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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

Mural - Belfast N. Ireland

Blair left bloodied as Blunkett is driven from office again
TONY Blair hit the lowest point of his premiership yesterday, losing David Blunkett from his Cabinet and his ability to push his agenda through in the House of Commons.

The wounded Prime Minister last night fought to stem his draining authority by promoting John Hutton, a staunch loyalist, to replace Mr Blunkett as Work and Pensions Secretary.

But rather than rally around Mr Blair, many Labour MPs were openly questioning his judgment in recalling Mr Blunkett to the government in May following his resignation as home secretary last December.

Those doubts helped fuel the most damaging rebellion Mr Blair has ever endured. Debating the controversial terrorism bill, Labour MPs reduced his once-impregnable Commons majority to a single vote.

And in an unprecedented capitulation to the Labour rank-and-file, ministers last night were forced to postpone by a week a key vote on detaining suspects without charge after party managers warned Mr Blair he would otherwise face his first direct Commons defeat. [...]

Comment: How do we explain the fact that Blair seems to have an agenda that appears to be at odds with the agenda of almost the entire membership of his party, save a select few close confidants? The most obvious answer is that Tony must be in possession of some important information that he is not inclined to divulge, perhaps due to the sensitivity of that information.

But to what might that information pertain?

If we look at the almost desperate way in which Blair is attempting to push the reality of the "war on terror" and the need for the immediate passage of laws that amount to the most severe clampdown on civil liberties in recent history, and if we couple that with the massive weight of evidence that the "war on terror" is little more than a crude joke, albeit a deadly one, we come to the conclusion that Blair aims to instigate a police state in the U.K., in much the same way that the Bush administration is pursuing the same goal in the U.S., the beneficiaries of which will be the British public rather than the nonexistent terrorists.

But again we ask the question: why? Why would Blair want to impose a totalitarian social order on the British public? Why are Bush and Co. doing exactly the same thing in the U.S.?

Despite the propaganda, the principle role of modern government is to control the population. Great efforts are made by governments and the big corporations that sponsor them, to structure every aspect of our lives and thereby keep us happy, or at least distracted and placated. Yet every once in a very long while, we suppose, something might come along that poses a very real threat to that control. Something that is beyond the scope of even the most influential group of power brokers to deal with. Something of a "cosmic" nature perhaps.

Take, for example, the idea that our planet goes through cyclical catastrophes, wherein the end result is a radical reconfiguration of the geographics and, by necessity, the demographics of our planet. Power corrupts, and it would appear that the current bunch of power brokers on the planet are the type of people that are most corruptible by power. If such a group of people had been given super-secret information about an upcoming series of catastrophes of an earthly and a celestial nature, how do we think they might react?

Is it possible that, given the resources to do so, they might concoct a elaborate plan involving a fabricated, yet apparently real, threat in an attempt to deceive the world's population into giving up their various freedoms of movement, free speech, assembly etc. and thereby ensure that, when the time comes, they are in a position to manage, to the best degree possible, the playing out of the expected catastrophes?

It is certainly not beyond the realm of the possible. Indeed, if we look carefully at the progression of events over the past few years, and factor in the historical data that our world does indeed pass through cyclical natural upheavals and that we are pass the due date for the next round, such a hypothesis as we have presented becomes increasingly plausible.

There is one more "what if" to our hypothesis however. Imagining for a second that we are correct, and people like Tony Blair, John Howard, George Bush etc. have indeed been given secret information and are attempting to manipulate the populations of their respective countries as we describe, what if they in turn are being manipulated by people at a higher level?

What if the ultimate goal is to keep the world's population blinded by fear, lies and disinformation and in doing so prevent them from figuring out what is really occurring on the planet. The point is that, in the next 5-10 years, it is very likely that there will be many strange and frightening things happening on the surface, under the surface and in the skies above planet earth. Things that people will be hard pushed to explain away. Things that will redefine the meaning of the exclamation: "oh my god!" Things that will contain within them the potential for humanity to wake up and grasp a new understanding of what it means to be human.

At this time, people will naturally look to their leaders for answers, yet even at this early stage, we can state quite categorically that the answers given will be more of the lies and distortions of the type that we try to expose every day on the Signs page. It is therefore vitally important that people today take the opportunity to begin to tune their ability to recognise lies from truth. At this specific point in time, your life, and indeed your possible future, does not necessarily depend on the extent to which you can exercise that ability, but soon, very soon, it most definitely will.

This message is not designed for all, but those who resonate with the ideas contained within it. There are some who have just arrived at the 'party' and have much merrymaking to indulge in, others have been at the party for quite some time and have begun to tire of what they know to be vacuous thrills.

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Thousands protest across US on anniversary of Bush re-election
Thu Nov 3, 2005

SAN FRANCISCO - Thousands of Americans staged noisy demonstrations across the United States to protest the policies of President George W. Bush on the first anniversary of his re-election.

Amid a strong police presence, angry demonstrators on Wednesday chanted and waved banners and placards denouncing issues as diverse as the war in Iraq, Bush's economic polices and his administration's response to deadly Hurricane Katrina.

The protests in cities including San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York and Chicago were organised by a coalition of opponents to the administration called "The World Can't Wait-Drive Out the Bush Regime" that urged employees to skip work and children to abandon classes to protest.

In the liberal West coast city of San Francisco, up to 4,000 marching protesters clogged the city's streets in a protest during which a firebomb was thrown at police. No-one was injured in the incident. [...]

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Rumsfeld recuses himself from avian flu decisions
Tue Nov 1, 7:22 PM ET

WASHINGTON - US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said he has recused himself from decisions involving avian flu prevention or treatment because he has stock in the company that developed the anti-viral remedy Tamiflu.

Rumsfeld said he consulted the Senate Ethics Committee staff, White House counsel, the Office of Public Ethics, and the Justice Department about what to do with his holding in Gilead Sciences Inc.

The California-based biotech company developed and receives a royalty for the production of Tamiflu, one of the few known remedies for the avian flu.

Rumsfeld was its chairman from 1997 until he joined the Bush administration in 2001, and according to federal disclosure forms still retains a holding valued at between five and 25 million dollars.

"I did consider every option and went to all of these people for advice, and finally made a decision that it would be a problem were I to sell it in the current situation," he said.

He said those he consulted proposed that he recuse himself from any decisions related to prevention or treatment of avian flu. [...]

Comment: Rummy is obviously covering himself because he knows that the flu outbreak will be big business for Tamiflu, and he wants to make sure he gets to keep his share of the profits and avoid retiring to a jail cell. Rumsfeld's actions also tend to place the spotlight now on Cheney, whose continued close ties with Halliburton/KBR raise red flags as the companies gobble up all the no-bid contracts for rebuilding Iraq and New Orleans.

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Disease by Design: 1918 "Spanish" Flu Resurrection Creates Major Safety and Security Risks
Sunshine Project

The resurrection of 1918 influenza has plunged the world closer to a flu pandemic and to a biodefense race scarcely separable from an offensive one, according to the Sunshine Project, a biological weapons watchdog.

"There was no compelling reason to recreate 1918 flu and plenty of good reasons not to. Instead of a dead bug, now there are live 1918 flu types in several places, with more such strains sure to come in more places," says Sunshine Project Director Edward Hammond, "The US government has done a great misdeed by endorsing and encouraging the deliberate creation of extremely dangerous new viruses. The 1918 experiments will be replicated and adapted, and the ability to perform them will proliferate, meaning that the possibility of man-made disaster, either accidental or deliberate, has risen for the entire world."

The 1918 experiments are part of the US biodefense program and are of no practical value in responding to outbreaks of "bird flu" (H5N1). The 1918 virus is a different type (H1N1) of influenza than "bird flu". 1918 flu is more than eighty five years old and no longer exists in nature, posing no natural threat. While it is reasonable to determine the genetic sequence of 1918 and other extinct influenza strains, there is no valid reason to recreate the virulent virus, as the risks far outweigh the benefits. [...]

In addition to the potentially broad damage to international security and cooperation in the biological sciences if novel diseases continue to be created, the 1918 experiments heighten the chance that a flu lab will be the source of the next pandemic.

CDC says that it plans to keep its vials of 1918 flu under close guard in one place. But that's a red herring according to the Sunshine Project. Influenza with as many as five 1918 flu genes, and which are potentially pandemic, have already been handled at labs in at least four places other than CDC, including labs in Athens, GA, Winnipeg, MB (Canada), Seattle, WA, and Madison, WI. With the exception of the Canadian lab, none of these facilities has maximum (BSL-4) biological containment, and it is a virtually certainty that more labs will begin 1918 flu work now.

In fact, the only possible source of a new 1918 influenza outbreak is a laboratory. [...]

Comment: See our Signs Flu Supplement for more on this.

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EU to Investigate Secret CIA Gulags
Associated Press Writer
November 3, 2005

BRUSSELS, Belgium - European Union officials said Thursday they would investigate a report that the CIA set up secret jails in Eastern Europe to interrogate top al-Qaida suspects. Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch in New York said it has evidence indicating the CIA transported suspected terrorists captured in Afghanistan to Poland and Romania.

That conclusion is based on an analysis of flight logs of CIA aircraft from 2001 to 2004 obtained by the group, said Mark Garlasco, a senior military analyst with the organization. [...]

Human Rights Watch said it matched the flight patterns of the CIA aircraft with testimony from some of the hundreds of detainees in the war on terrorism who have been released by the United States. [...]

"We have been using flight logs of CIA rendition aircraft combined with some witness testimony of people who have been released from Guantanamo and Afghanistan to paint a picture of how the CIA is moving prisoners from Afghanistan to secret detention facilities worldwide," said Garlasco, a former civilian intelligence officer with the Defense Intelligence Agency. [...]

Garlasco would not specify where Human Rights Watch obtained the flight logs, saying the group does not want to get those who furnished the information in trouble and that releasing the information might endanger access to such information in the future.

The governments of the EU's 25 members nations will be questioned informally about the allegations, EU spokesman Friso Roscam Abbing said. Poland is a full member of the EU and Romania is a candidate for future membership. [...]

Separately, Europe's top human rights organization, the Council of Europe, said it too would investigate whether the claims were true. [...]

Comment: If former DIA officials are receiving incriminating information from anonymous sources, something may be up - or the Powers that Be are simply applying a little more pressure to get Bush moving on the next phase of the war on terror. The war crimes committed by the Bush administration warrant a bit more than just "informal" investigations...

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Bush aide admits meeting Italian secret service chief in 2002
Thu Nov 3, 3:03 AM ET

WASHINGTON - President George W. Bush's national security adviser, Stephen Hadley, admitted meeting Italy's top spy in 2002 but said they did not discuss uranium, as speculation mounted on the source of fake documents that supported the US decision to go to war with Iraq.

Hadley told a press briefing that he had briefly met the head of Italy's SISMI secret intelligence service, Nicolo Pollari, on September 9, 2002 in a "courtesy call" aimed at getting to know his new colleague. [...]

According to an investigation published last week by La Repubblicca and denied by the Italian government, Italy provided false documentation to its US allies, who were at the time seeking a "smoking gun" in Iraq.

The documentation purported to show that Saddam Hussein's regime had sought to buy uranium from Niger to make nuclear weapons. [...]

The case, dubbed "Nigergate" by the Italian media, is linked to a CIA leaK investigation that led to the indictment last week of Vice President Dick Cheney's top aide, chief of staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby. [...]

In Italy, SISMI's chief Pollari is due to testify Thursday before a parliamentary comittee overseeing intelligence services.

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Car bomb kills at least 21 in Iraq
Middle East Online

BAGHDAD - At least 21 people were killed and 61 wounded when a car bomb exploded Wednesday in the Shiite town of Musayyib, 55 kilometers (36 miles) south of the Iraqi capital, security and hospital sources said.

The attack was carried out using a minibus packed with explosives that blew up at 5:20 pm (1420 GMT) "near a Shiite mosque and a market just ahead of prayers marking the end of the Ramadan fast," said police Captain Ahmed Naimi in the nearby provincial capital of Hilla.

The car bomb was set off at sundown at the same place where at least 83 people were killed and 153 injured when a suicide bomber set off a massive fireball on July 16 as worshippers gathered for prayers.

The bomber in that attack blew himself up next to a liquified tanker, and the blast torched some 20 cars, destroyed about 40 shops and set nearby buildings on fire.

The latest bombing took place on the eve of the Muslim feast of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the dawn-to-dusk fasting month of Ramadan.

On Monday a car bomb killed 18 people in the normally quiet southern port city of Basra, ripping through a market packed with shoppers preparing for the holidays.

Comment: More evidence of the work of British, Israeli and American intelligence agents and their hired-gun mercenaries.

Why is it that so many people have such a hard time questioning the idea that legitimate Iraqi resistance fighters or groups who would ever think about murdering their own people?

While many of the bombing reports in Iraq are immediately claimed as "suicide attacks", we wonder how exactly, in the aftermath of such an attack, one would know that it was a person that exploded instead of the car or tanker they were standing beside?

Clearly it benefits the Bush and Israeli governments to continue to present these attacks as the work of suicide bombers, bringing to mind, as it does, that fateful day in September 2001. The last thing they want people to know is that many of the so-called "suicide attacks", including 9/11, were the work of agents acting on behalf of the Israeli, American and British governments themselves.

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Iraq murder trial charges dropped
BBC News

The charges against seven UK soldiers accused of murdering an Iraqi civilian have been dismissed by a judge at a court martial in Colchester, Essex.

He ruled there was insufficient evidence against the seven, accused of murdering Nadhem Abdullah.

The 18-year-old was alleged to have died following an attack on Iraqi civilians in al-Ferkah, southern Iraq, in May 2003.

The Parachute Regiment soldiers always denied murder and violent disorder.

The trial has cost taxpayers an estimated £10m. It has become clear... that the main Iraqi witnesses had colluded to exaggerate and lie about the incident Judge Blackett

During the court martial, Martin Heslop QC, prosecuting, told the court Mr Abdullah was an "innocent" teenager who died after an "unjustified", "unprovoked" and "gratuitous" attack on him.

Three weeks after "formal hostilities" had ceased, the paratroopers had been in pursuit of a white pick-up truck when they passed a white Toyota containing Mr Abdullah and Athar Saddam, Mr Heslop said.

They had boxed in the taxi before dragging the deceased and the driver out and attacking them with "feet, fists, helmets and rifles", he alleged.

Judge Blackett directed the panel hearing the court martial to return a not guilty verdict on all seven defendants after criticising the "inadequate" investigation into the case.

Comment: From the Guardian we hear that:

The attack was said to have taken place three weeks after "formal hostilities" had ended. Mr Heslop said the paratroopers were in pursuit of a white pick-up truck when they passed a white Toyota containing Mr Abdullah and Athar Saddam.

The Toyota, a taxi taking a number of passengers to a market, turned into the village and drew to a stop and was then boxed in by the soldiers, he had told the court martial.

"The deceased and the driver were dragged out of the taxi," said Mr Heslop. "They were made to lie down on the ground and were hit by the soldiers who used their feet, fists, helmets and rifles. The men did little but lie there."

He said a woman who witnessed the assault and tried to intervene was struck in the mouth by one of the soldiers and a dog that came out and barked was shot by a paratrooper.

Mr Abdullah was alleged to have died as a result of a "gratuitous", "unjustified" and "unprovoked" attack.

The court heard that blood matching the dead man's DNA was found in a screw recess on Pte May's rifle.

The real beneficial effects of this article are twofold: Firstly, it really fills us with a sense of ease and peace to think that such soldiers may soon be policing a neighbourhood near you and me. Secondly, it restores our faith in the justice system where a judge can officially state that four soldiers murdered an innocent man and then let them walk out of court.

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Chalabi announces intentions to play role in Iraq's political process
By Kim Sengupta in Baghdad
03 November 2005

The man chiefly responsible for supplying the ‘weapons of mass destruction’ excuse for the Iraq invasion, Ahmad Chalabi, has once again announced his intentions to play a pivotal role in the country’s political process.

Mr Chalabi has launched his National Iraqi Congress alliance, List 569, for the December election in alliance with Sharif Ali, a cousin of former King Feisal II, who is running on a monarchist ticket. On a wider basis he is also making overtures to the radical Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and the Shia Fadillah Party.

The manoeuvres by Mr Chalabi to become Iraq’s new prime minister will take him next to Washington, where he will meet a number of senior administration figures including Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, Treasury Secretary John Snow and National Security Advisor John Snow.

Also there to welcome him back into the fold will be his influential backers among the neo-conservatives, who he had helped so much with their grand plan for starting the Iraq war by providing ‘defectors’ who ‘revealed’ that Saddam Hussein had an arsenal of chemical and biological weapons. [...]

Comment: More evidence of the wonderful "Freedom and Democracy" that America is bestowing on Iraq. Now, the U.S. is promoting a convicted liar and conman and one-time CIA asset for Iraqi President. Hey! Sounds like he would be more at home in the halls of power in Washington!

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Iran restarts nuclear plans as 40 top envoys face sack
By Angus McDowall in Tehran and Anne Penketh
03 November 2005

The extremist ideologues running Iran have sent out further aggressive messages to the West, by announcing they will begin processing a fresh batch of uranium and naming a novice to head its all-important oil ministry.

Among the moves signalling its political retrenchment, the government also announced yesterday that 40 ambassadors and senior diplomats would be removed in the next four months.

Although the foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, said they were being recalled because they were retiring or coming to the end of their term, Western diplomats said that the biggest radical diplomatic overhaul since the 1979 revolution was politically motivated.

At least five senior ambassadors who have all been involved in negotiating with the Europeans on the nuclear dossier ­ the envoys to London, Paris, Berlin, Geneva and Kuala Lumpur ­ have been sacked.

The hardline President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, adopted a tough position on a number of issues, including Iran's nuclear programme, even before his election in June. Since then, Iran has been on a collision course with the West, where there are suspicions that the regime is developing a nuclear bomb under cover of a civil programme.

Yesterday, a source close to the International Atomic Energy Agency said that the Iranians had informed the IAEA on 24 October that it would process a new batch of uranium at its Isfahan atomic plant, beginning next week. A Western diplomat said the decision was in clear defiance of a specific demand from IAEA board members last month.

"They are digging themselves into a deeper hole," the diplomat said, referring to the next board meeting of the IAEA later this month which is to decide whether to refer Iran to the UN Security Council. [...]

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Bad lasagna sours Argentina summit security
Wed Nov 2,10:10 AM ET

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina - The massive security force deployed by Argentina for an Americas-wide presidential summit this week suffered its first glitch on Wednesday -- food poisoning.

At least 70 federal police officers guarding the beach resort hotel where U.S. President George W. Bush and others will meet were overcome by diarrhea and vomiting after dining on lasagna at a nearby hotel late Tuesday, police commissioner Daniel Rodriguez told local radio.

The indisposed officers received medication and were expected to be well enough to resume their duties later in the day, Rodriguez said.

The hotel is the preferred eating grounds for the 700-strong police squad patrolling the city, but was closed by city inspectors following the incident.

The federal police are among 7,000 police and military personnel forming a fortified security ring around the top hotels for the 34-nation summit in Mar del Plata, 250 miles south of Buenos Aires, Friday and Saturday.

Protesters plan a rally Friday against Bush that will include Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Argentine soccer legend Diego Maradona and families of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq.

Comment: "Bad lasagna", eh?

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Uruguayans Storm Argentina against Bush
Prensa Latina
October 31, 2005

Montevideo - Hundreds of Uruguayans gushed into Mar del Plata Monday to condemn the forthcoming presence of US President George W. Bush.

NGO's, social and union organizations travelled to participate at the People's, or Counter-America's Summit, where Latin American and Caribbean artists will also perform.

Uruguay's popular organizations are concerned over US presence in the region, especially with military and intelligence installations along the so-called Triple Border.

This area involves Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay plus partners of the Common Market of the South.

Comment: The Globe and Mail reports:

Small explosive devices on Monday damaged two automatic teller machines at U.S.-interest banks in Montevideo, the neighbouring Uruguayan capital, as well as a U.S. cultural organization there. No one was reported injured in any of the incidents.

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Argentina riot erupts just before Americas summit
Tue 1 Nov 2005 3:22 PM ET

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina - A protest against late-running commuter trains on Tuesday in Buenos Aires turned violent when a mob set fire to train cars and fought pitched street battles with police just days ahead of an Americas-wide presidential summit in Argentina.

The violence was some of the worst seen in the Argentine capital since deadly street rioting during the country's 2001-2002 economic crisis.

The riot began when passengers staged a protest over delays in the train service. They were then joined by what Interior Minister Anibal Fernandez called "leftist and union groups" in a violent outburst that lasted more than five hours.

Demonstrators torched at least 15 train cars, a suburban Buenos Aires train station and at least one police car.

Authorities said 87 people were arrested. [...]

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Paris riots spread, shaking French government
Wed Nov 2, 1:41 PM ET

PARIS - The French government was reeling after nearly a week of suburban rioting outside Paris spread to other areas around the capital, laying bare what observers said was the country's failure to address deep problems of poverty and immigration.

Gangs of stone-throwing youths clashed with police and torched 180 cars overnight in several towns north and west of Paris in an escalation of dusk-to-dawn violence that has raged since last Thursday following the death of two teenagers in the northeast suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois. [...]

Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin put off indefinitely a trip to Canada originally scheduled for Wednesday to call an emergency meeting of ministers to discuss the problem and attend a parliamentary session in which he called the violence "extremely serious". [...]

He said he was counting on Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy -- who cancelled a trip next week to Pakistan and Afghanistan to deal with the situation -- to "take the necessary measures." [...]

Just one week before the riots exploded, [Sarkozy] promised a "war without mercy" on violence and petty crime in the suburbs. [...]

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Mrs. Clinton Plans a Trip to Israel to Discuss Security With Sharon and His Aides

WASHINGTON, Nov. 2 - Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton's aides said on Wednesday that she was planning to go to Israel next week to discuss American-Israeli relations, in a trip that may help her strengthen her support among Jews in New York as she faces re-election next year.

The visit by Mrs. Clinton, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, will include meetings on security issues with top Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Shimon Peres, the deputy prime minister. In her meeting with Mr. Sharon, Mrs. Clinton plans to discuss developments stemming from Israel's withdrawal from Gaza and to reiterate her condemnation of remarks made by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran calling for the destruction of Israel.

Mrs. Clinton is also planning to visit part of the security fence in the West Bank that the Israeli government built to protect its citizens from incursions by terrorists. Mrs. Clinton's advisers say she supported construction of the fence, which has been criticized by Palestinian leaders and others. [...]

Comment: Since Hillary is there, maybe she could discuss the nightly torments and collective punishment that the Israeli airforce is visiting on the Palestinian people in Gaza.

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Palestinians hit by sonic boom air raids
Chris McGreal in Gaza
Thursday November 3, 2005
The Guardian

UN condemns night noise attacks as indiscriminate · Agencies say they cause trauma and miscarriages

Israel is deploying a terrifying new tactic against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip by letting loose deafening "sound bombs" that cause widespread fear, induce miscarriages and traumatise children.

The removal of Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip opened the way for the military to use air force jets to create dozens of sonic booms by breaking the sound barrier at low altitude, sending shockwaves across the territory, often at night. Palestinians liken the sound to an earthquake or huge bomb. They describe the effect as being hit by a wall of air that is painful on the ears, sometimes causing nosebleeds and "leaving you shaking inside".

The Palestinian health ministry says the sonic booms have led to miscarriages and heart problems. The United Nations has demanded an end to the tactic, saying it causes panic attacks in children. The shockwaves have also damaged buildings by cracking walls and smashing thousands of windows.

"I have never heard such a loud explosion. I thought it was right over the top of my building," said the owner, Tareq Dayyeh. "Sometimes you hear the rockets the Israelis fire but this was different. I felt like I was in the middle of a bomb. When I ran out the door I thought I might find the rest of the street was gone."

Over the past week, Israeli jets created 28 sonic booms by flying at high speed and low altitude over the Gaza Strip, sometimes as little as an hour apart through the night. During five days in late September, the air force caused 29 sonic booms.

A senior Israeli army intelligence source, who the military would not permit to be named, said the tactic is intended to break civilian support for armed Palestinian groups. "We are trying to send a message in a way that doesn't harm people. We want to encourage the Palestinian public to do something about the terror situation," he said. "What are the alternatives? We are not like the terrorists who shoot civilians. We are cautious. We make sure nobody is really hurt."

Yesterday, two medical human rights groups asked the Tel Aviv high court to outlaw the use of sound bombs on the grounds it amounts to illegal collective punishment and is detrimental to health.

"The stress is phenomenal," said Eyad El Sarraj, a psychologist and director of Gaza Community Mental Health Programme, one of the groups filing the petition. "The Israelis do it after midnight and then every one or two hours. You try to go to sleep and then there's another one. When it happens night after night you become exhausted. You get a heightened sense of alert, waiting continuously for it to happen. People suffer hypertension, fatigue, sleeplessness.

"For children, the loud noise means danger. Adults may know it's only a sound but small children feel threatened. They are crying and clinging to their parents. Afterwards they are dazed and fearful, waiting for something to happen."

The UN Palestinian refugee agency said a majority of the patients seen at its clinics as a result of the sonic booms were under 16 and suffering from symptoms such as anxiety attacks, bedwetting, muscle spasms, temporary loss of hearing and breathing difficulties.

Although the Israelis say the shockwaves do not cause casualties, doctors at Gaza's Shifa hospital said the overflights had forced women to miscarry. The number of miscarriages had increased by 40%, according to Jumaa Saqqa, a surgeon and hospital spokesman. "There were no other symptoms and the rise happened after the sonic booms. We can see no other explanation. The number of patients admitted to the cardiac care unit doubled. Some of them proved to have suffered serious harm." [...]

Mr de Soto said he did not accept that the tactic was a legitimate response to Islamic Jihad and Hamas firing rockets into Israeli towns. "Sonic booms are an indiscriminate instrument, the use of which punishes the population collectively. We ask therefore that their use be stopped without delay," the letter said.

Comment: At last we get some public recognition of the REAL reason for the Gaza withdrawal: The expansion of the psychological and physical torture of the Palestinian people by the "peace-loving" Israeli government and military.

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Flashback: Israel Limits Rafah Radioactive Screening After Protests
Friday, April 08 2005
By Mustafa el-Sawwaf

"Some 3,000 men, women and children were crammed into a parking lot about half the size of a soccer field.."

GAZA, Gaza Strip - Israeli occupation forces said they would limit the use of a controversial "radioactive" screening room at Rafah border checkpoint after medical experts warned of its life-threatening impact on Palestinian travelers.

"The Israelis told us on Wednesday, April 7, that they would use the radioactive machine to check suspects only," Emad Mikhamer, the public relations office at the checkpoint, told reporters.

Mikhamer gave no further details on the Israeli decision.

Walid Al-Salhi, the director of preventive security at the Rafah crossing, said the room is made of lead-coated glass and is holding inside it a one-meter high cylinder-shaped device.

Palestinian medics said that potential diseases include thrombocytopenic, sterility, congenital anomalies, cancer, leukemia, mental retardation and ductless glands disorder, warning that Palestinians are slipping toward slow death.

'Collective Punishment'

Meanwhile, a workshop was organized by Woman Medical and Information Center in Gaza, on the Israeli practice on Wednesday.

The participants, Palestinian experts and specialists, described the use of such machine as a "war crime" and "a breach of international law," according to the Palestinian News Agency (WAFA).

A radiology expert at Al-Shifa Hospital, Dr. Fatima Al Hindi, highlighted the risks of radiation on pregnant women, warning the practice is the most dangerous during the first three months of pregnancy.

He affirmed that such radiation may cause "fetal mutations" and "physical deformations".

"Israeli occupation forces have no exceptions, as pregnant women, children and cardiac diseases patients are also subjected by the said machine," said Anwar Atallah, a physicist specialized in radiological protection. [...]

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Death toll in Ethiopian unrest rises to 36
By Tsegaye Tadesse
Thu Nov 3, 5:49 AM ET

ADDIS ABABA - Two people were shot dead on Thursday in clashes between police and protesters in the Ethiopian capital, bringing the death toll from three days of anti-government protests to at least 36. [...]

In the African country's worst political violence in months, police in Addis Ababa opened fire to disperse hundreds of demonstrators apparently heeding a call by the opposition Coalition for Democracy and Unity (CUD) for renewed protests against a May 15 poll it says was rigged.

Police have also detained scores of people including human rights activists, residents said.

"From last evening police have been rounding up CUD zonal leaders and human rights activists," Adam Melaku, head of the independent Ethiopian Human Rights Council, told Reuters.

"We are very scared," he said.

Residents said police went from house to house picking up mainly young men suspected of involvement in the violence, which followed months of worsening tensions between the government and opposition in sub-Saharan Africa's second most populous nation. [...]

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A Noisy Takeoff for Air Force Guidelines on Religion

Evangelical Christians Contend Restrictions Imperil Free Exercise
By Alan Cooperman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, October 31, 2005; Page A20

Evangelical Christian groups, members of Congress and a senior military chaplain are pressing the Air Force to soften or drop its new restrictions on public prayers and evangelizing in the armed forces.

The Christian Coalition, Focus on the Family and other Christian advocacy groups have deluged the White House and Pentagon with thousands of phone calls, letters and e-mails denouncing the Air Force guidelines as an infringement of religious freedom.

Seventy House members sent a letter to President Bush last week objecting to the guidelines and urging him to issue an executive order protecting "the constitutional right of military chaplains to pray according to their faith." Thirty-five members of Congress signed a similar letter to the acting secretary of the Air Force.

About 10 days ago, the Air Force's chief of chaplains, Maj. Gen. Charles C. Baldwin, sent a videotaped message to all of his active-duty and reserve chaplains and their assistants -- more than 1,000 people -- suggesting that the rules need to be changed and inviting their feedback to help the Air Force "get this right."

Baldwin, a Southern Baptist, also advised chaplains that the guidelines do not prevent senior officers from discussing their religious beliefs with subordinates. [...]

"We're afraid that once these go into effect, the other services -- Army, Navy and Marine Corps -- will succumb to the same kind of political correctness and therefore things like the noon prayer at Annapolis will be endangered," said Jim Backlin, the Christian Coalition's chief lobbyist, referring to a daily prayer before lunch at the U.S. Naval Academy.

One of the main complaints from evangelical groups and members of Congress is that the guidelines could stop Christian chaplains from praying in the name of Jesus at public events. [...]

Comment: There is supposed to be a separation of church and state in the US. How might non-Christians in the military feel about praying in the name of Jesus at public events?

In looking at the bigger picture, it is clear that there are deeper issues involved here than just praying in public when it comes to the evangelical and especially the fundamentalist Christians in the US. For a detailed look at this topic, don't miss our podcast this weekend!

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States take no-smoking laws to great outdoors
Published: 03 November 2005

Voters in Washington state will be invited to approve the most draconian statewide anti-smoking law in the United States next week when they vote on whether to ban cigarettes and cigars from all public places - even cigar lounges - and create a 25ft no-smoking perimeter around public buildings. [...]

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Bird flu spooking pet panic: expert
By Roberta Mancuso

PEOPLE were moving house in fear of the neighbour's pet budgie as confusion and panic over bird flu spread, a bird specialist said.

And panicky bird owners were letting their pride and joy fly the coop or putting them down based on an irrational fear of contracting the virus, Professor Bob Doneley said.

But Prof Doneley said it was more likely that a meteor would hit a light plane, which would then fall on someone's head, than it would be to contract bird flu off the neighbour's pet bird.

"I had a phone call from one of my bird-owning clients asking me to call his neighbour to reassure her she that wouldn't have to sell her house and move out because of his birds," Queensland's only registered bird specialist said today.

"Talking with colleagues around the world it's not an isolated incident – there's people letting their birds go, people putting their birds down, people moving away from people who own birds.

"Everybody is becoming incredibly fearful of birds in general and it's unfounded." [...]

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Almost 100% Rise in U.K. Mortgage Repossession

A rise in mortgage repossession orders means one group of people are busy - bailiffs. [...]

Comment: A Sign of the Times? Or just a plain old sign of an impending major economic collapse? You decided, but we humbly suggest that you curb your spending this Christmas, and for god's sake don't remortgage your house.

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The mysteries of the black hole
By Steve Connor
The Independent
Published: 03 November 2005

They are probably the strangest things in the known universe. Black holes are so massive and their gravitational pull is so strong that nothing can escape - not even light itself - which is strange indeed for something made of nothing.

A hole in space seems to make no sense at all, yet scientists are convinced that these prisons of light are for real, even though they have never really been seen and the only evidence for their existence is circumstantial.

But astronomers have now got close to staring a black hole in the face. With the help of an array of 10 radio telescopes in America, they have pictured the void at the centre of our own Milky Way galaxy 26 million light years away, where a supermassive black hole sits invisibly like the transparent eye of a hurricane.

This particular black hole is estimated to have a mass equivalent to four million Suns and yet the latest measurements, published in the journal Nature, suggest it occupies a volume with a radius less than the distance between the Earth and the Sun.

This is less than half the size previously estimated, indicating that astronomers are close to defining the crucial outer boundary of one of the most elusive phenomena in cosmology - one that has mystified scientists for decades.

"We're getting tantalisingly close to being able to see an unmistakable signature that would provide the first concrete proof of a supermassive black hole at a galaxy's centre," said Zhi-Qiang Shen, of Shanghai Astronomical Observatory in China, one of the leaders of the study. [...]

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Some Recent Earthquakes

October 31, 2005:

Magnitude 5.4 - NORTHERN PERU

Magnitude 5.1 - BAY OF BENGAL


Magnitude 5.1 - NEPAL

November 1, 2005:




Magnitude 5.7 - SERAM, INDONESIA

November 2, 2005:


Magnitude 5.2 - TONGA

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Lightning strike kills 68 dairy cows
Wed Nov 2,10:07 AM ET

SYDNEY - A lightning strike killed 68 dairy cows waiting to be milked on an Australian farm, local media reported Wednesday.

The cows were standing together in a paddock Monday when an electrical storm hit near Dorrigo on Australia's mid-east coast, radio reports said.

Sixty-eight cows were killed by lightning, but another 69 survived, it said.

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House With Bride for Sale for $600,000
Wed Nov 2, 4:26 PM ET

DENVER - For $600,000, a 40- to 60-year-old man can buy a house in a trendy Denver neighborhood that comes complete with a bride.

Deborah Hale, 48, has placed an ad on eBay offering to sell her home in the Washington Park area to a compatible man who wants to spend his life with her. She also has her own Web site outlining the deal.

"I'm looking for my soul mate," Hale told the Rocky Mountain News Tuesday. She did not immediately return a telephone message left at her home Wednesday.

Hale lives part-time in the 1910 bungalow-style house. She also has a jewelry business in Albuquerque, N.M.

She has received about 60 responses. [...]

The deadline for bidding is Valentine's Day 2006.

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And Finally...

What's in Bush's Head?
November 3, 2005

WASHINGTON - Inquiring minds want to know. What does President George W. Bush carry in his pockets? Not much, it turns out.

A Latin American journalist at a briefing on the president's trip to the region this week told Bush he wanted to ask the "unofficial" question that he asks all presidents -- what does he carry in his pockets?

Bush magnanimously answered by pulling out a white handkerchief with a flourish and then rummaged around in both pockets.

And finally, showing that he had nothing to hide, Bush pulled both pants pockets inside out. They were empty.

"Es todo. No dinero," ("That's all. No money.") Bush joked in his own brand of Spanglish. "No wallet, no bolsa (wallet)."

Bush then inserted the white handkerchief in one ear, stuffing it almost all the way in. Reaching up to his other ear, he grasped the other end of the handkerchief and pulled it side to side through his head while crossing his eyes and yelling, "Es emptyo!"

He even showed off his Timex wristwatch, but quickly added: "I'm not supposed to be endorsing products."

An anonymous source informed Signs of the Times roving reporter Ignacious O'Reilly that shortly thereafter, Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald allegedly called up the Powers that Be on a special secure line and begged, "Can't I indict Bush? PLEEEEASE?!"

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NEW! 9/11: The Ultimate Truth is Now Available!

On the fourth anniversary of the September 11th attacks, Laura Knight-Jadczyk announced 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

Order the book today at our bookstore.

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