to either the students or their parents. I remember it well, since it was the basis for an after-school TV movie that aired in the 70's. The teacher was Ron Jones. His experiment became known as "The Wave."

The questions were simple enough, but he decided to pursue a different approach to understanding the answers. He decided to use the same tactics in class that the Nazi's had applied to their recruitment of German youths. He fed their desire for social acceptance and equality with approaches of discipline, community, purpose, and pride.

The first phase was to provide a common unifying dictum, which was "discipline." By identifying "discipline" as a path to a goal, such as an athlete winning an event, a musician writing a song, or an architect designing a building; he instilled a willingness to participate in class exercises demonstrating that goal. Most of these exercises involved actions like "sitting up straight," "eyes forward," and "hands flat of the table." Though these activities required a discipline of sorts, their real goal was "conformity." As a teenager, I can recall the attraction of such group exercises; and I can certainly understand the effect. Though it disturbed Ron with how quickly his students adopted his "code of behavior," his students wondered why such principles had not been taught before.

With trepidation, Ron continued to the next phase of his experiment, "community." On his classroom blackboard, he wrote the words "STRENGTH THROUGH DISCIPLINE." This re-iterated what had previously been taught. Turning to his students, he was faced with the realization they had all taken this to heart. The majority were sitting up straight, eyes forward, hands flat on their desks; anticipating what they were to be taught next. He continued to write "STRENGTH THROUGH COMMUNITY" under the first line. He began to comment on the concept of community in common terms, such as a group building a barn, or your team winning a football game. Community was the bond of individuals committed to a common goal or purpose. The idea was how they could accomplish more as a community than as individuals.

Just as he had provided examples of discipline in previous classes, he led the class through exercises of "community." He had two students read the motto presented to them aloud. He then added a student to repeat the exercise until all the students were speaking the motto, demonstrating the strength of unity. Each student realized they had a voice that was part of the whole. They belonged. More importantly, they were equal.

At this point, Ron began to question why his students where taking his instructions without question. He was equally aware that he was becoming part of the experiment. His students were enjoying his instructions, but he found himself enjoying his new-found power over them.

At the end of this cycle of his experiment, he gave his students a symbol to represent their new "community." He invented a salute with the right hand brought up toward the right shoulder in a curled position, which he called "The Third Wave." This symbol, which represented the largest cresting wave in a series of waves, separated them and raised them above other students. After some time, Ron was surprised to find other students outside his class that wished to join his group. The community he had created was growing.

He decided to take his experiment to the next phase, "action." He presented group membership cards to those of his class that wished to continue this community. Not a single student declined. A subset of those cards were marked "special." Those students were to report other members that were not obeying community rules.

He stressed how discipline and community were meaningless without action. If one dedicated themselves fully to their family and community, then the well-being of the community would be reflected in the well-being of themselves. His counter example was how competition between individuals led to pain, isolation, and disappointment. The feeling of community action was better than the feeling of individual isolation.

The results were undeniable. His students were accepting all his lectures with comfort, homework assignments were being completed beyond his expectations, and their academic accomplishments were improving.

"What else where they prepared do?" he asked himself.

As a group assignment, he instructed his students to find other members. This was an assignment the class accomplished with great fervor. The results of his experiment were growing. Though he initially only appointed a handful of "special" members to report rule breaking, he now found dozens of students were reporting other group members for such actions as "failing to salute another group member."

The most noteworthy result of this stage of his experiment were the reactions of his gifted students. These were the ones that were used to the accolades of individual accomplishments. They were now subjugated by the group purpose. Instead of the questioning and leadership they previously showed, they had become quiet and withdrawn. They followed the curriculum, but were not active participants. In the common view, they had begun to exhibit signs of having learning disabilities. I find this a valuable insight with today's regimented education model.

The parents were not oblivious to this group's existence, but a very small percentage questioned Ron over what this was all about. Ironically, a rabbi questioned Ron over his curriculum, of which Ron simply stated they were studying the "German personality." This rabbi took Ron at his word and stated he would calm the concerns of other parents. Had only the rabbi refused his explanation, and demanded his real purpose in making this group, he would at least have had an example of "righteous indignation," which his students had originally questioned. Indirectly, this rabbi had now become part of the experiment.

At this point, the role of teacher and leader were becoming difficult for Ron to distinguish. Many students had taken membership in "The Third Wave" to dangerous levels. One student had taken the role of being Ron's personal bodyguard. His students increasingly viewed Ron as the leader of an organization more so than as a teacher and he found himself more and more in the role of a "dictator." This was not just a role his students now expected of him, but one he found himself becoming. Though uncomfortable where the direction of his experiment was leading, Ron realized that to let the experiment run its own course or to halt it outright were no longer viable solutions.

He proceeded to his next phase, "pride." His class had more than doubled. He now told his students that "The Third Wave" was not just a simple organization created at this school, but a nationwide group, whose purpose was to initiate political change in our country. The group had clearly shown them what can be accomplished by discipline, community, and action. With this action, he had now given them a purpose. Though it had been a gamble, it paid off more than he expected. Not only did his students believe this larger organization existed, many searched and found examples of their organization's mottoes or titles in other publications, and viewed them as hidden messages from this larger organization. There was pride in being a member of "The Third Wave."

The crescendo of the wave was at its peak, and Ron knew it was time bring the experiment to a close. He informed his students that the organization was to have a meeting in the school auditorium, and the national leader of "The Third Wave" would speak. On the day of the event, the auditorium was filled. The students anxiously awaited their leader. Ron led the group through the group's motto, which the group repeated in a loud chorus. "STRENGTH THROUGH DISCIPLINE!" As time passed, no "leader" appeared. The students slowly began to speak amongst themselves. "Where was their leader?"

Ron Jones approached the podium and slowly, and with intense conviction, began to speak.

"Listen closely, I have something important to tell you."

"Sit down."

"There is no leader! There is no such thing as a national youth movement called the Third Wave. You have been used. Manipulated. Shoved by your own desires into the place you now find yourself. You are no better or worse than the German Nazis we have been studying."

"You thought that you were the elect. That you were better than those outside this room. You bargained your freedom for the comfort of discipline and superiority. You chose to accept that group's will and the big lie over your own conviction. Oh, you think to yourself that you were just going along for the fun. That you could extricate yourself at any moment. But where were you heading? How far would you have gone? Let me show you your future."

At this point, Ron Jones turned on a projector, and Hitler's Nuremberg Rally burst onto the auditorium screen. Lastly, Ron spoke to the stunned students.

"Everyone must accept the blame. No one can claim that they didn't in some way take part."

However, what may be a more important lesson was his answer to the original questions of his students.

"This is the final lesson to be experienced. This last lesson is perhaps the one of greatest importance. This lesson was the question that started our plunge in studying Nazi life. Do you remember the question? It concerned a bewilderment at the German populace claiming ignorance and non-involvement in the Nazi movement. If I remember the question, it went something like this. How could the German soldier, teacher, railroad conductor, nurse, tax collector, the average citizen, claim at the end of the Third Reich that they knew nothing of what was going on? How can a people be a part of something and then claim at the demise that they were not really involved? What causes people to blank out their own history? In the next few minutes and perhaps years, you will have an opportunity to answer this question."

"If our enactment of the Fascist mentality is complete not one of you will ever admit to being at this final Third Wave rally. Like the Germans, you will have trouble admitting to yourself that you came this far. You will not allow your friends and parents to know that you were willing to give up individual freedom and power for the dictates of order and unseen leaders. You can't admit to being manipulated. Being a follower. To accepting the Third Wave as a way of life. You won't admit to participating in this madness. You will keep this day and this rally a secret. It's a secret I shall share with you."

As an adult, I can freely admit that I didn't fully understand the message delivered to my teenage self. I was above average in intelligence, socially awkward, not an athlete, and very much wanted to be with "the in crowd." I like to think I would not have fallen for such an experiment, had it been done at my school. The uncomfortable truth is that I very well might have been. I did find several questions, of which I was unsure of the answers.

  • Was I willing to question a group's ethics over my own?
  • Was I willing to confront and refute those ethics?
  • Was my sense of self defined by society?

How a person derives the meaning and purpose of those questions is not written in stone. The seed of finding my own personal philosophy was planted. I now ask these questions to my self on a regular basis, and my personal philosophy adapts with those answers. This experiment gave me the realization that these were questions WORTH asking.

Scott L. Fields [send him mail] is a systems engineer for a large company in Fort Worth, Texas.

Click here to comment on this article

Global warming to bring heavier rains, snow
By Michael Kanellos
Staff Writer, CNET
Published: October 14, 2005, 1:36 PM PDT

In the forecast, more rain and snow.

Rising temperatures in the world's atmosphere and oceans will lead to more intense storms as the century progresses, according to a new report from the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

Evaporation increases when the surface temperature of the ocean rises and warmer air can hold more moisture. When this soggier-than-normal air moves over land, it results in storms wetter and more intense than those experienced in the past.

The greatest changes will occur over land in the tropics, according to the study, which was released Thursday. Heavier rain or snow, however, will also fall in northwestern and northeastern North America, northern Europe, northern and eastern Asia, southwestern Australia, and parts of South America during the current century.

"The models show most areas around the world will experience more intense precipitation for a given storm during this century," lead author Gerald Meehl said in a statement. "Information on which areas will be most affected could help communities to better manage water resources and anticipate possible flooding."

The Mediterranean and the southwestern U.S., meanwhile, will experience a different pattern. Storms will likely become wetter, particularly in the fall and winter, but dry spells may stretch for longer in the warmer months. A picture of how this pattern might develop was seen in Europe this year: While Germany endured unprecedented floods, Spain and Portugal imposed water rationing because of a lengthy drought.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in April released a report predicting that hurricanes would become more intense over the coming century. It became an oft-cited study after Hurricane Katrina hit.

Climate change has become a hot-button issue for scientists, politicians and the general public. The scientific community now generally agrees that global warming is in fact happening, and most of the future scenarios aren't pretty.

Comment: Remember when the idea that global warming and the idea that the planet's climate was rapidly changing were just "wild theories" that only "crazy people" talked about? Makes you wonder what else the so-called "experts" have gotten dead wrong - and why they got it dead wrong when all the available data clearly indicated that something was amiss...

Rising sea levels could lead to more frequent flooding in Bangladesh and other low-lying nations. Food production could also be disrupted. Melting polar ice is expected by some to lead to a sea lane above Siberia in a few years.

While scientists generally agree that the world's climate is changing, there is more disagreement over how much of the change is due to human behavior. Some believe a great deal of the warming is caused by burning fossil fuels, which create greenhouse gases that trap heat. Examination of data from the 20th century implicates humans, Meehl said in a phone interview.

"Probably most of the climate change in the early part of the century was caused by natural events," he said, such as a rebounding of temperatures that ordinarily occurs after volcanoes. "But the change in the latter part of he 20th century was the result of human activity."

Others disagree. Still others assert that, because the stakes are so high, debating whether or not reducing greenhouse gas emissions can help makes no sense.

Comment: Instead of arguing over what is causing climate change, shouldn't the alleged experts be figuring out how to prepare for the changing climatic system? Then again, failing to prepare for future global catastrophes would certainly benefit the Powers that Be, since that would mean fewer mouths to feed.

The reader may wish to consider the maximum sustainable population figures discussed in the Adventures Series written in the Spring of 2002 by Laura Knight-Jadczyk. In Adventures Chapter 30 she writes:

Hugh Everett's name may be familiar because of what is called The Everett-Wheeler interpretation of quantum mechanics. A rival of the orthodox "Copenhagen" interpretation of the mathematics of quantum mechanics. The Everett Wheeler theory is also known as the "many worlds" interpretation. [...]

Everett left physics after completing his Ph.D., going to work as a defense analyst at the Weapons Systems Evaluation Group, Pentagon and later became a private contractor.  He was very successful, becoming a multimillionaire.  In 1968 Everett worked for the Lambda Corporation, now subsidiary of General Research Corporation in McLean, Virginia. His published papers during this period cover things like optimizing resource allocation and maximizing kill rates during nuclear-weapon campaigns. [...]

I was curious about Everett's work for Lambda.  A recent search of the literature turns up a paper written by Joseph George Caldwell entitled Optimal Attack and Defense for a Number of Targets in the Case of Imperfect Interceptors. [...]

Aside from the fact that we see evidence of the use of pure mathematics - Game Theory, in fact - in matters of warfare strategy, which includes source notes connecting this work to Wheeler, we find Joseph George Caldwell to be a bit interesting for other reasons.  He has a website where he promotes the following idea:

"What is the sustainable human population for Earth?", I propose that a long-term sustainable number is on the order of ten million, consisting of a technologically advanced population of a single nation of about five million people concentrated in one or a few centers, and a globally distributed primitive population of about five million.

"I arrived at this size by approaching the problem from the point of view of estimating the minimum number of human beings that would have a good chance of long-term survival, instead of approaching it from the (usual) point of view of attempting to estimate the maximum number of human beings that the planet might be able to support.

"The reason why I use the approach of minimizing the human population is to keep the damaging effects of human industrial activity on the biosphere to a minimum. Because mankind's industrial activity produces so much waste that cannot be metabolized by "nature," any attempt to maximize the size of the human population risks total destruction of the biosphere (such as the "sixth extinction" now in progress).

Let's stop right here and ask the question: Who said that there was such a thing as the "Sixth Extinction," and that it was now in progress?  Is this something that is generally "known" in the circles that do this kind of research?  Is this WHY they are doing it?  What do they know that the rest of us don't?  Or better, what do they think that they aren't telling us?  Caldwell writes:

The role of the technological population is "planetary management": to ensure that the size of the primitive population does not expand.

The role of the primitive population is to reduce the likelihood that a localized catastrophe might wipe out the human population altogether.

The reason for choosing the number five million for the primitive population size is that this is approximately the number (an estimated 2-20 million) that Earth supported for millions of years, i.e., it is proved to be a long-term sustainable number (in mathematical terminology, a "feasible" solution to the optimization problem).

The reason for choosing the number five million for the technological population size is that it is my opinion that that is about the minimum practical size for a technologically advanced population capable of managing a planet the size of Earth; also, it is my opinion that the "solar energy budget" of the planet can support a population of five million primitive people and five million "industrial" people indefinitely. [ ]

Mr. Caldwell's ideas are a techno representation of Synarchy, a clue to the REAL Stargate Conspiracy.  It seems that, there is, indeed, something very mysterious going on all over the planet in terms of shaping the thinking of humanity via books, movies, and cultural themes, but at this point, we understand that most of what is promulgated is lies and disinformation.  We hope to come to some idea of what the "insiders" know that they aren't telling us, and perhaps we will find some clues as we continue our investigation here.

Click here to comment on this article

Geologists say 'bulge' may turn into volcano

100 square miles of Oregon terrain rising 1.4 inches each year
Tuesday, October 18, 2005

BEND, Ore. - Half an hour west of this mountain town in central Oregon, in an area covered by forest, is a growing bulge in the terrain that scientists say could be the beginnings of a volcano.

The bulge covers 100 square miles and is rising at a rate of 1.4 inches a year. The shape resembles a dome, with the highest point about three miles west of the South Sister volcano in the Cascades.

Geologists say that the bulge represents a rare opportunity to study what could be a volcanic formation in its earliest stages, but officials in Bend, a town of 65,000, worry more about the potential hazards, such as lava and ash or flying rocks.

"Is it going to blow up and bury Bend?" City Manager Harold "Andy" Anderson asked. "In the wake of (Hurricane) Katrina, we're trying to assess our biggest natural threats, and the bulge came up in meetings as a possibility."

Scientists have held community forums trying to assuage concerns and educate the public about why the phenomenon should inspire fascination rather than fear. They say that nothing is comparable in the Cascades or possibly in all of North America, but the technology that detected the bulge is relatively new.

The bulge, in the Three Sisters Wilderness Area - named after three volcanic peaks - was detected in March 2001 by a geologist using a new imaging technology called radar interferometry, which uses satellites to measure changes in Earth's surface.

Since the discovery, scientists have "wired" the bulge with additional measuring equipment. Geologists from the U.S. Geological Survey have also visited the site and a report on their latest findings is expected this month.

Click here to comment on this article

Volcano erupts in PNG's West New Britain
Posted at 01:52 on 18 October, 2005 UTC

Experts from the Rabaul Volcano Observatory in Papua New Guinea are being rushed to Talasea district in West New Britain province to assess the sudden eruption of dormant Mt Garbuna volcano at the weekend.

The National newspaper quotes a report from the West New Britain Provincial Disaster Office that Mt Garbuna started erupting late Sunday evening and continued into Monday morning when it subsided.

However, another report from the disaster office last night says volcanic activity intensified again yesterday afternoon.

The paper quotes provincial disaster office director, Major Paul Kaliop, as saying ash from the mountain fell on Garu village and its surroundings, contaminating water sources.

It says more than 20,000 people in the Talasea district could be affected by any further eruption.

Click here to comment on this article

Warning: Possible Volcano Eruption in El Salvador
Prensa Latina

San Salvador, Oct 17 (Prensa Latina) Salvadoran National Service of Territorial Research (SNET) warned that LLamatepec, a volcano in western El Salvador between Santa Ana and Sonsonate departments could erupt.

Crater activity is anomalous, changing and unpredictable and, according to the persistent vibrations, experts expect an eruption similar to that causing two deaths on October 1, when more than 6,000 people had to be evacuated.

Once seismic activity started, authorities declared state of alert in areas around the volcano and prohibited tourists from ascending to Cerro Verde.

The abrupt eruptions of the volcano caused underground waters to rise in Cuntan and La Floresta, near the city of Izalco, citizens reported.

LLamatepec is being monitored by a group of experts from SNET and Salvadoran State University, who have detected a slight increase in emissions of sulfur dioxide.

According to official data, this volcano, which last erupted in 1904, becomes active every one hundred years.

Click here to comment on this article

Earthquake rocks southern Peru, no casualties reported 2005-10-18 10:37:11

LIMA, Oct. 17 (Xinhuanet) -- An earthquake measuring 5.8 on the Richter scale rocked southern Peru on Monday, causing alarm in some cities and towns, but no casualties or damage have been reported, authorities said.

The quake, with a preliminary magnitude of 5.8 degrees on the open-ended Richter scale, took place at 2:22 p.m. local time (1922GMT), 31 km from the town of Tarata, and 930 km southeast of the capital, Lima, Peru's Geophysics Institute confirmed.

The tremor was felt strongly in Peru's second largest city, Arequipa, 750 km southeast of Lima, and in the country's southernmost city, Tacna, on the Chilean border, where people rushed out of buildings into open streets and plazas, a local radio reported.

Peru is located in a region with intense volcanic and seismic activity.

In recent weeks, the country has been rocked by several tremorsof regular intensity, of which the strongest occurred on Sept. 25 in San Martin, Peru's northeastern department, killing five people,leaving 3,000 others homeless and destroying at least 700 houses.

Click here to comment on this article

Greece becomes first EU country to confirm bird flu

No direct threat to people in Britain, says minister ·
Romania fears quarantine may have been too late
James Meikle and Mark Honigsbaum
Tuesday October 18, 2005
The Guardian
Greece yesterday confirmed its first case of bird flu, as the disease that has plagued south-east Asia continued its rapid spread westward. It is the first country in the European Union to report apparent infection, although cases are being tackled in Turkey and Romania.

The Greek agriculture minister, Evangelos Basiakos, reported the case on a turkey farm on the Aegean Sea island of Oinouses, near the coast of Turkey. The European commission said last night it was preparing to ban the movement of live birds and poultry meat from the region, which also includes the nearby resort island of Chios.

Authorities in Romania were yesterday monitoring poultry in six more villages in the Danube delta, amid fears that quarantine restrictions on villages already suspected of harbouring the disease may have come too late. Bulgaria and Croatia are also testing birds, although as there is no evidence yet of infection.

The developments came as Patricia Hewitt, the health secretary, told the Commons there was "no direct threat" to people in Britain. "This is a bird disease. There is no reason for people to stop eating poultry," she said, insisting that the government was ensuring that the country was as fully prepared as possible for any pandemic flu outbreak in humans.

Planning in this country is based mainly on an estimate that about 50,000 people might die in such a global pandemic, four times Britain's 12,000 flu-related deaths each winter. But the government recognises deaths might top 700,000.

The US health secretary, Mike Leavitt, speaking in Jakarta, Indonesia, warned yesterday that "no nation is adequately prepared for a pandemic avian flu", but most were improving. This week British scientists will travel to Asia to speak to experts in Vietnam, China and Hong Kong about the impact of avian flu there and see whether surveillance of flu in birds and humans can be improved.

The trip, by experts from the Medical Research Council, is sensitive as China was suspected of covering up the extent of the Sars crisis and there have been no reported human deaths from avian flu there. About 60 deaths have been reported elsewhere in south-east Asia.

Only 120 cases of bird flu in humans have so far been confirmed since 2003, suggesting that half of those who caught it from close proximity to birds have died. But it is unclear whether other people have caught it without displaying serious symptoms. So far the virus has not changed in a way that makes it easily transferable between people.

Sir John Skehel , director of the MRC's National Institute of Medical Research, said it was important to know whether other people had caught the flu from birds. "We would like to know precisely how the Chinese are responding to such a widespread infection of their chickens, how they are looking at their birds, how they are looking at their human beings for having potentially been infected. That information is not available at the moment."

Dr Alan Hay, director of the council's World Influenza Centre, said: "Influenza has always been regarded as a global disease and requires a global effort to combat it, if not conquer it." The MRC's chief executive, Colin Blakemore, said there were "understandable sensitivities in China" and it would be false to suggest it was the source of all the problems.

Romania has ordered the culling of 17,000 chickens in Ceamurlia de Jos, the worst-affected village, but regional veterinary experts said yesterday that a teacher had moved to a neighbouring hamlet, taking her hens with her, two weeks before they quarantined the area.

These hens had now been slaughtered and serum sent for testing. "If it comes back positive, we may have a problem," said Marian Avram, the head of the veterinary directorate in Tulcea.

Click here to comment on this article

Bird flu is global threat, say EU ministers
James Sturcke and agencies
Tuesday October 18, 2005
The Guardian

EU foreign ministers today said the spread of bird flu from Asia into Europe presented a "global threat" requiring broad international cooperation.

The British foreign secretary, Jack Straw, chairing the EU meeting, said authorities wanted to reassure people that every precaution was being taken to prevent the bird flu outbreak mutating into a pandemic that could kill humans.

Greece today banned the export of live birds and poultry meat from its Aegean Sea islands, where the first case of bird flu in the EU was confirmed yesterday.

Tests were also being carried out on birds in Bulgaria and Croatia, while the Romanian agriculture minister, Gheorghe Flutur, confirmed that a swan with bird flu antibodies had been discovered near the Ukrainian border. Mr Flutur also said several swans and a wild duck with flu antibodies had been found in the villages of Ceamurlia de Jos and Maliuc, two places in which bird flu had already been detected.

The H5N1 bird flu strain has swept through poultry populations in large swathes of Asia since 2003, jumping to humans and killing at least 60 people, more than 40 of them in Vietnam. It has resulted in the deaths of at least 140m birds.

Its spread westwards, thought to have been brought about by migrating wild fowl, has intensified European fears that it could mutate into a form easily transmittable among humans. Experts fear such a development could provoke a global epidemic, putting millions of lives at risk.

The EU has stepped up biosecurity measures and installed early detection systems along the migratory paths of birds in an attempt to prevent the contamination of domestic flocks.

There are concerns that European nations lack stockpiles of vaccines and anti-virals needed to cope with a major outbreak.

The World Health Organisation recommends that governments keep enough stocks of anti-viral drugs and ordinary human flu vaccines to inoculate at least 25% of the population.

European officials say the 25 EU nations, as well as Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein, currently have only 10m doses for an area populated by almost 500 million people. They will have only 46m doses by the end of 2007.

Britain ordered 14.6m doses of Tamiflu in March, but has only taken delivery of around 2.5m. More are coming in at a rate of 800,000 a month.

Meanwhile, the Conservative homeland security spokesman, Patrick Mercer, today called on the government to appoint a single minister to take responsibility for dealing with the threat of avian flu.

He said Europe could see a repeat of the 1918 flu pandemic in which almost 50 million people were killed worldwide if warning signs were not heeded.

"There has got to be one single person in charge over this," he told the BBC's Today programme. "I'm not saying that [a repeat of 1918] is going to happen, but there are very dangerous signs."

Julian Hughes, the head of species conservation at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, called on birdwatchers to be alert for signs that avian flu had reached the UK.

"This is a time when birdwatchers need to keep their eyes open - particularly when they are in wetlands," he told Today. "Birds that are likely to show evidence of avian flu are going to be wildfowl - ducks and geese in the main.

"There is no doubt that we have got the best surveillance in place that we have ever had. If there's a big die-off of birds, we will know very quickly."

The health secretary, Patricia Hewitt, yesterday said the government would continue to review its preparations "so that as far as any country can be fully prepared against the risk of pandemic flu, we in the UK will be prepared".

British scientists travelling to Asia to inspect the spread of bird flu said the number of cases reported in humans could be only the "tip of the iceberg".

Since 2003, around 120 people have been diagnosed with the potentially lethal strain of H5N1, leading to the deaths in Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Indonesia. On Sunday, the chief medical officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, warned that 50,000 Britons could be killed if the disease took hold among human.

Click here to comment on this article

European avian flu fear leads to drug stockpiling
Last Updated Tue, 18 Oct 2005 08:50:59 EDT
CBC News

Online pharmacies in Canada are getting a flood of orders from Europe for Tamiflu, the only drug known to treat the deadly avian flu virus, as more infected birds are found on the continent...

However, orders to Canadian online pharmacies show that level of fear is rising. There has been a 10-fold increase in orders for Tamiflu in the past month, CBC News has learned – from a few orders a month to 20 a day on average for each company in the industry.

Europeans especially are seeking to stockpile supplies of the drug, which some believe may prevent onset of avian influenza.

But doctors say privately collecting small amounts of Tamiflu won't help if there's a pandemic.

Microbiologist Dr. Donald Low says people will need a supply for 80 to 100 days and may not know how to take the drug effectively.

"If you're going to use it for prevention of disease, it's critical you not only know when to start using it but how long you have to use it for," he said.

There are also concerns that the incorrect use of Tamiflu could result in a drug-resistant strain of whatever virus leaps from birds to take hold in the human population, kicking off the next killer pandemic.

Tamiflu didn't work on at least one Vietnamese girl infected with avian flu, medical experts say.

Click here to comment on this article

Avian flu shows signs of drug resistance
Last Updated Fri, 14 Oct 2005 19:11:07 EDT
CBC News

A Vietnamese girl with avian flu shows the first known case of resistance to a drug stockpiled to treat the illness.

The 14-year-old released H5N1 bird flu virus that is partly resistant to the drug Tamiflu, a main defence against the infection. She recovered.

When microbes gain resistance, eventually the drug stops working.

Yoshihiro Kawaoka of the University of Wisconsin reports the case in the Oct. 20 issue of the journal Nature. Editors published the study online in advance of Oct. 14 given its importance.

The finding shouldn't provoke panic, Kawaoka said, since Tamiflu, known generically as oseltamivir, still works against most viruses.

Another drug, Relenza or zanamivir, did fight the resistant virus in laboratory and animal tests.

Genetic sequencing shows the girl's sample of H5N1 had a mutation that made it resistant to Tamiflu.

"Although our findings are based on a virus from only a single patient, they raise the possibility that it might be useful to stockpile zanamivir as well as oseltamivir in the event of an H5N1 influenza pandemic," the researchers wrote.

The girl likely caught the infection while nursing her 21-year-old brother, who was a confirmed case of H5N1, from exposure to diseased poultry.

Health officials with the World Health Organization fear the bird flu virus could mutate and gain the ability to spread easily between people, sparking a pandemic.

On Friday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control said there is no evidence that H5N1 viruses in general are gaining resistance to drugs like Tamiflu.

Click here to comment on this article

Nunavut screens expectant mothers, tracks cases of rare virus
Last Updated Mon, 17 Oct 2005 21:38:08 EDT
CBC News

Health officials in Nunavut are stepping up testing of expectant and nursing mothers for a rare and untreatable virus. Like HIV, Human T-cell Lymphomatic Virus Type 1, or HTLV-1, is a retrovirus. It spreads through unprotected sex, breastfeeding and blood to blood contact.

Doctors say most people who contract it will show no symptoms, but in about five per cent of cases, it can lead to cancers of the blood and diseases affecting the nervous system. The development of those conditions can take 10 to 20 years.

The disease is common in parts of Asia, Africa and South America. It's difficult to track within a population and is rarely seen in Canada, said Dr. Raymond Tellier of Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children.

The virus was discovered in the territory in June, and the public was notified three months later. An awareness campaign is underway to promote safer sex. [...]

Click here to comment on this article

China military spending larger than reported: Rumsfeld
Last Updated Tue, 18 Oct 2005 08:49:36 EDT
CBC News

China is failing to report its growing military might and the amount of money it spends on defence, U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Tuesday.

Rumsfeld made the comments to reporters during a flight to Beijing, where he's scheduled to meet with Chinese President Hu Jintao and his Chinese counterpart, Gen. Cao Gangchuan.

It's Rumsfeld's first visit to Beijing since he became U.S. President George W. Bush's top defence official in 2001. Bush will visit China in November.

"I think it's interesting that other countries wonder why they would be increasing their defence effort at the pace they are and yet not acknowledging it," said Rumsfeld. "That is as interesting as the fact that it's increasing at the pace it is."

Last summer, a Pentagon report suggested China is spending three times the amount it's reporting on its defence. Another report to Congress in July said China is generating military capabilities "that go beyond a Taiwan scenario." China wants the self-governing island to reunite with the mainland and passed legislation in March authorizing military action against Taiwan if it declares independence.

Rumsfeld will also visit China's missile headquarters in the Beijing suburb of Qinghe, but was denied access to the country's military command centre in Western Hills. It's believed no foreigner has ever been inside the massive underground facility.

"It tells something about them," said Rumsfeld of China's decision to deny his request. Washington says a number of Chinese delegations have visited the Pentagon.

Rumsfeld said he didn't visit earlier because of lingering tensions over the April 2001 crash of Chinese and American military planes. China detained the U.S. crew of 24 for 11 days and refused to repair the plane, shipping it back to the U.S. in pieces.

Rumfeld will also visit South Korea during his Asian visit to discuss the role of American troops on the Korean Peninsula.

Comment: Rumsfeld just has a knack for making friends. The Pentagon report on China's military cited above has been denounced by the Chinese while welcomed by the right wingers who think that China has no right to have a military. For a more balanced look at the report and the reality, see the following:

Click here to comment on this article

Pentagon fires off new China report
By David Isenberg

Brace yourself - it turns out that China actually has the unmitigated gall to want to act like a major power and equip its military accordingly. The horror, the horror!

At least that is the impression one gets from reading "Military Power of the People's Republic of China", an annual report the Pentagon produces, the latest version of which was publicly released last Wednesday. For example, the very first paragraph of the executive summary states:

Beijing is pursuing its long-term political goals of developing its comprehensive national power and ensuring a favorable "strategic configuration of power". China's efforts to accomplish its security goals involve an integrated strategy that seeks to apply diplomatic, informational, military, and economic instruments of national power. China's leaders believe that national unity and stability are critical if China is to survive and develop as a nation. Chinese leaders also believe they must maintain conditions of state sovereignty and territorial integrity.
As a generic statement of geopolitical strategy, that is perfectly fine, but as an indication of a threat by a great-power competitor, as many analysts in the United States would interpret it, it is woefully lacking.

For example, the report noted that China currently has about 20 intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) capable of targeting the United States. This number could increase to about 30 by 2005 and may reach 60 by 2010.

The United States currently has 540 ICBMs and 384 SLBMs (sea-launched ballistic missiles).

Curiously, the report does not really have any net assessment regarding the future overall threat to US military capabilities in Asia. In part, that may be due to the inherent difficulty of making such assessments. Or it may be that such an assessment would show that China is less of a threat than commonly depicted.

For example, in June the US Council on Foreign Relations released a task-force report that found that "although China is in the midst of a comprehensive modernization program, the Chinese military is at least two decades behind the United States in terms of military technology and capability. Moreover, the task force judges that if the United States continues to dedicate significant resources to improving its military forces, as expected, the balance between the United States and China, both globally and in Asia, is likely to remain in America's favor beyond the next 20 years."

The Pentagon report is interesting both for what it reports and for what it omits. There are many new details in the usual sections on the modernization of China's air, naval, ground, air, missile-defense and strategic missile forces, but they do not always provide context.

For example, one reads about China's acquisition of new Russian Kilo-class diesel-electric submarines, but there is no mention of the loss of one of its indigenous Ming-class submarines this year that resulted in the deaths of 70 sailors.

Similarly, while there are lots of details regarding Russian weapons sales and technology transfers to China, there is almost nothing on similar transfers from Israel, which has been a longtime supplier to China, dating back to the mid-1980s. Israel provided significant help to China's F-10 fighter. Nor does it note that Russia wants to keep China as a customer but not a competitor. Thus Russia only sells military hardware that is one generation out of date and only defense products - without giving China the capability to produce those products itself.

Also, one does not learn from reading the report that generally Chinese military technology integration is inconsistent and has poor quality control, experiences lengthy weapons development cycles (15 years average), has logistical deficiencies, and suffers from doctrinal and operational challenges.

In regard to short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs), the report states that China already has about 450 in its inventory and that this number is expected to increase by 75 over the next few years. And the number to be deployed opposite Taiwan is expected to increase substantially over the next several years. Last year the Pentagon had counted 350 of the missiles and had estimated that 50 would be deployed each year.

Currently, all of China's short-range CSS-7 and CSS-6 missiles are deployed in the Nanjing military region, located across the Taiwan Strait from Taiwan.

Predictably, China reacted angrily to implication that it would use the missiles against Taiwan in a future conflict. According to Agence France-Presse, "Safeguarding the sovereignty and integrity of our territory is every country's undoubted right," the Foreign Ministry said, adding that the Pentagon comments were a ruse to justify Washington selling advanced weapons to Taipei.

If that is the intent, it seems to be working.
Last Thursday the White House warned that it was prepared to sell Taipei the weapons to defend itself. The White House press spokesman said the administration of President George W Bush would "fulfill our commitments" under the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, which calls for the United States to sell Taiwan the weapons to maintain a self-defense capability.

In April 2001 Bush offered Taiwan the biggest US weapons package in 10 years, including four Kidd-class destroyers, 12 P-3C Orion submarine-hunting aircraft, and help in obtaining up to eight submarines. Last month Taiwan's parliament finally approved the US$700 million purchase of the destroyers. Also last month, it was reported that Washington had agreed to ship AIM-120 medium-range air-to-air missiles to the Taiwanese air force to ensure military balance in the Taiwan Strait.

The Pentagon report estimated that China's military spending could range from $45 billion to $65 billion a year, the second-largest military budget after that of the United States. That may sound large but, in contrast, a new report from the US Congressional Budget Office states that the 2004 Future Years Defense Program for the United States anticipates that defense resources (excluding supplemental appropriations) will rise from $282 billion next year to $439 billion in 2009. If the program is carried out as currently envisaged, the demand for increased spending will continue through 2022, averaging $458 billion a year between 2010 and 2022.

Although much of this year's report was virtually the same as last year's, there was one noteworthy addition. The report said Chinese strategists may be modifying the conditions they believe would justify Chinese use of theater nuclear weapons against US forces in East Asia, possibly in the context of a war over Taiwan.

Comment: The US is the king of the hill at the moment. However, it is on the decline. As the king of the hill, they believe they have the right to pillage the world's resources for their own use while other countries should stand calmly in line behind the US and fight over the spoils. And if someone starts to get antsy, wanting more than there fair share as allotted by the Yanks, then the US will use their preemptive strike to put them in their place. So as history has shown us over and again, when the aggressor wants to pick a fight, he begins a campaign of portraying his intended victim as the real aggressor.

You don't have to think back very far to come up with examples. The US and Iraq, the US and Iran, the US and Afghanistan, the US and Venezuela maybe?

Click here to comment on this article

Floods hit Quebec's Eastern Townships
Last Updated Mon, 17 Oct 2005 18:20:07 EDT
CBC News

Flooding has affected many areas in central Quebec and the Eastern Townships, driving 150 people from their homes and forcing Bishops University to cancel classes. The worst-hit area is in and around Sherbrooke, Que., where 100 millimetres of rain fell over the weekend. Parts of the city's downtown flooded after the St. François River overflowed its banks.

About 150 people were forced to leave their homes.

In nearby Lennoxville, officials at Bishops University and neighbouring Champlain College shut their doors for the day on Monday.

Parts of the Bishops campus were under more than a metre of water and the main bridge linking the campus to Lennoxville was closed, leaving only two other access points.

Meanwhile, flooding was also affecting the Victoriaville area in Central Quebec, where several rivers overflowed their banks and forced officials to evacuate about 60 homes.

Click here to comment on this article

Culture clash pits U.S. against traditional allies like Canada at UN agency
09:35 AM EDT Oct 18

The United States found itself isolated Monday at the United Nation's cultural agency, with even traditional allies like Canada in the opposing camp over a proposed pact on cultural diversity that the U.S. ambassador said could be used to erect trade barriers against cultural exports.

"This has been a very disappointing experience, both in terms of the process and the substance. This is not the way most negotiations go in multilateral international organizations," said U.S. Ambassador to UNESCO Louise Oliver.

In a separate address to the UNESCO assembly, she said the proposed text was "deeply flawed." Canada has been a "key player" in developing the agreement since 1998, according to a release from Minister of Canadian Heritage Liza Frulla.

"Our efforts to get this Convention adopted by Member States of UNESCO are driven by our unshakeable commitment to protect and promote Canada's rich cultural diversity, including our aboriginal heritage and the boundless creativity of Canadians," said Frulla.

"It is a balanced and reasonable text which meets Canada's core objectives."

Frulla met with ministers from "a number of key countries to ensure that Canada can count on their support" when the pact comes to a vote, according to the release.

Oliver complained the United States, which rejoined the organization in 2003 after a 19-year absence, was not given a fair chance to discuss its proposed amendments.

"Under the provisions of the convention as drafted, any state, in the name of cultural diversity, might invoke the ambiguous provisions of this convention to try to assert a right to erect trade barriers to goods or services that are deemed to be cultural expressions," the U.S. representative said.

"That term - cultural expressions - has never been clearly defined and therefore is open to wide misinterpretation."

The proposed convention aims to protect cultural diversity, promote ethnic traditions and minority languages, and protect local cultures from the negative impacts of globalization, UNESCO says.

The majority of UNESCO's member states support the project.

Britain's ambassador, Timothy Craddock, also spoke in favour of the draft text, calling it "clear, carefully balanced, consistent with the principles of international law and fundamental human rights."

He also said the European Union believes that the convention was "frequently and thoroughly negotiated by all parties, most of whom have made several compromises during this process."

He spoke on the EU's behalf because Britain currently holds the 25-nation bloc's rotating presidency.

The meeting of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization votes on the text Thursday. It then needs to be ratified separately by 30 of the 191 member states to take effect.

French Culture Minister Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres hailed the text as a recognition of France's long-held contention that cultural activities should be given separate consideration in trade talks and are "not a merchandise like any other."

"We are no longer the black sheep on this issue," he said.

Paris has invoked what it calls the "cultural exception" to defend its subsidies for the film industry and quotas that limit how much foreign content can be broadcast on French television and radio.

The draft text says cultural goods and services have a "distinctive nature" and that countries have a right "to maintain, adopt, and implement policies and measures that they deem appropriate for the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions on their territory."

The United States pulled out of UNESCO in 1984, accusing the agency of anti-American bias and corruption.

U.S. first lady Laura Bush said that the decision to rejoin in the 2003 was a signal that her husband, U.S. President George W. Bush, wants to work with other countries.

Asked if the United States is again thinking of withdrawing from UNESCO, Oliver said: "That's not under discussion."

She said U.S. objections were not based on trying to ensure open markets for Hollywood movies.

"We are not looking at it in that kind of narrow perspective. We're looking at it in terms of cultural liberty," she said in an interview. "One would have expected an effort to listen to our concerns."

She told the UNESCO meeting that negotiations seemed to have been driven by "a desire for speed, rather than a demand for a quality consensus text."

"The door to negotiations that might have led to consensus . . . was slammed shut in the face of unresolved, legitimate and reasonable US concerns," she said.

Comment: Oh, the poor, neglected United States, the country that takes other country's concerns to heart, that makes such an effort to arrive at an international consensus -- before going its own way and doing what it wanted from the start. The US has an effective cultural monopoly on the world through its television, its films, and its music. Culture in the US is seen as an industry, and because it is an industry, they believe it should be subject to the same trade laws -- the infamous free market -- as any other good or service.

Of course, when someone tries to gain equal access to US markets, then the "Buy American" zealots emerge and the US puts up one block after another. They don't want to sell their country to someone else. They want to buy from a good American company like Wal-Mart, one owned by good, wholesome, union-busting Americans. It doesn't matter that the goods are come from China.

So there is hypocrisy and manipulation going on here on many levels. Americans are manipulated to prevent others from buying up certain items while the are the victims of "downsizing" and "outsourcing" and all the other euphemisms for putting people out of work that are the rage of "human resources".

On the question of culture, filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard once remarked that American culture amounted to t-shirts...

Click here to comment on this article

EU shoots down French trade-negotiation proposal

LUXEMBOURG, Oct 18 (AFP) -  European Union foreign ministers rejected a French proposal Tuesday to require EU negotiators in world trade talks to constantly secure approval from member states for their bargaining stance, officials said.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, speaking after emergency ministerial talks in Luxembourg called by Paris, said there was "no consensus" for the French suggestion.

"There is a mandate ... within that mandate it is for the commission to negotiate," he said, referring to a framework set by the 25-nation bloc's governments for EU trade commissioner Peter Mandelson.

"No negotiation is ever possible if you have to negotiate not only with the people in the room but also with some other committee in permanent session," he added.

"That is not the way the EU has done it in the past, and it is not the way it will be doing it in the future ... In fact, it makes negotiations impossible and it renders your negotiations powerless."

France had called for any new proposal by EU negotiators on farm trade to be submitted to a "consultation group" to ensure its compatibility with the EU's Common Agricultural Policy, of which France is the main beneficiary.

Paris called for talks here after accusing Mandelson of overstepping his brief last week when he proposed deep cuts in EU farm subsidies.

Tensions flared Tuesday between EU trade commissioner Peter Mandelson and France over his recent proposal to cut EU farm subsidies in crunch world trade talks ahead of a looming December deadline.

Despite the French ire, Mandelson claimed that an emergency meeting of EU foreign ministers here had been "overwhelmingly supportive" of the European Commission, which negotiates international trade deals on behalf of all member states.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, whose country currently holds the EU's rotating presidency, urged the EU ministers to bolster their common position for the current round of world trade talks.

"What we have to do this morning, I believe, is to work very hard to reach ... unanimous conclusions," Straw said. [...]

French European affairs minister Catherine Colonna said his explanation of his proposal during the meeting remained "imprecise" and insisted that "technical expertise is necessary to see if the mandate was respected."

She said she had asked him to "give proof that the offer he made is in conformity with his mandate."

France was out in strength at the talks. In addition to Colonna the meeting was attended by foreign minister Philippe Douste-Blazy, farm minister Dominique Bussereau and trade minister Christine Lagarde.

Mandelson frayed French nerves after saying the European Union was ready to cut its farm subsidies by 70 percent and to reduce EU customs duties on farm goods by up to 50 percent.

The commissioner had to put his chips on the bargaining table last week after Washington also proposed making deep cuts in its farm subsidies.

The US has since said that Mandelson's offer did not go far enough.

US trade representative Rob Portman meanwhile kept up pressure on the Europeans for even deeper cuts in farm subsidies. "There is a lot of responsibility right now that rests on the European Union to do the right thing," he told the BBC.

On the defensive in the face of his critics, Mandelson warned against watering down the EU offer on farm subsidies.

"Surely it would be the wrong reaction, and a terrible mistake for the EU, at the first sign of serious movement in the talks -- movement that we have been calling for -- to lose confidence and pull in our horns," he said.

"I hope that is not the message of our meeting today," he added.

EU farm commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel, who also faced a French grilling, was confident that the commission had been in its right when it made the offer to cut farm subsidies.

"I'm so happy ... to have the opportunity to explain in details the mandate," she said. "We do our best to defend the European interests," she added.

The Luxembourg gathering comes at a crucial moment in the negotiations, with WTO members due to hold further meetings in Geneva on Wednesday and Thursday.

An accord on cutting farm aid is broadly considered pivotal for agreement on the outlines of a multilateral trade deal at a Hong Kong WTO ministerial conference in mid-December.

Failure to forge an accord in Hong Kong could very well derail the current Doha round, which is supposed to be completed by the end of 2006.

Comment: We have commented on the importance of farm subsidies for France to maintain its traditional way of life in the rural areas. For the US, the "right thing" is to scrap the subsidies in order to permit the destruction of French culture.

What is it about French culture and the French way of life that scares them to such a degree? We do not think it is coincidence that the French are so vilified in the United States.

Click here to comment on this article

State Dept. Gives Mixed Message to Israel
AP Diplomatic Writer
Mon Oct 17, 3:45 PM ET

WASHINGTON - While affirming an Israeli right to self-defense, the State Department on Monday chided Israel for imposing travel restrictions on West Bank Palestinians in response to a terror attack.

In a message also delivered privately by Lt. Gen. William Ward, the U.S. security envoy in the region, the State Department said it continued to ask the Israeli government "to take steps to ease the daily plight of the Palestinian people."

Israel also suspended negotiations with the Palestinian Authority on issues such as prisoner releases after Palestinian gunmen killed three Israelis and wounded five in drive-by attacks near a concentration of Jewish homes at Gush Etzion.

Palestinian fighters, convinced their attacks succeeded in driving Israel to relinquish Gaza to the Palestinians last month, now appear to be shifting that strategy to the West Bank, according to Israeli intelligence.

Historically, Israel has responded to terror attacks with military retaliation and economic curbs on the Palestinians in an effort to undercut the standing of militant groups among the people.

In Paris, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas condemned the shootings as harmful to a cease-fire "and the calm that we have respected."

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said "the Palestinian side" has an obligation to fight terror and to dismantle terror networks.

"It's important to see action," he said, in sounding a now-familiar message for Abbas and other leaders.

"More needs to be done," McCormack said, while also condemning the attacks on Israelis.

Israel, like the United States, is a victim of terror attacks, McCormack said, and "it is an important duty and responsibility of any government to protect its own people." However, he urged the Israelis to "keep their eye on the ultimate objective, which we all know and all sides share - two states living together side by side in peace and security."

Comment: It's too bad the current US administration doesn't heed it's own advice.

Click here to comment on this article

Quake help 'yet to reach 500,000'
Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 October 2005, 12:24 GMT 13:24 UK

Some half a million survivors of the South Asian earthquake have still received no help at all, the UN's World Food Programme (WFP) says.

The warning comes amid growing fears that many more people could die from winter weather and untreated injuries.

Doctors in Pakistan-administered Kashmir say tens of thousands in the state have still to receive treatment.

More than 40,000 people are confirmed dead in the earthquake. Local officials say the toll may be as high as 54,000.

Many of the survivors are in remote mountains or deep valleys with no medical help available.

'Little time left'

"The aid agencies have managed to give some help to hundreds of thousands of people," the executive director of the WFP, James Morris, said on Tuesday.

"But there are an estimated half a million more people out there in desperate need, who no one has managed to reach." Mr Morris warned that relief workers were presented with one of the toughest challenges they had ever faced.

"There is very little time left."

The UN says more than three million people have been left homeless and the Pakistani government says it needs another 500,000 tents capable of withstanding winter conditions.

One UN official in Pakistan says the deep valleys and high mountains of Kashmir are less accessible for relief workers than the area affected by the 2003 Bam earthquake in Iran or the coastal regions devastated in last year's tsunami.

"Here we've got over 15,000 villages spread out through the affected region," Andrew McLeod, operations manager of the UN Emergency Response Team working out of Islamabad, told the BBC.

"The affected areas are much larger in geographical size than the tsunami, and rather than being in flat coastal areas, we are operating in some of the highest mountains and deepest valleys in the world."


The medical situation in some of the remote areas is being described as tragic by one aid official, with many of the injured facing death unless they receive immediate medical attention.

Sebastian Novak of the International Committee of the Red Cross flew by helicopter to reach the remote village of Chaka, which had not been previously reached. He told the BBC that 25% of the patients have had their limbs amputated.

"I had a young lady today, she was about 20, both legs amputated at the knee, and her right arm off, so she basically only had her left arm left.

"There are children amputated, old people amputated. Everybody is going straight to amputation," he said.

Helicopter row

Improved weather on Tuesday has meant that helicopters have resumed operations in Pakistan-administered Kashmir. Soldiers used mules to reach victims living in steep villages along some of the region's remote valleys.

But aid agencies and correspondents say the need for more helicopters remains the most urgent priority in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

On Monday, India and Pakistan failed to agree terms under which Indian army aircraft would join the search-and-rescue mission to reach earthquake survivors.

Pakistan says it will accept Indian helicopters but not crew, while India insists its pilots must fly the craft.

India has suggested it will allow Pakistani aircraft to carry out relief operations on its side of the Line of Control in Kashmir, and offered to work on the Pakistani side.

Islamabad said it was unacceptable for Indian military personnel to be operating in Pakistani-administered Kashmir.

The BBC's Aamer Ahmed Khan in Karachi says an agreement between the historic rivals could potentially double the size of the fleet of relief helicopters operating in Pakistan and Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

Pakistan's government puts the overall number of deaths in Pakistan-administered Kashmir and North West Frontier Province at about 40,000.

In Indian-administered Kashmir, officials say 1,400 people were killed.

Comment: Yesterday we posted an article from the San Francisco Chronicle denouncing the "Islamic extremists" who were giving aid to the victims. The Chronicle claimed they were using the aid as an opportunity to recruit terrorists!

This article shows that it is a good thing that local organisations are getting involved. There are hundreds of thousands of victims who have yet to receive any aid at all, and at the same time, India and Pakistan are fighting over who will fly the much-needed helicopters.

Click here to comment on this article

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.

Click here to comment on this article



Readers who wish to know more about who we are and what we do may visit our portal site Quantum Future

Remember, we need your help to collect information on what is going on in your part of the world!

We also need help to keep the Signs of the Times online.

Send your comments and article suggestions to us Email addess

Fair Use Policy

Contact Webmaster at
Cassiopaean materials Copyright ©1994-2014 Arkadiusz Jadczyk and Laura Knight-Jadczyk. All rights reserved. "Cassiopaea, Cassiopaean, Cassiopaeans," is a registered trademark of Arkadiusz Jadczyk and Laura Knight-Jadczyk.
Letters addressed to Cassiopaea, Quantum Future School, Ark or Laura, become the property of Arkadiusz Jadczyk and Laura Knight-Jadczyk
Republication and re-dissemination of our copyrighted material in any manner is expressly prohibited without prior written consent.