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"You get America out of Iraq and Israel out of Palestine and you'll stop the terrorism." - Cindy Sheehan

P I C T U R E   O F  T H E  D A Y

©2005 Pierre-Paul Feyte

UK security services filmed London bomber
BBC Tue Oct 25, 2005

LONDON (Reuters) - British intelligence officials secretly filmed one of the four bombers who killed 52 people on London's transport network in July the year before the attack, the BBC reported on Tuesday.

Mohammed Sidique Khan, 30, featured in a 2004 surveillance operation speaking to a British-based terrorism suspect, according to the report, which cited a single, unnamed "well-placed source."

Khan and three other young Britons detonated homemade bombs concealed in rucksacks on three underground trains and a bus at about 9 a.m. on July 7.

The BBC report appears to contradict initial media suggestions that all the bombers were previously unknown to the security services. [...]

Comment: Hmmm...isn't that strange. It kind of reminds us of a similar story from a few years back:

"CIA Tracked Two Sept. 11 Hijackers and Let Them Escape"

which stated:

The CIA tracked two suspected terrorists to a Qaeda summit in Malaysia in January 2000, then looked on as they re-entered America and began preparations for September 11. Inside what may be the worst intelligence failure of all.

At the time, the men had no idea that they were being closely watched-or that the CIA already knew some of their names. A few days earlier, US intelligence had gotten wind of the Qaeda gathering. Special Branch, Malaysia's security service, agreed to follow and photograph the suspected terrorists. They snapped pictures of the men sightseeing and ducking into cybercafes to check Arabic Web sites.

What happened next, some US counterterrorism officials say, may be the most puzzling, and devastating, intelligence failure in the critical months before September 11. A few days after the Kuala Lumpur meeting, the CIA tracked one of the terrorists, Nawaf Alhazmi, as he flew from the meeting to Los Angeles. Agents discovered that another of the men, Khalid Almihdhar, had already obtained a multiple-entry visa that allowed him to enter and leave the United States as he pleased. (They later learned that he had in fact arrived in the United States on the same flight as Alhazmi.)

Yet astonishingly, the CIA did nothing with this information. Agency officials didn't tell the INS, which could have turned them away at the border, nor did they notify the FBI, which could have covertly tracked them to find out their mission. Instead, during the year and nine months after the CIA identified them as terrorists, Alhazmi and Almihdhar lived openly in the United States, using their real names, obtaining driver's licenses, opening bank accounts and enrolling in flight schools-until the morning of September 11.

And you know what? It kind of reminds us of another story too:

"Ashcroft asks Congress for expanded police powers as manhunt continues"

where it was stated:

"Air Force spokesman Col. Ken McClellan said a man named Mohamed Atta -- which the FBI has identified as one of the five hijackers of American Airlines Flight 11 -- had once attended the International Officer's School at Maxwell/Gunter Air Force Base in Montgomery, Ala."

Isn't that bizarre?

Of course, we should also remember the little detail about the Mossad agents who were also "tracking" Mohammed Atta and several other of the alleged 9/11 hijackers, in which case, the only question we have to answer is: what was the purpose of the "tracking"? Did it have anything to do with preventing the 9/11 attacks, or was it more to do with facilitating them? In this sense, perhaps the truth is that Atta et al were not so much being tracked, as "handled".

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Typing error has Israel ‘admit’ to spy mission
Oct. 26, 2005

JERUSALEM - Israel has blamed a clerical error for a government statement that appeared to admit that its Mossad intelligence agency operated in New Zealand last year.

The arrest in Auckland of two Israelis who confessed to trying to obtain a New Zealand passport fraudulently soured diplomatic ties. Israel apologized over the incident but made no comment on Wellington’s charges that the men were spies.

Announcing talks on Wednesday between Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom and New Zealand Ambassador Jan Henderson, a government statement noted that the meeting would be the first of its kind “since the incident with the Mossad.”

Asked if this constituted an official admission, Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said “incident with the Mossad” should have been in inverted commas to reflect that, as far as Israel is concerned, espionage is a New Zealand allegation.

“We have never said more than we have said in the case,” Regev said. “This issue has been solved in a satisfactory way with the New Zealand government.”

Uriel Kelman and Eli Cara were arrested in March 2004 and pleaded guilty to assuming the identity of a bed-ridden Auckland man and attempting to order a passport in his name. They were jailed for three months and deported.

New Zealand authorities were tipped off when a passport clerk reported the foreign accent of one of the Israelis.

Comment: Well if that isn't the lamest excuse we have heard in years! What a joy it would have been to have overheard the conversation at the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

SHARON: "What the hell were you thinking!? You can't just go and ADMIT that the Mossad actually EXISTS! How are we meant to carry out "covert assassinations and bombings" (note the quote marks reflecting that this is an allegation made by others and not admitted to by the Israeli government) if you go around telling the world that we actually DO have an intelligence agency that is dedicated to waging war by deception!?"

SHALOM: "Well I just figured, since everyone pretty much already knew that the court found them guilty of falsifying passports and the fact that they were "Mossad" agents was all over the press, that there was no point in being "behind the door about it."

SHARON: NO!! Don't you get it?! If we admit that they were "Mossad", even when the whole world knows it, then we admit the truth! And I don't need to tell you where you and I would end up if ANYONE in the Israeli government started admitting the truth! - yeah, that's right, THE HAGUE!"

"Now, talk to me about this 'Palestinian suicide bombing' we just carried out..."

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At Least 30 Wounded in Israel Bombing

Wednesday October 26, 2005 3:31 PM

JERUSALEM (AP) - A suicide bomber blew himself up Wednesday next to a food stand in the central Israeli town of Hadera, wounding at least 30 people and leaving a path of destruction at an open air market, police and rescuers said.

Ambulances rushed to the scene after the explosion at the crowded entrance to a store in the market, Israel Radio reported. The radio said a bomb had been placed at the scene, rather than being a suicide attack.

Police, however, insisted the attack was a suicide bombing and went off at a felafel stand next to the central bus station. Rescue teams were treating the wounded in a nearby field. Police said they believed there were dead but could not confirm it.

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat denounced the bombing.

"We condemn this attack in Hadera, as we've always condemned suicide attacks on Israeli civilians, and we hope that we will not allow this attack or any attack to undermine the cesation of violence between the two sides. At the end of the day, violence breeds more violence and we don't want to go back to this vicious cycle.''

Comment: Good God! Did you notice that!? The truth almost slipped out!! Luckily the police were on hand to keep things straight.

What are we to make of Abbas? Does he not know when to quit? Has he not yet seen the reality of the situation? Did he not expect that, rather than the Gaza withdrawal heralding "the beginning of a Palestinian state", that Israel was just gaining some international political capital which would then be used to stave off criticism as it pursues the next phase in the utter destruction of any hopes of there EVER being a Palestinian state? Is the writing not CLEARLY on the wall?

Can it really be true that Abbas does NOT know that Israel is planting bombs in Israeli and killing Israeli civilians and blaming it on "Palestinian suicide bombers"?? Has his dealings to date with Sharon not led him to the obvious conclusion that Sharon is following a decades-old plan that has the destruction or removal of all Palestinians from the land that Israel claims as its "god-given" right as its central thesis?

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Sharon vows broad offensive after bombing
Thu Oct 27, 2005 By Matthew Tostevin

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Prime Minister Ariel Sharon vowed an open-ended offensive against Palestinian militants and Israeli aircraft struck the Gaza Strip on Thursday after a suicide bomber killed five Israelis.

The bombing on Wednesday in the coastal city of Hadera dealt a serious blow to an eight-month-old truce and international hopes for a revival of peacemaking after Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip last month.

Sharon said there could be no advance toward peace for now because of the "absolute failure of the Palestinian Authority in the fight against terrorism" as he promised to launch a major military operation.

"Our action will be broad and will not stop until it brings about a cessation of terrorism," Sharon said ahead of a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Tel Aviv. [...]

Comment: The stark reality, of course, is that Sharon knows that he will never have to face the day when a complete cessation of terrorism is a reality, because he himself will ensure that the attacks keep coming, at the most appropriate times.

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Proposal would use military in disasters

Admiral suggests total authority for Defense Department
By Ann Imse
Rocky Mountain News
October 26, 2005

Adm. Timothy Keating, head of the military's defense command for the United States, on Tuesday said he's proposing that the Department of Defense be given complete authority for response to rare, catastrophic disasters like Hurricane Katrina.

In that deadly storm, emergency response floundered, and more than 1,000 people died. No one person or agency was in charge - or is today. A general commanded the military units, a civilian ran the Federal Emergency Management Agency and governors were in charge of the states.

Keating runs the U.S. Northern Command based in Colorado Springs, which provided the military response to Katrina. [...]

Keating said the proposals were the result of "lessons learned" analysis at Northern Command after Katrina. Review also found that while the command had considered the possibility of a levee break, it did not prepare for it.

"We have to think the unthinkable may be possible, even probable," Keating said.

Keating raised a variation on the idea in public last summer, limiting his proposal for military leadership to incidents involving a weapon of mass destruction. But his trial balloon was quickly shot down by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, who reminded him that Homeland Security is in charge of federal disaster response.

That was before Katrina.

Comment: Translation: Only the military can save us! Of course, the idea that there was anything natural about the devastation in New Orleans is laughable when you consider the clear evidence that FEMA did everything in its power to exacerbate the suffering by stalling the relief effort. See Dave McGowan's latest newsletter for more on this.

Interestingly, the following article, in a curiously well-timed manner, underscores the idea that civilian and government aid agencies are incompetent, and that only the military can "enforce" disaster relief:

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Gov. Bush Takes Blame for Slow Wilma Aid
Associated Press Writer
Oct 26 8:25 PM US/Eastern

Gov. Jeb Bush took the blame Wednesday for frustrating delays at centers distributing supplies to victims of Hurricane Wilma, saying criticism of the Federal Emergency Management Agency was misdirected.

"Don't blame FEMA. This is our responsibility," Bush said at a news conference in Tallahassee with federal Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, who oversees the agency.

Many Floridians were still struggling to find food, water, ice and gas on the third day of recovery from Wilma, waiting in line for hours - sometimes in vain. Miami-Dade's mayor called the distribution system flawed and said at least one relief site of 11 in his county ran out of supplies.

The 21st storm in the busiest Atlantic hurricane season on record, Wilma killed at least 27 people. Florida's official death toll doubled from five to 10 Wednesday, and the storm also killed at least 12 people in Haiti, four in Mexico and one in Jamaica.

Frustration with Florida's relief effort flared Tuesday, when trucks carrying the first wave of relief - food, ice and water - either arrived much later than local officials expected or didn't show up at all.

Myriad problems affected supply deliveries, according to local and state officials. Cell phone service was down or spotty, complicating communications between government officials and truck drivers. Some drivers got lost on their way to distribution points and had to be brought there by police escort.

Local governments prematurely released distribution sites and times, causing crowds to gather hours before any supplies got there. In many cases, there simply was not enough ice, water and meals ready-to-eat to go around, or it took far too long to get the supplies to the proper places, officials said.

"We did not perform to where we want to be," Bush said. [...]

Comment: Wilma's landfall in the US ended up being far less catastrophic than Katrina's arrival. But are we actually supposed to believe that officials "accidentally" failed to adequately prepare for the most powerful hurricane ever recorded, even after Wilma hung around the Yucatan peninsula longer than expected? And what about the "lessons learned" from Katrina??

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Tropical Storm Beta Forms in Caribbean Sea
Associated Press Writer
October 27, 2005

MIAMI - Tropical Storm Beta formed Thursday in the southwestern Caribbean Sea, extending this year's record of named storms in the Atlantic hurricane season.

Beta is the season's 23rd tropical storm, the most since record keeping began in 1851. The disturbance formed Wednesday night but forecasters said it was not expected to threaten the United States.

Richard Knapp, hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center, said it was not unusual to get storm activity toward the end of hurricane season, which ends Nov. 30.

"It may not be over with Beta, but let's hope so," he said.

At 5 a.m. EDT, it was located about 75 miles south of San Andres Island and about 140 miles east-southeast of Bluefields, Nicaragua. A hurricane watch and a tropical storm warning has been issued for the islands of San Andres and Providencia. Heavy rain and strong winds were expected there Thursday.

A tropical storm warning has been issued for the entire Caribbean coast of Nicaragua and adjacent islands. Hurricane conditions are possible in the next several days, forecasters said. [...]

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Mother of slain US soldier arrested in Iraq war protest
Thu Oct 27, 2:44 AM ET

WASHINGTON - US police arrested Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a US soldier killed in Iraq who has become a prominent war opponent, along with two dozen people for demonstrating without authoritization in front of the White House.

Sheehan and the other protestors staged a "die-in" in front of the the White House, lying on the ground to symbolize US soldiers killed in Iraq.

Several dozen sympathizers applauded as Sheehan and others were taken away, while counter-protestors booed the group. [...]

Comment: It's interesting that the article fails to mention the number of counter-protestors present. Lately, the anti-war groups have dwarfed the pro-Bush gang in size.

She had called Tuesday for civil disobedience around the country to demand the withdrawal of the 140,000 US troops from Iraq as the US military death toll hit 2,000.

"There comes a time when we have to break a small law, like sitting down in front of the White House, in order to point out a greater law that's being broken," Sheehan said in a statement Wednesday.

"I can't imagine a greater law being broken than a war being waged in our name, whose justifications have proven to be false, and yet goes on and on anyway, taking the lives of thousands of people," she said.

Ann Wilcox, a protestor with the anti-war group Code Pink, called Sheehan "the Rosa Parks of our movement." [...]

Comment: On the one hand, when you advocate breaking the law, you are just asking the Powers that Be to demonize you. On the other hand, Sheehan and the Bush administration alike know that every time she is arrested, her cause becomes a little bit stronger.

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Woman Sees Husband Off to War, Gets Fired
October 27, 2005

CALEDONIA, Mich. - A woman who took an unpaid leave of absence from work to see her husband off to war has been fired after failing to show up for her part-time receptionist job the day following his departure.

"It was a shock," said Suzette Boler, a 40-year-old mother of three and grandmother of three. "I was hurt. I felt abandoned by people I thought cared for me. I sat down on the floor and cried for probably two hours."

Officials at her former workplace, Benefit Management Administrators Inc., confirmed that Boler was dismissed when she didn't report to work the day after she said goodbye to her husband of 22 years.

"We gave her sufficient time to get back to work," Clark Galloway, vice president of operations for Benefit Management, told The Grand Rapids Press for a story published Wednesday.

He added that other factors were involved in the decision but he declined to elaborate. [...]

She said she had told her bosses that she would try to return on Oct. 17 but if she could not, she would definitely be back Oct. 18, she said.

But on the afternoon of Oct. 17, she received a call from work telling her to come in the following day and get her things because she was being fired. Her pink slip said the reason was she failed to show up for work Oct. 17, a Monday, she said. [...]

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Civil Rights Pioneer Rosa Parks, 92, Dies
The Associated Press
Tuesday, October 25, 2005; 12:24 PM

DETROIT -- Nearly 50 years ago, Rosa Parks made a simple decision that sparked a revolution. When a white man demanded she give up her seat on a Montgomery, Ala., bus, the then 42-year-old seamstress said no.

At the time, she couldn't have known it would secure her a revered place in American history. But her one small act of defiance galvanized a generation of activists, including a young Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and earned her the title "mother of the civil rights movement."

Mrs. Parks died Monday evening at her home of natural causes, with close friends by her side, said Gregory Reed, an attorney who represented her for the past 15 years. She was 92.

Monique Reynolds, 37, a native of Montgomery, Ala., called Mrs. Parks an inspiration who had lived to see the changes brought about by the civil rights movement.

"Martin Luther King never saw this, Malcolm X never saw this," said Reynolds, who now lives in Detroit. "She was able to see this and enjoy it." [...]

Comment: It seems the more things change, the more they stay the same:

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Anger simmers in New Orleans' dead Ninth Ward
By Kevin Krolicki
October 27, 2005

NEW ORLEANS - Mabel Howard's beige house is built in the shadow of a Mississippi River-bound canal, so low that the passing barges seem almost to float over neighboring rooftops. [...]

Now, two months after Hurricane Katrina unleashed a deadly tidal surge that swamped the street, the 77-year-old grandmother has lost patience with official assurances.

"They're focused over there," she said, gesturing toward the relative bustle of the city's French Quarter and Uptown district, where restaurants have opened and residents have returned. "They should be here, where we need help."

Dispersed residents of the Lower Ninth Ward, an overwhelmingly black neighborhood that experienced some of the worst damage from Katrina, say they are frustrated by what they see as a double-standard in the city's recovery efforts.

Many residents have not been allowed back to retrieve what they can from their homes. Some question the commitment of city officials to rebuild in this flood plain and wonder aloud whether the new New Orleans will exclude them.

"Lower Nine is not a priority," said Greta Gladney, a fourth-generation resident whose mother was whisked by boat from the rooftop of a neighbor's home in the area still off-limits to residents. "There's almost a concerted effort to keep African Americans from returning to the city."

To be sure, other New Orleans neighborhoods also face deep hardship, but elsewhere, including middle-class Lakeview, some residents have been able to gut their flood-damaged homes and ready them for electricians and carpenters.

By contrast, some former Ninth Ward residents, many now living out of state, will get their first chance to see what is left of their homes on Thursday during a bus tour of the area's worst-hit zone. [...]

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Miers Withdraws Supreme Court Nomination
AP White House Correspondent
Oct 27 2005

WASHINGTON - Harriet Miers withdrew her nomination to be a Supreme Court justice Thursday in the face of stiff opposition and mounting criticism about her qualifications.

President Bush said he reluctantly accepted her decision to withdraw, after weeks of insisting that he did not want her to step down. He blamed her withdrawal on calls in the Senate for the release of internal White House documents that the administration has insisted were protected by executive privilege.

"It is clear that senators would not be satisfied until they gained access to internal documents concerning advice provided during her tenure at the White House - disclosures that would undermine a president's ability to receive candid counsel," Bush said. "Harriet Miers' decision demonstrates her deep respect for this essential aspect of the constitutional separation of powers - and confirms my deep respect and admiration for her."

Miers' surprise withdrawal stunned Washington on a day when the capital was awaiting news on another front - the possible indictment of senior White House aides in the CIA leak case. [...]

Comment: We imagine Bush is laying on the floor and having a tantrum!

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Saddam's defense team wants to put Bush on trial
Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Saddam Hussein's defense committee wants to put U.S. President George W. Bush in the dock to mirror the Baghdad trial of the toppled Iraqi leader over a Shiite massacre, a Jordanian lawyer said Tuesday.

"We shall contact international and Arab lawyer associations and will put forward the proof allowing for a trial of the criminal Bush at the same time as the fake trial takes place in Iraq," Saleh Armouti told a meeting of the Amman-based Saddam defense committee.

If lawyers abroad fail to take the case to court, "we shall organize it in Jordan and will invite international supporters," Armouti said, without specifying on what grounds he wanted to try Bush. [...]

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Bush Acting Like Stalin in 1953, Claiming A Foreign Cabal Is Out to End His Presidency
By Greg Szymanski
26 Oct 2005

Chicago investigator and 'judge buster,' Sherman Skolnick, who once brought a former Illinois governor to his knees, putting him behind bars, is up to his old truth-telling  tricks again, saying he's received credible reports President Bush is on the verge of a psychiatric collapse over U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald's pending indictments.

Skolnick said Bush has been ranting and raving in the White House, claiming "the Jews, the French and a foreign cabal" are conspiring to take down his Presidency and are behind the well-known and imminent Fitzgerald indictments.

"If anybody remembers Stalin back in 1953, Bush sounds just like him," said Skolnick this week from his Chicago home. "He's on a sinking ship and he knows it. I've gotten reports that when the indictment comes down he may leave the country and go to Alice Springs, Australia, a well-known CIA base of operation."

Other reports, circulating from Washington insiders, claim the President is "emotionally unstable, totally absorbed with the fall of his presidency and "living on cloud nine" unable to focus on anything but Fitzgerald and his indictments which are going to reveal "the lying and illegal nature" of how Bush plunged America into war. [...]

"He won't go easy, that's for sure. And the indictments, including Bush and Cheney, could come down as early as this week and perhaps Wednesday," said Skolnick. "Reports are Bush also has made a last ditch effort to go to the Supreme Court to have the indictments quashed but only two of the nine high court justices were in favor of listening to his story." [...]

"I've heard reports, which have also surfaced in the "Capital Hill Blues"  reports that Bush's aides say he is flying off the handle and out of control," said Skolnick. "Also my sources tell me that Bush, behind closed doors, is trying to tell the federal court in the District of Columbia that a foreign cabal is behind the indictments, trying to take his Presidency.

"He's obviously losing it and if anyone saw him at his recent press conference, when he was questioned about indictments and refused to answer, he is definitely not all there. "Also, Gordon Liddy recently said on the Sean Hannity Show that Bush 'ought to be put in a monkey cage' and Chris Matthews acknowledged the indictments are for real and Bush is on the hot seat."

Comment: When the mainstream media nuts that were formerly so ardently pro-Bush have turned against him, you know something big is coming...

This week other reports surfaced that Bush lawyers tried to get the federal court for the Eastern District of Columbia to quash Fitzgerald's indictments but were unsuccessful on both occasions.

Sources close to the case said Bush's personal lawyer, Harriet Miers, made an unsuccessful plea to the court to stop Fitzgerald in his tracks, a move judges felt had no legal basis.

Skolnick added that when Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez recently met with Fitzgerald, seeing the severity of the indictments, he immediately disqualified himself from the case, refusing to sign or issue the indictments against his colleagues in the White House. [...]

Other sources close to the case said 22 indictments are expected to be released, going far beyond just the leaked evidence outing CIA agent Valerie Plame, but exposing the treasonous acts of Bush and others regarding the illegal nature of the Iraq War and doctoring of WMD intelligence reports leading to the unjustified invasion which has left thousand of soldiers and civilians dead as a result. [...]

Skolnick claims all bets are off as to Bush's successor, but he added the indictments will tarnish the administration so badly that "the ninth man down in the chain of command," being an obscure position in the agriculture department, could possibly wind up as President after the political dust finally settles.

Comment: So Bush allegedly thinks that "the Jews, the French and a foreign cabal" are trying to take him down. Well, heck, given what we know about 9/11, does that sound so unreasonable? The evidence of Mossad involvement in the 9/11 attacks is staggering. Nations forge and break off alliances at the drop of a hat as the man behind the curtain sees fit. In her new book 9/11: The Ultimate Truth, Laura Knight-Jadczyk reveals startling new information on what actually happened that day, including a look at just who was really pulling the strings. It seems that the Bush gang are the ultimate pawns of the Powers that Be, and their usefulness may be coming to an end.

In his book The Sorrows of Empire, author Chalmers Johnson writes:

"Four sorrows ... are certain to be visited on the United States.

Their cumulative effect guarantees that the U.S. will cease to resemble the country outlined in the Constitution of 1787.

First, there will be a state of perpetual war, leading to more terrorism against Americans wherever they may be and a spreading reliance on nuclear weapons among smaller nations as they try to ward off the imperial juggernaut.

Second is a loss of democracy and Constitutional rights as the presidency eclipses Congress and is itself transformed from a co-equal 'executive branch' of government into a military junta.

Third is the replacement of truth by propaganda, disinformation, and the glorification of war, power, and the military legions.

Lastly, there is bankruptcy, as the United States pours its economic resources into ever more grandiose military projects and shortchanges the education, health, and safety of its citizens."

All four sorrows have been implemented by the Bush regime in the days since 9/11. While the executive branch has not yet been "officially" recognized as a military junta, the necessary laws and structures are firmly in place. As we have been reporting recently, the signs indicate that the bankruptcy of the nation is close at hand. All that remains is the actual crash, after which the military junta will be able to easily take control after saving the day following the recent rash of devastating hurricanes. To ensure success, the Powers that Be may very well be destroying the people's confidence in their civilian leadership by letting Bush fall on his face. Politicians in both parties are running like mad, trying to distance themselves from the White House.

But no one can forget their complicity in the invasion of Iraq...

The downfall of the Bush administration would no doubt be portrayed as a glorious victory for freedom, justice, and democracy - even as the plans for the downfall of the nation itself march onward.

Not to worry, though - soon you will be able to numb yourself to the madness with all sorts of barely-tested experimental drugs:

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U.S. Alters Test Policy On Psychiatric Drugs

FDA Won't Require 6-Month Studies
By Shankar Vedantam
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 26, 2005; Page A03

The government will back down from a plan to require long-term studies of new psychiatric drugs before allowing them on the market, regulators said yesterday.

The reversal of the recently adopted policy came after a panel of experts unanimously recommended against requiring such studies as a condition of approval. While such studies are needed, the experts said, delaying decisions on new medications would hurt patients.

The panel's vote came after it heard a barrage of complaints from industry executives, academic researchers and patient advocates. All the critics predicted that the policy would lead to delays in bringing new drugs to market while providing little new information that may not apply to most patients. They also warned that the policy would cause drug companies to scale back on developing new drugs because of the potential increase in expense and risk.

The new plan, which the Food and Drug Administration had begun to implement over the past six months, called for companies to conduct studies for as long as half a year before seeking approval of new drugs. Like many other medications, psychiatric drugs are typically approved on the basis of positive results from two short-term studies, each of which may last only eight weeks. [...]

Asking companies to conduct trials that show that medications work for six months or longer will lead to trials that focus on the small subset of patients who do well for such long periods, rather than on the majority that do not, Michelson and others said. As a result, added Gary Sachs, a Harvard University researcher who testified at the meeting, such data will be of little help to clinicians in the real world who usually have to deal with less predictable cases. [...]

"I believe the public interest is not served by this requirement, and it could cause a lot more harm and confusion than benefit," Sachs told the panel. "It would be telling someone with a heart attack that we have a drug that we know works, but we can't give it because we don't yet know whether it would prevent further heart attacks." [...]

Comment: While some drugs do not work as advertised, the problem is quite often not whether a drug works or not, but rather what the harmful side effects of that drug are. The public interest would be best served by long term, thorough testing coupled with a reduction in the cost of the drugs to the patient, which only exist to fuel obscene profits for the pharmaceutical companies - and frequently the kickbacks received by doctors that prescribe them. Once again, corporate interests outweigh the wellbeing of the people.

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Bush Says War in Iraq Isn't Cause of Rising Terrorism
Oct. 25, 2005

President George W. Bush, confronting criticism of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, said the conflict there hasn't spurred the spread of terrorism and a withdrawal won't end the threat from violent extremists.

With the number of U.S. military deaths in Iraq approaching 2,000 and public support for the war declining, Bush told a gathering of military spouses today that radicals were spreading their ideology before the March 2003 invasion and will "exist after Iraq is no longer an excuse."

"Some have argued that extremism has been strengthened by the actions of our coalition in Iraq, claiming that our presence in that country has somehow caused or triggered the rage of radicals," Bush said at a luncheon for more than 500 wives of military officers at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington. "I would remind them that we were not in Iraq on Sept. 11." [...]

Comment: What a jaw dropper! The point is that it was only after 9/11 that Bush whipped up support - using 9/11 - to invade Iraq. Even when the whole world knows that 9/11 had nothing to do with the invasion of Iraq, he still tries to use the attacks as some sort of twisted justification for his actions. In bringing up the 2001 attacks in his defense, he has actually made himself look even more incompetent! Perhaps he really IS losing it...

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Pentagon nominee aims for more positive Iraq stories
Tue Oct 25, 2005 By Andrea Shalal-Esa

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush's nominee to be the Pentagon's chief public affairs official told Congress on Tuesday he hoped to encourage more positive stories about the Iraq war by encouraging the practice of embedding reporters with U.S. troops in Iraq.

Dorrance Smith, a former television producer who spent nine months in Iraq as a senior adviser for former ambassador Paul Bremer, also defended his controversial article in the Wall Street Journal in April, in which he said extremists like Osama bin Laden had "a partner in Al-Jazeera, and by extension, most networks in the U.S."

In the article, Smith concluded that the United States was "losing badly" the battle for the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people, and said ethical questions were raised by the practice of U.S. networks airing videos of hostages obtained by Al-Jazeera, a popular Arab-language television channel.

He told the Senate Armed Services Committee one way to get out more positive stories about U.S. troops in Iraq would be to "reinvigorate" the Pentagon's practice of embedding reporters with military units, which was widely used during the invasion of Iraq 2-1/2 years ago but is done only sporadically now. [...]

Oklahoma blasted U.S. media coverage of the war in Iraq, saying that it focused mostly on bad news, and said he hoped Smith could "somehow shame the press" into providing more positive coverage.

Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska bristled at Inhofe's charges, saying, "I think the media has done and continues to do a remarkable job of telling us what we cannot see."

Comment: In these last two paragraphs we have a perfect example of the state of the American political "left" and "right". One criticises and the other praises the mainstream press which, from a completely objective point of view, is 100% controlled by the American and Israeli governments! In promoting this phony argument, they further the false notion that there is ANY kind of truth representation in the mainstream press.

That aside, the article also provides a wonderful example of the desperate attempts by the Bush administration to stave off the encroaching exposure of the reality of their brutal war in Iraq, as presenting by people like Congressman McGovern in the following article:

What was that Chalmers Johnson wrote?

"the replacement of truth by propaganda, disinformation, and the glorification of war, power, and the military legion"

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As the number of U.S. military deaths in Iraq reaches 2,000, U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) this week will introduce legislation to prohibit the use of taxpayer funds to deploy United States Armed Forces to Iraq. The bill will allow funds to be used for the safe and orderly withdrawal of our troops; for transitional security provided by other countries – including international organizations like NATO and the United Nations; and for continued support for Iraqi security forces and international forces in Iraq – as well as funding for reconstruction efforts.

Attached below is a statement Rep. McGovern gave on the House floor today:

"Mr. Speaker, CNN reported today that two thousand American troops have now lost their lives in Iraq. It is time to end this war. Let's bring our troops home and restore U.S. credibility in the world community."

"This war was based on fiction. That is a fact that is no longer disputed. There were no weapons of mass destruction and no ties to Al Qaeda. There was no imminent threat. This Administration – with the acquiescence of Congress – rushed into a war that according to Secretary of State Colin Powell's former chief of staff, Lawrence Wilkerson, has made our country more vulnerable, not less, to future crisis."

"The Bush Administration has stubbornly refused to reassess the situation. They have refused to listen to the words of military and diplomatic leaders who have warned that a continuing U.S. presence in Iraq will not calm the violence or lead to a more stable Iraq." [...]

At this time, Congressman McGovern intends to introduce the legislation on Thursday, October 27th.

[Click HERE to read the rest of McGovern's statement]

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U.S.: License to Abuse Would Put CIA Above the Law
Source: Human Rights Watch
26 Oct 2005

(New York, October 26, 2005) – The Bush administration is now the only government in the world to claim a legal justification for mistreating prisoners during interrogations, Human Rights Watch said today. The administration recently approached members of the U.S. Congress to seek a waiver that would allow the CIA to use cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment on detainees in U.S. custody outside the United States.

While many other governments practice torture and other forms of mistreatment and have records of abuse far worse than the United States, no other government currently claims that such abuse is legally permissible, Human Rights Watch said.

"The administration is setting a dangerous example for the world when it claims that spy agencies are above the law," said Tom Malinowski, Washington director of Human Rights Watch. "Congress should reject this proposal outright. Otherwise, the United States will have no standing to demand humane treatment if an American falls into the hands of foreign intelligence services."

Earlier this month, in a 90-9 vote, the U.S. Senate approved a measure sponsored by Republican Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham that would prohibit the military and CIA from using "cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment" in the case of any detainee, anywhere in the world.

But last week, Vice President Dick Cheney and CIA director Porter Goss met with Sen. McCain to propose a presidential waiver for the proposed legislation. The proposed waiver states that the measure "shall not apply with respect to clandestine counterterrorism operations conducted abroad, with respect to terrorists who are not citizens of the United States, that are carried out by an element of the United States government other than the Department of Defense." [...]

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RFID Chips To Travel in U.S. Passports
By Laurie Sullivan Tue Oct 25, 2005

State Department final regulations issued Tuesday said all U.S. passports issued after October 2006 will have embedded radio frequency identification chips that carry the holder's personal data and digital photo.

The department will begin the program in December 2005 with a pilot, issuing these passports to U.S. Government employees who use Official or Diplomatic passports for government travel. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a United Nations agency, has developed international specifications for electronic passports meant to keep information such as name, nationality, sex, date of birth, place of birth and digitized photograph of the passport holder secure. United Kingdom and Germany also have announced similar plans.

The passports will have 64 kilobyte RFID chip to permit adequate storage room in case additional data, or fingerprints or iris scan biometric technology is added in the future. The United States will follow ICAO's international specifications to participate in a global electronic passport initiative. The specification indicates a data format and use of a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) that permits digital signatures to protect the data from tampering, according to the Bush administration.

Consumer opposition for implanting RFID chips in passports has grown during the past year as fear that identity thieves could steal personal information embedded in the chip within the passport. The State Department this year received 2,335 comments on the project, and 98.5 percent were negative, mostly focusing on security and privacy concerns, and concerns about being identified by terrorists as a U.S. citizen.

Some comments called for the inclusion of an anti-skimming device that would block unauthorized connections with the readable chip to gain access to the data. "The doomsday scenario has been the ability for terrorist to drive by several cafes to find and target the most Americans in one place," said Ray Everett-Church, attorney and principal consultant at PrivacyClue LLC. "I'm not sure how realistic that is, but when you work with these types of technologies you need to play out some of the possibilities to calm peoples' fears."

Comment: No wait! We have a better one: what if the "terrorists" were able to send digital signals to the RFID devices and corrupt American's minds with all sorts of Communist propaganda, or even mind-control Americans and turn them into suicide bombers so that they would then attack American buildings and make them come crashing down?!!

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Berlusconi faces possible Milan trial for TV fraud
By Clara Ferreira-Marques
October 27, 2005

MILAN - A Milan court will start hearings on Friday to decide whether to indict Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and 13 others in a probe over alleged fraud at broadcaster Mediaset.

The hearings mark the latest in more than a decade of legal battles for Berlusconi and comes just a month after he was acquitted in a separate graft case.

If charged, the media tycoon-turned-politician could find himself on trial during what is likely to be a close-fought general election next April. [...]

Comment: Are the likes of Berlusconi and Blair also going to find very soon that their elusive backers have left town?

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Polish coalition on brink of collapse
Wed Oct 26, 1:30 PM ET

WARSAW - Poland's planned coalition teetered on the edge of collapse as the liberal Civic Platform accused would-be coalition partner Law and Justice of seeking total power and of colluding with other parties over the election of the house speaker.

Marek Jurek, unexpectedly put forward for the post by Law and Justice (PiS) as parliament resumed its first post-election session, beat Bronislaw Komorowski, from junior coalition partner Civic Platform (PO), by 265 votes to 133.

PO leader Donald Tusk accused PiS of colluding with other parties, including the far-right League of Polish Families (LPR), to bar Komorowski's election.

"PiS entered into a tactical agreement with Samoobrona and the League of Polish Families. Today, we do not see how it can be possible to continue to talk with PiS.

"I rule out any negotiations which are aimed at placing total power in the hands of people who think only of gaining total power," said Tusk, who himself unexpectedly lost a presidential election on Sunday to PiS co-founder Lech Kaczynski. [...]

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The real price of gold
By Daniel Howden
The Independent
Published: 26 October 2005

The lust for gold has reached record levels worldwide as India and China have joined developed nations in demanding more jewelry. On the back of this surge, gold prices have reached a 17-year high, and yesterday rose $7.70 (£4.30) to more than $474 per ounce. But the world's remaining gold deposits are microscopic and the environmental costs of extracting them are profound.

A £1,000 wedding ring - equivalent to one ounce of gold - creates up to 30 tons of toxic waste. To produce that single ounce, miners have to quarry hundreds of tons of rock, which are then doused in a liquid cyanide solution to separate the gold. Payal Sampat, the campaign director for Earthworks, the mining watchdog, told The Independent: "Gold mining is arguably the world's dirtiest and most polluting industry."

A growing alliance of conservationists and local communities affected by mining operations is pushing governments, corporations and consumers to consider the real cost of gold. "The industry has not been under public scrutiny and people don't really know where their gold is coming from," Ms Sampat said. "The mining industry could be making changes which could provide consumers with a product which is far more clean." [...]

With the best ore already mined in most developed countries, the industry is turning to the poorest countries in the world. Up to 70 per cent of gold is mined in developing countries such as Peru and the Philippines. Vast tracts of the developing world are being laid to waste, leaving a multibillion-pound toxic time-bomb. [...]

The mining industry argues that it is bringing much needed investment, infrastructure and jobs to the poor. And it is an argument that is backed by the World Bank, which has pushed more than 100 governments into making tax breaks and subsidies to big mining companies. [...]

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Recent Earthquakes

October 25, 2005:


October 26, 2005:


Magnitude 5.0 - PAKISTAN


October 27, 2005:

Magnitude 4.3 - SOUTH OF ALASKA

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Elephants may pay homage to dead relatives news service
26 October 2005

Elephants may pay homage to the bones of dead relatives in their home ranges, a study of the creatures’ responses to skulls and ivory suggests.

Humans apart, only a few animals show any interest in their own dead. Chimpanzees show prolonged and complex behaviours towards a dead social partner – but abandon them once the carcass starts decomposing. But lions, for example, might sniff or lick a dead member of its own species before proceeding to devour the body.

African elephants have been observed to become highly agitated when they come across the bodies of their own, and they have been seen to pay great attention to the skull and ivory of long-dead elephants. However, this interest had not been tested experimentally.

Now research from a team in the UK and Kenya has demonstrated that African elephants pay a higher level of interest to elephant skulls compared with those of other animals and ivory compared to wood. [...]

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What kind of animal makes a pawprint as big as this?
Macclesfield Express
Published: 26th October 2005

WHAT'S afoot? Mystery surrounds the discovery of a giant pawprint in Bollington which was spotted by walkers just hours before a sheep was mauled to death.

The huge print, which measures about 6in wide and 8in long, was found embedded in a soggy cow pat close to the mutilated caracass on a quiet track just off Oakenbank Lane last Tuesday.

Midwife Ann Lovett from Kent was shocked when she saw the size of the print while walking with husband Philip, an engineer, and his uncle Brian Peacock, 70, while visiting Brian's home on Oakenbank Lane in Bollington. [...]

The group took a photograph of the print but didn't give it any more thought until the following morning when some guests were checking out of a holiday cottage owned by the Peacocks at their home at Higher Ingersley Farm.

Brian said: "They said there was a racket at 3am in one of the lower fields with growling and animal noises."

The retired businessman and his wife Chris, 60, a retired teacher, allow local farmers to graze sheep on their seven acres of land.

Brian added: "When we went down there to have a look we saw a sheep that had been torn apart.

"The sheep carcass was very badly mauled and the missing flesh was quite considerable."

Dog expert and Macclesfield Express columnist Vic Barlow who studied a picture of the pawprint thought it may belong to a very big dog.

He said: "I doubt it is a cat as it is the wrong shape and size. My bet would be a German Shepherd, a Great Dane, a French Mastiff or a hoax."

A spokesman from the National Museums of Scotland said he was unable to hazard a guess on what sort of creature left the print and the British Big Cats Society failed to respond.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Published by Red Pill Press

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

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