Printer Friendly Version
Fixed link to latest Page


"You get America out of Iraq and Israel out of Palestine and you'll stop the terrorism." - Cindy Sheehan
P I C T U R E   O F  T H E  D A Y
by John in DC
I had an interesting discussion this morning with DC political consultant Marc Laitin. We both came to the conclusion that it sounds like Bush's super-secret illegal domestic spying program may be targeting US journalists and that may be why Bush never got it cleared by the court and is worried about it coming forward now.

Think about it.

1. Bush had the authority to go the court AFTER THE SURVEILLANCE and RETROACTIVELY get the warrant to do surveillance he'd already done. He didn't. The only reason I can come up with for why Bush would NOT go to the court after the fact is because he thought the court would slap him down. The court's greatest concern would likely be spying on US citizens, and an even greater concern would be spying on either members or Congress or the American media. If Bush were spying on American media, he might just lose this retroactive warrant.

Click to Expand Article

NY Times
December 21, 2005
WASHINGTON - A surveillance program approved by President Bush to conduct eavesdropping without warrants has captured what are purely domestic communications in some cases, despite a requirement by the White House that one end of the intercepted conversations take place on foreign soil, officials say.

Click to Expand Article

By Matthew Rothschild
December 16, 2005
The Progressive
Not to trouble you or anything, but the next time you’re going to a protest, the eyes of the government may be upon you.

And I’m not just talking about local police filming your activity.

I’m not talking about the FBI under cover in your midst.

I’m talking about the Pentagon, too, getting into the act.

According to an MSNBC story on December 13, Rumsfeld’s Pentagon is tracking some of the most innocuous and lawful protests.

For instance, the Pentagon has a file on an anti-war group that was gathering at the Quaker Meeting House in Lake Worth, Florida, to plan a counter-recruiting effort at local high schools.

That group of Quakers constitutes a “threat,” according to a 400-page Pentagon document that MSNBC got hold of.

Click to Expand Article
Comment: Let's repeat that for emphasis: “Aside from the disturbing civil liberties aspects of the Pentagon spying on local peace groups, it makes me scared to think that the folks in charge of protecting us from possible terrorist attacks can't tell the difference between a terrorist threat and a peaceful citizen gathering. Are they really that stupid?” Gail Sredanovic of the Raging Grannies

Give 'em Hell Granny!

By Anslee Willett
10 Dec 2005
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The names and license plate numbers of about 30 people who protested three years ago in Colorado Springs were put into FBI domestic-terrorism files, the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Colorado says.

The Denver-based ACLU obtained federal documents on a 2002 Colorado Springs protest and a 2003 anti-war rally under the Freedom of Information Act.

ACLU legal director Mark Silverstein said the documents show the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force wastes resources generating files on "nonviolent protest."

"These documents confirm that the names and license plate numbers of several dozen peaceful protesters who committed no crime are now in a JTTF file marked 'counterterrorism,'" he said. "This kind of surveillance of First Amendment activities has serious consequences. Law-abiding Americans may be reluctant to speak out when doing so means that their names will wind up in an FBI file."

FBI Special Agent Monique Kelso, the spokeswoman for the agency in Colorado, disputed the claim the task force wastes resources gathering information on protesters.

The documents cover the June 2002 protest of the North American Wholesale Lumber Association convention at the Broadmoor hotel and an anti-war protest at Palmer Park in February 2003, the ACLU said.

The FBI files contain the names and license plate numbers of 31 people at the 2002 protest, Silverstein said.

Activists accused the lumber association, a trade organization of about 650 forest products and building-material wholesalers, of destroying endangered forests and needlessly logging on public land.

A few of the activists were arrested after sneaking onto the Broadmoor's roof to unfurl a 45-foot banner.

The FBI documents indicated agents planned surveillance in Denver where protesters gathered to carpool to Colorado Springs for the 2003 anti-war protest at Palmer Park, the ACLU said.

FBI agents also collected information on three Web sites that listed details of the planned protest, the ACLU said.

The file was classified as domestic terrorism and acts of terrorism, Silverstein said.

The 2003 rally was part of an International Day of Peace to oppose possible U.S. military action against Iraq.

By Thomas Oliphant, Columnist
The Boston Globe
20 Dec 2005
In a basically free society, abuses of civil and human rights often initially make sense, which appears to have been the case when President Bush took his baby steps toward a system of warrant-free, electronic surveillance of persons inside the United States -- some citizens, some not.

Over time, however, the inch that government first takes becomes a mile, and that also appears to have been the case, as senators and congressmen from both parties, who were too trusting initially, are beginning to understand. The one enduring lesson that conservatives used to teach effectively is that government that is not checked, balanced, and watched like a hawk can gradually become oppressive.

And now, it's happened again.

Click to Expand Article
Comment: "The state has, in order to control us, introduced division into our thinking, so that we come to distrust others and look to the state for protection! But the roots of our individualism remind us that what we are is inseparable from the source from which all others derive; that coercive
practices that threaten our neighbor also threaten us."-Butler Shaffer

By Martin H. Bosworth
You may not realize it, but that pack of disposable razors you just bought can enable you to be tracked wherever you go. Same with that discount card you used to buy the razors in the first place.

Somewhere, a computer is collating and tabulating all of your information from the moment you step into the store, and using it to generate a "profile" of you for unknown purposes.

Not only that, but one day in the near future, you could have a little microchip implanted in your body. Like something out of "Blade Runner" or "The Matrix," you could be electronically "tagged" and identified in order to build a record of your medical information, accessible anywhere in the world -- and for other purposes you may not know about.

Sound like cyberpunk at its most cliché? Far from it. Radio frequency identifiers (RFID) -- more commonly known as "spy chips" -- are a reality in everything from retail business to medical records.

Click to Expand Article
Comment: We're not going Biblical on ya here; we just find it surpassingly strange that all the Fundamentalist supporters of Bush and his Beast Empire forget all of this:

13:13 - 17 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, (9/11?) And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.

And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.

And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

14:9 - 11 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

16:2 And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.

19:20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.

By Charles Sullivan
19 Dec 2005
When a sitting president declares that the constitution is just “A God damned piece of paper,” it reveals much about his inner character; or lack thereof.

It reveals dangerous illusions of omnipotence, contempt for the law, and scorn for the people.

It was George Bush who uttered those tortured words to Whitehouse aides last week. Easily misled by false idols intoxicated with power and driven by insatiable greed, we are witnessing nothing less astonishing than the demise of the American experiment.

Dreams of democracy, justice, peace and hope are receding into the dim recesses of ever more distant memory. We see them morphing into an Orwellian nightmare of monstrous proportions that promises to pursue us to our graves.

If we continue on this course of ethical decline, in another decade we will not even be able to recall the forms and texture of those dreams that once held so much promise.

Click to Expand Article

Arianna Huffington
18 Dec 2005
So Senator John Cornyn is very upset at the revelations about President Bush's secret spy program. No, he's not upset that the program exists. He's upset that the Senate found out about it. Because, according to Sen. Cornyn, some Senators actually factored this information into their vote on the Patriot Act:
"At least two senators that I heard with my own ears cited this as a reason why they decided to vote to not allow a bipartisan majority to reauthorize the Patriot Act."
Got that, New York Times? You're endangering national security by telling senators what the executive branch, over which they have oversight, is doing. It's much easier for these poor senators to cede their constitutional responsibility and hand the administration a blank check when they don't know what Bush is doing with it. Please don't burden them any more with the facts.

It's just as Harry Reid said when he shut down the Senate in October:

"This Republican Senate does no oversight -- none. None. It's all part of a plan. They obstruct, they take orders from the White House. They do nothing without getting orders from the White House. The Separation of Powers doctrine is something that does not exist in this town."
What endangers this country, Sen. Cornyn, is not the truth. It's your refusal to do your job -- your refusal to even want to know the truth -- that's endangering the country.

By Carol D. Leonnig and Dafna Linzer
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
A federal judge has resigned from the court that oversees government surveillance in intelligence cases in protest of President Bush's secret authorization of a domestic spying program, according to two sources.

U.S. District Judge James Robertson, one of 11 members of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, sent a letter to Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. late Monday notifying him of his resignation without providing an explanation.

Two associates familiar with his decision said yesterday that Robertson privately expressed deep concern that the warrantless surveillance program authorized by the president in 2001 was legally questionable and may have tainted the FISA court's work.

Click to Expand Article

16 Dec 2005
Gennady Yevstafyev
RIA Novosti
MOSCOW. A chain of scandalous revelations about Washington's human rights violations both in the U.S. and abroad is increasingly worrying even those who look with patience at the conduct of the current U.S. Administration.

These condescending people believed that the painful lessons learned in Iraq and other places would sober up the men in Washington, but this hasn't happened.

The recent arguments about secret U.S. jails in third countries, and "flying prisons" prove that Washington has not learned any lessons from previous scandals involving an illegal concentration camp for Afghans located at the Guantanamo naval base in Cuba, not to mention the crimes committed by U.S. officials in the secret Iraqi prison of Abu Grabe.

Click to Expand Article
Comment: It is particularly shaming for an American to read articles such as the above, written by a commander of the forces of the former "Red Menace," who clearly have a better grip on what is going on in American that its citizens do.

19 Dec 2005
President Bush has admitted he secretly ordered the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans without ever seeking court approval. Famed constitutional attorney Martin Garbus and former intelligence officer Christopher Pyle both say it is an impeachable offense. We also speak with investigative journalist James Bamford about the history of the NSA. Plus, The New York Times exposed the story, but why did they hold it for more than a year?

* Martin Garbus, a partner in the law firm of Davis & Gilbert LLP. Time Magazine calls him "one of the best trial lawyers in the country," while the National Law Journal has named him one of the country's top ten litigators.

* James Bamford, investigative journalist and author of several books including the first book ever written about the National Security Agency called "The Puzzle Palace : Inside America's Most Secret Intelligence Organization." He is also author of "Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency"; and most recently, "A Pretext for War: 9/11, Iraq, and the Abuse of America's Intelligence Agencies."

* Christopher Pyle, Professor of Politics at Mt. Holyoke. In 1970 Pyle disclosed the military's surveillance of civilian politics and, as a consultant to three Congressional committees, worked to end it.

Click to Expand Article

19 Dec 2005
Washington, D.C. -- U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) today asked four presidential scholars for their opinion on former White House Counsel John Dean's statement that President Bush admitted to an "impeachable offense" when he said he authorized the National Security Agency to spy on Americans without getting a warrant from a judge.

Boxer said, "I take very seriously Mr. Dean's comments, as I view him to be an expert on Presidential abuse of power. I am expecting a full airing of this matter by the Senate in the very near future."

Click to Expand Article

The Olympian
20 Dec 2005
George Bush cannot protect democracy by destroying it.

Every American should be outraged by the president's attempt to justify domestic spying. It's wrong, and the president should acknowledge that fact. He must be held accountable.

Congress should immediately launch a truly bipartisan investigation into the administration's spying campaign. If the Constitution and laws of the United States were broken, Congress should censure the president. And if the lies, the deceit and lawbreaking continue, Congress should take even more drastic action.

Either we are a nation of laws and moral values or we are not. We cannot pick and choose which laws to abide by and which to ignore for the sake of convenience or expediency.

George Bush is not above the law.

This is a military community, with thousands of active duty and retired members of the armed forces among our friends and neighbors. The presidents' actions undermine their service to this nation.

The soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan are fighting for true democracy, not a democracy that condones domestic spying, or secret prisons or subversion of the Constitution. President Bush has played right into the hands of terrorists and diminished the reputation of the fine men and women who wear this nation's uniforms.

President Bush is the one sending the wrong message to our soldiers and our enemies. Under his leadership, we are becoming known as a nation of hypocrites.

Click to Expand Article

U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd
19 Dec 2005
Americans have been stunned at the recent news of the abuses of power by an overzealous President. It has become apparent that this Administration has engaged in a consistent and unrelenting pattern of abuse against our Country’s law-abiding citizens, and against our Constitution.

We have been stunned to hear reports about the Pentagon gathering information and creating databases to spy on ordinary Americans whose only sin is choose to exercise their First Amendment right to peaceably assemble. Those Americans who choose to question the Administration’s flawed policy in Iraq are labeled by this Administration as “domestic terrorists.”

We now know that the F.B.I.’s use of National Security Letters on American citizens has increased one hundred fold, requiring tens of thousands of individuals to turn over personal information and records. These letters are issued without prior judicial review, and provide no real means for an individual to challenge a permanent gag order.

Through news reports, we have been shocked to learn of the CIA’s practice of rendition, and the so-called “black sites,” secret locations in foreign countries, where abuse and interrogation have been exported, to escape the reach of U.S. laws protecting against human rights abuses.

We know that Vice President Dick Cheney has asked for exemptions for the CIA from the language contained in the McCain torture amendment banning cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment. Thank God his pleas have been rejected by this Congress.

Now comes the stomach-churning revelation through an executive order, that President Bush has circumvented both the Congress and the courts. He has usurped the Third Branch of government – the branch charged with protecting the civil liberties of our people – by directing the National Security Agency to intercept and eavesdrop on the phone conversations and e-mails of American citizens without a warrant, which is a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment. He has stiff-armed the People’s Branch of government. He has rationalized the use of domestic, civilian surveillance with a flimsy claim that he has such authority because we are at war. The executive order, which has been acknowledged by the President, is an end-run around the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which makes it unlawful for any official to monitor the communications of an individual on American soil without the approval of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Click to Expand Article

By Robert Parry
December 19, 2005
On the Sunday before Christmas, a fidgety George W. Bush interrupted regular programming on U.S. networks to deliver an address to the nation that painted the Iraq War and the War on Terror in the same black-and-white colors he has always favored.

Despite the media's conventional wisdom about Bush’s new “realism” on Iraq, the old canards were still there – Saddam Hussein choosing war by rejecting United Nations weapons inspectors; blurred distinctions between Iraqi insurgents and non-Iraqi terrorists; intimations that Bush’s critics are “partisan” while he embodies the national interest.

Plus, there was the same old stark choice between success and failure. “There are only two options before our country – victory or defeat,” Bush declared, brushing aside the political and military ambiguities of the Iraq War and the War on Terror.

But Bush’s speech and his curious hand gestures as he sat behind a desk in the Oval Office suggested a twitchiness over his apparent realization that the nation increasingly doubts his leadership.

Indeed, it appears the American people finally have begun to understand the costs in blood, money and freedoms that have resulted from letting the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks become a justification for transforming the United States into a modern-day empire led by an autocrat who claims the untrammeled right to strike at his perceived enemies abroad and crack down on his opponents at home.

Click to Expand Article

The Charleston Post and Courier
11 Dec 2005
Within the first days of the invasion in 2003, the U.S. military dropped leaflets in Iraq: "Surrender and be part of the new Iraq."

"It was a brilliant success," said Nathaniel Fick, a former Marine commander who participated in that first campaign.

Then, as the operation began to heat up, the military dropped "humanitarian rations," which did not include pork or chemical heater packs, which some in Afghanistan had ingested to their great peril. The rations came in bright yellow boxes so they could be seen easily.

This won the hearts of many, Fick said.

Then the military began dropping cluster bombs, some of which failed to explode upon impact. They came in bright yellow packages, too.

Click to Expand Article

Dec. 11 2005
PARIS -- French intelligence warned the CIA several times there was no evidence Iraq tried to buy uranium from Niger before President Bush went to war.

The retired chief of the French counterintelligence service, Alain Chouet, told the Los Angeles Times that on two occasions -- in 2001 and 2002 -- his agency told the CIA there was simply no evidence of the plot, which Bush referred to in his 2003 State of the Union speech.

The French conclusions were reached after extensive investigations at the CIA's request in Niger and other former French colonies, where the uranium mines are controlled by French companies, Chouet said.

However, Chouet's account was "at odds with our understanding of the issue," a U.S. government official told the Times. The U.S. official declined to elaborate and spoke only on condition that neither he nor his agency be named.

It was not the first time a foreign government tried to warn U.S. officials off. In the "Curveball" case, an Iraqi who defected to Germany claimed to have knowledge of Iraqi biological weapons. Bush repeatedly quoted Curveball, although German intelligence officials argued that he was unstable and might be a fabricator.

Tariq A. Al-Maeena
11 Dec 2005
See. I told you so! There is often a smug feeling of satisfaction when this titular phrase is used. But no self-indulgent pleasure can be derived when we speak of the regretful situation in Iraq. It defines the continuing immorality against humans and was conveyed by none other than the president of the United States of America.

Today, as more and more information on the pre-planning and thinking behind this heinous crime is filtering to the surface, our reservations three years ago on the subject of an illegal invasion and occupation are being substantiated. In a campaign based on lies, greed, and the wiles of Ariel Sharon of Israel, Bush’s military adventurism into Iraq has produced none of those lofty results that he had promised his people.

It is now documented that the planned invasion of Iraq began long before the events of Sept. 11. There have been reports from US federal agencies that the White House chose to ignore warnings on possible terrorist attacks on American soil, perhaps to bring together the impetus needed to garner world sympathy and license these “democratic lawmakers” to pursue their diabolical objectives.

To manipulate his own constituents into a state of fear, in a State of the Union address back in January 2003, Bush stated “Our intelligence officials estimate that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent...US intelligence indicates that Saddam Hussein had upwards of 30,000 munitions capable of delivering chemical agents...We have also discovered through intelligence that Iraq has a growing fleet of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to disperse chemical or biological weapons across broad areas.”

And to tie Al-Qaeda in this whole scheme, some more fabrication was needed. “Evidence from intelligence sources, secret communications and statements by people now in custody reveal that Saddam Hussein aids and protects terrorists, including members of Al-Qaeda,” stated Bush. All these statements today have proved to be false.

Click to Expand Article

A blog from Iraq about Iraq, war, America, occupation, government, democracy, religion, terrorism... and politics
19 Dec 2005
In my early writings on this blog, I was careful to distinguish between the American people and the American administration when I criticized US policies in Iraq. Attack after attack came from American super-patriots. I started calling them American Saddamists because they could not distinguish between country and ‘leader’. However, more recently I started using the word America, just like them… and just like many other millions across the world to refer to the whole of the USA.

I wrote this post with a heavy heart, fully aware of the existence of millions of Americans who do not fit the gloomy picture the post portrays… but sometimes it may be more useful in the long run to face ugly conclusions.

I know that decent people, due to their very nature, will understand.

Click to Expand Article

By Howell Raines
Pulitzer Prize-winner
Former executive editor of The New York Times
December 19, 2005
AT THIS point, the policy legacy of George Bush seems pretty well defined by three disparate disasters: Iraq in foreign affairs, Katrina in social welfare, corporate influence over tax, budget and regulatory decisions. As a short-term political consequence, we may avoid another dim-witted Bush in the White House. But what the Bush dynasty has done to presidential campaign science — the protocols by which Americans elect presidents in the modern era — amounts to a political legacy that can haunt the Republic for years to come.

We are now enduring the third generation of Bushes who have taken the playbook of the "ruthless" Kennedys and amplified it into a consistent code of amorality in both campaign tactics and governance. In their campaigns, the Kennedys used money, image-manipulation, old-boy networks and, when necessary, personal attacks on worthy adversaries such as Adlai Stevenson and Hubert Humphrey. But there was also a solid foundation of knowledge and purpose undergirding John Kennedy's sophisticated internationalism, his Medicare initiative, his late-blooming devotion to racial justice, and Robert Kennedy's opposition to corporate and union gangsterism. Like Truman, Roosevelt and, yes, even Lincoln, two generations of Kennedys believed that a certain amount of political chicanery was tolerable in the service of altruism.

Behind George W, there are four generations of Bushes and Walkers devoted first to using political networks to pile up and protect personal fortunes and, latterly, to using absolutely any means to gain office, not because they want to do good, but because they are what passes in American for hereditary aristocrats. In sum, George Bush stands at the apex of a pyramid of privilege whose history and social significance that, given his animosity to scholarly thought, he almost certainly does not understand.

Click to Expand Article

By Manuel Valenzuela
19 Dec 05
The coming years, like those of the present and the past, will see the continued spewing of fictionalized propaganda designed to manipulate the fears, hatreds, xenophobia and nationalistic tendencies of the population.

The level of control over the masses and power over the nation in the years after 9/11 by corporatists intent on hijacking the country became, to them, a rousing success, thanks to the intense levels of fear and hatred engendered by the horrific events of that day. In the span of a few infamous days the corporatists had unleashed massive psychological warfare upon us, its effects still lingering in the minds of millions.

Suddenly, those in power had become the puppeteers of the citizenry, free to manage us as they saw fit, our fragile and damaged psychologies traumatized, our thinking, human minds replaced by our more primitive, mammalian instincts and behaviors.

An entire nation had succumbed, thanks to television, to images and emotions no people had ever witnessed, repeated over and over and over again. The making of America’s new enemy had begun.

Click to Expand Article

Larisa Alexandrovna
Ranking House Judiciary Democrat Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) has introduced a motion to censure President Bush and Vice President Cheney for providing misleading information to Congress in advance of the Iraq war, failing to respond to written questions and potential violations of international law, RAW STORY has learned.

The resolutions were quietly introduced Sunday evening along with a third resolution (HR 635) to create a Select Committee to investigate the administration’s intent to go to war prior to congressional authorization. The committee would also be charged with examining manipulation of pre-war intelligence, thwarting Congressional oversight and retaliatory attacks against critics. As part of this resolution, House Judiciary Democrats seek also to explore violations of international law as pertaining to detainee abuse and torture of prisoners of war.

RAW STORY acquired copies of the resolutions Tuesday. To view the resolution to create investigative body to determine if offenses are impeachable, click here; the resolution to censure President George W. Bush, click here; and the resolution to censure Vice President Dick Cheney, click here.

Click to Expand Article
Comment: Oh no! Say it ain't so!! Not the dreaded... the awful... the scandalous REBUKE!

We think that arrest is a better idea.

"The necessity of the times, more than ever, calls for our utmost circumspection, deliberation, fortitude, and perseverance. Let us remember that `if we suffer tamely a lawless attack upon our liberty, we encourage it, and involve others in our doom.' it is a very serious consideration...that
millions yet unborn may be the miserable sharers of the event." : - Samuel Adams, speech in Boston,1771.

19 December 2005
America operated a secret prison in Afghanistan as recently as last year and tortured inmates there, according to a human rights organisation.

Human Rights Watch, a group based in New York, said in a report on Monday that detainees were kept in total darkness and were tortured and mistreated by American and Afghan guards in civilian clothes.

The facility, called by the inmates the "Dark Prison", was run near Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, Human Rights Watch said in its report, which was based on the testimony of several detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, who said they were held there.

Click to Expand Article

20 December 2005
The latest figures released by US Central Command show a dramatic rise in the number of air raids carried out in Iraq.

Although receiving little coverage in the US media, the US air force, navy and marines have flown thousands of missions backing up US ground troops in Iraq this autumn.

According to figures provided by Central Command Air Force's public affairs office, the monthly number of air missions, including refuelling and other support flights, grew from 1111 in September to 1492 in November 2005.

The number of US air raids increased particularly in the weeks leading up to last Thursday's election, from a monthly average of about 35 last summer to more than 60 in September and 120 or more in October and November.

Click to Expand Article

By Daniel Terdiman
Staff Writer, CNET
December 19, 2005, 4:00 AM PST
A new online information service launching in early 2006 aims to build on the model of free online encyclopedia Wikipedia by inviting acknowledged experts in a range of subjects to review material contributed by the general public.

Called Digital Universe, the project is the brainchild of, among others, USWeb founder Joe Firmage and Larry Sanger, one of Wikipedia's earliest creators.

Click to Expand Article
Comment: As Wikipedia stumbles, a new web site is created that will be written by "an elite core of PhD's". Given that the advance of science is currently hampered to a large extent by this same core of PhD's, we aren't exactly optimistic about Wikipedia's new replacement.
19 Dec 2005
Introduction - Factory Labels

The most effective way to control people is to control their assumptions about the world. The task of propaganda is to apply power-friendly labels and make them stick - it is the key to everything. The labelling factory par excellence - the machine that applies the right labels in the right way over and over again - is the mass media system.

Activists have lambasted governments, corporations, whole industries for decades, but they are swimming against a relentless tide. As has been demonstrated so clearly in Iraq, governments and businesses can do pretty much what they like just so long as the media factory is on hand to label it better: to label away the crimes, the lies, the outrage, the desperate need for change.

The media are, and always have been, the supreme obstacle to change. But you would not know it because all media corporations apply the same potent label to such a thought: 'Unthinkable.'

Click to Expand Article
Comment: We would like to emphasize a few comments from the above article:

"...if even high-profile dissidents can be painted as wretched, sickly fools, then which reader or viewer would want to be associated with dissent? Then 'normal' - conforming, consuming, looking after 'number one' - can be made to seem healthy, balanced, sensible and sane. Historian Howard Zinn made the point well:

"Realism is seductive because once you have accepted the reasonable notion that you should base your actions on reality, you are too often led to accept, without much questioning, someone else's version of what that reality is. It is a crucial act of independent thinking to be sceptical of someone else's description of reality." (The Zinn Reader, Seven Stories Press, 1997, p.338)
The great task of propaganda is to make dissent seem unrealistic, embarrassing, and absurd.

The dynamics of how and why this state exists in our world are carefully explicated and analyzed in psychologist, Andrew Lobaczewski's Political Ponerology: The Science of Evil Adjusted for Political Purposes.

Pathocracy is a disease of great social movements followed by entire societies, nations, and empires. In the course of human history, it has affected social, political, and religious movements as well as the accompanying ideologies… and turned them into caricatures of themselves….

The actions of [pathocracy] affect an entire society, starting with the leaders and infiltrating every town, business, and institution. The pathological social structure gradually covers the entire country creating a “new class” within that nation. This privileged class [of pathocrats] feels permanently threatened by the “others”, i.e. by the majority of normal people. Neither do the pathocrats entertain any illusions about their personal fate should there be a return to the system of normal man.
And so, because they are so threatened by healthy minds, they must warp and twist them with their lies, with their psychological manipulations, with their pathological abuse of everything normal human beings consider to be good and noble and right. In a land where psychopaths rule, they make psychopaths of everyone.

December 19, 2005
More than a dozen years ago, I joined with Jeff Cohen (founder of the media watch group FAIR) to establish the P.U.-litzer Prizes. Ever since then, the annual awards have given recognition to the stinkiest media performances of the year.

It is regrettable that only a few journalists can win a P.U.-litzer. In 2005, a large volume of strong competitors made the selection process very difficult.

And now, the fourteenth annual P.U.-litzer Prizes, for the foulest media performances of 2005:

Click to Expand Article

Tuesday, December 13, 2005
By Oliver Ryan
Richard Rainwater doesn't want to sound like a kook. But he's about as worried as a happily married guy with more than $2 billion and a home in Pebble Beach can get. Americans are "in the kind of trouble people shouldn't find themselves in," he says. He's just wary about being the one to sound the alarm.

Rainwater is something of a behind-the-scenes type—at least as far as alpha-male billionaires go. He counts President Bush as a personal friend but dislikes politics, and frankly, when he gets worked up, he says some pretty far-out things that could easily be taken out of context. Such as: An economic tsunami is about to hit the global economy as the world runs out of oil. Or a coalition of communist and Islamic states may decide to stop selling their precious crude to Americans any day now. Or food shortages may soon hit the U.S. Or he read on a blog last night that there's this one gargantuan chunk of ice sitting on a precipice in Antarctica that, if it falls off, will raise sea levels worldwide by two feet—and it's getting closer to the edge.... And then he'll interrupt himself: "Look, I'm not predicting anything," he'll say. "That's when you get a little kooky-sounding."

Rainwater is no crackpot. But you don't get to be a multibillionaire investor—one who's more than doubled his net worth in a decade—through incremental gains on little stock trades. You have to push way past conventional thinking, test the boundaries of chaos, see events in a bigger context. You have to look at all the scenarios, from "A to friggin' Z," as he says, and not be afraid to focus on Z. Only when you've vacuumed up as much information as possible and you know the world is at a major inflection point do you put a hell of a lot of money behind your conviction.

Click to Expand Article
Comment: Now, what is wrong with this picture? We asked QFG to do some digging and this came back:

"Richard Rainwater is "a billionaire speculator and money manager who ranks among the wealthiest 100 Americans. It's well known that Rainwater has been a major financial backer of Bush's political career, but
it's a little-known fact that he's also largely responsible for Bush's personal wealth.

"He's put Bush into various profitable deals, from oil and gas to real estate, but the big one was the Texas Rangers baseball franchise," says Jim Hightower (May, '99) Rainwater and Bush sold the baseball team to another Texas high roller and Bush campaign contributer, billionaire Tom Hicks.

"But their relationship didn't stop there. When Bush became Guv in '95, he put all but his Texas Rangers stock into a blind trust managed by - surprise - Rainwater.

"Hightower implies the financial relationship wasn't a one-way street: "Bush is nothing if not loyal to Rainwater, who has done very nicely while his pal has been governor.

"Among the favors Rainwater has enjoyed: *State buildings sold to Rainwater's real estate company at bargain basement rates; *State college and public school funds invested in Rainwater's company; *A Bush-sponsored tax cut that failed, but would have cut millions in annual taxes for Rainwater; and *A stadium-financing bill backed by Bush that gave a $10 million bonus payment to a Rainwater company."

Now, what does that mean in relation to the "Rainwater Prophecy?"

It means that this piece is very likely another example of Media Manipulation. Seems that the Powers That Be are NOW starting to seed the idea that humanity may not survive... and it's all because of Peak Oil. That will lead to the big tearful revelation (when Bush and Co finally get backed into the corner) that, "Yes, it was all about oil all along... but we, as your noble leaders, were just looking out for the interests of Amurrikans! Surely you will forgive us for raping and pillaging and plundering on YOUR behalf! We did it for YOU! We just didn't want to scare you by telling you how bad things were!"

It's just another lie.

Read Signs Editor Joe Quinn's piece Ruppert and Hopsicker
Co-Opting the 9-11 Truth Movement, Or Exposing the Big Con –
Lies and Disinformation At The End Of Civilisation As We Know It

President Bush's corporate champions see the spoils of his administration in coal. And timber. And credit-card payments, Afghan electric lines, Japanese bank transfers, and fake crab.

America's business leaders supplied more than $75 million to return Mr. Bush to the White House last year - and he has paid dividends.

Bush Administration policies, grand and obscure, have financially benefited companies or lobbying clients tied to at least 200 of the President's largest campaign fund-raisers, a Blade investigation has found. Dozens more stand to gain from Bush-backed initiatives that recently passed or await congressional approval.

The investigation examined targeted tax breaks, regulatory changes, pro-business legislation, high-profile salaried appointments, and federal contracts.

Click to Expand Article

Associated Press Writers
20 Dec 2005
WASHINGTON Dec 20, 2005 — As Tom DeLay became a king of campaign fundraising, he lived like one too. He visited cliff-top Caribbean resorts, golf courses designed by PGA champions and four-star restaurants all courtesy of donors who bankrolled his political money empire.

Over the past six years, the former House majority leader and his associates have visited places of luxury most Americans have never seen, often getting there aboard corporate jets arranged by lobbyists and other special interests.

Click to Expand Article
Comment: But remember, Congress just HAS to cut back on Medicaid because way too much money is going to help the citizens and not enough is going into the pockets of Bush and his cronies! I guess poor people don't have lobbyists.

by Peter J. Sepp
Since the founding of the Republic, Americans have had a healthy skepticism of the concentration of power. The Framers of the Constitution established a system they hoped would prevent not only the disproportionate accumulation of influence in one branch of government, but also the disproportionate accumulation of privilege.

Today, Members of the United States Congress enjoy a vast web of perquisites that benefit them personally as well as professionally, including:

* Comfortable salaries that are often determined through legislative sleight-of-hand. Contrary to the arguments of many Washington "insiders," the cost of living has rarely eroded the historical value of lawmakers' pay, which on a constant-dollar basis is hovering near the postwar high.

* Pension benefits that are two to three times more generous than those offered in the private sector for similarly-salaried executives. Taxpayers directly cover at least 80 percent of this costly plan. Congressional pensions are also inflation-protected, a feature that fewer than 1 in 10 private plans offer.

* Health and life insurance, approximately 3/4 and 1/3 of whose costs, respectively, are subsidized by taxpayers.

* Wheeled perks, including limousines for senior Members, prized parking spaces on Capitol Hill, and choice spots at Washington's two major airports.

* Travel to far-flung destinations as well as to home states and districts. Despite recent attempts to toughen gift and travel rules, "junkets" are still readily available prerogatives for many Members.

* A wide range of smaller perks that have defied reform efforts, from cut-rate health clubs to fine furnishings.

But the very nature of public office itself demands a more comprehensive definition of a "perk" than that normally applied to corporate America. Members of Congress can also wield official powers that allow them to continue to enjoy the personal benefits outlined above, such as:

* The franking privilege, which gives lawmakers millions in tax dollars to create a favorable public image. Experts across the political spectrum have labeled the frank as an unfair electioneering tool. In past election cycles, Congressional incumbents have spent as much on franking alone as challengers have spent on their entire campaigns.

* An office staff that performs "constituent services" and doles out pork-barrel spending, providing more opportunities for "favors" that can be returned only at election time.

* Exemptions and immunities from tax, pension, and other laws that burden private citizens -- all crafted by lawmakers themselves.

Click to Expand Article

19 Dec 2005
WASHINGTON - The spending bill approved by the House early on Monday and awaiting a Senate vote could increase the out-of-pocket costs of many of the poor people who rely on the joint federal-state program for their health care.

The legislation also tightens eligibility rules for long-term care. Medicaid pays for roughly half of nursing home bills.

The mostly Republican backers of the bill say the changes are necessary to preserve a financially beleaguered social program that has not been updated to keep up with the changes in U.S. health care.

Click to Expand Article
Comment: Shut up, you poor people! How dare you protest! Georgie will spy on you if you so much as make a peep! And then you'll go on a list of ter'rists!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005
WASHINGTON -- As Congress moves to slash $40 billion in spending, no program will take a bigger hit than college loans, where almost $13 billion would be cut over five years.

For students, the upshot is mixed. Excessive government payments to banks would be halted, freeing up some dollars for new grants, larger loan limits and reduced loan fees.

But overall, the student loan program would endure the largest cut in its history, and most of the money would not be pumped back into education.

Click to Expand Article

December 20, 2005: 3:41 PM EST
DETROIT - Shares of General Motors Corp. fell to an 18-year low Tuesday after Toyota Motor Corp. unveiled production plans for 2006, increasing fears that GM will be toppled by its Japanese rival as the world's largest automaker. [...]

Shares of General Motors (down $0.85 to $20.20, Research) slumped by 4.8 percent in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock fell more than 5 percent to $19.63 earlier in the day -- its lowest point since 1987, after being adjusted for its spin-off of Delphi Corp. in 1999.

Click to Expand Article

Tuesday, December 20, 2005
NEW YORK -- Millions of New York commuters are preparing to battle their way home in near-freezing temperatures during a strike by transit workers, which Tuesday afternoon was ruled illegal by a judge.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg lashed out at union leaders for "thuggishly" turning their backs on the city, adding the strike could cost the city more than $400 million a day.

Click to Expand Article

December 21, 2005
DEMING, N.M. - A shooting inside a Wal-Mart wounded an employee and a 6-year-old girl Tuesday, police said. Two suspects were arrested, and a third was at large.

Click to Expand Article

20 Dec 2005
One of the more puzzling mysteries of 9-11 is what ever happened to the flight recorders of the two planes that hit the World Trade Center towers. Now it appears that they may not be missing at all.

Counterpunch has learned that the FBI has them.

Click to Expand Article

By Heba Kandil and Andrew Hammond
19 Dec 2005
ABU DHABI - U.S.-allied Gulf Arab leaders called on Monday for a nuclear weapons-free Middle East, but singled out only Israel, not Iran, despite having voiced alarm at Tehran's nuclear ambitions during their two-day meeting.

In a final statement, the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) focussed on Israel's failure to join the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which Iran has signed.

Click to Expand Article

16 Dec 2005
The regional council of the Sør-Trøndelag in Norway has passed a motion calling for a comprehensive boycott on Israeli goods to be followed up with an awareness raising campaign across the region.

Sør-Trøndelag has a population of 270,000 out of Norway’s 4.6 million. Trondheim, Norway`s third largest city, forms part of the region and will participate in the boycott initiative. The council committed itself to this motion as a result of intensive work by Norwegian activists that had launched a national Boycott Israel campaign this June. The success of this motion has marked a massive move forwards for boycotts of Apartheid Israel.

Building from the region`s experience of support for the South African Anti-Apartheid struggle, the people and their representatives in Sør-Trøndelag have once again sided with the calls for justice and liberation.

The decision comes just weeks after a city in the Basque country, Arbizu, passed a similar motion in their solidarity with the Palestinian people. The news will give further boost to the campaigning efforts of other cities and campaigners across the globe and will help stimulate more initiatives to follow the Palestinian call for comprehensive boycott, sanctions and divestment campaign against Israel.

Full text of the motion (translation by the Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign):

Boycott Israeli goods

An international boycott campaign against Israel is now being launched. Apartheid in South Africa was condemned by the entire world and this contributed to the fall of the regime. Israel`s occupation of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and the Syrian Golan Heights has been condemned by the UN. The Israeli settlements violate International Law. The construction of the Wall has been declared illegal by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), and the refugees still wait to return to their homes.

Sør-Trøndelag was the first [Norwegian] county to boycott South Africa. Upholding this good tradition, the County council, as the first in the country, has decided to boycott Israeli goods, by not buying Israeli goods and through awareness raising efforts. We call on the population to do the same.

December 20 2005
RIA Novosti
MOSCOW - Russia will take Syria's side if charges against Syrian officials with involvement in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri cause a conflict between the United States and Syria, two Russian parliamentary members said Tuesday.

"If Russia is to choose between its two strategic allies, it will undoubtedly take Syria's side," said Shamil Sultanov, a coordinator of an inter-faction association, Russia and the Islamic World: A Strategic Dialogue.

Nikolai Leonov, a member of parliament's security committee, who had recently visited Syria along with Sultanov and other MPs, said it was primarily beneficial for the U.S. to accuse Syria of murdering Hariri. "Indeed, Syria is an excellent oil corridor with access to deep-water Mediterranean ports. Besides, this is a good pretext to distract the world community's attention from the events in Iraq," the MP said.

Leonov said earlier that he was concerned that Syria could face the Iraqi scenario.

In October, an international commission chaired by Detlev Mehlis delivered a report to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and members of the Security Council suggesting that high-ranking Syrian and Lebanese officials had been involved in the February 14 killing of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Syria said the report was politically motivated and inaccurate.

December 19, 2005

During his recent visit to Ankara, CIA Director Porter Goss reportedly brought three dossiers on Iran to Ankara. Goss is said to have asked for Turkey’s support for Washington’s policy against Iran’s nuclear activities, charging that Tehran had supported terrorism and taken part in activities against Turkey. Goss also asked Ankara to be ready for a possible US air operation against Iran and Syria. Goss, who came to Ankara just after FBI Director Robert Mueller’s visit, brought up Iran’s alleged attempts to develop nuclear weapons. It was said that Goss first told Ankara that Iran has nuclear weapons and this situation was creating a huge threat for both Turkey and other states in the region. Diplomatic sources say that Washington wants Turkey to coordinate with its Iran policies. The second dossier is about Iran’s stance on terrorism. The CIA argued that Iran was supporting terrorism, the PKK and al-Qaeda. The third had to do with Iran’s alleged stance against Ankara. Goss said that Tehran sees Turkey as an enemy and would try to “export its regime.”

Click to Expand Article

Dec. 18 2005
TEHRAN -- Iran on Sunday rejected the reactions of the European Union (EU) and the United States on President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's recent anti-Israel remarks, terming it as illogical.

"Remark by the Iranian president on the Zionist regime was a scientific debate. It is not a new issue," Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi said, quoted by the official IRNA news agency.

"I am surprised with the approaches taken towards this scientific debate. The type of reaction the Europeans and the westerners have shown to the president's remark has no place in the civilized world," Asefi added.

Click to Expand Article

15 Dec 2005
Toronto Star
We had Wahhabism. We had the madrassas. We had the houris of Heaven. Now we have the caliphate.

Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld et al have been raising the spectre of a worldwide Islamic rule by a caliph, as envisaged by Osama bin Laden, Abu Musab Zarqawi and other terrorists.

The chances of a caliphate coming are zero. But raising its spectre helps keep Americans scared. Never mind that, just as the reasons given for the Iraq war proved false, the explanations offered for terrorism have not met the test of time either.

When 15 of the 19 terrorists of 9/11 turned out to have been Saudis, Washington and its apologists blamed Wahhabism, the essentialist Islam practised in Saudi Arabia. The problem with that theory was that the Saudi ruling family, the guardians of Wahhabism, was and remains the staunchest ally of the U.S. and guarantor of its energy needs.

Click to Expand Article
IRELAND sparked a diplomatic outcry last night by refusing to back Jewish rights to a homeland.

An aide to Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern told the Jewish Telegraph that Zionism was a religious issue and refused to take a position on "an Old Testament mandate".

The Israeli government hit back, comparing the Republic to the hardline Iranian regime.

"I am very sorry that Ireland takes this position because in doing that they support [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad," blasted a senior aide to premier Ariel Sharon.

Last month Ahmadinejad told a "World without Zionism" conference that Israel should be "wiped off the map".

We are lifting the lid on these explosive comments after Mr Ahern refused to go on the record to denounce claims by former Irish minister Justin Keating that Jews have mounted a "self-serving and untruthful Zionist myth" to lay claim to Israel.

John Kennedy, a foreign policy adviser to Mr Ahern, said the Republic would recognise Israel only in its modern form and would not comment on any historical claims on the land.

Click to Expand Article
Comment: Fact is, there aren't any "historical" claims to the land of Palestine. Those "historical claims" are based on the Bible, which is a hoax. So, what is Israel doing in Palestine anyway? Who decided to give the land to Israel? Why, Bible believers, we are told. But are they really believers? Or are they conspirators conspiring to gather all the Jews in one place so they can blow them all up at once along with their Palestinian brethren? That Bible is mighty handy, I tell ya!

Interview by Silvia Cattori.
November 2005
Shamir Readers
In Palestine, the most important recent development is the vote of no-confidence to the ruling 'Old Leadership' gang. The Palestinians ovewhelmingly voted for Marwan Barghouti, still in Israeli jail, and for Hamas, i.e. for parties and persons who disagree with the line of PNA leaders. One of the reasons is the abysmal result of much advertised Israeli withdrawal from Gaza Strip: it did not improve the position of the local people by a jot, actually, made it worse from every point of view. This sad result proves impossibility and undesirability of 'end the occupation, create a Palestinian state' mantra of Left Zionists and of their friends in Ramallah. The real way out of impasse is the way of One State, as our friend, the wonderful Palestinian Professor Mahmoud Musa, the President of One State Association, tells Silvia Cattori:

Click to Expand Article

December 13, 2005
© 2005
A weather expert says December 2005 is on pace to become one of the 10 coldest in more than 100 years, despite claims at a global conference on climate change this week that the Earth is getting warmer.

Joe Bastardi, senior meteorologist with, says present weather patterns across the country show below-normal temperatures in the single digits, with still colder air forecast in the coming weeks.

All told, he said, "the current look and pace may bring December 2005 in as a top 10 month for cold Decembers nationwide since the late 1800s."

Click to Expand Article
Comment: We've been saying it for years, but it bears repeating: From the Cassiopaean Transmissions:

22 February 1997

C's: Climate is being influenced by three factors, and soon a fourth. 1) Wave approach. 2) Chloroflorocarbon increase in atmosphere, thus affecting ozone layer. 3) Change in the planet's axis rotation orientation. 4) Artificial tampering by 3rd and 4th density STS forces in a number of different ways. ...[Also] remember this: a change in the speed of the rotation may not be reported while it is imperceptible except by instrumentation. Equator is slightly "wider" than the polar zones. But, this discrepancy is decreasing slowly currently.

One change to occur in 21st Century is sudden glacial rebound, over Eurasia first, then North America. Ice ages develop much, much, much faster than thought.

Continental "drift" is caused by the continual though variable, propelling of gases from the interior to the surface, mainly at points of magnetic significance.
Q: (Jan) What causes the change in the axis?
A: By slow down of rotation. Earth alternately heats up and cools down in interior.
Q: (Laura) Why does it do that? What's the cause of this?
A: Part of cycle related to energy exerted upon surface by
the frequency resonance vibrational profile of humans and others.

5 Sept 1998
Q: How does global warming cause glaciers?
A: Increases precipitation dramatically. Then moves the belt of great precipitation much farther north. This causes
rapid buildup of ice sheets, followed by increasingly rapid and intense glacial rebound.

18 March 2000
Q: You also made a remark once that ice ages occur much, much faster than people ever thought...
A: Yes.
Q: Do we need to invest in some mukluks and snowshoes?
A: ??
Q: Well, what I am trying to get at is: should we start stockpiling firewood?
A: Maybe.
Q: So, it could be that fast?
A: Oh yes, and faster when in response to global"warming."

18 Jan 2003

Q: (L) We are a little bit curious about the strange weather. Is this the beginning of the ice age?
A: It is a precursor.

17 Aug 2003
Q: (J) Can we expect an ice age any time soon?
A: wait a couple of years and check the thermometer!!!

The Asahi Shimbun
The cold spell that gripped the nation over the weekend continued to dump heavy snow in mountainous regions Monday and brought Nagoya its heaviest fall in 58 years, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

Click to Expand Article

Press Trust of India
December 18, 2005
Intense cold wave conditions continued in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh on Sunday even as the most parts of the region were engulfed under a blanket of fog that reduced visibility and affected movement of road and rail traffic.

The minimum temperature hovered between two to four degrees below normal in most parts of the region, the MET office said.

The cold wave conditions had so far claimed three lives - two in Punjab and one in Haryana - in the region.

With a temperature of four degrees below normal, Srinagar continued to be coldest in the hills with a low of minus 5.6 degrees celsius whereas Jalandhar with a low of 0.4 degree celsius was coldest in the plains.

Chandigarh settled at a low of 3.8 degree celsius, three degrees below normal. [...]

December 21, 2005

17 Dec 2005
AS DAWN heralded Saturday morning in Montreal, the latest international climate conference closed in a mood of euphoria. There were tears in the corridors. The UK's environment secretary Margaret Beckett proclaimed a "diplomatic triumph" in which she had achieved all that she had hoped for. Even normally hard-boiled environmental campaigners and journalists were misty-eyed. "Historic," said Greenpeace. "A big step forward...the US has been shamed," said The Guardian in London (see "Small green victory").

Get a grip. Last-minute deals are always exciting, especially after overnight negotiations. But in the cold light of day we have to ask what exactly was achieved. The answer looks like little more than an agreement to carry on talking - and even that is hedged in places by promises to talk about very little that is meaningful.

Meanwhile, every square metre of the planet's surface is absorbing about 1 watt more heat than it can release into space. That may be only slightly more than the power of a Christmas tree light bulb. But it matters.

Click to Expand Article
Comment: Read this article carefully. Politics may be hastening the "End of The World"... as we know it. Notice the following particularly:

At this magazine we regularly meet climate and Earth-system scientists who harbour real fears for themselves and their families about what the 21st century will bring. Jim Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and George Bush's top climate modeller, is not alone in thinking that we have, as he said last week, "at most 10 years"...

This isn't science fiction, folks. It isn't some whacked out woman wearing a copper pyramid on her head claiming that the Planet Nibiru is gonna clean house in the Solar System. No indeedy...

By Ansley Ng
SINGAPORE : In recent interviews, Thai tsunami prophet Smith Dharmasaroja said the epicentre of the next earthquake in the region could move further north from last year's temblors, which puts Malaysia and Singapore at risk of being hit by killer waves.

Since predicting correctly the December 26 tsunami last year, Dr Dharmasaroja, who was then labelled a "madman" and "rumour-monger", has been taken seriously by many who do not wish to see a repeat of the disaster that killed 290,000.

Two days ago, Dr Dharmasaroja - now a vice-minister in the Office of the Prime Minister of Thailand - told TODAY that, based on his studies, an earthquake with its heart slightly north of last year's epicentre could "send waves surging through the Straits of Malacca, which could smash into Malaysia and Singapore".

Click to Expand Article

2005 December 20 00:52:20 UTC
A minor earthquake occurred at 00:52:20 (UTC) on Tuesday, December 20, 2005. The magnitude 3.0 event has been located in LOUISIANA. (This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.)

21 Dec 2005 08:39:47 GMT
Source: Reuters
JAKARTA, Dec 21 (Reuters) - An undersea earthquake of magnitude 6.3 rocked parts of eastern Indonesia on Wednesday, causing some panic, but there no immediate reports of casualties or damage, officials said.

Click to Expand Article

21 December 2005
New Zealand News
Hundreds of Farewell Spit residents and tourists have joined conservation workers in a frantic battle to help 123 stranded whales, and more rescue attempts are planned today.

The pod of pilot whales began beaching themselves at Puponga at midday yesterday and by last night were strewn the length of the beach, at the top of the South Island, the Conservation Department's Golden Bay area manager, John Mason, said.

Three had died by early last night. "They have basically thrashed themselves to death," Mr Mason said.

Click to Expand Article

Dec 19, 2005
Tokyo - Honda Motor said Monday it will begin mass producing next-generation solar panels for household use from 2007, halving the carbon-dioxide emissions of the already eco-friendly technology.

Click to Expand Article

Associated Press
Tue, Dec. 20, 2005
WASHINGTON - Cigarette smoking is at its lowest level in a survey of teenagers, and use of illicit drugs has been declining, but continuing high rates of abuse for prescription painkillers remain a worry, the government reported Monday.

Click to Expand Article
Comment: It's good to know that teenagers are getting hooked on prescription painkillers and ruining their minds instead of smoking, which would have enhanced their ability to think in many cases.
19 Dec 2005
A team of researchers has just discovered a new macroscopic physical phenomenon governed by a quantum law: quantum magnetic deflagration. The discovery, published in November in the American journal Physical Review Letters, was made by a team led by Javier Tejada, Professor of Fundamental Physics at the UB, and Paul Santos, a researcher at the Paul Drude Institute in Berlin.

Click to Expand Article
Comment: There is something fishy about this story:
"The researchers have discovered that the propagation speed at which the compass poles are reversed follows a law determined by quantum mechanics. In other words, and contrary to expectations, it is a macroscopic effect governed by a quantum law."
Is it a surprise that something "follows a law determined by quantum mechanics"? What else would the researchers expect?

17 December 2005 news service
Amanda Gefter
Ever since Albert Einstein wondered whether the world might have been different, physicists have been searching for a “theory of everything” to explain why the universe is the way it is. Now string theory, one of today's leading candidates, is in trouble. A growing number of physicists claim it is ill-defined and based on crude assumptions. Something fundamental is missing, they say. The main complaint is that rather than describing one universe, the theory describes 10500, each with different constants of nature, even different laws of physics.

But the inventor of string theory, physicist Leonard Susskind, sees this “landscape” of universes as a solution rather than a problem. He says it could answer the most perplexing question in physics: why the value of the cosmological constant, which describes the expansion rate of the universe, appears improbably fine-tuned for life. A little bigger or smaller and life could not exist. With an infinite number of universes, says Susskind, there is bound to be one with a cosmological constant like ours.

The idea is controversial, because it changes how physics is done, and it means that the basic features of our universe are just a random luck of the draw. He explains to Amanda Gefter why he thinks it's a possibility we cannot ignore.

Click to Expand Article

17 December 2005 news service
Lisa Melton
RICHARD WETHERILL was intolerably good at chess. Hardly surprising, for the retired university lecturer could think a mind-boggling eight moves ahead. But in recent months, his razor-sharp mind had started to dull. When he found he could no longer think five moves ahead, he was sure something was seriously wrong and arranged to meet neurologist Nick Fox at University College London's Institute of Neurology. Though his wife dismissed his complaints, Wetherill was adamant that he needed help. Yet Fox's battery of tests revealed nothing amiss: his patient sailed through every test designed to spot early dementia. Under a brain imager, his brain looked normal.

Two years later, in 2003, Wetherill died suddenly. Imagine Fox's amazement when the autopsy revealed a brain riddled with plaques and tangles, the hallmark of Alzheimer's disease. The anatomical evidence indicated advanced disease, with a level of physical damage that would have reduced most people to a state of total confusion. Yet for Wetherill the only impact was that he could no longer play chess to high standards. What on earth was he doing differently? What was cushioning the blow?

Wetherill's experience is a perfect example of a phenomenon that has long puzzled scientists: people who lead more intellectually stimulating lives, who are more intelligent, better educated and have high-status occupations, are somehow protected from the mental decline that comes with age. And not just age, but other insults too, from head injuries and alcohol intoxication to stroke, HIV, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

Click to Expand Article
Comment: As the Cassiopaeans say: Knowledge Protects!

17 December 2005 news service
IT'S official: Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa was 83 per cent happy, 9 per cent disgusted, 6 per cent fearful and 2 per cent angry.

Nicu Sebe at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands tested emotion-recognition software on the famous enigmatic smile. His algorithm, developed with researchers at the Beckman Institute at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, examines key facial features such as the curvature of the lips and crinkles around the eyes, then scores each face with respect to six basic emotions. Sebe drew on a database of young female faces to derive an average "neutral" expression, which the software used as a standard to compare the painting against.

Software capable of recognising human emotions just by looking at photographs or videos could lead to PCs that adjust their response depending on the user's mood, as well as smarter surveillance systems.

17 December 2005
From New Scientist Print Edition
ELEPHANTS are big, powerful and can be very dangerous - but they are not drunkards. Anecdotes about African elephants going on alcohol-fuelled rampages after eating the fermented fruit of the marula tree are probably incorrect, says Steven Morris at the University of Bristol, UK.

Assuming an alcohol content of 3 per cent, his team calculates that a 3-tonne elephant would need to eat more than 1200 fruit to get drunk. That would require a diet solely of fermented marula fruit consumed at 400 times the normal maximum food intake.

It is more likely that "drunk" bulls are just defending a prized food source, says Morris. The study will be published in Physiological and Biochemical Zoology next year.

David Leppard
The London Times
18 Dec 2005
SPYMASTERS warned Tony Blair before the July 7 suicide bombings that Al-Qaeda was planning a “high priority” attack specifically aimed at the London Tube.

A leaked four-page report by the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), which oversees all spying, is the first definitive evidence that the intelligence services expected terrorists to strike at the Underground.

The disclosure will fuel critics’ suspicions that Blair decided to rule out a public inquiry into the bombings last week because it could expose intelligence failings at the highest level.

Click to Expand Article
Comment: We have a more likely scenario: This report is being "leaked" to divert attention from the idea that MI5 and MI6 were directly involved in carrying out this attack in order to support Blair's "anti-terrorist" legislation. Better to be thought to have ignored intelligence than to be implicated in the plot...

Tue Dec 20, 2005
DUBAI (Reuters) - The leftist winner of Bolivia's presidential election, Evo Morales, was quoted on Tuesday as calling President George W. Bush a "terrorist," but a spokesman in La Paz said the remark must have been mistranslated.

Morales spoke in Spanish to Arabic satellite television station Al Jazeera, which dubbed his comments into Arabic.

"The only terrorist in this world that I know of is Bush. His military intervention, such as the one in Iraq, that is state terrorism," Al Jazeera quoted him as saying.

"There is a difference between people fighting for a cause and what terrorists do," Morales was quoted as saying.

"Today in Bolivia and Latin America, it's no longer people that are lifting their weapons against imperialism, but it's imperialism that is lifting its weapons against people through military intervention and military bases."

A Morales spokesman in La Paz, who was present during the interview, said he did not remember Morales saying that and that he must have been translated incorrectly. Reuters translated Al Jazeera's Arabic into English.

Morales, who calls himself a nightmare for the United States, has alarmed the Bush administration with his opposition to its strategy in the war on drugs and his admiration for presidents Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Fidel Castro of Cuba, both vocal foes of the United States.

Comment: Morales remarks about Bush seem right on the money to us, yet his spokesperson still felt the need to do a bit of damage control. In October of 2003, Morales stated:
"When we speak of the 'defense of humanity,' as we do at this event, I think that this only happens by eliminating neoliberalism and imperialism. But I think that in this we are not so alone, because we see, every day that anti-imperialist thinking is spreading, especially after Bush's bloody 'intervention' policy in Iraq. Our way of organizing and uniting against the system, against the empire's aggression towards our people, is spreading, as are the strategies for creating and strengthening the power of the people."
Morales closed the speech with:
"If we want to defend humanity, the American imperialist system must be brought down."

17 May 2003
From New Scientist Print Edition
Dominic Murphy
But many researchers, including ones who don't take an evolutionary line, think there might be rational and successful psychopaths in the general population. Hervey Cleckley's The Mask of Sanity was the standard text on psychopathy for years. Cleckley included in his case studies the psychopath as scientist, the psychopath as physician, the psychopath as psychiatrist, the psychopath as man of the world, and so on. He thought there was a genuine psychopathic type and that you had to look carefully to watch the mask slip occasionally. If you apply our concept of mental illness then these people are functioning as Mother Nature intended because Mother Nature intended them to be bastards!"

Click to Expand Article

December 21, 2005
Women in a Croatian village have seized power from their lazy menfolk in local elections.

After their success, the women of Lozisca on the island of Brac vowed "to let the men back into our beds, but never back into politics".

They won all seven seats on the local council after deciding they were sick of seeing the village men doing nothing for the community.

Click to Expand Article

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



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

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

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

Send your comments and article suggestions to us Email addess

Fair Use Policy

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